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The most obvious answer everyone over the Internet is giving to this question is "Because anime is produced much faster compared to manga, they need to put in fillers in order to slow down the anime series". However, that shouldn't be the only reason.

For example, consider One Piece. The show is going on for more than 500 episodes, and less than 10% are fillers. Comparing that to Naruto, the show has almost the same number of episodes (original and Shippuuden combined), but almost 50% of its episodes are fillers. Needless to say, the manga of Naruto is so far ahead that the anime won't be able to catch up even if they produce 100+ episodes without any fillers.

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    "in animes"? What kind of anime do you watch? There is barely any fillers in anime I watch. – Euphoric Dec 13 '12 at 16:14
  • @Euphoric usually in the long run animes there are fillers, and one piece and fairly tail are exceptions in that group tough since they don't have that much. – Ali1S232 Dec 13 '12 at 16:16
  • long-running series are small fraction of all anime. Saying all anime or that only anime contains filler is short-sighted. – Euphoric Dec 13 '12 at 16:17
  • There's no real way to authoritatively answer this; each series will have different reasons and circumstances. – fbueckert Dec 13 '12 at 18:24
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    @fbueckert though you might argue there are some specific reasons per title, but there are some common reasons which were well described by answers people already gave. so I don't consider my question "not constructive"! but I agree, it's on the edge... – Ali1S232 Dec 13 '12 at 19:49
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There are lots of possible explanations to that:

  • As you said, the anime catching up to the manga, so they have more time.
  • Special events, as anniversaries, movie-related specials or so.
  • Also, the narratives are different and that depends on the production team. In your example, Naruto (as Bleach did) commonly makes battles really fast-paced, so they tend to catch-up with the manga quickly. Whereas One Piece, while having lots of battle too, tends to make them less dynamic, so in the end, they are longer and don't catch up to manga as easily.
  • And One Piece also uses a lot of filler animations and long recaps to pad the running time of episodes when they start coming a little too close to the manga. – Suman Roy Apr 3 '17 at 12:04
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An anime is typically adapted from another source material. Usually it's either a manga, a light novel series (like Haruhi), or even visual novel/computer game (Little Busters!, the When They Cry series).

Some parts maybe cut, changed, rearranges, and sometimes new content is added all together scenes completely.

While some changes are welcomed by fans, most are not. One most unwelcome additions are the so called filler episodes. A filler episode can be as short as 1 episode, or as long as an entire season of the anime. These episodes were not a part of the original source content's story, and usually serve absolutely no purpose in furthering the main story.

One of the two main reasons that we see fillers because they are meant to buy time for the anime when the content catches up to the pace the source material. This delay give the authors some time to adapt more material for the anime. After all, you can't really adapt something that doesn't exist yet.

The other reason for fillers to exist is greed. Some productions like to milk an anime for more money by making a few episodes of filler in a season, to add to disc sales (so fan buy n+1 discs instead of n). Anime productions usually make the bulk of their money in disc sales.

Generally, fans don't like fillers for the following reasons:

  1. They are pointless, and don't add to the plot of character development in any menaingful way. Sometimes it takes away from the action and go on bizarre tangets only to end up exactly where they began (it's was all a dream!).
  2. They sometimes add plotholes or other contradictions to storyline and a considered non-canonical.
  3. They (usually) aren't written by the same author as the original source material, so the quality and vision of the story might not be up to standards.
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That is mainly because battle centered animes, like Naruto or Bleach have a lot of battle scenes. Battle scenes are much much faster in Anime than it is in Manga.

Plot centered animes, like One Piece or Death Note, can afford not to produce as many fillers, because they can leave the gap far enough apart, as plot events unfold not as much faster in Anime.

As for Naruto specific answer, the upcoming saga is filled with battles, in order to compensate for the fast-pace anime, a sufficient gap needs to be opened. I don't have exact numbers or calculations, but I'd like to think that the anime producers do have some sort of plan, and that they would keep the upcoming battle saga intact. Otherwise, guess who'll be delivering meteors to their houses

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