BTS: Agust D ‘D-DAY’ Album Review

Screenshot of Min Yoongi in the music video for “Haegeum” from his new album ‘D-DAY’. Copyright goes to BIGHIT Music and Min Yoongi.

Hey! Hallie here!

I haven’t been reviewing all of the recent releases from the members of BTS, but we’ve seen them fully explore their beliefs, mental health, and identities with these last few album releases. As a BTS fan I’m extremely proud of them and more willing than ever to let them know that I appreciate all the sides of them that they choose to share with the fans. And I also think that all of them are coming out with some of their best work in general right now. Yoongi’s new album under the name Agust D, ‘D-DAY’, is no exception. This album is full of intense backing tracks, insane flow, and heart-wrenching messages. Despite the badassery of the songs in this album, I still cried while listening to it. The depth here is perfection and yet somehow no surprise coming from Yoongi. There’s so much to talk about here, so I’m going to get right into all the amazing things that gripped me while I listened to this album.

The Hard Hitting: The first half of this album is full of songs that are more fast paced and reject what society considers unacceptable. “D-Day” opens up the album swinging, with a song that mixes a slower pre-chorus with an extremely addictive beat. The song is specifically about looking to the future with not just hope, but determination. Letting go of the mistakes of the past, the feelings of inferiority, and what society considers “successful”. Instead, it encourages the listener to break out of these barriers and be reborn as their true self. Then there’s “Haegeum” the song on the album that has an accompanying MV. This song, for all of its insane backing track and fast-paced rap, is one of the most complex on the album. It discusses in depth the issue with sensationalizing controversy and blindly throwing hate at other people, but also with accepting everything society views as acceptable including capitalism. The song is meant to be a call to free yourself from the black and white thinking we constantly see on the internet and to form your own opinions. The MV flirts with the message of the song by showing Yoongi and his Agust D persona smoking and committing various crimes. All of these things could be considered controversial as major staples for a music video, but the song itself challenges why he should face extra scrutiny because of such minor things. The music video also parallels “Daechwita”, presenting a more modern take on a ruler, this time a possible mob boss version of Agust D, who is being actively stolen from by the scrappy poorer character, or Yoongi. We even get a scene at the end where Yoongi shoots Agust D. I have no idea what these parallels might mean, but I do find it interesting that these characters committed more acts of violence against each other this time around.

Then we have “HUH?!”, the song that features J-Hope. This song targets the people who purposefully attempt to undermine Yoongi’s, and by extension BTS’s, popularity by stirring up gossip. The song brushes off that behavior as ignorant while Yoongi and Hoseok rap about their success. I love hearing these two together, particularly because of how powerful and aggressive Yoongi’s style is as opposed to Hoseok’s ability to adapt to the beat with a more melodic sound. Another hard-hitting song on the album is “Polar Night”. The speed of the flow here sounds desperate and the beat is somber, but with a hip hop twist that keeps it moving. This song, more than any other, is about black and white thinking. It highlights how people firmly choose sides and make enemies of each other, spreading more hate than if we had stayed quiet. The song does warn against staying silent, but also points out how noise just to spread hate gets us nowhere as well. I find it interesting that, of these songs with the pace and “screw you” attitude of “Daechwita” we see a lot of criticism of the ways people treat each other on the internet. He warns against being hateful, but it’s more than that. He’s criticizing the way everyone now feels comfortable to throw out their opinions on the internet while dehumanizing the people they’re arguing against. The ability to wave off someone else’s opinion as being idiotic without opening the floor for a productive conversation creates an even more toxic environment than the one we started with and, as Yoongi points out, can deeply harm others. Although I do believe that some controversy can lead to justice, I do think that we as a society look for the next controversy with too much eagerness. I respect Yoongi for bringing attention to that fact.

The Soft and Sad: Our first softer song is “AMYGDALA”. It starts with a simple guitar backing track and Yoongi’s vocals, while digitized, stay melodic to add to this calmer, slower feel. This song feels extremely close to Yoongi. The lyrics talk about the hardships he’s faced in his life, from the way he feels about his mother’s heart surgery after his birth, to the accident he got into as a trainee, to his father’s cancer. He talks about how he deeply struggles with these things but was also able to endure them. It’s an extremely personal song, and I honestly just feel grateful that he felt comfortable sharing these difficult feelings with his fans. “SDL” takes everything in a completely different direction with a song with a sung chorus about love. It talks about a lost love, but also about how love can be broader than what we envision. It can come in the form of a life goal, a reason to get up in the morning, or a happy memory. This one is just cozy and nostalgic, which I appreciated after some of the more emotional songs earlier in the album. Then there’s “People Pt.2” featuring IU. I’m not surprised IU’s on this track because this one has the calmest and most jazzy feel to it, which fits her voice perfectly. Going between IU’s singing and Yoongi’s rap, the song also tackles the idea of love. But instead of exploring what love is, it explores whether love is meant to be temporary or permanent, and whether the sadness experienced in relationships is just dread to lose the ones we love. 

These last two songs made me the most emotional out of all of the songs on the album. The first is “Snooze”, a collaboration with the incredibly talented Woosung from The Rose as well as Ryuichi Sakamoto. This one Yoongi said he made for those in the industry who are younger than him, but it feels like he’s speaking to all of us who are uncertain about how to navigate the pressure we feel when we’re pursuing something we consider important. He tells the listener not to push themselves as hard as he pushed himself and not to make themselves miserable. He reassures the listener that it’s alright to rest and that he will be there to support them when things get hard. He talks about how life is unkind and the journey to following your dreams can be full of enemies, but he reminds us to make happiness where we can, allow ourselves to cry when we’ve run out of happiness, and reach a hand out to others who are also struggling. And ultimately, he tells us we’ll be ok. And that is what makes this song emotional for me. Because aside from the amazing lyricism, vocals, and gorgeous backing track, the song makes me think that even when times are darkest, I’ll be ok. At the end of the album we have Yoongi’s version of “Life Goes On” which, while sounding different, keeps the tone and parts of his verse from the BTS song. This addition to the album makes a lot of sense given that a good chunk of it was created during the pandemic. The lyrics here feel bitter sweet. He talks about how his relationship with his fans has been strong for a while, but he also talks about how he knows he will have to stop creating at one point and hopes that we won’t completely forget him once that happens. And of course we won’t. ARMY will be here for him, and for all of BTS, forever. I hope he will remember that for as long as we remember him.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


ATEEZ: Why These Fandoms are Important

Selfie social media image of (from front left) Kim Hongjoong, Jung Wooyoung, Jeong Yunho, Park Seonghwa, (back left) Kang Yeosang, Choi San, Choi Jongho, and Song Mingi. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment and ATEEZ.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I find that when I’m writing about my favorite K-Pop groups, particularly ATEEZ, I often say that I don’t have the words to describe what they mean to me. And while that is most likely true and I most likely will never be able to formulate just how much these men have done for me and my life and how much I care about them; this post is hopefully a start in trying to put a little more of it into words. On top of that, I’ve written posts about the way K-Pop fans are often treated by people outside the fandom. How we are often demonized for having crushes on members and at the very beginning of this blog, I even wrote a post on BTS and the teenage girl argument. That post basically talked about how music that has mostly a fan base of women or even sometimes teenage girls is looked down on society for having those demographics. This can even be seen in fans of theme parks like “Disney adults”. Where, once again, because the demographic is mostly women, society finds it more socially acceptable to call it “cringey”. Unlike similar demographics of mostly men. (Ahem, sports.) My feelings are still similar, but they have also massively grown as I’ve had more experiences and as my ult group changed. Because people who love these groups, who say that they’ve had their lives change ever since they started stanning them, are not people to be scoffed at or thrown away. Your dismissal of these people is not only wrong, but it’s also problematic. And here’s why.

“They saved my life.”:

When anybody says this about anything fandom related, they are usually met with a fair bit of scrutiny. How could something so un-personal save your life? This especially feels to be the criticism directed at bands or K-Pop group stans. These groups don’t know you and if you have ever met them before it was very briefly. How could these men that you don’t know have saved your life? These people don’t really know, or remember, how important it is to feel that you aren’t alone when you are at your loneliest. Being in a fandom gives you a community that has your back; but being a fan of these groups offers you even more support than that. Most of these groups know that people are drawn to them especially when they’re going through rough times. And one of the reasons they know that, is because they are human beings who have also gone through rough times. ATEEZ was extremely important to me because they are my age. In fact, my sister and I were born in the same year as five of the eight members. Because of being so close in age to them I was able to understand their sense of humor better than any other group and their lyrics hit me at times I desperately needed them. “Turbulence” was a song that I absolutely bawled at the first time I listened to it, because it was that relatable. It was a song about not knowing where you were going with life and feeling lost. It came at a time where I was feeling so incredibly lost in my life. They have a song called “One Day at a Time” that offers comfort and encourages those experiencing sadness and depression to take it one day at a time. “Wave” is a summery fun song that’s actually about feeling hopeful when you’re struggling through a difficult wave in your life. “THANXX” was comforting at a time where I decided a direction for myself that not everyone in my family agreed with. It seemed like they had a song for every feeling that I was having. And most of the members had talked about experiencing those things at one point or another. When Mingi took a break because of his mental health, I completely understood because I was going through one of the worst times in my life. And when he made the difficult decision to come back, it helped inspire me to get better.

“They actually care.”:

Most people seem to think that this is a desperate hope and a rather pitiful thing to think. But I have no idea why people seem to think that this is impossible. Every K-Pop group and their fandom creates a community. A community that allows people to find people similar to them, to find enjoyment in the same things, and to feel closer together with a larger population of the world. It seems as though the people who don’t believe in the above statement, don’t actually count the group themselves as part of this community. So why would the people who create the community suddenly not be a part of the community? Fans are needed for concerts to be fun; what would be a concert without the cheering fans? Not only that, but they also know that the fans are the ones supporting them and always express their hopes to give back to them. I honestly don’t see a version of this where a group doesn’t care about their fans. But for ATEEZ, this absolutely goes beyond monetary. ATEEZ has done several events for their fans, is known for thanking fans and staff to the point of bowing to them, and have even given up their chairs for fans at an event where the chairs were crates that the fans were literally falling through. They were not asked. As soon as a second fan fell through the crates, Hongjoong and Yunho brought out their chairs which prompted the others to follow with theirs as well. Saying that they don’t actually care seems to be the defense mechanism of someone who doesn’t want to see the community as all that caring. And that should not be the problem of Atiny or any other K-Pop fan.

“They raised my standards.”:

I think we can all relate to this to some degree. When you enter any K-Pop fandom, the guys are probably going to raise your standards. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after Yunho. He’s so sweet, responsible, and absolutely forward thinking. I’ve absolutely loved how much he’s been participating in the Painted Man campaign ( a campaign that helps ensure the safety of women and children) with Hongjoong. ATEEZ has to be one of the most forward thinking groups out there and it shows. Yunho has provided me comfort in a way that I haven’t been able to get in daily life. Especially when it comes to actually feeling comfortable around men. I talked about this a little in the teenage girl argument post, but K-Pop groups absolutely do market themselves as dateable. This is something they know is part of their appeal and they jump on it. It’s one of the things that draws so many women to the groups and this is somehow framed as a bad thing in the minds of many people. Firstly, it is never the only reason someone becomes a fan of one of these groups. ATEEZ specifically created ‘HALA HALA’ to prove that they had plenty of talent behind their good looks and that it wasn’t the only reason for their success. But looks aren’t all of it. These groups often say things to women that men wouldn’t usually say or treat them better than any men has ever treated them before. I have barely been treated worse and less like a human in my life than when I try entering the dating field. Most of my female friends feel the exact same way. Women are frequently treated by men like we are needy and unneeded. Like we’re too “emotional” and absolutely replaceable. And this doesn’t just happen in dating; this is a regular reality to how men continue to treat women. Men will often come back and state that we must be going after the wrong type of men, but that’s such an idiotic comeback. There are no “type” of men who are exempt from this. This is how society has taught men to treat women and victim blaming certainly doesn’t help the situation. It makes me never want to date. How can people think that any part of queerness is a choice, when I would not choose to be attracted to men if I could? K-Pop idols actually have more respect for women because they know we’re, for the most part, the ones helping to raise them up. ATEEZ is aware and they help fight for us. Not many men I’ve met actually are feminist when it comes time to fighting against the way women are treated. Groups like BTS, ATEEZ, and Monsta X have and do, which absolutely sets my standards higher. Because women deserve better.

My Story:

I found ATEEZ when I was at a low point in my life. At a time where the pandemic had taken so much from me and I felt completely lost and directionless. ATEEZ were some of the first idols to come out and talk about it, and talk about it in a way that I understood. I was a young twenty something who had very little success and was just starting a new chapter in my life when I was hit with worldwide issues. They were the same. Yunho kept me happy and comfortable with him speaking about his own hopes and struggles while having cozy bedtime lives. He’s the golden retriever therapy idol I never knew I needed until I really very much needed him. Mingi started talking about his anxiety when I was going through the same thing. Their songs made me feel heard and no longer alone. I was able to grow as a person while they grew as a group. Not only that, but their storytelling appealed to the huge geek in me and their music had beats that completely distracted my anxiety. But more than that, they became a support group for me. When I attended my first of their concerts, I was in a bad place. Then I cried while watching Yunho sing “Still Here” and again when he cried because he had also been having a rough time and then again when he said that we should lean on him if we were having a rough time. Hongjoong made us all promise to be back when they returned the next year and I promised myself that I would be better by then. And I was. And part of it was because I felt that these eight men were there for me and understood me every step of the way. That was instrumental in me feeling better. To diminish and dismiss my story and the story of the many like me is a grave mistake. And I am finally at the point where I can confidently say that my experience is far more important than your opinion.

I will forever be grateful to ATEEZ for helping me through some of the toughest parts of my life. For assuring me that I wasn’t alone in my feelings when I absolutely felt that I was. And for giving me a place to grow as a person while they also grew as people. It’s been amazing to watch and be a part of. And seeing how lately they’ve been wanting to connect even more, like Mingi showing us his mother and his daily life in order for us to see that he’s human and Yeosang giving us more comeback looks without hiding his birthmark, have made me feel like this community is only becoming closer. But no matter how much they want to share with us (Boundaries are always ok!) I will continue to be here. I care about them and their success. I hope to give back some of what they gave me. Being an Atiny gives me a sense of belonging I’ve barely felt before. And that is so incredibly important. No matter what anyone else thinks.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Star Wars: Star Wars Celebration News

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in the upcoming ‘Ahsoka’ series on Disney+. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm.

Hey! Hallie here!

Star Wars Celebration, located in London this year, ended a few days ago and we got so much new information. From first looks at trailers, to in depth information about upcoming projects, to surprising reveals, there was news for every kind of Star Wars fan. I’m going to cover as much news as I can, but I’m going to keep this post to the television and movie reveals just because of the sheer volume of content we got out of Star Wars Celebration. With so many trailers and so much important news to get into, I’m going to jump right in. I’m so excited to talk about all of the new content! SPOILERS for various Star Wars franchises if you haven’t caught up with them!

‘Ahsoka’: This panel was mostly about bringing the cast up on stage, including some faces that hadn’t been announced yet, and showing off the new trailer. All of it was completely worth the wait. While we already knew Rosario Dawson was our Ahsoka and Natasha Liu Bordizzo would be taking on the role of Sabine, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s mysterious character was finally confirmed. She’s playing Hera! And along with that exciting information we also saw Lars Mikkelsen take the stage to reveal he’s reprising his role as Grand Admiral Thrawn. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see both of these characters. Along with these reveals we also got confirmation Hayden Christensen will be coming back to play Anakin, the characters will be on the hunt for Ezra as played by Ewan Esfandi, and Wes Chatham, Ray Stevenson, and Ivanna Sakhno will also be part of this large cast. To top it all off, Chopper came on stage to take his rightful place amongst the cast. In other words, ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ fans are getting the validation they deserve with this series. It’s picking up right where the animated show left off and giving us a majority of the main cast in live action form. (Here’s your reminder that if you aren’t watching the animated Star Wars shows, you’re missing out.) The trailer was perfect. We got to see Ahsoka kicking ass with her dual white lightsabers, Sabine with her hair longer still worrying over her holo of the missing Ezra, Hera piloting like a badass with Chopper at her side, a mysterious lady Sith, and the back of Thrawn. Fans who were there also got to see all of Lars Mikkelsen as Thrawn, not just his back, and Sabine wielding Ezra’s lightsaber. For the most part, this trailer felt like it belonged to the women of the story and I appreciate that immensely. This show is going to focus on so many female characters and I can’t wait for that representation.

Upcoming Movies: Three different movies were announced at Star Wars Celebration, although all of them are in early production so they only gave us a brief synopsis for each one. The most highly anticipated of these is Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s movie, the director of several episodes of Ms. Marvel, who will be the first female director to tackle a Star Wars film. She will be making a film about Rey teaching a new generation of Jedi. Daisy Ridley’s back as Rey! Although there was definitely an immediate negative reaction from the toxic fanboys in the Star Wars community, that reaction was drowned out by praise from the majority of fans. While I love Rey, I felt her story was inconsistent and I think Daisy definitely deserves to return to this character to see those inconsistencies smoothed out. Now if they could just give John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran the justice they deserve after the treatment of their characters. Next, Dave Filoni, the director behind most of the animated Star Wars content, ‘Ahsoka’, various ‘Mandalorian’ episodes, and various ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ episodes, will be making a movie during the “New Republic”. This is the time period most of the Disney+ shows have been taking place in, and the movie’s rumored to close out the stories of ‘The Mandalorian’ and other Disney+ shows. And finally, James Mangold, director of ‘Logan’ and the upcoming Indiana Jones movie, will be making a movie about the first ever Jedi. All of these are interesting ideas, and though we don’t know much about them, I’m interested in all three so far!

‘The Bad Batch’: First, let’s talk Tech’s death. This was the major season two moment fans were waiting to hear the writers and actors discuss. Beginning the discussion on Tech, the entire panel noted that they had seen a lot of fans at Celebration upset by his death. His death even got the biggest audience reaction during the highlight reel at the beginning of the panel. The writers discussed how they had tried to talk themselves out of it but felt there was no way for there to be a “happy ending” if their last mission was essentially the Batch going up against Tarkin. Dee Bradley Baker, the voice of all the clones including Tech, talked about how losing Tech was particularly impactful for him because he relates to Tech the most out of the clone characters. He did say that he was consoled by the fact that Tech had gone out protecting his brothers and rejecting the idea of following orders. Omega’s voice actor, Michelle Ang, gave Tech fans some hope, however. While talking about how shocking she found Tech’s death, she said that it was surprising to discover he wasn’t coming back “at least for that episode”. Which possibly implies that Tech’s death isn’t permanent. Moving on to the big announcements though, ‘The Bad Batch’ will end after season three. That seems premature to me. The show gets better by the season but it still has some issues to work out, and more than that, the stories it’s telling feel far from over. The characters certainly aren’t in a position for their arcs to end, with Hunter and Wrecker having barely gotten any character development at all so far. But I digress. The exclusive teaser shown at the panel included shots of Crosshair and Omega imprisoned together, Hunter and Wrecker searching for them, the return of Rex, and Commander Wolffe. All of this is really exciting, but I can’t say I’m not concerned about next season. I suppose we’ll see what happens in 2024.

Other Shows: Aside from ‘Ahsoka’, the majority of the shows given time on stage during Star Wars Celebration didn’t have a lot to share with fans yet. ‘The Acolyte’, a show set in the High Republic era which the showrunner apparently described as ‘Frozen’ meets ‘Kill Bill’, brought their large cast on stage to briefly discuss their excitement to be joining Star Wars starting 2024. This cast consists of Amanda Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Jodie Turner-Smith, Carrie-Anne Moss who in a brief clip seemed to be using the force, and many more. Seriously, this cast is a big one, and with the emphasis on the Dark Side of the force during the panel, you can’t help but wonder who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. Next ‘Skeleton Crew’ was discussed. This one stars Jude Law as a Jedi, who will evidently run into a group of lost kids. These kids will be played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Robert Timothy Smith, and Kyriana Kratter. A lot of people are already comparing this one to ‘Goonies’ and I don’t blame them. ‘Andor’ didn’t have much to show yet, but it’s set to return in August of 2024 and fans at the panel were able to see a teaser that showed a bit of Cassian sneaking around and Mon Mothma. For fans of the Star Wars animated shorts that have been releasing, ‘Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi’ will have a second season, as will ‘Star Wars: Visions’. ‘Star Wars: Visions’ is coming out incredibly soon, on May 4th actually, and this time around they reached out to animation studios around the world rather than just Japanese animation studios. I can’t wait to see what these artists do with this franchise.

That’s all the big news we got from Star Wars Celebration. Along with these large panels we also heard confirmation that the Lando Calrissian show, set to star Donald Glover, is still in the works and Glover is still very excited to be part of the project. We also know that Taika Waititi is still set to direct a Star Wars movie but isn’t in a position yet to talk about what he’s doing. Overall, we’re seeing major strides getting taken in the Star Wars universe. I really appreciated the fan reaction to Star Wars Celebration this year. Though there were a multitude of projects announced and all appealed to very different types of fans, each project was met with an outpouring of love and support. Even though I’m skeptical about some things, I really appreciate that Star Wars fans are beginning to accept that not every part of the franchise will directly appeal to their interests and that’s ok. I’m hesitant to say that we might be seeing less toxic fans in the fandom currently, but if Star Wars Celebration is any indication, we’re at least beginning to allow Star Wars to push the barriers of what can be done in the universe. That on it’s own could lead this franchise to some really amazing places.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Books: When the Movie is Better than the Book

Screenshot of (from left) Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’. Copyright goes to Netflix and Jenny Han.

Hi! It’s Annie!

It’s probably more than well known on this blog that I am very into romcoms. Everything from cutesy romcom movies, to books, to K-Dramas, are usually right up my alley. So, no, I have no idea how it’s taken me this long to watch or read ‘To All the Boys’. Maybe because it was so hyped up that I was worried I would be disappointed. Maybe it’s because I’m not as much of a huge fan of Noah Centineo as a lot of people seem to be. That’s not at all to say that I dislike him though! But I was absolutely certain that I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of this story for almost no reason at all, and brushed it off for awhile. After people close to me told me several several times that I would probably like it, I decided to kick back after a long day of work and actually watch the movie. And I loved it! It’s adorable and very quickly became a comfort watch for me. I’m so glad that I gave it a shot. So I was very quick to pick up the book afterwards as well, and that was so different from the movie. And in my opinion, it is really not different in a good way. This post will have MASSIVE SPOILERS for both the movie and book versions of this story as well as for the book ‘This Time It’s Real’ by Ann Liang which I felt did a similar plot a bit better. If you haven’t read that book, go ahead and do that! I’m just going to get into it!

The Differences:

There are a lot of differences between the movie and the book, so buckle up. While the essence of the characters are the same, they are all definitely less likable than in the movie. There’s a much bigger disconnect between the three sisters, Peter Kavinsky is less charming and more of a typical jock, and Josh actually attempts to kiss Lara Jean instead of staying loyal to Margot. Kissing the sister of your ex who you still aren’t over is, to put it lightly, very very not cool. That’s actually straight up disgusting. The characters in general don’t seem to be very loyal to each other. Margot is very quick to treat Lara Jean badly when things don’t go her way and vice versa. Lara Jean in the book barely seems to like her best friend and only disagrees with everything she does. The only character who seems to remain just as likable is the Dad. And Peter is absolutely at fault for everyone thinking that Lara Jean and him had sex in the hot tub. Though he isn’t the one to create the rumor, he doesn’t actually do anything to try and stop it. This is actually used as an example of how sex is something that seems to bolster men at the same time it tears down women. And while this is important, Peter doesn’t actually seem to learn his lesson from this. But the main difference between the book and the movie is that the book has no ending. Let me repeat there is no ending here!

The Ending:

When I say there isn’t an ending, I’m not at all saying that it ends on a cliff hanger. There’s no cliff hanger for it to end on. This book is a very typical romcom and it honestly isn’t my favorite that I’ve ever read. It was such a typical rom com, that I didn’t find it to have much new or different in it compared to other stuff that I’ve read. The movie was able to completely embrace the cuteness of the romance and the innocence and reliability of Lara Jean that the book seemed to have a little bit of trouble with. It could very well be that Noah and Lana were able to make it better by bringing their own charisma to the roles. But the book itself felt very much like I was reading story beats without the depth of the actors that I desperately wanted. It almost felt like a joke when I got to the typical beat before the last beat in a romcom and the book just ended. You know that moment when the main character finally discovers that they’re in love with the other character no matter what they’ve done? What if the book just ended after that; how mad would you be? Probably just as angry as I was reading this book. The book has no reconciliation between the characters, there is no communication, no understanding, and definitely no getting together. Let me repeat; they never actually date at any point in this book. There are three books in the series, but that doesn’t justify this book having no ending. If you’re going to create a series of anything, each piece should be able to stand on its own and be good both by itself and within the series. Depriving one piece of an ending to try and get people to buy your next book makes that completely impossible. It also made me way too angry to buy the second book, especially when this one wasn’t my favorite to begin with. One of my absolute favorite scenes from the movie is actually the ending. “You gonna break my heart, Covey?” is one of the most swoon-worthy pieces of the entire movie! Not only that but it completes the first arc of Lara Jean in learning to be more confident in herself and expressing her feelings. Why would you instead put that in a second installment where she goes through a different arc? I think the simple fact that the movie has an ending while the book does not, really makes the movie better than the book.

Fake Dating:

Everyone loves a good fake dating plot in a romcom; it has to be one of my favorite romance tropes! And ‘This Time It’s Real’ by Ann Liang delivers this in a way that’s a little familiar when you think about ‘To All the Boys’. In ‘This Time It’s Real’ the fake dating plot begins not because of letters that get out, but it still begins because of writing. When Eliza writes a fake story for what’s supposed to be a real-life experience essay and the essay goes viral, she must suddenly figure out how to make her fake boyfriend from the essay come to life. In order to do this she makes an agreement with teenage television actor, Caz, to pretend to date in order to help her situation and keep past controversy about him at bay. This book takes similar issues from ‘To All the Boys’ and really fixes them for me. It makes the characters really relatable and gives them in depth issues. Eliza struggles with trust issues because she feels like people leave her all the time, which is something that any of us could relate to. I hardcore related to that issue! Caz feels as though his family is attempting to control his life. Not only that but the book also has the importance of family and sisterhood while having extreme loyalty and real-feeling conversations. This book has a great message about letting people in because people need people and also about allowing yourself to love. Something ‘To All the Boys’ hints at with Lara Jean being afraid of having something real in case it isn’t like she hopes, but it never really seems to be completely focused on. ‘This Time It’s Real’ has all the depth and cuteness that I wanted from ‘To All the Boys’ but with added bonuses, like the fact that it takes place in another country and incorporates other things that I love, like C-Dramas. And it actually has an ending! Bare minimum folks, but I’m still excited! I understand that ‘To All the Boys’ was necessary because books with Asian leads weren’t common when this book came out and this is something that we still really have to work on. I really respect it for that! I just wish that it was better.

I know I don’t usually go after books as much as I did with this, but reading this book was so frustrating to me. Especially after seeing how good the story could have been in the form of the movie. It felt almost like the author was attempting to force her readers to buy the second book by withholding the ending, and I am absolutely not supportive of that. But while I am definitely saying that this is a case of the movie being better than the book; I’ve never been a person really of the opinion that books are in general better than their movie counterparts. I know that’s really weird for someone who reads so much, but I’m just as much of a fan of movies! For example, I think the LOTR movies are just as good as the books and I think that they take out some of the unneeded description and make the world visually immersive. The Harry Potter movies I like better now because they take out much of JKR’s racist views. The book often has more details, but the movie usually adapts itself well to being a visual form of entertainment. I usually prefer it best when I like the book and the movie just as much as each other. But it really is interesting for me when I find a movie that I love where I genuinely am not a fan of the original source material for just plain not feeling very great to me. I apologize if you love this book, I know that it’s well loved, but I’m glad that I was able to find some enjoyment out of this story. Even if it wasn’t necessarily from the source material. And I know that’s how a lot of people who don’t take as much interest in books feel! Sometimes you don’t need the book to enjoy the other content, and I feel like this is good proof of that.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

ATEEZ: Happy Late Birthday, Seonghwa!

Promotional image of Park Seonghwa from ATEEZ. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

We are several, several days late on this now that we’re posting only twice a week on this blog, but we can’t let Seonghwa’s birth week go by without wishing the oldest member of ATEEZ a Happy Birthday! Seonghwa is one of the most calm and caring members of ATEEZ, often checking in on members when they’re having a bad day or making sure they have a space to express their frustrations. There’s a reason why he’s called the mom of the group. But he’s also extremely talented, not just as a lead vocalist with a wide range, but as a talented dancer and even as a rapper. I could talk for hours about his stage presence alone, which is so intimidating that he’s part of the group of members known as the “demon line”. But instead of focusing on all of the things I’ve praised him for so many times, I want to talk about his personal interests. The little things he invites ATINY to enjoy with him on lives that help us feel connected to him. So let’s talk about the things Seonghwa loves and the ways he’s generously shared them with us!


This is a major one because it often is the center of most of his lives on YouTube. Seonghwa has spent many lives chatting with ATINY while calmly building lego sets. It’s become so common for him to spend lives this way, that recently Yunho snuck in during a live just so he could steal a lego and watch the chaos. He started building legos on lives as a form of also expressing his love of ‘Star Wars’, (Which I’ll get to in a moment,) so his focus was initially on building Imperial and sometimes Rebellion ships. But he was quickly noticed by Lego and has since started building other kinds of sets, many sent to him by the Lego company themselves thanks to the popularity of his lives! There’s something extremely personal about these lives compared to the other ones I’ve seen. He never ignores ATINY while he’s building his legos and always makes sure he’s keeping his eyes on the chat, but he also doesn’t feel the need to perform for ATINY or do something entertaining to keep their attention. Because of this, it really feels like you’re sitting with a friend while he’s doing an every-day thing he enjoys. Many ATINY praise these lives for giving Seonghwa the ability to connect with ATINY while also allowing him to spend his free time as he wishes. It’s nice to see an idol do something they love so genuinely in a casual environment, and it’s amazing that Seonghwa feels like he can do the things he loves so comfortably with ATINY. I love watching him build legos and I hope he got many more lego sets for his birthday that he can build during his future lives!

‘Star Wars’:

Seonghwa has never been quiet about his love of ‘Star Wars’. Like I said above, his trend of building legos on his lives all started with the ‘Star Wars’ lego sets he bought for himself. He’s filmed himself in the practice room twirling around a lightsaber with the lights off, has discussed going to the most recent ‘Star Wars’ movies on his own as a trainee, and has assigned ‘Star Wars’ characters to the ATEEZ members. If you’re curious, he gave Hongjoong Luke, Yeosang Leia, Jongho Han Solo, Mingi Obi Wan, San Padme, Wooyoung Jar Jar Binks (Ouch), Yunho Chewbacca, and himself Anakin. And if you couldn’t tell, Anakin/Darth Vader is his favorite character with Luke and Kylo Ren being close seconds. More recently, he discussed at an LA concert that he had wanted to go to Disneyland specifically to visit Galaxy’s Edge, the ‘Star Wars’ themed land in the park. He unfortunately wasn’t able to get in because the group didn’t realize they needed reservations to get into Disneyland, and he mentioned his disappointment at the concert. Fortunately for him, a mix of that and posting a picture of himself with his hood up labelled “Hwanakin skywalker” got the ‘Star Wars’ official Twitter account’s attention. They retweeted his post and named him an official Jedi Knight! While Seonghwa’s preferences tend to lean more towards the dark side of the force, he was still absolutely thrilled. Seonghwa has always been a hardcore ‘Star Wars’ fan and it was amazing to see his devotion to the series get rewarded with some official recognition. Hopefully he enjoys another year of being an official Jedi Knight.

‘Animal Crossing’:

This is a love Seonghwa’s only fully shared with us recently, but it’s made such a large impact on ATINY that we’re still talking about it weeks after he discussed it. Seonghwa has put a lot of his time and effort into his island on ‘Animal Crossing’. He even gave his villager on ‘Animal Crossing’ a bunch of his own costumes from ATEEZ music videos, resulting in a viral moment from his live where he sang “WONDERLAND” in a soft and adorable voice while he had his villager dance in his “WONDERLAND” costume. Because that moment went viral, Seonghwa hilariously recreated it on ‘Idol Radio’, a show hosted by Hongjoong and Yunho. The specific episode was about best friends, leading Hongjoong and Yunho to bring Seonghwa and Mingi respectively on the episode. Seonghwa taught all of them the ‘Animal Crossing’ dance and got all three of the other members to join him. I highly recommend hunting down this moment just to see this group of grown men dissolve into adorable laughter while they dance. He shared more than just that during his live, though. He showed off his villagers of which the gorgeous deer Diana is a favorite, and did an interior tour of his incredible house. He put specific emphasis on his gym’s punching bags just so he could sing “ROCKY”. On other lives he’s also sung the theme song for the game while making legos and attempted to speak in Animalese, the fictional language spoken in ‘Animal Crossing’ games. Seonghwa seems to love this game just as much as I do, and I’m so happy he decided to show us what his island looks like.

These are only some of the things Seonghwa loves that he’s talked about with ATINY. He certainly doesn’t have to share anything that he doesn’t want to. He deserves to keep some things private, and even with the things he does share with us, we shouldn’t assume that we know him. He still has personal boundaries we shouldn’t treat like we can ignore. But that makes what he does share with us even more important. We make him feel comfortable enough that he can express his passions to us, and on the other hand, he is kind enough to open up about them when he doesn’t have to. I really appreciate these moments he’s given us to connect with him, and I can’t wait to have more moments like this in the next year. Happy Birthday, Seonghwa! I hope you had an amazing day!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Live Entertainment: Things To Do That ARE NOT ‘Medieval Times’

Photo of (from left) Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chris Pine, and Michelle Rodriguez in ‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’. Copyright goes to Paramount Pictures and Entertainment One.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I know we don’t usually do posts like this, but this is incredibly important. DO NOT go to ‘Medieval Times’ right now if you life in California. The workers at the Buena Park, California castle of ‘Medieval Times’ are currently on strike due to exceptionally low pay, no appropriate payment for dangerous stunt work, mistreatment of workers, and abuse against horses. Almost the entire cast of the show in California is currently striking including almost all of the regular knights, Queens, announcers and more. Most of the people currently working inside the castle are scabs from other castles that were offered more money to temporarily take the places of the strikers. They just passed their fiftieth day and they don’t deserve the mass amounts of disrespect they are getting from people who decide that going to ‘Medieval Times’ right now is somehow even remotely worth it. If you already bought tickets; still don’t go. Get a refund or accept the loss. There is literally no reason for you to be going anywhere near there right now unless you’re going to picket with the strikers. So because I know that a lot of us fantasy geeks are nostalgic about ‘Medieval Times’, I’ve compiled a list of effective things that you can do without giving that company your money. Feel free to do any of these things if it means that you will support the strikers by boycotting!

Go Picket!:

I don’t live necessarily close to ‘Medieval Times’, but this is something I’ve been highly considering doing myself. The strikers are making the most of a horrible situation by having tons of fun out there! The striking knights have been using wooden swords to do fighting choreography from the show, they’ve been out there playing instruments, they’ve been singing songs; there’s more than enough reason to believe that you would probably have more fun out there with the strikers than wasting your money on scabs playing their roles in the show. They’ve been having costume days every Sunday where they dress in themed costumes. They’ve done gold theming and I believe a few medieval days so far. And you’ll be helping a good cause! Really, the more out there the merrier and the more the company will see that this treatment can’t go on. If you can’t make it out to the picket line, go and sign their petition! You can find all of the information you need about going to picket with them, signing petitions, or donating to their cause on the TikTok accounts of Kate Farrell and Erin Zapcic. Or look up “medieval times strike petition” and click on the link on ‘Action Network’. I’ve already signed the petition and I hope you will too.

Renaissance Faire:

If you’re in the LA area, or honestly in most places, it’s getting to be Renaissance Faire season! There’s a Ren Faire near LA in Irwindale that I’ve been to several times and actually have made a post for on this blog if you want to check it out! A Ren Faire is a perfect way to immerse yourself in that medieval feeling while also supporting more local and very deserving artists and performers. You can dress up in medieval garb, (I know I always do!) and peek into all of the shops as well as watch as many performers as you want all the while really feeling like you’re in a supportive community space. There’s also a joust and sword fighting at the Ren Faire ever year done by a group called ‘The Jousters’! They do several jousting shows throughout the day that all bleed into each other, all leading up to the joust and fight to the death as the final show. That’s where the sword fighting comes in. They also have a female jouster some years! If you’re really into the jousting and sword fighting elements of ‘Medieval Times’, the Ren Faire will be coming soon and you can sit and watch the jousting all day if you want to! All of these jousters are extremely talented and very well trained.

Dungeons & Dragons:

Another more interactive alternative is playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. If you haven’t played it before, it is not a cringey or demonic activity by any means. It’s a really fun and immersive way of collaboratively creating a story with your friends complete with improv acting. If you want to watch other people play beforehand in order to get a better feel for the game, you can always watch really any campaign of ‘Critical Role’. If that looks like way too much time and commitment, go ahead and try a shorter campaign like ‘Calamity’ or one of the many other fabulous creators of D&D content such as ‘Dimension 20’. I have personally played around three full campaigns as well as several starts of campaigns and one-shots. It’s amazingly fun and something I highly recommend! It also gives you a reason to have a weekly get together with your friends whether it’s in person or digital. It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do and I think everyone should try it at least once. You’ll probably like it more than you think you will. And there are plenty of two player options if you don’t have that many people as well. I highly recommend checking out Ginny Di’s YouTube channel for ideas. If you like playing the game ‘Mafia’, you’ll probably like this!

‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’:

If you don’t have much of an interest in playing D&D and are more interested in some good old fashioned entertainment without as much immersion; go ahead and go to the movies and watch this medieval fantasy flick! I just watched this one over the weekend and it’s so much fun! While I’m not going to obsess over this movie like I do with the second campaign of ‘Critical Role’, it was still really cute and a good time! The characters are lovable, the comedy is genuinely funny, and the fight scenes are truly badass! Lots of sword fighting if that’s what you’re looking for! Specifically the characters of Xenk and especially Holga have some well-choreographed sword fighting scenes. Hell yeah to more women with swords! Most of the movie was filmed in an actual castle which gives it just a hint of that immersion. No mass CGI everything here! And this definitely has the camaraderie and found family vibe that I was hoping to find in a movie about D&D. It really captures the feeling of playing with friends. It’s absolutely a good time and will give you all of the medieval fantasy that you might be seeking.

‘Merlin’ or Other Nostalgia:

I used to go to ‘Medieval Times’ all the time when I was a kid, so I understand having a certain nostalgia for that show. But going right now is so not worth it that it isn’t even funny, so I usually go for something equally nostalgic when I’m missing it because of my childhood experiences. For me, that’s BBC’s ‘Merlin’. This is a retelling of the Legend of King Arthur completely centered around a young Merlin. It also has plenty of amazing knights, my favorite of which being the incredibly handsome and hilarious Gwaine, and plenty of sword fights. There are even episodes completely about jousting tournaments if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you are also a medieval fantasy nerd, I’m sure you have your own medieval-type fandom that you have nostalgia for. Whether it’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Ladyhawke’, or Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. I highly highly recommend ‘Merlin’ for getting any sort of medieval fix, but I find that the best way to combat nostalgia is always more nostalgia. So go ahead and pick your own medieval brand of nostalgia and have a full binging day! You can even invite friends and make it a full event if you want!

Go to a Theme Park:

If you’re looking for live entertainment, theme parks are always a great way to go. ‘Medieval Times’ has been upping their prices recently because of how much the pandemic hurt them, so go ahead and put that money towards a Universal or Dinseyland ticket. Disneyland is practically built on medieval fantasy entertainment with the Princesses, or if you want knights there’s always Galaxy’s Edge! If you want to go to Universal to check out Super Nintendo World and Princess Peach’s brand new castle, that’s a good way to go too! Personally, I’m looking into going to Disneyland soon for the first time in what has probably been way too long. While this is a little bit more of an expensive option, it’s certainly a viable one if you can swing it. The ones I mentioned above, however, are probably much cheaper options than this one.

It is not difficult to find something else to do or put your money towards that isn’t ‘Medieval Times’ right now. There’s plenty of medieval fantasy types of things to do, even in the area, that aren’t supporting an awful company and walking past lines of strikers who have been out there for fifty plus days. Do NOT cross that picket line! Either go there to help and picket with them or don’t go at all. I know that this hasn’t been getting the air time that it deserves and I hope that this at least reaches some people who may not have known about the strike. Tell all your friends and family! Post about it! ‘Medieval Times’ has been in spring break season and is going to be going into their summer season soon, which is some of the most lucrative times for them. The strikers have been striking too long with no change! Now more than ever, it is so incredibly important to boycott them and stand in support with the knights, squires, Queens, and everyone else currently striking at the Buena Park castle. Once again, you can find all of the information you need about going to picket with them, signing petitions, or donating to their cause on the TikTok accounts of Kate Farrell and Erin Zapcic or by looking up ‘medieval times strike’ and clicking on the link on ‘Action Network’. Please at least sign the petition!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Star Wars: ‘The Bad Batch’ Season 2 Review

Screenshot of Tech in the season two finale of ‘The Bad Batch’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios.

Hey! Hallie here!

Before I talk about this at all, I want to acknowledge the huge misstep taken by the Star Wars social media accounts yesterday. As a response to the finale of ‘The Bad Batch’, they interviewed Omega’s voice actor, Michelle Ang, to talk about the shocking events that occurred during the final episode. Except the quote they used to advertise this interview was a major spoiler, and they did not give a spoiler warning before it. So SPOILER WARNING for this post, and if you see a social media post about the Michelle Ang interview from any official Star Wars accounts and have not caught up on this season of ‘The Bad Batch’, do yourself a favor and scroll quickly past it. Going back to this review, I really enjoyed this season. It showcased much better storylines than what we saw in the first season of the show, and it showed that the writers were actually committing to giving full character arcs to the characters, even if only a couple of them got them this season. But I also think the finale made some major missteps. To the point that, once again, I’m not completely sure I’ll be watching season three. I might give it a chance, but unless we get some major reveals towards the beginning of next season, I’m not sure how they can salvage my interest in the show. Yep. That bad. So, once again, do not read any further unless you’re completely caught up or just don’t care about spoilers. Let’s get into this!

Characters: In my most recent post about ‘The Bad Batch’ I spent a lot of time complimenting this season’s character work. The issue is, that character work is shaky amongst the main cast. Character development was not done at all for Hunter and Wrecker this season. They haven’t really gotten anything aside from the basic characteristics we learned about way back during their introduction in ‘The Clone Wars’. Hunter has changed slightly, taking up a fatherly position for Omega, but I’d argue most of that was established early in season one and hasn’t developed since then. Then we have Echo and Omega, who tend to get more than their peers but honestly didn’t experience that much change this season. Echo left the Batch, but his decision to do so happened mostly off screen. And Omega has shown that she’s grown up, but her rapid change in season one slowed down considerably for season two. Then we have the two stars of the season. Crosshair wasn’t present for the majority of the episodes, as is now common for his character, but the episodes he did get were deep and heavy. He got to meet new clones, see first hand how the Empire was treating them now that they’re trying to replace them, and slowly lost his faith in the Empire altogether. These episodes were extremely effective, but three episodes out of sixteen can’t really carry an entire season. Which means we’re left with one character whose development carried the majority of the season’s episodes. That would be Tech. And if you watched the season finale you know where I’m going with this.

Tech: Even Omega’s voice actor said that Tech became Omega’s most prominent link this season. He took up a teaching role, quizzing Omega on her knowledge of ships and instructing her on how to fly the Marauder. His connection with Omega went beyond just that, though. The two proved themselves to be opposites in most episodes, Omega taking up an emotional stance that could endanger the party while Tech took up a logical stance that could come across as callous to his peers. Through that connection Omega began to teach Tech in return, this time about how to take other people’s emotions into consideration even when he didn’t quite understand them. From there we got excellently written scenes where Tech explained how the way he processes emotions works differently for him, all but confirming Dee Bradley Baker’s claim that he’s on the autism spectrum, as well as scenes where Tech put what he learned to practice and became a better source of support for the Batch. We even got the beginnings of a love story between him and the pirate Phee. His presence this season was so beloved by fans, that some fans were even suggesting he take over the position of leader from Hunter. And then the season finale came around and he enacted “Plan 99”. For those who don’t know what that’s referencing, 99 was a clone who was claimed too defective for duty during the Clone War. He was made to be a janitor, but when Separatist forces invaded Kamino, he took up arms and ultimately sacrificed himself for his brothers. ‘The Bad Batch’ is named Clone Force 99 in his honor, so there’s no mistaking what Tech was referencing when he was dangling precariously off of that rail car. He fully intended to sacrifice himself for his brothers, and apparently, he did.

Except, what do we have left when the only character who got development (and the only Star Wars character who represents the neurodivergent community) is instantaneously pulled away from the show? His death wasn’t bad. His sacrifice made sense for his character. But if our only developed character dies, what do we have left for next season? Is the only reason why he got character development to set up his death at the end of the season? If so, are we to expect that we won’t get full character development for any character unless they’re set to die immediately afterwards? No matter how they wrote Tech’s death, it just isn’t good writing to take away your strongest character while he’s the only character who can be considered strong. That doesn’t make fans want to tune in for next season. Because instead of connecting the fans to a full cast of characters, you connected them to one character and then you took him out of the show. So many fans are upset about this death, and many more are sure Tech isn’t dead. I mean, it would make sense. Falling deaths where we don’t see a body rarely hold any weight in anything let alone Star Wars. And our main villain throwing his broken goggles at Hunter’s feet as proof of his death seems a bit vague. Hemlock could just as easily be keeping him captive, after all his major goal is experimenting on clones, but Tech also fell with a bunch of his equipment and could have slowed his fall any number of ways. But bringing a character back from the dead does tend to lower the stakes. There’s a lot to consider, but I genuinely don’t think this series is at a stable enough place for any character to die, and I don’t think it’s right to take out representation for such an underrepresented community. As much as I did love this season, I think it would be a miraculously bad idea to go on without Tech.

Storylines: The majority of this post has been me going back and forth on why the character writing for the season has been both excellent and lackluster depending on the situation, so I think it’s time to talk about the way the storylines played a part in my love of the season. First off, the clone defection storylines were powerful here. If the first season was made to set up what the lives of clones are like after the Empire takes over, the second season shows how difficult it is for clones to leave the Imperial machine. Crosshair’s episodes dealt with this idea best. His first episode paired him off with Commander Cody, where we see him experiencing the first of the major amount of mistreatment and disregard he gets from the Empire after he recovers from his injuries on Kamino. He’s almost pushed off on Cody, who only got Crosshair an important job by directly requesting him. During said job, Crosshair follows Imperial directions to perfection, even murdering a woman in cold blood, and suddenly sees it all through someone else’s eyes. He sees Cody, who believes what the Empire is doing is right, decide that the Empire is wrong just by watching the way Crosshair reflects their ideals. From there his storyline comes around to Mayday, a clone who’s been ordered out to the middle of nowhere where he’s lost most of his squad. At this point the Empire’s already on thin ice with Crosshair and seeing Mayday’s position doesn’t help. What helps even less is when Crosshair and Mayday are sent out on a suicide run for mysterious equipment, which turns out to be Storm Trooper armor. The armor of their replacements. During the mission Mayday is badly injured but Crosshair manages to save his life. Only for the Imperial officer on duty to deny him care and let him die, resulting in Crosshair shooting the officer and officially defecting. Finally!

This is how we meet Hemlock, our new villain for ‘The Bad Batch’ series. Hemlock is a “doctor” hired by the Empire who specializes in clone experimentation. He’s the one who immediately captures Crosshair after he defects. In fact, he gets any clone the Empire deems suspicious or unworthy to work. This is an especially cool reveal because, earlier in the season, we see that any clone who becomes suspicious of what the Empire is doing to clones who leave either disappear or are immediately killed. Figuring out what happens to them and trying to prevent clones from dying premature deaths is exactly the mission Echo joins Rex on partway through the season. But it isn’t until Crosshair experiences it all firsthand that we actually learn what’s happening. I also loved that his right-hand nurse, who has a suspiciously familiar accent, gets a reveal of her own in the finale. When Omega is captured by Hemlock she almost immediately finds out that this nurse is another clone. I’m so excited that there’s more than one female clone! Don’t get me wrong, I love the clones, but anything involving clones immediately means we’re getting a significantly smaller amount of female characters. I’m glad this show is challenging that. Aside from this excellently unfolded arc we got Cid finally showing her true colors, which was not surprising but still satisfying because I never liked her. We got some fun Wookie lore. We got the return of the Zillo Beast and Tech finally uncovering the Empire’s plans to clone it. That episode was especially amazing for Tech’s adorable “fascinating” as he was face to face with it while it was trying to kill him. This season was a fun ride with an excellent overarching plot. But it certainly wasn’t perfect.

This post was a bit long, but I had a lot of thoughts about the season. I loved it. I really did. But I honestly don’t know where they could go from here and I’m worried that they wrote themselves into a corner. Hemlock has potential as a villain, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t take the time to develop the other characters. Potentially writing out their best written character certainly doesn’t bode well for the series. Especially because Echo’s position in the Bad Batch is precarious at the moment. Him going along to help rescue Crosshair was a temporary arrangement. So is he even a main character anymore? Are we losing two main characters instead of just one? And, once again, I don’t think I’ll be able to forgive them if they truly decide that their only neurodivergent character is dead, especially at the peak of his best writing so far. As of now though, I want to believe they’ll keep me hooked. And damn you Filoni, I will not stop believing that Tech is actually alive.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


ATEEZ: ‘Limitless’

Promotional photo of (from left) Song Mingi, Kang Yeosang, Jeong Yunho, Park Seonghwa, Kim Hongjoong, Choi Jongho, Jung Wooyoung, and Choi San. Copyright goes to ATEEZ and KQ Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’m just going to say from the beginning that this is going to be my new summer song. ATEEZ is just so incredibly good at creating sweeping epic songs that inspire hope. I know that Mingi said that this was probably his favorite of their Japanese releases. For me, it would be really difficult to choose! ‘Dreamers’ and ‘The King’ are also way up there for me! But I have absolutely been listening to this on repeat and I haven’t had my fill of it yet! On top of that, this concept was impeccable. I was excited from the moment that they released promotional photos that featured fencing in them. But I don’t think any of us knew even with those what the scope of this concept was. And let me tell you, they absolutely knew what they were doing. With all of that, I’m just going to get into this new amazing song and the MV that gave Atiny a collective heart attack.


My first reaction when I heard this is that it sounded like an epic anime opening. This makes sense considering ATEEZ has been absolutely obliterating the game when it comes to OSTs lately. So much so that they’ve earned the nickname “the powerhouse of OSTs” specifically in Japan. But this was that and so much more. Firstly, I want to call out Mingi and Hongjoong for writing their raps to be so catchy that they constantly get stuck in my head. The vocals here were also absolutely amazing. San blew me away with the range that he displays in this one. Jongho and Wooyoung did a great job blowing that chorus out of the water too. And overall it feels like all of the vocalists get their time to shine at some point or another. It’s a song that feels set up to lift your spirits and I think part of that is what’s giving me summery vibes here. I could see myself blasting this on the way to the beach. In that way it joins the ranks of songs like ‘Wave’, ‘Stay’, ‘Illusion’, and ‘Sunrise’.


I think a lot of people were expecting a full version of the ‘Diamond’ song by Sparkling from ‘Imitation’ when this was first announced. Which would have been hilarious. The boys have all absolutely embraced the memeing of that song and I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised at them releasing a full version for fun. But that’s not what this is. What this is instead is a simultaneously gorgeous and comforting song. They really pulled out all the reassuring stops with this one, including lyrics that have offers to cuddle. Yes, please! But in all seriousness, I did tear up when I first read these lyrics. ATEEZ is where I go for comfort when I need it and this was them acknowledging that they are a comfort to so many people and embracing it. I know that there’s a burden that comes with that and I’m so grateful to them for just being there for Atiny!


Again, they absolutely knew what they were doing when they shot this. The MV starts out depicting all of them working out ‘ROCKY’ style in gym attire. They decided to put Mingi in a compression top and a good chunk of the other members go sleeveless. Tell me again how any Atiny survived this MV? Yeosang’s arms are probably as big as my head at this point. This isn’t even fair! I also loved how they divided up who did what in the last part of the MV. We have Mingi and Seonghwa (who looks almost vampiric) face off in fencing as well as San and Wooyoung. On the other had we had the four who trained in archery for the Idol Olympics take on archery once again. I absolutely loved seeing Yunho take up archery again, especially knowing that he probably took it so seriously. I also loved that all of them got a victory moment, even if they were pitted against each other in fencing. Though we know that the majority of ATEEZ is absolutely amazing at anything athletic. They did place really high in the Idol Olympics after all! And I thought all of them in all black was just as attractive as all of them in gym gear. Just in general, this MV was made to completely wipe out Atiny and I’d say they succeeded.

‘Tower of Truth’:

They’ve been advertising for this interview all week and it just came out today. It was the first thing that I watched this morning because I couldn’t wait to see it! I think this has to be one of my absolute favorite ATEEZ interviews that I’ve ever seen. Not only are ATEEZ way too good at games in general, but the editors here really seemed to embrace and understand ATEEZ’s sense of humor. In one segment, Mingi was asked which of them would survive the longest in a zombie apocalypse. Mingi said himself, which the other members immediately began protesting against. In order to prove himself he was tasked to go against Yunho, who immediately began acting like a zombie complete with the editors giving him a horror movie vibe. Mingi instead threw Yeosang at Yunho who faked biting him; poor Yeosang! There was also a moment where Yeosang went after Wooyoung which included a panicked Mom Seonghwa yelling at him not to hit Wooyoung with the giant jenga pieces. But they were way too good at that game. They could have kept going forever. Though to be fair, there was a moment when the tower fell and all of them somehow caught it and righted it again. I love seeing ATEEZ participate in interviews like this because it just seems to fit them all so well! They always look like they’re having the best time. I also want to point out how advanced all of their English was here. It was insane! They’re all so amazing at it and Hongjoong is fluent at this point! Just go watch this interview if you haven’t already. It legitimately made my day!

‘Idol Radio’:

If you haven’t seen it yet, Yunho and Hongjoong came back to ‘Idol Radio’ with an episode entitled ‘Old Friends’. The entire episode this time was about the friendships between Hongjoong and Seonghwa, and Yunho and Mingi respectively. The four seemed to have a great time reminiscing on days as trainees while they played games designed to test the true strength of their friendships. My favorite of these games was probably the ‘I Love You’ game where the two pairs went one at a time to stand on the opposite end of an amount of space with their eyes closed and said “I love you” while they took a step towards the other. The space wasn’t that big so they inevitably bumped into each other and started blushing and laughing. It’s the most wholesome episode since the episode where just Yunho and Hongjoong interviewed each other and did their own reminiscing. I loved how Hongjoong and Seonghwa acted a little more like an old married couple, where Yunho and Mingi were a lot more giggly and prone to blushing. Though let’s be honest, Seonghwa has been known to successfully embarrass Hongjoong in the past. I also loved how when Mingi expressed that he didn’t think he was the best in the group at anything, Yunho had the audience yell out things to Mingi that he absolutely is amazing at. Mingi deserves the biggest hug!

Atiny have been spoiled lately with the amount of ATEEZ content we’ve been getting. Between the interviews and the new releases, there’s been plenty almost every single day! I hope that they get all the rest they need to recover from the tour and I absolutely hope that they have so much fun at their last show! I know Hongjoong has been campaigning to allow the fans more recording freedom during the last concert, so I’m sure we’ll have so many good quality videos. Let’s all look forward to it!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Sci-Fi: ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Huge Season 3 Reveals

Promotional image of Brent Spiner for ‘Star Trek: Picard’ season 3 on Paramount+. Copyright goes to CBS Television Studios, Roddenberry Entertainment, and Secret Hideout.

Hey! Hallie here!

Up until this point I’ve done reviews pretty frequently for ‘Picard’, but ‘Picard’ has given me so many major things to chew on, and so many mixed feelings about them, that I really needed time to think about them and dedicate an entire post to them. So this is going to have MAJOR SPOILERS for the last few episodes of ‘Picard’. If you haven’t stayed up to date with the season, don’t read this post. In any case, ‘Picard’ has been giving us some major plot twists in pretty much every episode, and I’m not sure whether they’re bold or too predictable. Between new character introductions and old characters returning we’ve seen a lot of interesting developments, but interesting doesn’t necessarily mean good. As you can probably tell I have a lot of strong and confused feelings about this season of ‘Picard’. So let’s get into the major plot points that seem to be effecting this show most at the moment, and the ways they both succeed and fail.

Jack is Picard’s Son: This reveal was the first big reveal of the series. This twist was good in that it brought Crusher and Picard together in a way fans had wanted to see for many, many years. It was the first time we got full confirmation of some sort of romantic relationship between the two, and the deep conversation they had regarding their son was one of the best moments of the series so far. Picard’s grief over not being able to raise his son and Beverly’s fear over how Picard’s reputation could have endangered Jack while he was growing up, made for a very interesting dynamic between the two. But there’s also various cons. One is that, though Jack has proven a fast talker and capable in a fight, he hasn’t really endeared himself to the audience yet. His immediate coldness to Picard and his tendency to act overly cocky don’t make him an instant favorite, and the plot focuses more on the mystery surrounding him than it does on his character development. And then there’s the problem with Picard and Beverly’s fight. While you can see where both characters are coming from when they’re discussing why Picard was left out of Jack’s life, it’s undeniable that Beverly was wrong to not even tell him he had a son. Every Starfleet officer risks endangering themself and the people close to them. Beverly know that better than anyone having lost her husband on a mission and having Westley serve on the same ship she served on. So why is she suddenly holding this against Picard, who has no control over it? Picard having a son is a plot point I feel needs extra care, and while I don’t dislike this reveal, I’m not seeing that care so far.

Changelings: The next big reveal was that our main villains of this season are Changelings. As a huge ‘Deep Space Nine’ fan, I was immediately on board for the return of the Changelings. Not only are the Changelings one of the most terrifying ‘Star Trek’ villains because of their ability to replace any character without anyone knowing, their return also means references to Odo! I love the idea of Changelings slowly taking over Starfleet. It isn’t the first time a hostile group of aliens has tried to take over Starfleet, but if anyone has the greatest chance at actually succeeding with this plan, it’s the Changelings. I also love the tense moments where the characters, particularly Seven, have had to hunt down disguised Changelings. The show does a really good job of making you feel like no one can be trusted. But then there’s the strange changes they’ve made from the ‘Deep Space Nine’ days. On the one hand, a major plot point has become that Changelings have adapted to be able to mimic not just the outer appearances of humans, but the inner appearances of humans. No X-Rays can catch them because they appear to have human organs, and no blood tests can catch them because they can make it look like they bleed just as easily as any human. But, for some reason, now Changelings are really bad at playing the part of the people they replace. They only know really basic information about the people they’re portraying, so one personal question can easily reveal them. Meanwhile, a main character in ‘Deep Space Nine’ was replaced by a Changeling for several episodes and no one, not even the audience, knew because of how much information the Changeling knew about said character. I personally think Changelings being able to quickly learn personal information like that is more frightening than Changelings being able to replicate human innards.

Ro Laren and Section 31: Worf was technically the first of the Section 31 reveals. Raffi began the series with not knowing who her Section 31 handler was, and only a few episodes in we learned that her handler was actually Worf. But Worf was answering to someone himself, and though he knew who that person was, we didn’t get to figure that out until last week. Turns out he was answering to Ro Laren. I was ecstatic to see Ro return. She’s definitely one of my favorite ‘Star Trek’ side characters, mostly because of her badassery and her refusal to let anyone walk all over her. The episode of her return did a good job of adding mystery to the character we know and love. For most of the episode we’re right there with Picard, understanding the betrayal he feels towards Ro because she joined the Marquis during the Dominion War, and feeling his suspicion towards her fueled both by the betrayal and the fact that she could be a Changeling. But when they finally come to an understanding about why Ro left Picard’s crew to join the Marquis, not only is it clear Ro couldn’t be a Changeling, but you feel the respect and love they have for each other almost better than any of the other character connections in the show so far. But then they kill Ro. And look, I understand that if there was any way for her to go, it would be sacrificing herself for Picard like the heroic badass she always was. But killing off such an influential female character after only one episode of screen time? Really? It felt like they put her in the show out of obligation to the fans but didn’t want to spend extra time writing a character arc for her. There was something so cheap about it.

Data: And here’s possibly the biggest and the craziest reveal we’ve gotten so far. During promotional content for season three of ‘Picard’ we learned Brent Spiner would be coming back as Lore. But then, when Worf, Raffi, and Riker all set out to get to the weapon they know the Changelings have been trying to get their hands on, it’s clear there’s more to Spiner’s role than meets the eye. First the trio see a raven, and anyone who’s familiar with Data knows that his visions of ravens were a major part of him unlocking his more human programming. Then they run into Moriarty, the hologram made to challenge Data. While I loved seeing the return of Moriarty, I do think it was kind of odd to advertise him so much if they were only going to use him as a clue to the true role Spiner is playing in the season. Then Riker puts together that the song they’re hearing play as they’re getting closer to the weapon is “Pop Goes the Weasel”, the song he attempted to help Data whistle when he first met him. I’m not going to lie, Riker’s slow discovery that Data is the weapon they’re searching for as the show flashes back to the first ever appearance of Data in ‘Next Generation’ actually made me cry. And then, of course, seeing Brent Spiner embody Data again made me emotional. But I still have problems with this. One is something all the characters couldn’t seem to stop bringing up. At this point, Data has died twice. Though you can argue that his return this time is different now that there’s a bit of Lore or a bit of Lal mixed in there, it still feels like the show doesn’t know how to let Data go. Then there’s the half-assed excuse for why Data now appears as an old man. I know they needed some excuse, but Soong wanting Data to appear wise is a bit too loose of an explanation for me. But considering Data just returned, it’s still a bit too early to completely judge this twist.

All of these plot twists are really fascinating things to pull into the third season of ‘Star Trek: Picard’, but I honestly don’t know how to feel about them. There are things I really like about all of them, and simultaneously major writing issues I see in all of them. And really, that’s my opinion of ‘Picard’ as a whole. Season three has been no different than any of the other seasons for me. While season three is tugging at my heartstrings more with its use of nostalgia, it still seems to balance every excellent moment with incredibly shaky writing. I really want to just have fun with this show, but at this point I’m kind of tired of loose explanations for why something in ‘Star Trek’ lore is suddenly different, or no explanations at all for why some of the character relationships have changed since last season. I want a more cohesive story from this series, not one that feels like the writers are throwing anything and everything they think fans will like at a wall and seeing what sticks. I can see that ‘Star Trek’ magic I know and love in this series, but so far, it hasn’t been enough to make ‘Picard’ rewatchable for me. We’ll have to see if the last few episodes of this series pull everything together or leave the series just as confused as it was when it began.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


ATEEZ: Happy Birthday Yunho!

Promotional photo of Jeong Yunho. Copyright goes to ATEEZ and KQ Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

It is officially Yunho week! And also the week that marks the release of “Limitless”. Overall, just a great week for Atiny. But, more importantly, it gives me the absolute best excuse to gush about my ult bias, the man who stole my heart from the get-go, Jeong Yunho. The bear retriever of ATEEZ and the dance captain of a group that’s so dance heavy that it makes the title just that much more impressive. Yunho has to be one of the sweetest people to have ever walked the Earth; I mean, they call him the bear retriever for a reason. He’s part teddy bear, part golden retriever. I have never in my life seen a man this simultaneously huggable and boyfriend material and I doubt anyone else has either. Just watching him smile brightens up my day so much because it’s so contagious. So in honor of the birthday of my ult bias, I’m going to go through some of my absolute favorite things about Jeong Yunho!

Main Dancer:

I’ve gushed about this before, but I’ll never get tired of it. Yunho is about 6’2” to 6’3” depending on who you ask. Either way, it is notoriously more difficult for taller, and especially more lanky, dancers to move with the same concise skill level as smaller dancers. Especially if you are in a group and everyone has to be perfectly in sync. What’s funny about ATEEZ is that two of their major dancers from the beginning have been the Tower Twins. If you’re not as familiar with the ATEEZ fandom, the Tower Twins is a term that has come to describe the two members who are over six foot; Yunho and Mingi. Yunho, however, is the person in charge of most dance practices. He learns choreography uncommonly quickly. To the point where someone showed Yunho a complicated TikTok dance and by the second time he watched it, he could perform it perfectly. His dance moves are incredibly clean and all of the members have said that if they have an issue with the choreography, they go to Yunho. If you watch behind the scenes dance practices you might hear Yunho speaking, as he usually leads the practices as well as monitors his own and the others choreography during shootings. Hongjoong has personally thanked him on camera several times for his contributions when it comes to choreography prep; whether it’s for an MV or a concert. Yunho has been cited many times to be a very patient teacher and an integral part of ATEEZ’s complicated, choreography-heavy, performances.

Mood Maker:

Yunho has also been called one of the mood makers of ATEEZ by other members on multiple occasions. He’s well known for usually sporting a smile and often is one of the first members to crack a joke or do something completely meme based, like wear a plastic horse head on his head during a fansign. He also is very cuddly. He’ll cuddle with members in front of the camera, has said before that he doesn’t mind snuggling with members while sleeping, and will even carry other members to and from bed. He once bridal style carried San out of bed because San didn’t want to get up. And his kindness is so apparent on multiple levels. Semi-recently, Jongho posted a video of Yunho attempting not to fall asleep as Jongho was attempting to keep him up long enough to see one of his performances on television. This also continues in his constant attempts to calm down the members who need it, break up fights, and otherwise just take care of everyone. Mingi has said that Yunho is integral in keeping him calm and helping him through tougher times. This man truly cares for everyone in his circle. This is even more piercing to me because of how Yunho has been saying lately that he struggles telling the other members how he’s been feeling. Being that much of a mood maker takes an incredible amount of strength! I hope that he feels more free in reaching out to his members in the future!


Yunho has very unique and very close relationships with each of the members of ATEEZ. Lately, he and Hongjoong have been very close. They always shared a room whenever they went on tour and have always had a close relationship. They were the first two trainees in KQ after all. But after doing Idol Radio, they have been inseparable while on tour and even more frequently participate in the Painted Man campaign together. A campaign where they paint one of their nails in order to raise awareness to the violence committed against women and children. Seonghwa and Yunho have a very compassionate and helpful relationship with each other where they look out for the other, except when Yunho steals one of Seonghwa’s legos. Yunho and Yeosang are extremely chill when they’re together and are either super sweet or extremely deadly with their dances. Yunho and San are the adorable roommates who quite frequently cuddle together and are hilariously sweet; such as when Yunho buys San more plushies or when San agrees to play games with Yunho when he’s pouting. Yunho and Mingi have known each other forever and rely on each other, they even have their own adorable head twist thing. They’ve been inseparable since their school days. (That is, when Yunho is not betraying Mingi’s moral loyalty.) Yunho and Wooyoung frequently poke fun at each other, including their laughs and dance styles, and have a very playful relationship. And Yunho babies his adorable maknae and makes Jongho do Ho brothers content for Atiny. Just general wholesomeness all around!

Serious Yunho:

I’ve already talked about this a little, but Yunho has an uncanny ability for peace-keeping within the group. Atiny have started making compilations of Yunho stepping in and trying to aid Hongjoong when the rest of the group starts getting a bit too loud or difficult to handle. This even included a time where he hilariously screamed during an ATEEZ debate that involved Captain Hongjoong himself. Yunho is also a sore loser, something that San has said before. Atiny have barely ever seen Yunho get frustrated, but when he has it almost always was because of his competitive nature. San could be seen trying to get him to breathe and calm down at the Idol Olympics when archery wasn’t quite going Yunho’s way. Yunho is good at almost everything and is incredibly good at playing basketball, video games, Twister, and even at guessing in strategy based games. Yunho’s serious side isn’t seen too often and it is a glorious thing to behold when it is. He’s also the absolute best at playing horror games. In the most recent zombie game they all played, Yunho was very serious and strategic the entire time, including protecting San who is incredibly afraid of horror while Yunho isn’t really afraid of anything. I made an entire post about this once before but, as someone who also can’t stand any level of horror, I think Yunho might be one of the only people on the planet I would ever consider going into a haunted house with.

My Yunho Story:

Because he’s my ult bias and it’s almost his birthday, I figure I might as well share my own personal story with Yunho. I won’t say that Yunho was the first person that I noticed in ATEEZ. That was probably a generous mix of San, Hongjoong, and Mingi. When I was originally going about the very difficult task of choosing a bias, I really had no idea where to start. As soon as I got into ATEEZ, I familiarized myself with all of them and then had almost an impossible time trying to choose a bias because I loved all of them so much. I went back and forth between pretty much all of them and didn’t really settle on any until I watched more of their videos that showed more of their personality. And only after Hallie said that Yunho was my type did it hit me full in the face just how much that was true. I honestly don’t know how I didn’t choose him earlier because I’m never able to tear my eyes off of him. And I have no idea why he isn’t the bias of more people. Once Yunho became my bias I was absolutely floored and knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. And pretty quickly Yunho became my ult bias. He was my one of my ult biases even before ATEEZ became my ult group and pretty much everyone knew it. It’s really difficult for me to stop talking about Yunho, as you can probably tell. His vocals on “Still Here” drew me to the song and I connected to it so hard that I absolutely cried when I saw him perform it live. I am so incredibly happy to have this man in my life in the way that he is! Even if that might mean I never meet him. He’s already made such a huge impact on my life! I honestly couldn’t imagine anyone else ever being my ult bias. Yunho just…fits. He’s the comfort that I need on a bad day or the reason I find myself uncontrollably smiling at my phone when just moments ago I was completely overwhelmed by anxiety. I hope that he has the absolute best day and I hope that he gets back just some of that love that he gives to all of us.

Happy Birthday Yunho! I know he’ll never read this, but I am so incredibly happy to have discovered ATEEZ and to have discovered him. He once said that he wants Atiny to lean on him during rough times and that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do. He’s always there for me when I need him most. Yunho is an underrated member who deserves the absolute world and I hope his birthday is the best and most wholesome day for him!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie