London Holiday Manga Review
Chapters 0.5-7 (Completed)
Synopsis: Durandal and Rita meet on the bustling streets of London perchance. Away from the battlefields drenched in blood and encrusted with steel, what awaits them on these ancient lands? Will it be a new mission, or a long-due holiday? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
London Holiday is yet another entry in the Honkai Impact 3rd mobile game lore expanding manga collection. This time the main focus is on the characters of Durandal and Rita as Durandal explores the streets of London on a much needed holiday while Rita is set on a covert operation of sorts. Truth be told the holiday storyline of Durandal seems to be mainly there to provide some comic relief and sightseeing fluff while Rita’s mission is the true meat of the story. If you are completely unfamiliar with the world of Honkai Impact 3rd, the story gives enough information for you to be able to follow the story beats but be prepared to not truly grasp the exact significance of certain items and artifacts. Like all the others, London Holiday does not bother to really hold the reader’s hand and seems to heavily rely on the assumption that if you are reading this manga, it is because you are a fan or familiar with the mobile game it is based on. But since I have remarked that the story is nevertheless approachable for the non fan, is it still something worth your time? Let’s find out.
London Holiday has a surprising amount of jokes and gags throughout. In fact, it starts with a .5 chapter that basically turns out to be one big gag involving the characters introduced. While it is by no means a comedy series, it has a playful aura that pops up often enough to make it potentially appealing and entertaining for those who like their stories with a side of humour. Most of the jokes are simple, maybe even basic, but some of them manage to riff off of classic jokes enough to bring a smile to your face, such as a segment where we see a cat voicing their infuriated thoughts as a human innocently coddles it and ends up getting smacked by said cat.
When it comes to the main plot, it’s simple enough to understand. Rita is being sent off to investigate some artifact that seems to have connection to some important item called the 2nd Divine Key that the Schicksal organization is after. While we never truly learn exactly what the 2nd Divine Key is, the crux of the story is watching Rita face off against villains and demons who try to distract her or impede her investigation. The manga throws in quite a few twists and turns as it continues and while through readers should be able to predict some of the twists, the story throws in enough of them that you might be in for a surprise with at least one of them. Now these twists aren’t the most well set up but they do make for a decent finale and considering that the story lacks the grand battles and showdowns seen in other manga from this series, the decision to lean in more on the mystery and shock factor helps to boost its appeal.
Considering how heavily the story revolves around Rita’s quest, the inclusion of Durandal’s story line feels little more than fan service along with the option to have her act as a gag deux ex machina when things seem to be going south in the wrap up pages. It’s a weak point, one that doesn’t do much to flatter the quality of the writing and should give you a good indication of the level of creativity to expect in the plot. The manga throws in a couple of side characters, or really one supporting character to be honest, Susannah, a B grade Valkyrie for the Schicksal army, and she too ends up being more of a gag character and plot device than anything else. The story tries to give some back story for its villains but they feel half baked, incomplete and unconvincing leaving you with more questions than understanding. The focus of the story is plot and action, bolstered by comedy with no room for character growth or depth in its short run.
At just 7.5 chapters with full colour pages, London Holiday is a breeze to flip through but it is by no means a stellar read either, to no one’s surprise, thanks to its being a part of the Honaki Impact 3rd universe. Yes, you should be able to enjoy it or at the very least follow most of the story without any prior lore knowledge but you can easily leave this title at the bottom of your to be read list. Pick it up if you have an itch to quickly flip through a short completed story and have access only to the Crunchyroll manga library. Expect a few chuckles, attractive female characters, some action and tension but nothing extraordinary.
London Holiday is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.