The views presented in this analysis are a part of my own individual interpretation of the video, which means they are subject to error. This post is based off of the Dumb Dumb, Ice Cream Cake, and Automatic videos from SMTown’s official Youtube channel.
“They all look the same”: It’s a phrase that we’re all familiar with as kpop fans. It’s annoying as hell, but I think we’ve all gotten used to hearing it. I’ve heard it a million times about Red Velvet. I’ve seen people criticize SM for making no effort to make any one of the girls stand out beyond their assigned colors. Happiness Era they sported rainbow colored ombre (different colors, but still), during Be Natural they all had black hair, during Ice Cream Cake they all had shades of blonde, and even now with identical red-dipped bangs for certain Dumb Dumb promotions. Their costuming, similarly, is uniform, with slight differences. They’re intentionally made up not to look the same, but similar. The intention, of course, is to communicate that they are a cohesive unit, complementing each other whilst maintaining individual charm. Efforts to evoke this can be seen within their past videos, paralleling Dumb Dumb.
The above screenshot is from Automatic, while the second is, of course, from this video. (They’re both at 33 seconds, he he). In both videos, the girls sit at a table, as if in conference. The Knights of the Round Table come to mind. They come together to share ideas, to make plans. The chess set indicates the discussion of strategy. It shows they are all equal, they are all of one mind.
In Automatic, Ice Cream Cake, and Dumb Dumb all feature the girls in a car together. Irene drives, reflecting her position as leader, but ultimately they’re all in the same car together. Where Irene leads them, they must follow. Their journey is a shared one. They are not only of the same mind, but of the same body.
It seems a little contrary that a girl group that went through such lengths to communicate their unity would produce a video apparently criticizing the uniformity within the idol industry. I will, of course, seek to reconcile these two concepts.
Doll Factory, Idol Factory: In Dumb Dumb, we see our heroines cast as both the dolls and employees of a doll factory. They are both the product and the productive. Their purpose is to create yet they were created–a paradox that points to their careers as idols. As idols, they were “manufactured,” or trained, by a company and presented to the public as artists, meant to create music. The kpop industry has long been criticized for this “manufacturing” of talent, as members of groups are often replaceable. The video indeed criticizes this commercial side of kpop, but Red Velvet is exempt from this criticism. Here we see that when assigned the role of dolls, simple clones, they cannot function as group. If they were truly idol clones as they have been accused, the factory would have continued its productions smoothly. They are not compatible with one another. In fact, when placed within such a system, their mere presence creates a sort of revolution–and not just in relation to the cloning criticism, but in kpop as a whole.
The very first image we see is a table set with five chairs in a room without windows or doors. This room is representative of the kpop industry–inescapable. Even before Red Velvet’s arrival into this room, it was furnished and waiting for them, just as these criticisms of the industry existed before their debut. They are placed within a room, trapped, within this preconceived notion that they adhere to the kpop cliche of mass produced idols.
The inclusion of recording equipment doesn’t fit the doll factory theme. It’s included as a reference to music, as a tip off that this doll factory is actually a metaphor for an idol factory.
These dials are marked with seemingly obscure Latin phrases. However, anyone familiar with publishing, graphic design, or even just Microsoft Office will recognize this as the filler text included in templates in order to avoid distracting from the layout and design. If it’s in Latin, you can’t read it. You’re forced to pay closer attention to layout. This makes for an interesting comparison to the kpop music. Kpop has a global audience, the most of which doesn’t speak Korean. The language isn’t what’s important, it’s the music. In light of all the debate about whether or not the industry has become too commercialized, it’s a reminder of what it’s all really supposed to be about.
They sit at the table, hands in. They wear matching red nail polish. In the center of the table is a chess set with orange and blue pieces. Both the blue and orange sides have one knight and two pawns moved. The chess sets mirror one another. And then the chess pieces begin to float.
The chess pieces, as before mentioned, indicate strategy–something wholly linked with business. And in this kpop business, the pieces all copy one another. Under Red Velvet’s influence, the pieces begin to float. They’re disrupted. They cannot copy one another if they are not even touching the board. In this way, they are shown to revolutionize how idols are conceived. I say that this happens under their influence because of their placement of their hands toward the chess board, as if their collectively power is going toward this goal of disrupting the chess pieces. Think of it like a ouija board. In order for it to move, all participants must place their hands on the piece.
There’s a birdcage positioned between silverware as if the cage itself is the plate, the meal–or rather, what goes inside the cage. The cover of Ice Cream Cake shows each member with a bird perched on their shoulder. They are the birds that would be eaten. This industry is one that would eat them alive.
In the windowless, doorless room, the girls look upward toward the camera above them. This indicates that they’re aware of the system they’re in, that they realize they are trapped, that perhaps the only way out is up. In order to break the preconceptions people have about them, they must succeed.
Here, we see them in glasses with painted-over lenses. I believe this is a play on the idiom ‘rose-colored glasses,’ as these glasses are blue and yellow. ‘Rose-colored glasses’ tends to refer to someone who has an optimistic–too optimistic–view of something, perceiving the situation as better than it really is. In this way, they’re not really seeing the truth of the matter. These colored glasses literally prevent them from seeing what’s in front of them, an inversion of the rose-colored glasses idiom.
Inside the school bus, Red Velvet and their doubles sport pig tails, oversized bows, freckles, and oversized striped shirts. The oversized shirts hide their mature figures, making them look boyish, younger. Here they are made into children. Not only does this childlike concept appeal to the doll theme, but it speaks volumes of how idols are treated: every moment of their life scheduled, driven around by their managers like children in a school bus.
These scenes where the girls dance and pose are references to the performance aspect of their careers.
We see Seulgi leaning on an outdated television. On the screen we see Red Velvet performing. This insinuates that the way they’re viewed is outdated. To try to put them in such a small box would be as logical as using such an old piece of technology in modern day.
She’s wearing a boater hat, which were fashionable in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The other members follow this fashion in other shots of the video. This is as well a reference to outdated modes of fashion. Contrast the old prejudices that have been applied to them to the new reputation they want to build with their success, just as these old costumes are contrasted with the later more modern clothing they wear in the end of the video.
This falling doll is the embodiment of the conception that they are just another set of kpop clones, or dolls. It’s falling, and later we see it break as they shatter this conception.
The inclusion of the rising pressure gauges are a clear allusion to the high pressure they’re under.
On a conveyor belt, we see a purse, a shoe, and tubes of lipgloss. This is a reference to the fashion side of kpop, where they must maintain a flawless appearance. Yeri looks disillusioned with these items before her, tired of the expectation placed on her appearance.
The cassette tapes are another reference to outdated technology, this time musical technology. The tapes have writing on them: French copyright warnings, Canta U Populu Corsu, Renucci, Seru Giran, Barbara, Mozart. Canta U Populu Corsu was a Corsican music group. They spurred a revival in traditional Corsican language songs. Renucci was a French film director. Seru Giran was an Argentine rock group. Barbara was a French opera singer. Mozart was a Viennese composer. Like these artists came to represent their language and culture, Red Velvet will do the same with Korean.
In the first screenshot, the ‘FM’ is most likely a reference to radio. Unlike the cassette tape, radio has remained relevant in the music industry. In the second, we see a more modern stereo system. The technology being presented is progressing toward the enduring, the more advanced. This progression is, of course, spurred by Red Velvet. Even if the way they’re viewed is outdated, they’re still progressing, working to change how they’re viewed.
They’re seen in the car. There’s a nighttime city skyline behind them. It’s a strong contrast from the image of them in the school bus. Here they are presented as mature adults. They drive their own car. Their are no clones. This is a more accurate representation of who they are as artists than the school bus scenes.
Eggs, in the traditional Easter sense, represent rebirth, resurrection, and growth. Even as this egg is shattered by a hammer, there isn’t a baby chick as maybe expected, but bright pink liquid. With each rebirth, or comeback, they will continuously present the unexpected.
Wendy and Yeri read the results presented by this machine. Though they keep moving the paper as if they’re reading the results, they’re not actually looking at the paper. The actual results are irrelevant. Public opinion is irrelevant to them. It takes a back seat to their growth as artists.
The old rotary dial phone, viewed for the second time in this video, is another reference to outdated technology.
The miniature globe in the mannequin hand shows that while some are criticizing them for being “mannequins,” they’re meanwhile spreading their influence throughout the world.
And finally the doll hits the ground, shattering.
Throughout the video, Joy is presented as a sort of lookout. She’s seen looking into the machine where the dolls are produced, looking through the blinds. Here, she wears a worried, shocked expression on her face. She foresees difficulty in what they’re trying to accomplish, and hints at the malfunction of the machine system. The malfunction is made only clearer through the many clones running around the factory.
Irene’s rap references Michael Jackson and his songs. The choreography, with the hand placed over the crotch, is another reference to Michael Jackson. As the “king of pop,” as he was called, he of course influences the careers of all pop artists. It gives the impression that just as Michael Jackson influences them, they’ll one day become such important influences.
In case you didn’t know, people thought that bees were the tiniest birds for, like, 2000 years. This ‘bees are birds’ idea ties into Red Velvet’s representation as birds. Bees were considered by Greeks and Romans to be the birds of the Muses, enabling poets to write great poems and lyrics with their honey. This elevates the level of music Red Velvet is capable of putting out. Bees are also industrious, an entire hive unified with one goal. Their message of unity is also strengthened by the bee analogy.
Like Joy, the other members can foresee difficulty. With the malfunction of the machinery around them, they face hardship.
However, they manage to overcome this difficulty. And when they dance, the machinery dances with them. The factory that produced them now looks to them for guidance.
In the end, we see the factory in absolute chaos. There’s paper everywhere. Yeri is throwing cheesepuffs. An alarm clock, a fan, a typewriter, a record player are flying around. And despite this chaos, there’s obvious joy. The factory can no longer function and that is how it should be. They’ve broken free of the system it tried to impose on them. They’re unified, but it doesn’t mean they’re mass produced. This unity is not a weakness or a cause for criticism. They are not dolls, or clones, or mannequins. They each have a vital role, their own color. Their unity is not anything except a force to be reckoned with.
I imagine Both these dorks would be nervous and flustered on their first date, but he the more so. Cause he’s been out of the game for a while and She’s so eager and excited to be with him it really throws him for a loop.
Still playin’ with the proportions from Bravely Default, here. Thought it’d be a cute approach to a fluff piece :3
The topic of today’s low poly daily worked out surprisingly well. The theme was factory and it just so happens that I have just recently gotten to the point in the SteamCraft project that I can justify putting in models so here is the result shown in the game.
Speaking of SteamCraft, expect an update post in the next day or so, a lof of work has been completed!
Story of Seasons and Rune Factory 4 3DS themes! (Japan only)
3DS themes featuring Story of Seasons and Rune Factory 4 are now available in the Japanese eShop. (A theme for A New Beginning has been available for a while, but I forgot to report on it, d’oh!) All themes cost 200 yen and, at this moment, are available only in Japan. Wouldn’t it be nice if they come to North America soon?!
This is the RF4 theme, viewed from the far right. If you scroll to the left, you can see the rest of the marriage candidates.
(Putting a break here since this is very heavy on images! If you’re viewing this on a slow connection, then…allow me to offer condolences!!)
Knowing that Eggmanland had been planned for nearly a whole decade by the time Sonic Unleashed came out, how did you expect Sonic to react and/or say upon seeing the completed form of his arch-enemy's dream city/factory/theme park?
I imagine he’d be shocked, maybe with a part-awe, part-anxious comment along the lines of “Wow, he finally did it…”
I feel that would have been more appropriate than what happened, where it’s just Sonic snarking away as usual and Chip wanting a photograph. This sort of threat-undermining near the finale is the same thing people criticise Pontaff for.
-there’s a drying rack behind him -phil’s probably watching this according to dan -who watched the new gaming video -what a way to return, a one hour video -they felt like it was Time to do a proper let’s play -he’s too addicted to guild wars to play any other games so the gaming channel is an excuse to play other games -you don’t have to be good at something to do it -take up ice skating -him and phil have been busy today -doing a world tour takes a while to plan and think about it -they’re working on it -he wants to go to berlin again because he didn’t get to enjoy it properly when filming the gaming documentary -phil likes his coffee with milk and 2 sugars -“is that a euphemism or something” -he’s been really addicted to “star wars: galaxy of heroes” (an iphone app) -it’s kind of like star wars pokemon -he’s not actually spent any money on the game -star wars talk (lol Nerd) -kimye are relationship goals bc kim tweets when he’s gonna release new songs -no more parties in la is really good -could he get away with playing kanye multiple times in one radio show -he doesn’t like starburst that much -could he even survive eating a chewit -has his soul died -love yourself -We Are All Special Lives -he let phil tweet his picture because phil’s picture was crap -it was a charlie and the chocolate factory themed afternoon tea -he’s on the verge of a sugar crash -he loves potatoes -they finished blue exorcist -it was good -more bed cyberbullying -school is pretty awful -he never really Cared about lessons -but weirdly now he’s kind of curious about stuff that would be learned in school -he knows like nothing about american history -but america probably doesn’t know british history -the switch in undertale looked orange on their tv screen but when they looked back at it it was definitely red -is he having a stroke -he tried to remember that thing about henry the eighth’s wives and did terrible -his favorite harry potter book is the half blood prince -ominous piece of paper on the floor -he likes jason derulo -he’s like the usher of the uk -danandphilcrafts sugg award -let the meme die -he’s been so off brand this month -he’s gone out too much -they’ve both been going out a lot because oscar films -he needs to be true to himself and tweet about things he’s interested in -the new tarantino film was really cool -they went to a special theatre because the aspect ratio was really wide -endless entertainment with the phone case phil gave him -anyway back to the movie -it was a road show of the movie -it was like an old film showing with intermissions & an orchestra etc -the movie was like 3 ½ hours long -it was really fun -it felt more like an experience than just going to see a movie -how has he done 3 liveshows this year already -“dan i like your blue pillow” *weird face and voice* “thanks” -he forgot to place the order for his dinner and now he’s doing it infront of all of us -condiments -he’s very busy but he doesn’t really have a social life outside of that -they’ll let us know about vidcon sitc and playlist (bc tour) -revising tip: condense notes -talk about university -the brits are trying to fix the copyright on all their videos so they’re holding back on the other ones they’re uploading -something different and exciting might be happening to the show this year but they don’t know -they will be hosting the online thing for the brits -“oscar isaac is just like. The frickin. Dude” -he has an idea for a Next Next video -excited for deadpool -should he just use a gopro and film his life. Snowboarding down a hill -they didn’t want to sell themselves to a label or smth to arrange the tour -dan’s gaming documentary is 2 tuesdays from today -he thinks it’s at 9pm -so no liveshow then -he listens to all genres of music -they will play more undertale -he’s gonna keep going while he waits for his food -it took ages to edit the undertale video even with minimum editing -they’re not gonna do no editing like jacksepticeye did -does he need to add the extra level of adding funny things to the undertale videos -he doesn’t know where he’s going with this -he doesn’t want to do more minecraft on the gaming channel because he’d feel weird and he’s scared -inside out was better from a critic point of view but bh6 is more emotionally harrowing and Attaching -wtf is a clothes horse it’s a rack -this has been fun -thanks for choosing to spend tuesday night with him -they’re gonna make another dil and another undertale and dan will see how making that baby video will go -something deep and existential -he’s gonna go -thanks -have a good wednesday