Dreamcatcher Starts Pre-Comeback Promotions With Picture Teasers And Lore Drops

Dreamcatcher hits the ground running on the pre-comeback trail, with interesting teaser images and mysterious ARG promotion.

Dreamcatcher Starts Pre-Comeback Promotions With Picture Teasers And Lore Drops
Dreamcatcher's group teaser pic version 2, dressed in all black. Source: hf_dreamcatcher (Twitter)

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I've always loved a good story, especially when it happens to intersect a bit with my normal hobbies, and in K-Pop, they come in multi-layered form. What I mean by that is the fact that K-Pop artists tell a story with their choreography, their album concepts, and themselves insofar as what they choose to tell us. While you see this to a certain extent with Western artist album promotion, I would argue it's never quite as laser-focused and complex as you see in K-Pop's often frenetic pre-comeback promotion period.

Dreamcatcher is no different in this regard - their underdog story is one of the most beloved in the industry, their choreography, often tending towards the sharper, more aggressive lines of a boy group, has always been timed and planned to show many things at once, and much of what they do when on the road to an album release focuses on their concept. But where I feel like they separate themselves from the pack, so to speak, is in world-building, consistent plotlines, and a tendency towards the dark in some form. In this way, Dreamcatcher has forged the unique image and presentation that has made them sustainable these last seven years.

As promotions for Dreamcatcher's 10th Mini Album formally went underway this past week, fans came to see this was kicked up to the next level. Let's take a look at what happened with that, and more this past week!

After all the fun mystery code shenanigans of the past week and weekend, we finally got to see the Comeback Scheduler for the album. This is usually the first peek into the concept or style of the album, and this time around, we got one of the most unique presentations yet. While there was some speculation in fan circles that this album, the other half of a duology that began with 9th Mini Album "VillainS", would have some kind of Hero concept, I think very few people thought they'd appear to fully embrace it with a full-on comicbook style rendering.

Dreamcatcher has had its brush with comics before - after all, their remixed "Red Sun" performance was for a Webtoon comic - but I think this is the first time that we saw them rendered as such as part of a promotion series. It really set the tone for what we might expect, especially with the small peeks into what characterization we might get.

When the album designs came out as pre-orders opened, that same comic vibe continued. For veteran fans, the Limited version of the album continued a trend of clean, textured, and uniformly colored looks, but the Normal versions were what caught the eye. Shown in the same comic book style, each cover carried a different panel of what looked to be a story of a parallel world, referred to in the last album's plotline. All of these were intriguing to see, especially as they were small peeks into what might be in store for the upcoming music video.

Yet Dreamcatcher and Dreamcatcher Company were not done with their world-building even after that. Bringing their ARG game to a new level, the other primary character in the story, 9mynameis1, posted about spending time with other people in a "parallel world", inviting others to join through the use of an app. The app, Realworld, had a game called Parallel World Survival Test that asked questions about all the previous Dreamcatcher story arcs and music videos (Nightmare, Dystopia, Apocalypse, and now VersuS), inviting fans to post results as part of an SNS event to get a chance to win a signed polaroid.

Screenshot of result of mobile game reading 0% chance of survival
Result of going after the crown obsessively in VersuS universe.

I loved this because for newer fans it was a chance to get curious about the previous storylines and music videos, and for veterans, a chance to prove their knowledge and relive a bit of that nostalgia from all of Dreamcatcher's world-building.

But just like any ARG, the layers went deeper than just the mobile game. Going at it again and following the right prompts led you to a new puzzle, solvable in part by last week's mystery code cipher and close viewing of last comeback's "OOTD" music video, which eventually led you to the hidden ghost_story_catcher YouTube channel. Two episodes were released this past week on it, showcasing reports of an urban myth about parallel worlds and about the mysterious "Company C", the organization that has been enticing people into pursuing the equally enigmatic crown.

This was so cool to me to see - both for newer fans to react with lots of positive vibes and for veterans to recognize that for all the unique intrigue via mystery codes that Dreamcatcher has created around releases the past seven years, it's clear that they've leveled up their methods, even from last comeback's promotions. I can't wait to see what's next.

What was expected were the usual individual teasers, and we had two very contrasting visuals this time. One was sterile and corporate, with Dreamcatcher dressed for office work and the buttoned-up day job grind, while the other put out a gothic, dark feel filmed at dusk with all-black outfits. Was this alter egos and dark superheroes? Mild-mannered business and intense darkness? The opposites were real, and they created striking imagery that wowed fans the whole time.

The group images, the last of the promotional material from the official schedule, were no less cryptic, though just as intense. Yet there was an air of something hidden behind both, whether that was a too-clean office or the knowledge that the dark outfits were indeed a but funereal in nature complete with an associated tombstone. Concepts in general for Dreamcatcher have a decent chance of ending up in the music video or for performances, so between this and the almost-confirmed title track of "JUSTICE" we'll just have to see how it plays out. Either way, you can expect that I'll be covering what's to come in Dreamcatcher's final lead-up to release this week, which includes our first listen into the audio, so for all that, and more, I'll see you next Sunday!

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