Title: Shortcake Cake Vol. 9
Author: suu Morishita
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Romance
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Volume nine of Shortcake Cake is the Riku show! The majority of the volume is dedicated to Riku’s backstory. Once Ten and Chiaki learn about Riku’s past, the gang gets quite the surprise when we are introduced to a new character named Ryu Kaitani along with a woman who shall remain nameless. The major surprise throws Riku’s life into turmoil and now he has to decide what he’s going to do with his future. In the middle of this heavy decision is Ten who, after learning about Riku, wants to find a way to make sure that Riku is happy.
All I can say is… wow… this was an emotionally charged volume with a lot of drama and interesting backstory. I know there will be a lot of character discussion about Riku in the next section; however, from a story standpoint, it was kind of stagnant due to Riku’s past getting explained. By stagnant, I don’t mean that the story wasn’t interesting, I meant that it halted the overall story’s progression until the last couple of chapters… but that is something to be expected when it comes to infodump volumes and this one is no exception.
Even though we detoured into Riku’s past, it was an eye-opening experience. There were so many different aspects to just Riku’s story that it and of itself could have passed for its own manga series if drawn out correctly. Riku’s backstory was probably one of the most detailed backstories for a main character that I have seen in a while as it explained everything from his childhood up to how Rei grew to despise him and how he ended up at the boarding house. In addition, it explained how Shingen was tied up in all of this and just what Riku and Rei mean to him. It was a really great backstory that I highly enjoyed!
Since this was the majority of the volume, let’s talk a little bit about Riku.
We learn about Mr. Yukiji and his daughter Mahoro. Mahoro and her husband wanted to conceive a child to be an heir to the family; however, Yukiji wasn’t concerned with an heir. Still, Mahoro didn’t want to give up as she wanted to be a mother. After almost three years of fertility treatments, she got pregnant and gave birth to Rei; however, one day in her classroom, she found a baby named Riku who was abandoned. She ended up adopting Riku making him and Rei non-blood-related brothers. Rei loved Riku at first but he felt, as the older brother, he should always be better than Riku. Slowly, this ate away at Rei and he grew to despise Riku.
Riku gets old enough and moves out to the boarding house for high school; however, that’s just the surface of everything. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Riku’s parents. Without spoiling too much, an event happens and the mystery is partially solved; however, it wasn’t Riku that found out the answer to that mystery… it was Rei by complete chance.
Once Ten and Chiaki learn of everything, they decide to take matters into their own hands but all of that is derailed when we are introduced to Ryu Kaitani and the woman that accompanies him. This woman ends up causing Riku to leave the boarding house and to go live with Shingen.
There’s so much more I want to talk about but I’d rather you guys read it for yourself. This is a big convoluted web but one that isn’t unbelievable nor confusing. Things are really starting to come to light for Riku as a main character but it makes me worried about his relationship with Ten. Things seem a bit off at the end of the volume despite them appearing to be okay. I don’t know… it’s just me… but there is something a bit odd about everything. Part of me wants to see them work through this but part of me thinks there could be a fracture here between the two of them.
The only thing that is stopping me from thinking a fracture will happen is Chiaki’s reaction to the unnamed woman that came to the boarding house with Ryu. Chiaki said another famous quote and the woman knew it right away. The look on Chiaki’s face said it all. It seemed as if it were love at first sight so maybe he’ll end up forgetting about Ten and pursuing this new interest, leaving the only plausible couple to be Ten and Riku. Still way too early to tell but that’s what it just seems like to me.
Wow… that’s all I can say. The info dump on Riku felt right. I don’t know how many volumes there will be of Shortcake Cake but to give this much backstory on Riku in the 9th volume seems about right for a slow burn story like this. All I have to say is that everything was worth the wait. I love the amount of detail that suu Morishima went into with Riku and how it tied everything together that we have been guessing about for the past eight volumes. I once complained that Rei felt like a throwaway character but after this volume, you don’t really see him in a different light but you do grow to understand the reasons behind his personality. Still, it makes you wonder if Rei has any deep regrets buried inside that he just can’t come to admit.
Outside of that, the focus still on Riku but now it’s shifted to a decision that he is probably going to wrestle with next volume on top of his relationship with Ten. I’m excited to see how all of this is going to go!
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This item was provided for review by VIZ Media