Now, no well-adjusted fan has delved into the fandom and not found its pleasures too good to give up. Thus it goes: if you’re a book fan, you read/write fanfiction; if you’re a manga fan, you read/write fanbooks and fanfiction and; if you’re an anime fan, you watch/make an abridged version of it which other fans write more fanfiction of.
Basically, you’re not a fan unless you’ve come across fanfiction.
But that’s not the point of this post. I’ll be giving a run-down on the last thing I mentioned, the thing you have to check out if you’re a visual consumer of the anime variety; the abridged series.
The first, ever (or, rather, most well-received), abridged anime series was envisioned and created by LittleKuriboh; who abridged the old card-game show Yu-Gi-Oh to smashing success and popularity until his productiveness declined and he took a hiatus due to personal reasons. He has recently returned and started rebuilding his fanbase and, now, a voice acting career via patreon and several new comedy shows.
LittleKuriboh’s YGO:TAS sparked the immensely popular Dragon Ball Z abridged series by TeamFourStar that rivaled and, in some eyes, surpassed the originator.
It generated and perpetuated famous internet memes (at least within the circles of those who watch abridged series) and had its influence down into the fanfiction roots of Yu-Gi-Oh, with writers choosing between the exaggerated personalities the YGO cast had within the abridged series and the traditional or canon personalities of the regular series; as well as incorporating references to the abridged series and the little inventions of LittleKuriboh himself.
The series sparked a much-loved but short-lived spin-off abridged series of the spin-off of Yu-Gi-Oh.
And has resulted in no popular anime being complete without at least a few of the first episodes being abridged.
Abridging is a weird thing.
It gets its name from the intense shortening of the run time of an episode (20 minutes to 3-5 minutes in LK’s early days of YGOTAS) and, from the way the first few episodes are set out it seems that LittleKuriboh did intend to follow the plot of each episode and insert his jokes in between; but this soon faded into a full-on comedic approach that only properly picked up Yu-Gi-Oh’s story line every few episodes. This style is followed as the general template for the structure of an abridged series.
The creation and attention to abridged series has stabilized since 2006 (when LK released YGO:TAS) and remains unique among the kinds of fanwork one can do; in that it freely rehashes our favourite story in such a way that it becomes its own and is less of an offshoot than a counterpart to the original series. It finds a way to sidestep every category you try to put it in.