# 19天 #

Synopsis: 19 Days is an ongoing Chinese web manhua written by Old Xian from 2013. Over the years, the comic has gone from a slice of life to a comedy to a romance to a drama, and the story shifts between genres often over its 400+ chapters.

"Featuring characters Jian Yi and Zhan Zheng Xi who are childhood friends, the handsome He Tian, and the reluctant Mo Guan Shan."

Read it here on Neocities!

My thoughts: I have been in love with Jian Yi since I was 13, before the middle school chapters were released, and I have been keeping up with the comic ever since. My favourite characters in order are Jian Yi, Zhan Zheng Xi, Mo Guan Shan, and He Tian.

This comic is so stupid, goofy, sad, and dramatic in a way where it's so bad that it's good. Sure, there are better BLs that have faster and farther development. Sure, there are better comedies. Sure, there are better dramas that have smooth plots and development. Sure, there are slice of lifes that don't make you feel horrible. But where else are you going to get all of these genres at once with such loveable characters? I think among BLs, 19 Days is something special that I haven't seen in any other.

What I love so much about this comic is that it is the embodiment of "boys will be boys". Their shenanigans are so silly and heartwarming that this comic is easily one of my favourite comfort pieces of media. I have the 19 Days in the World anthology, the 19 Days first volume, and Old Xian's second art book! I have also reread this comic numerous times in English, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Tencent animation differences

    Out of sheer boredom, I read the original 19 Days comic and watched the Tencent animation side by side and took note of every difference in the 60 episodes (except maybe the omission of unimportant panels). There's censorship, entirely omitted chapters, random quirks added in for God knows why, and small trivial details.

  1. Chapter 124: Skips ZZX bumping into Xiao Hui, JY annoys ZZX more, ZZX pushes JY down.
  2. Chapter 115: HT eats a lollipop instead of smoking, HT puts his hand on JY's shoulder, JY pushes HT off, HT smells JY twice instead of once.
  3. Chapter 116: Skips HT making JY say meow, animates this scene in multiple angles by using panels of MGS from chapter 117 and 119, moves the MGS + HT hallway scene from chapter 119 to this animation episode.
  4. Chapter 118: Skips chapter 117.
  5. Chapter 119: Sky behind the fence is more blue, ZZX seeing MGS punching the wall from chapter 117 is moved to this animation episode but skips SL's first appearance.
  6. Chapter 120: No changes.
  7. Chapter 121: JY washes his face before HT grabs his neck.
  8. Chapter 122: JY reports the temperature and humidity while drying HT's underwear, the girls who laugh at JY aren't shown.
  9. Chapter 123: No changes.
  10. Chapter 125-6: ZZX doesn't mention cleaning behind the science building, JY doesn't say "I'm not cleaning either", HT doesn't put the basketball on JY's mouth, HT isn't present for the fight, includes the first half of chapter 126, JY doesn't say "fight one on one".
  11. Chapter 126-7: Skips HT's scene, skips ZZX pummeling MGS before the rock scene, the rock was censored to not show it hitting the head.
  12. Chapter 128: ZZX doesn't have blood coming out of his head, skips bloody of ZZX and the scary JY stare, ZZX's Mom doesn't mention his Dad, JY cries before ZZX says "I want to see you".
  13. Chapter 129: Skips JY wanting to spend the night at the hospital, doesn't show the hug.
  14. Chapter 130: HT literally is smoking nothing, they put a black shirt on HT.
  15. Chapter 131: Skips JY poking girl's boob, HT doesn't suggest hitting JY "down there".
  16. Chapter 132: JY doesn't give HT the middle finger.
  17. Chapter 133: Skips HT petting JY's head.
  18. Chapter 134: Crops JY standing at ZZX's door, JY closes his eyes after ZZX asks if he wants to "try it", JY sticks his tongue out when pushing ZZX half off the couch.
  19. Chapter 135: Skips the panel of JY putting his foot in ZZX's shirt and messing with his game, skips JY blushing at the end.
  20. Chapter 136: They put a white shirt on JY.
  21. Chapter 137: Crops ZZX removing his shirt, ZZX tells JY not to lie on the bed, ZZX doesn't lift JY's shirt as far, JY wraps his legs around ZZX on purpose "deviously" instead of embarrasingly out of reflex.
  22. Chapter 138: HT doesn't smoke.
  23. Chapter 139: "Too awkward!" at the end.
  24. Chapter 144: Skips chapters 140-3 the kiss and bridge scene, HT takes off his shirt to have a black tank shirt underneath, HT doesn't smoke.
  25. Chapter 145-6: They put JY in a black tank shirt, skips ZZX hugging JY flashback, skips ZZX saying "too slow".
  26. Chapter 147: No changes.
  27. Chapter 148-9: Skips JY wondering what ZZX was going to ask, skips JY and MGS punching each other.
  28. Chapter 150: JY doesn't blush or have an arrow to his heart when ZZX is a saint, a sky is shown when JY points out a cloud that looks like MGS, MGS doesn't give HT the middle finger.
  29. Chapter 151-2: The BL comic isn't shown, ZZX doesn't ask "what are you really thinking".
  30. Chapter 154-5: Skips chapter 153, skips playing cards in the classroom, skips MGS hiding behind a tree and giving HT the middle finger.
  31. Chapter 160: Skips chapters 156-9 the entire Xiao Hui love letter scene.
  32. Chapter 161: No changes.
  33. Chapter 162: No changes.
  34. Chapter 163: Shows the ending scene at a different angle taken from chapter 164.
  35. Chapter 164-5: Skips the first few panels, JY doesn't blush, skips JY and ZZX hugging and JY kissing ZZX's neck.
  36. Chapter 166: No changes.
  37. Chapter 167: No changes.
  38. Chapter 168: HT doesn't give HC the middle finger.
  39. Chapter 169: No changes.
  40. Chapter 170: HT doesn't actually squeeze MGS's chest.
  41. Chapter 171: JY doesn't lick the lollipop.
  42. Chapter 172: HT's underwear is drawn differently.
  43. Chapter 173: No changes.
  44. Chapter 174-5: MGS gets mad at HT drinking his water, the kiss doesn't happen.
  45. Chapter 176: No changes.
  46. Chapter 177: Skips a panel of MGS opening the door with his PS4 in his room.
  47. Chapter 178: MGS's eyes are open wider when he asks "what are you trying to say".
  48. Chapter 179: No changes.
  49. Chapter 180: The first panel of JY talking on the phone with HT is flipped horizontally, HT wears air pods instead of wire headphones.
  50. Chapter 181: No changes.
  51. Chapter 182: The details of MGS's alleged crime aren't mentioned.
  52. Chapter 183: Skips the He Tian smoking panels.
  53. Chapter 184: No changes.
  54. Chapter 185: Skips the last panel of MGS wiping HT's hand.
  55. Chapter 186: No changes.
  56. Chapter 188: Skips chapter 187, no changes otherwise.
  57. Chapter 189: No changes.
  58. Chapter 199: Skips chapters 190-1 and randomly goes to chapter 199. They put MGS in a grey tank shirt, MGS doesn't put his hand in his pants.
  59. Chapter 192: Skips HC panels + first ZhanYi panel.
  60. Chapter 192: Skips first JY Mom panel.

Jian Yi

Jian Yi (见一) is a cute and charming boy who has a crush on his best friend, Zhan Zheng Xi. He struggles to come out with his feelings that might destroy a decade long friendship. He seems like a soft boy, but he is a loud propagandist who will do anything to help a friend in need.

My thoughts

Jian Yi is my favourite character. I think he is such a wonderful character because he doesn't just function as a generic main character for a reader to project themselves onto, he is a fully fleshed and loveable character. He isn't the type of main character who is very cool or strong either, he has as many flaws and weaknesses as you and I do.

In a country like China where LGBT voices are often censored, Jian Yi's story is so important, and Old Xian is so brave to continue telling his story as much as they can while avoiding censors.

Zhan Zheng Xi

Zhan Zheng Xi (展正希) is the kind and selfless childhood friend of Jian Yi. He loves his family and will do anything to fulfil his promise to protect Jian Yi. He is observant and very economic with his words, but he shows his love through heartwarming actions, many of which are secrets only he knows.

My thoughts

Zhan Zheng Xi is my second favourite character tied with Mo Guan Shan. He is such a good person, and he is the one person who inspired Jian Yi to be a good person himself. He is also the boy who holds the singular communal brain cell the most often.

I love how he has strong boundaries that not even Jian Yi can cross. He carefully allows Jian Yi closer to his heart on his own terms in the wonderful slowburn relationship that is ZhanYi.

He Tian

He Tian (賀天) is the most handsome and popular boy at school, and he rejects all the girls at school to pursue Mo Guan Shan. He tries to escape from his family's criminal business to enjoy his life as a normal teenager. As he was groomed into a life of loveless violence from childhood, he hasn't found a healthy way to express affection.

My thoughts

For a long time, I really disliked He Tian because of the way he kept harrassing Mo Guan Shan. It was the only thing that I disliked about the comic, and I understand people being uncomfortable by the comic because of the way he treats Mo Guan Shan. Since chapter 360, it seems like He Tian has stopped harrassing Mo Guan Shan and is giving him his space. Chapter 410 seems to be where he gets redeemed, as he shows that he can have control to let Mo Guan Shan take the lead, not pushing himself on him. After that chapter, I think I can like him more.

What I do like about him is how he is a good friend to Jian Yi, having phone calls with Jian Yi nearly every night to gossip about each other's crushes. He was even the first person Jian Yi came out to.

Mo Guan Shan

Mo Guan Shan (莫关山) is a troubled boy who is the target of He Tian's pining. He grew up without much money and struggles with the school's perception of him as a delinquent as well as the unrelenting grasp of his abuser. Unbeknownst to his classmates, he is a hardworking, gentle boy who works for $4 an hour to provide for his family.

My thoughts

Mo Guan Shan is my second favourite character tied with Zhan Zheng Xi. I really love this character, and one of my favourite chapters in the comic focuses on him. I wish I could enjoy more chapters with him and He Tian that don't involve crossed boundaries.

This character his really a tsundere type which is great to see in such a "tough guy" character. He slowly accepts the other three as his friends, though he'd never say the words out loud.

She Li

She Li (蛇立) is the school menace. With rich parents and a loyal gang, he can get away with terrorizing any student he wishes. His most frequent victim is Mo Guan Shan.

I literally hate this guy. Irredeemable.


My Favourite Chapters

Starting off simple, here is a list of my favourite chapters not in any order, but by category.

  1. All 4 guys: 403, Jian Yi gets hospitalized.
  2. ZhanYi: 164, "Am I abnormal?"
  3. TianShan: 370, Mo Guan Shan vents as He Tian hugs him.
  4. Jian Yi: 198, ZhanYi reunite at the subway station. 208-209, Jian Yi confesses.
  5. Zhan Zheng Xi: 159, Zhan Zheng Xi rejects Xiao Hui.
  6. He Tian: 360, Convenience store visit after the skit.
  7. Mo Guan Shan: 317, Subway chase with She Li.

Story Development

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This story started out as a single slice of life mini comic, and Old Xian started drawing them more in funny mini comics.... and kept adding different elements to the story no one expected. I am kind of mind blown by how Old Xian has changed their plans for this series so much, but they worked hard to prevent retconning for nearly a decade.

I started reading at the very beginning of the middle school flashback before Jian Yi visited Zhan Zheng Xi's house, so I'm an OG reader. Seeing these changes without retcons and how Old Xian has grown as a writer and artist is phenomenal. This makes me more forgiving of the downsides to the story like the pacing and imbalance of drama / romance. Real life sometimes contains drama or romance out of our control that we can't expect to flow smoothly as in a written work.

Middle School Flashback

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I've seen people complaining about how the middle school flashback has been drawn out for so long, but I think Old Xian's decision to start and prolong the flashback makes the work even better. I can't imagine cutting TianShan's development short to go back to the adult timeline before they've had the time to be comfortable with each other and learn from each other.

The idea of using the flashback's events and characterization to infer adult / future events is awesome. It also prevents the comic from becoming NSFW at the expense of plot / development like a lot of BL comics tend to be. I'm very grateful that Old Xian has been able to balance all these different story elements so well.

Fluctuating Interpretations

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This story is so short and so enjoyable that it can be reread very quickly and multiple times in one day. Rereading allows you to go back to earlier chapters and read them in a new light in a really cool way.

Sometimes, authors purposefully foreshadow future events, so when you go back and see the foreshadowing, you understand the story in a more enriching way. With 19 Days, there is purposeful foreshadowing, but there are also details that Old Xian didn't even plan to be important that became meaningful later.

One example is that the early adult chapters are very comedic and mysterious as you don't know much about the characters, but after reading the middle school chapters and seeing how ZhanYi developed their relationship and made promises to each other, the same comedic adult chapters can be read with a sadder tone. You realize the reason why Jian Yi drank so much, and Zhan Zheng Xi's aggression reads like confused frustration from having his "dead" lover appear in his life again. I think that's even more amazing than purposeful foreshadowing.

The Story's Narrator

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Something I miss about the comic is the fact that Zhan Zheng Xi was the main character / narrator of the story. I rarely see anyone talking about this anymore (I've only seen it in a 19 Days iceberg TikTok), but I love the idea of Zhan Zheng Xi being the one who talks the least because he is merely observing his and his friends' memories of the past through his retelling of their story. We saw some of his internal dialogue in the adult chapters and early middle school chapters.

Alternate Pairings

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While the main pairings, ZhanYi and TianShan, are the main focus when it comes to romance, there are alternate pairings that I believe are really important for the drama of the series, and Old Xian seems to have been setting this up from early on in the comic: TianYi and ZhanShan.

He Tian and Jian Yi, the "away team", had strange flirting interactions before they started being closer friends, and it's clear that both boys confide in each other about their troubles and their crushes. They are also both connected through the mafia, and it's likely they will stay connected somehow through Jian Yi's disappearance. Out of the non romantic relationships, TianYi have the closest bond.

Zhan Zheng Xi and Mo Guan Shan, the "home team", have the greatest distance between them in contrast both because of their personalities and because of their past conflict. This relationship will get its time to shine when Jian Yi and He Tian leave. Hopefully, Mo Guan Shan apologizes or acknowledges him smashing Zhan Zheng Xi with a rock, and Zhan Zheng Xi will open up emotionally to Mo Guan Shan as he tries to cope with Jian Yi's absence. By being vulnerable with each other, they will learn to be better for their partners in the future.

Biggest Mysteries

  1. What was Mo Guan Shan's secret?
  2. What did ZhanYi talk about after Jian Yi confessed?
  3. Why did Jian Yi save his pube?


The Timeline

Most people consider the comic to have two main timelines, one for middle school chapters and one for adult chapters, but I believe there are three main timelines:

  1. Middle school chapters (51-present)
  2. Early adult chapters (1-50)
  3. Current adult chapters (holiday chapters)
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The early adult chapters take place shortly after Jian Yi returns to Zhan Zheng Xi, and they are nonlinear. This is when ZhanYi's relationship is still unstable after their long separation, and ZhanYi likely have not reunited with TianShan yet.

The current adult chapters take place during the time the boys started to rebuild their relationships more and started hanging out as a group again. This would explain why chapters 1-50 and the early Christmas specials have the characters acting more distant towards each other while they start to be vulnerable again in the later Christmas chapters and are closer in the Valentine's / 5/20 / Qixi chapters.

Another reason why I believe the adult timeline is split into two parts is because the middle school chapters show the same development between the characters (enemies or annoyances to lovers) as the two adult timelines (distant to being a bit closer together), and the story is set up in a way where we are expected to use the middle school chapters as clues to piece together the future.

School Uniforms

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Jian Yi and Zhan Zheng Xi wearing more dark colours in their uniforms over time symbolizes the dark transition from childhood into teen-adulthood / dealing with mature issues / involvement in adult schemes.

Pure white uniforms were only worn on the first day when there wasn't a lot of drama or strong emotions in the comic. All the middle school chapters at that point were lighthearted and comedic. The first day ends with a strange, out of place line from Jian Yi: "No matter what, you are my best friend" which is a premonition for what's to come in the story.

On day 2, Jian Yi starts wearing the shirt with a yellow and black striped collar while Zhan Zheng Xi wears a solid white t shirt. This shows both the struggles Jian Yi is beginning to face (his romantic feelings) and the fact that they boys are finding their own style, their place in life, and their place in the story. Day 2 has a bit more strong emotions with Zhan Zheng Xi avoiding physical contact with Jian Yi while enjoying his soft hair in a secret moment. He invites Jian Yi to his house to play video games which is an inciting event for their relationship.

The boys continue changing their uniforms by wearing different coloured t shirts each day until Jian Yi kisses Zhan Zheng Xi. After that, Jian Yi starts wearing his iconic black sweater regularly, and Zhan Zheng Xi starts wearing his white track jacket over a t shirt. Of course, the black sweater represents Jian Yi's aching heart as he deals with his feelings towards Zhan Zheng Xi and his mother, the fact he could have ruined his best friendship, and his frequent abductions.

Zhan Zheng Xi's grey t shirt on this day has a red rose on it, possibly representing how Jian Yi is what's important to his heart at the moment, his priority. I say this because Jian Yi was the red flower and Zhan Zheng Xi was the green leaves when they were in a play as small children.

Many chapters after Jian Yi confessed and forgave Xiao Hui for being homophobic towards him, he took off his black sweater to reveal a white t shirt with the red rose print on it underneath. This was the evening after Zhan Zheng Xi revealed his feelings for Jian Yi to Xiao Hui as well. Jian Yi, at that point, was happy and comfortable with Zhan Zheng Xi, Xiao Hui, and Zhan Zi Qian, and the white t shirt showed that. Jian Yi was acting like a child again, telling Zhan Zheng Xi he was cold, and leaning on his shoulder, safe from the world's cruelty and prejudice for just a moment.

In the panel where Jian Yi leans on Zhan Zheng Xi's shoulder, the wind blows a green leaf very conveniently in front of Zhan's white t shirt, imitating their childhood play costumes of the flower and leaves. It's a very very subtle detail, but I am sure it was intentional.

After chapter 225, the yellow umbrella scene, that seems to be the last day of turmoil as the other characters deal with less drama in the story, and it goes back to being more of a slice of life for a while as all the boys are closer friends. To reflect this, Jian Yi stops wearing his black sweater and starts wearing t shirts or white track jackets instead. Even though it's Jian Yi's signature outfit, he doesn't wear the black sweater again until chapter 344, the day when it is revealed that He Tian will transfer schools.

The story starts slowly setting up for future drama, and Jian Yi consistently wears the black sweater uniform in these chapters up to the recent chapters when he got cut by She Li. Even though he isn't actually seen with the sweater on on the day Mo Guan Shan gets terrorized by She Li, he ties the black sweater around his waist. It should also be noted that the only times Jian Yi ever tied his sweater around his waist was the two times he decided to defend Mo Guan Shan from She Li. To me, this represents him setting aside his own struggles and insecurities to help a friend in need.

Jian Yi's Disappearance

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I have a small hunch that Jian Yi wasn't actually kidnapped by his father's men, but by someone pretending to be his father. However, I think he eventually makes his way back to his father during those 3 years, and he spends a significant amount of time training until he is strong enough to effortlessly pick up Zhan Zheng Xi.

Based on the one unconfirmed official art of "Jian Yi" and "his father" (but it's obvious it's them, right??) and chapter 402 where Jian Yi fails to use a blade against She Li, I think Jian Yi will successfully use a knife to kill his father and escape back to Zhan Zheng Xi.

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