Sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me and I pick up subsequent manga volumes from the library just to see if things get any better or interesting; sometimes this works out and sometimes not. With Mashle: Magic and Muscles, the first few volumes were essentially trope overload with a touch of the goof-ball. Volumes 4-5 don’t really get much better. Tropes include the clueless but good-hearted hero who has nothing but physical prowess to get by in a magic world, the girl he saves who has a thing for him and follows him around occasionally getting kidnapped, the put-upon pal, the rival who is probably mostly just a friend, the wise overseer who probably knows way more about what’s going on than he lets on, some kind of evil organization searching for something powerful that now might have its eye on the hero, the obsessed weird-o who’s still on team good-buy, and the list goes on.
My problem with Mash, the protagonist, isn’t so much that he’s not very scholarly or that he’s got superhuman strength (granted he’s trained in physical fitness his whole life, but still); it’s how oblivious he is to how much trouble he could avoid if he stopped to think for just a second, and the stupid cream puff obsession. Just as Mash is walking into the main (so far) villain den in volume 4, he pauses in front of the head bad guy to stuff a cream puff into his mouth, and in volume 5, Mash’s inability to manage basic social interaction when he’s accused by another student of being magic-less leads to not just himself, but also two people who’ve stood up for him in the past, in possible trouble with the magic court.
Maybe it’s also a problem that there appear to be some distinct Harry Potter-like tropes as well, including the visit to the wand shop and a special one ending up in Mash’s hand, or the house competitions for points (represented here by coins). It’s not so much that the Harry Potter content is present, it’s the combination with the hero adventure, like Black Clover– same kind of hero and general goal, although the title for Mash is “Divine Visionary”, not “Wizard King”, and mysterious evil organization vs the chosen one scenario. Just too much general dumb and physical only wins; I think I’m done with this one.