Manga - The Other White Meat

As of this writing only Bleach is available for a recap so I’m going to save my recap for tomorrow and today touch on a subject that many anime fans come upon that drives people crazy: Filler episodes in anime adaptations of manga.

I will keep this in the context of Bleach and Naruto but I’m sure this goes on across the board with other titles where the anime runs side by side with an incomplete manga series. Some anime shows manage to make it workable and, dare I say, even enjoyable. Some are terrible at it. I believe Naruto and Bleach are two prime examples of polar opposites in this regard. So how have they done it so far, and what can be done to minimize filler in the future? Glad you asked.

In Bleach the anime writers tend to just stop the action in the middle of a fight or arc and do something completely irrelevant to the current arc. It ruins the flow of the show and really just generally upsets people. The last filler period, which lasted for what I think was almost a full year, happened IN THE MIDDLE of a major fight. A fight which, at the time the filler started, had already been completed in the manga. Why not finish that fight and then end it in another place? At this point I barely even watch the anime and just read the manga week to week because I’ve become so disillusioned with it.

In Naruto the filler, at least lately, has been used to fill in some of the holes in the manga. The manga, rightly so, focuses on the main characters and leaves a lot of the happenings outside of those characters to assumption and the imagination. The organization that is collecting tailed demons from people is only shown in the manga, capturing a select few that involve characters already heavily involved in the storyline. The other captures aren’t discussed in the manga. In the anime when filler has been needed lately, they have shown the capture of the other tailed demons to buy time for the manga to get further ahead. This is a smart way to do it, and while not always completely effective, at least it makes sense and doesn’t completely destroy your immersion in a story.

So why is filler necessary to begin with? Well manga chapters tend to be short 15-20 page comics that really don’t cover that much ground. With manga and anime both running weekly, this means it isn’t unreasonable for each anime episode to cover the ground in 3-4 chapters of manga. The only real solution to this problem is to only start anime series about manga series that have been completed or are YEARS ahead. I realize that when a show runs long enough it will always catch up, but you can mitigate that to a great degree. Naruto had like 2 years of filler between the end of the original series and the newer series which takes place 3 years later. Was it painful? Yes. Did it interrupt the storyline though? No. Either do it at logical places and MAKE SURE you are far enough ahead to not catch up, or wait longer to start it.

I think that is enough pointless ranting for today. We’ll have a recap of this week’s chapters up tomorrow for you fine readers. For now, have a happy remaining Thursday.


  1. try watching a Dragonball Z episode sometime as a lot of the episodes are Goku training forever or all of them powering up but nothing happens

  2. That is probably how they tried to space it out to avoid above. Four episode SSJ3 power-ups. My personal favorite, and by favorite I mean most baffling and dumb episode ever, was I think titled "Goku learns to drive."

    He spent an episode driving horribly and then not getting his license. I don't know why he bothered since he can fly around the world in like 3 seconds.


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