The brand-new Mashle: Magic and Muscles anime is set to debut April 7, 2023! I have been anxiously awaiting the debut of this anime ever since it was first announced. The Mashle: Magic and Muscles anime is going to be produced by A-1 Pictures. Since we are about to get an anime for Mashle: Magic and Muscles, I thought this would be an excellent time to go ahead and rank the story arcs that we have gotten to this point in this manga. We did the same thing for both Chainsaw Man and Spy x Family.
The Mashle: Magic and Muscles manga is an absolute gem. Hajime Kōmoto has done a phenomenal job with both the story and artwork in this manga. I fell in love with this manga with the very first chapter when it debuted back in January 2020. Mashle delivers fantastic comedy and action and should appeal to most readers of both genres. Kōmoto does an excellent job of creating so many interesting and unique characters for the reader to enjoy.
Kōmoto has the ability to draw excellent exaggerated faces for his characters to carry the comedy. However, Kōmoto’s ability to deliver eye-popping fight scenes that are wildly entertaining. Kōmoto also employs impressive fight psychology and knows how to deliver compelling fight scenes.
This manga is a bit like a mash-up of Kinnikuman, One-Punch Man, and Harry Potter. From Kinnikuman, Kōmoto draws silly humor, the concept of the power of friendship, enemies turning into allies, and pro-wrestling moves. Mashle: Magic and Muscles has a wonderful sense of humor. The theme of friendship is important. Also, Mash’s friends are all people that he first defeated in battle and then Mash and his opponent both earn each other’s respect and understand what is motivating each combatant.
From One-Punch Man, Kōmoto draws wacky humor, an overpowered protagonist, a simple-minded protagonist, and cool fight scenes. Mash is incredibly overpowered and the reader will watch Mash just obliterate his opponents left and right. It is not until later in the manga that we ever see Mash actually getting tested in a fight. This is similar to Saitama’s overpowered nature which leads him to have so many one-sided fights. Mash is also very similar in his personality to Saitama. Both are incredibly simple-minded and oblivious to much of the drama that is going on around them.
From Harry Potter, Kōmoto draws the Hogwarts-style school with three different competing houses and a society full of magic users where magic reigns supreme. The setting of Mashle: Magic and Muscles is Easton Magic Academy which is similar to Hogwarts. There are three dorms at Easton Magic Academy: Adler Dorm, Orca Dorm, and Lang Dorm. These are similar to the four Houses of Hogwarts. Lastly, Mashle: Magic and Muscles is set in a world run by established almost royal families who view themselves as superior to common magic users. Non-magic users are considered an affront to this world and are put to death.
Up to this point, Mashle: Magic and Muscles has delivered seven story arcs. I have loved every single story arc in this manga. So, ranking these story arcs is incredibly difficult. Even the “lower” ranked story arcs are fantastic.
Please note that I will limit this article to mild spoilers. I want to let this article give you a nice sense of what you can expect with each story arc without spoiling all of the details and ruining the fun of reading this manga. However, please keep in mind that there will be some mild spoilers. I will mention characters who do appear in each story arc and the general direction of the story arcs. I will also mention the fight match-ups for each story arc. But, that is it because I want everyone to enjoy this manga for themselves without any big spoilers. If you do not want anything spoiled at all then read the manga or watch the anime before going forward!
7. Execution Arc (Ch. 40-43)
The Execution Arc centers on Mash being put on trial for being a non-magic user and concealing this fact. The obvious penalty is death. During the Execution Arc, the reader finally gets to meet all of the Divine Visionaries: Rayn Ames (The Sword Cane), Ryoh Grantz (The Light Cane), Rents Revel (The Immortal Cane), Agito Tyrone (The Dragon Cane), Orter Mádl (The Desert Cane), Kaldo Gehenna (The Flame Cane), Sophina Biblia (The Knowledge Cane), and Tsurara Halestone (The Ice Cane).
The Divine Visionaries are the elite fighting magic users and are real badasses. Kōmoto makes each Divine Visionary unique and interesting from their look to their power set. This story arc certainly gets the reader excited to see the Divine Visionaries in action at some point.
The Execution Arc also has the main villain in Innocent Zero finally revealing why he is so interested in Mash. This is a huge moment that cranks up the intensity of the story. Innocent Zero himself is basically the Voldemort of this story.
This story arc also peels back the layers of Wahlberg’s character. Wahlberg is the head of Easton Academy and is essentially a Dumbledore-style character. The reader gets to learn more about Wahlberg’s past as a Divine Visionary and his phenomenal power level in battle. We also learn more about the historic battle between Wahlberg and Innocent Zero when they were younger.
The central rule of this society that non-magic users must be put to death is hotly debated during the Execution Arc. The reader gets to learn which characters support this long-standing law and which characters advocate for change. In turn, the reader learns what Mash’s role will be in this crucial societal debate and why Mash is viewed by his supporters as so crucially special.
The Execution Arc also sets Mash on his path forward to becoming a Divine Visionary and hopefully changing the rule about non-magic users being executed. Some serious stakes are put on the table at the end of the story arc which makes Mash’s mission that much more important and gets the reader worried for Mash’s safety.
6. Forest Arc (Ch. 11 – Ch. 15)
The Forest Arc centers on Adler Dorm and Lang Dorm engaged in a competition to hunt down Forest Scorpions and collect the stones from the scorpions’ foreheads. The winner will receive bronze and silver coins which are vital in the school-wide competition between the three dorms.
In the Forest Arc, we get to meet Dot Barrett. Dot is a delightfully over-the-top character where Kōmoto playfully takes on the classic Shonen manga tropes. It is clearly done with love and respect and never comes across as mean and negative. I love Dot. He is a likable character. Dot also gets to show off his Thing-level ability to take punishment during a fight and never give up.
The reader also gets to meet two villains from Lang Dorm in Silva Iron and Love. Silva Iron is a standard issue aggressive bully. Love is a female student who can put men under her spell and manipulate them to do whatever she wants.
In the Forest Arc, we get Mash vs. Silva Iron. Then we get Mash vs. Love. How Mash deals with Love is both brilliant and hilarious. The reader will not see it coming.
5. Easton Enrollment Arc (Ch. 1 – Ch. 10)
The Easton Enrollment Arc is our opening story that Introduces the reader to the world and its rules that this story is set in. The reader meets Mash and his father. The reader learns that Mash is a non-magic user. However, Mash has been blessed with supernatural strength and durability that he has grown and increased over his life by obsessively working out. The reader is introduced to Easton Magic Academy and the three dorms in Adler, Orca, and Lang.
Kōmoto clearly conveys Mash’s mission statement. Mash wants to enroll at Easton Magic Academy in order to become a Divine Visionary so that he and his father can live peacefully in a world where non-magic users like Mash are put to death. Mash’s personality is presented in a straightforward manner. Mash is very friendly, he hates bullies and wants to protect his family and friends.
The Easton Enrollment Arc delivers the entrance examination. During this examination, we get to meet some of the supporting cast. The reader meets Lemon Irvine who is a scared and weak female student. While Lemon first tries to deceive Mash, the two become friends. From this point on, Lemon becomes obsessed with Mash and constantly dreams of marrying him.
The reader also gets introduced to another main supporting cast member in Finn Ames. Finn is a nervous and weak magic user but is also incredibly smart. Finn quickly becomes close friends with Mash.
Mash, Finn, and Lemon all end up in Adler Dorm. At this point, Kōmoto introduces another first-year student in Lloyd Cavill and Tom Knowles who is the jock of Adler Dorm.
The reader also meets Wahlberg who is the headmaster of Easton Academy. Wahlberg imparts advice to Mash including how in order to become a Divine Visionary that Mash must be the top student at the school by gathering gold, silver, and bronze coins through school work and activities.
Kōmoto also introduces the hierarchy of magic users. Regular magic users have one stripe on their faces. Special magic users have two stripes on their faces.
The highlight of the Easton Enrollment Arc is the battle between Lance Crown (a two-stripe magic user) and Mash. Learn that Lance is motivated to save his sister who has a disease that robs her of her magic. Must become a Divine Visionary to change the rotten system of the Bureau of Magic. Then they become allies.
4. Magia Lupus Arc (Ch. 16 – Ch. 39)
The Magia Lupus Arc centers on the Magia Lupus, the elite magic users from Lang Dorm going after Adler Dorm in the quest for gold coins. The reader gets to meet Lord Abel Walker who is the head of Lang Dorm.
We also get several quality battles. First, we get a matchup of Dot versus an unnamed Lang House member. Next, we get a tag team match of Lance and Mash v. Olgore and the 7th Magia Lupus.
We then get a second tag team match of Dot and Finn versus 4th Magia Lupus and Love. What is so great about this match is that we get to learn more about Dot’s past and his new power-up. This match continues the trend of Kōmoto using the fights to build out a character’s backstory and flesh out their personality.
Next up is the quality battle of Wirth Mádl versus Lance. However, my favorite battle in the Magia Lupus Arc is by far and away Abyss Razor versus Mash. This battle is phenomenal. This is the first time we really see Mash getting pushed in a fight. Also, Kōmoto does an amazing job with Abyss Razor and makes him an incredibly compelling character.
Lastly, the Magia Lupus Arc delivers the big battle between Lord Abel and Mash. This is another battle that offers up as much psychological drama as it does physical conflict.
The Magia Lupus Arc is also important for advancing some large plot points and further fleshing out the world of Mashle. The reader hears about the ultimate big bad in Innocent Zero for the first time. Fantastic name for a final boss villain, by the way.
We also get the debut of the Divine Visionary Rayne Ames for the first time. This is a big moment as Rayne is the older and much more talented brother of Finn Ames.
3. Tri-Magic-Athalon Divine Visionary Final Exam Arc (Ch. 75 – Ch. 102)
The Tri-Magic-Athalon Divine Visionary Final Exam Arc centers on Mash being questioned by a Divine Visionary before Mash and his friends head on to the final exam.
We get some more world-building in this arc as Kōmoto introduces the three elite magic schools. Easton Magic Academy where humanity and compassion are taught. Saint Ars Magic Academy where justice is revered and rule breakers are harshly punished. Walkis Magic Academy where power means everything.
Of the three elite magic schools, Walkis is the most decorated as it has produced 85 visionaries. Easton comes in second place as it has produced 11 visionaries. Saint Ars comes in third place as it has produced 4 visionaries.
Kōmoto also unveils even more information about Mash’s origin and childhood. This is a ton of surprising information that will change how the reader views Mash.
Kōmoto cranks up the intensity with the matchup of Divine Visionary Orter Mádi versus Mash. This is another fight where Kōmoto places Mash in a position where he has not found himself in his prior fights. It is as much of a psychological matchup as it is a physical one.
We also get the matchup of Domina Blowelive from Walkis Magic Academy versus Kringruss a student from Saint Ars. It is fun to finally see students from the other magic schools get to show their abilities in battle. Domina Bloewlive is also a big character debut as Domina is one of Innocent Zero’s sons.
This story arc also delivers the climactic Final Exam with Dot, Lance, and Mash representing Easton, three students from Walkis, and none from Saint Ars. Kōmoto cranks up the tension by having three more Walkis students accept the Saint Ars’ vacancies. However, the craziness is still not complete as Kōmoto then has Lord Abel, Abyss Razor, and Macron join the three Easton students in order to even up the odds. This sets the stage for a phenomenal Final Exam.
We get several excellent fight matchups. First, we get Levis Rosequartz from Walkis Magic Academy versus Mash. We also get Domina versus Mash. Both fight scenes are incredible. However, the Domina versus Mash fight is one that is as fascinating from a character standpoint as it is from a physical standpoint.
The ending of this story arc delivers multiple cool character introductions. Kōmoto introduces the reader to Innocent Zero’s other sons including Doom, Famin, Epidem, and Delisaster. Each son is unique in both their character design and their personality.
2. Divine Visionary Selection Exam Arc (Ch. 44 – Ch. 74)
In this story arc, Mash and his friends enter the Divine Visionary Selection Exam. However, only one student can win. The path to becoming a Divine Visionary is first, a coin acquisition mission. A student needs to collect three coins in order to qualify for the Divine Visionary Selection Exam. Second, the student must enter the candidate selection exam. Third, the student must progress to the Divine Visionary Elect final exam.
Kōmoto kicks off this story arc with an exciting matchup of Margarett Macaron versus Rayne Ames. This fight delivers Macaron’s backstory. Macron is a wonderful character with a unique design and a fascinating personality. Of course, Rayne Ames is an incredibly cool character and surprises the reader with an unexpected power-up.
The contestants for the Divine Visionary selection exam include the following students. From Lang Dorm: Dolb Marx, Pon Torus, Moore Tomato, and Leblanc Russell. From Adler Dorm: Aorio Morris, Max Land, Finn Ames, Dot Barrett, Lance Crown, and Mash Burnedead. From Orca Dorm: Margarette Macaron and Carpaccio Luo-yang.
Kōmoto has the students facing various opponents, obstacles, and traps in their quest to collect keys in order to pass on to the next stage of the exam. During this stage, we get several excellent fight matchups. First, we get Carpaccio versus Finn. I loved this fight as it allowed Finn the opportunity to show something other than his usual scared and weak persona. In this fight, the reader gets to see Finn’s loyalty and never say die attitude despite a lack of power. Second, we get the matchup of Carpaccio versus Mash.
Kōmoto introduces Kaldo Gehenna (Magic Talent Administration). Everyone joining the Bureau of Magic gets inspected by Kaldo. If Kaido doesn’t like what he sees from a student then the student may not get to be a Divine Visionary.
This signature fight of this story arc is the matchup of Macaron versus Mash. This is a brilliant fight. This matchup is easily one of the best fights up to this point.
This story arc also delivers a rematch of Cell War versus Mash. This was a unique moment as this was the first time that Mash had to fight the same opponent twice.
Kōmoto also delivers some quality backstories on both Innocent Zero and Wahlberg. The reader gets to learn why Innocent Zero is so obsessed with Mash. We also learn about the history that exists between Wahlberg and Innocent Zero. All of this is compelling reading. Kōmoto shows off how he is not just about badass fight scenes. That Kōmoto can also deliver wonderful character work and world-building.
This story arc also delivers a turning point for Mash. We get to see how public opinion is beginning to shift even though Mash is a non-magic user. We also get a clear mission statement for Mash in terms of the threat that Innocent Zero poses to the world.
1. Eclipse Arc (Ch. 103 – Present)
The Eclipse Arc is easily the biggest story arc of them all up to this point. This story arc delivers far more big moments than any of the prior story arcs. Kōmoto cranks up the intensity of the story to a completely new level. The foundation of the Eclipse Arc is that Mash trains with Meliadoul in order to prepare for the impending battle with Innocent Zero. However, Innocent Zero and his forces attack faster than expected.
What makes the Eclipse Arc so enjoyable and unique is that while Mash is sidelined, this story arc allows the supporting characters to take the spotlight. And given that Mashle: Magic and Muscles has phenomenal supporting characters I was thrilled to see them get center stage. Kōmoto also delivers more excellent character work as the reader gets to know more about Innocent Zero’s sons.
The Eclipse Arc is also the arc where the reader finally gets to see the various Divine Visionaries really flex their muscles. There is a reason why these characters are considered the heavy hitters of this world. First, we get the matchup of Doom versus Divine Visionary Renatus Revol. This is an excellent battle, however, it does not compare to the fights that we get next in this story arc.
Kōmoto shines the spotlight directly on Ryoh Grantz, Orter Mádl, Dot, Lance, Rayn Ames, and Finn Ames during the story arc. Of all of these characters, Finn is the one that benefits the most from this time in the spotlight. Finn evolves and blossoms into a character that is able to display his true value to his allies. After Finn, Dot would be the character that next most benefits from this time in the spotlight.
We get the matchup of Epidem versus Lance and Dot. I loved seeing these two frenemies in Lance and Dot having to grow and evolve as young men and having to learn how to work together.
However, the fight that I loved, even more, was the matchup of Delisaster versus Rayne Ames and Finn Ames. I adored Kōmoto’s phenomenal work with the brother dynamic between Rayne and Finn. We get treated to some powerful emotional moments between these brothers during this fight. This strong character work during this fight helps to grow both characters in a pleasant fashion. The reader ends up liking both brothers even more by the end of this fight.
This story arc delivers tons of action involving Orter Mádl. To be sure, Orter Mádl is a serious badass. We get the matchup of Famin versus Orter Mádl. We also get the matchup of Doom versus Orter Mádl. There is no doubt that Orter Mádl benefits greatly from the Eclipse Arc.
Another signature fight is the matchup of Doom versus Ryoh Grantz. Ryoh absolutely steals the show. No doubt about it. Kōmoto performs phenomenal character work on Ryoh during this battle. Ryoh is charismatic and over-the-top. The reader immediately falls in love with Ryoh’s character.
Kōmoto also cranks out a badass fight in the matchup of Doom versus Mash. The reader gets to see Mash pushed as he has never been pushed in a fight before. The action is incredible and this fight captivates the reader’s attention.
Of course, what makes the Eclipse Arc so insane is the crown jewel battle that involves Innocent Zero fighting multiple opponents. Kōmoto has Innocent Zero locking horns with Mash, Domina, Orter Mádl, Meliadoul, and Lance. It is absolutely bonkers and the reader will love every second of this epic battle.
All right, that is our ranking for the Mashle: Magic and Muscles story arcs! Look, all of the story arcs are fantastic. So, if yours differs from ours then I won’t fight you about it!