Mashle is the best anime of 2023

Movies/TV Weeb shit

The results are in, and Mashle is the hottest new anime of 2023.

“I wonder what the Harry Potter series would be like if Harry couldn’t use magic and was replaced by Saitama from One-Punch Man!”

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question (haven’t we all?), then boy do I have terrific news for you! Your question has been answered by Mashle: Magic and Muscles, the best new anime of 2023.

Released in Spring of 2023 and based off a manga that just concluded its three year run in July, Mashle is the story of a young man, Mash Burnedead, living in a world where everyone can use magic. Well, almost everyone. Mash is one of the rare people born without the ability to use magic, which is considered a capital offense in this world. Mash is rescued as a baby by an old man named Regro and hidden away in a cottage in the woods, where he spends all his time eating cream puffs and lifting weights.

Our first time meeting Mash he’s hitting the bench. Just look at this beast:


At first glance it looks like he’s only benching three-plate (315 lbs total), which isn’t super impressive for serious lifters. However, it’s obvious that he’s actually benching six-plate. Those are way too wide to be standard 45 lb Olympic plates. In fact, each plate is wide enough to be two plates. So either he’s got three 90 lb plates on each side, or he actually has six 45 lb plates on each side and the artist didn’t bother to draw lines separating them. Either way, Mash is benching 585 lbs for reps. Holy shit! Most NFL players can’t even do that.

So Mash goes out to buy more cream puffs and gets into a fight with the Magic Police. And by fight, I mean he manhandles the hell out of them. During the fight it’s discovered that Mash doesn’t have magic, attracting the attention of high-ranking Magic Police employee Brad Coleman. Brad tracks Mash back to Regro’s cabin and attempts to arrest him, only to have Mash simply slap away his spells like they’re nothing. After Mash catches and juggles three of Brad’s most powerful spells, Brad makes a deal with Regro and Mash: If Mash can get into Easton Academy (a prodigious magic school), graduate as the top student, and earn the title of “Divine Visionary”, Brad won’t report Mash’s existence to the government. Mash accepts, and from there shit gets wild as Mash employs his own unique style of “magic”, which he calls “Muscle Magic”.

Mashle is (kind of) a Harry Potter parody, and there’s a lot of references to the franchise. For example, Easton Academy looks exactly like Hogwarts, and the headmaster looks exactly like Dumbledore. There’s also a hilarious scene where they play what’s very obviously meant to be Quidditch (they call it “Duelo”), and in order to fly his broom, magicless Mash has to, um, improvise:

Not all of the Harry Potter references are so on the nose. Potter fans will remember Lord Voldemort’s plot to achieve immortality by creating six horcruxes (a process which is implied to involve killing), effectively splitting his soul into seven parts. The main bad guy of Mashle, a wizard named Innocent Zero, has a similar goal, except his method involved siring six children in order to use them later to achieve his goal. So basically, the same plan as Voldemort but done in the opposite manner (creating life instead of taking it).

While this series is rooted in the idea that it’s a Harry Potter parody, it’s so much more than that. If you’ve watched the Harry Potter movies or read the books you’ll definitely appreciate this series a lot more, but in my not-so-humble opinion Mashle can easily stand on its own.

In my review of Gate: Thus, the JSDF Fought There! I said that I’m not a fan of the “magic beats everything” trope. I think it’s annoying and overdone. Just like Gate, Mashle subverts that trope, but in a different way. Instead of guns we have brute strength and good old fashioned human ingenuity putting the kibosh on overpowered magic users. Mash uses his monster strength in conjunction with his perceptiveness and quick thinking to give magic users ass-whoopings the likes of which they’ve never seen. In one fight with a very powerful wizard, the wizard pulls out a magic mirror that reflects any spell cast back at the caster tenfold. Mash’s response? He roundhouse kicks right through the mirror and busts the wizard’s cocky face, Chuck Norris style. HOLY SHIT!

I could go on and on about all the awesome stuff in this series, but if you’re not already sold by this point then you can go find the nearest traffic cone and fuck yourself with it. 2023 brought us some pretty decent new seasons of already established anime (Vinland Saga, Demon Slayer), but as far as fresh new animes go Mashle: Magic and Muscles stands at the top with its perfect balance of seriousness and silliness. This anime is so good that it’s already had a live stage show adaptation. It’s times like this that I wish I lived in Japan, or at least understood Japanese.

Word has it season 2 will drop in January of 2024. I can’t fucking wait. In the meantime go check out season 1 of this awesome anime.


The founder and owner of AJnet, and the current king of internet ranting. Hailing from the fine village of Northeast Philadelphia, AJ has been creating content on the internet for over 15 years. None of it has really been funny or entertaining, but he keeps trying anyway. When he’s not creating new articles for the site, he can be found watching anime or playing retro video games.