K-pop and K-dramas: BTS

All rights go to BTS Facebook and their other social media. (Left to right) Kim Seokjin (Jin), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Kim Taehyung (V), Min Yoongi (Suga), Park Jimin (Jimin), Kim Namjoon (RM), and Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook).

Hi! It’s Annie!

I know I mentioned it in my introduction, but I am definitely a big fan of BTS. I will admit, I sort of joined ARMY late into the game. I didn’t really have a chance to properly look into them until quarantine started. Doing more research about this band, listening to more songs, and watching more videos and interviews of them was exactly the kind of serotonin I needed during this time. They are a band that devotes their time and effort into caring for the public and making everyone happier; whether it be through charity work or their music. There’s so much I could say about BTS, but it would probably fill a few books, so we’re going to start with basically telling you about my first reactions and impressions of all seven of these incredible men.

Namjoon (RM):

Gotta start with the leader. RM will be the first noticeable member for most English speakers because he is the most fluent in speaking English. All of them speak English to a degree and they are all improving so quickly, which is so impressive considering how difficult it is to learn a completely different language. But Namjoon will often translate for the others during interviews and, because of this, you probably hear him talk the most in any English interview. He immediately came off to me as very well spoken and smart. He’s definitely the responsible one. I am also that in my friend group, so I definitely respect it. He’s also an incredibly powerful creative for this band and you can’t help but admire his work.

Jin:

Ah, it’s Worldwide Handsome. Jin came off to me right off the bat as just goofy, which I love. He’s got an incredible ability to lift the tone of an interview and just get everyone to laugh. I noticed that Jin seems to be noticed the least of everyone in this band, but this detail is still something I’m navigating through. I see a lot of arguments about Jin not getting enough lines and I honestly haven’t looked enough into the situation to make an educated conclusion on this. I do think he’s incredibly under-appreciated when it comes to the members of this band and I just think that interviews would be a lot darker and less fun without him there. That’s not even mentioning how much he adds to the vocal line.

Yoongi (Suga):

The guy who waves every time someone sings that Harry Styles song and my incredible bias. When you first see Suga in interviews, he comes off as very quiet and anti-social. These words are often met with a negative connotation, especially for celebrities. As someone who is often quiet and anti-social in social situations, I just found it incredibly relatable. The more you look into Suga, the more you’ll find videos of him goofing off with everyone else or talking deeply about an album and you just can’t help but listen. He’s the type of person with the ability to make everyone stop and listen when he talks because he generally has something really interesting to say. He’s also a complete badass and another powerful creative behind the band.

Hobi (J-Hope):

He’s your hope, he’s my hope, he’s J-Hope. An incredible dancer and a mood setter for the band, this guy just radiates positivity. He’s constantly smiling and laughing and spreading hope. Definitely the kind of person who makes you smile when they smile. I was pretty confused when I first saw him in interviews because the first BTS music video I ever watched was ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ and he looks very intimidating in that. The difference between that music video and watching a BTS interview shocked me more with him than any other member. He’s got this incredible duality and it’s honestly hard for me to believe that my first impression of him was in any way being intimidated.

Jimin:

It’s baby mochi! Ugh, Jimin is such a sweetheart! Talk about incredible duality. Jimin is a complete badass onstage and a complete softy offstage. He’s got the biggest heart and just wants everyone to be happy. He can be really quiet in interviews until someone cracks a joke and he’s the first one laughing. The amount that he cares, just about anything and everything, is incredible and such a relief to see in a world so dark. He radiates kindness in everything that he does and I could honestly talk about how sweet he is all day. His voice is also absolutely incredible and it makes me smile every time I hear him sing. This guy has been through so much and still has the kindest soul and I need to shut up now before I get carried away.

Taehyung (V):

The originator of the phrase “I purple you”. He has one of the most unique styles of anyone in the band and has the type of voice that could sing you to sleep. V is fun to watch. He can be very unpredictable in the way that you never know exactly what he’ll do. You can’t at all tell what he’s thinking just by looking at him. V gives off this vibe of being himself all the time. He never seems like he’s being anything but himself and it’s amazing and refreshing to see. The way he talks about ARMY as well is amazing. He has an incredible love for his fans and he’ll bring them up in any interview, at any time, just to talk about them. He really does love his fans back and it shows.

Jungkook:

Finally we get to the youngest member of BTS. He was actually the first member I had ever heard about, because I first heard about BTS from a Jungkook bias. He immediately strikes me as being very mature for his age. He started all of this when he was really young; he pretty much grew up with the band and with all of this responsibility on top of it. There are not many people who could deal with that pressure with the grace and maturity that he does. He seems to be the most popular member of BTS at least in America, and it’s easy to see why. He has an eye catching style and an ear catching voice to match. There are not many people I know who have been that hard working for so much of their young lives and it’s completely admirable.

I guess that’s just a little introduction to the members of BTS, but this definitely will not be the last time I talk about them. It’s also only the way I see them and a bit of an introduction to the way ARMY talks about them as well. Just like with any celebrities, it’s not indicative of themselves as people on a regular basis. You can’t truly know the complexities of a person just through media; but I am grateful of what these amazing men do share with all of us. Many BTS fans are told that they are too old or young for boy bands or are questioned for liking music and media that comes from non-English speaking countries. I shouldn’t have to say that this mentality is ridiculous. Music has always been known to bring people together; it doesn’t matter what kind of music it is or where it came from. BTS has brought so many people together and has brought happiness into so many lives. That’s what really matters. I’m just happy that we have something so positive like this that has helped open the way for more cultures to be seen and appreciated.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie.

Twins in Media: Fred and George Weasley

Screenshot of George Weasley (Left) and Fred Weasley (Right) from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, 2005, Oliver and James Phelps, Copyright of Warner Bros. Ent., Publishing rights to J.K.R.

Hey! Hallie here!

The only way to follow up a post about the great Hikaru and Kaoru is to go back to the roots of red-haired mischievous twins. Who else could it be but Fred and George Weasley? Now I will preface this by saying that my once giant love for Harry Potter, and I do mean giant, has dwindled these last few months. This post is not to go into that entire…mess. However, I will say that my love of these twins has also lessened over time. When I first entered the Harry Potter fandom, I absolutely loved Fred and George. They were close, like my sister and I are, and they stole every scene they were in. Whether I was reading the books or watching the movies, I knew their appearances meant something exciting was about to happen. So what do I think of the portrayal of these twins now?

The Bad:

  • The “Angsty Surviving Twin” trope. These two are the poster children for this trope. I don’t know about you, but when I see siblings like my sister and I get permanently separated because they are ‘too similar’ I get a little uncomfortable. Just me? In all seriousness, this trope has always, always, been a red flag for me when a writer decides to tackle twin characters. It seems to spread the message that twins are so similar that you really only ever need one. I’ll admit that “Harry Potter” gets points for waiting until the very end of the story to pull this move. However, it loses all those points for (SPOILER) the major tear-jerking element of Fred’s death not being that he was such an important character to the plot, but that he left George behind to grieve.
  • The “Mischievous Twins” trope. Obviously this one was going to pop up. I am in no way saying here that twins can’t be mischievous or play tricks on people. We absolutely can! Sometimes we enjoy it! It’s just important to keep in mind that twins don’t do it constantly, and we in no way have entire personalities revolving around the fact that sometimes it’s funny when people mix us up. Both Fred and George share the same story arc; they like playing pranks on people so much that they decide to dedicate their lives to opening a joke shop. Is this a painfully unoriginal way to portray twins? Yes. Yes it is.
  • The “Synchronized Twins” trope. The books do this a little less, but did the movies really have to have ALL of Fred and George’s lines be either saying the same thing at the same time or finishing each others sentences? Because no one does that. Not even twins.

The Good:

  • The slightly different personalities. This seems like I’m reaching. It’s because I am. I am continually frustrated with the lack of differences between these two characters. However, as usual, the books have a little bit more to go off of than the movies do. Fred is always more talkative and almost brutal when pranking others. George is always last to lose his cool, and he even apologizes for his brother on a few occasions. The best example of these different personalities comes when Fred and George get cheated out of the money they won at the Quidditch World Cup in the fourth book. Fred decides to resort to blackmail, which quickly starts an argument with the much more level-headed George. This doesn’t happen often enough, but it does happen!
  • Characters like them for more than just being twins. I know this sounds like the bare-minimum, but I would have appreciated this in high school. My sister and I ran into a lot of people who would only question us on what it was like to be a twin, and then leave. Fred and George have friends, such as Lee Jordan, who like them because they are funny and intelligent. Harry looks up to them because they have so much passion for the work that they do. While the books spend a lot of time pointing out that they’re twins who are always together, it also gives many reasons for the characters and the reader to appreciate their bravery and fun personalities.
  • The actors are actually twins. So this one doesn’t effect the story, but I can’t help but applaud when actual twins are cast as fictional twins. Believe it or not, twins, even identical ones, do not look completely the same. It makes a difference when I can recognize the subtle differences between James and Oliver Phelps and acknowledge that they are two separate people.

So are Fred and George Weasley good representations of twins in media?

I wish I could say yes here. I really do. But the bad definitely outweighs the good here. Fred and George are one of the major examples of bad twin representation in media. They are basically the same character. I have no problem with twins having the same interests, or even being in the same Hogwarts house, but there are so little differences that it becomes ridiculous (Riddikulus). Their entire existence revolves around stereotypes rather than their individual personalities. It’s not exactly surprising that this is yet another thing that Rowling got wrong, but it does hurt me in the childhood a bit. That being said, in no way am I asking you to hate these characters! They are absolutely fun to watch! I just hope that in the future, we can see something more accurate up on the big screen.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Twins in Media: Hikaru and Kaoru

Screenshot from ‘Ouran Highschool Host Club’ on FUNimation

Hi! It’s Annie!

As twins who have been affected by media our entire lives, you can bet that we’re going to talk a lot about twin representation in media. The first anime that I ever watched was one ‘Ouran Highschool Host Club’ and at first watch I HATED Hikaru and Kaoru. Why? Because twincest made me want to vomit and really, it still does. Twincest as a trope has always made me uncomfortable and is never something I’ve approved of. I liked the two characters separately, but when they were on screen together I wanted to close my eyes and make them disappear. When I re-watched it recently, I was not expecting much from these two to say the least. I was delighted to find out that there was a lot I hadn’t remembered about how this show portrayed twins.

The Bad:

  • Twincest. There’s just so much wrong with it as a trope and I’m really just tired of seeing this in shows. Like, REALLY tired. Twins are just another form of siblings, if you wouldn’t with your sibling, why do you think it’s ok to show twins doing it? I doubt there is any form of media out there that would make me change my mind on the fact that I never want to see twincest ever again. The fetishization of twins has been present in the media for as long as I can remember. It especially happens to women, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to men. This show continues to normalize it, and I’m really done with that.
  • The Mischievous twins trope. This trope often gives two people the same initial personality trait introduced to the audience as well as feeding into the belief that twins are always out to trick you. I can’t tell you how many times people have acted suspicious around me because they thought I might be my sister pretending to be me. I’m way too much of a goody-two-shoes to do that. There are people like this, but definitely not all of us.
  • Synchronized twins. If my sister and I speak the exact same thing at the exact same time, it’s rare and on accident. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but we can’t read each other’s minds. This normalizes the thought that twins are somehow one half apart and only whole together. This thought also adds to the fetishization of twins because often people will see dating twins as being monogamous because they think we might as well be the same person. We are separate people. We are not two for the price of the one. We are not exactly the same. We are different people with different goals and different thoughts.

The Good:

  • The Different Story-lines. As the series goes on the audience is treated to a different story-line for each character. Hikaru develops a crush on Haruhi and must learn to trust other people. Kaoru has trouble with change and letting go of the people and things he cares about. They are written to have different personalities and goals within these story-lines. The show makes sure to differentiate the two characters outside the Host Club; making Kaoru wise and more mature and Hikaru stand-offish and less mature.
  • The Fighting. Hikaru and Kaoru don’t always agree. Even though they do fake a fight during the series, they still get into a fair few scuffles and minor disagreements. This is extremely important to showing actual people with different personalities and goals.
  • The only acceptable switch. Hikaru and Kaoru are shown in a flashback to have switched on young women who wrote love letters to one of them. This was not to play some prank, but was entirely to test whether the person actually liked the singular person, or if they just chose a twin. This is a real issue that I have personally gone through and it SUCKS. I find that often when a show tries to do something like this, they frame the twins in the scenario as being in the wrong or just being mischievous. This show doesn’t do that. When the girl calls them mean after they reveal the switch, the characters respond with; “No, you’re the one who’s mean.” There is no either or. You either like me or you like my sister. We are two separate people and there is no liking us both. This was the first time I had seen a show accurately depict a real life scenario I went through with my sister.

So, are Hikaru and Kaoru a good representation of twins in media or not?

This is not an easy question to answer because, like most twins in media, they’re more middling. Any show that depicts twins making out or almost making out immediately goes down on my list. But I will admit this show accurately depicted certain situations for twins to a degree I hadn’t seen before or since. Now would be a good time to mention that I am one of those rare Kaoru girls. Of all of the hosts, Kaoru is my favorite. This probably has something to do with how they depicted Kaoru in his own personal story-line and how they actually showed him going through things I have personally gone through. I guess the best answer I can give is yes and no. Yes when they aren’t in the Host Club. When they are doing any activities for the Host Club, the answer becomes no. Also when they’re shown sharing a bed, because that’s also stupid. I can definitely appreciate some things about these fictional twins though! Twins don’t need to be separated at birth or of different genders to show that we are two very different people with different tastes, interests, thoughts, and feelings.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie.

Hi! I’m Hallie!

Is your name really Hallie?- Unfortunately, no.

How old are you?- I bet you can’t guess this one but, the same as my sister! I’m twenty-one!

Which one are you?- In any pictures you see of the both of us, I have short brown hair. I also love hats! If one of us is in a hat, it’s a good bet that it’s me.

What are your pronouns?- She/Her

Introvert or Extrovert?- As much as I enjoy interacting with people, I am absolutely an introvert.

Favorite colors?- I have an immense love of the color purple. I also really love blue/green colors, like turquoise.

What’s your personality like?- I’m the laid back one. I like to keep a level head, even when I’m absolutely freaking out. I’m usually the first to end an argument. Whether it’s through calm conversation or throwing a punch, life is too short to stay angry or anxious. I’m also very adventurous! If I could be traveling the world right now, I absolutely would be.

Favorite movie?- “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by Henry Selick. The animation is gorgeous and I’m a huge fan of Danny Elfman. Although I have an immense love of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” as well.

Favorite Televsion Show?- This is where my interests align with my sisters. “The Untamed” is the best television show I have ever seen. It is a C-drama so you absolutely will need to read subtitles while watching it, but it’s on Netflix and I can’t recommend it enough.

Favorite music?- Currently BTS has my heart. I am also a huge fan of emo music. My Chemical Romance is my favorite band. I also really enjoy Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Evanescence, and Breaking Benjamin. I also love 80’s Rock and New Wave. Also Hanz Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and John Williams absolutely have my heart when it comes to soundtrack music.

Favorite Book?- “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman. It is both an amazing fairytale and the ultimate troll wrapped up into one book.

What’s your fashion sense?- As I said above, I love hats. I pretty much collect beanies for the winter. Otherwise, I love wearing basic colors like brown and black with a pop of color. I really like plaid, especially on pants, and I love a good over-sized sweater.

Do you collect anything?- Other than beanies I definitely have a small Funko collection and a love for plushies. But mostly, I collect “Nightmare Before Christmas” merch for my room.

What characters do you kin?- Leia Organa (Star Wars), Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Robin Buckley (Stranger Things), and Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind).

Why are you Hallie?- Because if either of us is the rough girl that feigns confidence while clinging to her stuffed animal; It’s me!

Hi! I’m Annie!

Is your name really Annie?- Nope!

How old are you?- I am twenty-one!

Which one are you?- I’m the one with the long hair. Most of the time, it’s slightly purple or red.

What are your pronouns?- She/Her

Introvert or Extrovert?- I am a total introvert.

Favorite colors?- I’m a pastel girl. I like wearing soft pinks and blues, but you’ll also often find me in black if I’m feeling lazy.

What’s your personality like?- I’m the soft one. I am often emotional and compassionate and it can be difficult to get me angry. I also am a massive over-thinker and experience a lot of anxiety. I’m very much in my heart and in my head at all times and I’m more likely to stop and think before doing something drastic.

Favorite movie?- So many. But right now it’s either Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ or the Keira Knightley ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

Favorite television show?- ‘The Untamed’ on Netflix starring Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan. I’ve been getting more into K-dramas and C-dramas; but this is the most beautiful show I’ve ever watched.

Favorite music?- My favorite band is BTS. I did not expect this band to take over my life but it has. My bias is probably Jimin with my bias wrecker being literally all of them because it was hard enough for me to choose a bias. (Though it’s probably Namjoon.) My favorite song by them is ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears’, but again, it switches a lot and I have over a hundred songs on my phone (and counting), so which songs I listen to most frequently also changes. But it’s hard to choose anything because I love all of them and all of their songs so much. (That includes solo projects…ahem…Agust D.) I also like soundtrack pieces from Hanz Zimmer, some 80’s rock, and emo rock like MCR. My taste in music is very…eclectic.

Favorite book?- Either ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen or ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. Escapism, folks.

What’s your fashion sense?- Bows, flower crowns, chokers, skater skirts, sneakers, and leggings. You’ll generally see me in most of them at once. Once I put on a skater skirt for the first time, my entire life changed.

Do you collect anything?- Funko pops and plushies. Anyone will tell you that I have a funko problem.

What characters do you kin?- Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Brea (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), Poppet (The Night Circus), and Jane Porter (Disney’s Tarzan).

Why are you Annie?- Because if either of us is the girly, posh, British girl; it’s me.