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We can do this. We have to believe in ourselves. We can't give up. We are the universe's only hope. Everyone is relying on us. We can't fail! We won't fail! If we work together, we'll win together!

—Shiro

Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane is a Paladin who pilots the Black Lion of Voltron and functions as the leader of the Paladins until his mysterious disappearance after Zarkon's initial defeat.

He previously was a skilled pilot of legendary reputation from the Galaxy Garrison and was believed dead due to his own error during a mission to Kerberos, a moon of Pluto. In truth, he and his crew had been taken prisoner by the Galra Empire and he became a famed gladiator heralded as the champion in the Empire's arena, experimented on and given a prosthetic arm. His sudden return to Earth a year later with claims of aliens on the attack draws Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith together and ultimately triggers the events leading to the return of Voltron, beginning Shiro's new life as a Paladin fighting the Galra Empire while recovering lost memories of his captivity, as he suffers severe amnesia sustained from a head injury during escape.

Shiro learns that Zarkon was the previous Black Paladin who retains a connection to the Black Lion. He uses the emperor's obsession with the Lion to help ensure Zarkon's downfall and defeat at the hands of Voltron's team and allies after an epic battle between the robot and the emperor's own massive robotic suit. While this entails the return of the Black Bayard, Shiro mysteriously vanishes without a trace from the Black Lion. His status and whereabouts remain unknown until he seemingly returns after escaping a Galra warship with no memory of his time spent away.

Appearance

Shiro has the appearance of a tall and broad-shouldered young Japanese man with pale skin;[4] his muscular frame, thick jaw, and wide-set chin give Shiro a distinctly mature appearance to echo his leadership personality and role, and he stands as the tallest of the Paladins.[5] Shiro has black hair shaven into an undercut with short white bangs centered on his forehead. The shaven part of his hair appears a lighter gray. He has prominently thick, angular eyebrows and his dark gray eyes are notably drawn with a winged outer tip. Across the bridge of his nose is a thin scar. Prior to his initial capture, Shiro had the same hairstyle, but his hair was completely black, and he featured no scars.

In his Paladin armor, Shiro's uniform mirrors his fellow Paladins but with black accents to match that of his Lion.

When he is not in his Paladin armor, Shiro wears a gray long-sleeved turtleneck shirt under a black vest. The vest has a tall collar accented with yellow bars on either lapel; the vest is further accented by white lining the armholes and a white zipper, with light gray lining the pockets at either rib area. He wears a black, fingerless glove on his left hand that covers his sleeve's cuff; Shiro's right arm is almost entirely a Galra prosthetic to replace his lost natural arm, beginning just over his elbow. Shiro is able to tuck his shirt under the prosthetic's edge.

His prosthetic arm is mostly comprised of white sections smoothly shaped to mimic a natural human arm, but is dark gray at the elbow joint, wrist joint, palm, and fingers; excluding the thumb which is entirely white. The knuckles of the hand are a lighter gray.

Shiro's vest and shirt are tucked under a utility belt he wears over his pants; true to his monochromatic colorscheme, the belt is the same gray as his shirt with a gray buckle and two gray pouches at either hip. The dark grey pants Shiro wears are padded at the knees and tucked into the cuffs of his black boots. His boots reach his shins and feature a light gray cog-like design accenting them that encompasses most of the boots from his calves to his toes, save for the black reaching from the cuffs to the middle of his top feet and lining his soles and heels.

Personality

The Black Lion is the decisive head of Voltron. It will take a pilot who is a born leader and in control at all times, someone whose men will follow without hesitation.

Allura describing the Black Lion, in "The Rise of Voltron"

Kind-hearted, grounded, and imbued with a sense of justice to do the right thing, Shiro is the Paladin most likely to take command in situations where others suffer panic or foul tempers. He supports his team with a sense of direction, maturity, and empathy, scolding fellow Paladins when needed, but rarely becoming genuinely angered at his allies as he is a tactful thinker who helps his team remain calm and understands their personal struggles. While exerting a substantial amount of patience and accommodation, he is not impervious to his own temper and can uncharacteristically snap out of sheer frustration, most notably at Slav.[6] Shiro has a fun-loving and joking side to him as well, enjoying the space goo fight and displaying his idea of laser gun sound effects immediately after scolding his fellow Paladins for their renditions.[7]

As the leader of the Paladins, Shiro embraces his role as the Black Paladin and head of Voltron, determined to defeat Zarkon and protect the universe from the evil that he witnessed first-hand. He has been shown to understand tough decisions must be made in times of war, and he is willing to potentially leave his missing Kerberos crewmen behind,[5] but later relents to search for them. Since then, Shiro has been fiercely protective of his new crew, unwilling to leave Allura behind on an enemy ship.[6]

While acting as the leader and seemingly appearing the most composed and emotionally stable of the group, Shiro, in truth, suffers from immense post-traumatic stress disorder inflicted by his time spent as a prisoner of the Galra Empire. The head injury sustained while he escaped his captivity has caused suppression of his memory so Shiro knows little of his captivity while under Zarkon and Haggar's whims. There are moments where he has flashes back to events he cannot clearly recall, which can cause Shiro to freeze up and become vulnerable to enemy attack.[5][8] Despite the Galran being asleep in a cryo-pod, Shiro has heard Sendak taunting him for his suitability as a Paladin vs. that of a Galra solider, calling him "broken and reformed", a "monster", and already lost to Zarkon;[9] it is unclear whether that voice is truly Sendak, the corrupted Castle of Lions, or Shiro's mind itself.

Regardless, the experience shakes Shiro to his core and triggers him to violently lash out - a very clear reveal that Shiro is more fragile than he allows others to know. Shiro has been struggling to regain his memories and project the airs of a strong, trustworthy, and reliable leader, as he is one the Paladins look to for guidance, and Shiro feels the responsibility of protecting and providing for his new crew after the loss of his first.

Abilities

As the Black Paladin, Shiro does not use a Bayard because it remains in Zarkon's possession until the emperor's defeat and Shiro's disappearance. Shiro uses his prosthetic right arm granted to him by Haggar instead:[10] its advanced technology from the Galra Empire generates extremely powerful purple energy in his hand that he can use to cut through and melt most metal.[6] Since many of the enemies the Paladins face are robot sentries, this comes in handy. The arm and Shiro himself possess immense physical strength, able to toss someone as massive as Sendak, and Shiro moves quickly as he slices through enemies across the battlefield with impressive hand-to-hand combat skills. Like other Paladins, his armor enables him to form an energy shield for defense, and contains a jetpack for brief sustained flight.

When of a stable mind, Shiro has solid leadership skills that command attention and he plans thoughtfully as a military tactician seeking to topple an empire, valuing information on the Galra Empire's intricate workings.[9] He is able to bond so thoroughly with the Black Lion that he can witness and feel what the Lion does while piloting it with his eye closed.[8] This bond has only been compromised by Zarkon's interference as the previous Black Paladin,[10] but Shiro has even won the Black Lion's favor and trust over Zarkon, and defeated the emperor's connection to the Lion.[11] Shiro's superb piloting skills made him a legend at the Galaxy Garrison and earned him a medal to decorate his senior officer uniform,[5][12] as well as a place in the fateful Kerberos Mission.

If there is one weakness that Shiro possesses, it is his PTSD. When triggered, Shrio loses his normally calm and collected behavior making him less effective on combat. Shiro's prosthetic arm can also be hacked.[13]

Trivia

ShiroName

Shiro's name revealed.

  • There have been discrepancies regarding Shiro's age. When asked about ages at San Diego Comic Con 2016, executive staff Tim Hedrick, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Lauren Montgomery agreed on the age of "25" for Shiro and emphasized it as a "safe zone".[14] However, the DreamWorks website and published Comic synopses describe the group of Paladins as "five unsuspecting teenagers", making him no older than 19.[15][16] His age was published as being 25 in The Paladin's Handbook, which was not reviewed by executive series staff.[17][18]
  • Shiro's full name is revealed during Pidge's flashback to a television news broadcast proclaiming the Kerberos crew missing and presumed dead.[12]
  • The same scene shows Shiro in similar clothing to Iverson, but with a medal, implying Shiro may have held an equal or higher rank to him. Shiro is described as a "senior officer" in relation to the cadets, and refers to Samuel Holt respectfully with the title "Commander".[5] It is known that Shiro is a graduate of the Galaxy Garrison.[1]
  • Shiro's Galra prisoner designation is "Fugitive Prisoner 117-9875".[6]
  • Shiro's idea of how laser guns sound is "BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!!"[7]
  • On Coran's height ranking for the Paladins of 1-5 (tallest to shortest), Lauren Montgomery approves that Shiro is ranked tallest at "Number One".[8][19]
  • Shiro is based on the character Sven of the previous Voltron franchises, and shares the name of the character Sven was based on, Takashi Shirogane of Beast King GoLion.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Guidebook: "The Paladin's Handbook"
  2. Voltron Twitter
  3. Voltron: Legendary Defender Official Website
  4. 4.0 4.1 Newsarama with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, August 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Season One: Episode 1, "The Rise of Voltron"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Season One: Episode 10, "Collection and Extraction"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Season One: Episode 7, "Return to the Balmera"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Season One: Episode 2, "Some Assembly Required"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Season One: Episode 9, "Crystal Venom"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Season One: Episode 11, "The Black Paladin"
  11. Season Two: Episode 7, "Space Mall"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Season One: Episode 5, "Tears of the Balmera"
  13. Comic: Vol. 1 Issue #4
  14. San Diego Comic-Con 2016
  15. DreamWorks Official Website
  16. Comic Synopses
  17. Den of Geek: Is the Paladin's Handbook Canon? August 2017
  18. AfterBuzzTV with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, August 2017
  19. Lauren responding to Let's Voltron host on Twitter.

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