Have you ever listened to an album and totally immersed yourself in it? Constructed stories to fit the songs and their cryptic meanings; invented a whole new world for yourself? In the case of BTS, they’ve done it for you. And it’s called Bangtan Universe.
Bangtan Universe (BU) is a fictional world created by BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment that blends into their musical work, and is revealed through music videos and short films, books, a mobile game and a webtoon. It’s a rich, multimedia realm where fans can decode and theorise, with Easter eggs sprinkled throughout BTS’ content over the years.
Fans have fallen into BU via many paths. Some would’ve become intrigued from the first signs of it in 2015’s “I Need U” music video which introduced the story of seven young men and their friendship. Others may have been lured in later by the highlight reels: a series of short films released for BTS’ Love Yourself era in 2017. Then there’s the books, mobile game, webtoon, and forthcoming drama series. These multiple entry points make BU easy to access no matter when you became a fan.
BU’s narrative is told out of chronological order, which makes it all the more intriguing. The basic storyline is this: seven boys become besties in high school, despite their family backgrounds and individual traumas. But conflict arises, and they become young adults living separate lives, longing to rekindle their friendship.
This isn’t light fare: in V’s storyline we witness violence and domestic abuse; J-Hope is traumatised from childhood abandonment; Jimin is stuck in hospital; RM is simply getting by, and there are suggestions of arson and self-harm in Suga’s and JK’s storylines respectively. At the centre of it is Jin, who’s been gifted time-travelling abilities from an unknown force, and is destined to relive days trying to save his friends from death and suffering.
We won’t give everything away, but here’s some paths you can go down to discover BU for yourself.