Dreamcatcher Takes The Crown For Mystery As The Road To Comeback Begins

Taking the most intriguing turn for promoting an album to date, K-Pop's Dreamcatcher tells fans to gear up for new music.

Dreamcatcher Takes The Crown For Mystery As The Road To Comeback Begins
Dreamcatcher takes a group photo at the Dreamlantis/Dreamquest fansign. Source: hf_dreamcatcher (Twitter)

By now, fans of Dreamcatcher have come to expect a little bit of mystery when it comes to album promotions. The practice of using “Mystery Codes” - images with puzzles to solve that lead to the title track and date of the comeback - has been around for years for the group. But whether they’ve been impressed by fans’ ability to solve them quickly or they wanted to do something entirely different this time, Dreamcatcher and Dreamcatcher Company have stepped it up with the lead-up to this next comeback, beginning the cycle with the most interesting way of creating buzz for it to date. There was, of course, a bit more news to the group’s activities than that this past week, so before we get to the main mystery attraction, let’s see what else they’ve been up to!

The Doosan Bears have been really kind to Dreamcatcher’s Gahyeon lately as she’s become pretty invested in baseball. Fans knew about her appearance with Handong a couple weeks back for a first pitch of the game, and the Bears’ latest bit of media from that day featured both her and Handong in the first 6 minutes as they prepared to make their appearance. Between this and SuA’s Kiwoom Heroes appearance earlier this year, it’s been nice to see the group branch out with individual or subunit appearances overall. Unfortunately, it seems the Doosan Bears’ season has since come to an end in the 2023 KBO Wild Card, which I can clearly blame on them not inviting Gahyeon to the game. You gotta have your victory fairy there to win, right?

For Dreamcatcher, however, their season continues, and 2024’s Season’s Greetings is now just around the corner. Comprised of merchandise meant to help ring in the new year and wrapped in a concept theme, Season’s Greetings have long been a part of K-Pop merchandise, and even though Dreamcatcher was late to the game, the Season’s Greetings they’ve come up with have always been pretty neat insofar as trying out different concepts from their normal image.

This time around we have a sports-themed concept in Dreamcatcher’s “Dream of Victory” Season’s Greetings, with Baseball, Hockey, and Tennis represented. No, Gahyeon wasn’t on Team Baseball, but her, SuA, and Handong on Team Tennis made up for it, while JiU and Siyeon put on the pads and sticks for Team Hockey and the ‘97 line of Yoohyeon and Dami picked up the Baseball slack.

The other concept seems to take Dreamcatcher back to their youthful past as students in “Dear. my youth”. Whimsical, school-themed, and a callback to the free-spirited days before they were idols, the concept here had plenty of academic vibes, from Handong promoting Dreamcatcher as she erased the notes on the blackboard, to Siyeon diligently studying, to Yoohyeon checking out books from the library, and more. The light makeup and soft tones put this as a reflective look back to the past, and feels nostalgic and comforting.

Both Season’s Greetings are up for pre-order now, and the details on contents have been revealed via the Dreamcatcher official X/Twitter account, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested in pre-ordering! Release is on December 15th, so there’ll be a decent amount of time for people to make decisions on purchasing.

Lastly, for future non-comeback plans, we’re going to be seeing SuA flex her experienced radio show chops by conducting a live stream on the 23rd of October at 19:00 KST. SuA’s Chat Time appears to be a counseling show, and the Dreamcatcher fancafe had been taking submitted stories a few weeks ago for it. We know SuA is no stranger to these types of shows due to her 1 year gig with Red Velvet Wendy’s Youngstreet, and it’s not even the first time SuA’s done a radio show-type broadcast. We’ll have to see how it goes, but I’m pretty interested to see some of what fans submitted for SuA’s sage advice.

Dreamcatcher's JiU, with brown hair, striped top, with green leaves in the background.
JiU’s look to the camera for one of her Behind photos for BONVOYAGE era. Source: hf_dreamcatcher (Instagram)

All that being said, the main course of this week’s news is, of course, the impending comeback - one that was heralded, as always, by the posting of “Behind” photos from the last comeback era. Multiple sets from “Apocalypse: From Us” promotions in May were posted to the group’s official Instagram, and the fact that the pictures appeared suddenly (early Monday afternoon KST, as opposed to the standard 6:00pm or midnight) created plenty of buzz on its own, not to mention some speculation on when we’d see more. I know that in the communities that I run in, I did the usual explanations to newer fans about Mystery Code workings, the significance of the photos being posted, and thoughts on how long the delay would be between these and the first signs of a comeback.

Nobody in the Dreamcatcher fandom, however, was prepared for what came next.

Image of a text message exchange with "aim caorwn" and 66666683 sent
Dreamcatcher’s Instagram posts pictures of a vague video sent to an X/Twitter account retweeted by hf_dreamcatcher. Source: hf_dreamcatcher (Instagram)

On October 21st, 00:00 KST, the official Dreamcatcher X/Twitter account retweeted a curious text message exchange from an X/Twitter account named “ymenehrca99”, which reversed, appears to read “99archenemy”. The exchange only listed two messages - “aim caorwn” and “66666683”,  with no further details. Additionally, the account itself talked, in Korean, about a strange letter they found on their birthday warning them about staying away from seeking “the Crown”, after which they had gaps in their memory and odd behavior obsessing over crown items. A matching YouTube account was found to have left odd comments in Korean across many of Dreamcatcher’s most recent videos, mostly talking about recruiting people to find crowns and talking about strange imagery. And lastly, strange images were posted to the X/Twitter account, with seemingly creepy imagery.

A stuffed rabbit sits next to a dartboard with screws in the numbers 2, 5, 8, 9, and 4. Source: ymenehcra99 (Twitter)
Hands grip the bars of a cage with darkness behind. Source: ymenehcra99 (Twitter)

Needless to say, this set off a ton of buzz in the Dreamcatcher fan community. The style of posts is reminiscent of an ARG, or Alternate Reality Game, which uses the real world as a platform and its tech to create a plot-based puzzle that a community comes together to solve. On the Dreamcatcher Discord that I frequent and help moderate, for example, fans quickly compiled information, compared notes, and tried to discern meaning through anything from code cipher decoders, peeks into previous music videos. One of the most common theories was the upcoming music video being a sequel to 2019’s “Deja Vu”, in which the plot apparently surrounded a betrayal and takeover of a kingdom by Yoohyeon, only to have JiU, its former ruler, eventually come back from the dead for revenge. The red carpet and stairway mentioned by the archenemy account and the association with crowns, seems to lend itself to this theory - but it is only one of a multitude.

A rabbit in red thread is taped to the wall with a QR code leading to a cryptic YouTube video: Source: DC_laaat (Twitter)

The clues only got mildly clearer during today’s Dreamlantis/Dreamquest fanmeeting, when fans who attended were greeted by what appeared to be the same rabbit from the archenemy twitter account pinned to the wall with a dart with a QR code leading to a video titled “C” purporting that we would “soon desire it too”, with a hidden message about the store on the 27th of October at 21:00 KST. Dreamcatcher themselves were, of course, quite mum on the questions, despite fans’ best efforts to try to get them to confirm a November 22 release date theory and multiple crown props.

There are so many theories and ideas about what the title track and date could be, and it’s clear Dreamcatcher and Dreamcatcher Company have leveled up their puzzle game with this after past comebacks with more easily and quickly solved mystery items. Besides the aforementioned Dreamcatcher Discord for real-time chat, you can also check out the /r/dreamcatcher subreddit mystery code compilation thread for more opportunities to connect with fellow fans and help solve this latest, most intriguing mystery puzzle for the upcoming album.

As for me, you can expect to hear more about Dreamcatcher’s upcoming lead-up to their newest release and all of the creepy images, odd messages, and random videos that the company is putting out for it here at this column at the same time next week on Sunday. So for all that, and more, I’ll see you then!