|See also:||fandub, parody, crackfic|
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An Abridged Series is a common term used for a form of parody fandub of a popular work, most commonly Japanese anime, though some western cartoons or popular animated web series have received abridged series. An abridged series typically takes a popular work and reduces its length, sometimes abridging several episodes into a short ten minute abridged episode which is typically published on YouTube. Though, some abridged series will have longer length episodes and the most important element of an abridged series is the parody aspect of it and its cracky humor.
The first example of an abridged series would be LittleKuriboh’s Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged series which would go on to inspire numerous other creators to begin abridging other shows. This would lead to essentially the creation of an entire new genre in fandom.
The humor in an abridged series comes from its parody nature as it often makes fun of the original work through hyperbole and exaggeration, as well as lampshading elements of the original work. It is common for an abridged series to poke fun at the original’s works writing, characterization, and/or premise. The infamous Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged series highlighted the ridiculousness of the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! through its frequent usage of the phrase “children’s card game.” An abridged series humor is often mature in nature, frequently containing humor regarding sexuality as well as an excessive usage of vulgar language. The abridged series of the children’s show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an example of an abridged work not being appropriate for the original work’s target audience.
While Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series is widely credited as the first abridged series, it was not the first to use the premise of a parody fandub. An example of a more official version of a parody dub would be ADV Film's dubbing of Ghost Stories in 2005, they changed the dialogue entirely and turned the show into a dark comedy aimed at adults while the original was a supernatural anime for children. And years before Ghost Stories dub, there were various gag dubs all across the internet.
However, while the history of parody fandubs are nothing new, it was only when LittleKuriboh published his abridged series in 2006 that the concept made a major splash in fandom. LittleKuriboh’s humorous take on the original material made his parody series massively popular and inspired other creators who, with Kuriboh’s blessing, would use the “abridged Series” label to create a variety of other parody fandubs, which would eventually lead to the emergence of the genre as a whole.
Team Four Star:
Under U.S. copyright law parody is protected under fair use, and the typical Abridged Series very clearly falls under the bounds of parody. However, abridged Series have been frequently targeted by companies and publishers which has led to them being removed from YouTube for breaking copyright guidelines. Whether or not an abridged series will be allowed to flourish very much depends on the companies ability to tolerate it, leaving Abridges Series in a legal gray area.
Notable Abridged Series
Sword Art Online Abridged: The anime Sword Art Online in massively controversial and popular in the animanga fandom, considered by some to be a good anime, while reviled by others for its bad writing, lack of character development, and failure to deliver on its interesting premise. It became a widely popular and successful anime despite its criticism and as a result it spawned its own abridged series created by Something Witty Entertainment. The abridged series has been praised by both SAO’s fans and its detractors, the latter group claiming that the abridged series improved on the original through its stellar writing, likable characters who develop, and emotional plot. The Abridged Series is a genre often considered little more than crack, solely consisting of cheap humor, but the fandom reaction to this series show that the abridged series is a genre capable of using its strengths to create a unique experience greater than its original.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Witchcraft: The latest reboot of the My Little Pony franchise, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic created by Lauren Faust ended up becoming massively popular among an older audience of fans dubbed bronies. As such, it was fitting that an abridged series of the show would be created. This series is notable in how it screws with the formula of typical abridged series. Most other abridged series simply retell the story of the original show in an abridged and humorous way, however, this abridged series would recut and edit scene from the original in order to develop entirely new episodes--the show even went so far as to create original music.
Meta and Further Reading
- The Abridged Series: An Emergence of a New Genre by Malcolm Collins, AUG 2 2013
- Abridged Series: A Short History by ericg, JAN 21 2016
- The Art of Abridged Series by Gigguk, a 15 minute long video about the evolution of abridged series. Posted to YouTube on DEC 19 2018.