REVIEW: ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscle,’ Episode 1 – “Mash Burnedead and the Body of the Gods”

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Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1

It is a magical world. And I don’t just mean magic exists; it permeates every aspect of daily life. Everyone uses magic for even the simplest things. But while everyone revels in the extraordinary power they are taught god bestows on humanity, deep in the woods, a young man doesn’t wield magic. But while magic may elude him, he makes up for it with muscle in Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1 from A-1 Pictures.

This series is going to be a divisive one. I can see people loving the show’s constant barrage of sight gags and dumb humor. However, I can also see that same dumb humor driving many people away, especially since the core focus of Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1‘s most inane moments stems directly from its lead character Mash.

Mash has been raised in isolation by his father for reasons unknown to the young man. He spends his days working out and living a quiet life. While Mash’s dad seems to love him, he also appears to have greatly failed the young man where his education is concerned. In this opening episode, Mash has several moments that make Goku, the long-established gold standard for the dumb anime main character, look smart. In his first real scene, Mash fails to properly open his own home’s door, resulting in him ripping it off the hinges. After being scolded by his father, he attempts to “fix” the door. By fix, I mean he holds it sideways and slams the door into the wall till it shatters into even more pieces. By this point, the bar for this character’s cognitive and reasoning skills is set so low that I question how he can carry on a coherent conversation.

Making Mash’s loveable but dumb personality an even harder choice to handle is the world-building in Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1. While we are initially told that everyone can use magic as if this is how it has always been, we are soon informed this is not the case. Individuals like Mash are so rare because when they are discovered, the Magic Police hunt them down and kill them. Nothing provides fertile grounds for big dumb fun to me, like a world built on a policy of hardcore eugenics!

Despite my reservations about the Mash and how well he fits in with the world he lives in, I cannot complain about the show’s visual presentation. A-1 Pictures does a great job of delivering the visual gags throughout the episode. If you are into zany anime humor, this episode’s visual presentation will work for you.

So, while I have some major misgivings about this series right now, I can see a potential light in the tunnel. If the show can develop its lead in a way that helps him feel slightly more believable while still keeping his goofy charm, he could work for me. The issue with the story clashing with the world it’s built in is harder, but maybe if they either address it in a meaningful way or don’t bring it up again, the show will be able to move on. Here’s hoping.

Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.

Mashle: Magic and Muscle Episode 1
  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10


So, while I have some major misgivings about this series right now, I can see a potential light in the tunnel.

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