In the world of manga and anime, plagiarism is a severe offence that can lead to the immediate cancellation of a series. While some authors may inadvertently have similar ideas, they rarely copy another author’s work knowingly. However, a recent situation involving Mashle: Magic and Muscles has drawn comparisons to Fullmetal Alchemist and stirred up controversy among fans.
Myjitsu, a reputable Japanese website, reported that Hajime Koutomo’s Mashle: Magic and Muscles appeared to borrow a concept from Fullmetal Alchemist in its latest chapter. The manga, which had its anime adaptation announced on July 3, 2022, and generated considerable buzz since the trailer’s release, now finds itself at the centre of this heated debate on the Japanese side of social media.
The Controversial Chapter 148
In this chapter, Mash (the story’s main protagonist) wakes before a giant door. The gate’s name is “Gate of Equivalent Exchange“, and the gate’s guardian makes a deal with Mash that he will send him back to his world if he gives the guardian his “most desired belongings of life”. Later on, numerous dark hands come out of this door and try to pull Mash into the darkness of the gate.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, a very similar scenario happens. In Fullmetal Alchemist, “The Gate of Truth” exists. Anyone who goes against the laws of Alchemy is sent to this gate, and here they must obey the “Law of Equivalent Exchange” properly. Dark hands also appear from this gate, similar to the Mashle’s latest chapter scene.
Japanese Fullmetal Alchemist Fans Speak Out
While it’s not uncommon for authors to share similar ideas, Fullmetal Alchemist fans haven’t held back in expressing their disappointment. Comments range from accusing the manga of plagiarism to questioning Weekly Shonen Jump’s approval of the content. Here are some of their comments:
- “Isn’t this direct plagiarism? I have no respect for the original work.”
- “This is not a parody; it is directly a plagiarism of the story; I don’t see that the author respects the work of Hiromu Arakawa (author of Fullmetal Alchemist).”
- “I wouldn’t mind seeing this kind of thing in a doujinshi, but I can’t believe Weekly Shonen Jump approved it.”
These comments highlight the strong feelings of Fullmetal Alchemist fans, who believe that Mashle: Magic and Muscles crossed a line in its latest chapter.
Mashle’s Parody History
It’s worth noting that Mashle: Magic and Muscles has a history of parodying other popular series, such as One Punch Man and even Harry Potter. The series has consistently dabbled in parody with its protagonist defeating enemies with a single punch and incorporating a magical school with three houses and a game akin to Quidditch, Duelo.
As a result, it’s possible that the Fullmetal Alchemist-inspired scene was merely a homage, not intended to disrespect the original work or its author. If Fullmetal Alchemist’s creator and Shounen Jump don’t take issue with the scene, fans may need to reconsider their criticism of Hajime Koutomo’s work.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this situation. Do you think Mashle: Magic and Muscles deserves criticism for this scene, or is it just a playful parody? Share your opinions in the comments below!