Many GFriend fans think that HYBE took the idea from GFriend’s own universe to create a new story for the company’s upcoming girl group.
GFriend’s disbandment in May 2021 is still regarded as one of the most stunning K-pop group disbandments. And, while the internal situation is unclear, many Buddy (GFriend) fans are not only angry with Source Music, but also have a “grudge” against HYBE. They believed that HYBE played a role in Source Music’s decision to disband GFriend, hence they have little sympathy for the company’s upcoming new girl group.
Recently, another incident has erupted, making GFriend supporters even more enraged with HYBE. Accordingly, they believe that the webtoon and web novel versions of the new female group’s story that HYBE is planning to launch in the future are ‘recycled’ from the previous GFriend’s universe story.
On November 3, HYBE Labels uploaded the video ‘2021 HYBE Briefing With Community‘ to share some of the company’s orientations and plans. One of those plans is to work with Naver Webtoon to release 4 series for HYBE artists in 2021: BTS, TXT, ENHYPEN, and most likely a new girl group of the company. All four stories will be published simultaneously in both webtoon formats on Naver Webtoon, and web novels posted on Wattpad.
Different from the series of BTS, TXT and ENHYPEN, there is a series where the main characters are all female but HYBE has not revealed the name of the group or the release date. Crimson Heart is a coming-of-age story set in the city of Refugia, a controlled city cut off from the magical land of Unknown – a magical land filled with Blue Flames. The story unfolds when the girls one day find a mysterious ancient book and a red necklace in the library. They go on an adventure to a strange world in search of the “Island of Blue Fireflies”.
And although HYBE has yet to confirm anything, netizens have also guessed that this is a story for an unpublished new girl group. However, some GFriend fans immediately discovered that there are many details in ‘Crimson Heart‘ that look like an ideal copied from GFriend’s ‘Tale of Glass Bead‘.
‘Tale of Glass Bead’ is a story about a fantasy universe of GFriend, with the plot described through music videos, songs, performances, choreography, etc. In addition, it was also released in the form of a mini storybook that was accompanied by the girl group’s album.
The main plot of ‘Tale of Glass Bead’ revolves around the friendship of a group of girls while they grow up surrounded by a mysterious universe and need to deal with loss, their friendship falling apart and a bittersweet feeling as they struggle to be together. A GFriend fan then made a post on Twitter to show the similarities between GFriend’s story and the webtoon ‘Crimson Heart’ that HYBE created for the new girl group.
The images on the left are the preview of ‘Crimson Heart’ in HYBE’s video, and on the right are the photos and story of GFriend’s ‘Tale of Glass Bead’ included in the minibook included in the album or in the group’s MV.
Although this is not a case of ‘plagiarism,’ everyone can see the similarities between the storylines of ‘Tale of Glass Bead’ and ‘Crimson Heart.’ Many GFriend fans believe that HYBE made a wise decision by not copying the idea exactly, but rather ‘borrowing’ it and ‘recycling’ it into a new story. This infuriated fans since they had always believed that the company forced GFriend to disband in order to focus on launching a new female group, and now HYBE is even using their story to introduce this new girl group.
GFriend followers began criticizing HYBE with the hashtag #ThankYouGFRIEND. This is a sarcastic hashtag fans use to claim that HYBE should express thanks to GFriend since this company has to rely on the group’s universe to recreate the story for the upcoming girl group.