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In the question Has an anime ever come out before the manga was published? it became quite obvious that there are indeed several animes that air before their manga has been made.

But this also made me wonder about the following:
Does this imply that all anime that air before a manga of it exist should be considered fillers?

Fillers are non-canonical material, which usually implies it did not happen in the manga. Or as Urban Dictionary stated it

filler

A segment of anime, whether it be an entire episode or part of one, which does not appear in the manga of the title. Fillers, as the name implies, "fills" an episode with non-canonical material which has been written usually by the same company which animates it.

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I feel there's a bit of misconception here.

  • Fillers == Not canon
  • Canon == Original material from the original author.

There are episodes in Naruto for example, (like Naruto episode 101) which are canon but were not in the manga.

So the question of whether content being filler or not has nothing to do with it being in one medium or another (although there's usually a correlation). It's about who made it.

  • But episode 101 to 106 are considered fillers. Which is why it confuses me. – Dimitri mx May 27 '14 at 15:17
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    They are not fillers. They are canon episodes which were not featured in the manga. – Madara Uchiha May 27 '14 at 15:18
  • Coming from this question. What about filler anime, that is original material from the original author (eg: Most of the episodes of dragon ball super thusfar)? – Peter Raeves Aug 4 '15 at 9:49
  • @PeterRaeves Read again, Canon == Original material from the original author. – Madara Uchiha Aug 4 '15 at 10:27
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I take "filler episodes" to be episodes that are side-stories that actively avoid making any significant changes to the overall story, in order to extend the length of the series.

There are anime series which opted to instead finish the overall story their own way, rather than use what I would call filler episodes to wait for the manga series to get ahead. Though this is not the canon the original author made up, I would not consider these filler episodes, but rather an alternate canon.

Two series I know of that have done this are Full Metal Alchemist (not Brotherhood), and Full Moon wo Sagashite.

It seems to me a silly definition to call anything non-canon according to the original manga author "filler", since most people talk about filler episodes in the context of those episodes that may be skipped, or are less interesting because they are obviously avoiding advancing the overall plot. Plus, the original definition of the word seems to imply to me that the fandom definition has this meaning.

I might even consider an episode that is canon even in the original manga to be filler, if it seems that it's being used to extend the length of the series without really accomplishing anything meaningful.

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