Anime filler is typically considered the torment of an anime fan's existence. It doesn't feel any shorter knowing that they are simply used by anime to extend the length of a series' run so that it doesn't catch up to the manga. Most people simply want to see the plot develop and, eventually, come to a logical conclusion.

Yet once an anime is over, these filler episodes start to seem a little more appealing. They offer more narratives including more of the beloved characters of the audience engaging in everything from conflict to mastering the art of driving. Filler episodes and arcs can be more appreciated for the little stories they're trying to tell without the pressure of expectation for the remainder of the canon story.


How Can Filler Enhance Anime?

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For one thing, filler allows for a lot of character interactions that might not have been possible in the manga or simply weren't as common. In the case of Naruto, for example, many filler episodes have the eponymous main character going on missions with the rest of the Konoha 12. Meanwhile, in the canon story, Naruto was often thrust from one major arc directly into the next with little time for meaningful interactions with his supposed friends. Episodes like these would normally be insufferable for how much filler Naruto has, but now that the series is over, they can be appreciated for expanding on the bonds between these people.

Anime-exclusive interactions also mean anime-exclusive fights. For anyone who ever wanted to see two or more characters fight each other, the filler can give a general idea of what it would be like. For Example, Black Clover Episode 151, "The Maiden's Challenge," had all of the Captain-level Magic Knights engage in a team battle like the ones from the Royal Knights Selection Exam; it was a noteworthy filler episode for the intense fighting and impressive animation. In Bleach, the Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc similarly revolved almost entirely around fights between major characters albeit through artificially created impostors. While the results of these fights may be skewed for storytelling reasons, they can still be worth watching just for the spectacle.

Some Filler arcs even have legitimately engaging self-contained plotlines that arguably surpass the source material. This is why a lot of anime-only One Piece fans are surprised to find out that the G-8 Arc is filler while the subsequent Davy Back Fight Arc is canon. It's because the former arc had developed characters and a story worthy of the manga while the latter arc seemed largely like a waste of time. A lot of things may have been established on Long Ring Long Land, but G-8 felt like it was much closer to a legitimate story arc.


Can a Time-Wasting Filler Be Beneficial?

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Of course, this isn't to say that seeing beloved characters do something insignificant isn't entertaining. This occurs frequently in the Dragon Ball franchise; as exciting as it is to watch Goku and Piccolo battle killer androids, watching them learn to drive can be equally entertaining. It can be entertaining to watch super-powered warriors engage in mundane activities if they are also likable characters.

As hard as anime filler is to wait through from week to week, it becomes much more bearable when everything is said and done. From there, it's easier to look back on filler and appreciate all the extra time it gave viewers with their favorite characters in stories they hadn't yet heard. These self-contained stories may seem like time-wasters as they're airing, but once a series ends, that time feels all the more valuable.