Here’s Every “Dragon Ball Z” Filler Episode (in Order)

Dragon Ball Z was the subject of joke after joke regarding its anime pacing and amount of “filler episodes” as it aged. However, it might be surprising to find out that there actually aren’t a ton of filler episodes in the whole span of the series. Perhaps the one instance people might think of is when the anime actually caught up to where the manga was, with Goku and Frieza’s fig-‘ht developing right as the anime was set to release new episodes, hence why Goku and Frieza’s total fight time in the anime was over 4 hours. Even despite all that, however, Dragon Ball Z doesn’t actually contain an enormous amount of episodes that are truly filler. In total, only about 38 of the anime’s 291 episodes actually count as filler. With that being said, here’s every Dragon Ball Z filler episode, in order, in the series.

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Episodes 9-10

Toei

The first two filler episodes in Dragon Ball Z are pretty uneventful. Both of them have stories that center on Goku’s young son, Gohan, who ends up getting into several tricky situations, both in filler and not in filler. Gohan first discovers a strange robot in a hole, that later saves him by sacrificing its own life in Episode 9, while in Episode 10, he becomes friends with an injured dinosaur, which later gets eaten by a T-Rex. Not much happens in these episodes (other than Gohan getting into some small shenanigans), so these filler episodes are mostly just there to be there.

Episodes 12-16

Toei

Following Terror on Arlia, the episode that introduces Nappa and Vegeta, a few filler episodes follow that which detail some more miscellaneous adventures. Most of these revolve around fighting and training for the Saiyans who are about to arrive on Earth. Ranging from Piccolo fighting himself to Goku running along Snake Way and rejecting the advances of the Snake Princess, these filler episodes also don’t particularly add much to the overall series or even create a sense of linearity leading up to the clash between the Earthlings and the Saiyans.

Episodes 39-43

Toei

These episodes take place right before the Namek Saga begins—and mostly revolve around the gang accidentally landing on Fake Namek. From here, they meet a couple of shapeshifting aliens who pose as Namekians, attempting to steal their ship to escape. Understandably, this saga creates a lack of tension in the series as a whole—and Fake Namek, by itself, doesn’t add much to the series. It’s mostly just a bit of padding before the real tension of the Namek Saga, so this arc is skipped by many wanting to get to the meat of the series.

Episodes 100 and 102

Toei

Returning to the fight between Goku and Frieza, this part of the anime aired when it had caught up to the manga, forcing the episodes to be drawn out for longer than needed and leaving the team ill-prepared to cover the final fight of the Namek saga. In fact, in the manga, Goku transforms instantaneously into a Super Saiyan—while the anime prolonged this sequence to accurately reflect the single chapter it had to translate into an episode. Though this gave us a very iconic anime scene in the process, it also gave us an absurdly ridiculous amount of filler that decreases the tension and drama of the fight.

Episodes 108-117, 124 and 125

Toei

These filler episodes cover a mini-arc that happened in between the Namek Saga and the beginning of the Android Saga. In this arc, Garlic Jr. descends onto the Lookout and tries to take over the world—which would be an interesting plot if Garlic Jr. wasn’t a very forgettable villain. Prior to this, he had only appeared in the titular Dead Zone movie, so he didn’t exactly have a massive niche to fill. Overall, this arc is also pretty forgettable—though it might have been an interesting filler arc if a different villain were used.

Episodes 170, 171 and 174

Toei

These three filler episodes, unlike the prior entries on the list, are actually pretty brilliant all around. Taking place in the latter half of the Cell Saga, these three episodes cover the return of Dragon Ball character General Tao, a look at how Cell’s victims reacted to his initial invasion, and flashback episodes involving Gohan. Given that Gohan is at the epicenter of the Cell Saga, this filler episode is important—and it becomes even more meaningful once Gohan finally completes his transition out of adolescence, by going the extra mile to foreshadow the whole event happening in the first place. In fact, these episodes are right before the Cell Games, so a flashback episode about Gohan is the perfect stage-setter.

Episodes 195-199, 202 and 203

Toei

This brief section of filler occurs during the Peaceful World Saga, which occurs right before the Buu Saga. In this transition period, the characters resume their normal lives and grow. Gohan ends up meeting Videl, the daughter of Mr. Satan, and ends up going out with her. Meanwhile, Goku enters a tournament of galactic proportions and meets the side character Pikkon—who ended up not being important until the film Fusion Reborn. This filler arc is much like the ones prior to it—nonvalue added. Generally, it’s best to skip the Peaceful World Saga as a whole and jump right back into the action—the saga itself doesn’t add much to the series.

Episodes 274 and 288

Toei

Finally, the last two episodes that are filler in the series come during the Buu Saga. Episode 274 maps out the journey that Goku and Vegeta take while inside Buu, which is pretty meaningless by itself. Episode 288, meanwhile, covers the latter half of how Majin Buu’s victims responded to his redone presence. These single one-off stories, being somewhat relevant to the arc at hand, end up wrapping the whole DBZ series neatly into a bow—and give Majin Buu the same kind of development Cell got with Episode 170.

(featured image: toei)


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