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The 14 Worst Anime Filler You Should Skip At All Costs

Updated August 2, 2020 22.5k votes 6.4k voters 229.1k views13 items

List RulesVote up the anime filler that you absolutely can't stand.

Ask any anime fan what the most irritating thing about anime is and chances are, they'll say that it's filler arcs and episodes. Filler are anime-exclusive stories that typically arise because the creators are waiting for the manga, light novel, or other content on which the anime is based, to release new material so that it can be adapted. The worst offenders are long-running series like Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but shorter anime can also fall victim to this trap. Filler isn't always terrible - there's actually some that's pretty good - but there's a reason it has such a bad reputation. 

The worst filler does nothing to advance the plot or develop the characters and distracts from or contradicts what's meaningful about the original story. Naruto is rife with bad filler, but one of the worst is an arc that deliberately goes against the shows' most basic premise - that Sasuke was Naruto's first friend. Bleach has plenty of bad fillers, but one of the worst introduces a villain that's impossible to care about when Aizen is just about to betray his comrades.

All of the filler on this list is terrible, each in their own unique way. The one thing they have in common is that they are not worthy of your time.

  • Rurouni Kenshin was an amazing show, but you wouldn't know it from its third and final season. After the epic battle against Makoto Shishio wound down, the series devolved into a series of random and meandering filler episodes with no purpose or direction. The anime was canceled partway through the season, leaving viewers with nothing but frustration. This is one series that's desperately in need of a reboot - one that actually follows the manga. 

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  • The Endless Eight was a Haruhi arc that's kind of like the movie Groundhog Day, except rather than quickly establishing the fact that the characters are reliving the same day over and over again, they dragged it out for eight excruciating episodes. There are some diehard Haruhi fans who found the process worthwhile, but for most Haruhi fans it was a painful experience that simply wasn't worth the time investment. 

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  • The Garlic Jr. Saga was one of the most widely hated filler arcs in the Dragon Ball franchise. It was created because there weren't enough manga chapters covering the Trunks saga out yet, and the creators needed to fill time until that happened. It came out on the heels of the Frieza saga, which made it really difficult for viewers to care about anything that was happening because they were too busy worrying about the fate of the main character. What's more, Garlic Jr. really wasn't that much of a threat, and Gohan should have been more than strong enough to take him out alone - but this arc completely ignores his development since the beginning of the series and makes him struggle.

    Also, the vampire storyline was hokey and ridiculous, and the only other thing to pay attention to was Krillin's ill-fated attempts at love with a Bulma lookalike who couldn't care less about him. 

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  • 8

    The Decolore Islands Arc - Pokémon

    Photo: OLM

    Pokémon is loosely based on a series of video games - the key word being loosely. For this reason, it's possible to argue that all of Pokémon is filler... so here, filler means events that don't contribute to the overall story, or to any events that occur in the games. The Decalore Islands arc qualifies as both, and it doesn't offer much of anything substantial. Unlike the other island based filler arc, Orange Islands, at the very least had a meaningful competition that constitutes one of Ash's only wins, the Decalore Islands has nothing. Ash just goes there and looks around while viewers are bored out of their minds for twenty unbearable episodes. 

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