I did say that one of these days I'd go back and figure out where the filler arcs are and post them. You know, just in case someone might want to follow the main story line only. So this post gives a synopsis of where the filler arcs are. Of course, I didn't go back and figure out where every random Don Kan'nonji - Karaku-raizer episode is, so you may run across those, but this post gives the episodes which contains main plot line, and the general position and content of the main filler arcs. Here goes:
Episodes 1 - 63: Main story line - This is the start of the Aizen arc, through the rescue of Rukia, the uncovering of Aizen's scheming and the departure of Aizen-tachi from Soul Society.
Episodes 64 - 109: Filler Arc - This is the Bounto arc. Yes, 45 painful episodes of the Bounto arc. If you're going to skip any of Bleach at all this arc has my vote. Like most filler arcs this one introduces characters who show up later in random episodes and fillers, but not in the main story line since they don't exist in the manga. This arc introduces three mod-souls who show up often in subsequent filler arcs.
Episodes 110 - 142: Main story line - This section covers Ichigo's interactions and training with the Visored, various other character's training efforts, and various Soul Society members helping out in Karakura town. I split this from the next section which is also main story line because the next section is where the gang actually enters Hueca Mundo and to my mind begins the Hueca Mundo arc.
Episodes 142 - 167: Main story line - This section covers Ichigo-tachi entering Hueca Mundo to save Inoue Orihime who has been captured by Aizen-tachi. The early interactions of the group in Hueca Mundo are in here. Also in this section is a short arc between Rukia and a lone shinigami who is there fighting Hollows. I'm pretty sure that arc isn't in the manga, which makes it a filler arc, but it's short.
Episodes 168 - 189: Filler Arc - This is the Captain Amagai arc. This arc is not as painful as the Bounto arc was, but also not especially exciting. It introduces Rurichia-sama, who comes back in other fillers.
Episodes 190 - 203: Main story line - This is a short taste ofwhat's going on in the main story line in Hueca Mundo.
Episodes 204 - 205: Filler arc - sort of. A two episode Rurichia story before the main story line goes to the past.
Episode 206 - 212: Main story line: This way-too-short, 6-episode section gives the background of Aizen, Urahara and the Visored and explains where everything began.
Episodes 213 - 214: Filler - or rather two random episodes
Episodes 215 - 226: Main story line - The main story line was struggling to stay behind the manga at this point, as you can tell from short random episodes and short bursts of main story line.
Episodes 227 - 229: Filler - three more random episodes
Episodes 230 - 255: Filler arc - This is the Muramasa arc, and it's far and away the best filler arc in the series. I recommend you do not skip this arc, as it introduces a whole slew of new cool characters to a series which already has an amazing amount of cool characters.
Episodes 256 - 265: Filler - Random zanpakuto stories - spin off fillers from the Muramasa arc.
Episodes 266 - 310: Main story line - end of the Aizen arc. Nothing else to say about that. Or rather I've said it before.
Episodes 311 - 316: Filler - random episodes
Episodes 317 - 341: Filler arc - This is the Nozomi, or Reigai takeover of Soul Society arc. As filler arcs go, this one isn't too bad, but because Ichigo is losing all his reiatsu, he's not as effectual as you'd like him to be.
Episodes 342 - current: Main story line - This is the new post-Aizen story line and it begins with a fairly painful (as in emotional, tear-jerker, not as in Bounto-painful-to-watch) couple of episodes as Ichigo and Rukia say goodbye. After he loses his reiatsu he can no longer see her or any other spirits. I'll do a separate post later on the new story line.
So that's it. I may be an episode or two off in a couple of places, but this is generally how the series runs. Of the current 360 episodes, about 212 of them are main story line. Or another way of looking at it would be that there's a pretty impressive roughly 150 episodes of filler story. The only fillers I would not watch if I were doing it again would be the Bounto arc and any and all Don Kan'nonji - Karaku-raizer episodes. The rest are probably worth watching. If you just want the main story though, you now know where it is.
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