Mashle: Magic and Muscles can be described as a story that features Harry Potter meeting One Punch Man meeting Dragon Ball. Featuring an overpowered character like Saitama, Mash Burndead shares the latter’s bland design. The series even has elements of training and reanimation, though the same is done in a tongue-in-cheek way like it is poking fun at the evolution of Goku and power-scaling in Dragon Ball. However, the setting of the series and even the presence of certain characters makes it evident that the greatest inspiration for the series that it also parodies is Harry Potter.
He is a young child who does not possess magic and must rely on his physical prowess to survive in a world where magic users are commonplace. Mash is introduced to us in the manga by Hajime Komoto’s first chapter as he is in the midst of his demanding training regimen in the magic realm’s deep forests. Despite this parody, Mashle’s story takes serious directions later on and even features strong god-like beings who face the protagonists in battle.
While Mashle parodies Harry Potter, it retains its own identity
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The satire is even more obvious when he visits a nearby village to replenish his stock of cream puffs that are made by goblins. Moreover, the cover illustration shows Mash dressed in a British-style school uniform replete with a cloak and standing next to a white-bearded, robed sorcerer who is obviously a stand-in for Professor Dumbledore, makes this association plain.
The story’s resemblance to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world becomes more apparent with each passing page, including the layout of the magic school Mash is required to attend, the pointed caps worn by the locals, the swish-and-flick movements of the wand, the exaggerated Latin-sounding magic words for spells. Later, when Mash encounters a police officer who is anti-magic, he successfully repels the aggressive spells hurled at him using only his bare hands. This very encounter is reminiscent (albeit hilariously) of Harry and his friends’ battles with the Death Eaters and magic supremacists.
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Although Mash’s adoptive father does not have a direct counterpart, he has aspects of Hagrid, who took on the form of a guardian role for Harry. Even as a self-reflexive joke, he muses over the employment of mystical spells by magic users for tasks that are obviously simple enough to be completed with just physical might. He is comparable to Asta from Black Cover in this way, who trains his physical body and wields a sword to make up for his lack of magical abilities. Additionally, Mash’s casual attitude appears to mock the seriousness of shonen heroes and their goals is in contrast with protagonists like Asta.
Following this display of strength, Mash is given the task of upending the magic-based social structure of his world by becoming the top student at the magic school—despite not possessing any magic—and upending the central conceit of J.K. Rowling’s narrative, which consists of a special child with a lofty destiny. Besides, he is described as being singularly “unmarked,” the opposite of Harry’s lightning scar, which confirms his status as ‘The Boy Who Lived.’
Some fans wonder if Mashle might meet the fate that One-Punch Man met in its second season, or, like its character design, it would go the successful route of Mob Psycho 100. As the long-running Gintama shows, there’s no reason a comedy/action series can’t have a long run. However, without the story having a distinct identity of its own underneath, a joke that is specifically made fun of one particular franchise may quickly lose its appeal.
The identity of Mash and the world he dwells in
I repeat! You shouldn't make Mash angry! 💀
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It is a matter of contention as to whether Mashle: Magic and Muscles can sustain itself on simply being a parody or by basing itself off and playing off tired wizarding tropes. However, things do take a serious turn from then on. Mash’s character is not a simple pastiche of Harry’s, but he possesses a unique identity. The clichés of villains and their motivations become more important as the stakes get higher.
Furthermore, Mash’s friends and companions are not straight stand-ins of Harry Potter characters or from any other series. They have unique motivations, which the series takes into account seriously and the readers (and with the release of the anime, viewers) can empathize with several of them. They develop, begin to appreciate Mash and fight against the tropes of racism and magical extremism/exclusion that populate the world of Mashle: Magic and Muscles. Beneath the competitive and arrogant exterior of Lance Crown lies an innate desire to save his sister.
Of course, there are a lot of bad guys and competitors. Mashle provides pretty much everything else a Harry Potter fan might desire, even though viewers may not have Quidditch here but broomsticks exist. Additionally, mangaka Hajime Komoto’s series is simply hilarious, considering it often plays as a fantasy adventure but its sharp humour is indelible. Mashle doesn’t mind parodying Harry Potter, and its subversions of tropes are utterly entertaining. Although Mashle doesn’t pretend to be as philosophical as anything in Harry Potter, its heart is actually hidden among its side quests.
Usain "Mash" Bolt 💨
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This is because the hero may appear uninteresting on the outside, but his heart is almost comically big. Mash grew up in a society where his lack of magical prowess caused him to be despised. He was going to be crushed by society, which was prepared to discard him without a second thought. As such, Mash invents his own brand of superpower that enables him to compete with accomplished wizards at Easton Magic Academy.
He seems to use his immense strength and ability to havoc without any thinking. However, he is well aware of his own abilities, and as the plot develops, he starts to make the most absurd and unusual uses of them. With his clever and sparse linework, Komoto effectively conveys this, bringing to life the action and motion of Mash’s adventure. He has little interest in school politics or supernatural hierarchies and worries only about protecting his father. That gives him a noble and enjoyable task to complete, though he hasn’t realized that yet.