As someone who is on the outside, looking in—I wouldn’t dare to call myself a K-pop stan lest I get quizzed on the facts and figures—it has always been a curiosity of mine what it is like for those idols to live in a gilded birdcage and under the watchful eyes of dedicated, if a tad overzealous, fandoms. Then came Suga: Road To D-Day.
Following one of the most recognisable faces in entertainment today and one-seventh of South Korean supergroup BTS, Suga, the documentary chronicles his journey in pursuit of his upcoming album. D-Day marks the final chapter in the 30-year-old’s Agust D trilogy after his two previous mixtapes Agust D and D-2.
Expectations, however, are thwarted almost immediately as the 80-minute bio takes him away from the harsh flashes of the press. The introspective documentary gives the audience a better understanding of who Suga is as a musician and—although not extensively as Min Yunki, save for some childhood memories—as a person.
Suga: Road To D-Day maps the rapper’s thought process as he hits the road to gather the materials for the album. From Las Vegas to Tokyo, Suga gives his fans an intimate look into his quest and shares his new experiences along the way, like driving a convertible across a desert—something that he’s never done in Korea.
The exchanges with the figures he meets further cultivate his ideas for D-Day. Whether it’s DJ Steve Aoki, rapper Anderson .Paak, or singer Halsey, whom he seems to feel most comfortable around and understandably so as they are close in age and are both pop stars in their prime, Suga expands his musical horizon.
But bubbling underneath this freeing voyage and pleasant camaraderie is one grave fear. “I’ve run out of stories to tell, but I have to tell one.” Such a line is noticeably peppered throughout the documentary as he struggles to write something of note. It’s a conundrum that those in the creative industry know all too well.
A retreat in a secluded part of Pyeongchang, a face time with musical hero Ryuichi Sakamoto—the Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence tune interspersed throughout the documentary beautifully builds to this heartwarming meeting—and an Internet cleanse are all documented here as Suga begins to feel as though he’s hit a wall.
The social media blackout is especially poignant as it ultimately symbolises what D-Day is all about. It’s the day we free ourselves from the glut of information shoved down our throats; the day we put an end to the exhausting cycle where we’re constantly pressured to play by someone else’s rules.
Suga: Road To D-Day is available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar