Disclaimer: I am a maknae in EVERYTHING when it comes to Korean entertainment. My sunbaes who are Shawols were very kind and allowed me to take SHINee, since that is the only group I’m even remotely acquainted with. THANK YOU, Jennie Bennett!
So I’m gonna start by talking about Rise of the Guardians. This will totally make sense, I promise. When Jack Frost ends up at the North Pole, Nicholas North is talking to him about becoming a guardian of childhood, right? Right. You’re totally with me. And as a part of that, he’s helping Jack understand that everyone has layers to their character. He uses nesting dolls for an example, showing Jack that outwardly he’s intimidating and fearless, then mysterious, then caring. At his core, though, is a sense of wonder. THAT is Nicholas North’s defining characteristic.
SHINee has a lot of characteristics. They’re hard-working, talented, and supportive of each other. But at their core, they are playful. For me, that sets them apart from other groups and makes them the group I relate to the best. My core is totally humor, so I have a great appreciation for SHINee’s playfulness.
Need a few more examples? Here you go:
MinHo’s laugh is so contagious! Cracks me up every time I watch those videos. There are THOUSANDS of YouTube videos that are just compilations of his laugh. True story.
So, how about an introduction to the members of SHINee? Yes, let’s do that.
First is Onew, real name Lee Jin Ki. He is the leader of SHINee. He’s kind and gentle and off-beat in the best ways. For instance, we have the very, VERY young Onew taking care of an even younger Taemin, just after their debut, on a reality show. The maknae wanted a candy, so he got a candy:
But I do believe this is Onew’s core — absolute absurdity:
He also has the most fantastic vocal control. I LOVE his Nessum Dorma solo at the Tokyo Dome. Gives me chills EVERY time I hear it. Crank up the volume and just listen to that voice soar:
He also has what is known as Onew Condition. This AllKpop article sums it up pretty well — he can have this ‘cold tofu’ or ‘dubu’ expression as he’s dancing or singing, then trip over his own feet, accidentally toss his microphone and scramble to catch it, and so on. There’ s gif of him getting knocked out by a plastic tree that cracks me up. And then he performs a perfect somersault.
And lastly, I love this video of MinHo describing Onew’s leadership style:
So, one minute he’s a kind and caring leader, then absolutely absurd, then tripping over his own feet, and then a consummate professional. That’s our Onew!
Next we have our lead vocalist, Jonghyun.
He’s the shortest member of SHINee, which he is often teased about:
He gets great support from the other members in his solo projects, like Blue Night, the show he was a DJ for until April of 2017.
And he supports his members in their solo efforts:
He also makes the BEST faces:
Jonghyun also loves books and is a bit nerdy. He’s written music for EXO, among other artists, and is building an exceptional solo career. That’s our talented Jonghyun!
Then we have the flaming charisma of MinHo:
Dude knows how to work a camera, but at the same time, there’s something about him that reminds me of my kid brother:
MinHo has made a name for himself as an actor. Watching him in Hwarang led me to SHINee and down the kpop rabbit hole. So, really, I can blame all of my current musical obsessions on him. Heh heh heh. Anyway, he’s also starred in To The Beautiful You, Medical Top Team, and others. He recently won an Indonesian Television award and is up for another award at the Daejong Film Awards. Boy has skillz! He’s decent at comedy too (watch him cook a chicken with his flaming charisma!):
And here he is with Onew and Jonghyun on SNL (Korea):
Give MinHo a hand!
Rounding out the group is Key, rapper, dancer, and vocalist.
Key is known for his love of fashion. There are several memes out there, but I think I like this video the best, especially because it highlights how well Key speaks English:
On the other hand, he also participated in the picture that became the basis for this meme:
I often find Key on Instagram, and he loves to post pictures of himself eating or with his dogs. I love this picture because their hair matches!
And a meme and a GIF, because Key is fun.
He’s also a busy guy — he acts (Lookout/The Guardians, Drinking Solo), he’s very involved in SHINee’s fashion design and the Korean fashion world, and is getting a graduate degree. All in a day’s work for our beautiful Key!
Last, but never least, we have the maknae, Taemin:
Don’t let the picture fool you — he might have polished his professional image, but we still have this:
Does the maknae ever grow up? I need to know.
Anyway, Taemin has worked hard these past few years to establish his solo career. His most recent effort, Flame of Love, captivated me with the beautiful melody and the fantastic imagery:
Granted, this being kpop, there are still elements that make me laugh. And the internets have pointed out that MinHo wore that red dress better….
Taemin is also a judge/mentor on The Unit, and it sounds like he’s being bluntly honest with the participants:
But he will forever be teased for his feminine good looks:
But that’s what maknaes are for, right? To be teased! Candy for Taemin for taking it so well.
SHINee has been together for so long (nearly ten years!) not only because they’re playful, but because they’re talented and work hard. I love comparing their Sherlock video to this clip from a variety show where they performed the routine at twice the speed (watch injured Onew on the sidelines. He can’t help himself!):
My friend has a YouTube list of exclusively non-music SHINee videos — it’s about 180 clips and reality tv episodes and going strong. I haven’t watched them all. I can see how much they’ve opened themselves up for their fans and other people, and it makes me appreciate them and their relationship even more. I’d love to hang out in a room with them and just watch their shenanigans. They definitely don’t take themselves seriously.
In the end, though, they are fantastic singers and dancers, even in the wildest music videos.
Most of all, I love how much they love their fans, their Shawols:
I’m glad SHINee was the first kpop group I discovered. I hope they’re around for a long, long time.
Check ’em out, drama fans. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi