WINGS Short Film #5 REFLECTION
The relationship between Rap Monster and V are the same as the other members; V is Sinclair and Rap Monster is his Demian. At the end of his film, V does not fully mature and tries to lean onto Rap Monster, just like how Sinclair leans onto Demian. In Reflection, it is shown that he can leave his “egg” whenever he wished to, he just needed to put his mind to it. He decides to burn the photo of the blackbird from BEGIN (thus connecting him to Jungkook ), drinks the remains with alcohol, and keeps the image in his memory by tattooing it onto his arm. Through this process, Rap Monster travels deeper within himself and finds the darkness that represents the chaos that is within. (In the music video for Blood, Sweat and Tears, the quote, “You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star,” by Fredrich Wilhelm Nietzsche is written in its original German and basically explains to the viewer that one must go through chaos so they can mature and grow.) Rap Monster then hears a phone ring and he searches for it knowing it was from V, but fails to answer the call due to it being in chains—a symbol of Rap Monster finally being forced to live for himself. Towards the end of the novel, Demian does not help Sinclair in his time of need but instead encourages him to be happy. “You have to survive,” an ongoing motif through the films and HYYH, is shown while Rap Monster goes through the final process of maturing. This connects WINGS to Demian and the main message that BTS wants to send to their fans and to those who are going through their “Most Beautiful Moment in Life”.
WINGS Short Film #6 MAMA
In MAMA, J-Hope is seen within his “egg” surrounded by all-white cushioned walls—like a mental hospital—indicating to the viewer that he is not mentally well. A physician diagnoses him with Munchausen Syndrome, an emotional disease caused by trauma or sickness that can make an individual crave attention so much to the point that they are able to fake a real illness. The only cure for this disease is either consultation or medication. In the film, J-Hope is bombarded with many pills and an image of a cocktail made of medication is shown. The pills go from being a cure to the drug that becomes the catalyst for his insanity.
After taking a pill, the chaos from within is released, represented in the form of the neon paint that is splattered around the room. With that, the process of growing up begins. His “wings” are then shown and he passes out from being overwhelmed. He awakens and stares lovingly at the painting from LIE (connecting him to his Sinclair, Jimin) which resembles the Garden of Eden. The garden symbolizes Eve or Eva, the embodiment of motherhood within Demian. Within the novel, Frau Eva comforts Sinclair with chocolate and in the film J-Hope is seen biting into a piece of chocolate as well. This gives him the strength to listen to himself and mature. He leaves his “egg” and heals his own illness.
WINGS Short Film #7 AWAKE
A bottle of pills, an apple, a golden sparrow hawk, an earpiece, lilies, and candles open up the scene for the seventh and final film, AWAKE. The bottle of pills that were kept at the end of the table where Jin sat was a symbol for heartless consultation for the pain of growing up; the apple—a symbol for original sin that Jin originally avoids to prolong his innocence; the hawk—an indicator of Sinclair’s childhood and the memories that he and Demian shared together throughout the novel; the earpiece—a symbol for the noises inside one’s head that creates inner conflict and grief, which Jin decides to pull out of his ear, ready to hear his own thoughts clearly; the lilies—a symbol of innocence that Jin tries to preserve by taking a photo of but fails when the candles go out, and the candles were a symbol of the bright world, but with them out, the dark world surrounds him.
Without a dream of his own and blinded by the darkness, Jin follows the apple—temptation—and is led to his room or “egg”. Here he burns six lily petals that represent the other members and the last of his innocence. Jin is now ready to move on and leaves his “egg”. As he leaves the room, images of Abraxas are shown along with the image of the black bird from BEGIN and Reflection. Abraxas is a god and demon, controller of both good and evil. Good and evil are one, and youth and adulthood exist within a person at the same time. Growing up and experiencing hardships is inevitable, one must survive even when their world is dark and lonely because that is how we mature. Being born and then sheltered in our little “egg” or world until we encounter the growing pains is just the beginning. Once we awaken and break free from that world, then we can call ourselves free.
To sum up, here are how the films portray the process of growing up:
- One must endure the pain they feel from growing up (BEGIN)
- Be able to know when to walk away from their comfort zone (MAMA)
- Retaliation and regret; wanting to go back to how things once were but the scars from the guilt hurt too much and makes one trapped between two worlds of light and darkness (LIE and Stigma)
- To finally stop wondering and deciding to fly to one’s final destination (First Love)
- Breaking out of one’s “egg” or one's world and fly out (Reflection)
- The two worlds—light and dark worlds—become one, Sinclair and Demian become one; and the individual fully matures and Demian’s role is complete (AWAKE)
The act of growing up does not force one to leave their innocence behind, and the hardships that one experiences forms the person and allow them to grow, not harm them. “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” is now and when the time comes, use your “WINGS” to fly.
After reviewing the album and lyrics from the 15 tracks—seven of which were all solo tracks from each member—BTS, as a whole, seems to finally be comfortable with who they are as artists and where they stand in the Korean entertainment world and even on the international stage. Reaching a status as international artists and establishing themselves as one of the best KPop groups after only three years from debuting is a feat on its own, and are even more impressive because they did not come from one of the “Big Three” like YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, or JYP Entertainment. They accomplished all this with not only quality music and content but with the positive meanings behind their music and their genuine charismatic personalities. Is it no wonder that fans say that BTS now stands for “Born To Slay”.