- Some anime filler episodes are so well-made that fans confuse them as canon.
Good filler episodes provide light-hearted fun and perfect tension relief, like the few strong filler episodes in
The entertainment value and accurate character/world depictions are key to good filler, as seen in world-building moments from
My Hero Academia
The best anime filler episodes are good enough to be manga-canon, and many times, fans will even confuse them as canon because they are so well-made. The episodes will feature characters and scenes that act no different from normal, and oftentimes subtle details that are neglected in the manga will be amplified and refined without fans even noticing.
However, the ability to blend into the storyline is not a requirement for good filler, as there are plenty of amazing filler episodes that provide deliberate and light-hearted fun at the perfect point of tension relief. Furthermore, the most important quality of good filler is its entertainment value, whether it branches from hot-blooded battles or a cooking session side story. As long as the episode contextualizes the non-manga-canon narrative with accurate character and world depictions, there should be nothing to complain about if an original story turns out to be fun.
10 Filler Arcs In Anime That Redditors Think Are Good
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10 Naruto Learns How to Make Ramen
Naruto (2002) episode 168
Naruto is a shonen anime franchise, and a member of the famous “Big Three”. The original story follows a young boy named Naruto, who is a lonesome and ostracized member of the Hidden Leaf Village. Having a demon fox sealed inside him, he wishes to one day become Hokage, the leader of the village, and show his worth to the people who had neglected him.
Naruto is also a long anime with its fair share of monotonous filler. However, one episode stands out, during which, Naruto and friends learn how to make ramen, Naruto’s favorite food, which has nearly transformed into a motif of the series. Learning from the staff of Ichiraku Ramen themselves, Naruto takes a well-needed breather to delve into his culinary passion, leading to a filler episode so entertaining that it could thrive in the manga canon.
9 Impostors Usher In the Invading Army Arc
Bleach (2004) episode 317
Bleach, one of the Big Three of shonen anime, has always been in and out of the public eye, but with the recent release of its continuation Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, the series has yet again reached the peak of popularity. The anime follows Kurosaki Ichigo, a high school boy who suddenly awakens shinigami (Soul Reaper) powers, and is thrown into the tumultuous setting of Soul Society and fighting Hollows.
Along Ichigo’s journey, there is no shortage of filler episodes, and oftentimes arcs, that serve as buffers for the main narrative. Although the series has generally received a lot of hate for its filler, mostly due to the lackluster Bounts Arc, there are some filler episodes that are worth watching and could even pass as manga-canon. In particular, the first episode of the Invading Army Arc flawlessly creates a premise for Ichigo to re-enter Soul Society at the opportune moment when doppelgängers of Gotei 13 members invade, raising highly entertaining chaos.
- Release Date
- September 6, 2006
- Johnny Yong Bosch , Michelle Ruff , Stephanie Sheh , Jamieson Price , Derek Stephen Prince , Wally Wingert
- Tite Kubo , Masashi Sogo
- Noriyuki Abe , Jun’ya Koshiba
8 Touya Akira Is Given Much-Needed Backstory
Hikaru no Go (2001) episode 66
Hikaru no Go is a shonen sports anime that is much more than its premise entail, as the story follows a young Shindou Hikaru, as he slowly discovers the competitive world of go (Chinese chess). Guided by the lingering ghost of a legendary go tutor, Fujiwara no Sai, Hikaru finds his love for the game as he reckons with his identity.
Hikaru no Go tells a story of the utmost passion, both in good times and bad, but even the greatest long anime series can have a filler episode here or there. Episode 66 tells a new character-defining backstory of Hikaru’s rival, Touya Akira. Despite being considered a rival, because of the existence of the ghost Sai, Touya is often flipping between the roles of challenger and challengee. As a result, his character is sometimes not as fleshed out as it could be, and the backstory filler episode does a lot of legwork to compensate for this shortcoming.
7 Hohenheim Is Used to Contemplate Change
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009) episode 27
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a shonen anime that is arguably one of the greatest anime of all time, as it has consistently claimed the top spot on MyAnimeList for years. The story is a remake of the earlier 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist adaptation, but stays truer to the manga in the telling of Edward and Alphonse Elric’s journey through the world of alchemy.
Within the flow of politically charged narratives and morally questionable battles, there is one filler episode that sits in the middle of the series, taking place as a dream of the brothers’ father, Hohenheim. In this dream, there are flashbacks to fresh scenes of Hohenheim’s past as well as clips of the series’ biggest events. Although the episode serves as a quasi-recap episode, it contemplates the gravity of time and immortality, and as Hohenheim wakes up, the story continues smoothly like nothing happened.
6 Inuyasha Explores the Modern World
InuYasha (2000) episode 127
InuYasha is a classic shonen isekai series that heralded the infamous trope before it was saturated by Sword Art Online copies and fantasy power trips. InuYasha follows the story of a high school-aged girl named Kagome, who falls into a mysterious well that connects to a fantasy world much resembling feudal Japan. There, she meets a half-demon named Inuyasha and the pair set off on a quest to fight the evil of the world.
However, the fantasy world that Kagome has fallen into is inherently connected with the modern world within the narrative, whether it is through the well or the passage of time. As a result, the anime’s directors created a creatively humorous filler episode that incorporates Inuyasha’s experience in the modern world. He travels through the well and plays with things like the television and the modern-day cat. Although his adventures in a long-industrialized Japan seem wacky, the episode’s themes and flow fit right into the overall story as a nice buffer between major conflicts.
5 Kakashi’s Face Is Finally Revealed
Naruto: Shippuden (2007) episode 469
The Naruto franchise is an anime that doesn’t hurt for content, filler included. While the post-timeskip series, Naruto: Shippuden, does not have as much blatant filler as the original Naruto, it still has its fair share. In Shippuden, Naruto has grown up into a more mature adolescent after three years of training. New stories unfold with higher stakes, providing the platform for some more perspectives to exploit in its filler.
One filler episode that stands out from the rest is episode 469, the episode where Kakashi finally reveals his face. For the entirety of the show, Kakashi has always had half his face covered along with one of his eyes. Although it is soon exposed that the covered eye is his Sharingan eye, fans are never given a look at Kakashi’s nose or mouth. However, episode 469 changes everything with yet another filler episode of the Naruto cast attempting to unmask Kakashi. Although they fail as usual, at the end of the episode, Kakashi reveals his face to the audience.
- Release Date
- February 15, 2007
- Junko Takeuchi , Kazuhiko Inoue , Noriaki Sugiyama , Chie Nakamura , Shoutarou Morikubo , Hideo Ishikawa , Nana Mizuki , Houchuu Ootsuka
- Junki Takegami , Satoru Nishizono , Yasuyuki Suzuki , Yasuaki Kurotsu , Masanao Akahoshi
- Adult Swim
4 U.A. High Embarks on Internships
My Hero Academia (2016) episode 32
My Hero Academia is one of the most popular shonen anime and hero stories of the recent decade. The series follows Midoriya Izuku, or Deku, through his journey in a world dominated by supernatural powers without possessing one himself. Characters are born with powers called quirks, and unfortunately, Deku was born without one. However, a chance encounter with number one hero All Might leads Deku onto a new path of inheriting the power of the transferable quirk One For All, beginning a story of great conflict between heroes and villains.
Within the My Hero Academia narrative, education is immensely important, as much of the setting takes place in the hero’s school, called U.A. High School. One particular instance that portrays the industry’s unique forms of education is the episode depicting various students working internships. The episode consists of majority filler material, but does an excellent job in highlighting the quirks of under-focused supporting characters and creating further depth in My Hero Academia‘s structure.
My Hero Academia
- Release Date
- April 3, 2016
- Aoi Yuki , Ayane Sakura , Christopher R. Sabat , Yûki Kaji , Nobuhiko Okamoto , Luci Christian , David Matranga , Justin Briner , Kenta Miyake , Clifford Chapin , Daiki Yamashita
- Production Company
- Number of Episodes
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3 Gintoki Apologizes in Hilarious Fashion
Gintama (2006) episode 252
Gintama is a meta gag-comedy anime that has thoroughly left its mark on the medium with its absurd premise and even more entertainingly absurd characters. The series follows Gintoki, a former samurai who does odd jobs in a world living in the Edo period timeline but is colonized by aliens. This creates a plethora of opportunities for characters to show their weird side, leading to jokes to last for decades in Gintama’s intelligently constructed episodic format.
Such a format also provides ample room for filler episodes and original content, much of which blends right into the manga-canon material. One filler episode that stands out is episode 252, titled “We’re Sorry”, as it breaks the fourth wall frequently. However, this episode takes it a step further, as Gintoki and friends acknowledge the audience in a hilarious series of apologies and dirty jokes to boot.
2 Luffy Opens the G-8 Arc in Style
One Piece (1999) episode 196
One Piece is a massive anime that will always enter the mind of any aspiring or budding anime fans, as One Piece has been airing for nearly 25 years. The story follows a goofy but head-strong protagonist named Luffy as he sets sail on the high seas with a dream of becoming the King of Pirates. He gathers a crew of companions all filled with their own unique charm, and the group, the Straw Hat Pirates, embark on treacherous journeys of discovery.
Being as long as th show is, One Piece is no stranger to filler, and one arc stands out from the rest: the G-8 arc. The first episode of this arc in particular is an exquisite showing of original content, as the Straw Hat Crew drop from the sky into a fortified Navy base. The crew splits up, each having their own wacky adventures en route to their escape. In the first episode, Luffy gives an introduction to the arc’s hilarious style of comedy with the infamous scene of him casually dodging a Navy soldier and holding up peace signs.
- Created by
- Eiichiro Oda
- First TV Show
- One Piece
- Kazuya Nakai , Akemi Okamura , Kappei Yamaguchi , Hiroaki Hirata , Ikue Ôtani , Yuriko Yamaguchi
- Monkey D. Luffy , Roronora Zoro , Nami (One Piece) , Nico Robin , Usopp (One Piece) , Vinsmoke Sanji , Tony Tony Chopper , Franky (One Piece) , Jimbei (One Piece)
1 Goku and Piccolo Get Their Driver’s Licenses
Dragon Ball Z (1989) episode 125
Dragon Ball Z is a shonen anime that has put the international image of anime on its back since the late 1980s. Its longevity and popularity are a testament to the universality of its story, which follows Goku, a laid-back martial artist who constantly protects the world from evil outside the public eye. The series follows the journey of both him and his friends, taking heavy influence from Chinese Taoism and the classic novel, Journey to the West.
Dragon Ball Z is also an anime known for having filler, and the best filler episode by far is episode 125, “Goku’s Ordeal”. This episode sits snugly at the end of the Z Fighters’ training arc before the predicted arrival of the androids. However, Goku also stresses the importance of rest and relaxation, which leads to the endlessly entertaining episode where Goku and Piccolo attempt to get their driver’s licenses. This episode’s ability to use humor to disperse tension before a potentially big fight is what makes it one of the best filler episodes of all time.
- Created by
- Akira Toriyama
- First TV Show
- Dragon Ball
- Latest TV Show
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes
- First Episode Air Date
- April 26, 1989
- Sean Schemmel , Laura Bailey , Brian Drummond , Christopher Sabat , Scott McNeil
SOURCE : screenrant.com