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Literature / The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: The Notes

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WARNING: This book series deals with some heavy themes and violent content that might be triggering, including mental illness, suicide, self harm and abuse, and does so more explicitly than other entries in the BTS Universe. It also contains Late Arrival Spoilers for the series - it is highly recommended to at least read SAVE ME before reading this page. You Have Been Warned.

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The cover of the official English version.
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花樣年華 THE NOTES, also known as The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: The Notes, is a book series that forms part of the BTS Universe, the multi-media story that started in the music videos of Korean group BTS.

This book series tells the story of a group of seven boys growing up through the years, their friendship in an oppressive school, their separation, and one of the boys' quest to save his friends from tragedy. It follows the format of diary-like entries, with the point of view alternating between the seven characters.

Some of the Notes were originally released as part of booklets contained in physical copies of the LOVE YOURSELF album series. The book series compiles them along with new ones, greatly expanding on the characters and the story. Along with the webtoon SAVE ME, it serves as the universe's Mind Screwdriver, but in a way that makes both complementary to each other, being additional pieces to the larger puzzle that is the BU.

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The first volume of the series, THE NOTES 1, was released in March of 2019, and it's available in Korean, English, Japanese, and Spanish in the Weply app. In February 2020, a second volume was announced, scheduled for this year.


The Notes provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Taehyung's father, through and through. Tae's very first entry shows him at 12 years old being grabbed by his father and thrown against a wall.
    • Seokjin's father is slighly more downplayed. He's more concerned about the family prestige than with Jin's feelings, and instills fear on him in order to get him to be "a good kid". He's also physically abusive, shown tightening his hold on Jin's shoulder painfully in order to make him obey.
      • Jin's mother didn't seem particularly concerned for him, either.
    • Jungkook feels his mother doesn't care about him, and she hasn't smiled at his son even once since her husband left both when Jungkook was a child.
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    • Jimin's parents barely greet him after he gets back home after the hospital, with their response being "tomorrow we'll see what to do with you".
  • Adaptation Expansion: Tells chronologically not just the story of the seven boys as a group (like SAVE ME did), but also their childhoods and the time they spent separated. Also, being a more apt medium for this, it expands on the characters' thoughts, and scenes are much more extended. However, it serves more as a complement rather than a replacement of the videos and SAVE ME; SAVE ME focuses mostly on the main plot of Seokjin time-travelling, starting with him returning from Korea 2 years after the group splits up and covering what is ultimately the first 20-to-100-or-so time loops, while The Notes shows episodes of the characters' lives through the years starting long before they first met, covering the time the boys spent separated and taking an important Time Skip, at the point where Seokjin can't even count the number of time loops he's been through.
  • Breakfast Club: As the initial Notes show (where we're given their respective troubled pasts), they were all miserable and lonely in different ways before meeting each other. After having to clean as a penalty for being late to school, a friendship very quickly and naturally grew between them, as if they were hanging out together from long ago.
  • Bungled Suicide: Yoongi in a previous loop.
    "Once, Jungkook gave up on Yoongi. Back then, Yoongi threw himself into the flames. But cruelly, Yoongi didn't die. Jungkook never forgave himself for failing to stop him."
  • Commonality Connection: In the beach scene, after their talk about dreams and noticing that both of them tend to bite their nails to the point of getting their cuticles raw, Jungkook wonders if Yoongi wants to give up on the world, too. Later, Seokjin notes that, despite the age difference and Yoongi's seemingly less approachable nature, both of them have the same look in their eyes. Seokjin exploits this in later loops by having Jungkook save Yoongi from suicide and not interfering in their interactions.
  • Death by Irony: As the final chapters of this book reveal, the girl Jin meets is killed by the flower delivery truck that brought Smeraldo flowers for Jin's date. The truck took an U turn after Jin called again when he found that the card he had ordered with the flowers was missing. To make things worse, he went out of his way to get the flowers because he wanted to believe he was a good person by making someone else happy.
  • Disappeared Dad: When Jungkook was 7, his biological father left home saying that it was "too difficult to go on" and that the world was "too heavy for him to bear". He never even sent birthday cards, which Jungkook waited for until his teens.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Following from SAVE ME, Taehyung dreams with events from previous loops, with those dreams feeling too real to be normal. Not knowing about the whole time-travel thing, this only terrifies him an makes him fear for his friends' safety and his own actions.
  • Friendless Background: Jungkook is shown to have no friends other than the main group.
    • Due to constantly moving because of his illness, Jimin had become used to not having friends or getting attached to anyone prior to meeting the others. Even in his 2-year-long stay at the hospital, he has no other friends.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • Jungkook is about to jump off a building when he receives a phone call.
    • Jungkook finds and stops Yoongi from killing himself offscreen.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Jungkook feels that he was the reason his father left - that he was a burden too heavy for him to bear. "A child who can never be the reason to endure it all. That was me."
      • He also feels this way about Yoongi's expulsion, which happened after Yoongi tried to defend him from a teacher. So does Jin, and more justifiably so.
    • Namjoon, after realizing that he was directly (if accidentally) responsible for his coworker's death.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Invoked/Exploited by Seokjin in regards to Yoongi and Jungkook. When taking care of a wounded bird is what stops Yoongi from a suicide attempt in one loop, Seokjin starts arranging things to have Jungkook find Yoongi and save him from the fire, with Jungkook's presence keeping Yoongi from spiraling due to their Commonality Connection. It works.
    • It's implied that Yoongi is also this to Jungkook, with the former's phone call stopping Jungkook from his suicide attempt.
  • Lonely Together: They were all miserable and lonely before they became friends and found company in each other in an oppressive school.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Hoseok's mother abandoned him when he was a child.
    • Jin's mother died some time before he turned 12.
    • Yoongi's mother died in a fire while Yoongi was a teen.
    • Taehyung's mother left him and his sister with his father, which Taehyung resents.
  • Munchausen Syndrome: Hoseok reveals to Jimin that his sickness was fake, confirming what his diagnosis in the "MAMA" short film (Munchausen Syndrome) meant. It came from his inability to accept that his mother might never come back.
  • No Name Given: Almost none of the characters other than the main seven have been named, a notable exception being Choi (Seokjin's elementary school classmate).
    • Particular mention goes to Namjoon's coworkers from the village, whose name Namjoon only vaguely remembers. He's nicknamed "Taehyung".
  • Redemption in the Rain: Yoongi has an epiphany and finally finds the key to a song and the strength to keep living while wandering in the woods in the rain. He spends several days sick afterwards.
  • Reset Button: The time travel is this by definition, resetting back to April 11th whenever Jin fails. This works for the worse at the end; after the girl Jin tries to date dies, more than 4 months of character development for the other boys gets undone by the ensuing rewind.
  • Sadist Teacher:
    • A teacher bursts into the boys' hide-out, finds Jungkook (who was skipping class), hits him and starts to verbally abuse him. Yoongi's attempt to defend him results in Yoongi's expulsion.
    • According to Jungkook, Yoongi claimed to be used to be hit by teachers.
    • Jungkook himself gets hit repeatedly with an attendance book by a teacher questioning him about his friendship with the other boys.
  • Self-Harm: Jungkook is revealed to have done this. After he accidentally got a cut on his finger with a knife as a child, he started to make an habit of "hurting his hands".
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The reason for Seokjin's Time Travel - saving his friends from their fates. Or is it?
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: When the boys go to the beach, Hoseok suggests they go see a rock that, if you stand on it and yell out your dream towards the sea, will make your dream come true. The rock is 3.5 km away from were they are, so the boys begin a long and exhausting walk under the heat - only to find that the rock was destroyed because it would obstruct the view of a resort that's now under construction. This ends up being subverted, however - since the bits remaining from the rock are still there, the boys take advantage of the noise of the drills to yell out their dreams at the same time, with no one (not even themselves) being able to hear it.
    • Arguably, the pages and pages of character development seen through the book, which all become undone at the end after time resets yet again.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Namjoon's Notes references a quote from Demian by Hermann Hesse The quote: . The book even adds a note at the foot of the page indicating the book it's referencing.
      I once heard a saying that God makes us lonely to lead us to Him. But I was not lonely. I was not following the path towards myself. This was a retreat. I was running away from myself.
    • The notebook of the girl that Seokjin meets by the railroad contains (among other things) an excerpt from The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The novel is made out of diary-like entries that alternate between each of the seven boys, with each "note" having the narrating character's name and the date of the events on the title.
  • Tempting Fate: Played for Drama. In the very first entry, Seokjin hides his friend Choi from suspicious men chasing him in his room, and reassures him that they'll be safe here, as his father never enters - cue his father immediately bursting through his door with the suspicious men and forcing Choi to go with them.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: Played straight and discussed. Namjoon's family settles with living in any place as long as it 1. has a hospital for his father, and 2. gives work to Namjoon (who didn't finish high school). Namjoon himself and his unnamed coworker (who he names "Taehyung") went for the most difficult and dangerous delivery jobs under minimal-to-nonexistent security measures to earn just a little more money, which led to the latter's death. Namjoon hates that poverty reduces people to this, making them give up things that should be precious.
  • Tragic Dropout:
    • Namjoon (The Smart Guy of the group) is forced to leave high-school early to work and earn money for his poor family and his sick father.
    • Yoongi is musically gifted. He's expelled for standing up to a teacher to defend Jungkook from being hit.
  • Wham Line: Hoseok's Note from 16 July, year 22, has this for the audience:
    Hey, that night···" JungKook started to say as we got off the elevator [...]. He was just blinking his eyes as if trying to dig up an old memory. "Does SeokJin talk about that night? I mean, has he said that he saw me or···". JungKook stopped talking.
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