The high school bonds of friendship and romance are all tested in Shortcake Cake by Suu Morishita.
Ten Serizawa has moved out of her parents’ home and into a boarding house, both to avoid the two-hour commute to school and to get to spend more time with her friends. One of her friends and three other boys reside in the boarding house and two of the boys have taken an interest in Ten, who is fairly oblivious when it comes to noticing boys. She’ll need to have her wits about her and a calm heart when it comes to facing the boys, especially in her new living situation.
Volume 1 introduces our bright cast of characters, specifically Ten Serizawa, Chiaki Kasadera, and Riku Mizuhara. Ten is introduced as easy going… if a little oblivious to the feelings of other people. Her friends want to spend more time with her, and sneak her into the boarding house they live in to hang out. During their adventure, Chiaki saves Ten from being discovered by other members of the house when she attempts to sneak downstairs to use the restroom.
Ultimately Ten decides its best if she moves into the boarding house. She’s introduced to everyone else in the house, including Riku, whom she’s a little skeptical about. It’s at this point that the story starts to diverge in point of view, at times from Riku’s point of view and then switching back to Ten. There’s an adventure to a shrine where Riku is determined to protect Ten, but winds up getting bitten by a strange young man instead. It’s clear that Riku has developed feelings for Ten and is jealous of Chiaki, a sentiment that he makes everyone aware of by the end of the manga.
In volume 2, the story picks up at Riku’s confession. Ten rejects him because she feels that he’s a playboy who plays with women’s emotions. As Chiaki, Ten, and Riku move forward, it seems that they’ve mostly moved past the incident, until it looks like they’re both competing for Ten’s attention. We’re introduced to a new rival for Ten’s affections, the young man from the shrine who bit Riku. He seems to have it out for Riku, making moves to take Ten as his own girlfriend, which Ten completely rejects. In order to stave off his affection, Chiaki steps in and claims that Ten is his girlfriend to protect Riku from the young man who by the end of the volume, we find out is his brother. It seems that these shenanigans are only going to get more comedic and dramatic.
Shortcake Cake does a good job bringing this dramatic love rectangle to life, seeming as though it might lean towards being more of a high school harem manga. It reminded me a bit of Ouran High School Host Club, sans the pompous attitudes of the boys and in the guise of a boarding house. It was quite an enjoyable read, with the comedic moments being truly hilarious while not taking away from the drama that is high school life. With the cliffhanger style endings, it definitely makes the reader want to continue on to the next volume.
As with all shoujo manga, the artwork is very lovely. Lines are crisp and clean, and the inclusion of an afterword and artwork pages are wonderful. They help give a little insight into the characters, their styles, and also some information that we might find useful, such as the layout of the boarding house in volume 2. The panels flow well and the translation is well done and easy to read.The best part about this is that the book isn’t necessarily word heavy, instead there is more of an emphasis on the art. There’s a lot of shared looks between characters that don’t always need an established dialogue.
This manga would make a perfect addition to any established collection of manga, or even for collections that want to begin a manga collection. It’s a story true to its age rating with plenty of fun characters, funny scenes, and lots of high school drama that teens might relate to. I really enjoyed this series so far, and have added it to my own collection. Though there are only two volumes so far, I can’t wait to see where Ten, Chiaki, and Riku’s story goes.
Shortcake Cake Volumes 1 & 2
By Suu Morishita
Art by Suu Morishita
vol 1 ISBN: 9781974700615
vol 2 ISBN: 9781974700622
Viz Media, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: Teen (13+)