With any long-running anime series (or any media for that matter), filler episodes become almost inevitable. At worst, these can distract from the main plot, derail characters or be just plain boring. However, when handled correctly, filler episodes are a great way to break up major arcs and inject some levity and humor into a series to stop it from getting too bogged down in a dark and depressing storyline. Inuyasha, despite the flaws the series has, is one of the best shows for fun, carefree filler episodes that are memorable and humorous, so here are my top picks.
Farewell Days of My Youth – Season 3
This episode gets points for centering on Myoga, who’s usually pretty entertaining, as well as the hilarious mash-up of horror and comedy that it balances — exemplified in Sango’s much-deserved rampage that she goes on, almost murdering Miroku. What starts out as a seemingly normal episode gets very bizarre, very quickly, and it’s topped off with a pretty satisfying reveal at the end.
Gap Between the Ages – Season 3
The last episode of season three is also the first time that we see Inuyasha get to interact with modern-day Japan, which he does in a bid to bring Kagome back to the feudal era faster. I’m biased, as these types of episodes are my favorites, but watching Inuyasha eat pavement, Kagome being interrogated about her “jealous boyfriend,” and her quest to make a simple photocopy being hilariously over the top make this a great diversion. There’s also a mostly sweet Sango and Miroku moment for the shippers.
Nursing Battle of the Rival Lovers – Season 4
“Rival” might be a bit of a strong word since you could knock Hojo over with a stiff breeze but getting to see Inuyasha’s caring side makes this a particularly sweet episode. Hojo, as usual, is weird and bungles his half of the battle — full points for effort, though — whilst poor Kagome convalesces for an entire episode. By this point, I imagine that Sango, Miroku, and Shippo are just glad to get a break from these two when they can.
The Mysterious, Lecherous Monk – Season 4
The karmic backlash is the best part of this episode. While it is a little bit misplaced, getting to see Miroku finally get some comeuppance for his constantly lecherous ways is both funny and immensely satisfying to watch. The absolute and complete lack of faith the rest of the group has in him and their resigned responses are also excellent.
Don’t Boil It! The Terrifying Dried Up Demon/Battle Against the Dried Up Demons at the Cultural Festival – Season 5
This may be one of my favorite episodes of Inuyasha, filler or otherwise. It takes the usual premise of Inuyasha + modern-day stuff and just cranks it up to 11, adding demons and the traditional Japanese school festival plot in what’s actually a pretty inspired twist. From poor Kagome’s plight as the class’ gofer to Inuyasha’s accidental blending in amongst the modern day, while he’s on his demon hunt, these two episodes will leave you in stitches. The poorly written and frankly bizarre play that’s put on it is just the icing on the cake.
Chokyukai and the Abducted Bride – Season 5
For a few episodes, Inuyasha and Kagome can’t catch a break. From the cultural festival to the show’s take on Journey to the West, they go from one strange crisis to another. As usual, when the heroes stumble upon an innocent bystander in need of their help, they can’t say no. This time the solution just involves using a crossdressing Shippo as bait for a truly strange pig demon who’s kidnapped an unwitting Kagome.
Jaken’s Plan to Steal Tetsusaiga – Season 3
One of the other great things that you can do with filler episodes is shine a spotlight on characters who are normally overlooked or treated as just part of the ensemble. Case in point, Sesshomaru’s right-hand demon, Jaken. Though normally a solid part of the ensemble, he gets his chance to shine when he decides to impress Lord Sesshomaru by stealing Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga. Of course, being Jaken, he comes up with one outlandish idea after another, none of which work but all of which are highly entertaining.
The Last Banquet of Miroku’s Master – Season 5
While the premise of the episode is indeed a tragic one, as Master Mushin is on death’s door, seeing the gang put through a series of ridiculously mundane tasks which they complete using their battle skills is hilarious. After all, who wouldn’t want a “handy-dandy wind tunnel!”?