Ridiculous accents, catchy pop tunes, wreckage of the fourth wall and merciless jokes at even the most tragic of moments: the hallmarks of a great abridged series can be hard to hit just right, but when one does this successfully, it can lead to some of the funniest fan content out there.
Abridged series have the tendency to be filled with coarse -- and sometimes questionable -- humor and to poke fun at ridiculous premises by exaggerating situations and character traits. Though there are hundreds of abridged series out there today, here are the five that really stand out from the rest.
5. Nullmetal Alchemist
Ed is British and a huge jerk. That's pretty much all there is to this series, which ran from October 2011 to September 2013. This abridged series of the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime by creator Faulerro revolves around the absurd character of British Ed, accompanied by an Alphonse who truly sounds trapped in a tin can. Running gags such as Ed insisting that alchemy is actually magic and a commitment to jokes that will happen the exact same way multiple times in a row turn everything in the show into a farce filled with raunchy dry humor, as if Monty Python suddenly stepped into the world of Amestris.
The fact that Fullmetal Alchemist is so well known gives the series lots of room to joke around, since sticking to a coherent plot is not important. Unfortunately, Faulerro never finished covering the entire series for personal health reasons, and Nullmetal Alchemist was eventually removed from YouTube for copyright infringement.
4. Dragon Ball Z Abridged
This series is the first on the list from TeamFourStar, the creators responsible for many favorite abridged series. This abridged version of Dragon Ball Z also features some absurd voices, but the humor lies more in poking fun at the characters and their exaggerated negative traits. From Piccolo forlornly looking at his lonely Myspace account to an active count of when Krillin gets owned, the show doesn't spare any characters from its cutting humor, while still keeping them and the plot mostly true to the original. Dragon Ball Z Abridged began airing in November 2008, with the last of its 60 episodes airing in December 2018. TeamFourStar has since announced that the show has ended, but it remains iconic for its merciless yet loving take on a beloved series.
3. Ghost Stories (English Dub)
Ghost Stories is the only official abridged series yet in existence. Produced by ADV Studios in 2005, some credit it as the inspiration for all the fan-made abridged series that would follow. The original Ghost Stories was meant to teach young Japanese kids about folklore through anime. However, Greg Ayres, one of the voice actors for the production, says they were told to do whatever they wanted as long as it sold the show.
The basic story and names of the characters as well as the way ghosts were exorcised had to remain the same, but otherwise, there were no limitations. The original script was almost completely disregarded to instead became a show about highly objectionable characters whipping out jokes regarding animation quality, anime tropes, Christian Slater and Christianity. The show is an ode to offensive humor, and the reaction against the dub only proved how successful it has been.
2. Attack on Titan Abridged
The second abridged series on this list from TeamFourStar, Attack on Titan Abridged takes the first several gory episodes of Attack on Titan and somehow produces superb comedy. As with Dragon Ball Z Abridged, the plot from Attack on Titan remains mostly intact while the characters are blown out of proportion, making it easy to laugh at the absurdity of the story. The use of long-running jokes interspersed with quick bursts of humor keeps the show from becoming dull, and the appropriately timed elevator music as titans attack the city or the peppy pop song cutting out abruptly as Eren gets his leg bitten off makes perfect use of popular culture to add humor to the grim situations. The only glaring problem with this series is that there's only one episode, and it doesn't seem like that's going to change.
1. YGOTAS (Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series)
This iconic abridged series has almost eclipsed the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, or at least contains quotes that are sometimes mistaken for canon. YGOTAS was created for the simple reason that Youtuber LittleKuriboh thought the show's premise was ridiculous anyway and therefore would be easy to make fun of. He was right -- YGOTAS is over-the-top fun, constantly breaking the fourth wall and repeatedly returning to poke fun at the fact the show is all about a card game. Exaggerated Texan and Brooklyn accents make some characters impossible to listen to without laughing, and the use of these constant elements alongside fresh material keeps YGOTAS from becoming repetitive.
Characters do everything from wonder why everyone's faces look so ugly to jumping from moving cruise ships because they must naturally risk their lives for cards, sometimes to the accompaniment of Celine Dion music. YGOTAS began in 2006 as the first fan-made abridged series and shows no signs of stopping even today, with 83 episodes plus spinoffs. YGOTAS reaches the top of this list for continuing to create hilarious content that hits home for both die-hard fans and those who have never seen a single episode of the original show, as well as for being the trailblazer that set the standard for abridged series as a whole.