Better read as: Sticking to Canon Questions.

Suppose that an anime has a manga correspondent to it too, and the anime has a fair amount of filler that builds up season after season. Some fans of the manga whom also watch the anime may not wish to be bothered with all of the filler, and wish to ask for which specific arcs/episodes cover only canonical events with respect to the manga.

A very simple example: Naruto. There's lots of filler, even with the second series in it. Someone that's a fan of the show, but doesn't want to get bogged down by the filler, may want to only watch the episodes that progress the storyline.

Should these sorts of questions be allowed, and if so, under what pretense?

I don't have an objection to allowing these sorts of questions, since it's something that comes up with most long running series. If we do start allowing them, however, we would need to define what kinds of principles we allow those questions under. I'm thinking that something like, 'Man this filler really sucks, what's the next arc' questions wouldn't be constructive (and I could be proven wrong!).

EDIT: To add to the discussion, an idea being bounced around would involve well-defining canon to allow these questions to be answered. In my mind, the problem is "well-defining" the canon of a series, since some series are anime-only, incomplete in manga, or a mix of both. Perhaps limiting the scope of these questions to long-running series, with a well-established canon, would help in giving these questions more relevance and less subjectivity.

To the "maintainability" point - I feel that the Community Wiki functionality would be very ideal for this; it allows for flexible maintenance of the list of non-canonical episodes, and everyone can participate.

  • Please add this to the "What kinds of questions should/shouldn't I ask here" post, to keep things easy to follow. You can edit the answer, it's a CW. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 19:00
  • @MadaraUchiha: I'd do that but the main contention is we don't know if it's a good or bad question...yet.
    – Makoto
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 22:24
  • @MadaraUchiha: After looking around a bit at some of the more recent questions, I'll be adding this to that CW after all. The stance certainly seems to have softened a little bit; we'll want to deal with series that don't have well-defined canon as a separate case.
    – Makoto
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 0:46
  • Is it really just about anime vs manga/LN? I imagine people would've liked to ask a question like this for Haruhi Suzumiya (Oh wait...maybe a bad example. LOL) or Kuroko no Basuke. Me personally I skipped some flashback stuff. Or like say Pokemon where some people just wanna see the gym battles.
    – BCLC
    Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 3:31
  • @BCLC: Well, we're not a DVR. It's pretty easy to identify filter if there's already official media to determine if something is canon or not. Only looking at specific types of events (for instance, gym battles in Pokemon), I'd argue that you're on your own for that one.
    – Makoto
    Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 5:56

4 Answers 4


I don't see filler content as ambiguous; Makoto gave a pretty good definition in the question.

Some fans of the manga whom also watch the anime may not wish to be bothered with all of the filler, and wish to ask for which specific arcs/episodes cover only canonical events with respect to the manga.

To make it a bit more formal, if we strictly define filler as "Things in are decidedly not canon, as created by the original author or production company.", then this is very objective and very answerable. See Ktash's comments for more details and examples this criterion. I do not see a reason to restrict questions of this type.

I do not see the site being overrun by questions like this, since a question of this nature could be asked at most once per series. Gaming.SE, for example, deals with questions of this nature all the time (that can exist once per game, but are largely the same each time just with the game title changed), and it hardly ruins the ratio of content on the site there.

It won't get asked about every anime, and the ones it does get asked for will get quality useful content. I think this is a huge bonus for the site, actually. One of the main things that's important for a StackExchange site is to have content that will draw users in. People will search Google all the time to figure out which episodes of their favorite anime to skip. If Anime.SE can answer that question, maybe they'll stick around and ask/answer other questions as well.

I think this is a popular question, not terribly difficult to answer, not terribly difficult to maintain (since filler tends to happen in arcs and not usually in one-off scenarios). Gaming.SE also has to deal with maintainability issues (Minecraft in particular gets updated all the time, outdating scores of answers), and an occasional bump as a new plot arc starts every few months isn't going to ruin the front page.

  • Except that this definition won't always work as not all series derive from manga, and even those that do sometimes contain canonical story/events that were not shown in the manga. Two good examples of this are FLCL which became a manga after the fact, and Trigun, which started as an incomplete manga where the anime filled in some of the story gaps. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 15:10
  • @Ktash That's why it's not a good idea to make blanket rules. We should apply logic to each individual case. For Naruto and Bleach, my restrictions make sense, and disallowing a question about those series doesn't. For FLCL or Trigun, questions about filler are subjective and should be closed.
    – StrixVaria
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 15:13
  • I don't agree that questions about filler for those shows are "subjective" or should be closed. There is still a true answer about what is filler and what is not. I would just change the definition to be stories created by the original author, or production company, or those approved by said parties as canon material. In Naruto's case, the author has acknowledged that anime filler in Naruto is non-canon (as seen numerous times by when the anime does something that the manga contradicts later). Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 15:16
  • @Ktash I will amend my answer. That's a good idea.
    – StrixVaria
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 15:19
  • Honestly, such questions might attract attention yes. But it's not like we need to attract just any kind of attention. I prefer less visits but a much better site than lots of visits and tons of "what are the fillers for X?" questions.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 18:16
  • @Alenanno: So it seems then that we should narrow the scope of these types of questions. I've added some more points to my original question up above.
    – Makoto
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 18:20

My biggest problem with this question isn't so much in the question itself, but in the wording. "Filler content" is a slightly ambiguous term. For instance, many manga have extra chapters that get animated but aren't related to the plot of the story. It's not clear whether or not these should count as filler.

I'd suggest that these sorts of questions are better phrased as comparisons between the anime and the source material, e.g. "Which Naruto episodes are not based on content from the manga?" As far as I know filler content is almost never added for anime-original series, so this doesn't seem terribly restrictive.

However, I do worry that the site could become overrun by these sorts of questions. As such, it seems better to limit this to long-running series with lots of filler content. The other thing that worries me about this is that for ongoing shows the answer will change every time more filler is produced. I don't really know how to deal with this, since the answer will need to be edited every time, which will result either in frequent bumps or the answer quickly becoming obsolete. I don't know of a good solution for this, since restricting to completed shows rules out most of the big ones like One Piece, Naruto, Detective Conan, etc.

  • 1
    Agreed. I think you listed enough reasons to say no. :P
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 10:42
  • I'm not opposed to your suggestion, as this does help keep the site from being overrun from these sorts of questions.
    – Makoto
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 0:03

It pretty much comes down to whether it's good filler or bad filler. Good filler being filler that expands on the story without contradiction. Bad filler is filler that is either pointless or contradictory or simply exists to pad out an episode's length.

In a manga to manga example. The One Punch Man re-draw has new scenes added to existing material and new side stories that weren't in the original web-comic, however all the changes were ok'd/written by the original Author and simply enhance the series as a whole. That's good filler. (Some could even argue...to a point...that Bleach's filler was ok.....since they at least did try to reference those events by adding new scenes to existing later material and explain why everyone was weaker during the filler arc then the previous one, though they did sometimes come off as very out of place, and some fillers were just simple time-wasters)

Bad filler imo is filler like in several episodes of Dragon Ball, where things happen that are never referenced again nor do they change anything involving the plot. They're simply there to pad out run-time. Because they tend to be quickly thrown together they often can even introduce contradictions to the story.

The worst sort of filler however, is filler that is put in at the EXPENSE of canon material. A recent example being Tokyo Ghoul Season 1, which devoted nearly 3 episodes of runtime (out of 12) to exploring a character that died in the manga before the story even began and not only contradicted the source material in several places, a VERY important scene was removed to fit it in. TG's first season would've barely fit into 12 episodes where they planned to end it, but it could have been done properly with only minor trimming of events. Instead they sacrificed actual development of canonical characters to literally waste time building up a character for no reason (some would argue that it's to give more impact and feels, but since that character ALREADY had plenty of feels it won't make you feel anymore for them and was simply wasted time, and as a result important information on how ghouls' bodies work and fight were cut out completely, not to mention lots of scenes that showed character development for the important characters resulting in the occasionally pulling something out of their %^$ without explanation since those scenes were cut).

I do feel it's an important question over all, as some filler really is a waste of time to watch/read, while some filler is worth watching/reading and it's good to be able to tell people that to clarify, since Filler as a blanket term is generally seen as a negative because most filler is bad filler. But some older mangas might use a newer anime to add filler to enhance their story/correct somethings they changed their minds about and be canon, but since most people consider things that contradict the source material to be filler, it receives a negative opinion unless the people are just really vocal about how much it improved the work.

  • I doubt it's a matter of quality. If a person decides that they only want to stick to the canonical episodes, then it doesn't matter how good the filler was - they're not going to want to include it in their viewing.
    – Makoto
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 21:40
  • It technically does. If I'm a manga reader, and watching an anime of a manga I like, then I want to see the anime at LEAST as good as the manga. If new information is added to expand and enhance the work via new scenes or even new episodes without detracting from it, then I'm all for it, and a lot of others do feel the same. But the problem is...filler is generally crap and merely padding without substance, and no one wants to watch padding/crap. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:53

My 2 cents is that such questions should not be allowed, for two reasons.

  1. The answer is usually easily searchable. Most series have their dedicated wikis, where this information is available complete with color-coding. As a result, asking this question in itself, constitutes poor research and as per SE rule/etiquette, would be closed.
  2. In many cases, episodes cannot be separated easily into "canon" and "filler". Several canon episodes have some amount of filler in between. It would be impossible to give a perfectly correct answer, because it would involve, "from 4:30 to 8:00 in episode 487, the main characters just fool around, which is not in the manga, and hence filler."
  • 1
    1 - Why can't we incorporate that knowledge here, though? I don't see any issue with that; question quality aside, having the knowledge of what is filler and what is canon wouldn't be had knowledge to have here. 2 - that comes back to well-defining canonical events. If it happens in the manga but not in the anime, vice versa, is explained in other material - that's the key issue that needs to be hammered out. Certain series can have well-defined canon, and that's what I'm trying to tease out.
    – Makoto
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 19:27
  • 1. It opens up a huge can of worms. If we allow those questions, then logically we would also have to allow questions like, "In which episode do X and Y fight?" 2. It is most practical to define filler as something which is not included in the anime, because unless the series has ended, you cannot really tell whether some "silly"/casual scenes in the manga are filler or not. There have been several instances when something in the manga seems to be a filler, but turns out to be plot-relevant later on. If you follow One Piece, the story arc where Strawhats meet Laboon is an example.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 10:10
  • I prefer answers on Stack Exchanges since they are moderated, more articulate, and better answers float to the top. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 23:32

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