Filler episodes are one of the biggest drawbacks of shonen anime. While it can be entertaining to watch the heroes get a break from fighting villains to have some fun now and then, many shonen series are oversaturated with filler episodes that only derail the plot. Bleach, for example, has a total of 366 episodes. 164 of them are filler.
Filler episodes are a shonen trend that seems to be fading, but some series are still full of it. Fortunately, many fantastic shonen anime series have no filler. When they do, it’s only an occasional recap of the episode and nothing that distracts from the story.
The Fullmetal Alchemist franchise is a juggernaut for shonen anime. The first adaptation stayed true to the source material and didn’t stray until the episodes caught up with the manga. Rather than wait for the release of new manga chapters, the producers opted for an anime-original storyline.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, however, surpassed its predecessor with excellent pace, stunning visuals and an iconic soundtrack. Fans of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga was pleased with the lack of filler and felt the adaptation did the source material justice.
9/10 One-Punch Man’s lack of filler sets it apart from other Shonen series
One Punch Man clings so strongly to some battle shonen anime tropes that it’s a wonder the series isn’t completely littered with filler episodes. However, One Punch Man has had zero filler episodes since its premiere in 2015.
One Punch Man follows Saitama, an overpowered superhero who can defeat any enemy with one blow. Unfortunately, he is worn out because no one can offer him a real challenge anymore. Madhouse produced the first season, so One Punch Man did not disappoint fans with its stunning visuals and beautifully choreographed fights.
8/10 Haikyuu! Is a well-written sports anime that stays true to the manga
Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyuu! is a shonen masterpiece and a juggernaut of sports animation. The series follows Shoyo Hinata, a boy determined to become a legendary volleyball player despite his short height. Haikyuu!’s exciting volleyball games, realistic characters and hilarious banter make the series one of the best.
Haikyuu!’s anime adaptation did not stray from the manga and does not include filler episodes. It’s unclear if the upcoming movies will continue this trend, but seasons 1 through 4 are completely canon.
7/10 Filler Episodes Just Wouldn’t Be Out of Place in Attack on Titan
Filler episodes are generally light-hearted and show the heroes having some fun for a change. Although some claim that Attack on Titan If there isn’t enough humor, episodes like this just wouldn’t fit in the series’ grim world-building.
As fans anticipate the final part of Attack on Titans concluding season, many are thankful that the series hasn’t had a single filler episode since its premiere in 2013. Studio WIT and MAPPA did a great job of keeping the anime true to Attack on Titans manga.
6/10 Hunter X Hunter only has two recap episodes
Hunter x Hunter’s The 2011 adaptation has stayed true to the manga and currently has 148 episodes. Most other Shonen series would have at least a few filler episodes at the time, but Hunter x Hunter has only two summary episodes.
These recap episodes don’t take anything away from the plot as they just repeat recent events in the series. Hunter x Hunter is one of the greatest shonen anime series of all time, so fans were thankful that Nippon Animation stayed true to canon.
5/10 Jujutsu Kaisen’s first season gets straight to the point
Jujutsu Kaisen’s lack of filler is impressive, despite only having one season out at the moment. Its radiant predecessors, such as Naruto, including filler episodes in the first season. However, MAPPA got straight to the point and didn’t even waste time summarizing the episode. Hopefully this trend will continue Jujutsu Kaisen’s long-awaited second season.
Jujutsu Kaisen stars Yuji Itadori during his journey as a wizard after swallowing a cursed finger. He enrolls at Tokyo Jujutsu High to gain some time as he hunts down the rest of the fingers and keeps the King of Curses who owns him in check.
4/10 Yu Yu Hakusho’s lack of filler was surprising for its time
Yu Yu Hakusho premiered in 1992 and stayed true to the manga. During this time, most of the anime was packed with unnecessary filler episodes that would be difficult for new viewers to watch today. Yu Yu Hakusho was ahead of its time and contained no filler episodes.
Yu Yu Hakusho wastes no time on flashback episodes or real-life plots where the cast goes to the beach. Yu Yu Hakusho is a certified cult classic and one of the most beloved titles in the genre.
3/10 Fans were pleasantly surprised by Demon Slayer’s lack of filler
demon slayer is one of the most popular modern shonen series, often recognized as one of the genre’s new “big three”. Before the premiere in 2019, some fans were concerned that the demon slayer anime may contain filler episodes. However, viewers were pleasantly surprised when the anime didn’t even include a single recap episode.
UFOTable did Koyoharu Gotouge’s brilliant manga justice. The studio exceeded fans’ expectations with its beautiful art style, stunning visuals and fluid battle choreography that is easy to follow.
2/10 Mob Psycho 100 is perfect without filler
Add any filler episodes to Mafia Psycho 100 would be a fatal flaw for the series. Although the anime is full of sweet characters, Mafia Psycho 100 fans really don’t need to watch Mob, Reigen and the rest of the gang go to a beach or go on a non-canonical adventure.
Studio Bones has stayed true to the webcomic and has exceeded the expectations of the fans. Thanks to the expertise of Studio Bones, clear visual effects and brilliant animation quality have become synonymous with Mob Psycho 100s otherwise simplistic art style.
1/10 David Production did a great job speeding up JoJo’s bizarre adventure without any filler
David Production had a huge responsibility in customizing JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After all, the generation story has been published in Shonen Jump since the late ’80s, and the original anime fell short of fans’ expectations. David Production has done an excellent job producing the series from Phantom blood until Stone Ocean.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has so much going on in the plot that adding filler episodes would turn the series into a muddled disaster. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s campiness, unique character design, top-notch soundtrack and unparalleled action make it a shonen masterpiece.
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