Gliding over a club-inspired beat are the voices of NewJeans' five members; Danielle, Hanni, Haerin, Hyein, and Minji. In their new single co-written by Minji of NewJeans, Oohyo, The Black Skirts and Ylva Dimberg, "Ditto", the girls tell a story of yearning-uncertain teenage feelings, hopes, and desire for closeness. Tender and vulnerable, the track shines in its restrained sound, as if it's communicating the difficulty in being earnest and understanding your own feelings.
While the dreamy song is reminiscent of teenage days that a lot can relate to, the video(s) for the song presents layers to dissect. NewJeans' label HYBE released two versions of the video for "Ditto"-directed by Shin Woo-seok of Dolphiners Films-which present a story seen through two sides.
Side A of the music video opens with a woman playing a videotape of her high school days, where she often hangs out with her friend group, played by the members of NewJeans. Throughout the video, she played the part of a camera operator, capturing when her friends are training to dance, walking down the school hallway, and other teenage shenanigans. In between shots of her friends, the main character's video often captures another schoolmate, a boy. Nearing the end, it was revealed that the main character-named Ban Heesoo-was always alone, as she recorded thin air and not her friend group.
The other side of the video shows a contrast between what Heesoo perceives-her friend group hanging out together-and the reality of there actually being no one in front of her camera. There are recurring motifs and clear parallels between the two videos, namely the appearance of a deer, a cast on Heeso's left arm, and the boy who watched over her as she does the same to him. What does this all mean?
An analysis of the videos posited that the members of NewJeans and Heesoo went through a fatal accident, leaving Heesoo alone with a broken arm and survivors guilt. Heesoo seems to be unable to let go of her friends' "ghosts", continuing to do the activities they used to do before the accident claimed their lives. The deer that continues to appear in both videos might have something to do with the accident-or perhaps, it symbolizes the need for a new beginning, as the animal is considered sacred in Korean culture.
Subtle differences in the videos show that in side A, Heesoo took a more active role in filming her friends, while in side B she seems more like a distant observer. One scene also shows the girls writing messages in Heesoo's cast, while in reality it is left blank. An interesting note is that the the writing on the cast include messages like "don't die" and "get well soon", indicating that her friends would like for Heesoo to go on with her life.
There are also scenes with alternate outcomes, as one scene in side A shows Heesoo running through the rain with her friends, while the same scene in side B saw Heesoo deciding to walk under an umbrella alone, leaving her friends in their school entrance. The parallel might suggest Heesoo's efforts to move on, leaving bitter memories behind her as she walks through the unrelenting rain. Painful as it might be for her, Heesoo breaks the camera that captured countless memories with her friends.
While her grief may cause Heesoo to be considered an outcast by her classmates, the only exception is the boy who appears repeatedly in Heeso's video. The ending of the side B video seems to suggest that the boy helped Heesoo move past the tragedy, where its outro shows that Heesoo could once again feel the "presence" of her friends fondly through the videos she shot, without being haunted.
Another analysis stated that the videos might depict the relationship between fans and their idols, where fans can seemingly feel the presence of their idols almost like friends-even though they live separate lives. We as fans cheer on our favorite artist, and they in turn create works we relate to. In a way, this theory suggests that NewJeans helped Heesoo to mature and accept the people around her. Her name, Ban Heesoo, sounds quite similar to "Bunnies"-NewJeans' fanbase-read in Korean. Through a revisit to her teenage years in the ending, Heesoo can now look at NewJeans as an inseparable part of her youth.
Of course, both analyses can't completely unravel the mysteries the two sides of "Ditto" videos present, yet both of them provide a deeper look into the song's narrative. In the future, we might or might not get a continuation of this storyline, but one thing for sure is that today, the cinematic allure of "Ditto" has us all wondering. Ra-ta-ta-ta, goes all our hearts.