You may be bewildered about the differences between canon and non-canon anime, as well as what Canon means in the context of anime. Whether you are reading a manga series or watching a popular anime, the term “canon” is extensively used to define anime.
To break down your confusion, let’s discuss what does Canon mean in anime and what is canon means in anime. Canon is a word used for not only anime or manga but also other artwork-like media, literature, etc.
What Does Canon Mean In Anime?
So, what does Canon mean in anime? An anime is termed Canon if an anime is part of the official storyline of manga and is 100% based on what the author has written in manga. If anything is displayed in anime that actually does not happen in “original” manga, then it is termed non-canon anime.
For example – Fullmetal Alchemist, a series of 2003 in which the manga was still being disclosed, a series was released. This is why FA is not considered Canon. It features a total of 51 episodes, including 12 partial fillers and 4 main fillers. Read here if you don’t know about fillers: What are fillers in anime?
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood began in 2009; on the contrary, it is recognized as a canon anime because it precisely follows the manga, except for a few minor deviations that do not affect the plot.
Additionally, My Hero Academia was the exception to the rule of Canon and non-canon, releasing movies that are referred to be Canon despite the fact that the events in the manga do not exist. Writer Horikoshi himself has acknowledged that both Two Heroes and Heroes Rising films are canons.
Naruto, the most popular anime series for decades, surprisingly, has very little Canon. Nothing actually occurred apart from “Naruto: The Last” and “Boruto: The Movie.” You simply need to watch those two canon flicks.
How is Canon Different From Fillers? Canon Vs. Fillers
You got the point; what does Canon mean in anime but are they different from fillers? Yes, Canon is the absolute opposite of the fillers; Canon is part of the original manga and confirmed officially by creators, while fillers may or may not be part of the original manga.
Canon is a core of anime (or any other media) and a true reflection of the original stories. Fillers are used to fill the gap in the anime series while original manga is still being written. Fillers are not telling the ongoing story, nor does it have to do anything with the original, but these are just add-ons to continue the series.
Even though it is part of the anime canon, the unique content, the filler, is considered as departing from the original Canon. It’s termed filler since it doesn’t usually move things along. Fillers are bonus episodes that are used to fill in the gaps in the story. Because they are only extra episodes, removing them will have no effect on the tale.
Can I Skip Canon Anime? Why Watch Canon Episodes?
Anime Canon is significantly better, perhaps an episode or something more exciting. It can allow the manga to progress while maintaining more excellent quality substantially. In my perspective, you shouldn’t skip canon episodes while you can skip fillers episodes of various episodes.
Aside from a few episodes, the anime canon is actually quite decent. However, not even all canon episodes are worth watching, even though some of them are designated Canon despite not even being in the original manga.
For example – The popular anime Black Clover has 170 episodes, yet episodes 136-157 are listed as anime Canon. These anime canon episodes actually occur well before the ‘Spade Kingdom War‘ storyline and cover a six-month time skip. It would be best to watch it, but it won’t make any difference. The battle between Admirals, on the other hand, was quite intriguing.
The existence of non-canon in anime is partly a result of the invention of filler. Non-canon material is content that is only available in the fiction or imagination; it is not included in the official manga, classified as non-canon. Filler could add dimension to the episode or entirely screw it up, leaving viewers wanting to skip it.
Popular “Canon” Anime Episodes
Now, while you understand what does Canon mean in anime, let’s discuss the best canon anime series. If you truly want to be part of original anime series, then I recommend watching canon anime. Anime films have long been popular, but they have never been considered Canon. Let me give you a rundown of some must-see anime.
- Doodle – Pokemon and Anime and Spider-Man, Oh My! (2020) (TV Episode).
- Polygon Ignores Nintendo Canon To Push Twisted Agenda Into Animal Crossing (2020) (TV Episode).
- Stop Motion Animation: One Step at a Time (1994) (TV Episode).
- How Detective Pikachu is Canon With the Anime (2019) (TV Episode).
- Canon Fodder Episode 14: Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe (2021) (Podcast Episode).
- Oddoroki no Saikai! Futari ha Nanimono na no!? (2006) (TV Episode).
I hope you understand what does Canon mean in anime and why the term canon is popular. The term canon usually refers to ideas and actions that have been verified by a primary source. A source can range from the original content on which the story is based to the show’s creator.
The term canon can describe any piece of fiction, but it is most commonly associated with cartoons, video games, and graphic novels.
Being part of original manga series, canon episodes are a must-watch to relate the storyline correctly; however, you can skip the fillers, which are mostly useless.