Not long after the Japanese version of I Need U was released, the Japanese version of Run followed. Just like Japanese I Need U, Japanese Run is choreography focused instead of plot focused like its Korean counterpart. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a source for confirming or developing theories, so let’s take a look…
Just like for I Need U, we get cut away to individual members, so let’s take a moment to see what’s happening with them all;
V: We find V in a tiled room with all sorts of writing in the background. Now, I’m not going to take the time to read everything, but I can tell you from the brief flashes we get, many of the words reference songs in the album(s). We later discover that this tiled room is flooded with water, although not much deeper than his ankles. We also see V mucking around with a spray can of paint, something he’s no stranger to. As the song progresses, V seems to get more and more distressed in the room, having some sort of meltdown, reading the writing on the walls. V eventually collapses in the water, laying on his back and staring up into the camera.
Rap Monster: Rap Monster is in a public phone box, which is also covered in graffiti. He drops the phone, sinking to the floor. Not much seems to happen with him, except for gazing directly into the camera.
Suga: Suga appears to be in a hall in which the floor is covered in broken mirror shards. He later picks up a piece to look at his reflection. Again, like Rap Monster above, we don’t see much happening with Suga, but he does seem to get more despaired throughout the clip, sitting on the floor and holding his knees at one point.
Jin: We see Jin in a large, tiled room, where there is a pattern of water reflections on his face. He looks uncertainly into the camera, and we later see him fall to his knees. After a flash of unreadable words across the screen, we see Jin watching black butterflies flying upwards while an ink spot has suddenly appeared on the tiles behind him, forming the shape of a butterfly.
Jimin: We find Jimin laying in a shallow tub of water, completely submerged. He is initially laying there, hugging himself, however he later struggles in the water, opening his eyes. Later in the MV, Jimin is out of the tub, standing beside it, and we see the words “Youth is not coming back” scrawled on the tub in the background.
J-Hope: We find J-Hope in a room where the floor is covered in feathers, which later start flying around. Like some of the other members above, J-Hope doesn’t do much more, but later falls back into the feathers.
Jungkook: Finally, Jungkook. We don’t see too much about the background of the room that he’s in, but he’s revealed to be holding a scrunched up piece of paper in his hands. He later drops the paper, but it seems to have changed to torn up pieces or, perhaps, small pieces of something else.
Along with the individual stories and dance scenes, we also get a lot of flashes of graffiti throughout the video, both flashed across the screen and in the background of the rooms. The most prevalent line we see, especially in the second half of the MV, is “Youth is not coming back”. Another scene I’d like to point out is the final shot of the group, forming the shape of the butterfly, a symbol that’s been with us for a while.
I feel like you can tie in a lot of this MV to previous ones; V in a place full of water references his jump into the ocean at the end of the Prologue; Rap Monster at a phone box could be a reference to V trying to call his hyung at the start of the Prologue; the broken mirror pieces around Suga references him smashing one in Run; we’ve spoken about the symbolism of butterflies around Jin previously, but I also think the water reflection could be a reference to him looking out into the ocean after V jumped into it; Jimin’s shots are an obvious reference to the bathtub in I Need U; we first see feathers in the Run MV, and they appear after J-Hope hits Jimin on the face with a pillow after waking up in a hospital bed, perhaps a reference to his possible overdose; and I think it’s possible that Jungkook is dropping pieces of mirror, which links him to Suga and the fight in Run. Of course, I think it’s possible to argue that most of these are a bit of a stretch (particularly Rap Monster’s and Jungkook’s), but I can’t see what else they could be referencing.
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). We get a (possible?) link between Suga and Jungkook in this MV, but with what we’ve seen over the two Japanese MVs, I think this theory is getting more and more unlikely.
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 theory continues to get support, even from this MV. We are still getting references back to how some of the members died. We’re getting the butterfly symbolism around Jin again, which I think is more supportive of the fact that V died as well. The Japanese version of I Need U also supported this with Jin’s individual shots.
3. No one died in I Need U
3B Prologue Occurs After I Need U: Weak Evidence
As previously, there’s nothing in this MV to support or deny this theory. However, I think this speaks for itself with the already weak evidence for it.
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. Just as the butterfly symbolism around Jin could support him being the only one alive, it can also support him being dead. We see all the members collapse in the MV, perhaps out of exhaustion of keeping up the front that Jin is still there?
5. Jin is the only member alive: Strong Evidence
Again, much of 2B also supports this theory. We’re starting to see the evidence for that theory pointing towards only Jin being alive, which is bringing it together with this theory pretty easily.