Abridge Too Far

Yes, I made a horrible pun with the title of this post. And yes, puns are the lowest form of comedy there is.

Moving on…

We all love watching anime. Chances are, if you’re visiting this page (unless you happen to be a certain online journalism professor, a friend/relative I badgered into visiting this page, or an internet denizen who wandered here by mistake) then you should agree with the previous statement. But sometimes, anime, for all its strengths can be long-winded, overly convoluted, and prone to worthless filler arcs used to bide time while the manga the series is adapted from is still being written. What can an impatient otaku do?

Maybe download the episodes online, edit them into the most essential bits, create a comedic fan dub, and stick it online?  Hence the creation of the abridged series.

An abridged series is exactly what the term implies – a heavily edited version of an anime, containing the most basic aspects of the story while dubbed with an overload of crude  jokes, fourth wall breaking humor, and American pop culture references. They are essentially the US equivalent of the various dojinshi sold at Comiket each year (i.e., using already popular characters to create fan made media).

The concept started with the very first abridged series, Yu-Gi-Oh. A British fan of the American dub, Martin Billany, known across the internet by the moniker LittleKuriboh, originally started the series as a joke, and  was surprised when it became an overnight success. Since then, various anime series (and even a  few live action ones) have been given the  parody treatment.

However, as with many fan-created internet works, the threat of copyright infringement and lawsuits linger over the  genre. It’s unlikely that a company such as Funimation or 4Kids would see much difference between a ten minute fan parody or an outright fan dub, although to date, not much has been done  to halt abridged series (save for an attempt by YouTube to take down LittleKuriboh’s videos, though he later started another page). For their part, abridged creators include warnings at the beginning of videos indicating that the work is a parody, and to “support the official release.”

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