REVIEW: ‘Shortcake Cake,’ Volume 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Shortcake Cake Volume 9

Shortcake Cake is a shojo romance and school life series from mangaka Suu Morishita and is published in English by VIZ Media through their Shojo Beat imprint. The series follows Ten Serizawa who decided to move into her best friend’s boarding house in order to avoid a two-hour commute through the mountains to high school every day. Ten’s friends consider her to be as oblivious as a rock when it comes to noticing boys and falling in love, but she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle. Having chosen Riku, and now officially dating, Shortcake Cake Volume 9 picks up in the middle of a sibling feud between Riku and his brother Mei.

The focus of this volume is to tell Riku’s story, more specifically because Ten wants to know everything about the boy she likes. As Shiraoka breaks down the truth about Riku’s past it becomes clear that Riku’s cheery demeanor is hiding a history of pain and his fights with his brother stem from a rift that began when their parents died. In Shortcake Cake Volume 9 we learn that Mei and Riku aren’t related by blood, but more importantly, we learn the reason for Riku’s adoption and how this led to resentment between the two siblings despite being raised as one family.

When it comes to traumatic backstories for a romantic lead, shojo has that market cornered. While I was new to the series before picking up this title for review, reading the first chapter of this volume made me immediately head back to the beginning of the series and read from volume 1 up. While this was necessary to get the full emotional impact for Riku’s story, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way, it is still possible to jump into this romance at this point thanks to the extremely detailed summary of events at the start of the volume. Morishita is able to craft emotion and depth through flashback transition and the storytelling form Shiraoka’s perspective that allows the reader to learn about Riku with Ten.

One of my favorite character development points is to take a character that is carefree and to dig beneath their smile and showcase a past that has pushed them to smile through their circumstances. In Riku’s case, it’s the abandonment he feels from his birth mother and how this led him to be shunned by Mei after their parent’s death. Morishita takes time to detail Mei’s resentment which leads to his behavior that pushes his own isolation. In contrast, Riku is the one who is isolated through no fault of his own and instead, tries to pull people towards himself with laughter and light. This stark difference between the brothers makes sense when seen in the larger context and keeps from becoming too trope-based.

But the best part of Shortcake Cake Volume 9 is how Ten’s quest to bring Riku and his birth mother together result in the two of them getting closer than ever before. That’s right shojo fans, this volume ends with way more than hand-holding before cutting abruptly while the two are in Riku’s room ready to take their relationship to the next level. While we won’t know how this moment ends until Volume 10, as someone who read through all nine volumes back to back, this was an exciting element to their romance this volume and proves the importance of Ten taking time to learn more about Riku.

Ultimately, Shortcake Cake Volume 9 is emotional and balanced. Each choice that Morishita makes is well thought out and contributes to the overall narrative, especially the strategically placed flashbacks throughout the volume. Additionally, Morishita’s art is heartfelt and one of my favorite things about the series as a whole. If you’re looking for a sweet romance, this is a series to pick up and Volume 9 is one of the best volumes in the series.

Shortcake Cake Volume 9 is available from booksellers now.

Shortcake Cake Volume 9
5

TL;DR

Ultimately, Shortcake Cake Volume 9 is emotional and balanced. Each choice that Morishita makes is well thought out and contributes to the overall narrative, especially the strategically placed flashbacks throughout the volume. Additionally, Morishita’s art is heartfelt and one of my favorite things about the series as a whole. If you’re looking for a sweet romance, this is a series to pick up and Volume 9 is one of the best volumes in the series.