As we near the end of its first season Mashle: Magic and Muscles continues to flesh out Mash’s supporting cast and teases his future challenges by introducing an intriguing new character. “Mash Burnedead and the Divine Visionary” sheds some light on why Dot and Finn are so keen to stick by Mash’s side by providing a glimpse into their childhoods. This character-building is paired with more world-building as Mashle puts a Divine Visionary on screen for the first time. Rayne Ames cuts an imposing figure as he gives Mash a taste of how far he will have to rise to reach his goal of becoming a Divine Visionary. Rayne’s little test is also a perfect opportunity for some now classic Mashle gags.
The Power of Friendship Strikes Again
Dot and Finn are immediately disrespected when the Fourth Fang, Milo, decides that the Fifth Fang, Love, is enough to handle both of them. Love turns out to be a perfect match for Dot when she demands both boys agree that she is cute and that they love her. Dot has a brief moment of self-awareness when he admits that Love’s schtick really works for him before refusing her request by plunging head-first into his own delusion and claiming Lemon as his future fiancé even though Lemon has shown zero interest in him. Rooting for Dot is an emotional rollercoaster. He’s impulsive and has a questionable understanding of romance but demonstrates true loyalty and affection for his friends. The flashbacks continue to provide background for Dot’s insecurity. Seeing the way he was bullied, it’s clear how he became obsessed with being the main character and his attachment to his new friends. All this backstory makes way for a quintessential anime moment when Dot is revealed to have a secret power.
Chekhov’s headband falls off Dot’s head and thanks to the power of friendship he is able to unleash incredible magical power. “The power of friendship” is a well-worn anime trope but it works because it’s universal. Dot’s sister drops some knowledge on him when she says “A real friend is someone who will honestly get sad or angry on your behalf.” Throughout this season Mash has embodied this type of friendship time and again so when Dot is inspired to break through his limits, the moment feels earned. When Milo returns and launches his surprise attack on Finn, Dot proves that he is also a true friend as he steps in and takes the attack in Finn’s place. It’s a beautiful moment of emotional evolution for a character who was hugely self-absorbed when he was introduced.
The Divine Visionary is Revealed
Before Milo can do too much damage the fight is interrupted by the introduction of a Divine Visionary. The most interesting revelation about the first on-screen Divine Visionary isn’t his cool sword magic but that he turns out to be Rayne Ames, Finn’s brother. Rayne instantly illustrates the stark differences between the two brothers. He wastes no time blasting Milo with powerful magic and proceeds to nonchalantly interrogate Milo by kicking him repeatedly. Despite arriving at a scene where his brother is in imminent danger he displays no outward emotions and barely acknowledges him.
There’s an immediate implication that Finn grew up in the shadow of an impressive but distant brother. There are no signs of animosity but there are no signs of affection either. This relationship is a huge contrast to the way that Mash and Finn have stood up for each other. Rayne continues his businesslike approach when he encounters Mash and he’s the perfect straight man for another one of Mash’s silly but impressive displays of dexterity. This time Mash’s inspirations are baseball and… furniture building? It’s a fun way to cap off the episode before Mash breaks yet another door and finally reaches Abel for the final confrontation.
“Mash Burnedead and the Divine Visionary” continues to expand Mash’s world by outlining why the Adler crew has bonded with Mash and with each other so strongly. Mash continues to be an outlier in the way that he treats people. Rayne is powerful, imposing, and detached. He’s the exact type of person that would be expected to rise to the rank of Divine Visionary in the society that has been established in this world. Mash’s brief skirmish with him shows that he may have the skills to keep up but will he have to change his approach to life if wants to reach that same rank?
Mashle: Magic and Muscles can be watched on Crunchyroll, with new episodes every Friday during the Spring 2023 season.
Featured image via Hajime Komodo/SHUEISHA, MASHLE Committee