Manga Review: Mashle: Magic and Muscles Volume Two

Mashle: Magic and Muscles Volume Two expands on the concepts of the series and the world that the characters inhabit, as well as introduces some new characters.

Mashle: Magic and Muscles Volume Two
Written by: Hajime Komoto
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 7, 2021

At the beginning of the volume, Mash is in a battle with a handsome young man named Lance Crown to save his friends and get Lance’s two silver coins. We get some brief backstory for Lance and his younger sister, Anna. Basically, it’s the cliché storyline of Lance wanting to become a divine visionary in order to save his sister who has a disease that is causing her to lose her magic. Of course, Mash uses his strength and speed to beat Lance and not magic, since he doesn’t have any. Lance becomes a rival for Mash but ends up being on friendly terms with him.

We then get a scene of Mash and his roommate Finn realizing they haven’t gotten their homework done yet. Lance comes in and helps them with it. The assignment has to do with a plant called a mandragora, which is noisy and has to be quieted down with magic before it can be used as an ingredient in potions. I couldn’t help but think of the mandrakes from Harry Potter. While this series has the characters subduing the screaming plant instead of putting it in potting soil, and the characters in this series don’t have to wear earmuffs to block the sound, I still found this concept to be a little too similar to something in Harry Potter. Although it is kind of amusing to see what happens with Mash and the mandragora that he’s trying to subdue.

Later in the volume, we see through a flashback sequence that the students are sorted into houses based on their personalities and attributes. Instead of putting a hat on their heads, the students at this magic school touch a unicorn’s horn. Again, borrowing an idea from the Harry Potter franchise, but the execution is a little different. But it was amusing to see how the unicorn sorted Mash into his house, especially since all that he seemed to have in his head were thoughts of cream puffs.

A new character named Dot Barrett is also introduced in this volume. He’s loud, brash, and likes to flip people off a lot. Even though he acts so tough, he’s actually a wuss when it comes to girls. He also appears to be a redhead and falls into the shonen trope of the loud redheaded male. Overall, I found him to be an annoying character. He gets humbled, at least somewhat, during this volume, but it didn’t really help improve my impression of him. Hopefully Dot can become a redeemable character over the course of this series.

Two of the dorms are sent out in a competition to dispatch the forest scorpions and collect the stones on their foreheads to earn coins. This competition introduces an adversary to the series, a second-year student named Silva. He’s a bigger guy who comes across as a bully, and it turns out he’s targeting Mash. It’s during a battle with Silva that Dot starts to become a little more humble, but Dot ultimately isn’t Silva’s target. There’s an impressive fight sequence between Silva and Mash, but of course, Silva is using magic while Mash is using his muscles and strength. But just as it looks like Mash is going to win the fight, it’s interrupted by the arrival of a forest scorpion. However, the interruption doesn’t last for long, thanks to Mash. After this, it’s not surprising to see the final result of Silva and Mash’s battle. We then learn that Silva was trying to do some dirty work for a group called the Magia Lupus, a small group of students who believe they are superior to others. Near the end of the volume, Mash accidentally stumbles upon their hideout on campus and this is how he, along with the reader, learn about the group and its beliefs. While Magia Lupus isn’t exactly the same as the Death Eaters, this series is borrowing the idea of a secret group of wizards who are the antithesis of what the wizarding world in each series represents.

While I found the second volume of Mashle: Magic and Muscles to be a more interesting read than the first one, I’m a little frustrated by the fact that this series still seems to be borrowing ideas and concepts from the Harry Potter franchise. I sincerely hope that as I read future volumes of this series, that I will start finding fewer parallels between this series and Harry Potter. I really want to see what Komoto can do with his concept of a magical school with his own ideas.

If you enjoyed reading the first volume of Mashle: Magic and Muscles, then I feel confident that you will enjoy Volume Two. However, if you were as frustrated by the Harry Potter parallels as I was after reading Volume One, then expect that frustration to continue with this volume.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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