BT21 is the first creation of FRIENDS CREATORS, a project that aimed to create new characters for Line Friends. LINE FRIENDS is a global brand with memorable characters that was originally created to be used as stickers for the LINE mobile messenger with 200 million users worldwide.
South Korean group BTS was the first group of idols to participate in this project, the main theme of which was to show the connection between BTS and Line Friends in terms of popularity around the world. The project included the creation of 8 characters, invented by BTS members. The character drawings were based on the original ideas and sketches of the 7 members. The creation of the BT21 characters was captured in a series of videos available on YouTube (you can watch the first episode below).
The name BT21 is a combination of the name of the BTS group and the 21st century. Suga said the name should represent both BTS and the 21st century so they can live for the next 100 years.
The official release of BT21 in Line Friends took place in October 2017.
- BT21 characters
- Creating BT21
- Visit to the LINE STORE (episode 1)
- BT21 character design (episode 2)
- Presentation of each BTS member’s work (episodes 3 and 4)
- Design on a tablet (episode 5)
- Drawing results on the tablet (episode 6)
- Presentation of the final work (episode 7)
- Characters and abilities of BT21 (episodes 8 and 9)
- Select the name and location of the meeting. Which BT21 character is the most beautiful? (episode 10)
- Final result and development of BT21 (episodes 11, 12 and 13)
- BT21 products
TATA: a restless and curious soul
Sometimes Tata smiles. This is an alien prince, very curious by nature, who came from the planet BT. Tata has supernatural powers and a super-elastic body that can stretch a lot.
The character Tata was created by Kim Taehyung (V, 김태형).
KOYA: the sleeping genius
Koya is a character who sleeps constantly. This is thinker, a blue koala with a purple nose and removable ears (they fall off when he is shocked or scared). Koya even sleeps, thinking about a lot of things. He lives in a eucalyptus forest.
Koya was created by Kim Namjoon (김남준)
RJ: kind and gentle gourmet
RJ is a character who likes to cook and eat. RJ is a white alpaca who wears a red headscarf and a gray parka when it’s cold. He’s a Machu Picchu native, hates shaving. His fluffy fur and compassionate soul make everyone feel at home with him.
RJ was created by Kim Seok Jin (김석진)
SHOOKY: little prankster
Shooky has a wild temper. This is a naughty little chocolate cookie who is afraid of milk and leads a team of cookies called the “Crunchy Squad”. Shooky is a prankster, likes to have fun with friends and make fun of them.
Shooky was created by Suga (Min Yoongi, 민윤기)
MANG: the mysterious dancer
Mang loves to dance (wherever there is music). Mang performs the best dance moves (especially Michael Jackson). His true identity is unknown due to the mask (a horse’s head with a heart-shaped nose) that he constantly wears.
Mang was created by J-Hope (Jung Hoseok 정호석)
CHIMMY: pure heart
Chimmy is a character whose tongue is always outside. Chimmy wears his yellow hooded jumpsuit and works hard on anything that gets his attention. He does not know his past and loves the music of the harmonica.
Chimmy was created by Jimin (Park Jimin 박지민)
COOKY: cute and energetic fighter
He admires his body “like a temple.” Cooky is a very cool, cute pink rabbit with a mischievous eyebrow and a white heart-shaped tail that wants to be strong. He loves boxing. Don’t let Cooky’s cheerful appearance fool you. It is hardy and persistent. Cooky is the friend you can always rely on!
Cooky was created by Jeon Jungkook (전 정국)
VAN: space guardian robot
Van is a space robot, omniscient and wise. Half of its body is gray with an “x” shaped eye, and the other half is white with an “o” shaped eye.
Van, the defender of BT21, was created by Namjoon (RM) to represent the BTS fandom, ARMY
Visit to the LINE STORE (episode 1)
In the first episode, we see BTS members who come to the LINE STORE studio.
BTS is going to create their own characters and put the maximum of their personality into them.
The name of this project, in which all BTS members participate, is called “Friends Creators”.
First, each member draw or sketch a character. Then the designers, professionals in their field, enter into the work and complete the images of the characters.
BT21 character design (episode 2)
BTS continues to draw. They try hard to make the characters individual, to make them more interesting. Taehyung asks everyone to make the most of their imagination:
Fans are not satisfied with just a cute appearance of the character!
The episode is filled with shots of laughter and smiles, as everyone begins to show what they are drawing. Now we know who in BTS is talented in drawing; others take out by charisma 😉
Presentation of each BTS member’s work (episodes 3 and 4)
After everyone had finished drawing, it was time to present the work of each BTS member.
So, it turned out the following:
- Jin: RJ, alpaca
- V: Tata, the alien
- J-Hope: Mang, similar to a horse. Mang is derived from the Korean word “hui-mang”, meaning hope
- Suga: Shooky, cookie
- RM : Koya, koala
- Jungkook : Cooky, there are normal and “muscular” versions of the character
- Jimin: Chimmy is similar to a potato, in addition to the regular version, the military and flattened versions are drawn
The designers are impressed by the quality of the work of the BTS members.
The next step is the personal communication of each BTS member with the designers.
Design on a tablet (episode 5)
The BTS were divided into 3 groups, judging by their drawing ability (team strong, medium and … charismatic :D)
Designers turn BTS sketches into professional ones on a graphic tablet.
It is at this time that the choice of character names takes place.
Drawing results on the tablet (episode 6)
The episode begins with a presentation of BTS drawings. Each participant was assisted by designers.
Some members of BTS wanted to play on the originality of the characters, for example, V said:
“I decided to give preference to the originality of the character, rather than its beauty!”
At first, BTS thought that everything that was happening was a competition, and only 3 characters would be selected for Line Friends. In fact, all the characters were accepted.
The project manager of “Friends Creators” suggests that BTS think about what kind of relationship story they want to offer their characters: friends, children, someone else?
Presentation of the final work (episode 7)
Professional designers have completed their work and present the results to the BTS members.
- Taehyung (V) – TATA sees himself as a great celebrity with a resemblance to V
- Namjoon (RM) – KOYA, the koala who always walks with a pillow
- J-Hope – there is a big change compared to the first version of MANG
- Jimin – CHIMMY constantly gets jokes about his appearance
- Jungkook impressed the designers with his talent for drawing. 2 characters were created by Suga and Jungkook together: rabbit COOKY and cookie SHOOKY
- Jin – RJ is a special alpaca that has a parka! Indeed, RJ can easily catch a cold
Characters and abilities of BT21 (episodes 8 and 9)
BTS share their opinions on the newly created characters.
Each BTS member goes to the board and describes their BT21 characters (smart, hardworking, etc.).
Select the name and location of the meeting. Which BT21 character is the most beautiful? (episode 10)
After the BTS members have decided on the characters of the BT21 characters, they must choose the name of the group and the place of their meeting.
BTS can’t choose a name for a long time, but they are sure that it should contain the number “21”, which would represent the 21st century. 21 Millenium? Millenium friends? … Since they can’t decide, they prefer to focus on something else, such as where the BT21 characters meet and how attractive they are.
How were the BT21 characters created and how did each BTS member feel? Everyone talks about their feelings:
It was very interesting to watch how the characters developedNamjoon (RM)
Mixing our ideas with the talent of designers is incredibly coolHoseok (J-Hope)
It’s amazing to realize that the resulting characters were created based on our ideas…as if they were our childrenJimin
I think the BT21 characters are similar to the BTS members, which is greatJin
I created this character to please our fans… people above all are happy to see the originality in everything. They’re looking for something they haven’t seen in the pastTaehyung (V)
I hope people will understand that the BT21 characters include some of our ideas and beliefsJungkook
These characters are like our children. People should keep this in mind when they see them [ … ] BTS really tried to create a beautiful story for the BT21 charactersSuga
Final result and development of BT21 (episodes 11, 12 and 13)
The name BT21 is officially selected.
In the last 3 episodes, BTS showed BT21 merchandise, as well as animation for each character.
The character Van was also introduced. None of the BTS members drew it, but it was suggested to strengthen the bond between all the characters.
BT21 stickers for the Line app were introduced.
Each BTS member talks about their feelings about the project and wishes a great promotion to the BT21 characters, hoping that everyone will like them!
What are the BT21 products?
Various BT21 products are on sale: soft toys, pillows, keychains, bags, figures, etc…
Merch was also created in certain themes, such as space, travel, and for children.