Introduction: Sorry for being so long between Part II and III however I was kind of hoping the latest batch of fillers would have ended by now but the writers of Shippuden have merely given me even more content to work with so lets all thank them shall we... wait you don’t want to thank them for dragging out a series that’s manga concluded over two years ago and has two movies set after the ending of the anime making this entire thing a total anti-climax for fans. Well that’s you loss, however we can at least be thankful Naruto and Sasuke look damn cool in the series... wait my Director friend is telling me both Naruto and Sasuke aren’t in many of these and when they are its flash backs... well that sucks. Anyways lets get on with the main event. My last Naruto Filler Free Viewing Guide.
Season 11 (Episodes 222-242): “Well Director we’re back for another season isn’t it great having steady work!” “You? Wait... are we really opening one of these “Guides” of his with a filler season?” “Oh sh*t you’re right what was he thinking when he cut the last one off right before a string of fillers” “Honestly I have no idea” “Probably just got lazy and wanted to put it out”.
Filler (19 Episodes): All but the first episode. Right now the place in the story is the kind of spot Shōnen anime directors dream of. Why? For starters there is a notable lull in the action. By the time of animation literally a year has passed with some of some of the biggest fights in the series: Naruto vs. Pain and Sasuke vs... well everyone. Finally it all ends with Naturo on a boat... Why is this great for filler because a boat can take you anywhere (just watch One Piece) it doesn’t necessarily have to take you to your destination first. There is some okay episodes in the batch like some backstory filler in the episode “The Legendary Ino-Shika-Cho” but other then that eminently skippable as what comes next is much watch.
Season 12 (Episodes 243-275): Now we’re talking and we’re back to canon material after Naruto on a Boat! Anyways for me this is a particularly odd season half is set up with the long awaited war while the other is you guessed it FILLER! Lucky for us, most of the pieces within the story are starting to move together Naruto and Killer Bee (a fellow Jinchuriki) meets for the first time setting up an enduring friendship between the two weirdo’s. It’s during this time Naruto also learns of the ability to both control and even befriend ones Tailed Beast granting a Jinchuriki far more power and control then Naruto posses currently.
There is a lot more content in these sections that are all very important to the series as a whole as well as Naruto and the Nine Tails relationship is front and center. Furthermore Naruto gets inspiration from his past that no fan should miss out on (vagueness to avoid spoilers). Oh ya... also in the later part of the season the Fourth Great Ninja war breaks out and Gaara and other characters get some pretty damn cool moments. All around its a packed season you really have to see to get a full understanding. The fact the start of the long promised Ninja War is an after thought just shows how great the other content is. It really is Naruto at its best.
Filler (4 Episodes): This is a forgivable burst of filler. It’s a flashback that recaps the original Naruto. You can choose to skip it or not but it’s nothing too intrusive and if you started with Shippuden its a great refresher. Other then that the season is totally canon with the manga.
Season 13 (Episodes 276-295): “ With the start of the Great Ninja War director finally the fans will get to see what they’ve long wanted! Right Director” “If you mean filler and SOME manga material then yes, yes they will”. “Wait why? We have such momentum from the past season and seriously have like 100 chapters worth of story to cover isn’t that enough?” “Clearly young man you haven’t been working here long enough, when ever you have a chance to pad a story and man do we have a chance to pad a story - they gave us Clones to work with”. “Director I don’t see this ending well...” “True, however if they complain too much I’ll just throw in a couple of episode where four Kage level fighters fight - that should be good enough”. “You’re evil Sir...”.
Filler (15 Episodes): Once again this was a majority filler season right after an enjoyable manga based one. Really the only episodes you have to worry about are the first three which sees the conclusion of the previous seasons fights as well as a key threat start up (Zetsu Clones). Finally Episode 282-283 are the Kage Fight I was referring to, check that out it’s fun.
Season 14 (Episodes 295-320): Another half and half season. In the first few episodes there are some damn good fights. Naruto vs. Itachi/Nagato (Pain), Gaara vs. His Father, Kage vs. Kage it’s really a lot of fun. Of course it’s a damn shame they had to ruin the momentum again with filler...
“So great they’re asking us to do more filler”. “Again director... why?” “The new movie is coming out and they want a tie in” “Okay that’s one episode what should we do about the rest?” “Remember all those dead D List characters that are little more cliches to fill out a characters back story?” “Yes... what do they have to do wi... ah damn it, I got it” “Yup we’re bringing them back!” “God damn it!” “Now you’re catching on kid”.
Filler (18 Episodes): Yup a full 18 of this 25 episode season is filler. Really its basically all skip able after the cool fights are over at Episode 303. If you like Tsunades lost love Dan though well you’re in for a treat... if you could care less about minor long dead characters then not so much.
Season 15 (Episodes 321-348): So what do you all want to see in a Naruto season, if you’re in this deep its likely this season will have it. Madara! The boss is (finally) in the house. Naruto facing off against basically every Jinchuriki also present, oh ya and a Sasuke and Itachi tag team. Also one of the biggest secrets of the series is finally revealed. Seriously watch these episodes they’re all important and most importantly awesome.
Filler (2 (Kind of...) Episodes): I want to say this is pure uncut Naruto, but that isn’t technically true. The final two episodes technically aren’t canon as they don’t appear in the story but being the history of the Akatsuki it doesn’t really matter. The history depicted here is both important to the story and plot, it may be “filler” but its about as canon as you can get. My recommendation is to watch it.
Season 16 (Episodes 349-361): Basically we have here Kakashi Gaiden Part 2. A Kakashi flash back story that picks up right after his last (canon) flash back as such it exists perfectly with the existing canon. Unlike most Naruto fillers. If you like the character I expect it’ll have some resonance with you if not I’d just skip it entirely... It’s another one of those partially canon arcs inspired by actual canon material. It’s why it didn’t get my Director/Production Assistant treatment.
Filler (15 Episodes): It is technically filler but like the last ones its really not. Its not as important to the overall plot but if you like Kakashi and wish to understand him better check it out.
Season 17 (Episodes 362-372): Although shorter then other seasons this is really important to the rest of the series. Sasuke and his gang rejoin the fight, the first three Hokage’s are revived (by Orochimaru who is also alive again), and we get the official story between Madara and Hashirama the First Hokage and the Village of the Leaf. For fans of the series its a must watch.
Filler (0 Episodes): Here we go, pure uncut Naruto!
Season 18 (Episodes 373-393): With Team Seven back on the field together things start getting interesting. The episodes easily depict the largest and most over the top battle in Naruto yet. I’m not joking each of the main characters have their summoned beasts, there is at least by my count FIFTEEN Kage level fighters involved (The Four Hokages, The Five other Kage, Madara, Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi, REDACTED FOR SPOILERS, and Orochimaru) and many more near Kage level such as Sakura. Really it’s a lot of fun and a great continuation of the past season it really puts the battle in shōnen battle manga.
Filler (5 Episodes): There is good filler, there is bad filler, and then there is DUMB filler. This is the later. Mecha NARUTO! Seriously its a filler about a robot Naruto... if you watch it I suggest alcohol be involved. 388-390 is also filler. 388 is ANOTHER Gaara flashback about how the power of friendship saved him and how he came to become First Disciple at the Holy Church of Naruto... so basically something we’ve seen a million times. The last is a Hinabi flashback... tha’ts right we’ve run out of B List characters and we’re moving on to the C List; Hinabi (Hinata’s little sister) gets a story of her own... instead of you know CONTINUING THE FIGHT.
Season 19 (Episodes 394-Ongoing): We’re caught up this is a long season (we’re at 440) as I guess they just haven’t broken it up and its heartbreaking. Some of the best episodes are in this season but they can be lost in a sea of filler... 418-421 is the best part and is amazing! Where we finally see the true power of Might Guy and his 8 Inner Gates and man does it pack a punch! Seriously it was awesome (Episode 419 is a filler flashback about his past) and all around amazing to see a character after so much set up let loose. Too bad its literally the only good part of nearly an entire cour of episodes.
We then get three more episodes of canon material with episodes 424-426 with Naruto and Sasuke powering up one last time to take on the threats that are coming there way. Literally the rest is the ongoing filler arc that seems to have no end...
Filler (41 Episodes): I’m going to leave this out there the manga Naruto has been finished for close to two years now. There has been TWO very successful movies about the events AFTER the anime and we’ve had two giant filler arcs basically in a row... Hell at 46 episodes this season has been going on for nearly a year... if you were wondering why Part III is so late that is the reason. I wanted to get beyond a filler arc as I hate ending it on this but here it is... seriously finish the damn thing already and adapt Naruto Gaiden....
Conclusions (And Filler Count): Well there we go the last Filler Free Viewing Guide for Naruto, I got to say this was the hardest one I’ve attempted to do. People called me crazy when I started doing this and I got to say they were right, this took a lot out of me. I’m not going to lie it’s really hard to put so much effort into a project when the thing you’re writing about continues to shiv you... it was even worse as I was expecting more movement on the plot as even the Openings hint at the final arcs beginning soon... anyways thanks for waiting and reading and hope you come back to Nartuo again once the final fight begins. As always leave comments. I wont even police spoilers to the anime the statute of limitations has long since past on that.
Also if you want to see my views on the manga’s sister series Naruto Gaiden you can check it out here:
Total Filler for Naruto Shippuden: 189 is the grand total (not including the original Naruto) and of course still counting... Making the total filler percentage of Naruto Shippuden 43%. Meaning that although Naruto Shippuden is considered the king of filler by most fans it actually still in second place, as although Shippuden’s 189 total is larger then Bleach at 181, Bleach came out to 49.3% making it proportionally more filler. Although I got to say at this rate that 6.3% gap could close I’ll keep my eye on it.