Mashle: Magic and Muscles

TV (12 eps)
3.988 out of 5 from 8,935 votes
Rank #1,070

Can muscles crush magic?! In the magic realm, magic is everything—everyone can use it, and one’s social status is determined by their skill level. Deep in the forest, oblivious to the ways of the world, lives Mash. Thanks to his daily training, he’s become a fitness god, but he harbors a secret that could turn his life upside down—he can’t use magic! When he’s found out, rather than his life being over, he’s unexpectedly enrolled in magic school, where he must beat the competition! Mash just wants to live in peace with his father in the forest. But the only way he'll ever be accepted in the magic realm is by attending magic school and becoming a Divine Visionary—an exceptional student revered as one of God’s chosen. But without an ounce of magic to his name, Mash will have to punch his way to the top spot.

Source: Viz

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Reviews

orpheusx9
6

TL;DR - Entertaining at first, but predictable and repetitive. To be fair, it's a really good adaptation of the manga and is faithful to the original material. The voice acting for each of the characters is exactly what I'd imagined. So this is really a review of the story and characters overall rather than just of the anime itself. Ultimately the problem with this series is that it never goes deep enough. Every conflict feels contrived, every character feels flat and 1-dimensional, and there's never really any true tension because you know how things are going to end. I get that it's supposed to be a parody, but humor and irony can only carry a shallow plot and characters so far before you start getting bored. Every fight is the same - the enemy has no clue how powerful Mash is, Mash is super polite but also super dumb so they have a dumb conversation, at some point they fight, then the enemy is taken by surprise at how powerful Mash is, and then Mash wins, only to spare the enemy. Characters are so exaggerated as to basically be walking tropes, and at no point does the story ever make you feel like something is at stake. Nobody dies, bad guys suddenly become good guys because they're always "touched" by Mash's kindness (more like pity or indifference), and fights last basically 5-10 mins. Mash is supposed to be this pariah to the world because he has no magic, but nothing happens even when everyone finds out. Nobody gets punished for anything, literally one of your antagonists has been turning other students into dolls and... nobody's asking why 2 dozen students have just vanished? Oh, and Mash of course has a cast of sidekicks with their own personality quirks. And occasionally they fight. That's it. Rinse and repeat. You'll get through the first arc or maybe even first couple of arcs and find it's funny and entertaining, then you start getting bored really fast because it just doesn't go anywhere else. There are so many other shounen shows out there that are much better at character development and world-building, while still being comedies. Gintama is a shounen comedy. Assassination Classroom is a shounen comedy. Food Wars is a shounen comedy. It's 100% possible to write funny stories aimed at teenage boys without it devolving into a predictable slog (well, ok Food Wars got predictable too, but it stayed entertaining for way longer).

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