Dragon ShortZ is a CGI-based animated series being produced by Team Four Star. The series tells the stories of the characters of Dragon Ball — or, more specifically, Dragon Ball Z Abridged — that went untold in canon between the Cell and Buu sagas. Dragon ShortZ is thus much less action-oriented than DBZA, and instead focuses on slice-of-life stories like Goten's birth or Krillin and 18's relationship. The TFS cast reprises their roles.
The series was announced on September 16, 2019 in a TFS Update on YouTube. The first episode debuted on YouTube on November 13, 2019, at 20:00 UTC (3:00pm EST), with a sneak preview launched on Patreon for patrons of TFS at 05:00 UTC (Midnight EST).
On February 1, 2020, Lanipator announced that Dragon ShortZ will replace Dragon Ball Z Abridged as their primary Dragon Ball parody series, as a result of YouTube's ever-stricter copyright policies, and that if the Buu saga were to be adapted it would be via the digital format of these shorts rather than reused Dragon Ball footage. However, a few days later, they revealed that there are no plans to adapt the Buu Saga at this time, primarily owing to the idea being too impractical to put into action and due to heavy creative burnout towards DBZA.
On March 19, 2021, another Abridged-based series, HFIL, began in a similar vein to this series, based around Cell's (after)life in the titular Home For Infinite Losers alongside other villains a year after his defeat.
As with Dragon Ball Z Abridged, this series has a recap page currently under construction.
Dragon ShortZ provides examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Episode 5 shows Piccolo's usual "talking to Nail and Kami" Running Gag from the "outside", making it look like he's talking to himself (to Vegeta's confusion), while in another scene Gohan talks to Dr. Briefs but doesn't get a response. Presumably this is because Ben "hbi2K" Creighton (who voiced Nail and Briefs) left TFS in January 2019, but since he left on good termsnote the roles haven't been recast.
- Art Shift: The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue at the end of Episode 4 uses the Lobby Avatars from Dragon Ball FighterZ.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The revelation that Goku, whose bad parenting was a Running Gag, watched Goten's birth from the afterlife.
- Beast Man: There are some anthro animals in Dragon ShortZ, true to them being sprinkled throughout the Dragon Ball universe. There's a bear in the deleted scene from Episode 2, and Episode 4 has a fox and a dog among Yamcha's baseball teammates.
- Big "NO!": Vegeta upon finding out he has to babysit Trunks with Nappa.
- Bland-Name Product: Wolf Fang Grill, the restaurant chain Yamcha opens up, is a riff on Buffalo Wild Wings.
- Call-Back: Vegeta's fear of Mr. Popo is brought up quickly in episode 5 when Piccolo destroys an urn on the lookout and blames Vegeta. Before Mr. Popo can come to investigate, Vegeta leaves. Once he is gone, Piccolo fixes the urn with another laser blast.
- In Episode 5, Gohan borrows Dr. Briefs' telescope to see Comet Camori, which played an important role in Dragon Ball Z: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan (and its Abridged counterpart). Too bad Vegeta blows it up.
- Also in Episode 5, Gohan tells Vegeta that he forgot to get pears, which calls back to Dead Zone Abridged where Chi-Chi gets especially upset with Garlic Jr.'s minions for eating her pears because of how much a hassle it is to buy them.
- Call-Forward: Episode 4 contains a joke about Mister Satan entering a kids' karate championship (see Comedic Sociopathy below); in the Buu Saga, the World Martial Arts Tournament has a junior division for the children and the winner gets an exhibition match with Satan.
- Casanova Wannabe: Samuel the waiter from episode 3. He ignores Krillin's order and makes more and more blatant passes at 18 with each turn, and doesn't take her rejection well at all.
- Christmas Episode: Goten's birth happens on Christmas while Gohan is doing everything he can while Piccolo, Bulma, Vegeta, and Yamcha arrive to see him, though Chi-Chi tells the latter to Get Out!.
- Comedic Sociopathy: In Episode 4, the owner and manager of Yamcha's team explain that he's killing the game because he's so far beyond all the other players that there's no excitement.Manager: Nobody wants to watch Mister Satan enter a kids' karate championship!
Owner: ...I'd watch that.
Manager: Yeah, but only a psychopath would watch that more than once!
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In "DTF" when Vegeta tells Android 18 to fight him saying she owes him a rematch, she hits him with a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech saying she doesn't owe him anything. Vegeta has surpassed her, but she did that anyways.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The waiter in episode 3 gets a death threat and knife to his neck from 18 for trying to hit on her during her date with Krillin. While he's certainly a jerkass, as he rightfully points out she could've just said "no" without threatening him.
- Dom Com: Episode 1 shows Vegeta taking care of Trunks at Capsule Corporation.Vegeta: Yes, I know all the emergency numbers, but I'm pretty sure I can get him to a hospital faster than an ambulance.
- Evil Is Petty: In "DTF", Vegeta blows up a comet that Gohan was studying just to goad him into fighting.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: The waiter in episode 3 shamelessly hits on 18 while she's clearly on a date with another man.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Episodes 3 and 4 take perennial Butt Monkeys Krillin and Yamcha out of their usual context in the series — which is to say, outclassed by the Saiyans — and reminds the viewer that they're both essentially super human badasses who are more capable than all but about six or seven people on the planet.
- Frame-Up: Looking for someone to fight, Vegeta challenges Piccolo who really is not interested. At Kami's suggestion, Piccolo shoots a nearby vase and shouts, "Vegeta! What are you doing?!" Mr. Popo offscreen can be heard angrily demanding to know who broke Rule 6* . This scares Vegeta off from future attempts to harass Piccolo.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: "DTF" is basically one big deconstruction of this towards Vegeta. It has been over a year since Goku died and Future Trunks went back home, and with them gone, basically nobody else wants anything to do with him anymore. When Vegeta goes around trying to get someone to fight him, basically nobody he wants to fight gives him the time of day because they either hate him or just aren't interested, and if someone is willing to fight him (like Krillin) he isn't interested in them. When he pushes them enough they give him brutal speeches that leave him so stunned he can't even defend himself. By the end of the episode, he has alienated himself so much that not even Nappa is willing to answer his calls.
- Funny Background Event:
- In episode 3, when the waiter is trying to hit on Android 18 and 18 is leading him on before letting him know just what an intolerable asshole he's being, Master Roshi is in the background on a date with a much younger woman while wearing a really obvious toupee, and said toupee starts slipping before he manages to catch it.
- In Episode 4, the baseball team's owner has pictures of himself with Nappa and of George Costanza with a baseball bat (and his face blanked out) in his office.
- In The Stinger of episode 5, we get the Brick Joke of Piccolo finally sleeping in a bed (complete with puffball-tipped night cap), as he thought he should do earlier. Cue a very faint but distinct pair of eyes in the darkness, watching him sleep...
- Interquel: These shorts take place during the seven-year Time Skip between the Cell Saga and the Buu Saga, which was never fully explored in the original Dragon Ball Z.
- Invincible Hero: While his power is vastly overshadowed by his friends and enemies, Yamcha's power turns him into this on the baseball field. He is eventually forced to retire because he has single-handedly killed the industry with his skill.
- Left the Background Music On: In Episode 4, when Yamcha hears that the team is offering him 20 billion Zeni to retire, "Cat Loves Food" starts playing (seemingly in his head)...and then the owner reaches over and switches off a nearby radio.
- Mythology Gag:
- New Baby Episode: The episode "Midwife Crisis" is all about Chi-chi giving birth to Goten, with the rest of the cast giving reactions to the process.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Episode 4 demonstrates that while Yamcha may be the series' Butt-Monkey, it's because he frequently hangs around with people who are literally god-tier. However, he's still a superhuman who's about as far above normal people as Super Saiyans are above him. When playing baseball, he hits 500 consecutive home runs and wins so many games single-handedly that he has to be forced into retirement because the fans are becoming bored from knowing he'll always win.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Episode 3 has 18 give one to the smug waiter after he hits on her in front of Krillin.
- Episode 5 DTF Vegeta receives two from different people.
- 18 gives a brutal dressing down on Vegeta when he goes around looking for a fight, calling him a walking inferiority complex who beats his son and ignores his wife, and then implies he's better off dead. To top it all off, she ends it by calling him the same insult he called her back when they fought. He can't even say anything in his own defense, and flies off, speechless.
- Gohan gives his own speech to Vegeta afterwards, which, while not as lengthy, hits just as hard, if not harder, saying that if he did fight Vegeta like he keeps demanding him to it would be nothing but a "pity fight".
- Running Gag: Vegeta being referred to as "a bad dad and a terrible partner", since he abandoned Bulma to train while she was pregnant with Trunks.Vegeta: Why does everybody keeps saying that?
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Piccolo arrives to help with Chi-Chi's labor, but the moment he sees Goten's head coming out of Chi-Chi giving birth, he Nopes the hell out.Gohan: How can you not handle this? You died for me!
Piccolo: And I would agaaaaaaaaain!!! (flies off)
Gohan: YOU COWARD!!!
- Shout-Out: One of the pictures on the wall of the manager's office in episode 4 is a stylized version of Costanza.jpg
- Smug Snake: Samuel, Krillin's and 18's waiter from episode 3. Styling himself as Casanova Wannabe, he rudely ignores Krillin's requests and keeps making passes at 18, eventually going so far as to blatantly suggest that 18 ditches Krillin in favor of himself once his shift is over. When 18 rejects his advances (via physical threats no less), he calls her a bitch and sneers at Krillin's demands that he apologizes to her at least until Krillin smashes the table with his fist.
- SpaceX: Continuing the tradition from the main series, Nappa posts pictures of Vegeta doting on Trunks to Spacetagram.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Episode 3 does this for Krillin, as a sleazy asshole but otherwise normal human of a waiter barely avoided finding out the hard way that the "midget" he insulted could easily turn him into a pile of guts if he so desired.
- Episode 4 is a gigantic series of these, all related to Yamcha:
- While he was very quickly outpaced by the Saiyans and Piccolo, he's still far, far beyond the level of an ordinary human at this point. The result? Yamcha is probably the most successful baseball player Dragon World has ever seen with 500 consecutive home runs, a feat which even the greatest MLB players in Real Life could never hope to replicate.
- However, the unfortunate downside of this is that he almost kills off the team by driving away the audience, all because he's too good — nobody buys tickets to the games anymore because they know Yamcha is going to win it single-handedly, so there's absolutely no suspense or excitement.
- Finally, when the team owner is dismissing Yamcha, he explains that they aren't going to leave him "high and dry", so instead they're offering him a 20 billion Zeninote buyout package with a non-compete clause, meaning that Yamcha is now so rich he'll probably never have to work another day in his life (unless he decides to do product sponsorship deals, as the owner suggested). And that's before buying one of the most lucrative sports drinks on Earth, and starting up a successful chain of sports grill bars.
- With Goku gone, Freeza dead, and Cell blasted to pieces, Vegeta has no one left that can give him a challenge. The only ones who could are Gohan, who doesn't want to fight him, Piccolo and 18, who rightfully hate him, and Popo, who's so far out of his league Vegeta is terrified of him. Episode 5 is one long Humiliation Conga for him as he can't find anyone who would bother engaging him.
- When Piccolo starts talking to Nail and/or Kami, it's shown from Vegeta's perspective and it just looks like Piccolo's gone crazy and is talking to himself.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Episode 4 finally gives Abridged Yamcha a no-strings-attached happy ending.
- While he is being terminated from his team, he is being paid 20 billion Zeni to retire from baseball, buying out the Hetap soft drink company (which doubles his net worth) and eventually opening up his own chain of restaurants, which by all indications are quite successful.
- When he is being dismissed from the team Yamcha has time to fully process the buyout offer, he says "So...this is a win?" and the manager replies "Kid, you do nothing but win!" Which is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to Yamcha.
- Villain Decay: Vegeta has been reduced from being a legitimately dangerous Token Evil Teammate to being treated as annoyance. Despite his power, all it takes to drive him away is harsh language.
- Wham Shot: The non-canon Halloween episode ends with a shot of Kid Buu in a witch costume, who turns the house owner into candy when he runs out of candy to give.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The latter part of Episode 4 shows what happened to Yamcha after he retired from baseball, complete with a narrator who teases a future "episode" discussing the mysterious disappearance of martial arts legend Jackie Chun.
- Who's on First?: To distract Vegeta long enough to escape from the grocery store, Gohan asks him to buy pears (the fruit) for him. After just enough time for Gohan to fly away, Vegeta comes out asking, "Pairs (two items packaged together) of what?"