The idea of virtual K-Pop idols has been around since the nineties and has only grown more popular through the years. Last year, K-Pop boy group SUPERKIND made headlines because of its AI-powered member Saejin, and fully AI group MAVE just released their debut track “Pandora.”
SM Entertainment aespa‘s lore is intertwined with the Metaverse, with each member having their own computer-generated æ-aespa counterparts.
Another AI in aespa’s universe is the character Nævis (also known as NAVIS or Naevis), who is responsible for helping the group and their avatars coexist as they fight the fictional Black Mamba villain. Based on the music video and lyrics for “Savage,” fans initially believed Nævis no longer existed after sacrificing herself to defeat the Black Mamba.
Naevis basically sacrifice herself to help aespa to defeat BM & now she is gone/dead. If she can be resurrect, they might meet again.
aespa said “Naevis, callin” in NL, bcs she wanted to help them. The line “Naevis we love u” is to thank her. Wow it’s pretty deep & sad. pic.twitter.com/UTSDhLHKmy
— ra 𓆙 (@whothenextlevel) October 6, 2021
However, a recent SM Entertainment announcement will change aespa’s lore again and involves the previously thought “dead” AI.
On January 25, it was announced that Nævis would be making her official stage debut in March. SM’s CEO Lee Sung Soo (also known as Chris Lee) said that the company plans on presenting her as an “AI artist.”
Naevis, who had only appeared so far as a CG image in aespa’s music videos, is in plans to be shown as an AI artist. She will be an artist born by mobilizing skills for natural movements, newly created voice, and real time communication.
— SM Entertainment CEO Lee Sung Soo
Nævis’s voice will be comprised by analyzing twelve different voice actors. Her official debut stage will be at the international music festival SXSW (also known as South By South West). The festival previously announced that aespa would perform at a VR concert, where the four members and Nævis will dance and sing.
Reactions to this announcement have been mixed, with many k-netizens wondering exactly why SM is doing this.
- Why is SM like this seriously… Ah, this is really not it…
- ? Why are they obsessing over non-living things???
- I wanted Naevis to debut but who knew she actually wouldㅋㅋㅋㅋ
- Take care of the artists that you have already…
- Doesn’t this cost a crap load of money?.. So this is where the money’s going to..
International fans also have had mixed reactions to the announcement, with some showing excitement about aespa’s AI lore expanding…
#seated for naevis’ debut at sxsw film festival! naevis is actually known and loved inside and out the fandom. it’s long overdue that sm started capitalizing on this. it also brings more exposure to aespa bc she’s the most popular aspect of their lore. i’m so fucking excited!!!!! pic.twitter.com/acR6cpI01p
— ✧･ﾟ泡芙 ˚ʚ 💾 ɞ˚ (@synkdyve) January 25, 2023
Naevis brings so much positive attention to aespa. She’s popular inside and outside the fandom, and she’s a vital part of aespa’s concept. Utilizing Naevis more promotes aespa and differentiates them from other groups. SM should have done this from the beginning https://t.co/UKku2zzjUD pic.twitter.com/nVuotiSTN5
— ‘ (@lordellea) January 25, 2023
…while others have expressed a desire for SM to focus on the real artists it has, especially aespa who have yet to release a third single album or a full album. Fans also wonder why SM would debut an AI instead of focusing on the current trainees at the company.
how naevis get confirmed for music before aespa? god pic.twitter.com/btTgmFkX6U
— vicks. (@visionaerii) January 25, 2023
— ً (@visuallyuno) January 25, 2023
can sm stop tryna play funny and give aespa a damn cb like wdym nævis debut be so serious rn https://t.co/7Nx7BKoRGc
— k is feeling HEATED (@frostyonce) January 25, 2023
What do you think about Nævis’ upcoming debut?