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A Kolkata fan says best ‘yet to come’ as BTS pauses for military service

A Kolkata ARMY on what fans will be holding on to as the band takes a break until 2025

Sohini Dasgupta | Published 20.10.22, 09:59 PM
K-Pop band BTS are a sensation around the world with a huge fan following that calls itself and its members ARMYs (short for Adorable Representative MC for Youth)

K-Pop band BTS are a sensation around the world with a huge fan following that calls itself and its members ARMYs (short for Adorable Representative MC for Youth)


The day has come. On October 17, the Weverse app notification, which ARMYs (myself included!) were dreading, popped up. Label BigHit Music announced that K-pop darlings BTS are preparing for mandatory military service. The ARMYs (as BTS fans worldwide call themselves) will now only get to see the boys together as a group sometime in 2025.

This is due to South Korea’s mandate that requires all ‘able-bodied men’ from ages 18 to 35 to serve in the military for a minimum of 18 months, though there are some exemptions. The enlistment was long overdue, since they were granted an extension in 2020. But with the group’s oldest member Kim Seokjin (Jin) on the cusp of 30, ARMYs were bracing for the inevitable separation from their idols.


There is some solace to be found in the fact that not all of them are enlisting at the same time. Jin will be the first to leave and other members will enlist ‘according to their individual plans’ said the fandom app notification. This means that ARMYs probably will have at least one (or more) BTS members to interact with while others serve. However, it would be hard to not see the OT7 (‘one true 7,’ a phrase used by fans to refer to all seven members together) before ‘around 2025’.

As an ARMY member, I can safely say that we are already making plans to get us through the time when we know we will miss our idols terribly. We might not be getting new OT7 content, but there are some things we can keep going back to from the many gifts BTS has given us since their 2013 debut.

Here are some things that I (and many other fans) have planned to hold on to until 2025...

Their music (duh!)

A still from ‘Blue & Grey’

A still from ‘Blue & Grey’


ARMYs will happily list a million reasons why they ‘stan’ BTS. However, as a fan myself, I think the music they have produced as a band, and individually, will always top the list.

Song after song, BTS has come up with tracks that have resonated with the youth. The boys have talked about mental health (Blue and Grey), peer pressure (N.O), self-doubt (Shadow) and the need to arrive at self-love and acceptance (Answer: Love Myself), however long that might take. This is possibly why their fanbase extends across nationalities and languages.

For every ARMY, their songs are like a warm hug of reassurance, a gentle whisper that consoles on the hard days. There is no doubt, therefore, that even though we might not get new releases where all seven have contributed, we will keep going back to their catalogue. For instance, the very day Jin enlists, We are Bulletproof: the Eternal — BTS’s tear-jerking love letter to their fans — will be playing on repeat on my (and probably countless others ARMYs’) Spotify. Will I be crying as I sing “We were only seven / But we have you all now”? Only time will tell.

Other top picks:

  • The classics: Blood Sweat and Tears, Fire, DNA, Spring Day, I Need You
  • The groovy numbers: Permission to Dance, Chicken Noodle Soup, Dynamite, Go Go, Boy With Love, Butter
  • The melodies: Euphoria, Epiphany, Life Goes On

‘Mic Drop’ moments

The best way to beat the separation blues is to look back and see how far all of us — the boys, the band and the fandom — have come and what BTS has achieved. From being a struggling group in South Korea to having sold out Wembley Stadium, every highlight of BTS’s story is inspiring. This interval will be a good time to go back and cherish the journey and celebrate the wins again. On days we need that little push, re-watching those moments on YouTube can be the right dose of motivation.

Their shocked faces at the first Daesang win (for The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever) at Melon Music Awards in 2016 is a moment ARMYs will forever gush about.

BTS’s emotional speech after winning the MAMA Artist of The Year Award in 2018 will always be one of the highlights of their career. J-Hope’s teary-eyed thanks to fans and Jin’s admission of the fact that the group had considered disbanding was heartbreaking for ARMYs, but the win and seeing them together there was the assurance for both the band and the fans needed. A perfect feel-good moment!

BTS member Kim Taehyung (V) breaks down as the band accepts the award on the MAMA stage in 2018

BTS member Kim Taehyung (V) breaks down as the band accepts the award on the MAMA stage in 2018


And then of course, there’s the first Grammy nomination! BTS has been called record-breaking for a reason, and the Grammy nomination (for Best Pop Duo/Group in 2020 for Dynamite) was a huge acknowledgement of BTS’s talent by the music world. Their Grammy Nomination Night video shows the excitement and the anticipation with which they were awaiting the announcement. It is moments like these that every member of the fandom waits for. When the boys are away, we will be looking at these videos and recalling how gratifying this journey has been for all of us.

Moments they did us proud

I think I speak for all ARMYs when I say that every little thing that BTS accomplishes, be it a Grammy nomination or them figuring out how to use Instagram, makes us immensely proud. But on two different occasions in recent years, BTS has achieved something remarkable and on days of feeling uninspired, these are the videos to rewatch.

In 2018, BTS gave an inspiring speech at the United Nations in support of UNICEF’s drive, Generation Unlimited, which aims to assist the youth to gain quality education, training or employment by 2030. Kim Namjoon (RM), the leader of the band, talked about the need to love and speak out, a message that is recurrent in their music. Every ARMY probably remembers these lines by heart: “No matter who you are, where you are from, your skin colour, your gender identity, just speak yourself.”

Earlier in 2022, BTS also visited the White House and met US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris to discuss anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination. (President Biden even played Butter as he welcomed the boys!) Having the ability to influence young minds is a responsibility, and kudos to the boys for utilising their platform and speaking up! There couldn’t be a better motivational video for the fandom.

Other top picks:

  • BTS’s speech at United Nations General Assembly in 2021
  • BTS’s Permission to Dance performance at United Nations General Assembly
  • BTS awarded with South Korea’s Order of Cultural Merit in 2018

Run BTS! and chaotic OT7 V Lives

Every ARMY knows that while we love their music, we also stan BTS off stage because of the absolute goofballs that they are! No show captures that better than BTS’s variety show, Run BTS!. Yes, we don't always understand the rules and know that it is basically seven millionaires bantering with and tricking each other for a small cash award or a Ramen cooker! But the fans get to see the boys outside of their stage personas and every episode feels like a fun outing with friends you’ve known for a long time. So we’re going to run right back to Run BTS!.

A scene from an episode of ‘Run BTS!’

A scene from an episode of ‘Run BTS!’

V Live

Lastly, but certainly not the least, there are the OT7 lives on video streaming service, V Live. The fact that we won’t have the seven boys together for the live interactions, or that there will be no Jin photobombing someone else’s video, is heartbreaking. Good thing the chaotic V Lives are always there to go back to and watch Jungkook put plastic forks into Taehyung’s hair for the 100th time.

OT7 V Live in May 2022, after BTS’s song 'Butter' was released

OT7 V Live in May 2022, after BTS’s song 'Butter' was released

V Live

Other top shows:

  • Bon Voyage
  • In the Soop
  • Rookie King

The ARMYs are going to miss their boys, but we will soldier on (no pun intended!). We’ll cherish all the adorable videos, fall asleep to them chatting and being goofy and we’ll wait. We’ll wait for 2025, when the notification pops up that the OT7 are back! All the ARMYs out there, remember what the boys have taught us. The best is ‘yet to come.’

Last updated on 21.10.22, 03:12 PM

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