Title: Shortcake Cake Vol. 2
Author: suu Morishita
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Riku says he likes her and would rank her at the top of the list of girls he has interacted with. This is met with a swift decline to his confession which he said he expected so it’s not a big deal.
Things become a bit awkward after that as Riku tries to sort out his feelings for Ten. Chikai pays him a visit and tries to get answers out of him but it doesn’t exactly go well. All of a sudden, things take an interesting turn when the weird guy from the shrine appears and demands that Ten be his girlfriend. He even tries to coax her by sending her a ton of flowers in the mail. It’s here that we learn his name is Rei Mizuhara… which shares the last name as a Riku. Rei shows up to the house to get Ten’s answer. Ten answers him all right… with a headbutt that knocks him out cold! They stuff Rei into Ran’s room as the others get home but Rei just can’t keep still or quiet and he’s discovered. Chiaki bails Ten out of the situation by pretending that the two of them are a couple. This sends Rei on his way but not in a quiet manner.
Riku is heading to Rei’s house to settle this once and for all but he’s stopped by Chiaki and Ten. After the whole ordeal blows over, Ten comes to realize that even though Chiaki was only pretending to be her boyfriend to protect her, that she actually has feelings for him!
I’ll admit, the second volume was a bit of a mess with Rei thrown into the mix. It’s almost if the series is using him purely for comic relief. I was happy with this being a love rivalry between Ten, Chiaki, and Riku but now they are throwing Rei into the mix and it doesn’t seem like it’s needed. There are many other ways Rei could be annoying to Riku and try to ruin his life other than inserting himself the way he did. I don’t know if I agree with that direction but it seems like it’s only temporary because, by the end of the volume, we are right back to Ten/Riku/Chiaki again.
So right off the bat, Riku gets turned down and I had a suspicion he would. It was WAY too early in a series to pull any kind of trigger with a relationship. Riku plays it off as if he expected all of that to happen. He assures Chiaki that he knew it wasn’t meant to be and that he had to get rejected to feel better about it, thus clearing the way for Chiaki to proceed in trying to get with Ten. Chiaki doesn’t buy it one bit and Riku knows deep down that he actually has feelings for Ten. As long as those feelings exist, we know that Riku isn’t going to give up any time soon.
The other part of Riku’s development came from Rei. It was confirmed that Rei is Riku’s younger brother and is the reason why Riku is living at that house instead of at home… which seems odd because it’s also revealed that Rei’s (and thus Riku’s) family owns the house that they are all staying in but it seems like none of them outside of Ran and Riku know that piece of information. Now that we know the connection between the two of them, the question remains what happened between Rei and Riku that caused Riku to move away and why does Rei want to make Riku’s life a living hell?
Chiaki didn’t get much development but he went from passive to protective rather quickly. In fact, Riku and Chiaki kind of fought with each other throughout the volume as to who would be the one to protect Ten from Rei. I liked that element as it kept their love rivalry alive in a new form. Even though Chiaki only pretended to be Ten’s boyfriend to scare Rei off, it ended up being a projection of his feelings for her. The fact that Ten admitted that she has feelings for Chiaki is going to end up blowing up in Riku’s face. That just means he’ll have to work that much harder to try and win Ten’s heart!
Outside of Rei wanting to date Ten with the goal of ruining Riku’s life, Rei is still the annoying little brat we were introduced to in volume one, except he was turned up to eleven here in this volume. Honestly, I’m all for loud and annoying characters but they need to be kept in check. Rei wasn’t and it just came off in an off-putting way. So much so that I didn’t want to read any more of his character and found myself quickly glossing over his parts until he was taken out of the picture. Morishita needs to dial back this character in a hurry because I felt that the method in which he was inserted into the story really added nothing to it.
With the exception of the small arc that involved Rei, I still enjoyed this entry into the series. Shortcake Cake is doing a lot of things right with the love triangle between Ten, Chiaki, and Riku and I like how Morishita made protecting Ten from Rei part of that love rivalry. I don’t think the characters were self-aware that they were fighting over Ten’s heart, which made that indirect advancement so much better. In that sense, Rei did his job as a character to get the two of them to fight over who got to protect her from him. I just wish Rei served a better purpose.
I know it’s kind of creepy to say this, but I would have rather Rei ended up stalking Ten with intentions to do something to her in order to get Riku to react. I know the sinister stalker type is overused but a lot of the times, the stalker actually has a weird love interest in the main female character. Here, it could have been purely just out of spite for Riku for whatever the reason is that caused the two of them to drift apart as brothers. My only fear is that this whole thing blows over and Rei just becomes a goofy comedy character that has no real redeeming qualities about him. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
I’m looking forward to volume three so we can see how Ten’s feelings for Chiaki come to fruition… if they do at all. I have a feeling Riku is going to make a move which might tip Ten’s feelings in his favor. Or I could be wrong. It’s fun to sit here and guess, though!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media