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Limitless

Updated: Jan 19

Limitless OST

To be honest, I was wary of this music video coming out. I didn’t know what to make of an Original Soundtrack (OST) Ateez recorded for a Japanese anime turning into an Ateez single; especially since it wasn’t produced by Edenary. Then my friend sent me a clip of the song used as the OST and I was underwhelmed. I think my exact words were, “It’s too empty. The sound needs to be fuller. I hope they remastered it and made the end so good we will forgive them for the beginning.” So yeah, I was going in less excited than I normally am. I will also say the quality of the OST she sent was less than ideal. They may have also been a reason why it felt so empty. I don't know. But then we got the final teaser and this:

Wait, what? A Treasure series Ateez flag and logo? And the flag is BLUE?? Now I was intrigued.


Flags

So let’s start with the flags. We see both the logo and the white version of this flag all the way back in Ateez's debut songs, Pirate King and Treasure, well in their prologue really, and then again in Wonderland. We see the red version of the flag in HALA HALA and Say My Name. Now we have blue.

Other than using these specific flag and logo designs to signal that Limitless belongs in the Treasure Series timeline, it gives us an opportunity to dive into the meaning of flag colors. In my last Japanese post, The World Ep: Paradigm, I talk about color theory using red, blue, black, and white since those are the most commonly used colors in Ateez’s Japanese releases. That idea remains true with Limitless, but flag colors have even more specific meanings. Here you have the flag color meanings for the three base colors (white, red, and blue) and line color (black) of the Treasure Series Ateez flags.

If I were to pick out flag color meanings related to Ateez in this era they would be:

  • White: a bright future, freedom, clarity, unity, and dignity

  • Red: courage/bravery, the struggle for freedom, brotherhood, and revolution

  • Blue: loyalty, vigilance, freedom, and justice

  • Black: determination, overcoming the darkness of past times, resistance, revolution, and victory over enemies


Lines

Something that was pointed out to me by my friend before I could even watch the trailer was the marks behind the Ateez member’s ears, so I knew to look out for those when I watched the music video. As you can tell when they are all lined up together in this “Ateez order”, these marks combine to create the cover of the Limitless album.

Which meant, of course, I needed to research line meanings. As I told my Trench Sisters, "You want us to pay attention? Tattoo it on Ateez. We will take notice." So, I spent a couple of days diving into the meaning of lines in art. The things we do for Ateez. As I see it in the album art, we get two types of lines and one overall image.

  • Vertical Lines: These lines are straight up and down lines that are moving in space without any slant. They suggest height and strength because they extend towards the sky and seem unshakeable. Vertical lines represent poise, majesty and dignity. They can also symbolize strength, vitality, and growth; and in a more philosophical sense, symbolize hope and cheerfulness. Their direction also coincides with the direction of gravity; which implies speed and motion. A series of vertical lines (which is what we have here) implies a barrier, but also power and strength. So overall, these lines are meant to represent Ateez’s power and strength (which tracks with the fact that we are about to watch them workout for 1 minute and 12 seconds) but also their hope.

  • Diagonal Lines: These lines convey a feeling of movement. They are the most dynamic lines, implying direction and motion. This is a result of their unstable position in relation to gravity and most of the lines in our environment. Because they are neither vertical nor horizontal, they are either about to fall or are already in motion. We associate diagonal lines with action. In relation to Ateez, this sharp diagonal line built by the tattoos behind the member’s ears symbolizes the action they are about to take. They are moving towards their goal.

  • The Overall Image: If you take a step back and look at the image as a whole, the universal symbol for “play” will appear. Take a look at any remote in your home or on your computer keyboard, or look at the logo for YouTube. You will see what I am talking about. We press “play” when we want to start something, whether that be a movie, song, etc. Ateez is pressing “play” with this song.


Three Stages

Limitless takes place in three stages. The gym, the what I like to call, “posh gentlemen’s sports” arena, and the tri-level podium where they are dressed in their military best. All of my friends would tell you that I’m not a sports person. I don’t follow any professional or college sports teams. I knew the name LeBron James but could not pick him out of a line up until my friend tutored me right before he broke his record (for something basketbally). But something happens to me every two years when the Olympics take place. It takes over my life and I can spend hours watching gymnastics, bobsledding, rowing, curling, etc. That is what I see when I watch Limitless.

Here we have a team of boys who are working out to get their minds and bodies prepared for the most important sporting event of their lives. One that has the weight of their nation on their shoulders. I mean Olympic medalists from South Korea can be exempt from their military service. That is how much weight is placed on this event. So as someone who admittedly is not an elite athlete, I Googled what characteristics these people have that make them thrive: supreme concentration, commitment to excellence, desire and motivation, goal setting, positive mind-state and optimism, and confidence and self-belief. One could argue that these same characteristics are needed to become idols or, in the case of Ateez lore, a band of anarchists who are trying to save civilization from their current trapped existence.


The music video then moves into the arena where the members are competing in archery and fencing. At first we see them competing against each other but then that morphs into what is really happening which is them battling themselves.

If you look back at my Ateez Storyline: Updated December 2022 post, you will see that since the Treasure Series doesn’t have any diaries, I am still salty about that by the way, I had to do a lot of guess work and came up with two different options for what was going on. One of those options was the idea that Ateez didn’t actually jump right into being Halateez after saving Yeosang. They needed a little time to come to terms with what was being asked of them and spent several songs doing just that. I hypothesized that by Wonderland, they had finally decided to step into the arena and join the fight. They probably had to battle a lot of demons and self-doubt in order to make that courageous decision. Even the best athlete/idol could train every day yet still suffer stage fright and need to battle themselves to overcome it.


Thankfully that is exactly what Ateez does and they come out victorious in the end. They are standing on their podium as winners but more importantly, as the new leaders of the resistance.

I posited in regards to the Japanese releases, they are not meant to further the storyline but to add more context to what we already know. I think this is what is happening with Limitless. We are seeing it overarching the majority of the Treasure Series storyline leading us to where Ateez were in Wonderland, which is the only other time Ateez wore military outfits befitting their new role in the resistance. You can especially see this if you take the lyrics of Limitless into account.

"If you’ve opened your eyes, an epiphany. That’s right, that move is bravery. Because you cannot come to a standstill. If you’ve made your decision. All you have to do next is follow your heart."

“Open your eyes” is what is said in Crescent between Illusion and Wave when Ateez is waking up from their illusion.

"A duel you can’t escape from. Real vibe real life…Find your true self now…We gonna be a winner. That’s right, we are fighters. We gonna be a winner. This possibility is limitless."

They are fully conscious again/have overcome the fear they were facing. They are not going to worry ("Hakuna Matata"/Wave) about what lies ahead because they are going to get through it together.

"No one can stop us. We’ve broken through our limits…With this card, we’ll win…Tear apart the darkness. This possibility is limitless."

They are going to break through their limits ("Break the Wall"/Wonderland) to win against the darkness of Strictland's government.


Limitless Music Video

I leave you with the music video. Please enjoy what started as an OST for a children's anime but ended up being a representation of Ateez's decision to fully become the face of the Black Pirates in Strictland.

Oh and in case y'all were wondering...Limitless did not disappoint as a song. The falsettos, San's random but oh so impactful a cappella moment, Jongho's ad libs (as always)! Kudos Ateez for changing my mind and making a believer out of me. Limitless is a winner!!

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Jerimy Walker
Jerimy Walker
May 02, 2023

The soundtrack came out really cool, I listened to this song for a couple of weeks on repeat. I even want to create a cut of this movie for this track to do, I have already dug out the best series, although they are a little different from the format that my editor needs, but this is not really a problem since there is a cool program https://www.movavi.com/support/how-to/how-to-convert-webm-to-mp4.html

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