REVIEW: ‘TWICE: Seize the Light’ (2020) is a Celebration of Nine

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

“A beautiful tribute to a group anchored in K-Pop history.”

An array of peach and pink lights illuminates the darkness, highlighting the looming presence of a blank stage. Fans scream and cheer, holding banners in support of their favourite members, awaiting the colourful personalities they have grown to love since 2016. In the same darkness await TWICE, one of the biggest powerhouses in K-Pop history. However, their emotions seemed to be laced with the foul shadow of doubt. “What if I do it incorrectly?” exclaims Sana, one of the nine members of TWICE, with fellow member Dahyun similarly worrying about their first appearance stateside. Nonetheless, each member takes their place for their grand entrance, ready to enchant fans once again.

TWICE: Seize the Light is a YouTube Originals Documentary series that follows K-Pop girl group TWICE during their first world tour. The series gives a behind-the-scenes look into the reality of idol life, showcasing both the best and worst of K-Pop stardom. This series also deals with the extended hiatus of Japanese member Mina, who withdrew from the group for mental health reasons during this time, and the toll this took on the members of the group.

To avid fans of TWICE (or as they’ve been lovingly coined, ONCE’s), the first half of the series comes exactly as you would expect. Filled with an array of TWICE’s greatest hits from the last four years, we get to see TWICE do what they do best on various stages around the world. Individual interviews from each member gives a new glimpse into the unseen aspects of their idol lives, including their trainee years which, for most, began as children. 

All nine members of TWICE pose together in glittery black outfits.
The members of TWICE, from left to right: Sana, Tzuyu, Jihyo, Dahyun, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Chaeyoung, Momo and Mina

There are plenty of goofs to keep you smiling, such as Sana losing her sandal in the ocean and proceeding to give it CPR, Momo’s parents (once again) declaring their love for Jihyo over their own daughter, and Dahyun well… being Dahyun. Yet, there is an abundance of low moments to balance this series out into a more realistic glimpse into the K-Pop industry. 

After storming out of the gate with an abundance of energy that we come to expect from TWICE, in the series’ sixth episode, Seize the Light seems to run out of steam along with its subjects. Various members of TWICE express how their packed schedule has impacted them both in interviews and in segments of vlogs, with rapper Chaeyoung even falling asleep during a solo address. Despite their individual struggles, it would be Mina’s departure from the group that would be most felt by all the members. 

“One in a million. Hello, we are TWICE.”

TWICE’s official greeting

One thing that the series can truly be commended for is its handling of Mina’s absence. Following Mina’s hiatus, the remaining members of TWICE processed the situation in their own way. Jeongyeon sobs over the fear of disappointing ONCE’s who have wished to see them as a full unit, whilst Chaeyoung asks the ONCE’s of New York: “Please remember us as nine members and always be with us.” Members speak candidly about their desire to be nine once again, even allowing Mina to be frank about her thought process during her hiatus. It allows for a reunion that feels appropriate and right for all members and ensures ONCE’s that Mina’s return is right for her and her health.

Overall, Seize the Light is a beautiful tribute to a group anchored in K-Pop history, giving ONCE’s a welcomed glimpse into the reality their idols faced. Although it is perhaps not as in-depth as most documentary series’ are, it gives just enough insight into TWICE’s world for ONCE’s to feel satisfied, whilst also giving the group much welcomed space to allow them to remain somewhat private in such an open industry. 

Ultimately, Seize the Light is a celebration of how nine individuals can come together as a powerhouse of one and unconditionally support one another to be the very best they can be. Seize the Light is a celebration of TWICE and how they should be remembered as the nine incredible people they are; together. 

Directed: Li Jungho, Jeong Heejin

Produced: Park Jinyoung, Peter Lee

Starring: Im Nayeon, Yoo Jeongyeon, Hirai Momo, Minatozaki Sana, Park Jihyo, Myoui Mina, Kim Dahyun, Son Chaeyoung, Chou Tzuyu

Available: YouTube weekly, or YouTube Premium in full