BTS: UN Response and Other Craziness

Promotional photo of Jeon Jungkook, Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Kim Namjoon (RM), Park Jimin, Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), and Kim Taehyung (V). Copyright goes to BTS and the Hybe Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

Today has been really eventful for BTS fans. The UN Assembly ended, which we already made a post about, but that wasn’t the end of the BTS news. We got some exciting information and social media posts that showcased BTS’s time in New York so far. We also have some more unfortunate and frustrating news to go over. Nothing extremely surprising, but still unfortunate to go over. And all of it in one day. Here’s to hoping we get all positive news from the rest of BTS’s New York trip in the near future.

James Corden:

James Corden is a bit of a controversial figure. A few people have reported rude altercations he’s had with other celebrities or staff. Some people think he’s so fake that he’s difficult to watch interacting with guests on his show. And some have the very valid criticism that he’s made his movie career by taking roles from LGBTQ+ actors by playing LGBTQ+ characters as a straight man. However “Papa Mochi”, as ARMY has called him in the past, was always praised for the respect he gave BTS. He never talked down to them. He didn’t ask any uncomfortable questions. In fact, he seemed to make BTS comfortable during interviews and BTS enjoyed themselves during their appearances on his show. But James Corden’s respect for BTS and ARMY seems to have run out. While covering BTS’s appearance at the UN Assembly, he called them “unusual guests”. This isn’t at all the worst thing that has been said about BTS, but this wording wrongly perpetuates the idea that BTS doesn’t belong in the UN Assembly. Despite the fact that BTS have been named Presidential Envoys and have spoken for the UN on two occasions before this one. After this, James Corden made a joke that equated ARMY to a large amount of fifteen-year-old girls. ARMY has fought against this stereotype for very good reason. The stereotype goes back to sexism, where entertainment that appeals to teen girls is instantly seen as less valid simply because the fan base is made up of young women. As for ARMY, they aren’t made up of only young girls. There are so many ARMY of so many genders, ages, and nationalities. And even if that weren’t true, BTS has proved their talent and skill so many times that it’s ridiculous to undermine their accomplishments or the amount of people they greatly impact. The way James Corden covered this was tasteless.

Megan Thee Stallion:

BTS met Megan Thee Stallion! They took pictures together to commemorate the occasion with the caption “Butter crew”. The “Butter” remix BTS did with Megan Thee Stallion is one of their best collaborations ever. It’s really nice to see them having fun together! Megan Thee Stallion even posted a picture of herself holding a plush Koya in honor of their meetup. Maybe she’s a Namjoon bias?

Chuseok:

Today BTS celebrated Chuseok from New York! For those who don’t know what Chuseok is, Chuseok can be loosely compared to Thanksgiving. More properly, it’s a Korean celebration of bountiful harvest and a family’s ancestors that’s spent with family members. Jimin gifted us with a photo today to acknowledge the holiday. He looked incredibly good in it. So good that Jimin trended on Twitter because of his similar appearance to Prince Eric from ‘The Little Mermaid’. Later in the day, all seven members went live on VLive to continue the celebration. And for those who live in the US, the live finally occurred at a reasonable time for us! That was until it crashed. And crashed. And crashed. There were times where the live could only manage for a minute before crashing again. After this, the live was deleted from VLive. It was a bit of a mess, but the thought absolutely counts!

James Corden deleted his piece on BTS from social media, which might mean he’s rethinking his words. Or it could mean that he saw the backlash and did so solely for his image. It could even be somewhere in between. I hope for the best, but to be honest, I’m not expecting much. Regardless, I hope that BTS has an excellent rest of their trip in New York. They seem to be having plenty of fun despite the stalking that occurred when they arrived. I only hope that the trip gets even more enjoyable as it goes on. Who knows? They might even meet up with more artists for all of us to get excited over! But overall, I hope they get to relax as well. I love all of this content, but I want them to be able to enjoy themselves too!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

BTS: UN Speech 2021

BTS’s appearance at the UNHQ in New York. (From left) Kim Taehyung, Min Yoongi, Kim Seokjin, Kim Namjoon, Jeon Jungkook, Park Jimin, and Jung Hoseok. Copyright goes to HYBE Entertainment, BTS, and CBS News.

Hi! It’s Annie!

This morning BTS delivered a speech at the UN Assembly and I think we’re all so proud of them. Not only was the speech amazing, which I’ll get into later, but their time slot and what they had to say was treated with so much importance. I think we can all see the beginnings of their future diplomacy works here, because this feels much more like a beginning than a one time thing. I’m going to go through their speech and the other amazing things that they have done today. Their influence and the way that they try and get all of our voices out there is amazing to me! Seriously everyone should see the speech that they made today. It was nothing short of historic.

The Speech:

To everyone’s surprise, BTS all gave the speech together. They portioned off the speech between the seven of them and it was delivered beautifully. I also want to point out that they were all allowed to give the speech in Korean. Unlike their past UN in-person experience where Namjoon gave his speech entirely in English. Not only that, but the UN featured BTS by also having them be some of the first speakers for the event. BTS talked mostly about the youth of today. Specifically, people in their teens and twenties and how they have continued to survive despite the pandemic. They talked about how this generation has sometimes been referred to as the lost generation because of the supposed lost years. But BTS argued that we should be referred to as the welcome generation. A generation who welcomed change and made do with that we had. They mentioned the new challenges that face this generation, such as climate change and how this generation seeks to combat the newest challenges with knowledge that we might acquire. Over-all their speech was a message of hope that also simultaneously advocated for youth. BTS has always been a huge advocate for youth and talked several times about how much youth is often underestimated. It was amazing that they could share this message that they have long championed with the rest of the world on such a historic scale. And to see all of them deliver the speech together in their native language made the point even more poignant. It’s a message of hope for the youth and for all other generations. Everyone should hear it. Also, the boys are vaccinated!!! Yay!!!

The Interview:

BTS was interviewed along with President Moon of South Korea. Beyond even that, they were interviewed by UN’s Under-Secretary General for Global Communications. In the interview she asked very specific questions to Namjoon, Jimin, and Hobi specifically. (The edited prompt called Jimin Jin but at least the interviewer got it right.) I’m not sure if there was a specific reason why those three were chosen or if they just didn’t have time for anyone else. Either way, the three of them spoke eloquently. Namjoon was asked about what made the issues discussed at the UN important to him, and he talked about how future generations must pay attention to what’s happening. Especially because we are a big part of the future that is to come. Jimin was asked about how he viewed this attendance to the UN and Jimin talked about the importance of the occasion as well as how nervous he was. Hobi talked about how he wanted this generation to know that we are not lost and said he hoped we can walk together for a better tomorrow. President Moon was then asked about why he appointed BTS as his envoy to which he replied that BTS are the biggest and best artists of our time. Absolutely agreed. He then talked about how they have a powerful voice for the youth. To see BTS being honored in this way was indescribable. I would want no one else representing my generation in this way.

The Performance:

BTS showed a pre-recorded version of ‘Permission to Dance’ that was taken very early the day before in the UNHQ and in the park outside. It’s not only an amazing performance but there was happiness and hope radiating off of this already hopeful song on this occasion. They seemed so happy to be there with so many other people joining in. And watching Taehyung dance with the crowd was adorable. This has to be one of my favorite performances of this song. And I’m sure that it’s quite possibly the most important. More than anything else, seeing all the boys having so much fun just hit me with serotonin.

The MET Museum:

While we haven’t seen much video footage from their attendance to this, we do know some about their time there. We know that Namjoon made a speech in front of a group of people. Which makes sense for Namjoon. They were pictured alongside many pieces from the museum and over-all it seemed like a small but glamorous affair. They looked just as official and happy here, but possibly a little less stressed. Understandably.

BTS Themselves:

In talking about this, we have to talk about the boys themselves. Because there are definitely behind the scenes stuff that are important to talk about that was not necessarily captured in any official footage. And not just the pictures they posted to Twitter. (Handsome!) Firstly, let’s talk about their privacy. Because I know they were all stressed going into this address at the UN and I also know that toxic fans did not help those matters at all. BTS was ambushed at the airport and repeatedly followed to their hotel from the moment they landed to their return to their hotel today. If you are one of those people who stalked them in New York or even considered that to be a reasonable thing, please reconsider and reflect on your actions. All the members have talked about how uncomfortable it makes them and those actions show an incredible selfishness. It says that you care more about your wants than their safety. If that really is the case with you, then you aren’t a fan. That aside, I want to talk about how well they did despite nerves and toxic fans making the situation worse. We all saw pictures of Jimin afterwards clutching his heart and he said several times that he was nervous. I hope they all know that they were amazing. I think we all felt as though they were making our voices heard up there. Them being nervous is a reminder to all of us that they are regular human beings who have taken on this incredible responsibility. And as a fan, I couldn’t be more proud of them for taking this on and being so open, hopeful, and welcoming about it all. They are the living examples of the idea that this generation is the welcome generation rather than a lost one.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up just a little bit while watching their UN speech. I’m so happy for them! And I can’t wait to see what else they do in the future. Because, even before this, I think we all knew that they would do something amazing. And this will not be the last amazing thing that they do. They give me so much hope, and they give so many of us so much hope, and I am so glad to have this group in my life. They are simultaneously regular and historic and amazing. Which is a combination that is needed right now in the world.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Marvel: ‘What If?’ Episode 4-6 Review

Screenshot of zombie Tony Stark from episode five of ‘What If?’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Productions.

Hey! Hallie here!

Alright! We have three more episodes and that means another review of ‘What If?’! This review is going to be a bit more negative than the others. To be honest, some of the concepts explored in these episodes weren’t my thing. And some of these episodes have parts that I genuinely feel are worth criticizing. It’s not all bad though! There are definitely positive things worth pointing out in each episode. And some things that I feel are definitely going to come into play as this series continues. I can’t say much up here without getting into SPOILERS, so this is your warning. Let’s get right into these reviews!

Episode 4- ‘What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?’:

Why? Why did they do this concept? This episode is problematic right from the beginning. It decides to explore a parallel universe in which Christine was fridged for the sake of Stephen Strange’s development. As if we didn’t see countless women expressing how horrible fridging Black Widow, and other characters, in regular canon was. There are plenty of events they could have come up with to corrupt Stephen Strange. Stephen isn’t even all that great a guy, especially at the beginning of his movie. He still has a lot of development to go before he can be the hero we all know he can be. So I refuse to believe that they couldn’t have come up with literally any other reason for him to misuse his magical abilities. Pushing that aside, there isn’t much episode left to go off of. Stephen turns away from the teachings of the Ancient One and instead goes to a temple to study darker magical abilities on his own. From there we get a montage of Stephen battling multiple dark creatures and consuming them for power. At one point he even consumes the giant tentacle monster that attacked Peggy in the first episode of this series. And then he notices The Watcher. This was the most interesting part of the entire episode, in my opinion. The Watcher seems to be slowly revealing himself more and more. He even talks to Stephen about his decision to essentially destroy the world in his efforts to get Christine back, revealing that he can’t interfere in any timeline. Predictably, this episode ends badly. Stephen kills an alternate version of himself that actually got over Christine, Christine becomes terrified of what Stephen has become, and the universe is destroyed. Really, The Watcher is the main part of this episode I liked. That and the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Tilda Swinton.

Episode 5- ‘What If… Zombies?!’

This one was extremely dark, but a ton of people enjoyed it. As someone who isn’t generally a fan of horror concepts, it made me uncomfortable. But it was by no means poorly done! Mostly. This episode follows a group of Avengers as they try to navigate the zombie apocalypse after other Avengers have become zombies. Yeah, I can’t imagine the world surviving super-powered zombies. The group of non-zombie Avengers consist of Bruce Banner, Hope van Dyne, Sharon Carter, Bucky Barnes, Happy Hogan, Kurt (From ‘Ant Man’), Peter Parker, and Okoye as leader. As she should be. In any case, Peter Parker is way too excited about the zombie apocalypse. He even makes an upbeat video on how to survive it. The star of this video is Happy, who’s wearing a ‘I’m Not Single, I’m Saving Myself For Thor’ shirt. They also catch Bucky without clothes in the shower to give all those Bucky fans some fan service. Of the group of survivors, Sharon is one of the first to die at the hands of the Steve Rogers zombie and they make a really weird joke about her remains getting all over Hope. It wasn’t very funny, especially since Sharon never gets good writing in anything. Eventually the group finds a safe haven with Vision. Until they discover that Vision’s love for Wanda has caused him to take captive various people and feed them to the Wanda zombie. T’Challa is one of those snacks and he only has one leg to prove it. Also, Scott Lang is just a head. I actually liked this tragic exploration of Wanda and Vision’s relationship regardless of how messed up it is. Vision refused to leave her up until his death and the Wanda zombie mourned Vision after Vision tore out the mind stone to help reverse the effects of the zombie apocalypse. In the end, only Peter Parker, T’Challa, and Scott Lang’s head survive with the hope that everyone who has become a zombie will change back. All the women in this group of Avengers die, but I suppose I have less to complain about here after episode four.

Episode 6- ‘What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?’:

This episode is just full of disappointment and untapped potential. When Marvel fans saw this concept was going to be covered, the fan base seemed really excited. Having Tony join up with Killmonger not only implied that we’d see a corrupted Tony storyline, but also that we’d see Killmonger and Tony as extremely terrifying and powerful villains. That’s not what we got. This episode is about Killmonger alone. And Killmonger kills Tony only halfway through the episode to prove it. Killmonger saves Tony’s life to worm his way into Stark industries. With Tony having not learned his lesson after nearly being killed by his own weapons, he agrees to help Killmonger retrieve some Vibranium and create a metallic army of mass destruction. Also, Killmonger kills Rhodey and T’Challa because murder. His murder of Rhodey is caught by JARVIS and Tony decides to trap himself in an enclosed space with a capable killer and no means of protection. Instead, he gets one of his metallic weapons to attack Killmonger. Makes sense. Of course, Killmonger takes that and Tony down in no time at all. I liked the moment where Tony tells Killmonger that he thought their orphaned state and devotion to their fathers made them the same. Tony clearly can’t see past his privilege, and Killmonger calls him out on that before killing him, solidifying that Tony’s ignorance was his doom. Killmonger uses his influence given by Tony, as well as a giant ploy using the army he built with Tony, to get in Wakanda’s good graces and claim the Black Panther title. At which point, at the very end of the episode, the most interesting thing in the whole thing happens. Shuri goes to Pepper, who’s been suspicious of Killmonger the whole time, and proposes they team up against him. I would have rather seen that episode. Also, we got to see the full appearance of The Watcher in this one! I wonder if his clearer appearance indicates he might actually attempt to interfere soon.

That’s it for this group of episodes! I wasn’t really impressed this time around. I liked certain story beats, and it’s always a pleasure to hear the original actors voicing the majority of the characters, but there were a lot of mistakes made in these three. The women present didn’t get any of the respect or storylines they deserved. Some of the concepts didn’t deliver the intrigue they promised. And I had to see Scott Lang as a head in a jar. But I’m a sucker for anything that covers Wanda and Vision’s relationship, so at least that made up for some of it.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Theme Parks: Disneyland Immersive Rides

Photo of the sign outside ‘Indiana Jones Adventure’ taken by Joshua Sudock for Disneyland Resort. Copyright goes to Disney, Mr. Sudock, and Disney Parks.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I am once again missing my favorite theme parks. I really really want to go back soon. But Disneyland is definitely my favorite and also my favorite for the fall season, so I wanted to do a post specifically for Disneyland. Or at least, Disneyland Resort in California. This post will include rides that are in both Disneyland and the California Adventure park as well. I feel like, especially recently, people have been paying more attention to the newer immersive experiences that Disney created to combat projects like ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at Universal Studios, and I’ll mention those too. But there are other older immersive experiences in the parks that sometimes go overlooked, or at least their level of immersivity gets overlooked. So here are some of my favorite immersive experiences in the parks! I hope I can return to all of them soon!

‘Rise of the Resistance’:

I’ll start with the more known ones, such as this completely immersive experience. If you haven’t heard about this one by now you’ve probably been living under a rock. This ride comes complete with a pre-show where you are members of the Resistance working with Captain Poe Dameron. (Working with Poe Dameron closely is the dream, really.) In the process of being transported you get captured by the First Order and are escorted by First Order officers to holding cells. Only then are you are saved by Resistance fighters and put into transports for your rescue. The fact that all of that takes place in the pre-show (including a visit by Kylo Ren) is insane in itself. The giant animatronics of Kylo Ren and General Hux, the giant movie scenes that your transport moves through, and the amazing effects throughout the ride make this specific experience stand out. Unfortunately, I have very little personal stories to say about this ride. I haven’t actually been on it yet! But I’m anxious to try it!

‘Smuggler’s Run’:

This is the ride where you are given the opportunity to actually pilot the famed Millennium Falcon. Though the queue for this ride starts out pretty standard, the ride does include a pre-show with an animatronic of Hondo Ohnaka. This is one of the most elaborate animatronics Disney has ever made and stands out for that alone. But definitely the best part of the queue is waiting for your turn in the replica of the common area of the Millennium Falcon. Then you actually get to go inside the cockpit where you can either be one of the two pilots, a gunner, or an engineer. I was a pilot when I went on and I actually did sit in the Han Solo seat. It was absolutely amazing to fly the ship and so much fun. Though I bumped into so many things it wasn’t funny. What’s great about damaging the ship, however, is that when you get out of the cockpit at the end of the experience the ship around you will spark as if damaged. I love that detail. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a character in ‘Star Wars’, this ride is for you.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout’:

If you’ve ever wanted to see the Collector’s collection and rescue the Guardians with Rocket, this ride is for you. This is probably my favorite of the new immersive rides that Disney has. Part of that is because I grew up with the ride mechanic for ‘Tower of Terror’ but most of it is entirely because of how fun it is. It’s difficult to dance and scream at the same time, but I somehow manage it every time with this ride because the soundtrack is so addictive. The music will change every time you go on this ride, but “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” by Parliament is probably my favorite song to experience this ride to. And the Vyloo in the cage before you get on the ride are so cute, I could cry. I could literally stand there and watch those adorable animatronics for hours. But one of the best parts of the ride is the pre-show with the Rocket animatronic. Keep your eye out for Rocket’s paw coming down to steal back Peter Quill’s walkman directly after the doors open at the closure of the pre-show.

‘Indiana Jones Adventure’:

This may be my favorite ride and ride experience at Disneyland. And it is not talked about enough. This is one of the most immersive ride experiences you’ll see and it was created before the craze for immersivity started. Which is amazing! It makes the attraction feel pretty timeless! (If only it wouldn’t break down so much). Though the ride is based off of Indiana Jones’s adventures, it follows a completely different and original story. At the start of the queue you swerve through ropes outside of a large temple, which you later learn is the temple of Mara (or the Temple of the Forbidden Eye). 1920’s style music plays over the speakers with the sound quality as if it’s actually coming through an old gramophone and there’s a large rope bridge you have to cross in order to enter the temple. When you enter you immediately see a large old portrait depicting Mara and it actually looks like the ruin of an old temple. The roof is caved in in places and you walk through a booby-trapped room that has thankfully been made safe by Indiana Jones who has walked in this temple before you. You eventually walk into a room where you see an old-fashioned instructional video made by Sallah, a friend of Indiana Jones (some might recognize him as Gimli from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as well) and finally board an old fashioned car. The car then takes you through the temple where you find Indiana Jones several times (he’s been missing for a while) and also anger the goddess inside. It’s an amazing ride and very thrilling even without it being a Roller Coaster.

‘Soarin’:

‘Soarin’ is a ride that exists in multiple park locations around the world. However, in Tokyo the queue for the ride is more like a collection or museum while the one in Florida never had any sort of immersivity to it. The ‘Soarin’ queue in California is made to be like an old airplane hangar inside. It feels as if you are actually at some sort of base waiting to board a plane. In the first inside room you can see the sides of the room adorned with old photographs of famous pilots. Of all genders and races. The area around the ride is also covered in trees and old fashioned airplane props. It feels like both an addition to the vintage feel of the ride as well as an addition to the California feel of the area. After all, the ‘Grand Californian’ Hotel is just around the corner. Definitely another place to go in the California parks that gives you a more vintage feel. I just wish this was still ‘Soarin’ Over California’ instead.

Of course there are various rides in the parks that are immersive in some way or another. I didn’t mention rides like the ‘Haunted Mansion’ or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ because they are such classics I wasn’t sure I could do them justice by explaining them. But then again, this can go for all of these. Disney definitely began my love for immersive experiences and some of these rides definitely deserved more of a mention than they usually get. And what better way to get myself over missing this park then talking about it! But seriously, can you tell I love ‘The Temple of the Forbidden Eye’? I’ve talked about it twice in the last two posts! Sorry!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Video Games: ‘DELTARUNE’ Chapter 2

Screenshot of Kris from ‘DELTARUNE’. Copyright goes to Toby Fox.

Hey! Hallie here!

This post is coming really late, but that’s because I spent all day trapped in the world of ‘DELTARUNE’. It’s been a while since the first chapter of this game came out, which meant I had to refresh on what happened, but the wait was definitely worth it. I’m a huge fan of ‘UNDERTALE’, which is what brought me to this game, and every chapter of ‘DELTARTUNE’ makes me fall in love with Toby Fox’s work even more. I love his character writing, his crazy plot twists, and his light sense of humor and story beats that cover up some really dark, meaningful messages. This new chapter had plenty of all of those to keep me engaged. Plus, Ralsei has completely stolen my heart at this point. I’m going to recap a bit of the first chapter before I get into what we saw in chapter two, so you can expect major SPOILERS for this entire game so far. Let’s go!

Chapter 1:

In chapter one we were introduced to Kris, our gender-nonconforming main character who is, as many ‘UNDERTALE’ fans are familiar with, a human living in a world of monsters. This world isn’t so much like the realm we see in ‘UNDERTALE’, however. It instead resembles our world, just filled with monster inhabitants. Kris is the child of Toriel and Asgore, although the two seem to be separated, or at least on shaky terms, during this story. Kris is also the sibling of Asriel, who has been at college during the events of ‘DELTARUNE” so far, although the game promises that we’ll see him at some point. In any case, Toriel is still a school teacher in this reality and Kris attends the school she works at. They’re in Alphys class and they’re known for being shy and reserved. They’re also known for being late, prompting Kris to get stuck with Susie, a known delinquent, on a class group project. Kris and Susie are sent to retrieve chalk for Alyphys when she claims she can’t start the class without it. When the two enter the school closet, though, they fall into the world of ‘DELTARUNE’. Fairly quickly they stumble on Ralsei, an extremely kind prince who has been waiting for two people of Kris and Susie’s description to arrive. There’s a prophesy that a human, a monster, and a prince will shut down the dark fountains that appear in this world. Doing so will restore the balance between light and darkness and save the world from being destroyed. Susie initially isn’t fond of either Kris or Ralsei, prompting her to join Lancer, a charmingly unintelligent kid who has been told to stop them. The two groups fight each other for a while, but eventually Kris and Ralsei manage to win Susie back, who’s friendship with Lancer also turns him to their side. Together they face off against Lancer’s father, the person who created the first of the dark fountains they must destroy, and Lancer takes over his father’s throne. With this mission accomplished, Kris and Susie return to their world as friends. However, something very strange is going on with Kris. At night, they tear out their own heart, lock it in a cage, and take out a knife. That’s where we left off.

Chapter 2:

Chapter two gets very quickly into its story. The opening is short and doesn’t do much. We do know that, for whatever reason, Kris ate the entire pie their mother made while they were in their heartless state. Another important piece of information is given when Kris goes to school and Alyphs comments that the internet hasn’t been working for a while. After this, Kris and Susie find the first excuse to go back into the school closet and return to what they are now calling the “Dark World”. But not before Noelle comes up to Susie and acts flustered, pretty quickly confirming that she has a crush on her. Adorable. When the two arrive, Ralsei has decided to permanently stay in his hatless form! Yay! We also get to see that all of the characters spared during chapter one, (No, I’m not one of those people who’s killing characters just to see what happens,) have created a city around Ralsei’s castle. This is where the recruitment mechanic comes into play. Essentially, if you spare a character who’s attacking you, they move into this city and start working for you. I like this mechanic a lot and putting all of the characters in one place makes everything much easier. And they do put EVERY character from the Dark World into this city. Including Lancer, who seems to have given up his throne in favor of just letting Ralsei rule as prince. He even moved his father into Ralsei’s prisons. Makes sense. Ralsei also reveals that he’s been renovating his castle to accommodate his new friends. Both Kris and Susie have their own rooms, filled with their belongings and space for more things they might pick up as the story continues. Lancer’s room from his old castle has also been moved into this one. After all of this is established, Ralsei makes Kris and Susie leave so they can work on their group project. Both Lancer and Rouxls attempt to sneak their way into Kris’ pockets before they can.

When Kris and Susie return to their world they find it worryingly empty. They make their way to the “Librarby” at Noelle’s invitation. She absolutely invited them so she could spend more time with Susie. But when Kris and Susie approach the computer room (Where the Toby dog was last spotted working on the game,) they find that it feels the same as the closet at their school. Sure enough, the two fall back into the Dark World, although in a very unfamiliar and mechanical city. Here they meet Queen, a computer program who has decided she wants to take over the world by creating multiple dark fountains. To help her do this she’s captured Noelle, who she hopes will lend her more power. Luckily, Ralsei’s able to travel from his kingdom to the city at the first sign of distress. The three try to rescue Noelle but it doesn’t seem to go in their favor much. Nor does it really seem to be going in Queen’s favor. Noelle isn’t willing to help Queen out with anything and she’s mostly confused about what’s going on. Meanwhile, Queen is odd, unpredictable, and disappears a lot. The three also discover that Berdly, an extremely uptight and annoying kid from their school, has also been sucked into the Dark World because, as Noelle’s study partner, he was with her when the computer room transformed. He also decided that Queen’s idea to take over the world sounded like a good idea, so he’s a bad guy now. While exploring the city, Susie decides she wants to get to know Ralsei better and Kris is left to explore on their own. They run into Noelle while she’s attempting to escape Queen and the two end up making a really fun team. Noelle is scared by every fight, and who wouldn’t be, but she’s an extremely helpful and intelligent character who I loved having around. After a few strange run ins with Queen, all four of the main characters reunite. But only for a short while before Queen finally manages to recapture Noelle. And everyone else, for that matter.

While Kris is captured, Lancer makes himself known in Kris’s pocket and manages to release Kris. But then he begins to feel cold. So Kris, Susie, and Berdly, who was captured too despite the fact that he thought he was on better terms with Queen, quickly try to find Ralsei, who has the best healing abilities of the group. While they do this, Berdly gets embarrassed that he can’t solve any of the puzzles in their way and admits that he isn’t as smart as he claims to be. He says he wants to change his ways but…it’s Berdly. They get to Ralsei, who was made a butler because Queen didn’t make enough cages to imprison Ralsei, and Ralsei reveals that most monsters in the Dark World can only stay within a certain area. If they leave that area, they turn to stone. Luckily, if they get moved back into that area, even after they’re turned to stone, they’re revived. So they let Lancer turn to stone and move on in the hopes of reviving him later. Berdly and Susie go to rescue Noelle, who is still Queen’s main focus, while Ralsei and Kris decide to be a distraction. The thing that caught me off guard with Kris and Ralsei’s storyline, was that the player could decide that Kris and Ralsei might have romantic feelings for one another. Ralsei confesses that he’s grateful to have Kris in his life and Kris can instantly start flirting with him. Later in the game, Kris can even tell Susie that they would want to take Ralsei to the festival their town is preparing for. I don’t know if that will actually grow into a full relationship the player can choose to pursue, but it’s cute nonetheless. Meanwhile, Susie saves Noelle and Noelle decides that everything she’s experiencing is a dream. That doesn’t stop her from getting flustered and making Susie flustered in return, though. They succeed in their rescue mission and go to find Queen, but Queen gets Noelle back and takes control of Berdly, forcing him to fight the others. The others defeat her and Berdly gives them the resources for one final standoff against Queen. It involves a familiar duck.

After she’s defeated, a good chunk of our main characters start to question whether or not Queen’s idea of creating a different world with a dark fountain is possible. They even start to like the idea, themselves. At which point Ralsei actually explains what the presence of the dark fountains does. If they spread, they cast everything in darkness and completely destroy all of the people living in the Dark World, leaving only those from the light realm to fend for themselves. Everyone, including Queen, decides that sounds really bad and they all return to their realms. We see a few interesting things when we’re given full reign to explore again. Queen and Lancer have formed a friendship and it seems that Queen might be getting her own room in Ralsei’s castle. Undyne and Alphys have finally met and are already starting to have feelings for one another. Napstablook is an officer who works with Undyne. Metaton might come out of his house eventually. Sans STILL won’t let us see Papyrus (I’m really sad about it). Noelle’s father seems to be struggling more with his illness. And Susie gets to sleep over! Most of this is really happy news, which makes up for some of the really shocking ending scenes. Kris rips out their heart twice towards the end. First they do so while washing their hands in the bathroom, prompting them to jump out the window and slash their mother’s tires. Toriel sees this and calls Undyne to report the event, though Toriel doesn’t see that it’s Kris who did this. Then, in the middle of the night, Kris rips out their heart again and uses the knife to create a dark fountain in the light realm. That can’t be good.

I loved this chapter. I think my only big disappointment is the fact that Papyrus was clearly set up for an appearance in chapter two, but has now been pushed off until whenever Asriel appears. Still, I understand that his appearance wasn’t intended to be the main focus here. And the story is really good. Queen is a very likable character. She’s very intelligent, but also crazy in an amusing way. I’m glad it seems she’s more likely to join the ranks of the good guys than getting shoved in the prisons with some of the bad guys. I also loved her final battle. The mix between the regular bullet-style fighting and the fighting mini-game was addicting. The involvement of Noelle was another standout of this chapter. It still seems unclear why Queen was obsessed with Noelle in particular, but Noelle seems to possess a power we haven’t fully explored yet. That and her relationship with Susie makes me excited for her character going forward. And, as always, Ralsei stole the show for me. I understand all of the high-pitched screeching Ralsei got when he was dressed as a butler. Chapter three won’t come around for a while but I’m still excited for it! From this point on fans will have to pay for the chapters that are released, but who could possibly claim it isn’t worth the money? ‘DELTARUNE’ isn’t even finished and it’s already one of my favorite games.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Disney: Adventuring Women

Screenshot of Karen Allen as Marion in ‘Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Copyright goes to Lucasfilm.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Some of my favorite types of movies have always been adventure films. Especially the ones with a vintage feel to them. There’s a comfortably nostalgic feeling about them to me. And some of my favorite parts of these movies is that many of them were the start of the focus on female characters we are now seeing. Because while action films in general turned their backs on female characters, some of the adventure films were actually pretty good with their portrayals. They by far portrayed their female characters as the most intelligent of most other movie genres. I know not all of these are Disney specifically, but I’m mainly going to discuss movies that Disney have had rights to. Seeing adventuring women in movies was always incredibly inspiring to me, so I want to go over some of my favorites. (Especially because I’ve seen more and more people reference ‘The Mummy’ which I didn’t grow up watching as much.) And some that I found the most relatable.

Marion in ‘Indiana Jones’:

So Marion is definitely not a character created by Disney, but by Lucasfilm. Which is now owned by Disney. ‘Indiana Jones’ as a franchise has always confused me because I go back and forth on whether or not I like it. I didn’t watch the movies until later in my life, but the immersive ride in Disneyland was always one of my favorites with the fully built temple and the 1920’s music playing outside. But Indiana Jones as a character didn’t turn out to be likable to me and the way he treats women is even more atrocious. In all of the movies, there is only one female character worth mentioning. The other two are incredibly stereotypical, pretty offensive, and mostly not intelligent. Marion is from the first movie and she is by far the best. Marion is incredible. I would have loved to see her in all of the movies, but unfortunately George Lucas insisted that Indy have a different love interest in each film and refused to let her come back though that was the original plan. George Lucas gives me a headache. Marion can fend for herself, keep up with Indy, and even outsmart him at times. She’s continuously shown to be intelligent and resourceful. And she is needed to balance out Indy in the first film. She’s the daughter of a Professor who more or less runs a bar. Definitely a badass.

The Women in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’:

Here I am specifically referencing Elizabeth, Angelica, Anamaria, and Syrena. I didn’t much care for the fifth movie and it would be difficult to cover Tia Dalma without covering Calypso. Which is a connection I still don’t completely understand. Elizabeth Swann is the Pirate King and I feel like that speaks for itself. I’ve written entire articles about Elizabeth because she was so influential to me growing up. Anamaria was only in the first film, but her few scenes were important. She is definitely a scene-stealer and one of the most resourceful characters in the film series. Angelica could go toe to toe with Jack while also being one of the most compassionate characters we’ve seen in the films. Her representation was important to so many people and I wish she would be remembered more as a character. But from that movie it was Syrena who drew most of my attention. It’s difficult not be drawn in by her. She’s a mermaid. But her plot line with the priest character was one of my favorites. Specifically because you don’t often have an entire plot focusing on the compassion of two characters in this franchise. Definitely the sweetest couple we’ve seen here. But Syrena’s turn on the damsel in distress trope by acting much more stubborn and less bothered by her capture is one of my favorite aspects of her character.

Jane in ‘Tarzan’:

Another daughter of a Professor who travels with her father. Jane is adorably awkward but never incapable. You can most often find her with her nose stuck in a book or drawing some sort of animal. But my favorite part of her character is how I related to her awkwardness when I was growing up. My awkwardness suddenly didn’t seem odd. Jane has become one of my favorite Disney animated characters over the years because of her amazing writing. She’s an introvert but she’s never set back because of her struggle with social situations. Jane is shown to be strong and intelligent. Definitely a role model I’m glad to have had.

Alice in ‘Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland’:

‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a story that is very close to my heart. So I’m often met with surprise when I say that I actually liked this version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. For someone who grew up reading the book multiple times, watching the Disney film multiple times, and in love with the idea of Wonderland it may seem odd that I like such a different version of the tale. And while I really don’t like the sequel, the styling of this movie stole my heart from the very beginning. And what I like about this version is that it gives Alice more agency as well as portraying her as an adventurer. She even becomes an adventurer in her real life after the story. Though my attention was often caught by characters like the Mad Hatter or the White Queen, Alice’s actions were some of my favorites in the film. She even gets a sword fight. The vintage but colorful vibe of this film specifically is one of my favorites in any film and I love to see a woman at the head of it.

Lily in ‘Jungle Cruise’:

The most obvious and newest addition to this list. Lily may just be one of my new favorite Disney characters simply because of the role she plays in this film. Earlier as the movie starts there are two giant action sequences where Lily swings from several platforms, runs across a roof top, and resourcefully fights her way out of dangerous situations. These sequences reminded me immediately of Captain Jack Sparrow and for a second I couldn’t believe that we were finally seeing films with sequences like this being given to women. Lily is smarter than most people and an incredibly complex character. Her discoveries and ideas are often shot down because she’s a woman, resulting in her brother having to give pitches of her ideas to associations for her. But in the end she doesn’t need them or anyone to get where she needs to go. All she needs is her determination and incredible intelligence. So I guess all of those professors can “Shove it up their association” as McGregor would put it.

I don’t know what it is about Fall, but it always puts me back in the vintage adventuring mood. That might explain why I’ve been watching ‘Jungle Cruise’ so often lately. So I’ll get back to my scratchy gramophone playlists on Youtube and Rachel Maksy videos, but I couldn’t do that before I talked about some of my biggest style and character inspirations. And some of my favorites for the Fall season too!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Marvel:’Hawkeye’ Trailer

Screenshot of Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in the first official trailer for ‘Hawkeye’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

Recently we’ve been kind of in between major Marvel Disney+ shows. We have ‘What If?’ right now to hold us off, but no one can deny that a mix of non-canon events isn’t as major of a contribution to the MCU as shows like ‘WandaVision’, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, and ‘Loki’. But as of late November, the wait for another big Marvel show will be over! ‘Hawkeye’ is coming out just in time for the Christmas season, as the trailer frequently likes to remind us. This trailer is really interesting and not at all what I expected. There’s also tons of other announcements for this show that have me really excited. Let’s go through this trailer and what we know so far.

The Trailer:

This trailer opens up with Clint and his kids in New York City. Given the fact that the cast has been spotted filming on location there frequently, and the constant shots of the city throughout the trailer, it’s safe to say that it’ll be our setting for the majority of the series. Clint’s trying to spend the holidays with his kids to make up for lost time caused by the Blip. It even seems like he takes them out to see ‘Rogers: The Musical’, which never fails to make me laugh every time I see it referenced. I especially love the gold background and black silhouette design of the posters that are clearly nods to ‘Hamilton’. But suddenly the news is reporting that a masked vigilante that was lurking around a few years ago might be back. This is news to Clint, who WAS the masked vigilante after he lost his family to Thanos, but hasn’t picked up the “Ronin” title since. So he sends his kids home and promises that he’ll be home for Christmas. Afterwards, Clint decides to go out and catch this vigilante. It’s Kate Bishop! She’s a 22-year-old archer who also happens to be a huge fan of Clint’s. She claims she’s great at what she does but it’s pretty clear right from the beginning that she doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing.

After this we get some very ‘Die Hard’-esque scenes. While Clint works with Kate and makes excuses to his family about his absence, we get shots of him throwing a Molotov cocktail back to a group of assailants that tried to attack him with it, punching someone in the face, dangling off the side of a building with his bow, icing his injuries, getting shot at while inside a restaurant, and getting held at gunpoint. Kate does crash to his rescue, though. As all of this happens, Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background. In a brief interlude, a mysterious woman raises her glass and we get an even more ridiculous look at ‘Rogers: The Musical’ and all the terrible costumes. Why are the costumes THAT terrible if the show’s on Broadway? But Kate Bishop’s adorable dog makes up for it. And are those viking costumes? My favorite moment in the trailer, though, is seeing Clint and Kate back to back with bows drawn right in the middle of The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Next we get a car chase scene that very much reminds me of the scene between Natasha and Yelena in ‘Black Widow’. Clint sorts through his various homemade arrows to find one that isn’t too dangerous for Kate to use, but it winds up blowing up the car behind them. I love that they’re acknowledging all of the crazy arrows Clint creates. Ultimately, I’m a Christmas fan and I love the Christmas vibes of this trailer. But I’m also a bit shaky on how much I like Jeremy Renner and I was under the impression that Kate would be more of the focus here. Still, Kate and Clint look like they make an excellent team and I’m excited to see how it all plays out!

Additional Information:

Anyone who’s seen ‘Black Widow’ knows that we’ll see Yelena showing up here. And even if you didn’t see the movie, Florence Pugh’s on the IMDB page. In any case, the end credits scene of ‘Black Widow’ saw Yelena visiting Natasha’s grave. While she was there, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, approached her and convinced her that Clint was the main person responsible for Natahsa’s death. There’s no word on whether or not Contessa will be appearing in the show, though she has been causing trouble since ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’. But it seems we will see a familiar assassin going after Clint in ‘Hawkeye’. It feels like we’re getting Kate and Yelena together as the new Hawkeye and Black Widow really soon here. Also, Echo will be a character in this show! For those who don’t know the superhero Echo, Maya Lopez is a Native American superhero who is capable of various telekinetic abilities and is also deaf. The actress playing her, Alaqua Cox is also Native American and deaf! Yay good representation! I can’t wait to see this character in action. Also, eagle eyed fans have spotted Clint Barton wearing hearing aids in the trailer. This is MAJOR because Clint is canonically deaf in the comics. Many people were frustrated that the MCU refused to acknowledge this part of the character, but it looks like it will be acknowledged now!

The trailer was short but I’m already loving the look of this series. I might have been expecting more Kate, but I can’t say I don’t like the strong connection already present between Kate and Clint in this trailer. I love the Christmas feel and all of the action sequences that feel more like they’re from a spy film than a superhero film. And the representation this show promises is a really good step in the right direction. I don’t want to get my hopes up, especially when it comes to representation, but I’m optimistic about what we’ve seen so far!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

BTS: Presidential Envoy and What This Means

Promotional image of (from left) Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook, Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Park Jimin, and Jung Hoseok. Copyright goes to the Hybe Corporation and BTS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I think most people have heard about this at this point, but it’s worth talking about in as much depth as possible. Because not only is this a triumph for BTS, but this is also a pretty historical moment. I can’t imagine that at their debut years ago any member of BTS would have expected this to happen to them one day. And I feel like this gave me more hope in the past week than most other things. BTS have always talked about incredibly important topics regarding youth and letting them represent youth at the UN is one of the best decisions I can think of. They’ve been a voice of the youth for ages even before being given this honor. And there’s so much here I want to address about this itself, what it means, and why BTS was given this specifically. So let’s get into it!

‘Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture’:

This is the new title gifted to the members of BTS. And yes it is absolutely a mouthful. So what exactly does this mean? This means that the president of South Korea, President Moon Jae-in, has specially chosen BTS to accompany him to the United Nations General Assembly (and other such prestigious events) as representatives for youth. This is what they will essentially be doing. And in doing this the members of BTS were actually gifted diplomatic passports by the President himself. Meaning that there is no doubt that the position they were just gifted is a diplomatic one. BTS can meet with world leaders while representing youth and while representing their country itself. All of this is a very fancy way to say that they are now actually being employed by the government of South Korea. They are officially diplomats. Which is actually a pretty political position. This is not just a historical event for South Korea. Appointing any musical artist of any sort as a diplomat of a country is incredibly rare and has barely been done before. And it is also entirely possible that it will never be done again in South Korea. So why was BTS given this specific honor? And why may it never be done again?

History Makers:

I’ve heard a lot of fans of other groups say that BTS is paving the way for other K-Pop groups to do the same. I’ve even heard BTS fans say things like this. Much of the time it was to comfort fans of other groups who were unfairly going after BTS for being given such a position. And I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is going to effect all K-Pop groups. We are not going to see a sudden surge of a bunch of groups being given diplomatic status. That’s not what this is. Recent reports of the South Korean economy suggest that BTS is responsible for five billion dollars added to the economy. Which is incredibly significant. BTS has given their country worldwide recognition, which comes with many advantages. They’ve improved business by their own business gaining so much money and branching out as a South Korean giant. In doing so their company has created jobs. They’ve upped tourism in numbers that are so excessive that it’s believed that they make up for almost half of current tourism interest in the country. Getting another K-Pop band to reach that level is not only difficult, it’s almost impossible. Getting any group from anywhere to that level is almost impossible. BTS almost singlehandedly held up the economy for South Korea during the pandemic with their continued revenue from releases and online concerts. Not only does having an impact so big on your country warrant more than just a diplomatic position, it also prevents other K-Pop groups from being like them. The South Korean government is forced, whether they like it or not, to acknowledge something that has such a giant impact on their country. Many of these government officials already feel uncomfortable at how much they have to pay attention to BTS. So I don’t think any group will be on BTS’s level until at least BTS is not as much of a thing anymore. Which I don’t think will happen for a long time. And even then it would still be a difficult feat to accomplish. This will not be a standard for every K-Pop group.

Military Service:

So they’re diplomats now. Does that mean they won’t have to serve in the military? Unfortunately, we don’t know. That is currently in the hands of the National Defense Committee. But the popular opinion right now is that they will be granted exemptions. And this move to make them diplomats only makes this opinion more widespread. But don’t go celebrating yet. We don’t want to get our hopes up too high. In most cases, people working for the government this way would be considered to already be doing work for their government. That’s a general rule for some countries, though it doesn’t necessarily apply to South Korea. We won’t know for sure until the Defense Committee talks at the end of this year. The fact that they have already been given the opportunity to postpone service is already a sign that the government won’t be willing to let BTS go into mandatory military service. And I do mean won’t let them. I’ve seen many ARMYs worried that the members of BTS might want to complete their service anyways because of possible backlash. And while that may be possible sometime in the far future, it probably wouldn’t be possible anytime soon if they were granted an exemption. Why? For several reasons. Firstly, the reason why BTS might be exempted might be said by the government to be because of their great contributions, but that’s unlikely in truth. It will probably be because the South Korean economy would falter if BTS was gone for two years. Especially their tourism industry. Secondly, I doubt BTS would be allowed to reject a rule change made specifically for them by their government system. Especially if the rule change was made for economical reasons. Maybe when or if there comes a time that they aren’t so important to the entire economy of their country they could then enlist. But if they are given that exemption, that is unlikely to be soon. Still, don’t get your hopes up.

Malicious?:

Many people feel that BTS (or more specifically their company) has maliciously appealed to the government in a plot to try and get BTS out of mandatory military service. This is extremely ridiculous. It doesn’t take a genius to see that their well-earned achievements have gotten them to this point. And recently a meeting between several big K-Pop companies was called to see if they could appeal to the government to get K-Pop artists out of mandatory military service. Notably, Hybe was not one of the companies represented at this meeting. They did not attend. But I know this is falling on deaf ears because if you’re one of those people readily denying that BTS could have possibly become this successful, even after seeing the facts of everything, then you probably won’t be convinced otherwise.

Listen to Namjoon:

If there’s anyone I’m a little worried for in this situation, it’s Namjoon. As the general spokesperson for his group, he just got a whole lot more responsibility laid on his shoulders. And really they all did, but it’s Namjoon’s words that will be heard by dozens of world leaders. And as ARMY we all need to give him the respect of listening to him in our daily lives too. Namjoon had an absolutely amazing birthday Vlive that was both adorable and included a section about him getting candid regarding his struggles during the pandemic. Many ARMYs pointed out that barely anyone talked about the moment afterwards, even though almost every single moment of Jungkook’s birthday Vlive was talked about for days after. What I’m saying here is that Namjoon has a lot on his plate, but he is absolutely the man for this job. His wise words and advice have resulted in many feeling heard and comforted by him. His words are the ones we heard accepting the title at the ceremony and we’ll hear him at the UN once again. Please take a note from Jungkook’s book and listen intently to him. And do not throw a fit if Namjoon is the only one speaking. I’m sure Namjoon would love for the others to share his burden a little bit and it is not his fault or anybody’s fault. This is what comes with being a leader of a group. Respect Namjoon and all his hard work.

Celebrate!:

I know most of this has been pretty serious, and it is true that this is a somewhat serious occasion. But it isn’t all serious! Take this time to actually celebrate all their achievements! All of them individually and as a group made this happen and it’s amazing. It’s unheard of. These men have made history! And they are still their genuine and humble selves while doing it. I hope that they can continue to be themselves no matter what happens and I hope that this will push them all in a happy direction. I also hope that they still feel some normalcy on top of all of this because I’m sure it’s just a little overwhelming. But I think the best thing we can do for all of that is celebrate them and give them our unwavering support! Also remember that this is just a new job for them. They’ll still be the same normal guys from South Korea.

I am personally hoping that they are all doing well and that they are all proud of themselves. This is amazing! And just being a fan of them feels like I’m part of something bigger. Just like I know they feel they are part of something bigger with us too. I hope to feel comforted by their words and celebrate their amazing feats for years to come. No matter what happens and no matter what they do (or even if they don’t do anything if they feel like taking a break), let’s all continue to support them!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

K-Pop: ATEEZ ‘ZERO: FEVER Part.3’

Promotional image of Jeong Yunho, Choi San, Kang Yeosang, Kim Hongjoong, Choi Jongho, Jung Wooyoung, and Park Seonghwa. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

ATEEZ’s next album was just released! ‘ZERO: FEVER Part.3’ is a really strong entry in this connecting line of albums. Stronger than I expected, and I had very high expectations. There isn’t one weak song on the album. From peppy songs that bring instant serotonin to songs that hit so hard they’ve become some of my new favorites, we have tons to talk about. Especially now that Mingi’s back and all the members are being given plenty of time to show off their incredible skills! Let’s talk about these new songs! (As a warning: Consensus is still out on who sings which part of each song. I’m going by what I see on a few websites and I’m being a little vague, but I could absolutely be wrong about who sings what. I’m only completely confident in what parts I ascribe to Mingi, Hongjoong, and Jongho.)

“Eternal Sunshine”:

This track is an absolute serotonin provider. It definitely has the feeling of a Summer song, despite the fact that Summer’s over. It’s fun beat and smooth chorus instantly put the listener in a good mood. Once again, the lighter register of Yunho blows me away in this song. He switches off parts of the chorus with San, and at times their tones are so similar I forget which verse I’m listening to. Meanwhile, Jongho rightfully takes the last part of the chorus to hit all of us harder with his incredible voice. I love the rap verses in this song. Mingi’s captures the light, lovesick feel of the song while Hongjoong’s picks up the beat a little more and gives us a Peter Pan reference that is absolutely on brand for him. Wooyoung, Yeosang, and Seonghwa are all spaced throughout the song with a little less than the rest, but they all do amazing jobs. Seonghwa’s opening is addictive, as is Wooyoung’s closing, and no one can deny how strong Yeosang comes through during the chanting. It isn’t perfect in showing off all of the members, but it still gives us some excellent moments for all of them and it’ll definitely get stuck in your head.

“Feeling Like I Do”:

This song very much has a similar feel to “Eternal Sunshine”. Right from the beginning, though, it’s faster and softer. There’s almost a whispery sound to the pre-chorus, which is a direct contrast to the energy of the chorus. Instead of the more “lovesick and devoted” feel of the last song, this one’s more of a “lovesick and determined to prove their worth” song. Yunho comes into this song with his deeper register, which definitely adds a satisfying layer to the song. Yeosang adds to this very well on his own and it’s nice to hear him get a lengthier piece of the opening. Our whispery pre-chorus is unsurprisingly provided by San, who’s very good at the soft and seductive sound, while Seonghwa builds up to the chorus with some higher notes that I’m absolutely in love with. Jongho and Wooyoung absolutely kill it during the chorus and neither overshadow the other. The raps in this song are really adorable. Once again, Mingi captures the main themes of the song while Hongjoong’s rap sounds exactly like what you’d expect an adorable crush to sound like. As someone who likes faster, upbeat tracks, this one really grabbed me.

“Deja Vu”:

The title track and my favorite song on the album. There was a competition between “Eternal Sunshine” and “Deja Vu” to see which one would be the title track, but this one absolutely wins for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy “Eternal Sunshine”, but “Deja Vu” is a different sound for ATEEZ and it works so well. We also have a music video for this one! This music video is so good. Right from the beginning we get to see all of them dressed in formal black and white attire while a storm goes on in the background. It sets the mood for the entire video. In other scenes we get black leather and fluid, mesmerizing dancing. About halfway through we also get to see them hanging around what looks like a junkyard. It all really adds to the darker, badass feel. Plus we get to see Hongjoong in his black suit and fedora! Tying into past music videos, maybe? Yunho is insane in both the song and the music video. He looks incredible and his voice hooks you immediately. Also, can we talk about how much time Yeosang got for this song? Just like Yunho, his voice can get very deep, and I think he uses it even more to his advantage than Yunho does here. Seonghwa and San’s voices once again lend to the more addictive parts of the chorus and pre-chorus. They’re so good at hitting the crazy notes leading up to Jongho. Plus, both of them have perfected that seductive tone I can’t stop listening to. Once again, Jongho’s voice packs a punch during the chorus. His voice is a highlight of every song. Hongjoong messes around with a whispery opening to his rap before going into something more teasing and fun, which was refreshing and amazing. Mingi starts out with something a bit lower and ends it all at a whisper, which pairs with his deep voice so well. Also Mingi singing at the end? Perfection. Can we also talk about the switch between San and Wooyoung? Wooyoung’s voice is perfect, as is that shirt grab. Oof. Everything about this song is perfect. Everything.

“ROCKY”:

This one is a more classic sound for ATEEZ when it comes to their epic hype songs. This song gives off the “we’re the shit” message that ATEEZ has absolutely earned. Hongjoong and Mingi are really active in the song. They both get awesome verses that build it up well, and their contributions continue throughout the entire song to add to its structure. Meanwhile, you get a lot of harmonization from the other members. As usual, Jongho gets his moments to stand out. You also get plenty of really excellent vocals from San, Wooyoung and Seonghwa, and some deeper vocals from Yunho and Yeosang. All of it combines really well and makes for a song that makes you want to get up and kick ass.

“All About You”:

This is another really cute song, although it falls into a slower category than everything we’ve discussed so far. It’s a really heartfelt love song. This song also does a really good job in particular at letting all of the members stand out. Hongjoong and Mingi have some more singsong parts of their verses to add to the feel. Seonghwa’s voice is deeper in this song, which he doesn’t utilize too often, to contrast the lighter voices of Wooyoung and San. Yeosang also plays with a lighter tone that Yunho contrasts with his deeper voice. And Jongho hits some crazy notes that play as sweet and soothing here. I love the sound of this one so much. It’s definitely the most calming on the album.

“Not Too Late”:

Most of the other songs on this album are love songs with the exception of “Rocky”. This one is straight up about depression. I love when artists get candid about these types of feelings all of us have struggled with. Especially when times are as hard as they are now. Seonghwa’s voice really gets deeper on these soothing songs and I appreciate it every time. He seriously has amazing range. Hongjoong and Mingi also keep their verses here more melodic which I always love to hear. Both have amazing singing voices. You won’t find much Yeosang in this song, but his deep voice is appreciated. Yunho’s voice once again reaches the range of Wooyoung and San and the three of them do really well in this range for this song. And Jongho stands out with a few really nice notes, especially towards the end of the song. This is my favorite song in terms of lyrics on this album. I’m a sucker for artists addressing real world problems I can relate to, and I love when ATEEZ does it in particular.

That’s it! We got a bit more of an even amount of the members this time around. Although, I will say that Wooyoung is heard a bit less in this album than he has been in the past. I really don’t want this to be the type of situation where we’re trading off Yeosang’s underutilization for Wooyoung’s. This album is a step in the right direction in sharing the focus, but I think we still have to wait for a day when all of them get equal time. Still, I loved this album. I enjoy listening to all these songs and I will absolutely have them on repeat for the next few days. Especially “Deja Vu”.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

BTS: Happy Namjoon Day!

Photoshoot image of RM (Kim Namjoon). Copyright goes to the Hybe Corporation and BTS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Obviously, Namjoon’s birthday was something we had to cover. Specifically for me, he is my bias wrecker and he’s actually been wrecking me more and more recently. But more than any of that, he’s our leader, president, and deserving of all our praise and more. Especially because he doesn’t think he does. And ARMY’s behavior yesterday and today for his birthday was, frankly, disappointing. Just a couple weeks ago on Jungkook’s birthday we had several different hashtags trending on Twitter for several days, video ads absolutely everywhere, and several projects running at once. Namjoon’s birthday only trended on Twitter yesterday and was buried under everyone concerning themselves about the maknae line. Namjoon deserves just as much as everyone else without his trends being blocked by our own fandom. (‘Plants for Namjoon’ was an amazing effort though!) So, this will be dedicated to who is possibly the biggest comfort person in my life (both literally and figuratively)! These are some of my favorite comfort moments from Namjoon.

Persona:

One of my favorite performances from Namjoon is in his own personal music video to this song, which I have used to get me through a lot. The promise of giving us all the shoulders when we cry is comforting and Namjoon doesn’t stop there with the comfort. The entire song Namjoon talks about the struggle of figuring out who you are as a person and the way fame has affected that journey for him. But though the song comforts mainly through its relatability, Namjoon never passes up the opportunity to directly comfort as well.

Mono:

This is an entire album made of comfort songs directly from Namjoon. His mixtape is one that I use often for multiple different reasons. I have used some songs for falling asleep such “seoul” and “forever rain”. I use the songs as alarms to wake me up in the morning because they are soft enough to lull me from my slumber without making me annoyed. And I swear these are the firsts songs I’ve found that have been able to do that. This is also an amazing album for if you have bad anxiety or even panic attacks. I don’t think I’ve found an album as soothing as this one before and I doubt any album will ever be like this after. No song is quite as comforting to me as “moonchild”, where he discusses his own struggles and then encourages both himself and his listeners through the song. But “forever rain” is the song that probably calms me down the most. It even begins with soothing rain sounds. Definitely an entire album that will be on my regular playlist forever.

Dionysus:

I know this sounds a little odd for comfort Namjoon moments, but his moments during the choreography for this song in particular are ones that I’ll never get over. Namjoon with the staff gives off the entire feeling of “leader” and I legitimately cried when he walked out with the staff for the 2019 MMAs. Because I couldn’t help but think how powerful our leader looked there. I seriously go back to that moment in the performance all the time. It was too amazing.

Awareness and Diplomacy:

One of the main things that I love about Namjoon is how seriously he takes the leader position. Taking care of the rest of the boys is important to him. So much so that before debut, Namjoon and Jin made a point to discuss together how they were going to take care of the rest of the group. Namjoon is Jin’s comedic partner, Yoongi’s respect, Hobi’s best friend, Jimin’s pillow, Tae’s caretaker, and Jungkook’s big hug. We’ve seen his moments of caring so many times. He’s generally one of the first to notice if a member of the group is hurt and when Jungkook started dancing during his solo song in concert when he should have been sitting, Namjoon was the first to report this to Hobi. Namjoon grabbed an ill Jungkook to remind him not to be too hard on himself. He comforted a crying Taehyung and took equal blame for an argument he wasn’t a part of. He teaches the others English and tries to get each of them heard in any interview they participate in. Namjoon is everything a leader should be. And much of that comes from his natural caring side. If anyone was going to be the leader, the giant teddy bear who’s always there for everyone else was definitely going to be that.

Namjooning:

One of the best parts of Namjoon, is his Namjooning. This was a verb coined by fans to describe Namjoon just doing regular Namjoon things. Usually having to do with nature. Always loved how much Namjoon loves being a plant Dad? Me too! That’s just Namjoon Namjooning. What about him ankle deep in water looking for crabs? Or riding his bicycle along the Han River? Or visiting countless art museums? That’s all Namjoon Namjooning. I recently saw a video of him apologizing to frogs and asking if they were the only ones there while looking for crabs. The video was so cute I just about died. Namjoon’s love for nature and art is unmatched and some of the things he cites as keeping him so down to earth.

No Benefits:

I think we’ve all seen moments of Namjoon in various BTS content when they’re supposed to be taking a break, working instead. This was most prevalent in ‘Bon Voyage’. Namjoon felt bad that the others were driving and cooking, both things that he cannot do well, and took out his frustration by trying to get some work done. And sometimes he doesn’t have a choice but to do the extra work. He talked to Jimin once about how stressed he was to do work during a time where he wished he could be relaxing. Yoongi has said several times that being the leader of BTS comes with no benefits and a lot of extra work. And Namjoon being the main lyricist of the group only adds onto his plate. Namjoon feels immature for not being able to cook or drive, but I think he’s incredibly mature for all the work he has to do instead of those things. How many times have we seen Namjoon leading interviews? And for every single time we’ve seen that we’ve also seen footage of him behind the scenes trying to quiet his nerves. Many people forget that both Yoongi and Namjoon have suffered with anxiety. This man is without a doubt one of the hardest working people in his industry. Not to mention he was given the choice between a solo career and BTS and he chose the group without hesitation.

Bicycle:

This song flew completely under the radar when it came out. And it’s one of my favorites from him. Some of his other soothing songs have a more somber note to them, but this one is more upbeat. It really makes you want to go on a bike ride with Namjoon, whether you know how to ride a bike or not. More people need to listen to this song. Seriously, if you haven’t, go listen to this immediately. It needs more listens because it’s truly a masterpiece and Namjoon deserves for his solo pieces to be heard as much as the rest of them. I swear your life will be better for listening to it.

Namjoon is one of my favorite people on the planet. I’m so glad that we got both “Fake Love” and “Idol” to a billion for his birthday, but actually celebrating his birthday is also important. We need more people to respect Namjoon in the way that he deserves. He does so much for this group and I hope that we all are much better at celebrating his birthday next year than we were this year. Namjoon deserved better than all of us freaking out over other issues and trending other members on his birthday. So let’s look at how amazing and comforting this man is and at least try and give him some of that comfort back. He told us all to use him to learn to love ourselves, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t take him up on that offer. But I hope that myself and other ARMY can eventually be there for him in a similar way. He has been there for us, and we should be there for him too. Our leader. Our comfort. Happy Birthday, Namjoon!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie