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The World Ep: Paradigm


For a full recap of the Fever Series, Treasure Series, and The World ep. 1: Movement, please refer to Ateez Storyline: Updated December 2022.

Getting Real

To be honest, I have been dragging my feet on adding Japanese comebacks into my lore theories, like A LOT. At first, I honestly thought they weren’t cannon (if you will), but then one of my favorite Twitter friends and fellow loretiny started sending me DMs about the cube in Dreamers in August and asking me questions about it. I put her off for a bit, but she was persistent. I offered to let her write a blog post all about her thoughts on the cube and the Japanese comebacks, but she declined. So I left it alone and moved on to other things, happy in my blissful semi-ignorance that the Korean albums are related to the lore and the Japanese ones are just great songs and music videos in their own right. Then we got The World Ep: Paradigm.

There is no denying it. Just the album art screams lore. So here I am, officially trying to figure out what the Japanese comebacks are telling us and where they fit in the scheme of things. And of course I was sent this today:

Ok, ok! I took some time off to update the storyline but I really am going to start working on the Japanese connection right now. Carey, this one’s for you!

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

There have been a total of five Japanese music video releases:

  1. Utopia, November 11, 2019

  2. Answer, February 12, 2020

  3. Dreamers, July 11, 2021

  4. Rocky (Boxers Version), May 17, 2022

  5. Paradigm, November 30, 2022

Are the dates important? Probably not, but I need to know where to put them in relation to the Korean music video releases so I am adding them here for my reference.

Utopia was originally on the Treasure Ep. 3: One to All album which brought us the Illusion and Wave music videos. However the Utopia Japanese music video release was after Wonderland was released. So where does it fit in the storyline? I think the answer to that question is in Carey’s prism. Since I have the advantage of hindsight, I can talk about this little glass cube with a little bit more knowledge than the people who got a short glimpse of it when it first appeared.

The Prism

We first see the prism in Illusion, released June 10, 2019. It is on a stand on the table in the meeting room of their ship next to an hourglass.

Then in Thanxx, released August 23, 2020, it appears as a ring on Mingi’s finger in the Moroccan scene.

It is prominently featured in the Dreamers music video, released July 11, 2021.

And we most recently see a version of it in the cover art of Paradigm.

So what is the prism and what is its purpose? That is the main question of the Japanese releases. @Riezukidoong1 wrote a post about the prism on Twitter that Carey shared with me. She calls the prism a dichroic cube and explains her color theory based on it and how she believes the cube helps to control dreams. Here is the full tread for your reference.

@forky__8 also connected the prism to Déjà Vu.

At this point, Ateez hasn’t told us anything about the prism so we cannot be 100% certain about its purpose and use. I hope one day they do, but until then, we will have to guess. We know that the cromer has a big connection to dreams so with the prism 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. @Riezukidoong1 believes the cube helps to control your dreams so you can determine what you are going to dream about (e.g., Hongjoong having all positive dreams in Dreamers).

My Theory

I would also like to hypothesize that the cube is telling us where to insert the Japanese releases into the Korean storyline. This may be completely wrong, but so far, the prism is the only thing that has been featured in both Korean and Japanese music video releases. In my hypothesis, the prism is placing Utopia, the first Japanese release from November 2019, into the storyline of Illusion which was released that previous June.

Utopia is then the dream they are having during Illusion. It is the place they have been searching for, just out of reach. It is their dream that they will keep running towards every day and every night.

Also, if you look at the imagery of Utopia, you see them dancing on a square plane with a square light above them. The colors in the video are various shades of blue and red or black and white which all align to the dichroic cube colors @Riezukidoong1 spoke about. They are literally showing us the inside of the prism.

I would like to add an aside about the dichroic cube colors @Riezukidoong1 labeled. I am not 100% sure I agree with the red = Halateez, green = Teenteez, and blue = pirates @Riezukidoong1 shared. I don’t think pirates are a separate entity to Halateez so I am just going to add some color theory here for you.

We then get to Answer, which obviously aligns to the Korean release of Answer. This music video is very similar to the Korean version. In fact, someone was nice enough to put them side by side for your reference so you can see the minor differences.

The main differences I see are related to the group dancing scenes and the Yunho scenes. The Japanese music video relies more heavily on the shots of the group dancing in the open space with the fabric overhead while the Korean music video splits those scenes with the scenes in the mansion space. The Japanese music video also references mirrors more in the Yunho scenes. This could be a budgeting issue, since they obviously had to shoot both Korean and Japanese versions at the same time and they probably didn’t have as much time in the mansion space as they did in the open space to do everything in both languages, but it also means the Japanese music video has more red and blue features and includes more refections than the Korean one which aligns with the cube.

We then reach Dreamers, which would be inserted into the Inception/Thanxx era through Mingi’s ring. If @Riezukidoong1 is correct and Hongjoong can really use the cube to control his dreams so he only accesses good memories and that he used the cube to travel into Mingi’s nightmare in Inception, maybe Dreamers is portraying that journey into Mingi’s nightmare to show him good memories. We know Inception and Thanxx were at the point in the storyline where the boys were separated after the Diary Film and then brought back together using the cromer. Maybe the cube was also used, specifically with Mingi. He did have further to go than the rest of the boys since he was part of what split them up to begin with.

"No matter the pain that we feel, we gain, the promise with you. I want to protect; no matter what. Let's go beyond. We never get lost because we'll run through together. The path is straight, ride with you. Never wake, never end, never give up our dreams. Fulfill them and keep going 'cause we're dreamers. As long as you're by my side we'll make all dreams come true."

I am definitely getting, "we need to stick together" vibes from these lyrics. They brought in some Wave imagery which was all about not worrying because they would get through anything together. And, of course, red and blue are the main colors of the paint scenes.

This brings us to Rocky, which could be connected through @forky__8’s connection of the prism to Déjà Vu. Rocky’s original version was released in the same album as Déjà Vu, Zero: Fever Part 3 so it would stand to reason, it would fit back with Déjà Vu in the storyline.

They need another hype song to send them into the Android Guardian’s bunker because that’s a scary place to go.

"Extreme fighting spirit and great adrenaline. Rival, that kind of thing, I don't care bleh. I'll show you everything. It ain't over, never die. I can't move and fall my body. Dance, roll our toes more. We're never gonna give up."

And note the red, blue, black, and white color scheme. They are also in a warehouse. Their safe place in the Diary Film and where they hyped themselves up in HALA HALA.

And now we are finally back to Paradigm. "In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitute legitimate contributions to a field." - Wikipedia

Paradigm obviously connects to Guerrilla both in the timeline and in imagery through its graphic novel textures.

It also continues the Japanese release color theory of black and white, and shades of red and blue. This most closely connects to Utopia but we have found these colors in all of the Japanese releases at this point.

We also get imagery from other music videos as well including: a long vertical camera move reminiscent of the beginning of Déjà Vu, fire and hanging nets like in Fireworks (I’m the One), lightning like in The Real and Déjà Vu, and a "The Real" punch between Wooyoung and Yoesang. And let’s not forget this first seen in Say My Name:

Which Tiny Bug Ink says is Ateez’s way of showing us that having one eye open and one eye closed allows them to see into both worlds simultaneously.

Déjà Vu, Fireworks, The Real, Say My Name, and Guerilla all have a sense of espionage to them that continues into Paradigm.

We also get these amazing wordsmith lines from Mingi:

And that leaves us with Wooyoung.

As his voice changes near the end of the song, he is shown with different colored eyes. This phenomenon is called Heterochromia and it shows in in folklore in different ways:

  1. Eastern European pagans thought they were witch eyes

  2. Native American cultures believed they were ghost eyes that granted a person the ability to see into heaven and earth

  3. Others believe that people with two different colored eyes have spiritual powers and that they can see into the future and know what will happen to others.

They then add extra filters on top of Woo’s face:

Anyone else afraid they are about to kill off Woo? I CAN’T with these FILTERS!!

No matter what they do to Woo, we see through his eyes that we are once again getting a glimpse into two different times. Leading to my final theory of the Japanese releases. I believe the Japanese releases are the inner monologues of Ateez during the times the prism/dichroic cube places them in the storyline. We get their dreams of Utopia while they are going through their Illusion, their celebration during Answer, their longing for reunion and dream fulfillment through Dreamers in the Inception/Thanxx era, them hyping themselves up with Rocky before infiltrating the Android Guardian’s bunker in Déjà Vu, and their longing to be a new example through Paradigm in the Guerrilla era.

That’s it. Carey, I hope I made you proud!

I will see y’all again with Spin-Off: From the Witness.

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carey velazquez
carey velazquez
Dec 29, 2022

Quite proud sis!! Quite proud. I love this so much. It makes a lot of good sense. Instead of being the breaker it is a tool to use with the Cromer. Or the possible “other relic” HongJoong mentioned in his lore shorts. I feel iffy with Dreamers/Thanxx. Not sure why. I’m sure you can help me understand better.

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