The ABC’s of the Bangtan Universe
The world of Bangtan is vast, and when it comes to their Bangtan Universe (BU) it can become complex in nature. ARMYs all around the world have joined forces in this journey that is the BU, by building theories and getting headaches together. Since new ARMYs join the fandom often, many might not be aware of the BU or fully understand it. This is why we will be delivering the ABC’s of the BU, breaking down the universe one word at a time.
Before anything else, there are a few things we would like to address. The BU covers a variety of topics within the storyline, some of these topics may be sensitive or triggering for some readers.
The BU is a fictional world and in no way are the events portrayed here related to the members of BTS. The characters of the BU do share their names with the members of BTS but other than that nothing else. Everything here is only theories related to the BU and not to be associated with reality.
Ambigram: Save Me/I’m Fine- The exact definition is “a word, art form or other symbolic representation, whose elements retain meaning when viewed or interpreted from a different direction, perspective, or orientation”. Within the BU this ambigram was utilized in the Fake Love MV on a wall behind V, the scene in the hallway of flashing cell phones and the ambigram shows the words “Save Me”. The ambigram seems to be closely linked to the characters of Taehyung and Namjoon as it shows up on the promotional posters for the “Love Yourself” series in which they are featured. Depending on which direction you see the posters it either says “I’m Fine” or “Save Me”. This ambigram has also been widely used before in campaigns to bring awareness to mental health, which the BU touches on.
Angel- The BU plays a lot with the tales of good and evil, which in turn plays on the storylines of angels and devils. There are plenty of theories surrounding angels within the BU, the strongest one being that the character of Taehyung represents a “fallen angel,” which is supposed to represent someone who is inherently considered good but acted in a way that made them “fall from grace”. In the story, Taehyung is represented as a good person but because of the abusive nature of his father, he kills him. This scars his life in more ways than one and begins a downward spiral.
Awake- The short film in the “WINGS” era represents the character of Seokjin. There were a lot of theories surrounding the video when it first came out but currently, it seems that the video was showing Seokjin’s awakening towards his power of controlling time. In the video, we also see representations of each character in a photograph, which can represent how Seokjin holds their lives in his hands as he is the only one who might be able to save them from tragedy. There is a repetitiveness as in everything seems to begin and end with Seokjin, forming a cycle he is trying to break.
Abraxas- This is a word believed to be of Gnostic or Kabbalistic mystic origins, and it is an important word within the BU. Abraxas represents the name of a deity both tagged as a god and a demon. The name is also relevant and important in the story of Demian, which is a book closely linked to the BU. Abraxas is seen as a representation of the characters being good and evil, or better yet, neither good or evil. Abraxas also seems to closely link to the characters of Seokjin and Taehyung as he shows up in both of their short films, “Awake” and “Stigma”. Taehyung’s character is scraping at the name, Seokjin is surrounded by the image of Abraxas on the walls. Taehyung might be scraping at the idea of being good and evil, either thinking he is one more than the other, or neither given the actions he was pushed towards. Seokjin is seen as the character that holds the fate of all of them, Abraxas’ imagery for him might be the fact that he needs to accept their new reality in which everything isn’t black and white in order to find the right path.
Apple- The apple represents temptation and it is closely associated with Jimin in the BU. The apple shows up in scenes with Jimin and Yoongi, but in the BU it is believed that Yoongi manipulates Jimin into feeling safe and giving into temptation. Thus far it is not well-known why Yoongi’s character seems to hold such influence over Jimin or how far that influence goes.
Ares- The god of war who seems linked to Seokjin based on the 2019 MMA’s performance in which he came out in a horse (believed to represent the Trojan horse). In the BU, the fight between good and evil is highly focused on. The gods might represent the role each character will take in the continuation of the story. As Seokjin is seen as the only hope to save his friends, he might have set off a war that will ultimately decide their fate.
Apollo- The god of the sun is seemingly linked to Taehyung based on the 2019 MMA’s. Again, the gods might be a representation of the roles each character will take in the BU. Apollo is associated with the truth, healing, and music, but one relevant aspect is the link to prophesy. The character of Taehyung is known to have dreams that show him the future, as a prophet might experience.
Artemis- The god of the moon and chastity (innocence) seemingly linked to Jimin based on the 2019 MMA’s. Jimin has always been linked to the moon in the BU, so it is no surprise that the character is linked to Artemis. Jimin’s character is always locked away and overprotected to a point he is neglected. He is portrayed as a character who is innocent as he is not exposed to many wonders of the world. Though Artemis is also the god of the hunt and twin to the god Apollo, this would be linked to Taehyung and he might be a key member who might be able to help Jimin from his tragic path.
Abuse- In the storyline, the characters of Taehyung and his sister are revealed to have an alcoholic and abusive father. This abuse, which seems to be both physical and emotional, leads Taehyung to later kill his father after he had enough of receiving and watching such physical abuse. He murders his father to protect his sister and ends the vicious cycle their father has put them through. This resulted in him getting arrested, but later it is also revealed that his sister takes the blame for the murder. Either way, the character of Taehyung is riddled with guilt that defines him throughout the story thus far.
Bangtan Universe (BU)- This universe was created by Big Hit, and it was originally known as “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” series or the “HYYH” series. The official logo was first used in 2017 and it marked the official launch of this fictional world. The BU is explored through music videos, notes within albums (and books), short films, short stories, and expanded into a webtoon titled “Save Me”. It is also known that there will be a drama series and a videogame.
Begin- This is the short film that focuses on the character of Jungkook, and as the title suggests, is the beginning of the short films on the “WINGS” era. Jungkook’s short film seems to be linked to all the other boys as representations of them come out throughout the video. A prominent figure in the video seems to be Yoongi’s character that is represented by a piano. The video suggests that Jungkook’s life is highly defined by the rest of the boys. Since the rest are older than him (his hyungs) he is strongly influenced by them, and so Jungkook suffers when they suffer and he takes the burden of all of their tragedy. Wings are also shown on him at the end of the video which has been thought to represent his longing to find independence without feeling guilty. Like many young people, he hopes to be free of the darkness that seems to be engulfing all of them.
Best Friends- This term matters in the BU as the story revolves around the friendship of these seven boys. It shows how close and happy they are with each other, but when that falls apart each one goes their separate ways, this causing their world to disintegrate. This is the catalyst of the story as for this reason Seokjin goes back in time to save them all.
Butterfly Effect- One change can make a huge impact on the future. The butterfly effect is important to the BU as Seokjin’s character messes with time, bringing into question whether his actions are good or if it will only bring more chaos to the group. Seokjin’s actions thus far have already impacted the lives of each one of them. As he saves one, another receives the worst fate. This leads him to understand that saving his friends will be more complicated than expected. Butterflies also show up in different videos related to the story,
Blood, Sweat, and Tears- There are two music videos for this song and both are related to the BU. The Blood, Sweat, and Tears MV, the Korean version, presented a world where the boys were fighting against their “darkness” or what would be considered sinful behavior. The video was to show them resisting but also giving in to things that could be categorized as bad. In this MV there was also the scene in which Seokjin kisses a statue. In the BU, this is seen as the character of Seokjin making a pact with the devil to win favor and be able to save his friends. In the Blood Sweat and Tears MV, the Japanese version, the video expands on the BU. The video begins with Jungkook and theories believe that he is dead but not ready to move on. There are wings on the bed that are small, which is seen as his wings being cut or not fully developed since he dies in certain timelines. The rest of the video shows the other boys participating in toxic behavior influenced by darkness, all seeming to want to break away from different temptations.
The videos show a world or timeline where the boys are not their usual selves, a world between their reality and what they want their reality to actually be. In both MV’s the painting “The Fall of the Rebel Angels” shows which depict the fight between good and evil, depending on which way you look at it either good or evil wins. The similarities in the videos represent the limbo in which the boys are left in, none of them know which path to take and they are all affected by guilt because of certain situations or behaviors they have engaged in.
Back in Time- Seokjin was first theorized to control or manipulate time when the storyline was being built. With newer content, we got the confirmation that Seokjin could turn back time in order to save his friends. The limitation seems to be that every time he does not succeed in saving one of his friends from tragedy, he comes back to the same day.
Content Certified- This means content that is certified as BU official content. Not all BTS content is part of BU. The content that is to be considered for the story comes out with the official BU logo.
Consciousness- Consciousness is seen as “the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives”. It is being aware and awakened to our surroundings - sounds simple but it really isn’t. This term connects with BU as it is a huge theme in it. The boys need to become more conscious of their surroundings in order to move forward to a time in which they can love themselves despite their flaws. The term is also influential in the “Love Yourself” series as it asks to be conscious of who we are and accept the good and bad.
Coincidence- This word comes up in the BU because as all ARMY has come to know by now, nothing is a coincidence when it comes to Big Hit and Bangtan.
Clocks- These show up all over the BU which makes sense as time is central to the story. Depending on whether a digital clock or analog clock is shown, it is believed that it determines when time is being forwarded or rewinding. The digital clocks are seen to represent the future and analog the past. So if you see a clock you might want to pay attention to that and the time itself as it can be closely linked to a date that has been talked about before in the BU.
Delinquency- The characters of Taehyung and Namjoon are shown to partake in criminal activity within the BU. Mainly it was graffiti, and they would be shown being arrested. In the “Run” music video, all the characters are vandalizing cars in a tunnel, then running off. In the BU the delinquency is done as a form of escape for these boys who are trying to figure out who they are. Young people usually get in trouble if they do not have proper guidance or people around them who care to look out for them.
Devil- The devil has been theorized to be part of the BU, specifically in relation to Taehyung’s character. Some theories suggest that Taehyung represents the devil in some cases, like in the Blood, Sweat, and Tears MV in which Seokjin’s character seems to be making a pact with the devil to help his friends.
Dark/Darkness- The BU plays with the idea of darkness in both a literal and metaphorical way. The videos are cast in either light or shadow and usually, the characters of Taehyung, Jimin, Yoongi, and Jungkook are seen in shadows or a dark place. Though the characters of Namjoon and Hoseok are also placed in the dark at times. Seokjin is usually depicted as a character that brings light and Hoseok is associated with being a savior of sorts as well. Then there is the metaphorical darkness that is shown in the actions they take against other people or themselves. The boys seem to go back and forth as to whether they represent darkness or light, except Seokjin and Taehyung who represent the fight between good or evil (light vs. darkness).
Demian- This name pops up in the BU because of the book Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Hermann Hesse. The BU has specific phrases from the book in various BTS videos, and the story of the BU seems to follow a similar tale of youth finding out who they are and witnessing the fight between good and evil. Some ARMYs have even read the book since it is a suggested reading to aid in the following of the BU.
Dreams- These are important as Taehyung's character was revealed to be able to see the future through his dreams. Now the theories revolve more on whether he knows this or not, many believe he is aware that Seokjin can rewind time but it is unclear as to what he plans to do about this or if he even wants to do anything about it. The BU also shows a lot of imagery that can be interpreted as dreamlike, bringing into question whether a world we see is real or a dream. Blood Sweat and Tears is a good example of imagery of a dreamlike world, it could be a different timeline or just a dream that one of the boys can have. There are also a lot of beds in the BU, with Seokjin, Jungkook, and Jimin, which could reinforce the belief that some scenes are just dreams of a reality one of the boys wishes to have.
Dionysus- The god of wine and festivity, is a name and character that has been appearing in recent times when it comes to BTS. When it comes to BTS, Dionysus seems to be related to RM and it is this god’s link to the theater and the arts which seems to be what BTS is using his image for. It is not clear as to where the storyline with the gods is heading at but they seem to be important to the advancement of the story.
Dates- Numbers are important in the BU, especially when it comes to dates. There are notes that tell the story of each character from their own perspective, each note has a date. These dates aid in connecting the individual stories and making out what happened to each character. Also, within different music videos, there are dates placed that are later to be found to have a larger meaning. One important date was April 11, the day Seokjin would return to every time he turned back time.
Different Dimensions- As it was believed and later confirmed by the release of new content, the character of Seokjin can go back in time. This gave way to theories over the different dimensions that exist or are created due to Seokjin’s time travel throughout the story. The dimension theories can also be supported by the Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Japanese version music video, in which you see wormholes, hallways, and different character traits not present before. This can suggest the different dimensions Seokjin travels through in order to find the “perfect” one in which all seven of them are happy.
Drama Series- It was revealed that the BU will be expanded into a drama series. The drama will depict the BU storyline and tell the tale of the seven boys. BTS will not participate as actors portraying their characters in the drama.
Evil- This word is knitted into the BU as in this universe there is a focus towards the fight between good and evil within one’s self and around us. Evil is presented as temptations to the boys, things or people that lead to a dark path when they are at their most vulnerable.
Euphoria- The theme of “Love Yourself Wonder” and the video in which we see a few answers but also get a few more questions. In the Euphoria music video, we see the seven boys having fun together and sharing special moments. They run around, dance, and laugh, finally seeming carefree. Throughout the video, we also see scenes from previous videos but there are key differences that depict that the timeline has been changed by Seokjin. Theories popped up that said Seokjin had managed to change the fate of Taehyung by preventing him from killing his father. Seokjin places Hoseok in Taehyung’s life and this changes their story. Though in doing so he removes Hoseok from Jimin’s life, which leaves him all alone. It is believed that the video shows the imagination of Jimin of all them happy and together, but to save the other boys Jimin’s character was left behind. The euphoria was an illusion, a mirage of a world they all craved for but would have to pay a price for.
Epiphany- A sudden realization, one that usually leads to a revelation that leads to change. The MV is of Seokjin, and when it comes to the BU it is connected as it shows the character of Seokjin contemplating his life. He is seen making decisions to either continue doing the repetitive actions that have been draining him (trying to save everyone) or thinking harder about his next steps. The rain can be a representation of Seokjin’s worries being washed away in order to give a clearer picture of his surroundings. The epiphany is that he should learn to love himself, but in the BU it can go as far as to it being the realization that the answer to saving everyone is inside each of them. They need to learn how to save themselves and in that way save each other.
Ego- This is the individual’s sense of self-importance and self-esteem. The ego has been part of the focus of the BU as it is a fundamental part of the journey of self-acceptance. Only when all seven boys accept each part, good and bad, of themselves will they be closer to finding the freedom they all crave.
We know, this universe has depth! We hope this breakdown and explanation can be helpful to those who want to know about the BU but don’t know where to begin or want a quicker overview. Please stay with us as we explore this universe further and we hope you enjoyed!
Written by: Lizette
Edited by: Jessenia and Hel. B
Designed by: Judy
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