Book’em Nerdo: Shortcake Cake
Like I said with The New Gate, I have been reading more manga lately. And one of them that my wife picked out which I have enjoyed a lot as well is Shortcake Cake. This is not a title that would have caught my eye, most likely anyways. It might have because it sounds like it is about cooking. It is not, it is a high school romance manga that is very cute and a lot of fun, let’s talk a bit about the plot and what works and doesn’t.
The Plot – Shortcake Cake
Ten is a high school student who takes the bus from a small town into the bigger city every day for school. One of her good friends from the town and going to her school has a boarding house where she lives. A room is open there and after visiting Ten realizes that is probably going to be a better experience for her.
Of course, there are both boys and girls living in the house. And soon Ten has an admirer, but is it someone that she likes back. And how would a romance work in the house or could it even work? Those are the things as well as high school life that Ten needs to navigate.
This is a different manga that most that I’ve read before. I have read some things and watched some that lean into the romance element as well. But this one lays itself out in an interesting way. Mainly that you don’t always know who is talking. The voice bubbles are not always lined up, and this feels like it is done so that they can create this sense of confusion of flustered feeling that Ten has at times. As the reader it is meant for us to feel as confused as she does in that moment.
I also like to mention fan service here, if there is any. And while there is romance and characters kiss, and that is the whole thing that drives the story. I won’t way who kisses who, there are a lot of characters in the house, but there is not fan service. It is written that so that it’s primary audience is going to be female which means that the standard fan service is not going to increase an audience.
What Doesn’t Work?
The books are not all consistent. By that I mean in the 2nd book, it is almost worth putting down. There is a character introduced that is just not interesting and the story that you care about from the first book does not progress. It nearly killed the series, but we’d enjoyed the first book enough that I had bought more than just the 2nd. If I had only bought one I’m not sure I’d have continued.
I also think that while the voice being confused makes some sense thematically for the story, it is not the most effective story telling element. The issue is that sometimes while reading it you can’t figure it out and it takes a panel or two to put it together. Again, that is thematic in what it is doing, but it’d work better if it was a disconnected voice that as you read it you could connect it.
Aesthetically this is one of the better looking manga that I’ve read. It calls back previous panels and conversations in a really nice way. And the character artwork is very well done. The focus is very much on the characters and the background generally falls away. You need the characters to look good in this for the story to work because there are no grand set pieces.
The romance works well, as well. And I won’t go into it too much as to not spoil anything. But it is done pretty simply without many grand gestures or anything like that. There are some moments that happen that stretch out the whole will they won’t they element. And there is a love triangle at one point in time. That is not always handled the best, but I generally think that it works.
Who Is It For?
Like I said, this is written primarily for a female audience. That said, it can stand on it’s own. I would say that there will be an element where you need to push past that 2nd collection but beyond that, it is better. If romance manga interests you at all, I think this is one of the better ones, at least from what I’ve come across. It doesn’t delve into too much drama, and it feels good to read it, so maybe even if it’s out of your normal style, give it a read.
Final Thoughts – Shortcake Cake
This is a lot of fun, and there are a total of 12 so it is not too long. Shortcake Cake doesn’t make me immediately want to go out and seek more romance manga. But it also is not turning me off from it. In fact, if my wife finds more that she wants to checkout, I’ll read them as well.
I am curious as to what others will think of the main characters. I know with the love triangle, I didn’t have as much issue with the third person. Now, it is not who you might think if you read book two. So there is some room for how you enjoy the series. Not saying that there is ever really a wrong way. It is just interesting to see how my wife and I might differ on opinions, somewhat, on the characters.
Have you read Shortcake Cake? What did you think of it, or what are your favorite romance anime or manga?