Naruto is one of the most beloved manga and anime series of all time. The original series, Naruto, aired for more than 220 episodes before continuing on into a new saga known as Naruto: Shippuden. The show followed Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja with dreams of becoming his village leader and a great ninja.
It was known for its lovable characters and excellent storytelling. But it was also known for having copious amounts of filler episodes to break up the rest of the canon story. Sometimes the filler could be great and just as interesting as the canon, but often it fell flat. Here are the ten worst-rated episodes of Naruto according to IMDb.
10 Episode #178 - Encounter! The Boy with a Star's Name
This episode kicks off the Star Village arc. In the opening, we get a scene of a star falling from the sky. We then learn that some thieves are trying to get their hand on this star as it is important and powerful to the ninja that holds it. Tsunade convinces Naruto to join the mission.
We don't see much from the rest of his teammates but we are introduced to a new character named Sumaru. As far as filler characters go, Sumaru isn't bad. He's a capable fighter and the Star Village needs help due to their lack of capable ninjas.
9 Episode #192 - Ino Screams! Chubby Passion!
This episode is truly one of the worst filler episodes of the bunch. It's no surprise to see it falling on this list, I'm surprised it didn't rank lower. For one, Ino and Naruto share a very strained relationship in this episode and Naruto is made to act more idiotic than usual. There are awful jokes about pee and Ino has to double for a princess who has gained weight.
It sends a poor and discouraging message that overweight people aren't pretty enough to be royalty. Overall, it's awkward and not funny. The story just isn't compelling and Ino gets the shaft by struggling too much with an easy mission.
8 Episode #188 - Mystery of the Targeted Merchants
There is a big cluster of Naruto filler episodes around the 180 mark and many of them are on this list. The group must split into two in order to try and evade their attackers but it quickly becomes apparent it won't be as easy as they intended it to be.
Originally, they thought their mission was to help a group of merchants but Naruto finds out the truth is one of them is a princess, which makes their mission more dangerous than they were initially lead to believe. As far as the filler goes on this series, I'm surprised this one has ranked in the bottom ten, it's far from the worst of the bunch.
7 Episode #184 - Kiba's Long Day
If Kiba was one of your favorite characters or you really like to learn about the Inuzaka tribe, then you might actually enjoy this filler episode. It involves Naruto being left to watch over Kiba's nin-dog, Akamaru. His lovable dog begins to act much differently from the Akamaru we had come to know and love.
He had been infected by a strange bacteria that caused him to act aggressively. It got to a point where he would have to be euthanized until Kiba arrives and saves him. Kiba and Naruto work together to cure Akamaru and it's a tense moment, but ultimately the dog is returned to normal.
6 Episode #181 - Hoshikage: The Buried Truth
Yet another filler episode, "Hoshikage: The Buried Truth," follows the filler arc about star training. It's hard to say exactly why this particular episode stands out among a long-filler arc but it consists of Neji, Tenten, and Lee following Akahoshi's trainees so they can reveal the truth about Akahoshi's sinister intentions.
Most of this episode is told through talking and flashbacks which is what makes it so boring and uninspired. Fan-favorite characters don't get an active chance to participate and instead are forced to watch a storyline play out that is both uninteresting and is not central to the core storyline.
5 Episode #208 - The Weight of the Prized Artefact!
There is actually an animation error in this episode which might be part of the reason it's rated so low but also because it is a totally forgettable filler episode. While it's nice to see the unlikely duo of Kiba and Naruto get to spend some time together, most of it is dull and it's not an original or unique storyline.
The pair has to escort a man named Shin'emon and his valuable artifact but it's hard to do so when he acts completely arrogant and insufferable the entire trip. It becomes worse when by the end you find out he could easily make another of the artifact since he created it in the first place.
4 Episode #174 - Impossible! Celebrity Ninja Art - Money Style Jutsu!
Kunihisa is the son of Tsunade's rich friend Kunijirō. Tsunade enlists Naruto to babysit the kid. He quickly proves to be a nuisance to Naruto who doesn't want to waste his whole day hanging out with a kid, especially one who believes he can get anything he wants in life by paying for it.
Of course, Naruto is eventually able to teach him real skills like kunai-throwing. Eventually, Kunihisa even saves Naruto from a few goons and the two share a sweet bonding moment. But Kunihisa doesn't show up again in the series. It's another fruitless filler episode that can easily be skipped.
3 Episode #161 - The Appearance of Strange Visitors
Naruto is eager to get more taijutsu training so he turns to Might Guy and Rock Lee to do so. The problem is, Guy and Lee are out on a mission. Instead, Mondai and Potcha show up in the village disguised as them. Naruto doesn't realize this and follows them around all day. But everyone else knows.
As a punishment they force the imposters to do chores all day, chores Naruto thinks are part of his training. By the end, he thanks the real Guy and Lee - they have no clue what's he's referring to. This is a relatively harmless, but ultimately pointless filler episode.
2 Episode #202 - The Top 5 Ninja Battles!
This was one of several recap episodes in the series aired in celebration of Naruto being on the air for four years. The episode itself has no canon relevance and is considered a filler episode. It recaps the top five battles of the entire series so far.
It features Sakura and Naruto as the hosts. As for the battles they ranked in order from first to last: Naruto vs Sasuke at the Valley of End, Neji vs Kidōmaru, Kiba vs Sakon, Chōji vs Jirōbō, and Naruto vs Sasuke at the hospital. If you're planning on watching the show for the first time or rewatching it, feel free to skip it.
1 Episode #26 - Special Report: Live from the Forest of Death!
It's not hard to figure out why this is the lowest-rated episode of Naruto because it was the first official filler episode of the entire series. It was a recap episode that told the audience everything that had happened in the Chunin Exam. Naruto was known for having quite a bit of filler content.
Sometimes the filler was pretty good but this one was one of several that was pointless and not worth watching. Most people skip it when watching the series. We do get some new material of Team 7 with them interviewing each other. Konohamaru and his friends have fun spending time with the team which is cute and the only thing worthwhile in the episode.