Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, our weekly check in on Viz’s various Shonen Jump series. Viz has recently changed their release format, but our format will mostly remain the same. We will still review the newest chapters of two titles a week, now with even more options at our disposal. The big change for our readers is that, even without a Shonen Jump subscription, you can read these most recent chapters for free at Viz.com or using their app.
This week, Brian checks in with “Mashle: Magic and Muscles.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Mashle: Magic & Muscles Ch. 5
Written and illustrated by Hajime Komoto
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
I don’t know if I’ve ever read a comedic comic as dry as “Mashle.” The titular character has a droll, deadpan expression on his face the entire time he’s on the page, and gives very little visual information to the reader, in regards to his mood or what he’s thinking. And yet, it’s hard not to love Mash. He’s earnest and kind, even when he’s pissed off. He’s a character you’re rooting for, even if it is abundantly clear that he doesn’t belong in the world in which he’s found himself.
But it’s hard to call him an underdog, when he’s strong enough to do almost anything he could imagine with his pure brute strength. He’s an overpowered outsider, but never presents himself as anything special. He’s just unassuming Mash, the guy who could punch a hole in the moon if he wanted to.
Komoto’s art balances four very different aspects of the book: comedy, magic, physical action, and the monotony of school. All four are present throughout the book, with this chapter being mostly monotony, but the other aspects seep in and get under the hood, too. The book is subtle when it comes to character design and facial expressions, but then can have gigantic craters punched in a floor with little warning. It’s a fun juxtaposition, and makes for a surprising and enjoyable read.
Final Verdict: 7.2 – A solid chapter, though without some of the comedy or set pieces of prior chapters.