So for those who don’t know, there is a group of creators on Youtube who create Abridged series. An Abridged series is when an episode of a cartoon show, typically an anime, is shortened down and redubbed for comedic effect.
My own experience in Abridged entertainment began with Youtuber Lanipator Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged. This is a series I highly recommend if you have an interest in checking this kind of series out.
Ironically, Lanipator and a few other compatriots have their own Youtube Channel, Team Four Star (TFS). One of the main works is the abridgment of the famous anime, Dragon Ball Z. Titled Dragon Ball Z Abridged, or DBZA for short, this is one of the best examples of an abridged series out there.
One of the unusual elements of such a series is the room these creators have to completely remake an established character. Though I am a proud anime fan, there is a real problem with characters coming off as wooden and predictable. That and they sometimes say more than they need to say to make their point. Usually this comes with translating the original Japanese scripts and trying to keep the English dubbed in perfect unison.
Because a whole new script is written for these episodes, this problem is completely avoided. Furthermore, characters have the chance to break away from tropes and stereotypes in interesting ways.
So without further ado, I present my favorite characters from DBZA:
Maron is a throw away character during the Garlic, Jr. Saga and the first part of the greater Cell Saga. For the most part she replaces Bulma as the eye candy of the group once Bulma’s took on a greater in the team’s efforts to stop the androids.
That and I think Toryama didn’t wan’t Bulma to give young Trunks a bad role model.
Regardless, in the original series, Maron is pretty lame. She is the epitome of the dumb blonde, sans the blonde hair.
Which is why I love her in this form. Though is in only one episode, her character enjoys a full arc. You know she’s hiding a lot, and it isn’t until the end you find out just how much she is hiding. Pun partially intended.
The fact she’s putting on an act, and why she’s doing it makes her character memorable, and it makes you look forward to re-watching the episode again.
Having in a few more episodes of the series would’ve been fantastic. But when you think about it, her brief cameo somewhat captures her character’s treatment in the original series. Though it is nice to see her character having more importance than being mere eye candy.
9. King Kai
King Kai’s role in the DBZ and DBZA universe is bar none. Being the first celestial tutor to Goku, and his guide through much of the series, Kai holds a unique place in this eclectic cast.
And seeing him lose his sanity because of the people around him is hilarious. Of course his original counterpart is not lacking in jokes, but seeing the DBZA version suffer from complete idiots is a treat.
Particularly with his protege, Goku, who gives Kai many reasons to scream for any reason. This is gives Kai a look into the limitations he has when teaching his wards. He still cares for his duties and the protection of his universe. But it doesn’t mean he enjoys it. Especially when his best student is a complete idiot.
I still feel his commentaries during Goku’s and Freeza’s fight is among the highlights of the whole second season. And it gives that season a unique vibe from the first one.
Wow, this character underwent an incredible change in DBZA. Frieza is in the DBZ a very typical villain. Bloodthirsty, merciless, backstabbing, the works.
Retaining all these traits, Team Four Star added another facet that fits Frieza perfectly, managerial. Despite being a space emperor who kills entire planets on a whim, this guy cannot catch a break when dealing with his staff. And his reactions are fantastic.
The anguish from hearing one bad news to the other, suffering the limitless absentmindedness of Goku, and the constant speeches by Vegeta made Frieza a real joy to watch. And in all honesty, he isn’t a character I enjoy in the original series.
Nothing against the V.O. actors in their work, but the character was never that interesting. Here we see a guy trying to achieve immortality, and losing his marbles because Murphy’s Law is running rampant.
I also love how he keeps track of certain lines made in heroic speeches. That makes his presence the more interesting, and slightly terrifying when you think about it. And by the time he’s killed off the show, I was sad to see him go. (Which makes me wish to see TFS do their own take on Resurrection of F when they get the chance.)
First, I want to give kudos to Team Four Star for using Goku’s proper name from the manga, Son-Goku. I know it isn’t a big change in the character, but it shows the team’s dedication to both the manga and anime. Which I respect, greatly.
Second, how they crafted Goku from a valiant hero, into a complete klutz is pure genius. Goku suffers a bit from naivete in the original series. But in DBZA he just has no sense of how the world works.
The man thought Chi-Chi had cinnabuns underneath her shirt when she was pregnant with Gohan. I’m not joking, this was an actual joke.
Despite being a savant in battle, Goku is almost lost in every other aspect in life. And seeing how his relationship with Gohan grows more and more twisted is a real treat. This is in no small part to how Piccolo, a one time enemy of Goku, pretty much becomes Gohan’s substitute father. Essentially arguing Goku’s inability to rise a child.
A fact that DBZA reminds you of throughout the series without reservation.
I also love how Goku is eager to punch something, disregarding the total danger to his health and well being.
Seeing this deconstruction of his character never fails to make me smile.
6. Super Kami Guru
This guy, this guy truly embodies the spirit of DBZA. A complete twist on the original character, Super Kami Guru goes from being a kind, caring, compassionate leader of Planet Namek to a near uninterested tyrant.
The way he treats Nail were among the best scenes of the entire second season. Guru’s complete misuse of the dragonballs to create a mail service and wanting a big plasma screen TV cause my sides to hurt from laughing so hard.
Do yourself a favor and Google ‘Guru Batman Reference’; you’ll thank me later.
And hearing how he orchestrated a complete genocide to cover his devouring of Namek’s fresh water is…magical. Which is weird considering the annihilation of an entire people.
Just seeing how little he cares for his fellow Namekians adds to the humor of the situation, as everyone else is trying to save the planet from eventual destruction. All the while he just wants to watch TV in style.
And hearing him detested by global warming and natural light are a scream. Despite the hilarity of his departure, he was another character I was sad to see go away.
At the risk of incurring troll hate, I make this statement. I…never…liked Krillin. Honestly, it wasn’t until the proper Cell Saga I started liking this guy.
Until DBZA. The ‘Krillin Gets Owned’ counter was the first thing that made me love this series. And the constant reminder of Krillin’s growing uselessness actually adds to his character. Despite being among the weakest of the Z-Fighters, he still seems to offer the most assistance.
But it doesn’t stop people from giving him trouble on how weak and useless he is in battle. Piccolo aptly puts it when he refers to Krillin as being a meat shield for the rest of the group.
Ironic, as Krillin survives that battle and Piccolo didn’t…hmm…ah well. I digress.
Though Krillin still retains his comedic role in the series, the humor in DBZA fits his character much better than in the original series, in my opinion. It’s not just him acting over the top for the sake of the joke. And his reactions to the situations he’s forced into make sense.
I mean, who wouldn’t freak out when confronting insanely powerful beings from other planets?
And seeing his frenemy relationship with Vegeta develop gives all three seasons a nice touch. This is on top of fact that despite his supposed weakness, Krillin is probably the bravest of the Z-Fighters, given his willingness to enter the fray, regardless of his weaknesses. Which TFS subtly bring up during the series.
4. Mr. Popo
Wow…what they did to this guy…just wow.
In the original series, Mr. Popo is a sweet caring attendant to the Guardian on earth. Always eager to help aid in Earth’s protection.
But this guy…this guy is just disturbing!
DBZA‘s Mr. Popo has more issues than a Tennessee William’s play, and pretty much has everyone in the series scared beyond words, including Goku (and members of TFS!)
Sexist, racist, sadistic, selfish, arrogant, and apathetic to a Tee, he is probably one of the best characters in the series.
He is such a deviation from his original persona it makes his character truly intriguing. You never forget a scene he’s in, and you almost hope he appears in the next episode TFS uploads to their channel.
You also wonder at what point will this guy go nuts and just destroy the world.
Without a doubt, TFS proved their mettle when they turned this one-dimensional character into the darling of the first season.
Having no sense of direction throughout his time onscreen, Nappa was the exact opposite of his partner, Vegeta. Landing them in jail, referring to the prince as a “prison
bitch” repeatedly, never taking a fight seriously, and enjoying wanton death and destruction with child-like glee.
Nappa appears to be one of the few characters to have a realization of the nature of the show, and just has fun with the story. That doesn’t mean he isn’t psychotic, but he enjoys the insanity along the way.
Whether it’s making a royal couple perform coitus, making anime references, or antagonizing Aquaman, Nappa never fails to entertain the audience. This is in no small part to the voice actor, Curtis Arnott (aka Takahata101). The voice behind TFS‘s Guru, Dende, Perfect Cell, and he really nails the roles perfectly.
And when Nappa comes back as a ghost at the end of season one and as a recurring character for season two, those scenes were a treat to watch.
In essence, Vegeta’s character experiences the least amount of change between the original series and DBZA. Which is why his character in DBZA is always entertaining. You almost feel that Vegeta from the original series wound up in this mixed up universe and is trying desperately to keeping the story on track.
His constant posturing as being the best there is also makes his time on screen memorable. One line he utters during the Cell Saga captures his ethos perfectly, “I AM THE HYPE!” And he is.
Lanipator voices the Saiyan prince and both the unyielding rage and constant suffering of idiocy of his peers with skill. His interactions with Takahata101 and Masakox, who voice Nappa and Goku, respectively, really make the show shine.
The utter astounding disappointment Vegeta has in his relationship with Goku in DBZA helps set it apart from the original series. Vegeta just wants to be back on top and his ego almost cannot allow him to fathom the idea of Goku’s increase in skill.
That and Vegeta’s response to someone increasing in power levels always puts a smile on my face.
Another character whose character is not changed too much from the original series. Bulma’s treatment in DBZA is actually quite refreshing. Let’s be honest with ourselves about the show, she’s pretty much been playing fanboy service since the beginning.
And when looking for pictures to use for this list, this was the first one that was actually family friendly. I’m not joking, if you didn’t know about her history in the show, you’d think she was in an entirely different genre of anime entirely.
So for DBZA to have her character have more to offer is a real service. She speaks her mind, has a personality from the beginning, she’s eager to partake in the Z-Fighters’ exploits, she uses her intelligence to try and aid her friends.
Plus, one could make the argument she’s one of the main reasons Vegeta starts to become a real hero in the story.
Her lines improve considerably from the original anime, and fits her personality. Also, the TFS team gives her attitude when necessary, not just for the sake of having an attitude.
Added with her calling out characters for keeping her out of the action during the Namek Saga, and putting herself more and more into the thick of things as the series progresses, TFS really give Bulma depth and development she was sorely missing in the original series.
So that’s my list of characters I felt were improved the most in DBZA. Who do you think had the most development between the original and abridged? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, TFS held a contest for new talent for abridged series called a Tenkaichi Ironman Budokai Abridgathon. Check out the entries for the contest, and stay updated on their choice for the winner.