MANGA REVIEW | "Mashle: Magic and Muscles" - Volume Eleven
So let’s see…we’ve got daddy issues, villains who claim they have new ultimate forms, and a hero reveals he’s been using weighted bracelets to hold back his true strength. Did Mashle: Magic and Muscles turn into Dragon Ball when I wasn’t looking? No, probably not, since there’s a lack of fan-service from a blue-haired woman. What is apparent is how hard Mashle goes in its eleventh volume.
The Wand of Beginnings is just in reach of Innocent Zero, but Mash is doing all he can to make sure he doesn’t obtain it. After defeating Lévis, Mash faces off against Domina, who wields hardcore water magic. Both fighters unleash one powerful attack after another, with Domina looking to have the upper hand. That’s when Mash reveals a little nugget of a secret: he’s been holding back this entire time!
After unlocking his weighted bracelets, the real might of Mash Burnedead is finally revealed. And it’s scary. In fact, there might actually be a case for Mash being the strongest shonen hero of all-time with what he’s able to do to Domina. The likes of Goku, Kenshiro, Kinnikuman, and even the Goddamn super-powered chicken Keiji might poop themselves from fright over just how much power Mash has in his fists! (Seriously, is there a Shonen Jump strength bracket out there to confirm all of this?!)
This is where Hajime Komoto showcases his true skills as a shonen manga artist. The way he draws Domina’s water powers is both beautiful and frightening. How it’s all captured makes it look like Mash is finally up against a wall, with no way out of his current predicament. Once the bracelets come off, the visuals of Mash’s strength reach a level of badassery and awe that have yet to be accomplished in Mashle. As great as the past fights have been, they pale in comparison to this one-on-one with Mash and Domina.
But deep within this battle is a tale of a terrible family. Domina only does this because he wants love from his father. It’s a love that seems one-sided, as Innocent Zero takes advantage of his child every way that he can. Because of this, Domina has a very damaged view of what a family should be. Thankfully, Mash is the kind of guy who delivers truth bombs that hit as hard as his fists.
I wasn’t expecting a deep philosophical spiel from our creampuff-eating hero. But holy crap, do his words deal as much healing power as his strength delivers pain. His concept of what a family is and how they should function hits a bullseye straight through the heart. The moment his fight with Domina ends is when a new and — hopefully — long-lasting friendship can begin.
Sadly, there’s no time for the two to grab some ice cream and talk it out. Innocent Zero arrives, with Mash’s next opponent in tow. And he looks a lot meaner than Domina. However, after we’ve seen what Mash Burnedead is now capable of, perhaps he’ll make quick work out of the poor bastard. Either that, or he’ll just do what he did to Ringu villain Sadako: put a rose in his hair and call him pretty.
So yeah, Mashle goes completely bonkers with its action in its eleventh volume. I keep thinking that the best has arrived in Komoto’s story, and the writer keeps proving me wrong over and over again. Just forget that Harry Potter exists from here on out; Mash Burnedead is the true OG wizarding world hero that kids everywhere should emulate themselves to be. Now let’s convince the Universal Studios theme parks to do some much-needed switcheroo-ing of its popular attractions, for the sake of the Mashle fans of Planet Earth.
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.