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Ateez Storyline: Updated December 2022

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Fever Series, Treasure Series, and The World Ep. 1: Movement

First of all, isn't this image STUNNING! It was made by 5H4DOWF4X on DeviantArt and it is giving me LIFE! Ok, sorry, now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The World Ep. 1: Movement really threw me for a loop and made me rethink my entire theory for Ateez's storyline. I had planned on updating my post after the comeback finished but instead went into some post comeback hole that caused me to put a pause on things. After KCON LA and seeing them in DFW as part of their world tour, I am now ready to dive back into the lore. The latest Japanese comeback didn't hurt the matter either. I plan to write a post on that as well but feel like I need to update the storyline first, so stay tuned for The World Ep: Paradigm coming later.

Möbius Strip

Before we get into the storyline proper, 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 at 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 (Universes A and Z) that are wholly separate from each other with the Halateez doppelgängers as citizens of the dystopian dimension, Universe 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/Universe A and Halateez living in the new world/the future/Universe Z. She states, “The reason why it looks like there are two Ateezs 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.”

After a good night’s sleep, 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, I will be putting my storyline on the Möbius Strip. Since this is not linear, I will do my best to explain everything but feel free to reach out and ask questions if what I say makes no sense at all.

The Universe and The Cromer

Since I have to tell this in a nonlinear way, you need to be aware of Universe A and Z and what allows Ateez to travel between them, the Cromer. Universe A is the old world/past in this storyline and is similar to the type of world we know ourselves. Universe 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 and people enjoyed material affluence.

A resistance group against the 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. The central government wants to stop the Black Pirates so they are constantly on the hunt for them, but with the use of a device shaped like an hourglass that allows them to travel through time and space, the Cromer, they are able to teleport and avoid arrest. In order to counteract the effects of the Cromer, the central government created a new giant artificial intelligence, the Android Guardians, who were able to capture the figureheads of the Black Pirates and imprison them.

The Cromer, in Tiny Bug Ink’s hypothesis, is acting like a Möbius Strip! It is the shape of the strip and also is what allows the user to travel back and forth through time. 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.

Fever Series

We start in the past (Universe A) (see Diary Film), Ateez befriended each other in high school and used an abandoned warehouse as a hideout, of sorts, to hang out, sing, dance, etc. Wooyoung found the warehouse first and showed it to the friends he met while watching street dancers (Hongjoong, Seonghwa, and Yunho). Hongjoong dreamed of being famous to bring his family back together, Seonghwa was ruled by lists and to dos and saw dancing as a way to be free, and Yunho saw music/dancing as a way to honor his brother who recently died. They all spent time dancing in the warehouse together and each helped Wooyoung with his stage fright. San, a lonely boy who constantly had to move around, befriended them and joined them in the warehouse as well as Jongho who, after a basketball injury, discovered his love of music through the group. Wooyoung also was the one who brought Mingi to the group as he had forged a friendship with Mingi throughout the years even though Mingi often cut himself off from others through listening to music since he was often bullied for being poor. Yeosang was the last to join the group, as he went to a different school and was highly controlled by his father, but he too found joy and freedom with the group.

However, the group did not stay together and happy for long. San had to move again, Mingi, fearing his grandmother’s health, pushed the others away saying their time together was meaningless, which made Jongho mad enough to punch him because this group had given him new life and he couldn’t understand why Mingi would say something like that. Yeosang’s father found out about the warehouse, and since he owns it, he closed it for good and forced Yeosang to stop hanging out with the group. Hongjoong snuck in and was sitting alone when he was contacted by his future self, who I will be referring to as Halajoong, in a dream.

While imprisoned in the future (Universe Z), Halajoong, the leader of the figureheads of the Black Pirates (who I will be referring to as Halateez) was able to keep the Cromer and use it to travel to Hongjoong in the warehouse. He gave the Cromer to Hongjoong telling him, “Follow your heart. The map is there.” Hongjoong turned the Cromer and the sand started flowing backwards. When that happened, all of the members returned to the warehouse with confused expressions on their faces.

We learn from Ateez Fever Road how each of the members ended up back in the warehouse. Yeosang decided to defy his father, broke his violin, and returned. Yunho decided to deal with his grief in order to follow their dream, he then saved Jongho who was about to take his life because, after losing basketball and then their group falling apart, he didn’t think he had anything left to live for. Seonghwa decided not to let the lists control him again [I guess he had gone back to his old ways after they broke up.] Jongho, with a new lease on life, saved Mingi from people who were chasing after him and they reconciled. The boys then went and found Wooyoung and brought him back, and San decided not to move with his family after all and returned. I think Hongjoong turning the Cromer somehow “delivered messages to the members through dreams” of his longing for them to be together again (see Inception)

which allowed them to break free from the adult control in their lives (see Thanxx)

and allow them all return to the warehouse through the aforementioned actions.

Once they did return, the Cromer sent them to Strictland where the Android Guardians attacked them to steal the Cromer back. Hongjoong distracted them and they were able to escape. The Android Guardians followed them and captured Wooyoung by his ankle while they were running away. He was able to get away but they lost the Cromer in the process. He was healed by a little girl who took him and the rest of Ateez to her cave home where her brother explained what Strictland and the Black Pirates were. The Grimes siblings were part of the Black Pirates and the girl had lost her voice to the Android Guardians. They asked Ateez to help them retrieve it so the group decided to split up to both look for the Grimes girl’s voice and find Left Eye, the only person the Grimes siblings knew who had knowledge of where the Android Guardian’s bunker was, which was where they were holding Halateez captive (see Fireworks).

Group 1 went to find the Grimes girl’s voice, a shining blue bead inside thick yellow smoke. They sent Jongho into the smoke to collect the bead but inhaled it and started to hallucinate (see Eternal Sunshine).

He walked towards a cliff, thinking he was playing basketball and feeling a sense of déjà vu, and almost fell off before he was saved by Yeosang by giving him a gas mask. Yeosang told Jongho the Grimes girl reclaimed her voice and they left the yellow smoke to meet up with the others.

[I actually think that the ending scene with Wooyoung and San might be a representation of being saved from the illusion the yellow smoke causes but I'm not 100% sure.]

Group 2 went to find Left Eye in the junkyard in order to ask him where the Android Guardian’s bunker is (see Déjà Vu).

He tells them it is an old museum on an island so they go off to break into the museum in order to save Halateez and get the Cromer back. Hongjoong meets Halajoong for the first time in real life and Halajoong tells Hongjoong that he called him there to continue their work and change their world. Halajoong asked Hongjoong to put his hand against the glass wall and he transferred his uniform to Hongjoong and the rest of Ateez. They now looked like Halateez.

They were told to run before the smoke receded and the Android Guardians could see them again. As they ran away, San saw Android Guardians drunk on the smoke from people’s memories they were burning to create energy. They also noticed that Yeosang wasn’t there. Once they got to the lobby, Yeosang caught up with them again with the Cromer in hand. He threw it to Seonghwa just as an Android Guardian captured him and threatened to kill him if they did not return the Cromer. Hongjoong took the Cromer and threw it back to the Android Guardian but Yeosang caught it first, turned it in order to send Ateez back to the past/Universe A, and smashed it.

Ateez realized they were back in Universe A without Yeosang and knew he had been captured by the Android Guardians. They were depressed because they thought he might be dead but then Yeosang’s drone appeared to the members cluing them in to the fact that he was still alive and able to contact them somehow by sending his drone (see Turbulence).

Giving them renewed hope to keep fighting and to find a way to save him.

Interestingly enough, they boys actually returned to further in the past than they left from, to a time before Yunho’s brother died in the car accident. After a week in the past of Universe A, Seonghwa saw an article about people trying to steal a Mayan artifact that looked like the Cromer Yeosang destroyed. Ateez decided the only way to get back to Universe Z/Strictland to save Yeosang was to steal the artifact themselves but Yunho decided to stay back in order to be with his brother. While they were trying to get the artifact, Wooyoung got taken hostage [again, gah!] by the leader of the religious group, Sciensalver, who was originally trying to steal the artifact. Yunho and his biker friends appeared and helped distract the members of Sciensalver and Wooyoung was able to grab the artifact and escape. During that event, Yunho’s brother was again hit by a car, driven by the leader of Sciensalver, Henry Jo, at the exact same time he was originally hit, 5:07. He told Yunho that neither of the times he was hit by a car were his fault and that he needed to live his life without regretting the past.

Here is where we get a little bit more Möbius Stripy, the artifact Ateez stole from the museum and saved from Henry Jo and Scienceslaver in Universe A WAS the Cromer Halateez was using in Universe Z/Strictland! Older Halajoong gave the Cromer Ateez stole from the museum in Universe A back to his younger self in the Diary Film, but in this part of their storyline, Ateez used the Cromer, in essence for the first time, to return to Strictland in order to save Yeosang (see The Real).

Back in Strictland, Yeosang was imprisoned like Halateez, in a glass case. He was forced to look at a line of resistance fighters who had their biological energy stolen from them by the Android Guardians, including the Grimes siblings.

He was in so much pain that he wished he could lose his emotions but knew that was not the right way to think. He then heard the sound of a trumpet and the Android Guardians ran out towards the sound and started to fight a group of men in black fedoras (see Say My Name).

[How much do you want to bet that these black robed people are the line of resistance fighters who had their biological energy stolen from them.] Anyways, while they were gone, one of the men came to save Yeosang.

He removed his mask and revealed himself to be Seonghwa. He then helped Yeosang escape from his glass prison.

Meanwhile, in the underground hideout of the Black Pirates, a morse code message was received and translated by Left Eye saying, “SAY MY NAME, ATEEZ” informing the Black Pirates that Ateez was back. [This ends the Fever Series and explains how it fits with the Treasure Series through Say My Name.]

Treasure Series

The Treasure Series is harder to pin down since there aren’t diaries to help us figure out what is really going on. Hongjoong has since confirmed that the Fever Series is the prequel to the Treasure Series and that the World Series is the sequel to the Treasure Series so at least we know where it fits in the timeline. If we also know the general plot points of the World Series, we can try to fill the holes between the Fever Series and the World Series in the Treasure Series. When I originally wrote my theory for the storyline, I said I would be doing a lot of guessing. I will be guessing again with this new hypothesis I am adopting from Tiny Bug Ink.

We are going to start with the ending sequence of Say My Name.

We know that Say My Name is all about saving Yeosang from the museum bunker of the Android Guardians, but the other major plot point we see is the changing of Ateez to Halateez in the ending sequence. Originally we thought this meant they were two sides of the same person like Jekyll and Hyde or that they are doppelgängers, but we know now neither of those options are true (well that’s what we think we know). After Halateez transferred their clothes to Ateez, the diaries never talk again about them. What happened to Halateez? I’ve been racking my brain and can’t figure it out. I think they are either still trapped or, now that Ateez is in Strictland, the timelines have converged in some way and they have disappeared? I don’t know. My brain hurts! Maybe Ateez taking the clothes was the point where they take on the mantle of Halateez to continue their work to save Strictland.

The other thing I thought about was the perspective of the boys themselves. If I were a high school boy and I was all of the sudden thrust into an alternate future dystopian dimension where I had to help break the people there out of their brain manipulation, I might not be jumping at that chance right away. I may need some time to really consider that challenge. Or maybe at first I would like it was cool but then when reality set in, I would want to run away from it. Thinking all of the way back to Ateez’s use of stories like Treasure Island and Peter Pan, the Treasure Series may, in fact, be the tale of them coming to terms with being Halateez. Additionally, Hongjoong said that the Treasure Series takes place in Universe A and not Z so it would give more credibility to this series being about Ateez finding their way to becoming Halateez and not jumping right into it. Just a thought.

If we use the song order of Ateez albums to know how to organize music videos [like with Thanxx/Inception and Eternal Sunshine/Déjà Vu] then HALA HALA actually comes before Say My Name in the rotation. I am going to opportate under the assumption that this is true. HALA HALA takes place in a warehouse very similar to the hideout Ateez uses in the Diary Film and we know they arrived in a warehouse when they originally got to Strictland. Let’s assume this warehouse is also where they arrived when they came back to Strictland to save Yeosang. Hongjoong has a lyric that says:

"Our starting point is still there."

If so, dawning the Halateez outfits and putting on masks is their way of preparing to go into the Android Guardian’s bunker on their Yeosang rescue mission. [Also notice that when they put on their masks, they are in plain clothes and then during the dance we see them in full Halateez garb.]

Their dance is a way to hype themselves up for the battle they know they are about to face. Additional things I noted was the part of the song/dance where Yeosang is featured:

He sings:

"Raise me up, take me up, everyday a bit more. Raise me up, take me up to that far away."

He is asking them to save him!! We also have two types of communication devices used in this song by Hongjoong and Mingi. The air horn (the future version of the bugle in Say My Name) and we know Yeosang hears a horn when he is rescued. And the ham radio (which was used to send the morse code message that Ateez was back in the diary entries).

Also some of Mingi’s lyrics now make sense in a different kind of way.

“I feel like that beat bopping, pop. Will change. Just like the gods. Changing those words around. Yes changing that value. God putting me in this scene. Just like an assassin.”

Maybe this is about how they are about to enter the fight to change Strictland. We end the song with Wooyoung as the only one left standing. [Could this be a reference to the part he plays in getting the Cromer at the museum in Universe A?]

So if HALA HALA is them getting ready to save Yeosang, and Say My Name is them saving Yeosang, then maybe Pirate King is about being asked to join the Black Pirates and looking for others to join them. Their knee jerk reaction was probably, “Sure!” because who doesn’t want to be an anarchist? Here is part of the chorus that is saying that:

“Raise the anchor, put away your dark hearts. Wherever it is, we can go. We can be whatever we want, just follow us. Raise your hands up high. You and me, under these burning lights, to the bright place. Step 1,2,3 and 1,2,3 Let’s go. Will you be my friend?”

[Also, look how the song starts! Yeosang is captured and then freed!! MIND BLOWN!! This was their debut, y'all!! They were laying the groundwork of their storyline from the jump!

After Ateez gather together to start their mission of changing Strictland by inspiring the Black Pirates and others to keep dancing and singing, they start searching for their "Treasure” which I think is to have others enjoy their music, both in real life as Ateez the group and in Strictland since true enjoyment of music comes from emotions. When people can enjoy their music, that means they have access to their emotions again and are free from the chains the central government has placed on them.

“I won’t stop, rush. I’ll turn the world upside down. To a place no one can find. My treasure. Let’s leave to a far place. It calls to us, that treasure. Hurry, let’s leave, let’s go find it. Oh every day, every night”
“It’s beckoning to you, that treasure. Everyone’s chasing after pleasure. Going more and more blind, crazy”

Could these lyrics be referencing the great material affluence the people of Strictland enjoyed by sacrificing their emotions (going more and more blind after chasing after their pleasure)? They also use the yellow smoke to cause hallucinations which allows them to chase after pleasure. I don’t know, just a thought.

I think reality hit them pretty quickly though and one of two things happened. They either were still in Strictland and fell victim to the yellow smoke again which caused them to fall into an illusion or they realized how hard the task set before them really is and started to think about how nice it would be to be a kid again (in this second option they probably went back to Universe A to run away). Anarchy is cool but it’s also pretty hard.

They either think they are searching for their treasure but they are really just living in an illusion, or they would rather be in an illusion than face the hard truths of their challenge.

Either way Yeosang was the key to breaking them out of the illusion. Since he was in Strictland for a longer time right next to the Android Guardian burning people’s memories, he might have started to develop some resistance to the illusion since it looks like he is trying to wake up here. It could also be that he knows the weight of what they are being asked to do because he lived through it, and he doesn’t want others to fall victim to the Android Guardians so he is the one who will wake them up. You also see that the other two people who have ways to look off of the ship, Seonghwa and Jongho, are looking towards the ship or towards the sky. Yeosang is the only one looking out. Interesting!

Illusion is related to Peter Pan where they want to stay kids forever and not have adult responsibilities where they “party all night long”. This is also the first time we see the crescent moon featured and we know you can communicate using the Cromer during a crescent moon. “Let me free” is heard in the background of this song so the Cromer might be being used to enter into the illusion and remind Ateez of the stakes.

At the end of the video, Ateez starts to run towards Halateez and that leads them to begin to “Open their eyes”.

At the beginning of Wave we see Ateez waking up from being asleep, which leads us to believe that they have come out of their illusion. However, I feel like they are kind of groggy, based on lyrics like these:

“Think, think, think. We’ve already overcome so much. Remember, remember, remember. Time keeps passing”


“Let’s take a trip to the sea. Throw it all away, drink. Enjoy this moment. I know y’all feelin’ me. Go into the waves. Mindlessly, click. Are you ready to find it? The light under the sun”

At this point, I think they are fully conscious again/have overcome the fear they were facing. Hakuna Matata has taken on a new meaning. They are not going to worry about what lies ahead because they are going to get through it together.

But then, at the end of the song, these lyrics appear:

“Where you are. I’ll be there. Hold my hand, hold my hand. We just need each other. The rougher it is, the better. Cuz we’re just gonna play above that. We just going oh. If this moment is our wave (our wave). Don’t be afraid, face it with more strength. Because we’re hotter than anyone else under the sun. Don’t worry (don’t worry). Don’t worry. Jump over that wave”

At this point, I think they are fully conscious again and have overcome the fear they were facing while coming out of the influence of the smoke. Hakuna Matata has taken on a new meaning. They are not going to worry about what lies ahead because they are going to get through it together.

This takes us to Wonderland, their battle hymn. I think this represents either them going back to break Halateez out of the Android Guardians' bunker (if Halateez has not disappeared and are still captured) or this is their hype song now that they have decided to join the fight for real this time. Consider these lyrics:

“Let’s go. Let’s go. To the beginning that the ending is waiting. On my my way. Everyone keeps pace. On my my way Run after counting one, two. On my my way Make the way. Hurry up Hurry up. To the beginning that the ending is waiting.”

They are on their way to the beginning because the ending is waiting. The end that is waiting for them is either Halateez themselves or their fulfillment of the Halateez path.

Also, if they did end up returning to Universe A, this is the time where they decide to go back to Universe Z.

“Breaking the wall, oh oh. The place where someone has to go. Although it’s not easy. We like the reason why.”

They are going back to a difficult situation (either to the bunker where the Android Guardians are or to Strictland where they won’t be kids anymore, they will be the face of the resistance). Take what Hongjoong said about the “Break the Wall” at the end of the North American leg of the Break the Wall Tour. “We all face many walls in our lives whether we see the walls or not. We get distracted by them and have tough days sometimes. Through this tour I wanted to tell you that we should no longer be weak in front of the wall. No matter the race, gender, or nationality. Because we are just strong people all together. So I think some day we can face a new ideal world that we dream of by knocking down the wall we face before us by ourselves or by gathering together. Like the title of this tour we will always break down the walls in front of us so I hope you don’t avoid any wall and gain the confidence to break it through our concert today.” I don’t think I need to expound upon that at all. I will let Hongjoong have his drop the mic moment.

Answer is their celebration song. They have either been successful in freeing Halateez and can now finally “enjoy a delicious meal” together or they have fully become Halateez and they have found peace with themselves. But the final scene with the Android Guardian standing in the destroyed room they were just dining in does not bode well. Something happened.

The World Series

Now that Ateez has entered into the fight as Halateez (this is further supported by Seonghwa calling the black outfits at the end of the Guerrilla music video, “our Halateez outfits”) they have started to work with Left Eye and the Black Pirates. One of their first missions was to perform in the square of Sector 1 and spread flyers with the message “You are valuable by yourself. No one can define you and no one can control you. Being alive is imperfect and it is beautiful to be imperfect. Read poetry, draw pictures, listen to music, dance, and sing. Therein lies your own answer.” [Black Pirates]

They also used breakers that Left Eye developed using failed government chips found in his dump to disable the chips behind people’s ears and break them from the control link of the chips. These breakers could also lead the people to a black link the Black Pirates used if they made the choice to connect to it. This way these people could be saved but only by their choice and the Black Pirates could also be protected from those who would misuse the black link.

The Black Pirates were searching for the location of Z, the leader of Strictland (who I think is Henry Jo of the Scienceslavers. See it all connects! → Möbius Strip!!) but hadn’t found him yet so Ateez’s next mission was to install mirrors and remove the coverings that block the windows of buildings since the government had previously removed all reflective surfaces in order to keep people’s emotions in check.

With the Cromer, Ateez and the Black Pirates moved freely between zones of Strictland to awaken the citizens, but the government continued to work to bring the citizens back under control or transport them to the guardian bunker. So the only way Ateez and the Black Pirates could continue their work was to make as many people aware as they could at one time. They chose Prestige Academy as their first target.

A young boy who had gotten out of the control link during Ateez’s performance found them in the bunker and told them about how he attempted to break his brother out of his control link as well but that he reacted differently to being out of the control loop. He was in pain and blamed the boy. He was scared of him and his brother being discovered and sent to Guardian Island (the place where Yeosang was kept when he was captured) so asked Ateez to help them. They asked the boy what school he attended and he stated, “Prestige Academy.” Which was perfect as they were already planning on infiltrating there!

In Guerrilla we see Ateez hacking into the systems of the central government to spread a message of freedom. Hongjoong and Wooyoung disguise themselves as agents of the central government while Yeosang hacks the system. They spread fliers through the streets and by air but their main goal is to break into the messaging to the students at Prestige Academy and free them. We see that their hack worked on one student who found his way to their Black Pirate bunker at the end of the video. This could be a representation of the diary entries or a continuation with a successful infiltration of Prestige Academy. This is where we will pick up in subsequent comebacks.

A Note About Wooyoung

Just like Yoesang was featured in different music videos throughout the Fever and Treasure Series and then we got an explanation of why that was later, there is something going on with Wooyoung. He is sometimes featured in the music videos without explanation. He is the only one left standing at the end of HALA HALA, he is the one who takes flight in Turbulence, and the end of Eternal Sunshine, him and San have that moment where they are in the air reaching out towards each other. There are also Wooyoung and San moments in the choreography of Déjà Vu and Guerrilla, which may just be for fan service but we know Yeosang had choreography moments with meaning as well. Wooyoung is the only other person (besides Hongjoong) to dawn a mask to infiltrate a part of Strictland that needs a complete disguise. In Paradigm, he has one black eye and one blue eye at the end and there is a “not” symbol that flashes over his face. (I will talk about this more in depth in my Paradigm post). I don’t know what it means but I needed to talk about it because there is something here. Something is going on with Woo!! Hopefully the next comeback provides more answers.

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2 comentários

Lina Marklund
Lina Marklund
06 de mar. de 2023

Will/can you update this with Halazia? And how gravity disappeared in their universe?

16 de mar. de 2023
Respondendo a

Yes I would like to. I think I’m going to wait for their next release (Limitless/Diamond) to be released to see if there is anything lore connected with them and then incorporate the Japanese releases and the Spin Off into my storyline theory all at once.

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