Looks like K-Pop is getting their own version of a cinematic universe.
On May 15, 2021, SM Entertainment introduced the “SM Culture Universe (SMCU)” through a video on Aespa’s Official YouTube channel, indicating the beginning of the company’s “new vision” as mentioned by Director Lee Sung Soo.
The short film, titled ‘ep1. Black Mamba’ shows viewers the world of “æ”, where virtual alter egos of different people exist in the domain of digital data. The episode follows the members of Aespa, who interact regularly with their æ-selves while they go about their day.
By the end of the episode, the members’ connection with their æ-egos termed “SYNK”, is disrupted by the “Black Mamba”. The film also introduces a new virtual character named “Nævis” in the Aespa-universe, while describing ‘Kwangya’ – the world where the æ-vatars of Aespa live.
The SMCU had first been referenced with the introduction of SuperM, who are boldly dubbed as the “Avengers of K-Pop”, with members of different boy groups from SM Ent combining into one – Taemin from SHINee, Baekhyun and Kai from EXO, and Taeyong, Mark, Lucas, and Ten from NCT. In their music video ‘One (Monster & Infinity)’, SM teased their new girl group Aespa and the beginning of the SMCU.
Concepts of the SMCU have also been teased in several other SM artists’ music videos and lyrics, such as KAI’s ‘Mmmh’, Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi’s ‘Naughty’, NCT’s ‘Resonance’ and ‘90’s Love’, and most recently, Aespa’s ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level’ – Aespa’s latest comeback.
Fan theories have gone wild, thanks to the introduction of K-Pop’s very own culture universe. Watch the short film below:
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