Friday, August 23, 2019

Shortcake Cake volume 5 - a bit more romance on the horizon (Manga Review)

Suu Morishita
Shortcake Cake volume 5 - 7.5/10

We're really starting to get somewhere with Shortcake Cake volume 5. I still think of it as a really good second-tier quality shoujo series, but I think this volume was a step in the right direction.

Ten lives in a high-school boarding house with a couple other guys and girls. Both Riku and Chiaki are in love with Ten. We pick up volume 5 with Ten realizing she has feelings for Riku. However Riku had already been turned down earlier by her and Chiaki and Riku are uncertain how to reconcile their friendship with each other while also being rivals.

After a trip, Ten makes a slight move to let Riku know that she's thinking of him. It's subtle, but he seems to pick up on the message. At the same time, Chiaki is jealous as he notices that Ten is beginning to focus on Riku. Chiaki makes his move too. Without spoiling what he does, let's just say that although his action is pretty minor, he still doesn't get consent first which isn't good and continues to be a problem in manga.

I like that we're making progress with the relationships, however, we've completely dropped what was a major plot and character point early in the series: that of the mysterious rich and strange son of the boarding house owner. He has some relationship with Riku. So one can only hope that if Ten and Riku get together, that this character is reintroduced in a meaningful way. It's like Chekhov's gun, this character was built up in the first few volumes but has been absent in the last two, so there had better be a future purpose for him.

I think the art in this volume has gotten significantly better since the first volume. I've liked it all along, but it feels more refined and mature and with some greater detail. There is also more screen tone use although it isn't the flashy sparkly type. There continues to be a mix of realistic and chibi art based on the atmosphere of the scene. Overall, it works well. I do have some trouble telling a few characters apart as their hair "color" isn't consistent and their facial features are similar.

Five volumes in, this is a nice, simple shoujo romance where everyone involved is a pretty nice person. That being said, it means there isn't really any depth or drama, nor deep emotional stakes. However, the characters are interesting and likable people and with volume 5 we're getting some forward momentum in the romance department. The art is good and complements the story. A solid 7.5/10 for a nice but not groundbreaking volume.


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