K-pop doesn’t stop evolving, huh? One day we’re dancing about being happy and contented. Now, we’re dancing and rapping about defeating a Black Mamba? Then we thank Nævis for her sacrifice. I guess that’s what aespa wants to happen to get us hooked. And it worked. To celebrate their newly released album, Girls, let us first understand some things about aespa’s dark lore and SMCU’s metaverse concept as we enjoy their comeback.
K-pop girl group aespa consisted of four members – Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning. They made their debut in November 2020 under SM Entertainment. You might think they are just the typical girl group that would make music based on a cute or girl crush concept. Well, think again.
SM Entertainment decided to open the metaverse concept with the rookie group when they debuted. They showcased their uniqueness by having four AI versions of themselves as part of the group. The company introduced them as æ Karina, æ Giselle, æ Winter, and æ Ningning.
This experiment seemed exciting and unusual, so it took some time for people to warm up to it.
How did it start?
Basically, SM Entertainment wanted to make an entire metaverse consisting of all the artists within the company. Just as Marvel has MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), SM also opened its own world being called SMCU (SM Culture Universe).
The lore was believed to be present even before the aespa’s debut. Fans have noticed the connection of SM artists’ songs such as Red Velvet (Irene&Seulgi)’s Naughty and EXO Kai’s mmmh to the new metaverse concept.
The rookie group shook the K-pop industry after introducing this new concept that was very different from the usual. The songs and performances tell stories about their lore and explain the whole SM culture universe. In this way, the artists’ future songs may likely revolve around their world.
So, if you want to fully catch up on what’s happening in the world of Kwangya, then you better watch out for other SM artists’ upcoming songs too. There might be answers as to how and what is happening to their universe.
What the lore is all about (According to aespa)
According to their metaverse, the universe is now settled by both humans and the æs. The æs are the alter ego which is made based on the data that people upload on social media. In this case, they are both the other version of ourselves but also not as it is only based on some parts about us. Although, as revealed in the aespa’s worldview ep.1: Black Mamba, a phenomenon occurred where the connection of both the human and æs got forcibly disconnected. It created a SYNKOUT all over the world.
Next Level and Savage
With this, the aespa members go on their way to discover what’s blocking the SYNK, as told in their second song, Next Level. The song narrates how the group goes on their way to Kwangya to defeat the villain called Black Mamba.
In the recently released aespa’s worldview ep.2: Next Level video, explained how they got into Kwangya. With the help of Nævis, a SYNK DIVE occurred from where aespa and their avatar æs become one. They need to do this as the æs are the only ones allowed to enter Kwangya. But, they needed more help to find out what blocked the SYNK.
As they entered Kwangya, the black mamba used their weaknesses against them. The villain wants to push aespa members to delete their own æs. Fortunately, the butterfly that Nævis told them to follow made them realize that the villain manipulated the whole thing to make them believe that the æs are trying to take human’s place.
In their latest song Savage, they successfully defeated the black mamba with the use of their individual skills.
- Karina – Rocket Puncher
- Winter – Armamenter (expert in military equipment)
- Giselle – Xenoglossy (can speak/understand other languages that are not acquired by natural means)
- Ningning – E.D Hacker
With Karina and Winter in charge of the attacks, Ningning and Giselle guided the group to their destinations smoothly. The dynamics led to the mission’s success.
Terms you need to know to follow the lore
- æ – an alter ego where personality came from all the data uploaded every day
- FLAT – where the æs live
- Kwangya – unprescribed, infinite extent with no rule and form
- Real World – where the people live
- MY – term in Kwangya which means “The Most Precious Friend”
- Nævis – the guide that supports aespa and æ
- SYNK – the connection between the human and æ
- SYNKOUT – a phenomenon where the SYNK of the human and the æ gets forcibly cut off
- SYNK DIVE – synchronized consciousness of the physical body and æ; feels each other’s senses.
- REKALL – the phenomenon of æ coming into the real world and spending time with the human.
- P.O.S (Port of Soul) – an energy source that connects the FLAT and the real world
- Black Mamba – The villain that interferes with the SYNK between the human and æ
So far, aespa, EXO’s Kai, Kangta, Red Velvet’s Irene & Seulgi, and NCT were able to feature their roles in the metaverse. We are looking forward to other artists’ appearances in Kwangya as well as aespa’s next villain that will soon be introduced.
Mae has always been into writing. She likes to write poems whenever she is inspired to do so. Or, she would just write her thoughts freely in her journal. Other than that, she spends her time listening to random music, watching movies, and just browsing on Twitter. It may sound like she's an introvert but she's really talkative when you meet her. You'd even wish the gods to let her stop talking and breathe.