Title: Shortcake Cake Vol. 5
Author: suu Morishita
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance
Publication Date: August 2, 2019
Volume five of Shortcake Cake completely builds upon the love triangle. Chiaki and Ten end up going on a class field trip where they decide to buy some souvenirs. Chiaki coaxes Ten into picking one out for the girl he likes all while she is oblivious to the fact that Chiaki likes her. Ten decides to buy a gift for Riku, whom she does like. When they return, Ten is able to give her gift to Riku which wraps up that little plot point.
The volume then moves on to the sports festival. Before this happens, Riku accidentally breaks Chiaki’s mug. Chiaki said it was a memento from his grandfather which causes Riku to feel guilt and remorse over breaking it. The two of them head out shopping where Chiaki ends up having a great time but also confirms his rivalry with Riku over Ten. We transition into the sports festival and it’s here that Riku is competing in a relay race so Ten, Chiaki, and Ran all decide to attend to watch Riku.
The volume ends with a rather shocking moment but I won’t spoil it!
There wasn’t much in the way of exploring our full cast of characters in this volume as the story focused on Chiaki, Ten, and Riku. What we got here was really good though as it expressed the inner turmoil between the three of them over who likes who and the implications of going for their interests. I thought it was pretty well done and told an entertaining story. Plus, there was some great humor along the way that made you smile. From a story standpoint, it was an all-around fun volume.
The only big issue I had with this volume was the lack of development with their characters. For a volume that dominantly featured all three main characters, they haven’t changed one bit. Chiaki, Ten, and Riku are the same people here than they were in the four previous volumes. While there was SOME development, it wasn’t until the very end and it would venture into spoiler territory. While this can be seen as a negative in most stories, here I think the lack of development oddly works.
While it halts character progression, it takes what we know about the characters and applies it to the main overarching story. In a sense, there really wasn’t any need for development but still, the lack of it made things a little too one-dimensional and predictable. I would have liked to have seen a character change for either Riku or Chiaki here. Whether it be slight or drastic, something to really set them apart from each other in this whole love triangle.
Right now as it is, the two of them are just two guys with their own quirks who happen to like the same girl. While they have their own distinct personalities, they don’t have any differentiating personalities when it comes to liking Ten. I think it’s important to try and establish a bit of dissonance here in order to create a more compelling love story.
All in all, this was still a good volume of Shortcake Cake. The story is progressing as we are examining the feelings of all three main characters in relation to each other. While the cliffhanger at the end of the volume is one people would see coming from a mile away, it still offered up enough intrigue to read the next volume to see how it plays out. The sad thing is, it’s not a major cliffhanger that’s going to leave you on the edge of your seat. It’s simply the kind where you want to see the response more than the consequences (or benefits) from said response. That makes the cliffhanger a little shallow but it still does its job by generating interest for the next volume.
The love story hasn’t really been all that deep for this series but it doesn’t need to be. Sometimes simple and straightforward can put out good entertainment and Shortcake Cake continues to be one of those series that does just that.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media