The term 'canon' is used to refer to the story that is officially recognized and accepted by the author of the work as part of the main plot. Typically, canon is based on the original work from which the anime is adapted, whether it be manga, light novel, or a video game; any events that faithfully follow the original story are considered canonical.
On the other hand, there is also the term 'non-canon' to refer to elements that are not part of the official story or have not been acknowledged by the author of the work. An example is filler content in anime; it is considered 'non-canonical' because it's not based on the original material.
It's important to note that the word "canon" is primarily used by fans and followers of the series and is not an official term used within the anime industry itself. However, it is a term that is commonly used in the anime community to distinguish what is official and true within the universe of a work.
What types of canon are there?
Remember that canon is established by the author or creator of the original work on which the anime series is based. Therefore, canon depends on the decisions the author makes regarding the story and characters, and it is what is considered "official" or "true" within the story's continuity.
It refers to the plot elements, characters, situations, places, etc., that are present in the original work on which the anime series is based. For example, if an anime series is based on a manga, the original canon would be the elements that appear in it. This canon is considered the most important and relevant within the plot, since it is the original source of the story.
It is the one established within the anime itself, meaning the elements presented in the animated adaptation were not present in the original work, but they are accepted as part of the plot's continuity, by the author's decision. For example:
- Episodes 50 and 51 of the One Piece anime are canonical despite not being adapted from the manga, this is because here it is explained how Ussop got his binoculars and Sanji the fish, in the manga it is only referenced in 2 vignettes.
- In Naruto Shippuden the movie The Last is canonical, this was announced in the publication of chapters 699 and 700 of the manga and was officially named chapter "699.5", which in the anime is between episodes 493 and 494.
- Hiro Mashima created the exclusive saga of the Key of the Starry Sky anime that covers episodes 125 to 150 of Fairy Tail, it is canonical, which although it does not follow the manga, the author determined it that way.
- In Boruto, much of the anime was not adapted from the manga, but that does not mean that it is filler, since the script and supervision is in charge of Ukyo Kodachi who is also in charge of the manga, in the anime he expands the main plot, deepening the history of characters that the manga could not.
They are those elements that are not part of the original story and that are not recognized by the author. For example, filler episodes that are not based on the original work. The plot, the characters, or the elements introduced have no relevance to the continuity of the story.