To anyone not accustomed to K-Pop, it’s not uncommon for groups to re-release songs in a different language, usually Japanese but sometimes Mandarin (depending on the company’s preference). This was the case with BTS’ I Need U. With a new song comes a new MV, and although this MV is dance-focused, as opposed to the story-focused Korean MV, I still think it fits into the HYYH series and is worth looking at;
Despite the choreography, we still get cut-away individual scenes of all of the members. Like we did with the Korean I Need U, let’s have a look at each member one by one;
J-Hope: We find J-Hope in a bathroom, staring at himself in the mirror. This is much like how his individual story in the Korean I Need U starts. We later see him sitting, leaning against the wall, pills spread around his feet. He also appears to be crying at one point.
Jungkook: Jungkook spends all of his time in a hallway filled with flowers, either sitting on lying down in them. We later see Jungkook crying as well, and he sets fire to the petals of white lilies, which look very similar to the ones from the Korean MV.
Jimin: Just like in the Korean version, Jimin continues to stay around a bathtub, although this time he doesn’t enter the water. The bathtub is full of flowers and petals, and Jimin holds up and examines a lily petal.
Rap Monster: We see him standing in a room with a fogged mirror behind him. There are words written into the fog; the same ‘You need to survive’ from the Prologue. However, he later seems to have his hand covered in black ink, and he wipes the words off the mirror.
Suga: He seems to spend most of his time in a room as well, although he is seated next to a picture of lilies. When Jungkook sets his lilies on fire, we also see that Suga’s picture has caught fire.
V: V spends his solo shots inside a hole in a wall, where he’s seen hugging himself. He also throws a handful of lily petals towards the camera.
Jin: Jin is the last member to get his solo shots in the MV, not appearing until almost two thirds of the way through. He is laying on a bed which is bathed in white light, surrounded by lily flowers. Interestingly, he spends a lot of the Korean version of the MV on or near a bed. In his first shot, we see him blocking his eyes from the light and sitting up. At no point during his solo shots does he leave the bed. At the very end of the MV, Jin seems to let go of a butterfly, which flies up and away from him, revealing that the bed is surrounded by darkness, the light far above his head.
This MV has obvious tie-ins to I Need U and the Prologue. However, we don’t get a solid link to Run. I think that this MV is meant to be much more symbolic than the other ones; it’s not telling a story, it’s just aiding in understanding the one already told. So, let’s take a look at all of our theories to figure out which ones are and aren’t supported…
1. Only Suga and Jungkook died in I Need U
1A Prologue Occurs Between’s V’s Story and I Need U: Weak Evidence
Timeline: V kills a man -> V commits suicide (or at least attempts)-> Jungkook dies in an accident -> Suga commits suicide -> the others try to deal with the death of their friends (I Need U and Run). The last time I looked at this theory, I concluded that there was weak evidence supporting it due to the lack of special symbolism surrounding Jungkook and Suga in the MVs following I Need U. Although we do have the link between the two with the lilies being set on fire, combined, I still don’t think there’s a lot of evidence overall for this theory.
2. Jin and V survive I Need U
2B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: Strong Evidence
Timeline: Other members die in various ways and V kills a man -> V and Jin go away together (retracing the group trip shown in the Prologue) -> V jumps (either committing suicide or not) -> Jin (and possibly V) imagines all of the group still alive OR the souls of the departed friends remain. We are stuck with not knowing V’s ultimate fate. I think that this MV supports this theory. We see throw backs to they way some of the members died (such as Jimin and the bathtub and J-Hope and the tablets). We also get special symbolism around Jin, surrounded by lilies. Perhaps the lilies are the representation of his dead friends, and he’s beginning to “wake up” (bed) to the knowledge that they are no longer with him. This heavily supports the idea that V is also dead, as he and Jin appear separately in the MV when we might expect them together. Furthermore, Rap Monster wiping away the words previously written to V would suggest there’s no point in telling him to survive, since he already passed away. And, V is hugging himself, perhaps cold from his jump into the ocean during the Prologue? This ties in with Run, where I began to suspect that Jin was the only one still alive.
3. No one died in I Need U
3B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: Weak Evidence
There’s nothing in the MV that really goes against this theory, but there’s also nothing that really supports the theory. Hence, it’s left in a sort of uncertain, weak place.
4. Jin died before anyone else: Strong Evidence
Regardless of the time-line in terms of I Need U and the Prologue, we have Jin in the MVs not realising that he’s dead, and trying desperately to remain with his friends. However, he’s starting to realise that he’s no longer alive. I think that this theory is still strongly supported in this MV. I interpret Jin’s solo scenes as having a lot of funeral/death symbolism around them; the lilies, the way Jin is laying is like he’s been “laid out” for burial, and the white light shining above him at the end of the MV looks awfully like light shining down from a grave’s opening. I discussed butterfly symbolism previously in Run, and here it’s likely it represents the death of a loved one. In this case, it’s Jin’s death, the loved one of the others in the group.
5. Jin is the only member alive: Strong Evidence
As we progress, this theory starts to look a lot like 2B above. As such, most of what I said above applies to this theory. As I mentioned in the Run post, it’s likely in this theory the butterfly continues to represent transformation in Jin as he needs to learn to accept his friends’ deaths and move on.
As we progress with the MVs, we’re starting to get theories that are more and more solid. As usual, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂