When they were on the show HYBE JAPAN TV, the members of LE SSERAFIM exclaimed, “Life is content!” According to Kwack Yun A, a lead professional with the HYBE 360 Artist Contents Studio, LE SSERAFIM always shouts out this catchphrase before they film anything. “Even we never expected to end up making so much content with a new idol group,” she says. And indeed, LE SSERAFIM has been putting out so much content these days—so, so much. They make their own shows in 11 different formats to date, with their most popular videos as of September 15 being “KAZUHA’s Vlog #2: A Record of Zuha’s Slow, Steady, Snail-like Day 🍩📹🌿” (FIM-LOG) and “LE SSERAFIM’s DAY OFF EP. 3” (DAYOFF), with more than 1.3 million views each. But their videos are about more than just the number of viewers—they show the members in their everyday lives, revealing the behavior, sense of humor and friendships between all of them. For those curious to dive into the sea of LE SSERAFIM videos on YouTube but don’t know where to start, here are some summaries of some select moments among the many to choose from.
DAYOFF: The real LE SSERAFIM
DAYOFF is a reality show where the LE SSERAFIM girls take a spontaneous “staycation” for two days after they finish their debut promotion. “Of all the content idols produce, the reality show format is particularly good for showing off the chemistry between members and what makes each of them different and unique,” say Kyungwon Kim, a lead professional with the HYBE 360 Original Contents Studio, and Ji Won Kim. They note that “real chemistry” between the members is key, and that “that’s why we were so sure the fans would love DAYOFF. Their good vibes already made our production team fall for their charm while filming.” In this series, the LE SSERAFIM members play board games, and they’re all out to win, but that all comes to a halt when the youngest member, EUNCHAE, says they should finish. SAKURA, who joins in an energetic water fight, eventually grows exhausted, saying, “LE SSERAFIM isn’t easy.”
According to Kyungwon Kim, the focus of DAYOFF is the way the girls are themselves despite all the cameras because it had to “cast LE SSERAFIM in a real and natural light since it was the first original content we worked on with them.” They add that “some of them might have felt a little camera-shy still, so it was paramount that we create an environment they could all get immersed in in the most comfortable and enjoyable way possible.” The place the members stay was fitted with unmanned cameras, and the absent production team chose the location and prepared a huge variety of food, games and knickknacks under the direction that “we didn’t know what you all would like.” That’s why HUH YUNJIN described filming DAYOFF as “less like work or making content and more like us just having fun.” No one outside of the members themselves could possibly understand why they were all laughing so hard when YUNJIN is simply saying “sauce,” but the producers and the viewers alike end up laughing instinctively while watching—just because the girls are laughing, too. As YUNJIN said, the show is them “just having fun,” but the record of the emotions they feel creates a special bond that connects the audience with LE SSERAFIM.
FIM-LOG: An invitation into the everyday life of LE SSERAFIM
FIM-LOG is a slice-of-life look at LE SSERARIM filmed by the members themselves without the aid of any producers or camera crew. Kwack says the series is filmed entirely by the girls with no assistance from the rest of the production team. Operating the camera themselves, the members of LE SSERAFIM show us a side of themselves away from the spotlight and welcome us into their everyday lives, as when SAKURA vlogs from her room and writes in her five-year journal or dines on one of her favorite dishes, kimchi jjigae with extra tofu. From their personally decorated rooms, the things they eat and have around them and their private practice processes to their commute to and from the studio, these apparently ordinary moments in the lives of the LE SSERAFIM members help viewers feel closer and closer to the idols. “Because the series gives an honest look into their thoughts, everyday lives and the things they want to show people, LE SSERAFIM’s vlogs feel more like typical vlogs from people their age than from idols,” Kwack says.
The way the members reveal their individual personalities through their vlogs is both a part of their daily lives and one more way fans can feel more immersed in the favorite idol’s world. Thanks to her 15 years’ experience in ballet, for example, KAZUHA is uniquely qualified to personally demonstrate the use of 11 different types of stretching equipment. Similarly, the way CHAEWON gets so into singing into her hairbrush while removing her makeup and keeps giving the camera mischievous looks while washing her face suggests how girlishly cute she is. And, by showing how approachable they are in everyday life, the members feel more motivated in their position as creators. Kwack says that YUNJIN told the production team she wanted “to take better video” after her first vlog went out because she “feels passionate” and would “try to do the vlog properly.” She surprised the producers with her second vlog and how fun she made it. The occasionally released group and unit vlogs never would have come to fruition without the dedication of the members to share elements of their lives with their fans. They even worked in footage of KAZUHA sitting down for a meal with her family in Japan for the first time in a long while. For a group whose “everyday life is content,” LE SSERAFIM is forever sincere.
LE SSERAFIM Meeting: A strange video call between the members of LE SSERAFIM
“When we saw how into talking about the topic the members got when we were shooting FIMBTI when they were first debuting, we thought it would be fun to make them have more discussions together,” Kwack says, revealing the impetus for LE SSERAFIM Meeting. “It seemed such a pity that all the ridiculous questions that come up in the comments when the idols are streaming come and go so quickly, which gave us an idea: Wouldn’t it be funny if we kept lobbing bizarre questions at the group members?” And the producers were right. The meetings always open with a simple, lighthearted discussion, like deciding what kind of pose the group should strike for their final TV appearance of the promotion circuit, where they put each of their group bracelets or what kind of video they should make next, but the meeting pivots to more intense debates, like why dasima (kelp) doesn’t turn into broth in the sea. What’s most interesting about these discussions is how serious the members are when they take up their positions and try to persuade each other, despite the fact that they’re essentially talking nonsense. Immediately upon learning what the topic is, KAZUHA’s eyes sparkle with interest as she says, “If we go swimming in the sea and the sea is tasty… even if you drown, the water will be tasty. So it’s good.” CHAEWON follows with, “The reason dasima is holding it in is because, if the sea water is tasty, we’ll drink it all up and then all the seas will be gone from this Earth.”
According to Kwack, the members set their own on-screen nicknames freely for each meeting before they join from different locations and the producers don’t interfere in any way, other than to provide topics. In this particular episode, EUNCHAE and CHAEWON are on the same side when they boo another member’s opinion but then suddenly turn around and start bickering with one another from time to time. At other times, when one of the members feels their opinion is outnumbered, they pretend like they can’t hear the others speaking. Similarly, when the moderator calls on someone by the nickname Butt, that member responds, in a serious tone, “It’s not Butt, it’s One Butt!” The whole thing runs like a stream-of-consciousness rant, making for a hectic but extremely funny meeting. But all these events show the chemistry between the members. If the older members didn’t make sure to listen to EUNCHAE’s opinions amid all the chaos, for example, it wouldn’t be possible to see her using her whole body to mimic what a giraffe would look like in a particular hypothetical situation, when in fact this is the critical turning point when everyone comes to an agreement and calls it a day. In the same way, if it weren’t for the manner in which SAKURA so thoughtfully checks whether KAZUHA understands a question and gives her a chance to speak up, the members might otherwise miss the opportunity to hear the things KAZUHA is genuinely curious about or miss her thoughts altogether. Nobody but LE SSERAFIM could make such a hectic, context-starved meeting so fun to watch.
LE SSERAFIM Company: The LE SSERAFIM sitcom
What happens when you take a group of idols who become almost too wrapped up in weird debates and give them free range to become fully immersed in an entirely fictional setting? The five members of the imaginary LE SSERAFIM Company work in their own capacities as director, manager, assistant manager, entry-level employee and intern. Kwack says the reasoning behind starting the series was they “saw ‘Muhan Company’ and thought the LE SSERAFIM members would be really good at that and suggested they give it a go, and they excitedly said it would be fun, and that’s how we got to working on it.” The members take their characters as they are assigned to them and expand on them from there: Director HONG, who’s always on edge and quick to nag her underlings; Manager KA, the aloof fashionista; Assistant Manager SA, the game nerd; their employee, HUH, who loves hiking; and the intern surnamed KIM who, like all of Generation Z, makes vlogs as a hobby. The words and facial expressions EUNCHAE uses as she shouts down her employees are so spot on that it feels like the others really are the target of a crabby, old, power-hungry boss. CHAEWON, meanwhile, takes video on her way to work without any consideration for the people around her, adding a level of realism to her performance. Kwack says the members are given a general outline of what they’re going to shoot but that 100% of the lines are unscripted and adlibbed on the spot. Maybe that’s why, as a viewer, it’s sometimes hard to tell when it’s an act and when it’s real. When the young intern makes a mistake that gets on Director HONG’s nerves, the latter reminds herself to be empathetic and show some love because it’s only natural that the youngest would make some errors. When the team is reviewing meeting minutes taken by their newly promoted director KAZUHA, who’s only been using Korean for a few months, and discover a spelling error, they back her up, saying, “If Director KA says it’s ‘woke’ [not ‘walk’], then it’s ‘woke.’” “Even during a regular day of shooting, nobody points out when KAZUHA says or spells something wrong because even mistakes like that are a part of who Zuha is,” Kwack says. LE SSERAFIM’s show is unique in that their group has an air of positivity where they respect one another’s individuality, and this mindset is what allows their characters to grow and be fleshed out, making the show all the more engaging.
After first airing in July, LE SSERAFIM Company recently returned for a Chuseok holiday special. “There wasn’t actually any plan to make it a long-running series when we started, but the response was so good that we decided it was too good to let go of,” Kwack says. “That’s why we ended up using LE SSERAFIM Company to bring out the members’ personalities in a Chuseok special.” Kwack also reveals that there are now plans to continue the show going forward. At the end of the most recent episode, CHAEWON is promoted from intern to director, while SAKURA falls to the intern position and to emotional lows, signaling the winds of change. The series is already a fascinating watch.
LENIVERSE: The variety show that captures LE SSERAFIM’s chemistry
LENIVERSE started about two months ago, when the group’s other videos were already garnering a strong response. “LE SSERAFIM is funny, right?” Kyungwon Kim and Ji Won Kim say, with the thought being, “We’ll give you anything you need, so just have fun!” The two wanted to give the newly debuted group as many different opportunities on their variety show as possible. Viewers love to see idols working their way into the variety show circuit through games, challenges and in-the-field experiences, but the main focus of LENIVERSE is on the elaborate world of an otherwise unknown LE SSERAFIM that can only be witnessed there. Take, for instance, the first episode, “Welcome to LENIVERSE,” where each of the members has to escape from a differently themed room, and KAZUHA is stuck in one right out of a horror movie. The first thing she does when she doesn’t see anyone else around is try and look for the other members, stepping back in fear as she looks around her unfamiliar surroundings. After acclimatizing to the room somewhat, she suddenly does a full once-over of the room, calling a hideous object she finds her brother and naming it Eric, and uses different props around her to make her own story. “I wanted to see how the members would cope in different environments and show them a side of themselves even they didn’t know they had,” Kyungwon Kim says. “I wasn’t worried about which of them would end up in which room; no matter which theme they entered, each of them would’ve had to deal with it in their own way, showing a new side to each of them.”
The Original Contents Studio’s stance is that “a happy artist results in good content. It’s best if they feel like they come here to hang out, not just to film things.” Similarly, LE SSERAFIM’s production team’s motto is that “girl groups’ original content can be fun like this,” and that explains why the content LE SSERAFIM creates is so compelling. Not many girl groups have made their own content, and especially not in the typical variety show format. It’s also rare to see an entire YouTube channel run like a TV network or see everything about a group that makes them so charming all in one place, aside from with fromis_9, another girl group under HYBE. By running things this way, groups like LE SSERAFIM and fromis_9 are showing fans new sides to themselves that they can’t see anywhere else. Boy groups have always made content to show off their funny sides, personalities and chemistry; now it’s the girl groups’ turn to prove how diverse and engaging they can be when given a universe of their own. Even when LE SSERAFIM is faced with unexpected circumstances like rain that’s heavy enough to cancel their filming plans, they play games, cook food, laugh, bicker playfully and chat instead, and they make something great from their new situation. In one video, when the members are playing the forbidden word game, they restrict EUNCHAE from addressing any of them using the term of affection eonni. The older members are also hardly surprised when she jumps on them while they’re in their sleeping bags. Thanks to their shows, including LENIVERSE, LE SSERAFIM is able to show the chemistry between themselves that they can’t demonstrate as well on stage—the things that make each member charming as an individual and also the wonderful dynamic that exists across the spectrum of ages in the group. To get an idea of what to expect from LE SSERAFIM’s original content going forward, look no further than Kyungwon Kim and Ji Won Kim’s forecast for LENIVERSE: “We think the group members have so much to show everyone, which we’re looking forward to, too. LENIVERSE will be even more fun as it goes on, as the members will continue to reveal their true characters and build up even more chemistry.”
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