Title: Shortcake Cake Vol. 4 Author: suu Morishita Publisher: Viz Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 176 Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Volume four of Shortcake Cake turns up the drama within the love triangle between Ten, Riku, and Chiaki. After Riku and Ten kiss during the power outage, Riku assures her that he only did it to help take Ten’s mind off of the thunderstorm. In a typical plot device, the power returns when the two of them return to the kitchen. Chiaki suspects something and Riku finally confirms that he’s in love with Ten, much to Chiaki’s expectations. While Chiaki knew it all along, his feeling for Ten begins to deepen as well.
School is out and Summer Break is in full swing. This means we get to roll the dice and see where we’re going! Cultural Festival and School Field Trip are out of the question since everyone is on break. This leaves us with our choice of The Ocean or a Hot Springs… probably with summer fireworks to end everything. The dice have been rolled and….
Hey, look! Shirtless guys and girls in bikinis! The fanservice for everyone is here! Also, points for Chiaki ragdolling Ten into the ocean. The entire summer break has just been a tug-o-war between Riku and Chiaki as they vie for Ten’s attention; however, a defining moment comes when Ten asks how Chiaki knew he was in love with the girl he’s interested in (completely oblivious to the fact that she is the girl.) Chiaki says that no matter what book he reads, he can’t concentrate because he’s always thinking about her. That confirms Ten’s emotions that she has been feeling.
Her decision: She’s in love with [redacted]
You think I was going to give away the ending to the volume? Shame on you!
Even though we got the standard fare beach episode, the story moved along quite nicely. While our characters developed slightly, they did so hand-in-hand with the story which really deepened the love triangle aspect. Last volume, they began to set things up for this little battle and I’m glad that suu Morishita went at it in full force here, even if he did so by going full trope.
The development wasn’t much in this volume because it was done in small steps but each small step was a big step forward with the story. It’s kind of hard to explain but it’s a great example of accomplishing a lot by doing so little.
The little bit of development we got was confirmation that both Riku and Chiaki are in love Ten and Ten is in love with [redacted]. With all three of them coming to terms with their feelings, it pushed the love triangle story into full effect and amped up the drama, making you guess and wonder who Ten would choose in the end.
Now that the volume ended with Ten’s choice, we will have to see how she acts upon it. We could get more teasing in order to stretch the dramatic feeling, or Ten could just go for it and confess her feelings first. Or, maybe the one she likes will pull the first move, or maybe the one she doesn’t like will intervene and cause her feelings to sway. No matter what direction Morishita-san takes, we’re going to get something next volume. After everyone’s feelings set in stone, I can’t see him dragging this out any further. Either Ten or [redacted] are going to make the first move while the one who didn’t get chosen will either become frustrated and jealous, or something will happen which will open up a chance for him to change Ten’s mind.
This was another straightforward volume of Shortcake Cake but that’s what I like about this series. Even though the story has been linear thus far, it was going in a direction with the knowledge of knowing exactly what it was doing and how it was meant to be handled. Our characters are getting slow burns in the development area, which I feel puts them at a bit of a standstill, but with the romance aspect of the story taking center stage, this is not the time nor the place for the characters to get fleshed out.
If I were me, I’d probably pair up Ten with [redacted] and then have the two of them get to know each other. Tell their backstories like that. This will also give us time to explore the feelings of the other person whose backstory will be put on hold. Then again, we have our little x-factor character Rei, who graced the front cover of the volume; however, aside from his typical attempts to forcefully date her (by offering her a couple of mountains, no less!), I can see him wedging himself into Ten’s relationship just because. It doesn’t even matter who she picks, Rei’s going to be there to try and mess things up.
Come to think of it, for someone who graced the front cover, there really wasn’t much attention paid to him in this volume. Poor little creepy Rei.
All-in-all, great volume of Shortcake Cake! Probably the best one in the series so far! With so many possibilities heading into volume five, I can’t wait to read it!