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The article, as explained by Gintoki Sakata.

A list of the filler episodes of Naruto Shippuden
A list of the filler episodes of Pokémon

Filler episodes (or sometimes filler seasons) are entries in a generally continuous television series that are unrelated to the main plot, don't significantly alter the relations between the characters, and generally serve only to take up space. This could be considered padding applied to a whole franchise. They are made because an anime episode is broadcasted at a faster pace than a manga so filler episodes are used so the anime won't catch up to the manga. Naruto's anime adaptation is infamous for having filler episodes, and many of these do not have anything to do with the source material, or in some cases, go to the point where most of them are boring and are not even worth watching anymore, depending on your point of view.

Clip show episodes tend to also fall under this category due to being padded with previous material with barely any new content.

Notable Media with Filler

  • The Naruto franchise:
    • Naruto (episodes 26, 97, 101-106 136-219) (the most infamous example, while the first three seasons (the first 141 episodes) can have filler occasionally, the final two seasons are infamous for their collection of notorious filler episodes, the only episode in those seasons that aren't filler is the season 5 finale, which is also the 220th episode and the finale of the series, with Naruto Shippuden being the follow up)
    • Naruto Shippuden (episode numbers listed in the above image)
    • Boruto: Naruto the Next Generation (episodes 16, 17, 33, 40, 41, 48-50, 67-69, 96, 97, 104, 105, 113-119, 139, 140, 152, 153, 155 and 156)
  • Battle for Dream Island (most episodes of BFDIA)
  • Pokémon (episode numbers listed in above image)
  • LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu (episodes 14-19, 99-102, 104, 106, 117, 124 and 142 (depending on your view))
  • Object Terror (There is a scene in the 2-parter episode Kiloto The Minoto where when they arrive, the characters dance for no reason at all)
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (the majority of the series)
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender (many episodes, including "The Great Divide", "Avatar Day" and "The Painted Lady")
  • Jackie Chan Adventures (a big chunk of Season 2)
  • Buddy Thunderstruck ("Get the Hock Out", “Thunderstruck Rab Cab”. “Moneybags and his Monster” (both depending on your view), “Stunt Fever”, and “Cannonballistic”)
  • Sailor Moon (the majority of the series)
  • Sword Art Online (several episodes in Season 1 and most of Season 2)
  • SuperMarioLogan (most episodes have at least some filler, with it being especially common in season 12)
  • Super Mario Bros. Z (original) (The Secret of the Pipe Maze episode was considered filler. Because of that, Alvin/Mark had no plans of including this episode in the reboot)
  • Archer (seasons 8, 9 and 10, known as Archer: Dreamland, Archer: Danger Island and Archer: 1999, are considered filler, as they take place inside Sterling Archer's coma and have no impact on the series, with the exception of the season 10 finale, where he finally wakes up)
  • 101 Dalmatian Street ("Balancing Act" and "Puppy Dreams")
  • One Piece (episodes 54-61, 98, 99, 101, 102, 131-143, 196-206, 220-226, 279-283, 291, 292, 303, 317-319, 326-336, 382-384, 406, 407, 426-429, 457, 458, 492, 542, 575-578, 590, 626-628, 747-750, 775, 780-782, 807, 881, 895, 896 and 907)
  • Sonic X (Some episodes of Season 1 and Season 3).
  • The Super Sentai franchise:
    • Himitsu Sentai Gorenger (1975-77) (Episodes 2, 3, 7, 8, 10-12, 14, 16-19, 24-26, 28, 30-41, 44-51, 53, 56-63, 65, 66, 68, and 70-82)
    • Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan (1981-82) (Episodes 2, 3, 6-21, 25-35 and 38-44)
    • Choujuu Sentai Liveman (1988-89) (Episodes 8-10, 13, 15-17, 24-26, 31, 33-36, and 39-40)
    • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (1992-93) (Episodes 3-5, 7-17, 23-27, 33, 38, 39 and 44-46)
    • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (1995-96) (Episodes 4, 5, 9-15, 20, 21, 24, 29-31 and 41-44)
    • Gekisou Sentai Carranger (1996-97) (Episodes 6-11, 17-19, 22-24, 39 and 44)
    • Denji Sentai Megaranger (1997-98) (Episodes 4-5, 7, 10-12, 15, 17-18, 22-23, 26-29, 33-34, 37, and 44)
    • Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive (1999-2000) (Episodes 3-7, 9, 13-17, 23, 27, 31-36, 40-41, and 44-46)
    • Mirai Sentai Timeranger (2000-01) (Episodes 7, 8, 11-17, 22, 24-26, 31-36, 38 and 45)
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (2001-02) (Episodes 6, 34, 35, 41, 45 and 46)
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (2004-05) (Episodes 3-4, 6-10, 12, 14, 17-20, 24-25, 27, 31, 35, 38-39, 41-46)
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger (2011-12) (Episodes 6, 8, 10, 13, 22, 24, 27, 44)
    • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (2012-13) (Episodes 7, 9-12, 18, 21, 24-25, 27-28, 31-32, 34, 39, 41, 43, 45)
    • Ressha Sentai ToQger (2014-15) (Episodes 10, 15, 20, 21, 26, 28, 33, 37, 38, 42)
    • Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs. Keisatsu Sentai Patranger (2018-19) (Episodes 4, 8, 12-13, 17, 24, 26-29, 33, and 45-46)
    • Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger (2019-20) (Episodes 10, 13, 18-20, 23-25, 28, 36-37)
    • Mashin Sentai Kiramager (2020-21) (Episodes 7, 9, 15, 19, 20, 30, 31, 33, 35, 40 and 41)
  • Gantz (only the final four episodes)
  • Danny Phantom (a grand majority of the third and final season was filler, and don't lead up to the ending; it doesn't help either that the ending itself wasn't a good way to end the series)
  • DC Super Hero Girls (some episodes such as "Crushing It", "Retreat", "Breaking News", “Scrambled Eggs", “Drama Queen”, “Tween Titans”, and “SuperWonderBatBeeZeeLanternMobile“)
  • Chad (2021) (almost every episode in season one is filled with filler)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (especially the majority of episodes from (seasons 6-8))
  • Turbo F.A.S.T (some episodes (mostly from the third and final season))
  • Ben 10: Alien Force (most episodes from season 3)
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
  • Ben 10 (2016) (Most episodes from Season 1)
  • South Park ("Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus", "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics", "Pip", "A Million Little Fibers", "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers", and "Handicar")
  • The Eggs ("Where's Shelly", "Choog")
  • Terrytoons ("Ireland or Bust" release date on Christmas is done purely to fill up the schedule.)
  • Gravity Falls (a few episodes such as "Dipper vs. Manliness", "Roadside Attraction", "The Bottomless Pit!", and "Little Gift Shop of Horrors")
  • Amphibia (Great majority of episodes of season 1 and some in season 2)
  • The Owl House (small filler episodes of season 1 like "Once Upon a Swap", "Sense and Insensitivity", and "Really Small Problems")
  • Family Guy ("Seahorse Seashell Party", "Send in Stewie, Please" and "Yacht Rocky")
  • Bleach (Some of them have filler while most don't)
  • Case Closed/Detective Conan(Several episodes have filler ones where it wasn't based on the manga)
  • Gintama (2006-2018) (Episodes 1-2, 50, 57, 75, 106, 114, 124-125, 135, 137, 150, 155, 164, 166, 171, 173-174, 176, 185, 209, 252)
  • The Dragon Ball franchise (except Kai) (While most of the animes have some filler in them, Dragon Ball GT however, is 100% filler as it is non-canon to the franchise)
  • Peppa Pig (specifically most of the bad/mediocre episodes as they don't add much to the plot. Also, the events never got mentioned nor brought up again, with the characters acting like the events didn't happen at all. The worst examples are "The Quarrel" and "International Day" )
  • Adventure Time (While most of the episodes are decent, some of them have only filler episodes, with "Shh!", "BMO Noire", and "The New Frontier" being the worst offenders)
  • The Amazing World of Gumball (including the clip-show spinoff, Darwin's Yearbook and The Gumball Chronicles)
  • Supernoobs (One of the worst examples is the arcs are completely separated and ruined by fillers a lot, making the story arcs very short and rushed)

Why Filler Sucks

  1. Most of these types of episodes make no sense. To make matters worse, they never happened in their original adaptations.
  2. They usually take way too much space for the canon parts of a show, leaving many plot holes. One example is in Dragon Ball Z when Nappa tells Vegeta that Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta and Vegeta says that he already knew about it... but he didn't know about the truth about the destruction of Planet Vegeta until Dodoria told him, and that was after Vegeta executed Nappa for failing to kill Goku. In the same show, there's the infamous moment where Frieza attempts to destroy planet Namek and tells Goku that he has five minutes until the planet explodes. In the original show, it takes 9 episodes (10 if you include the actual episode when Frieza launches his attack on the planet) for Namek to finally explode. For comparison, in the Kai edit which cut out much of the filler, it only takes 5 episodes (6 if including Frieza's attack on the planet). Speaking of Namek, there's the Are They Still On Namek meme due to the poor pacing during the time the main characters are on the planet.
  3. They differ from the usual tone of some series. To elaborate, a show that normally has a dark tone somehow becomes light-hearted and campy in these types of episodes.
  4. In some cases, a recap episode is used as a filler episode, which is considered very lazy and effortless. The most notorious case is the five consecutive filler episodes before the final arc in Fist of the North Star.
  5. The infamous Naruto filler episodes, along with Boruto: Naruto the Next Generation, inspired many anime adaptations of manga to do the same.
  6. They are also one of the reasons why many shows have gone downhill. For example, the Naruto filler episodes were partially to blame for why the original Toonami block was canceled in 2008.[citation needed]
  7. They sometimes feature characters acting out-of-character for the sake of having more content to fill an episode with.
  8. Filler arcs can sometimes overlap with canon episodes, causing storylines to drag out for way too long. Some examples are:
    • The filler during the Fourth Shinobi World War Arc in Naruto: Shippuden, with this particular example having the show finally end in 2017 when the manga ended in 2014.
    • Bulma's misadventures during the Freeza Saga of Dragon Ball Z.
    • The Virtual World filler arc in Yu-Gi-Oh!, which takes place in the middle of the Battle City finals.
  9. Filler arcs are usually a waste of time to watch because the canon story arcs don't reference events that happened in filler arcs. For example, in Yu-Gi-Oh! in the Waking the Dragons filler arc, The Pharaoh/Atem, Kaiba and Joey lose their Legendary Dragon cards at the end of the arc, and the events of the entire arc are never referenced again for the remainder of the show. Making the story arcs ruined because of it.
  10. Some fillers even go as far as adding something that would damage the series, such as Hideyoshi dying in Tokyo Ghoul √A.
  11. They have contributed to the overworking of various anime studios, specifically when one of the storyboard artists and episode directors of Studio Pierrot who was known for Bleach and Yu Yu Hakusho wanted to take a nap and died later.[citation needed] Even if it is understandable they have to keep animating to maintain consistent quality, if they didn't want to overwork their employees, they should have shifted the schedule from weekly to seasonally.
  12. As Gintoki Sakata would explain above, there are 4 main issues with this trope when used in TV shows based on existing IPs that are still running:
    1. The show can get canceled without warning or is forced to end permanently after giving its source material time to catch up with its story due to running out of materials to adapt. This has happened to Hunter x Hunter and is the reason for Game of Thrones Season 8's awfulness.
    2. The show is forced to create new original stories of its own after its source material officially ended its run right as the story is about to rejoin the main plot. Bleach suffered badly from that.
    3. If the show's story rejoins the IP's main plot too early, it'd be forced to diverge again to give the latter more time to be fleshed out. Long-running shows like Naruto (from Shippuden onwards), One Piece, Fairy Tail, and Pokémon are famous victims of that.
    4. In the worst-case scenarios, both the show and its IP would have their stories diverge so much that they cannot rejoin without retconning each other. For such a scenario, the original show will have to be canceled and then remade to properly follow the story, which usually happens if the original manga has a monthly or quarterly schedule. Fullmetal Alchemist and Hellsing infamously used this trope in Brotherhood and Ultimate respectively.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Most of them have good animation and character designs, just like the canon part of a show.
  2. Not all filler episodes are bad, as there are times when fillers can fix plot holes from the original adaptation or, occasionally, give some time for characters to develop or give more information about the show's world and/or its characters. In other words, fillers are good if they're done right.
    • Most of the filler episodes of Urusei Yatsura aren't that bad, though some episodes like episode 84 and the clip show episodes can be a drag to sit through. However, some episodes like 16a, 75, and 105-107 are entertaining to watch.
    • Most filler episodes from Sailor Moon are very enjoyable and funny and its only filler arc, The "Makai Tree" Arc, was pretty good.
    • One particular filler arc in Fairy Tail, the Key to the Starry Skies Arc, told a compelling story about religious zealots and featured character development that the manga missed out on.
    • Some Naruto filler episodes/arcs are enjoyable, such as:
      • "Gotta See, Gotta Know! Kakashi-Sensei's True Face!" (One of the most famous)
      • The "Land of Tea" arc
      • The "Land of Rice Fields" arc
      • The "Mizuki's Revenge" arc
      • The "Bikōchū Beetle" arc
      • The "Curry of Life" arc
      • "The Appearance of Strange Visitors"
      • The "Land of the Sea" arc
      • "Please, Mr. Postman!"
      • "A Legend from the Hidden Leaf: The Onbaa!"
      • "Laughing Shino"
      • "Ino Screams! Chubby Paradise!"
      • "The Mysterious Curse of the Haunted Castle"
      • The "Trap Master" arc
      • The "Kurama Clan" arc
      • The "Ultimate Weapon" arc
      • The "Twelve Guardian Ninja" arc
      • The "Three-Tails' Appearance" arc
      • "Revenge of the Shadow Clones" (The only good episode from the Paradise Life On A Boat filler arc)
      • The "Power" arc
      • The "Kakashi's ANBU Days" arc
      • The "Mecha-Naruto" two-parter
      • "A Special Mission"
      • The "Killer B Rappūden" two-parter
      • The "Itachi Shinden: Book of Light and Darkness" arc
      • The "Konoha Hiden" arc
    • Many of Fist of the North Star's filler episodes are very entertaining, such as the episode where Kenshiro demolishes a tank with his bare fists.
    • Also, the filler episodes of Amphibia are entertaining as well
  3. Some filler episodes can be enjoyable and funny, like this for example.
    • Additionally, they also act as fourth-wall breakers when done right. Gintama is famous for that and the above video is even a self-aware explanation of this trope in 40 seconds before revealing itself to be a filler.
  4. Thankfully, some lists can be found online so people could tell which episodes are canon and which are filler to easily avoid them. Watch the filler episodes if you want, though.
  5. For anime that are aired side-by-side with its manga counterpart, filler episodes are often necessary to avoid going one step ahead of the monthly chapters. This was the case with Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and My Hero Academia.
    • Thankfully, the filler episodes are only belong to OVAs to make sure to prevent the show to focus more story arcs than filler episodes to make it even more non-canon.