Naruto is a series that was a lot of people’s first interaction with the medium that is anime, especially in the west. I’d even go as far as saying that it’s probably the second most popular anime after Dragonball, outside of Japan. It’s based on the manga of the same name made by mangaka Masashi Kishimoto.
Although a fan-favorite however, the Naruto anime adaptation is not without its shortcomings. The main one being that both the original anime and it’s sequel(titled Shippuden) have more than 43% filler. And considering that there are 720 episodes in total, that is a hell of a lot of filler! But fear not, as this post was made especially for all you purists out there who want to watch just what’s canon and none that’s filler.
Fillers in the original Naruto
The original Naruto anime focuses on the young days of the titular character from him becoming a ninja to his iconic battle with his rival Sasuke. However a huge chunk of this series is filled with filler episodes that add nothing to the story whatsoever. But once you know what to skip, you’ll be on the right track to enjoying one of “the big three” anime of our generation.
In our no-filler guide we have included a short synopsis of each filler arc, so if any of them sound interesting to you, give them a try, you might just enjoy them!
Skip the following episodes:
- Episode 26: Special Report: Live from the Forest of Death!
- Episode 97: Kidnapped! Naruto's Hot Spring Adventure!
Here come the filler arcs! Skip all of these:
- Land of Tea Escort Mission (Episodes 102—106) - In this filler arc, Naruto and his teammates go to the Land of Tea to help Idate Morino win a race.
- Land of Rice Fields Investigation Mission (Episodes 136—141) - While on the hunt for Orochimaru’s whereabout, Naruto, Sakura, and Jiraiya encounter the Fūma clan.
- Mizuki Tracking Mission (Episodes 142—147) - In this Arc, we see the return of Naruto’s first villain. Mizuki. The plot revolves around Naruto helping Iruka catch him.
- Bikōchū Search Mission (Episodes 148—151) - Naruto and his friends from Team 8 search for a bikōchū beetle which they hope with lead them to Sasuke.
- Kurosuki Family Removal Mission (Episodes 152—157) - Naruto teams up with Team Guy to deal with the Kurosuki family.
- Episode 158: Follow My Lead! The Great Survival Challenge
- Gosunkugi Capture Mission (Episodes 159—160) - Naruto, Kiba and Hinata help a bounty hunter named Sazanami clear his name of a crime he did not commit.
- Episode 161: The Appearance of Strange Visitors
- Cursed Warrior Extermination Mission (Episodes 162—167) - In this filler arc, Naruto, Neji, and Tenten visit the Land of Birds in order to deal with a mysterious ghost warrior.
- Episode 168: Mix It, Stretch It, Boil It Up! Burn, Copper Pot, Burn!
- Kaima Capture Mission (Episodes 169—173) - Anko Mitarashi assembles a team consisting of Naruto, Inmo and Shito to go into the Land of the Sea to find information on Orochimaru’s whereabouts.
- Buried Gold Excavation Mission (Episodes 175—176) - Naruto, Kiba and Hinata work together in order to improve their teamwork.
- Episode 177: Please, Mr. Postman!
- Star Guard Mission (Episodes 178—183) - Naruto accompanies Team Guy to Hoshigakure where they help villagers protect a sacred star.
- Episode 184: Kiba's Long Day!
- Episode 185: A Legend from the Hidden Leaf: The Onbaa!
- Episode 186: Laughing Shino
- Peddlers Escort Mission (Episodes 187—191) - Naruto, Hinata, and Chōji visit the Land of Vegetables in order to protect some peddlers from a trio of evil ninjas called the Janin.
- Episode 192: Ino Screams! Chubby Paradise!
- Episode 193: Viva Dojo Challenge! Youth Is All About Passion!
- Episode 194: The Mysterious Curse of the Haunted Castle
- Third Great Beast Arc (Episodes 195—196) - Guy is forced to deal with a ninja seeking revenge for the death of his father.
- Konoha Plans Recapture Mission (Episodes 197—201) - The Konoha 11 try to stop a rogue ninja by the name of Gennō from destroying their village, Konoha.
- Episode 202: The Top 5 Ninja Battles
- Yakumo Kurama Rescue Mission (Episodes 203—207) - Kurenai temporarily leaves Team 8 and goes to take care of some old business with Yakumo Kurama.
- Episode 208: The Weight of the Prized Artifact!
- Gantetsu Escort Mission (Episodes 209—212) - Naruto, Lee, and Sakura are tasked with escorting a member of the Shinobazu to prison.
- Menma Memory Search Mission (Episodes 213—215) - In this arc Naruto aids Menma in regaining his memory.
- Sunagakure Support Mission (Episodes 216—220) - The Konoha 11 travel to Sunagakure to rescue a genin by the name of Matsuri from the Four Celestial Symbols Men. It’s good to note that although this arc is filler, its last episode contains around 10 minutes of canon material. So start up episode 220 and skip to the 12:02 mark to get the good content!