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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, in "The Rise of Voltron"

Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane is a former skilled pilot of legendary reputation from the Galaxy Garrison who was taken captive by the Galra Empire during a mission to Kerberos. He became a famed gladiator heralded as the champion in the Empire's arena, experimented on and given a prosthetic arm. Shiro's sudden return to Earth a year later with claims of aliens on the attack triggers the events leading to the return of Voltron.

He functions as a Paladin of Voltron who pilots the Black Lion, acting as the leader of the Paladins until the initial defeat of Zarkon, when he mysteriously disappears because his essence is absorbed into the Black Lion. Shiro does not truly return until the existence of his clone is revealed and Allura transfers his essence from the Black Lion into the clone's body, fusing them into one being.

Appearance

Shiro has the appearance of a tall and broad-shouldered young Japanese man with pale skin;[5] 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.[6] Shiro has black hair shaved into an undercut with short white bangs centered on his forehead. 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. Upon his fusion into his clone's body, Shiro's hair, including his eyebrows, turn completely white.[7]

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 and is accented with yellow, white, and light gray. He wears a black, fingerless glove on his left hand that covers his sleeve's cuff; Shiro's right arm is almost entirely a white and gray Galra prosthetic to replace his lost natural arm, beginning just over his elbow and mimicking his natural arm's shape. Shiro is able to tuck his shirt under the prosthetic's edge.

Shiro's vest and shirt are tucked under a gray utility belt he wears over his pants with a pouch at either hip. The dark grey pants Shiro wears are padded at the knees and tucked into the cuffs of his black and gray boots.

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.[8] 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.[9]

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,[6] 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.[8]

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.[6][10] 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;[11] 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

Equipment

Apart from piloting the Black Lion, Shiro utilizes this equipment:

PaladinV
Bayard
Form unknown. While in his possession, he has yet to use it for combat.
Paladin Armor
Armor that allows for safe travel in space; it contains a highly advanced computer system, communication system, a laser gun, a grappling hook and tether, holographic capabilities, an energy shield for defense, breathable air, and a jetpack for brief sustained flight.[12]
Prosthetic Arm
Given to him by Haggar;[13] its advanced technology from the Galra Empire amplifies his strength and generates extremely powerful purple energy in his hand that he can use to cut through and melt most metal.[8] This arm can be hacked from completely external sources.[14]

Skill Set

You could have been our greatest weapon!

Haggar battling Shiro, in "The Black Paladin"

Combat

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 and alliances with Galran rebels.[11][15][16]

He is a skilled and aggressive martial artist able to toss someone as massive as Sendak.[17] Shiro moves quickly as he slices through enemies across the battlefield with impressive hand-to-hand combat skills amplified by his prosthetic arm. His official strength stats are nearly maxed and his agility stats are not far behind.[4] If there is one weakness that Shiro possesses, it is his PTSD. When triggered, Shiro loses his normally calm and collected behavior, and may freeze up entirely, making him less effective in combat.

Piloting

Shiro's superb piloting skills made him a legend at the Galaxy Garrison and earned him a medal to decorate his senior officer uniform, as well as a place in the fateful Kerberos Mission.[6][18]

Other Abilities

PaladinV
Astral Projection
Although the only instance is unwilling an initiated by Zarkon, Shiro's strong connection to the Black Lion allows his essence to travel to mysterious realm where if he dies, his body in the physical realm will die as well, but while he feels all pain dealt to him, the sustained wounds do not appear on the his physical body.[16]
Lion Bond
Shiro is able to bond so thoroughly with the Black Lion that he can witness and feel the Lion's experiences while piloting it with his eyes closed.[10] This bond has only been compromised by Zarkon's interference as the previous Black Paladin, but Shiro has even won the Black Lion's favor and trust over Zarkon, destroying the emperor's connection to the Lion.[16] This bond allows Shiro to view the Lion's memories of the past as well as images of the present, such as the ruins of planet Daibazaal outside the Lion's displays.[16] The experiences seem real enough that Shiro mistakes he flies at high speeds, feels turbulence, and actually travels from the Castle of Lions to the planet, when in reality the Lion never leaves the Castleship.

Trivia

  • Shiro is LGBT+ representation in the series, having had a lover on Earth named Adam.[19] This was always intended to be part of his character, but his history had to be postponed due to scheduling and production.[20] As far as his exact orientation, staff wrote him in such a way so as to leave room for interpretation.[20] However, both Lauren Montgomery and Joshua Hamilton refer to Shiro as a gay man.[21][22]
    • At one point during early production, Shiro was intended to die during the second season. Staff did not want to kill off their gay character, so they were going to focus on a different character for LBGT+ representation instead up until they decided to keep Shiro alive and his story was rewritten.[23]
  • There have been discrepancies regarding Shiro's age.
    • While executive staff Tim Hedrick, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Lauren Montgomery agreed on the age of "25" for Shiro as a "safety zone", the DreamWorks website and published media describe the group of Paladins as "five unsuspecting teenagers", placing him no older than 19.[24][25][26]
    • His age was published as being 25 in The Paladin's Handbook, which was not reviewed by executive series staff.[27][28] The Voltron Coalition Handbook states that a year has passed since Shiro's return to Earth, making him 26 at the youngest by the time Season Six ends.
    • Josh Keaton grants some insight into the discrepancy by stating that during production of the show as early as the voice actor auditions, the pitch was "five teenagers", but certain character models ended up looking different than the description, so the writing adapted to the finalized designs.[29]
ShiroName

Shiro's name revealed.

  • Shiro's full name is revealed during Pidge's flashback to a television news broadcast proclaiming the Kerberos crew missing and presumed dead.[18]
  • 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".[6] It is known that Shiro is a graduate of the Galaxy Garrison.[1]
  • Shiro's Galra prisoner designation is "Fugitive Prisoner 117-9875".[8]
  • Shiro's idea of how laser guns sound is "BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!!"[9]
  • 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".[10][30]
  • Shiro does not technically have a video log like the other Paladins, because the one narrating the video log is his clone, "Shiro", prior to their fusion.
  • 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. Guidebook: "The Voltron Coalition Handbook"
  3. Voltron Twitter
  4. 4.0 4.1 Voltron: Legendary Defender Official Website
  5. 5.0 5.1 Newsarama: "Voltron: Legendary Defender Showrunners On New Season, The New Legend... & LOTOR?!", August 2016
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Season One: Episode 1, "The Rise of Voltron"
  7. Season Six: Episode 7, "Defender of All Universes"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Season One: Episode 10, "Collection and Extraction"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Season One: Episode 7, "Return to the Balmera"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Season One: Episode 2, "Some Assembly Required"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Season One: Episode 9, "Crystal Venom"
  12. Paladin Article
  13. Season One: Episode 11, "The Black Paladin"
  14. Comic: Vol. 1 Issue #4
  15. Season Two: Episode 3, "Shiro's Escape"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Season Two: Episode 7, "Space Mall"
  17. Season One: Episode 4, "The Fall of the Castle of Lions"
  18. 18.0 18.1 Season One: Episode 5, "Tears of the Balmera"
  19. Voltron Twitter: "@ArtOfLaurenM says you will meet Adam, Shiro's significant other in season 7!"
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Geekiary: "Voltron - Lauren Montgomery & Joaquim Dos Santos - SDCC 2018", July 2018 - Transcript:
    Q: "Let's talk about the Shiro and Adam thing. How long has that been in development? Was that something that you planned from the start, or was that something that sort of came along in the process?"
    JDS: "Well it’s something that’s been in Shiro’s character basically from the start. We had to kind of shift things around with how we rolled out the backstories, just due to scheduling things. And at one point, as you know, Shiro was potentially gonna kick the bucket. So once we found out that that wasn’t gonna happen, we knew we could kind of hold off on this reveal. But yeah, it’s something that’s been part of his character from the get-go, and we’re just super excited to finally get it out there in the world."
    Q: "If you guys know, how do Shiro and Adam identify in their sexuality? Are they gay, bisexual...?"
    LM: "I think we just kind of considered them..."
    JDS: "They're in a relationship."
    LM: "I think the important thing is maybe allow the fans to see what they want to see. We don't want to put anyone into a corner where it's like—So other people feel like they're not represented."
  21. Hypable: "SDCC: ‘Voltron’ EPs and Cast Discuss Shiro, LGBT Representation, Season 7, and More", July 2018
  22. The Geekiary: "Voltron - Josh Hamilton & Rhys Darby - SDCC 2018", July 2018
  23. Screen Rant: "Voltron: Legendary Defender Showrunners Knew Shiro Was Gay For 'A Very Long Time'", July 2018
  24. San Diego Comic-Con 2016 - Transcript:
    Q: "So Shiro is an adult?" Staff: "Yes."
    Q: "Everyone else is not an adult?" Staff: "Yes. That's correct."
    Q: "Can you give me specific numbers? Because yesterday you told me 25, and 14, and late teens. Is that still correct?"
    Staff: "Yes. That's a safety zone."
  25. DreamWorks Official Website
  26. Comic Synopses
  27. Den of Geek: "Is the Paladin's Handbook Canon?", August 2017
  28. AfterBuzzTV: "Voltron Season 3 Episodes 3 & 4 Review with Lauren Montgomery & Joaquim Dos Santos", August 2017
  29. Let's Voltron: "Shironanigans! With Josh Keaton", December 2017 - 00:43:00 "When we first started recording this, everything kind of changed. The early description of the show was like "five teenagers" or whatever, and that's the breakdown we got when we first started recording the show, when we first auditioned for it and everything it was that. And then over the course of the show things kind of change and certain models come back looking different than what the description was. So then the writing kind of - I wouldn't say changes but... adapts to the way the character looks now. And you know a lot of things change in the early production of the show."
  30. Lauren responding to Let's Voltron host on Twitter.

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