The ABC’s of the Bangtan Universe Part 3
Updated: Aug 4
This month we return to our exploration of the Bangtan Universe (BU), a universe made of different dimensions that we are still trying to piece together. In this blog, we continue to break down the BU word-by-word, trying to unravel the story of these seven characters.
Once again, we would like to mention the BU deals with topics and themes that might be sensitive and possibly triggering for some readers. BU content is not associated with real events or the members of BTS besides their names and ages, so mentions of the members’ names in this blog are only related to their respective BU characters.
Okay, let’s go!
Key- In the FAKE LOVE MV teaser, we see Jungkook approach the ‘Magic Shop,’ just like the other members did before him. Though unlike his hyungs, Jungkook doesn’t receive a token that represents past happiness. Instead, he receives a key that opens the door to a room with a masked figure. It is believed that Jungkook gets a hold of the key that opens the door to maturity. One theory is that the masked figure is a version of Jungkook—the shadow he hasn’t yet met.
How does this relate to the BU storyline? Jungkook is seen to represent innocence, because he hasn’t yet lived through many life experiences by himself, which has led him to rely on his hyungs. By unlocking the door with that key, he has to finally face all sides of himself. He has started the journey to discover who he is as an individual, a path riddled with mistakes unique to him.
Killer- This word mainly relates to Taehyung. As said before, Taehyung kills his father to protect his sister and himself from continuous abuse. This word ‘killer’ starts to follow him, and we see his journey of dealing with the guilt of his action. Though, there is the question as to whether or not Taehyung should be defined as a killer. Indeed he did kill his father, but it was a matter of survival, not malice. Should the title ‘killer’ have to follow him forever? This is a question that Taehyung has to face and answer for himself.
Kindred- One definition of this word is “having the same belief, attitude, or feeling,” therefore it seems appropriate to relate it to the BU. Although all seven characters are unique and go through very different situations, the characters are all still kindred souls at their core. They believe in their friendship, and they all believe there’s something more that awaits them. These beliefs, attitudes, and feelings are what has them constantly intertwined. They are destined to figure out life together.
Love- This word holds immense power on its own. When it comes to the BU, love is central to the story. There are moments in which love cannot be grasped, such as with female characters or parental figures. There are also moments when they realize that one of the biggest forms of love can come from friendship. Times arrive in which these characters have to realize that the key to figuring out who they are and where they are going is through loving themselves.
Love Yourself- This era begins the characters’ journey to finding themselves. When the BU started off in the “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” era, they were completely lost and fragile. The “Love Yourself” era draws defining moments for these characters. In this era, some of them come to realize they must love themselves in order to move forward.
Love Yourself Posters- The posters portray the attitudes of the characters in each captured moment, as well as their connection with each other. Each character has his own poster with a unique phrase that beckons us towards his inner turmoil. All these posters mirror each other through positioning or shared ideas, but the trend stands with one having a lighter theme while the others have a darker theme.
In Jungkook’s poster, he is in a wheelchair, presumably after getting hit by a car. Jungkook wishes to run to a place he keeps yearning for in his heart.
Yoongi is alone in a dark tunnel in his poster, providing a feeling of sadness. Many have analyzed it to portray his wish for no one to get near him, as he feels he has caused only pain.
In Jimin’s poster, Jimin is using an umbrella to shield himself from the rain while looking up at the sky. He confessed that he lies, because he finds that he is unlovable otherwise.
Namjoon is captured in his poster sitting at the back of a bus, portraying his hesitancy to act at the appropriate time.
Taehyung’s poster shows him crouched, looking at his reflection in a puddle of water, wondering if someone would have still left if he had made a different choice.
In Hoseok’s poster, Hoseok is walking on a street, looking up at the sky that is shining. He believes that as long as the others keep shining, he could be happy.
Seokjin is wearing a suit and holding a bouquet of flowers in his poster portrayal. Seokjin has the ability to turn back time, and he wants to become the best man he could ever be.
The individual posters are followed by three poster pairings. The first is Yoongi and Jungkook, connected through loneliness and disorientation. Next is Hoseok and Jimin. Jimin is in a darker room while Hoseok’s room has light. The two are connected by pressures of self-imposed expectations. The last pairing is Namjoon and Taehyung; they are both united through the desire of finding out who they are.
Namjoon and Taehyung’s poster has the ambigram that reads, ‘Save Me’ or ‘I’m Fine,’ depending on which way one views it. Their poster also features the line, “After returning from that sea, we were all alone,” which relates to how the characters parted ways at some point, having to deal with their problems alone.
Seokjin’s poster shows him near the sea with a line that reads, “If I could turn back time, I’d want to return to the sea from that summer.” It signifies how he longed to be back with the boys.
Through the posters, we understand how the characters’ bonds always keep them connected even while they are apart.
Lie- This word is the title of the short film associated with Jimin. The film begins with a shot of a forest, but as the camera zooms out, one realizes that it is a painting of a forest. Jimin is alone in a white room, being interrogated and filmed by a mechanical arm. Jimin goes from looking aloof to trying to figure out what emotion he should feel. His reactions change when the camera is on him; this represents the fact that Jimin likes to pretend he is fine and hides behind his lies. The film also transforms from a bright, white room to being in a dark, black room with two hospital beds. In the dark room, he dances and shows a movement in which he covers his mouth. Again, it emphasizes the fact that he is censoring himself, never saying how he truly feels.
The film also shows his connection to the characters of Hoseok and Yoongi. A piano on fire flashes on screen momentarily, representing Yoongi. He is thought to be the character who leads Jimin to believe that hoping for the best is pointless during happy times. Yoongi, like Jimin, is consumed by guilt and he lets himself believe that there is no hope. Jimin’s connection to Hoseok is even more direct. They shared a time in an institution, and became really close. Jimin always seems to act like Hoseok’s shadow: always admiring and rarely acting. In the film, Hoseok is symbolized and represented by the cocktail of pills and the pillow fight Jimin has on his own.
Jimin’s film represents how he is trapped inside his lie. Whether it be that things are falling apart or that everything is fine, Jimin escapes his internal thoughts and indulges in temptation—as symbolized through a bite of an apple. Jimin is another symbol of innocence throughout the BU, but his version of innocence is caused more by being sheltered; he has experienced and seen dreadful things, but he is sheltered to live in a world of make believe to ignore the issues at hand. He is also seen falling in water, depicting the sense of drowning Jimin constantly feels about his life (in addition to the actual incidents Jimin is seen trying to drown himself).
Light- When there is darkness, there is light to combat it. Even though all of the characters have experienced light and darkness, only four of them have been consistently in the light: Seokjin, Namjoon, Hoseok, and Jungkook.
Seokjin does not only stay out of the shadows the most, but he also represents light in the BU. He is the one destined to save the rest of them, after all. Seokjin is usually portrayed as Taehyung’s opposite, as they are the two who are most constantly displayed as being representations of good and evil.
The presence of light helps reveal a character’s inner emotional state and, like in many cases, light can become a beacon of hope for the boys.
Loneliness- This word is important in the BU because it is an emotion all the characters experience. There are plenty of times in which they find themselves consumed by the feeling of loneliness, encouraging them to make bad decisions. Loneliness is something we all feel as humans, and when you are young—just like these characters—that feeling can seem overpowering. The BU explores loneliness through each character, showcasing how this mutual feeling can actually build connections.
That’s it for now! As always, we hope you are finding these breakdowns helpful. The BU is an intricate and enjoyable world, and we’re here to try and make it easier to digest. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything, and if you haven’t already, check out Part 1 and 2.
See you next time!
Written by: Lizette
Edited by: sno
Designed by: Judy
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