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Ateez Lore: The Who, What, When, and Where of it All

Timeline, Worlds, Ancient Artifacts and Characters

Since we are now halfway through Ateez's planned storyline, as per Professor Hongjoong’s Ateez Storyline Special Lecture, the full storyline recap is getting pretty long.

I decided to take some of the "general information" parts out of the storyline post in order to prioritize the story and also allow for more things to be explained or defined in one central location. So, my plan is to use this post to discuss the way I think the timeline works (along a Möbius strip); and the important locations, characters, and ancient artifacts/other devices featured in Ateez's lore. I can then link this post into my future full storyline updates so if anyone needs both, they have them.


SPOILER WARNING: I WILL BE PROVIDING EXPLANATIONS OF LOCATIONS AND CHARACTERS FOR THE ENTIRE STORYLINE THEREFORE THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.


The When:

Möbius Strip

First, we need to talk about the type of timeline Ateez uses. Whereas most stories are told on a linear timeline, even if not told in chronological order, Ateez’s timeline is not linear. Tiny Bug Ink hypothesizes in Ateez Time & World Mechanics Explained: Up is Down that Ateez’s timeline is actually a Möbius Strip. I am not nearly as smart as Tiny Bug Ink so I am not going to attempt to explain this here, but I have linked it so y’all can watch and understand her ideas.


The main hypothesis is that instead of Ateez traveling to and from alternate dimensions (World A and Z) that are wholly separate from each other with the Halateez doppelgängers as citizens of the dystopian dimension (this is a common theory in tinyville), World A and Z are the old world/the past and the new world/the future of the same dimension.

In this hypothesis, Ateez and Halateez are the same people, not doppelgängers, that exist in two different points in time with Ateez living in the old world/the past/World A and Halateez living in the new world/the future/World Z. She states, “The reason why it looks like there are two Ateezes is that when they travel through time they see themselves [at the horizon], but just a version of themselves that exists in either the past or the future.”

I decided that Tiny Bug Ink’s hypothesis makes the most sense, at this point, as a way to explain what is going on in Ateez’s lore. Therefore, my storyline is on the Möbius Strip.


The Where:

World A

World A is the old world/past in this storyline and is similar to the type of world we know ourselves. In World A, Ateez are regular high school boys facing typical challenges like overbearing parents, school bullying, having to move for a parent's job, etc.

World A is the location for the Diary Film, Inception, Thanxx, Dreamers, Turbulence, Dreamy Day, MATZ, IT's You, Youth, and Everything.


Ateez's Warehouse Hideout

Located in World A, Ateez gather in an abandoned warehouse to hang out after school. There they can be themselves and enjoy music, dancing, basketball, drones, etc. together. The warehouse is actually owned by Yeosang's father and he ends up locking it up so they can no longer use it once he discovers that Yeosang has been hanging out there with Ateez. This warehouse is considered Ateez's safe space and they don't let some chains bar their way into using it again.

Ateez's warehouse hideout is the location for the Diary Film, Turbulence, and Dreamy Day.


The Corner Shop

Where Seonghwa sees a girl dancing and learns what true freedom is. He later finds her "Be Free" bracelet here.

The corner shop is featured in the Diary Film.


National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea houses an ancient Mayan artifact exhibit which is where the Cromer Is located. Both Sceinslaver and the Ateez members go there to steal this artifact.

The National Museum of Korea is featured in the Fever: Epilogue Diaries.


World Z

World Z is the new world/dystopian future, now called Strictland, where the people’s emotions have been suppressed by the central government through advanced technology and banning the arts. Yellow smoke that causes hallucinations is also used by the central government of Strictland to allow them to steal memories of the people under the influence and burn them for energy. Through these things, the central government achieved high growth, people enjoyed material affluence, and their lifespan increased to 200 years.

World Z is the location of the majority of songs in the Ateez storyline at this point. They arrive in World Z in Fireworks (I'm the One) and remain through Déjà Vu, then return in The Real and remain through all of the Treasure and World Series up to Crazy Form.


World Z's Warehouse

Located in World Z, this warehouse is identical to the one Ateez knows from World A, with the exception of their belongings. When Ateez travel from World A to World Z, they leave their warehouse hideout and arrive in World Z's warehouse. It is located in the same place as well so Ateez is familiar with its surroundings which allows them to navigate the area in the dark. The similar location and surroundings helps support the Möbius Strip theory.

World Z's warehouse is the location for HALA HALA and Rocky.


Junkyard

Ateez journey to the junkyard to locate Left Eye, the man who runs it, for his assistance. Old parts of machines from the junkyard are repurposed by Left Eye to make gadgets to support the resistance's efforts.

The junkyard featured in Déjà Vu.


Android Guardian's Bunker/The Disposal Site

Located on an island in what used to be a museum/gallery, the Android Guardian's Bunker is where people who have regained their emotions and resistance fighters are sent for either reeducation or disposal. Android Guardians steal the memories (which is called new energy) of the people housed there and burn them to create yellow smoke that they can get drunk on. Since the Android Guardian's Bunker used to be a museum, the display rooms have been repurposed into jail cells and a disposal site filled with large furnaces has been added. This is where Halateez have been detained, Yeosang is held captive, and the fight over the boy and his brother takes place.

The Android Guardian's Bunker/Disposal Site is featured in Say My Name and Déjà Vu music videos along with the Will Diaries.


Black Pirate's Hideout

Also known as the Black Pirate's Bunker, this is where Ateez are trained to become Halateez, where missions are planned, and where those who have regained their emotions can find safety.

The Black Pirates Hideout/Bunker is featured in the cookie of Guerrilla, at the end of the Fever Epilogue Diaries, and in all of the World Diaries.


Sector 1

As a way of control for the government, cities were divided into zones. A large dome was placed in each zone to block out the solar heat and to create a boundary between zones. Zones were called sectors. Sector 1 was the location of Ateez's first mission with the Black Pirates. To drop flyers and breakers while they sang and danced so that the people who listened to ATEEZ's music, watched their performance, and read the message in the flyers would use the breakers on the chips implanted in their bodies and awaken their emotions.

Sector 1 is the location for Guerrilla.


Prestige Academy

A school for children have been identified as "talented" based on various tests they undergo at 6 months of age at a state-certified hospital. Students are broken into five classes based on ability level and receive 40 years of education. Graduates of Prestige Academy find employment based on their class level. This is the location of Ateez's second mission because they believed that "by awakening the many children raised there, World Z's ruling class would be damaged from within." Prestige Academy is also the school the boy, his brother, and Thunder attend.

Prestige Academy is featured in Bouncy.


Thunder's Base

A small village in a lush, grassy forest far away from the government's surveillance, was the place where the Thunder leader first met the Grimes siblings long ago and was awakened. It is a place of refuge for Thunder and Sense Offenders.

Thunder's Base is featured in the Will Diaries. [This image is not from Ateez, I just needed something to represent the Thunder base. If we ever get images in any videos or print marketing, I will swap this out]


Z's Hideout

Located through several rounds of security in the top of the tall central bank building in the middle of the city square is Z's office. The Black Pirates call it his hideout because he never leaves. The only way to access it, is to become a direct employee. The Black Pirates spent years looking for it, but were unable to locate it due to it's secretive nature. The Thunder leader, however, was able to gain access after she was appointed Z's protocol manager upon graduation.

Z's Hideout is featured in the Will Diaries.


The Who:

Hongjoong

Is currently living alone with his family scattered everywhere so he wants to become a bright star that can be seen from everywhere, like people on TV, so his family will notice him and he can bring them back together. He views the members as his new family and wants them to achieve their dreams of music together.


Seonghwa

Was originally ruled by "to do" lists but saw a girl dancing like common sense, rules, and the tough world didn't have power over her moves. This changed him and allowed him to break free from the control efficiency had over him. [I believe he is the first example of what the Black Pirates are trying to do in World Z]


Yunho

Dealing with grief from the recent loss of his older brother who died by getting hit by a car. Sees Hongjoong as someone who is like his brother in nature and musical ambition. With the help of the members, he is starting to avoid thinking about his painful memories and instead focus on the dreams his brother couldn't achieve.


Yeosang

Tightly controlled by the plans his parents have for him with a monotonous routine they created for him. Disassembles and reassembles things to take his mind off of the control. Goes to a different school than the rest of the members but befriended them one day at the warehouse when he was lost and they asked him if he knew how to work a drone. Learning dancing from the members has helped to relieve the stress his parents place on him.


San

His father is constantly moving their family around meaning he has to repeatedly start over at new schools and try to develop new friendships. Most of the time, he hasn't even had enough time to forge relationships but has been able to do so this time with the members. He greatly values their friendship and is often seen willing to sacrifice himself for them.


Mingi

Bullied for being poor, he has cut himself off from others using music as a way to escape. Went to the same school as Wooyoung starting in elementary school and he was the only one who was persistant in trying to break Mingi out of his shell. Mingi followed Wooyoung to the hideout and met the other members. They accepted him as who he was, regardless of where he lived of who his parents were so he was able to open up and start enjoying music with others instead of isolating himself. When scared of things (e.g., his grandmother's health) he will push people away again as a defense mechanism.


Wooyoung

Has a great desire to dance but has terrible stage fright that causes him to freeze when he knows others are watching. Has a habit of constantly chatting to overcome stage fright and has practiced laughing to hide his shyness as a defense mechanism to focus. Finds strength and comfort dancing with the members and his friendliness holds the group together.


Jongho

Former basketball star with big sports related dreams but his injury forces him to have to give those up causing him to question the reason to be alive. Finally started to dream again when he discovered music and will lash out at his friends (e.g., Mingi) if they disparage It.


Black Pirates

A resistance group against the Strictland government calling themselves “Black Pirates" formed with a goal to stimulate the people’s hearts and minds and allow those people to escape from the control of the central government.


Halateez

The figureheads of the Black Pirates that look exactly the same at Ateez. Based on my Möbius Strip theory, Halateez are the older versions of Ateez. The central government wants to stop the Black Pirates so they are constantly on the hunt for Halateez, but with the Cromer, they are able to teleport and avoid arrest. Once Halajoong (older Hongjoong) uses the Cromer to travel back to World A so he can gift it to Hongjoong, Halateez no longer has the benefit of the Cromer so end up detained in the Android Guardian's Bunker.


Left Eye

A Black Pirate who runs the Strickland junkyard/dump. Morning the loss of his daughter but when he is found by Ateez, he helps them locate the Android Guardian's Bunker and later, trains them as resistance fighters. Is able to make many gadgets from discarded things in the dump (e.g., breakers to disengage the chips implanted by the central government, butterfly drones, and something that can turn your chip on and off at will).


The Grimes Siblings

Living in a cave in the forest near World Z's warehouse, these siblings are part of the Black Pirates. The girl saves Wooyoung from Android Guardians when Ateez first arrive in World Z and then takes the members to her cave home for safety. Her brother then explains what the central government has done to the citizens of Strictland, tells Ateez about how the Android Guardian's stole his sister's voice (think the Little Mermaid ball of sound), and tells them who Left Eye is and where to find him. The Grimes siblings are captured by the Android Guardians when Yeosang is and get their essence drained from them. We later discover that the Grimes siblings were the ones who awakened the Thunder leader when she heard them singing in the street.

[This image is not from Ateez, I just needed something to represent the Grimes siblings. If we ever get their images in any videos or print marketing, I will swap this out]


Scienslaver

A pseudo-religious scientific organization, established in 1999 by a scientist named Henry Jo, that created an AI simulation for the 'best solution.' This religion believes that humans are the collection of energy, and human concerns from an uncertain future can be resolved by science. They created a political party under the catchphrase "The pursuit of a peaceful world without religious conflict and terror through emotional control." The party grew in size, passed the Emotional Regulation Act, and as a result, Henry Jo who later changes his name to Z, effectively took control over this world. Under his control, the world's class system solidified and they began disposing of humans deemed 'defective.' We first see them in World A trying to steal the Cromer from the National Museum of Korea because they believe that the energy condensed inside of it will be the key to saving humanity.

[This image is not from Ateez, I just needed something to represent the Sceinslaver. If we ever get an image in any videos or print marketing, I will swap this out]


Henry Jo/Z

He begins as a scientist named Henry Jo, becomes a religious leader of Scienslaver, and then eventually, takes control of the world and changes his name to Z. During the fight for the Cromer at the National Museum of Korea, he runs over Yunho's brother, killing him a second time. Z hates sense offenders and is willing to use lethal force to enact his control over his citizens. No one, save for the people working directly with him, now knows what he looks like because he keeps himself apart from everyone, but he does often send announcements to his citizens as another form on subliminal control.



Android Guardians

Giant artificial intelligence created by the central government to counteract the effects of the Cromer and trap Halateez. Although Z uses human guardians to control people and punish those who defy control according to government guidelines, Android Guardian's make up Z's Imperial Watch. These guards are closest to him and responsible for his protection because they have no way of accessing emotions. Z dispatches the Android Guardians to deal with anything related to Halateez.


The Boy and His Brother

We are never given a name for either of these characters, they are just called "the boy" and "the boy's brother". The boy finds the Black Pirate bunker after his emotions are awakened when Ateez performed in Sector 1. He had used a breaker to disable his older brother's chip and awaken his emotions as well. The older brother did not take his returning emotions well and so the boy has come to ask the Black Pirates to save his older brother from getting caught with emotions. The older brother is about to graduate from Prestige Academy so while Ateez are infiltrating Prestige Academy to try to awaken the students there, they also save the boy's brother. The boy gets taken by Android Guardians during Ateez's Prestige Academy infiltration so they then go to the Android Guardian's Bunker/Disposal site to save him. While there, we discover the boy had been working with the Android Guardians the whole time and had helped set a trap for Ateez. The older brother pleaded with the boy to come back to the right side (the side of the Black Pirates) and while he was doing so, both brothers ended up dying by falling (the brother) or jumping in with the lead Guardian (the boy) into the furnace of the disposal site.


Thunder

Thunder is the name of the most elite group of students at Prestige Academy (think school prefects from Harry Potter or hall monitors). They monitor the students within Prestige Academy and report if any of them gain their emotions back or do anything out of the ordinary. But in reality, Thunder have all gained their emotions back and have been acting as another resistance group with a goal of graduating from Prestige Academy and infiltration the upper levels of government. They end up helping Ateez and the Black Pirates after they saved the people who were held captive in the Android Guardian's Bunker/Disposal Site and were fighting a group of Guardians who found the Black Pirate's hide out.


The Thunder Leader/Dancing Girl

Originally seen in World A as the girl Seonghwa saw dancing in front of the convenience store and showed him what true freedom looked like. We see her again when Ateez infiltrates Prestige Academy as the leader of Thunder. Seonghwa instantly recognizes her as she is acting like someone who would turn him into the officials for being out of class at the wrong time, but she lets him off with a warning, even though Seonghwa doesn't do the best job of hiding his emotional reaction to her. Seonghwa ends up disappearing with her during the chaos of the Prestige Academy raid but comes back to the Black Pirates Hide Out telling the other members the true nature of Thunder and giving them a map of where to find the boy since she had put a GPS tracker on him while he was being taken. She later tells Seonghwa the story of how her emotions were awakened by watching the Grimes siblings singing in the street and that her ultimate goal was to get close to Z so she could take him down from within. The last time we see her (so far) she has accomplished that goal and has graduated and been hired by Z himself.


Sense Offenders

Citizens of Strictland who have regained their emotions are known as sense offenders. Some are taken to the Andriod Guardian's Bunker for reeducation but most, if caught, are killed. Some choose to become a part of the Black Pirates and fight for the resistance.


The What:

The Cromer

The Cromer is a device shaped like an hourglass that allows its user to travel through time and space. Per Tiny Bug Ink’s hypothesis, it is acting like a Möbius Strip!

The Cromer uses the phases of the moon to work. When there is a full moon, the user can use the cromer to travel. When there is a crescent moon, the user can use the Cromer to communicate across time through dreams. The Cromer also has other uses that, I don't think, rely on the moon at all. Using quantum energy, it can be used to move from one place to another in an instant within the same world (teleport), this is called the Cromer's "spatial movement ability". The Cromer emits a flash of light and the user and anyone they are touching can disappear and re-materialize in the location they desire including in midair. Ateez often uses this feature to escape the Android Guardians and also to travel between sectors of Strictland. One thing that is unclear about the Cromer is that there are instances when people are not touching it and it is used, with the moon power, to transport people across worlds. So maybe you have to have contact with the Cromer to use its spatial movement ability but you don't need to have contact with it to use its abilities powered by the moon.

The Cromer was originally stolen from the National Museum of Korea and used by Ateez as they turned into Halateez. It was then given back to Hongjoong by Halajoong in the Diary Film.


The Prism/Dichroic Cube/Tesseract

Ateez hasn’t told us anything about this item, so we cannot be 100% certain about its purpose and use, however, Hongjoong did say that the Cromer is not the only ancient artifact in their lore during Professor Hongjoong’s Ateez Storyline Special Lecture. We know that the Cromer has a big connection to dreams, so with the prism/dichroic cube/tesseract first appearing next to the Cromer in a song about an illusion, and with it being a prominent role in Dreamers, we could conclude it also has a connection to dreams. I have hypothesized that the cube is telling us where to insert the Japanese releases into the Korean storyline and that the Japanese releases are the inner monologues of Ateez during those times. I think it helps to control the uses of the Cromer so if the Cromer is the vehicle that helps Ateez travel and speak through dreams, the prism/ dichroic cube/tesseract is the navigational system.


Butterflies

Seen in Answer and Déjà Vu, we don't discover their true nature until the Will Diaries. These butterflies are not living creatures, but an animatronic and at the end of their bodies were cameras. Yeosang used them to scout out the Android Guardian's Bunker/Disposal Site before Ateez entered it to save the boy. They were also used as bombs to blow up the Site after Ateez escaped.


Horn/Megaphone/Ham Radio/Speakers

Ateez uses horns, megaphones, a ham radio, and speakers as imagery for spreading their message, communicate with the Black Pirates (they sent the Black Pirates a message through Morse Code on a ham radio when they returned to World Z to save Yeosang), and to show us the old and new world connection of things (e.g., horn for megaphone).


Mirrors

Mirrors are forbidden in World Z/Strictland because they allow someone to look at themselves which could spark introspection and emotions.


Pirate Paraphernalia

As Ateez's original concept was pirates, but we now know that is being used in a broader sense to describe all groups who are against the status quo whether that be in the storyline (e.g., pirates, outlaws, anarchists) or in their lives (e.g., a group from a small company trying to change the music business), we get a lot of pirate paraphernalia in their music videos, especially in the Treasure Series. These are not meant to be taken literally but more as nods to their underlining theme.


Bluebird

We first get references to a bluebird in Halazia from the lyrics about a bluebird who has lost his voice but those whispers will overcome the world (I am paraphrasing here). We then see it in the cookie of Halazia, the trailer for World: Outlaw, the cookie of Crazy Form and in The World: Will Outro. So what is the meaning of this bluebird? Some people think it may be representing the Grimes girl since she lost her voice to the Android Guardians and Ateez had to get it back for her, others think it is representing the sense offenders since they wore blue robes in Halazia and Ateez was wearing blue robes in The World Trailers. I think it stands for their message in general. Something that starts small, then loses its voice when Halateez and Yeosang get captured, but starts to gain traction again when Ateez start to work with the Black Pirates and eventually will overcome the world now that they have woken up so many people and the Thunder Leader is entrenched in the government next to Z.


That's about it for now. Please let me know if there is anything I missed that you would like an explanation for.

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Helena Godoy
Helena Godoy
May 06

Hii Paisley! I hope you don't mind, but I made a YouTube playlist with Lore's MVs based on your explanation. 😊💜 I also bookmarked the explanation link there! If you want, here is the playlist link https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFct-vCwQSZhYtmgLBksUErXJ-GRBdFWj&si=AdmxHGeZ4I6fG19s 💜

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Paisley1117
Paisley1117
May 06
Replying to

Cool!! Thanks for sharing!!

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