One Punch Man Meets Harry Potter in ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’

The allure of anime lies in its vast spectrum of themes and concepts that can form the foundation of compelling shows. Yet, amid this diversity, there are recurring anime tropes that seasoned fans easily recognize. At first glance, ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’ may seem like a collage of familiar ideas, but the first two episodes of the adaptation hint at its potential to break free from the shackles of clichés.

Derived from the Weekly Shonen Jump manga series by Hajime Komoto, animated by A-1 Pictures, the initial episode, titled ‘Mash Burnedead and the Body of the Gods,’ introduces us to Mash Burnedead, his father, and their magical world. In Mashle’s realm, magic governs society and those devoid of it face persecution.

Mashle: Magic and Muscles
Image Courtesy: IGN

Mash’s lack of magical markings is exposed during a cream puff escapade, leading to a confrontation with local authorities. When his father is threatened, Mash unveils his extraordinary physical prowess, born from a peculiar exercise routine, offering a glimpse into the series’ forthcoming action.

This battle also serves as an introduction to the show’s humour, an essential element for distinguishing Mashle from other Shonen series. Amid a conventional magical showdown, there’s an unexpected display of magical energy juggling and dribbling, injecting a refreshing dose of absurdity.

Mashle: Magic and Muscles
Image Courtesy: Digital Spy

The absurdist tone is evident from the start, with Mash’s struggle to comprehend doors and his reaction to initial encounters with police officers. The episode concludes with Mash embarking on his grand quest—to attend the prestigious Easton Magic Academy and attain the title of ‘Divine Visionary’ to safeguard his father.

The subsequent episode, ‘Mash Burnedead and the Mysterious Maze,’ further establishes the setting by introducing Easton Magic Academy, Mash’s allies and the opposition from the magical establishment.

Mashle excels when juxtaposing standard shonen melodrama with Mash’s simple yet endearing personality and straightforward approach. An early highlight involves Mash interrupting Professor Claude Lucci’s inner monologue with a boisterous weight-lifting routine, showcasing the series’ inventive and fun animation techniques.

Mashle: Magic and Muscles
Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

The episode mocks the trope of the Entrance Exam, a significant hurdle for many heroes. Unlike typical scenarios where heroes struggle, Mash effortlessly overcomes Professor Lucci’s tests with unconventional methods, adding a comedic twist.

‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’ navigates a delicate balance, blending typical shonen protagonist elements with parody and twists on classic tropes like ‘One Punch Man’ and ‘Harry Potter.’ Notably, scenes like Lemon’s attempt to incapacitate Mash offer a humourous deviation from expectations.