Gwen Recommends: Their Story a.k.a. Tamen De Gushi

Their Story (Tamen De Gushi in Chinese) is a cute les­bian love sto­ry from China, of all places. It ap­pears to be a we­b­com­ic that some love­ly fans are trans­lat­ing into English, be­cause the world needs more yuri. 

The two main char­ac­ters are very so­cial­ly awk­ward in their own ways. We have delin­quent tomboy Sun Jing, and the awk­ward pret­ty girl, Qui Tong. Sun Jing has a lot of friends that are all male, as is as­so­ci­at­ed with the tomboy ar­che­type, while Qui Tong has only one oth­er friend. This sto­ry makes it very ob­vi­ous that Sun Jing is pur­su­ing Qui Tong from the start. The lat­est cou­ple of up­dates lead to Qui Tong im­pul­sive­ly kiss­ing Sun Jing, so we know the love ends up reciprocated.

My fa­vorite part is at the start of the sto­ry is when Sun Jing keeps freez­ing up every time she tries to ap­proach Qui Tong. This leads Qui Tong into think­ing she’s go­ing to get beat up. I ad­mit that I have a bit of a thing for so­cial­ly awk­ward char­ac­ters that end up to­geth­er, so I re­al­ly ap­pre­ci­ate how the sto­ry is about the tomboy pur­su­ing the oth­er girl, and the ex­pres­sions are just so adorkable.

One thing that struck me is how, in one of the ear­ly posts, Sun Jing asks her best friend how to pur­sue an­oth­er girl. He makes a very in­sight­ful com­ment that I wouldn’t have thought of, but makes a lot of sense if you un­der­stand how friend­ships be­tween the same-sex work in Eastern Asian countries. 

He tells Sun Jing that it’s dif­fer­ent for guys and girls to pur­sue a girl; his ex­am­ple is that if he’s con­stant­ly hang­ing around a girl, even if he does­n’t do any­thing, it might seem like he’s in­ter­est­ed in her by virtue of the fact that he’s a guy, and that one dif­fer­ence helps sug­gest a pos­si­ble ro­man­tic mood. But with a girl, every­thing she does would seem nor­mal; even though that might be a good thing for get­ting close to her, she could get stuck in the friend zone, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to get out of it and make a re­la­tion­ship even hap­pen. So he tells Sun Jing that the most im­por­tant thing for her to do is to es­tab­lish a ba­sis for at­trac­tion. Not be­ing the smartest tool in the box, she pur­sues Qui Tong out right, and this is the kind of adorable awk­ward­ness that I enjoy.

Friendships be­tween the same-sex are of­ten quite in­ti­mate by Western stan­dards — for ex­am­ple, it’s en­tire­ly com­mon for fe­male friends to hold hands, and for guy friends to lit­er­al­ly lean on each oth­er while seat­ed next to one an­oth­er. This is part of why Eastern Asia is gen­er­al­ly be­hind in ac­cept­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­i­ty, be­cause it is seen as a vi­o­la­tion of this friend­ship and trust — not that it makes it okay, of course. So I ap­pre­ci­ate the ap­proach a lot.

As far as the art goes, I love the aes­thet­ic. The com­ic is read as a long top-to-bottom strip, rather than page-flipping the way most Japanese comics are; it shares this trait with Korean comics. The text is read left-to-right, and the pages are in full col­or. The col­ors and line work is soft­er com­pared to many of its Japanese coun­ter­parts, and the style is great at con­vey­ing mo­tion and emo­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly the fre­quent bas­ket­ball games!). The eyes are siz­able but com­pared to most man­ga they are more normal-sized as they do not take up the whole face. the bod­ies and legs are on the longer side, lend­ing to the beau­ti­ful sense of mo­tion in this work.

The only thing the au­thor does that can be off-putting is how they some­times in­ter­rupt the cur­rent sto­ry with ran­dom char­ac­ter mo­ments that have noth­ing to do with the cur­rent plot­line. My guess is that they do this be­cause they have no idea what should hap­pen next, but want to keep the com­ic up­dat­ed for the sake of the fans. After I got used to it crop­ping up oc­ca­sion­al­ly, it stopped be­ing as much of a both­er for me, since I just want to see the char­ac­ters do­ing things. 

An ex­am­ple of this is dur­ing the arc where the two girls are hav­ing a mis­un­der­stand­ing, and a ri­val fe­male love in­ter­est shows up and con­fess­es to Sun Jing; the last few up­dates have been out of sync with that sto­ry, and just show­ing cute couple‑y things be­tween Sun Jing and Qui Tong, and some oth­er scenes with the rest of the cast.

Regardless, every char­ac­ter in Their Story is ex­treme­ly like­able, and the ex­pres­sions the char­ac­ters have are dorky and sweet. The ban­ter be­tween the main cast is quite fun as well. The sto­ry is nowhere near its end, and I re­al­ly am en­joy­ing it so far. I can’t wait to see how the re­la­tion­ship con­tin­ues to de­vel­op, now that Qui Tong has rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed Sun Jing’s feelings.

You can find Their Story on­line over at Mangakakalot and, or on so­cial me­dia over at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

(Edited by Indigo Altaria)

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Gwen a long time am­a­teur game de­sign­er, bud­ding into stream­ing and video pro­duc­tion. Loves mak­ing free games for peo­ple to en­joy. Giver of un­lim­it­ed hugs.

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