Have you watched an anime and stumbled upon episodes of throwbacks? Like, when will the character stop thinking about the past? Past is history, we must live in the present! Keep the action going! Most of the time, the flashbacks are intended as fillers. So, what is a ‘filler’?
As the name suggested, ‘fill-er’ is a scene intended to fill some gaps in an anime by the production team to slow down the anime plot. Usually in a long-run anime. Why this happened? Usually, anime will progress alongside its manga. When the anime is too advanced that it catches up to the manga chapters, production teams need to make some filler episodes to give time to its manga to catch up.
If the anime is based on the manga, how can the anime surpass the manga? – People would ask. Like it or not, manga creators are human too. Sometimes they will face a slump or health issues where they need to take some time off.
However, compared to the manga, where readers would understand the need for a hiatus (it’s not courteous actually, but we are trained to be tortured by waiting since long ago anyway), the anime cannot be put on halt in the middle of its season since it involved a lot of sides’ schedules and budget timeframe – directors, producers, voice actors, animators, designers, etc. Hence, fillers are created to fill the episodes until the manga continues.
So, fillers are not based on the manga story. It may be in the form of special caricature episodes or throwback scenes, or if the production is kind enough, a short alternate universe spin-off.
Some people are not very akin to watching the filler episodes (how impatient – shame on you), because if you are binge-watching a complete anime, you wouldn’t need the filler episodes anymore since you don’t have to wait for anything. Good news, you can avoid the fillers! Several anime informative sites tell you the filler episodes of an anime. For instance, the Anime Filler List and Simkl. The sites list which episodes are filler episodes, so you can skip them.
For an interactive explanation, please watch the funny Gintoki Sakata from Gintama explaining about fillers.
To conclude, despite some risks as pointed out by Gintoki Sakata in the video, filler is sometimes important, especially in a heavy battle anime. It provides you some time to take your breath from the continuous epic battle scenes. It also allows the manga to progress further so if there’s any delay in the future, the anime will still have some chapters to cover. So, no hate on fillers!
If you would like to read more about Anime, you can read it here! Until then, MATA NEE~