Your uncle Geekly dabbles with anime. It’s not my forte, like it is Season’s, but I’ve watched enough to find some good examples of anime filler. Wait. There may be some of you who don’t know what anime filler is. Okay, here goes some background and a quick definition for the uninitiated.
Anime has rapid production schedules and usually an anime that’s based on a manga (Japanese comic) gets far ahead of the source material. It’s the same issue Game of Thrones has with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire if Game of Thrones was on 49 weeks out of 52. Like I said, anime has a rapid—crazy!—production schedule.
To combat this, most of these anime add episodes into the storyline to mark time until the source material can get ahead. These extra episodes are “filler.” A lot of filler stinks, because they’re marking time for the source material to get caught up, but some good episodes have graced the small screen as a result too. This quick list will show some of those moments.
My Hero Academia (Everyone’s Internships)
I’m going to be honest. I watched My Hero Academia before reading any of the manga, and I’m glad I did. The way the My Hero Academia anime integrates the cast’s internships was so seamless that I didn’t know it was filler.
Full disclosure: this is My Hero Academia’s only episode of filler to date, but these internships fill the audience in on what every other classmate of UA Highschool (My Hero Academia has a massive cast) is doing while Midoriya, Todoroki, and Iida are facing Stain. Many fans call this episode their favorite. With so much character development going on, it’s easy to see why.
Cowboy Bebop (Toys in the Attic)
For a 26-episode anime, Cowboy Bebop has a shocking amount of filler, but a lot of that filler is great. Wait a minute. Cowboy Bebop and the show it inspired Firefly only have a runtime of just over 10 hours. What’s with 10 hours and shows of this type?
Anyway, “Toys in the Attic” is one of the best Cowboy Bebop episodes and it happens to be filler. An unknown poisonous creature terrorizes the crew, and they spend the bulk of the episode running from it and formulating plans to rid themselves of the creature, only to find that the creature is attracted to a fridge filled with moldy food.
Crap. I should’ve said spoilers before saying any of that because viewers fear for the crew’s safety and that’s in stark contrast with the moment they chuck the fridge out of the space station. For added levity, the episode ends with Ed eating the creature. Oh darn. Spoilers!
Naruto (Lesser characters during the filler between the two series)
Yeah, this one may be controversial because most Naruto fans hate the five or six seasons of filler between childhood Naruto and company and their young adulthood. But Naruto also happens to be a show where few people cite the title character as their favorite and so many characters, who are most likely viewers’ favorites, receive much needed airtime.
We’re talking the characters who weren’t a part of the main cast. Unfortunately, most of the filler involving the title character Naruto was unwatchable. Three words: Curry of Life.
Dragon Ball Z (Goku’s Ordeal)
Many fans would argue that Goku is anime’s answer for Superman. His power level is over 9000, and usually, he can do no wrong. Those powers don’t mean a thing in Goku’s Ordeal.
ChiChi asks Goku to do things around the house and that means that he needs to get a driver’s license—that lazy bum. This episode does a lot to humanize Goku as he struggles to complete day-to-day chores and fails during driving lessons. It also doesn’t hurt to have so much comedic mayhem.
Soul Eater (Excalibur)
This one is less a single episode and more of a character. Depending on who you ask, Excalibur is the best or worst part of Soul Eater.
While the legendary sentient blade who dubs himself the “Elder God of Madness Born from Rage,” appears in the manga, his character is more fleshed out in the anime. Fool! Excalibur says that a lot. Fool!
That might be why he’s polarizing. Oh, well. The Soul Eater anime wouldn’t get into nearly as many shenanigans if it wasn’t for Excalibur. A fight with King Arthur? Check. Screw around with Sherlock Holmes? Yep, that’s Excalibur’s doing. I could go on, but half the fun is not knowing what to expect.
What’s your favorite anime filler? You can yell out your window, but make sure you punctuate each sentence with “Fool!”. Or you could leave a comment, and I may respond with an idiotic reply.