Updated on Mar 29, 2019. Posted on Mar 27, 2019

    The BTS Comeback Trailer Subtly Hints At Them Coming Full Circle And Returning To An Older Era

    "They're not in skool anymore they're in kollege."

    On Wednesday, BTS released a comeback trailer for their upcoming album Map of the Soul: Persona and it features none other than the leader of BTS, Namjoon.

    #BTS #방탄소년단 #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA Comeback Trailer #Persona (https://t.co/x646sSjZG4)

    Map of the Soul: Persona comes out April 12 and it *could* be the first instalment of a new trilogy if the band sticks to their usual pattern.

    Obviously BTS fans are freaking out because there's A LOT to unpack in the short clip.

    Armys before Armys after 12 am kst 12 am kst #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    Firstly, the intro to the clip sounds a LOT like the Skool Luv Affair comeback trailer.

    THE INTRO IS THE SAME AS SKOOL LUV AFFAIR WHAT DOES THIS MEAN OH MY GOD #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    Next, there's a shot of a black board with writing that doesn't appear to be random, so fans are floating a theory that BTS are basically dropping major clues as to the names of the potential trilogy series and even song titles.

    [THEORY] Upcoming albums & track name ~ MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA Track "DREAM" MAP OF THE SOUL: SHADOW Track "LOVE" MAP OF THE SOUL: EGO Track "HAPPINESS" [@BTS_twt] #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    Then Namjoon appears in a classroom and begins to rap. "Who Am I? The question I had my whole life," he says.

    It reminds a lot of people of the Skool Luv Affair era in 2014.

    2014 NAMJOON: who are you? 2019 NAMJOON: i'm you, but STRONGER. #Persona @BTS_twt #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    The references have fans wondering if this means the new era will be based around college.

    theyre not in skool anymore theyre in kollege

    Freshman year vs Senior year #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    skool luv affair who? i only know kollege luv affair

    Namjoon appears to also rap about not knowing his value.

    "I'm still not so sure if I'm a dog or a pig or what else," he raps.

    And then he adds: "But then other people come and put the pearl necklace on me."

    BTS

    With the "pearl necklace" phrase, Namjoon could be making a reference to inequality in Korean society.

    Cultural Context 2 "A pearl necklace for pig's neck" is a Korean proverb Similar to 'Pearls before swine' It means make a valuable thing useless by giving it to a person who is not interested in. He linked the "dog & pig" and the proverb.

    Anyway, after this Namjoon starts rapping about laughing more these days, which has fans wondering if it means he is finding happiness. Namjoon has spoken in the past about depression and anxiety.

    So obviously fans are emotional.

    namjoon saying "i laugh more than i did before"....y'all he found happiness. i can't stop crying

    In another scene, Namjoon is seen wearing a visvim kimono, featuring both a yin and yang symbol, which is all about finding balance, and also a phoenix.

    #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA Ok y’all notice the visvim coat Namjoon is wearing in #Persona? Pretty sure it’s a phoenix. A phoenix represents the yin and yang, that duality which shapes the whole existence of the universe But ALSO... +

    Fans are wondering if the phoenix symbolism was intentional.

    ...when we go through a traumatic moment we all “die a little bit.” We let go of a part of us that will never come back/be the same again Jung establishes similarities to the Phoenix cos it dies & knows that a much more powerful version of itself will emerge out of its remains

    Another scene shows Namjoon rapping in the classroom with a mic. The classroom starts to resemble a storage room with graffiti on the wall. It's a clear reference to The Notes, the new book by BTS.

    People who read the notes know that " The class took turned into a storage room " was the beginning of their story and the same room first appeared in Skool Luv Affair and is now back in the background of the trailer @BTS_twt #PERSONA #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    Another subtle hint that this era is going to have a familiar vibe is when Namjoon raps: "Hey, have you already forgotten why you even started this?"

    BTS / YouTube

    Fans also think that there were several biblical references in the video.

    DID JOON JUST GO BIBLICAL? talking about natural endowment of beauty apart from riches. damn that's deep

    Purely as literary references to imagery/symbolism used in the biblical text, these would be interesting, but the meanings here are significant as well. #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA @BTS_twt

    Namjoon also makes a reference to ARMYs affectionately calling him President Kim Namjoon.

    Us: Kim Namjoon for president Bighit: write that down write that down

    Which quickly started trending in South Korea.

    "김남준 나라" = "Kim Nam Joon Nation" is trending in Korea🤣 K-ARMYs encouraging to build up Kim Nam Joon Nation as always. #RM #NAKIMMJOON #KimNamjoonForPresident #KIMNAMJOONNATION #PERSONA #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA #BTS @BTS_twt

    However, fans think this moment has more than one meaning, and is also directed at people who've criticised him in the past.

    HE FUCKING KNOWS ANTIS LOVES USING "BUT NAMJOON"

    The video ends with Namjoon at a podium, which fans think is a throwback to the time BTS made a speech at the United Nations in 2018.

    NAMJOON ON A PODIUM IS WHERE HE BELONGS #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    The underlying message in the comeback trailer seems to be in line with the message BTS tried to send at the beginning of their musical career, one of self-love and acceptance.

    It’s truly been such an honor to watch Kim Namjoon’s incredible journey of self-acceptance.

    And as the Skool Luv Affair references kept appearing (such as this blackboard with a Twitter handle on it), research led fans to a private Twitter account set up in April 2013 leading fans to wonder how far ahead this was all planned.

    And in case you that ARMYs were reading too much into it, the Twitter account actually updated and now looks like this:

    Twitter

    But.. plot twist, it turned out to be an old account which in the end was hacked by a fan who decided to take the moment of virality to promote BTS.

    A lot of fans are feeling very nostalgic about the reference to the older era.

    If we really are going back to the beginning, this will also TRULY be a blessing to a lot of ARMY who missed out on Bangtan's early days, including me... We'll be able to retrograde back and see all the growth and oh my I feel so grateful 😭😭 @BTS_twt #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA

    SKOOL LUV AFFAIR MATCHES TO THIS I'M GONE KIM NAMJOON #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA #Persona @BTS_twt

    As the release date of the new album gets closer, you can definitely expect more hints about what it will be about.

    i’m still not over the trailer,, like the fact that namjoon resampled the skool luv affair intro for this comeback is so nostalgic & unexpected but the lyrics, flow and his genius deliver?! 🗣hE DIDNT HAVE TO GO SO HARD #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_PERSONA @BTS_twt

    Until then, you can watch the as-yet-untitled comeback trailer in full here. What did you notice?

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    UPDATE

    This post has been updated to reflect new information regarding the hacked @Bangtan_ID Twitter account.

    Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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