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The 14 Best Shonen Anime Filler Arcs of All Time, Ranked

Filler doesn't exactly have a great reputation in the anime world. This is especially true for shonen anime, which is known for having long, meandering arcs that have nothing to do with the rest of the series. But while some filler arcs and episodes definitely deserve the scorn, others are worth watching. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the best shonen anime filler arcs and episodes out there.

One Piece's filler arcs are generally decent, but the G-8 arc stands out as one of the best. Meanwhile, Naruto has a reputation for being absolutely water-logged with filler, but you really shouldn't skip the Power Arc or Kakashi's Anbu Arc, both of which easily match the rest of the series in quality. While filler is often found in massive shows like those two, shorter shonen also occasionally feature filler - the end of Noragami's first season is filler, and it's fabulous. 

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  • 1
    652 VOTES

    Kakashi's Anbu Arc: The Shinobi That Lives in the Darkness - Naruto Shippuden

    This arc is so good that it's kind of a shame that it's technically filler. It's essentially a deep dive into Kakashi's past, focusing on his time in Anbu, his reasons for failing multiple students, and more. It also focuses on his relationship with Yamato and Itachi, both of whom were in Anbu when he was, and fleshes out some of the details surrounding their pasts. Basically, the arc incorporates manga material, but goes into more detail to create a fuller story. 

    652 votes
  • 2
    508 VOTES

    The G-8 Arc - One Piece

    Originally, the G-8 arc was considered for a movie storyline instead of an anime series. In order to escape from a crowded marine base, the Straw Hat crew is forced to separate and disguise themselves. This gives each member a chance to shine, whether it's Nami flashing her navigational skills or Sanji rocking the kitchen. Also, the antagonist, Vice Admiral Jonathan, is a compelling character whose strategic methods keep Luffy on his toes. This arc is so good that some people don't even realize that it's technically filler.

    508 votes
  • 3
    345 VOTES

    Rabō's Villain Arc – Noragami

    Some of the biggest questions at the heart of Noragami center around Yato's past as the God of Calamity. What exactly did he do during that time? Will it ever come back to haunt him? 

    The final arc of the first season attempts to answer that question with a filler arc. One of Yato's former colleagues, a god of calamity named Rabō, appears and tries to get Yato to stop wasting time as a Delivery God and get back to what he was meant to do. The arc tests Yato's convictions and helps viewers understand him better as a character, all while delivering on a spooky mood and some fabulous fights. 

    345 votes
  • 4
    449 VOTES

    Time Slip Arc - Boruto

    Boruto is tricky because depending on who you talk to, most of it is canon because it's not trying to follow the manga and counts as its own entity, or nearly all of it is filler for the exact same reason. Depending on where you fall, you may or may not think that the Time Slip arc is filler. We're including it anyway because it's a whole lot of fun. In this arc, Boruto and Sasuke travel to the Konoha of Sasuke's childhood in order to protect a young and vulnerable Naruto from a time-traveling Urashiki. Along the way, Boruto gets to meet Neji, the uncle who passed away before he was born, as well as get to know the child version of his father. Meanwhile, Sasuke gets to see how his departure from Konoha impacted his friends.

    It's a heartwarming arc that combines what's great about the new series with what's awesome about the OG Naruto. 

    449 votes
  • 5
    337 VOTES

    Zanpakuto Rebellion Arc - Bleach

    Like any series with a lot of filler, Bleach has some arcs that are fantastic, and others that can be easily skipped. When discussing the best of the best, most people point to the Zanpakuto Rebellion Arc. In this arc, the sentient swords that form tight bonds with their Shinigami masters start questioning authority. The whole thing starts when a spirit named Muramasa starts freeing all the other spirits. When that happens, they're no longer willing to unquestionably obey their Shinigami's commands, and they have some ideas of their own about how to spend their time. It's an interesting arc because it explores the concept of the spirit's agency and personhood.

    337 votes
  • 6
    364 VOTES

    Other World Tournament - Dragon Ball Z

    This arc is set between the Cell Games Saga and the Great Saiyaman Saga. It features a tournament that takes place in the afterlife which is intended to prove which of the Kais has the greatest fighters. The winner gets to learn from the Grand Kai himself. The tournament features fight scenes that are just as exciting as those that can be found in the rest of the series. It also features a totally different setting - the afterlife. The only major problem is that the arc's version of Hell would later be contradicted by actual canon - a common pitfall when it comes to filler.

    364 votes