Ten Steps to Filler Time

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Ridiculous intro aside, yeah, it's silly article day, discussing some of the ways I've noted that episodes just manage to draaaaaaaaaaag on some times; these filler methods aren't always a bad thing per se, if they're used correctly, but more often than not it induces Kyon-style "OMFG it's a pan up again" mode.

Disclaimer: Any slandering statements I made in the pre-jump segment were not aimed at any shows or animation studios in particular.

1) Completely irrelevant, ADHD-style segments
Quite possibly one of the most useful if not strange ways to stretch a show is to throw in segments that almost if not completely come out of nowhere. Often times they can be used as ridiculous transitions in less-than-serious animes; a way to get from point A to point B (eventually) without making much sense. It doesn't usually take too much work to get a laugh this way either, simply because it's so nonsensical that one cracks up just trying to make sense of it.

2) Repetition
Is something funny once? Do it again. They'll laugh again.

3) Flashbacks to what happened a minute ago
One of the most annoying things, at least for watchers of fansubs like me, are flashbacks to recent events, sometimes as early as a few minutes ago. It's an understandable move, especially across eyecatches (and therefore commericals) but it usually doesn't fail to elict a groan about how I just saw this. I think the most blatant violators of this are the ones who, after an eyecatch, replay the last 10 or 15 seconds of pre-eyecatch stuff.

4) Long OP/ED/eyecatch sequences and/or music sequences and/or live action
Not a common tactic at least that I've seen; at least, it's hard to detect that certain OPs/EDs are longer because usually they are still enjoyable animation; it's just canned, and so might get a bit repetitive. Music videos tend to be hit or miss - usually they're combined with a clip show/still shot montage which tends to make it a bit dull; I've even seem some shows which actually have music videos with no relation to the show (ever wondered why D.C. had 16 minute episodes?) - but usually, this can be forgiven if the music is good.

5) Repetition
Is something funny twice? Try it a third time. It's still good.

6) Really slow talking characters
Most of the offenders of this concept tend to get away with it, as there certainly does seem to be at least a small moe faction for slow-speech characters. But sometimes, it's just silly when a character takes ten seconds to say a sentence. How did they develop such an ailment?

7) Really long establishing shots
Transitions are surprisingly good for burning time. Since it'd be too abrupt to just cut from point A to B, and too silly to use a Ridiculous Transition, why not show a shot of the sky (time passing), and then of the area they're in. Maybe the ground (footsteps, human tracks). An open door (sign of life). Completely random people (proof that they exist). Eventually we'll get to the characters.

8) What faces?
Sometimes it's just sort of silly how things are animated so that all parts of faces don't have to get animated. Yeah, it's more dramatic if we can't see their eyes or something, but hiding the mouth just came off as sort of strange, especially if they just shove props in the way or something. Don't know how much budget it would cost to draw open mouth -> closed mouth -> open mouth over and over, but I can't imagine it's much work.

9) Triple pans
Or any 'x' number of pans where 'x > 1'. As with the ADHD sequences these can be used for ridiculous effect at least - putting a triple pan where there's no reason to be one. But most of the time it's more of a "Hay look guys she has boobs lol. Wanna see it again? Omfg still hot. Wanna see it again?" swimsuit triple pan or something. Usually these are quick at least; but I suppose slow pans are somewhat annoying as well (although usually it's funny when the other side notices, in a bit of a fourth wall moment). But this is sort of scraping the bottom of the well.

10) Awkward silence
Useful in all kinds of situations, from the guy walking in on the girl in the bathroom to the guy walking in on the girl changing to the guy walking in on the girl with another guy to the just plain 'what the hell do I say now?' post-plot moment. If they're generous we may get some pans back and forth with some strange camera angles at least. Usually these are necessary in shows, but when they stretch out a long (as in, meme long silence is looooooooong) time, it's sort of silly. Unless...

11) Repetition
Something funny the last three times? Do it a couple hundred more. I've found that repetition walks a fine line of funny - I call it the Rule of Ridiculous. If something is funny once, it's probably funny again. It might be funny a third time. Any more than that and it's just stupid. Unless it keeps going for another ten or twenty times, at which point one realizes it's simply ridiculous and has to laugh at the insanity of it all. It's like an inverse bell curve, in that it's good if you do it once or a hundred times, but not an amount too far in-between. I find this applies to a lot of elements in fiction, such as the ones above.



"I think the most blatant violators of this are the ones who, after an eyecatch, replay the last 10 or 15 seconds of pre-eyecatch stuff."

Yea that would be the Naruto animation team. :P

Let's not forget the 5 minute Yuki seen back in TMoHS. :P Where would that classify?

Hinano: Hmm, what I miss by not watching Naruto. :P

Mikoto: Ah, that's a classic one, yet I forgot it. But maybe it's because in the Book O' Me, Yuki is always interesting. ^^

Eh, seems like it'd be a repetition type thing, if only because first, it's like a transition, so one thinks "Hey, it's Yuki reading. Yay."

Then you realize it's still going, and you groan.

And then, 5 minutes later, it's still going, which usually elicits an amused WTF reaction (although anger/facepalming could result as well). And all is well. XD