I think I saw an excerpt of Mashle: Magic and Muscles somewhere and decided it looked dumb. Then I decided to give it another chance when I was shelf-surfing in the library which turned out to have volumes 1-2. The premise of this manga series and most of the key characters so far are pretty recognizable. The hero Mash is a magicless idiot with only ridiculous strength to get by in a world where magic defines your status and prospects. To get his dad out of trouble which Mash is somewhat responsible for, he ends up having to enroll in magic school and win the highest title possible, Divine Visionary. Mash is mostly both dumb and naïve, having been raised in the forest away from society, which provides a way for some limited world building. He has to pass a magic school entrance test (which includes a sorting hat), and then survive both the education and his classmates.
Mash does not seem to be especially academic, but since we don’t see much in the way of classes, it’s hard to tell how he’s doing on that end. It’s also a bit too bad since that would be a good way to develop the magic system in this world; all we really know is that there are 2 types of magic, and that a person’s general competence can be noted by how many lines they have on their faces (usually just 1 for most early students). The only thing he seems to get excited about is cream puffs, and this gets him into trouble on more than one occasion. The thing that gets him out of trouble is the occasional person who sees something in him or more often that he physically pulls off some kind of impossible stunt; take for example flying lessons. What Mash actually does to demonstrate and pass this class is throw the broom really hard and then runs and jump on it as it sails through the air.
The other character are pretty mundane as well; there’s a full of himself Snape variant who oversees the entrance exams here named Claude Lucci, Lemon the girl who decides she likes Mash after he rescues her, the put-upon roommate Finn, an assortment of classmates and school staff who must be defeated, and some of whom might actually be dangerous, and naturally there’s the headmaster who is probably a lot more powerful than he looks. Mash also makes a few potential friends or allies, as well as enemies and getting on the wrong radars if he wants any kind of peace. Mash seems to be pretty oblivious to nearly everything, and it’s hard to really care about him, but some of the side characters might be worth following, mostly Lance Crown and Dot Barret. They’re both recognizable types too (one powerful and needing the same title Mash wants to save a family member, and aggressive on the outside but possibly nice guy on the inside).
This wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it’s definitely something I’m glad I got from the library and thus didn’t pay for and can give back so it won’t be taking up space.