Mashle: Magic and Muscle Is Like Harry Potter Got Stuffed Into a One Punch Man Cream Puff

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Volume one of Mashle: Magic and Muscles is releasing today, a series that has no business being as delightful as it is. Part Harry Potter, part One Punch Man, and part Cream Puff Enthusiast, Mashle is a comedic battle between wizardry and getting swole.



Volume one Mashle

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 the chosen. But without an ounce of magic to his name, Mash will have to punch his way to the top spot.


Why you should check it out

Mash opening the door

If you’re looking for a series that stars a powerhouse main character who remains blissfully unaware of the true weight of the situation he’s been thrown in, yet manages to persevere via comical levels of strength and determination, then Mashle has got you covered. Mash is the kind of protagonist who is treated poorly over something he can’t control (in this case, it’s his lack of magic), but he’s so simple-minded that the discrimination kinda goes over his head.

He also forgets how doors work sometimes. It’s cool, Mash, they’re tricky little buggers.

The art style of the manga reminds me a lot of One Punch Man with the “blank-faced OK” reactions whenever something extraordinary happens. Mash is this unassuming-looking guy who you wouldn’t give a second glance (and, honestly, he’d prefer it that way, he really does just want to live in the forest with his Pops and his cream puffs), he just so happens to be able to bench press a tree before breakfast.

Oh, and the manga doesn’t even try and hide the Harry Potter references, right down to the kids playing what amounts to Quidditch.

The premise of Mashle is already hilarious, but it’s way funnier than the synopsis suggests. Mash punching his way to the top spot is entirely literal because he will physically PUNCH the magic that is cast against him.

Mash vs Magic

He continues to make his way through magic school by what many consider “cheating” since he’s not using magic in the traditional sense, but isn’t super strength a sort of magic power in its own right? I mean, Mash can appear to be flying on a broom because he can move his feet so fast that he floats in the air. That’s pretty magical to me.

The manga series takes the comedy up a notch by having Mash be completely oblivious to, well, pretty much everything he’s up against. So many people have it in for Mash but he’s… a bit of a dunce.

Mash "cheating"

He often doesn’t realize that someone is insulting him and ends up calling someone a friend when that person would rather not associate with him at all. Eventually, though, they can’t help but love Mash, especially since he’s so straightforward in the face of hostility. That’s because Mash doesn’t seem to grasp the power dynamics going on around him. While some wouldn’t dare to go up against certain characters because of their influence, Mash has no problem smacking them around if they do something wrong. This has led to some thinking that Mash is turning the tides, if you will, introducing an era where magic won’t be the end-all, be-all to a person’s worth.

Mash has no problem calling out how so many people are too dependent on magic, using it to do the most basic things when you could just do it by hand. Like. Do you really need to cast an entire spell just to make someone a drink? If you want to, that’s fine, but the fact that Mash is treated like some kind of troll who crawled out from under a bridge because he drinks soda by grabbing a can from the fridge instead of making it appear is a problem. Like, do the police really need to harass a guy trying to buy cream puffs just because he doesn’t bear the mark of a magic-user?

When dealing with these situations, Mash doesn’t back down. He doesn’t bat an eye telling school officials or authority figures how wrong they are, and if they get upset with him, he just bounces their magic away like a volleyball.

What’s truly entertaining about all of this is that Mash would’ve even BE in this situation if people left well enough alone.

Mash threatening

That might be the funniest aspect of all, actually. If they all left Mash stay in that peaceful cabin with his Pops, they wouldn’t have to deal with him and his inevitable rise to greatness at their school, a rise that’ll change the course of everything.

Mash is obviously going to change things for the better whether he realizes it or not – heavy emphasis on the not.

Mashle: Magic and Muscle volume one is out now over at Viz!

(Image: Hajime Kōmoto/SHUEISHA Inc.)

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Image of Briana Lawrence
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)