So Dragon Ball Z Abridged is the title of Team Four Star’s parody series based on the original Dragon Ball Z anime series. Team Four Star are also noted for their other series such as Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Attack on Titan Abridged and Final Fantasy VII Machinabridged. The Core team of Team Four Star are made up of KaiserNeko (Scott Frerichs), Lanipator (Nick Landis), Takahata101 (Curtis Arnott), MasakoX (Lawrence Simpson), Antfish (Anthony Sardinha), Megami33 (Corinne Sudberg), LordMoonstone (Kirran Somerlade), AinTunez (Cliff Weinstein) and MasterWuggles (Grant Smith). They also have additional frequent contributors such as Faulerro (Chris Tout), GanXingba (Marc Soskin), GeneralIvan (Christopher Guerrero) and LittleKuriboh (Martin Piers Billany) just to name a few. The abridged series changed several of the main characters in minor to moderate ways, the most noticeable of which being Mr. Popo and Nappa.
1. Cell Service
This is the 43rd episode of DBZA and it takes the top spot for me because I really like their portrayal of imperfect Cell, just this perfect blend of funny, lewd, menacing and dramatic that just really work. I also loved the expositional onslaught provided by Cell, not only was it a fun way to quickly get all the knowledge but the DBZA editors are talented and really do a great job.
2. Advanced Geometry
This is the 48th episode of DBZA and it really gives Tien (also known as Tenshinhan) a chance to shine, which is particularly good since many characters in the original Dragon Ball anime, are relegated to support or spectators in Dragon Ball Z, a point that DBZA uses to comic effect. Well it’s really good to see one of my favourite characters from the original anime be so useful, even if he’s more or less just stalling for time, but he sure is nettled. We also get to see the sporadic use of the original Japanese terms in Tien’s attack, the Kikōhō (referred to as the Tri-Beam in English).
3. Cell Reception
This is the 44th episode of DBZA and a personal highlight of this episode was Krillin and Trunks firing energy blast in an effort to discover Dr. Gero’s basement laboratory, making laser beam noises with her mouths as they did. It’s super adorable and it’s something I’d never considered, but would totally do myself if I could harness my Ki. I also really liked the One Piece and Naruto dream sequences, they were fun little besides to the main plot. Something else I really liked about this episode, was that it features the confirmed real names of Android 17 and 18 (Lapis and Lazuli respectively) something which had been unknown until revealed during a Q&A with Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball) back in 2014.
4. The World’s Strongest
This is the seventh Dragon Ball Z movie to have been given the DBZA treatment, and strangely enough it’s one of the best Abridged movies, but I wasn’t particularly a fan of the actual movie that it is parodying. I really liked the choice to make Dr. Wheelo a good guy, who is basically at the behest of his own assistant, Kochin. The Biomen being confused with the Saibamen was also funny. My personal favourite part was Kochin, giving the lovely and huggable Bio-warriors vicious names, and re-branding them as minions when Wheelo had just wanted them to be kid friendly.
5. A Rose By Any Other Namek
This is the 12th episode of DBZA and it’s an episode that captures the true essence of filler that makes the original series so popular. Well at least in my opinion anyway. It starts off well, with a group holding Gohan and Krillin at blaster gunpoint, believing them to be Frieza’s soldiers, the lasers fail to have an effect on the pair and the group immediately terminate themselves. This sets up a fun joke in a future episode when they hear Frieza’s name again. Additional highlights on this episode are Ghost Nappa, the whole finding the dragon ball sequence on ‘Namek’ and a live action sequence of KaiserNeko, one of the editors filming late at night, only to be scared by Mr. Popo who is apparently so malevolent that he can breach into our reality.
6. Namekimania 2011
This is the 20th episode of DBZA and it’s a brilliant episode, it elevates a fairly boring member of the Ginyu Force, Recoome to a real entertainer, which makes sense since he’s parodying wrestlers in general. I enjoyed the entire framework of this entire episode, they somehow manage to make all of the Ginyu Force even more dramatic and campy. Especially Captain Ginyu, doing his dance of Joy.
7. Cell-Out (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3)
This is technically three separate episodes, but are all part of one big finale so I’m just rolling them together, making up the 60th episode overall. This has a lot of great moments throughout the three episodes, one of my favourites is the interaction between Goku (Gohan’s biological father) and Piccolo (his de facto dad) where we see that despite being a totally different species, he understands Gohan’s true nature better than Goku. The whole bluster from Mr. Satan is equally brilliant. They keep the bad-ass Super Saiyan 2 transformation, proving that they know when to improve things with comedy and when to just let it be awesome. Perhaps the best moment though was Cell’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ which was funny, surprisingly engaging and deeply fitting for the character they’d established throughout the Cell story arc.
8. Snakeway to Heaven
This is the 4th episode of DBZA and follows one of my favourite parts of the original anime, the travel across Snake Way, although obviously filtered through the unique abridged lens. We have the camp and very German ogres Goz and Mez who must be dumb cause they are tricked by Goku. This episode firmly established that DBZA’s version of Mr. Popo is not what/who we are familiar with, in fact he’s a little bit psychotic. Lastly, the Princess Snake stuff references Metal Gear Solid, and is hilarious.
9. It’s Been A Year If It’s Been A Day
This is the 55th episode of DBZA and it is building towards the conclusion of the Cell Saga, and it’s amazing how well they manage to balance the rising tension and the humor that is typical of the series. A personal highlight is Android 16 dissing Goku for his dumb face and his typical orange Gi, which I mean come on, have you seen him. It also has a really touching moment between Gohan and Piccolo, you know, the real father and son relationship on the show.
10. Nappa’s Best Day Ever
This is the 8th episode of DBZA and it has a whole lot of fan favourite Nappa, and builds on the idea that he is super annoying, making far more sense as to why Vegeta kills him and is later haunted by him as ‘Ghost Nappa’. A personal highlight being Nappa destroying the world navy, and whales, while Aquaman screams mournfully. This is also the first episode where krillin gets owned more than once.
Honourable mentions go to Super Saiyan Swagger, Super Android 13 and Vegeta: Kills Bugs Dead which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
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