To say that Little Kuriboh‘s Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is influential would be an understatement. While one can debate on whether or not it was the first of its kind (Fenslerfilm’s G.I. Joe PSA parodies come to mind), it is safe to say that it pioneered the abridged medium as we know it today. But the question is, after more than ten years since its inception, how does it stand the test of time?
Having watched its “first season” (that is, episodes 1-22), I would say fairly well. The sound design, editing and general production value may not be up to today’s standards, but the series more than makes up for it with its poignantly clever writing. Already in the first few lines of the first episode its non-stop meta-humor shines, with character tropes and plot absurdities of the source material being ridiculed in almost every line – yet always with a bit of loving charm. It is evident how big of a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan Little Kuriboh is, but also how self-distant he is to his own fandom, and it is this balance that ultimately makes Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series so effective.
Little Kuriboh also deserves commendation for his fantastic sustainability. Throughout the years -in which countless abridged series and creators have come and gone, and in which the abridged phenomenon has evolved exponentially in terms of community, production standards and artistic ambitions – Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has always stuck around, and is still sticking around to this very day. Sure, the output may not have been the most consistent, but it has always been there with its ongoing status, and even expanded itself with cast members and guest features from across the community, as well as several spinoffs and movies. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is not only a true classic, but a flagship for the abridged medium at large.
This is an excellent review, thank you. I have been meaning to try out one of the pioneering abridged series and I think this will be the one. With 80 episodes released at the time of this comment, looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.