Mashle: Magic and Muscles

Alt title: MASHLE

Vol: 18; Ch: 162
2020 - 2023
4.11 out of 5 from 2,013 votes
Rank #1,689
Mashle: Magic and Muscles

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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Mashle is a comedy battle shounen manga that parodies the Harry Potter series as well as other shounen series. While being familiar with the Harry Potter universe may be beneficial, knowing general fantasy and shounen tropes will be more important however. Our protagonist, Mash Vandead, is a young guy who is hidden in the woods by his father because he doesn't have a lightning mark on his face - which shows to everyone that he is about the only person around who can't use magic. To conquer this weakness, he is made to train his body. Which leads to his current state, where he is almost the Saitama of his world. Because of reasons, Mash gets sent to magic school. The setting will be familiar to any who know of Harry Potter: big building, broomriding lessons, some discrimination, exploring forests you shouldn't send any wizards into etc. While the comedy aspect of the setting (nonwizard in wizard school) is the most important, the author does manage to tell a story that is engaging enough to keep me reading - with side characters that are also actually fun to spend time with and get a good amount of "screentime". The comedy is mostly gags and absurd situations, as well as people reacting to the feats of impossible strength that Mash tends to show off in order to get through his magic classes and battles. It does feel like there are limits to how long this type of comedy can keep being funny though, which might explain why it feels more battle-shounenish (with still plenty of comedy) in the last chapters (currently 29). The art is sadly the weakest point of the series. While it looks nice when the mangaka puts in the effort, we also get a lot of very basic panels and even some reused drawings. While simplicity can be excused for comedy at times, this isn't always the case. Overall: It's a fun gag manga that parodies Harry Potter and shounen manga. What's there so far is very fun for fans of the genre, but the manga is at risk of hitting the limits of the current setup. I for one hope the author can keep the current level of quality.

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