Taking their artificial intelligence avatar concept to the “Next Level”—upcoming-title-track pun intended—aespa just dropped the premiere episode of their new SM Culture Universe web series: “Black Mamba,” titled just like their debut single. The 10-minute rollercoaster ride was packed with new tidbits of information about SM Entertainment‘s new cinematic universe, so don’t feel bad if you couldn’t take everything in. Here are eight cool things you may have missed in your first watch-through.

1. The logo

When æ gets hacked in “ep1. Black Mamba,” Ningning‘s butterfly artwork is seen transforming into a new, distorted logo. Notice anything cool about it?

| aespa/YouTube

Not only does the logo features a black mamba-like snake, it’s also shaped like the symbol æ—just like aespa’s official logo.

| SMTOWN/YouTube

2. The term explanations

If you’ve been confused by all the technical terminology that goes along with aespa’s concept, you’re not the only one. Thankfully, the way those terms were used in the new SM Culture Universe video makes their meanings a little clearer. If you still couldn’t grasp everything from the clip, here’s a quick rundown:

  • Æ – Æ (pronounced like the word “eye“) are digital entities based on a person’s real existence. Each aespa member has their own æ.
  • FLAT – The FLAT is the digital world where æ-aespa live.
  • KWANGYA – KWANGYA is the unprescribed, infinite digital world beyond the FLAT with no rule or form.


  • NÆVIS – NÆVIS (pronounced and sometimes spelled “NAVIS”) is the AI entity that connects the portal between the FLAT and KWANGYA.
  • O.S – Short for “Port of Soul,” P.O.S is a portal that connects the FLAT with the real world.
  • REKALL – REKALL is when æ cross over to the real world.


  • SYNK – SYNK is the act of connecting with your æ to share secrets, thoughts, and emotions.
  • MY – When aespa and æ-aespa SYNK, they become MY, which is said to mean “the most precious friends.” MY is also aespa’s official fandom name.
  • Black Mamba – The Black Mamba is the evil entity in KWANGYA that disconnects aespa and æ-aespa’s SYNK. In a recent press release, SM Entertainment revealed aespa will be fighting the Black Mamba in “Next Level.”


3. Giselle’s rap

Back before aespa debuted, Giselle took everyone by surprise with her impressive rap teaser.

| aespa/YouTube

In “ep1. Black Mamba,” Giselle can be seen writing the lyrics to her rap instead of taking notes on her lecture.

| aespa/YouTube

4. æ-Giselle’s outfit

On the subject of Giselle, take a look at the outfit æ-Giselle is wearing in the lecture scene. While the rest of æ-aespa are still wearing the same outfits they were given for the group’s debut, æ-Giselle is the only avatar wearing a new outfit. Her Givenchy hoodie is likely a nod to aespa’s new roles as the luxury brand’s ambassadors.

| aespa/YouTube

5. NÆVIS and the Black Mamba

In “ep1. Black Mamba,” we’re introduced to two key characters: NÆVIS…

| aespa/YouTube

…and the Black Mamba herself. While they have different animation styles, the similarities between them are uncanny. Both characters have similar hairstyles, makeup, and even face and eye shapes. It’s possible the two may be sisters or even two halves of the same person.

| aespa/YouTube

6. The repeated scene

When Karina floats to the surface of her pool and sees æ-Karina glitching, her eyes suddenly turn black, transporting her to a creepy yet scene where a character played by model Jang Yoon Ju whispers snake-like words to her.

| aespa/YouTube

If this scene looks familiar to you, that’s because it plays in aespa’s debut music video too.

| aespa/YouTube

7. The pre-debut teaser connections

There are connections between “ep1. Black Mamba” and aespa’s pre-debut “SYNK” teasers too. The way Karina reaches out for æ-Karina’s hand as she exits the P.O.S…

| aespa/YouTube

… looks just like how they met in the “SYNK” teaser.

| aespa/YouTube

Winter‘s shoot-out scene in the SM Culture Universe clip…

| aespa/YouTube

… is reminiscent of the scenes showed in the beginning of her pre-debut teaser.

| aespa/YouTube

And just like Ningning was surrounded by butterfly artwork in her “SYNK” teaser…

| aespa/YouTube

… she created butterfly artwork in “ep1. Black Mamba.”

| aespa/YouTube

8. The date

Look closely and you’ll see the same date on Karina’s phone…

| aespa/YouTube

… and on Professor Andrew Kim’s phone: March 12. While the date doesn’t seem to have any significance yet, it may play an important role in the story’s timeline later on.

| aespa/YouTube

Watch the full “‘ep1. Black Mamba’ – SM Culture Universe” video with English subtitles for yourself here: