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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Inuyasha Filler Guide:

This is the ultimate Inuyasha filler guide.  It tells you which episodes are real and which aren't, while even going so far as to list exactly what manga chapters were covered by each episode.  It's satisfying to see that all the manga chapters from 1-558 were covered at some point by the anime, though sometimes the chronology was out of whack.  The series will remain forever unfinished, however, because there was one additional chapter of manga, 559, the anime never covered.  I advise everyone to go read that chapter after completely watching the anime to get the full Inuyasha experience.

For people too lazy to click links, here are the filler eps to be avoided in order:

133- 140

In all, 40 episodes of filler in the original 167 episode series.  (Or 24% of the series)

If you watch an individual episode of Inuyasha filler on its own, you might think it's no big deal.  The filler episodes can be funny or charming because they seem to advance Inuyasha and Kagome's romance.  However, this is a trap.  If you let your pace be bogged down by a series that is 24% doing completely nothing by definition, you'll grow to hate how boring and pointless the series is.  No individual filler episode is to blame, but taken together, it's like quicksand that will suffocate your enjoyment of the series as a whole.  For a series that's already this long, extending it any further is just torture to the viewership.

The average episode length of the first series of Inuyasha was around 3 chapters of manga.  This is ordinary for manga series and feels about right in pacing.  The problem Inuyasha has, when it isn't filler, isn't the fault of the animators.  (For how old the series is, it looks surprisingly fluid, thanks to the efforts of Kyoto Animation).  The problem is the story repeats itself an inordinate amount of times until you want to bang your head against the wall.

Episodes 1-30 of Inuyasha are terrific.  They concern the gathering of all the protagonists of the story and their back stories, why they are on the quests they are on.  Starting with Inuyasha and Kagome, we soon meet Sesshoumaru, Miroku, Kikyo, Shippo, Sango, Naraku and Kohaku, all of whom will be vital characters for the rest of the series.  From there, we get some needed character development -- Inuyasha's relationship with Sesshoumaru changes from antagonist to ally, the same with Inuyasha and Kikyo, and the same with Koga who appears a bit later.  In episode 40, we are introduced to Kagura, the first 'clone' of Naraku.  These clones are the beginning of Inuyasha's repetitiveness.  Because Naraku can seemingly make as many of these monsters as he pleases, no matter how many Inuyasha defeats more just appear.  The story takes on a sense of helpless rinsing and repeating from here.  Sango meets Kohaku many times, but every time there's some dumb reason why they have to part again, so Sango's quest is never done.  Inuyasha and Kagome get closer many times, but every time Kikyo pulls them apart again, so their romance is never done.  Naraku gets a power up, Sesshomaru gets a power up, then Inuyasha gets a power up, and lo and behold, they're all equal again.  It's such a frustrating and unrewarding cycle.  Even worse are the episodes where Inuyasha fights off small fry demons that are even less interesting than Naraku and his Clone Army.  Since these fights have no back story and no connection to the main plot at all they may as well not even exist.  The only positive part of all these episodes is the introduction of the little girl Rin, Sesshomaru's perfect counterpart that makes them the highlight of the series.  Sesshomaru's character development through meeting Rin is absolutely classic.

This obnoxious portion of the story comes to an abrupt halt in episode 102, when a new group of villains with actual sentience and personality enter the picture.  They are the Shichinintai, a band of 7 mercenaries brought back to life to serve Naraku in undeath.  Their only weak point is if you take the shikan shards that have revived them out of their bodies.  Combined with their skills as warriors and intelligence, these shard-zombie-warriors are the greatest challenge Inuyasha has ever faced.  It's easy to get to like the villains, who are so colorful and have such great interactions between each other, so that you really feel invested in the unfolding episodes.  In addition, everyone gets a piece of the limelight.  Kikyo, Koga and Sesshomaru all have a hand in defeating the Shichinintai.  My only complaint with this arc, which is a welcome relief from what came before, is the many times the heroes and villains fought to a stalemate.  I would have preferred many more conclusive, kill or be killed fights like you would see in Basilisk, instead of all this dancing around.  But Inuyasha's decisive fight with Bankotsu is one of the best scenes in the series and makes for a satisfying conclusion to the arc.  102-124 really shows what the author can do when she gets serious and wants to advance the plot instead of just play around.  Episodes 131-132 are a crucial character development for Sango and Miroku's relationship, so they also shine.

From here the series slows down again.  Hakudoshi, another of the seemingly endless Naraku clones, is running around causing havoc, and is seemingly much stronger than Inuyasha.  Even so, he never tries to finish Inuyasha off, which is just stupid.  Why do the villains run away when they're stronger than the heroes?  Who knows.  In any event, this series of useless repetitive fights drags on until episode 155 or so, when Inuyasha and Sesshomaru get to fight the real Naraku instead.  There's also some character development for Kikyo and Kohaku in the preceding episodes, which is always nice, but again the series really drags.  But 155 on is actually very good.  Inuyasha gets a new powerful attack (the first in like 100 episodes) that can actually fight on equal grounds with Naraku and his clones again.  Therefore, the absurdity of the enemy not finishing off Inuyasha's party has mercifully been resolved again.  And at the very end, at episode 165 or so, they learn that they need to kill the infant, Naraku's heart, if they wish to put an end to this endless battle with Naraku (who can regenerate no matter how much damage he takes) and all his clones (the same for them too).  Now we're actually getting somewhere!

Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen, the 'second' season of Inuyasha, is another story entirely.  Inuyasha's original series didn't have slow pacing at 3 chapters of manga per episode, it just had poor writing that made the story feel like it was dragging on forever.  But Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen has a solution to that.  From here on, the concluding arc of Inuyasha covers eight chapters of manga per episode.  If you cover eight chapters of manga per episode, it's physically impossible for the story to drag.  It's more like, there's so much story overflowing in every episode that it bursts at the seams.  The story will never drag again, it will just make less and less sense as endless things are cut for the sake of saved time.  Like riding a roller coaster, watching Kanketsu-hen will make you dizzy.  This definitely solves the main problem of Inuyasha -- it's too long and repetitive -- but it created a new paradoxical problem of the series being too short and confusing.  Which of these states one prefers is probably up to personal discretion, but it means there's still no satisfying version of the Inuyasha anime.  Kanketsu-hen does make up for this rapid pace a bit by having, for the first time, HD widescreen animation, entering the modern age of anime.  Also, with Kagome entering high school, she looks more adult and beautiful than she did as a middle schooler from the previous series.

Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen has another advantage -- the plot actually progresses again.  Though the series covers 34% of the entire series in just 17% of its allotted episodes, so where it begins is certainly nowhere near the ending of Inuyasha, the last surge of the anime really is the final showdown with Naraku.  One by one Inuyasha finishes off all of Naraku's clones, then Naraku himself, and then even the soul of the shikon no tama, for a satisfying absolute victory.  Sango and Miroku marry, Inuyasha and Kagome marry, and even Sesshomaru and Rin are sure to marry by the end.  Kohaku is saved, Miroku's wind tunnel is dispelled, Koga avenges his wolf clan, Sesshomaru gets his own sword without having to borrow anything more from his dead father, Kikyo dies (leaving Inuyasha free to marry Kagome), and every last plot thread is resolved.  It was a long wait, most of which was unnecessary, but at least we got to see the story to the very end.

Expunging the filler from the series, in total Inuyasha was 153 episodes.  Of those 153 episodes, the 30 in the beginning, the 26 in the end, and the 25 in the middle covering the Shichinintai are the real reason to actually love Inuyasha (so 81 episodes or so.)  Obviously, all 153 episodes are worth watching and form some part of the overall story, but if not for those 81 core episodes, Inuyasha wouldn't be in my rankings at all much less 35th.

With so many flaws, does Inuyasha still deserve to be ranked 35th best series of all anime time?  I think so.  Ignoring the flaws, there are so many things Inuyasha does right as well.  I love the romances that don't advance quickly even though no one is doing anything immoral to prevent it.  It makes me feel like the love stories really matter, precisely because their happiness was so hard to achieve.  This is actually a very touching romance story, just like Ranma's romance with Akane in my 36th favorite anime series Ranma 1/2.  I also like how the story really embeds the characters into the world.  All of them start with family ties but end up losing them due to tragedies, but they all cared about their family, whether it was Sesshomaru, Inuyasha, Sango, Shippo or Miroku.  The comedy is great, especially when Inuyasha visits modern Japan.  Almost every time this happens you end up laughing out loud.  The art style is beautiful, which is to be expected from Rumiko Takahashi, and the animation is splendid for a long series.  The music in particular is amazing.  The soundtrack can get a bit tiresome after listening to it for 153 episodes, but the opening and ending themes are ridiculously good.  Virtually every single opening and ending in Inuyasha is a masterpiece.  I don't know how they did it, but it's totally unlike Fairy Tail, Bleach, Naruto, One Piece or any other long running series.  They got a great deal of talent to work on those songs and really set the mood for the series.  Kagome is one of the most beautiful anime characters ever drawn, with Satsuki Yukino, one of the greatest voice actresses ever, playing her voice.  Sango and Koga's girlfriend Ayumi are also gorgeous, so the series is always easy on the eyes.  In addition, Inuyasha has virtually nothing even approaching an ecchi scene.  It's so clean it can even be watched by women and children without a gasp of protest.  As an emissary of anime, it's a great place to get people started.  If people think all anime is panty flashes and shower scenes, meant only for sex starved men, a good dose of Inuyasha, an action-romance-comedy written by a girl and aimed at a female fanbase can be a great retort.  Sesshomaru in particular is such a good looking, cool guy, that everyone in the room should swoon whenever he enters a scene.  There's really nobody like Sesshomaru anywhere else in the anime world, his character is uniquely awesome.

Inuyasha has earned its place above such flawed products as Hunter x Hunter which has no proper ending or Fate/Stay which is far too serious for its own good.  If you want to pull Inuyasha down from its 35th perch, it's going to take something truly amazing -- like Madoka Magica, Idolm@ster, or Shinsekai Yori.  It's possible for new series to overtake old classics, but it means you have to work twice as hard as Inuyasha did.  Inuyasha had an easy time being the best of its era, but Madoka Magica, to be recognized, has to be better than all of its contemporary competition and better than all the old classics like Inuyasha.  Going by the recent boom of great new series in the last few years, however, I feel it's safe to say there are plenty of great anime series, even better than Inuyasha, yet to come.  Now if only they remade and finished Ranma 1/2 to its actual conclusion, Ranma 1/2 could be one of them. . .


Chrno said...

"The series will remain forever unfinished"

What are you saying? Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen cover the end of the series.

Diamed said...

The author wrote another chapter, an epilogue chapter, after the series was done, which the anime obviously couldn't animate because it didn't exist yet. You can check out the true last chapter at various manga sites like mangahere.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm the one who made this filler guide. Thank you for sharing the link. I've also made a basic (android) app about anime fillers, where you'll find the whole list (kanketsu hen added).

Anonymous said...

hi Diamed! it's "me" again (the guy from the filler guide). just want to let you know about the updated url. It's now:

thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Im a bit late on commenting, but i must say your analysis is spot on 100%. Im watching it for the second time with my sister and despite the fillers being enjoyable; It drags things a bit. Im impressed with your anime acumen; so much so i wonder if Inuyasha is 35th on your list, whats the other 34?

Diamed said...

These are my current anime rankings. (Inuyasha's moved up to 31st since I did this post, if it makes you feel any better). The thirty shows that beat Inuyasha are all definitely worth looking into.

Bruno Bessa said...

Hello! Recently I decided to watch the complete Inuyasha series, since I used to watch it when I was younger but never got to see everything (especially because it was on TV and I would miss several episodes).

Since I'm not at all fond of fillers in general (I mean, who is?), I searched on Google for a filler guide and found this. So I wanna say thank you, because not only you pointing out the episodes was helpful, but your insight on the series was very interesting too.

But I would like to add some information here for anyone who is interested. First of all, as I said, I'm not a big fan of fillers. They are the reason I can't stand the Naruto and Dragon Ball Z animes, even though I love their manga counterparts. However, most of the fillers in Inuyasha are far from being bad. Some of them are actually fun and gives us an extended bit of information that we would otherwise never have! So I'll say what I think of some of the filler episodes, without any spoilers, in my next comment (because it won't fit in this one) :)

Bruno Bessa said...

My thoughts on the filler episodes:

59. Can be skipped, but it's good. Though this episode is unnecessary and honestly kind of nonsensical, I really liked it, and I'm glad I gave it a chance. The story is about Sango, a character that still wasn't given much to do besides her introduction, so I think it's a good addition. But if you really don't care for filler, it can be skipped without a problem.

63-64. I wouldn't recommend on skipping those. I think they are necessary, even though they are not exactly good. Sure, the events here don't happen in the manga, but episode 62 ended in a different way than in the source material, and an arc that should have ended there is extended. So, they're "fillers" as in they're not a part of the manga, but they're still a part of the story.

65. Skip it. I read the synopsis of this one and it was easy to see how completely irrelevant this episode was. So I skipped it and didn't miss anything.

68. Can be skipped, but it's good. This is also an irrelevant episode, but it's centered on Shippo. And any Shippo episode (that isn't in the Final Act) is an amazingly funny episode. So I watched it and had a very good time. Plus, it ties into one of the early episodes, which in my opinion is a good thing.

72. Skip it. Same thing as episode 65. Synopsis shows its irrelevancy, and I didn't miss anything by ignoring it.

75-79. Skipt them. Those five episodes contain a very inconsistent mini-arc, a story with Sango and a comedy episode with Jaken. I didn't watch any of those, so I didn't miss anything. I would've given the Jaken episode a chance, but it continues events from the mini-arc, so it's a no-go.

89-90. Can be skipped, but are funny. Those two episodes are set in the modern era and are pretty funny (as most modern era stories are). Episode 89 uses Kagome's cold from previous episode as its plot, and Episode 90 continues the events of 89. The only problem I have with those is that Episode 88 makes it pretty clear that Inuyasha's gang is in a hurry, so watching them might breack the pacing a bit.

91-101. Skip all of it. All ten episodes here are totally irrelevant. I skipped them all and episode 102 actually continues directly from where episode 88 ended.

127-128. I wouldn't recommend on skipping those. Though most of these two episodes are filler, there are still canon stuff happening, like a certain someone discovering the location of something very important for the story. Besides, though the modern era stuff is pure filler, it's amazingly funny as always.

129-130. Skip them. Yep. Irrelevant. Moving on.

133-134. Skip them. Irrelevant fillers.

135.I wouldn't recommend on skipping this one. Yes, the main plot of the episode is filler, but the it introduces a useful information for the next couple of episodes. And it's another funny story, so there's no harm in watching it.

136-140. Skip them. Irrelevant, irrelevant, irrelevant. Next.

147-148. WATCH THOSE. Those two episodes are so good and show a backstory that is very touching and important to the whole series. Sure, it has almost nothing new, but it puts together a story that was previously given one piece at a time, and it does so very well. The only thing I would recommend is watching them in a different moment. Don't wait until episode 146. Watch 147 and 148 right after episode 126, it will fit in perfectly.

162-163. Skip them. More useless filler.

And those are my thoughts on the fillers! In short, 11 of the 40 filler episodes are worth watching, and a few of them are actually necessary for the overall plot. I almost skipped one of those and got pretty lost, having to go back and watch it.

But anyway, thanks again for this Guide :)

Anonymous said...

Hey diamed, I wasnt able to click on your link. So if you could try again so i can see your anime list Id appreciate it. I want to compare what you got to what i listed. P.S i think i have Inuyasha higher than 31st LOL however i do limit my anime/manga watching/reading primarily on either battle shonen or something in the confines of supernatural phenomena. -Shaq

AnaLisa Kate said...

I totally agreed with which arcs of InuYasha were truly worth watching :)

Acapellic Beats said...

i really agree with this article and because of the things you talked about the anime as a whole is probably ranked as one of the lowest in my opinion

Anonymous said...

Will they ever make more inuyasha series

Diamed said...

The anime covers the entire manga. What more could they even do?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your post. I absolutely loved the first 30-40 episodes but my patience quickly wore thin when the plot wasn't advancing at all. I watched as far as episode 90 but then I couldn't bring myself to watch anymore. I know it's like this in the manga too (which is ever so irritating). Honestly Inuyasha could've easily been 50-60 episodes max. And it'd be a lot better too. I'm gonna try and watch it again as I genuinely love the characters and ships, but I don't have the patience to watch 60 episodes of unnecessary stuff.

I was wondering if you know what episodes actually advance the plot, develop a relationship or where you actually find out something relevant? The majority of the episodes, while still canon, are all basically filler since the author of the manga clearly has a flair for dragging things out.