Anime fillers are the most hated thing in the anime community… Well maybe except that one guy that’s like,
“anime? you mean cartoons. Yea I love Avatar the Last Airbender.”
Fillers in anime are really important. In fact, some of the shows we love wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for them, or wouldn’t nearly be as successful as they are.
What is a filler? and why they are made
Most people know by now why they exist, but I’ll explain to those who don’t know yet.
Anime Fillers are episodes/arcs that aren’t apart of the main story. There are many reasons studios use this method, it’s mostly so the anime doesn’t catch up to the source material. (which is usually a manga or short novel)
There are a few exceptions to fillers where the anime studio can get the same effect which I will talk more about later.
Usually, fillers are more common in long running anime like naruto and bleach where they have to be on air or they risk losing their tv airing time slot. I’ll also talk about the different business models anime production committees will implement and how it affects the use of fillers.
Exceptions to fillers
There happen to be quite a few exceptions to fillers. Each one has its pros and cons.
The first exception is when anime goes on hiatus which means they take a break. The most popular anime to implement this is Hunter X Hunter, they completely stopped the show and ended up doing this twice.
This method is that they don’t have to make fillers and annoy the living hell out of anime fans. (I’m looking at you!)
Since they take a break so you can’t watch your favorite anime even if it is filler. For long-running anime this would obliterate their earnings. This could mean canceling the show.
Having the anime diverge from the manga/light novel:
This one is not popular and you won’t find too many animes actually doing this or even pulling it off with good viewer reception.
The most popular anime to use this would be Tokyo ghoul root A. I talk more about this in my blog/video that answers why the anime gets changed from the manga. If you want me to go in-depth to why Tokyo ghoul went the way they did and what happened within the diverged story. Comment because it’s not actually the studio’s fault it turned out the way it did.
They don’t have to make fillers or get off air.
This is really hard to pull off since fans want to see the original story from the manga.
Changing the pace of the anime:
The only examples I can come up with are One Piece when they slowed down the number of chapters they used in each episode and Dragon ball z where they made the fights longer.
they don’t have to make fillers or diverge the story.
It makes it a living hell for new viewers to watch the show or to binge watch it. Unlike fillers, this can’t be skipped so you have to put up with it.
How Different business models use fillers or exceptions differently
First, I’ll briefly go over two different business models that are often used.
The first is for long-running anime. This business model is for animes like One Piece where they aim for children and families and air on Sunday morning. These shows have a lot of sponsorships that allow the show to go ON air for as long as possible. While their goal is to sell a shit ton of merchandise.
Justin Sevakis is a founder of the anime news network and writes a column called answerman he talks more about this and says,
“The merchandise makers sponsor the show through the TV network, the TV network pays the producers, the producers pay the animation studio. Everybody’s happy, and as long as the sponsorship money holds (i.e. the toys and stuff keep selling), the show continues.”
This takes out the 1st exception to fillers since they need to air to sell merchandise and can’t risk going off air. Especially animes that have attractive tv time slots like one piece.
The second business model is for the shorter animes that are seasonal. Most of these anime take late-night TV slots.
Justin Sevakis says,
“informercials for for DVDs and Blu-rays of the show itself, its original manga, or other related things. Originally these late-night shows were aimed just at hardcore otaku, but once the business model became established, it started being used for every kind of anime.”
Most of these Anime are seasonal to save money. If the show bombs the production committee can just pull the plug. Since they only invested in a certain amount of episodes, they don’t lose as much.
In most cases, you won’t see fillers unless the studio can’t keep up with their deadlines, so they use the fillers to fill up their contract demands. Beach time anyone?
Thanks for reading the blog. Some anime need fillers. There are exceptions, However, depending on the business model of an anime it can change. If its a seasonal short anime or long-running anime they will use fillers in different ways or use AN exception to fillers. I go over the different exceptions to fillers like hiatus, changing pace, and others.