Shortcake Cake Volume 1
The concept behind Shortcake Cake by suu Morishita (alias for writer Makiro and artist Nachiyan) had promise, but I couldn’t keep the characters straight, because none of them are particularly distinctive.
Ten lives two hours away from high school, so she moves into a boarding house to avoid the commute. Her friend Ageha already lives there, as do these stereotypical guys:
* Riku, the flirtatious charmer who doesn’t understand why he instantly crushes on Ten
* Chiaki, the cute boy all the girls are interested in who’s oblivious to his appeal (the one unusual thing about him is that he reads constantly, a nice trait)
* Yuto, the smart boy who’s the only one allowed in the girls’ rooms, for tutoring
It took me three read-throughs to get everyone straight, even though there’s a page where they all introduce themselves, because everyone’s voice sounds exactly the same. Ten, particularly, has no distinctive characteristics, so it’s hard to understand what guys see in her.
Events are rather dragged out, with obvious points made on the page and slow pacing. The immediate conflict is that boys and girls can’t visit each others’ rooms, putting a road block in the way of anyone dating.
I didn’t remember much of what happened in the book after my first read-through. The most distinctive bits of the story are early on, with Ten’s two-hour bus ride to school. That’s quickly dropped as part of the premise, which meant the only part that stuck with me was what the lead was moving on from.
The setup and characters reminded me of Dreamin’ Sun, and I’m getting tired of that, so I’m not eager to see more. If you enjoy that series, though, you’ll definitely want to check out Shortcake Cake. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)