Naruto, along with One Piece, Dragon Ball and Death Note, is one of the most well-known anime around the globe. Its success is attributed to the rich Japanese folklore, alluring characters and the traditional mix of shounen elements. But despite how beloved the anime is, Naruto is also known for the great number of fillers within its series. Among the 500 episodes of Naruto Shippuden, there are about 40% or say, around 200 filler episodes. For many fans, there’s only so many fillers you can take before feeling frustrated. But are they all that bad? Filler arcs are often bashed for poor storylines or pacing, but some may not be as bad as they’re made out to be. So, I picked five Naruto Shippuden filler arcs that are worth watching.
1. Twelve Ninja Guardians Arc (Episodes 54-71)
This arc introduces us to the monastery in the Land of Fire and the Twelve Guardian Ninjas. The tombs of the Twelve Guardian Ninjas are ransacked by a group of gravediggers. Their mission: to kill the Hokage. Asuma must confront an old friend-turned-enemy who is leading the raiders. These episodes feature the fighting monks showing off their impressive skills. Aside from that, Naruto learns that he has wind-type chakra and his training will lead him to a boy named Sora.
If you like interesting fight scenes and more insight into Asuma, this is a great filler arc to watch.
2. Six-Tails Unleashed Arc (Episodes 144–151)
Among the best Naruto Shippuden filler arcs is the Six-Tails arc about Utakata, a Jinchūriki of Six-Tails, and his student, Hotaru.
Hotaru and her guardian, Tonbee, are being attacked by the Magaki Group in their mountaintop fortress. Hotaru and Utakata escape with a secret kinjutsu, while Tonbee tries to hold off the attackers. But he is eventually defeated, and the attackers go after the master and student. Naruto and his team then go to help Hotaru and Utakata from their attackers.
Not only is Hotaru a very interesting filler character, but the relationship between her and Utakata was also nice to watch. The arc also delves further into Utakata’s past, and we get to see a bit more of his characterisation. While there are not many fight scenes, with only 8 episodes, this arc was an easy watch.
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3. Power Arc (Episodes 290-295)
Amid the imminent threat of a Fourth Shinobi World War, Kakashi’s team goes on a mission to investigate the massacre of Tonika Village. The team is sent to a place known as “The Hole”. Village officials escort the Konoha shinobi to their leader, Disonasu. Meanwhile, at The Hole spring, Sakura and Naruto meet Kabuto, who reveals that he has reincarnated and cloned several shinobi. And here a battle breaks out between the ninjas.
This arc was recommended to me by a friend as one of the best Naruto Shippuden filler arcs. The great movie-style animation will make you forget it’s a filler. This arc has garnered several good reviews and with only five episodes, it’s a waste to skip it.
4. Kakashi’s Anbu Arc: The Shinobi That Lives in the Darkness Arc (Episodes 349-361)
If you’re a fan of Kakashi, this one’s for you. This arc follows the story of Kakashi Hatake’s time in Anbu, a group of exceptionally skilled ninjas mainly tasked with ‘dark’ work. The arc also touches upon Yamato and Itachi Uchiha’s pasts for those interested in these characters.
I know I’m biased being a Kakashi fan, but I think this is one of the best Naruto Shippuden filler arcs. We get to know more about Kakashi’s past life and the traumas he had to go through. It’s interesting to see how he became the great adult and mentor we come to love in the series.
5. Itachi Shinden Book: Light and Darkness Arc (Episodes 451-458)
Itachi was four years old when he witnessed the death and destruction caused by the Third Shinobi World War. When he encountered a wounded enemy and tried to help him, he was attacked, forcing Itachi to kill him. Soon after, he understands what war is all about.
Itachi’s story is another Naruto Shippuden filler arc you can’t miss. Arguably one of the most tragic characters in the series, the arc gives you an insight into Itachi’s perspective and you can’t help but empathise with him. In addition, the great animation and cinematography of this arc make it unmissable.
Which Naruto Shippuden filler arc do you like the most?
RV is the otaku behind Raving Otaku, where she shares somewhat thoughtful anime reviews (or rants) and recommendations.
Author’s website: Raving Otaku