Why Did Team Four Star’s Popular Anime Dragon Ball Z Abridged Really End?

The very first episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged was released by novice voice actors on their shared YouTube channel Team Four Star on June 6, 2008. Over the next decade fans of the original show would clamor in anticipation of the next episode. Sometimes each new release would take months — and the last batch (a three-part episode) before the show’s cancellation took over a year to finish. 

Why did the show finally end?

Many fans believe the show’s creators simply got tired of making it. Over the decade of production of Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Team Four Star started other projects as well (albeit not as popular) and was also provided with professional work. Even a popular fan-made anime like theirs wouldn’t make them nearly as much — and so perhaps it simply became untenable for them to continue.

However, the real reason seemed to be alleged copyright infringement. No one knows whether Team Four Star hired a professional legal team to help them sift through relevant laws. 

Here’s what you need to know. The original show that Abridged was based on was created by Akira Toriyama over in Japan decades ago but its popularity has persisted to this day. It spawned many movies and a recent sequel series called Dragon Ball Super. All the content used by Team Four Star belonged to someone else. BUT Team Four Star’s version of the show was a blatant parody. And parody is protected free speech under the First Amendment.

So might the team have been lying when they suggested one of the biggest reasons for the show’s end was the constant pressure from the trademark holders? Maybe. Maybe not. Truthfully, we’ll probably never really know because the matter never made it to court. 

Small ventures under pressure from larger ones will sometimes fold and give up, even when they’re on the right side of the law. No one should expect anything else. More resources means more power.

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