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This article is about the Lion Force pilot as they appear in Legendary Defender. For a list of other meanings, see Takashi Shirogane (disambiguation).

"Just remember, patience yields focus."

Shiro to Keith, in The Rise of Voltron

Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane - known to other slaves in the Galra arena as Champion - is a skilled pilot of legendary reputation and the leader of the five Paladins of Voltron. He was the Paladin of the Black Lion of Voltron. He is the captain of the Atlas.

Biography

Originally an exploration pilot for the Galaxy Garrison, Shiro traveled to Pluto's moon Kerberos with Dr. Samuel Holt and his son, Matt Holt, which at that point in time was the furthest that humans had ever traveled into the universe. While Earth's governments officially reported them missing due to pilot error, the three had in reality been abducted by a passing Galra ship which had been scouting Earth's solar system for signs of Voltron. Dr. Holt was sent to a labor camp, while Shiro and Matt were sent to become fighters in Emperor Zarkon's Gladiatorial Arena. While waiting to face off against the gladiator Myzax, Shiro could sense Matt's trepidation and fear and, in a bid to protect the younger man, knocked him to the ground while injuring his leg in the process so that Matt would be sent to the labor colony with his father. With this action, Shiro created a façade for himself as a bloodthirsty warrior amongst the other alien prisoners and went on to become the reigning Champion, undergoing extreme physical and mental scarring in the process. The full extent of his trauma is unknown, but what is known is that his right arm was replaced with a weaponized Galra tech prosthetic that is capable of energy emission powerful enough to cut through most metals and weld doors shut. He also gained a lateral scar across the bridge of his nose, part of his black hair turned white from the extreme stress, and even his skin appears paler. However, one year after his capture, Shiro was rescued by Ulaz while being examined by Galra technicians; Ulaz gave Shiro information about the Blue Lion's existence on Earth and had coordinates implanted into his prosthetic arm that divulged the location of a base used by the Blade of Marmora. Unfortunately, Shiro suffered a head injury from an explosion during his escape, which resulted in leaving him with amnesia as he fell into an escape pod destined for Earth.

Following his team's latest battle against Zarkon, he suddenly vanishes without a trace from within the Black Lion's cockpit. What exactly happened to him remained to be discovered, but he seemingly escapes captivity by Galra soldiers after the Black Lion was briefly controlled by Zarkon and returns to the Voltron team with little memory of what transpired after the battle with Zarkon. He returns to his status as the Black Paladin once Keith chooses to become a full-fledged member of the Blade of Marmora. In Season Six, it is revealed that this version of Shiro is actually a clone - one of many in fact.

Shiro actually died during the battle with Zarkon, but managed to have his mind preserved in the consciousness of the Black Lion. During this time, he attempted to contact Lance and warn him from within the collective consciousness of Voltron on the psychic plane of existence about the danger the clone presented to the Voltron Paladins. He later explained the story to Keith when Keith himself entered the Black Lion's conscoiusness. After the destruction of the Castle of Lions after the battle against Lotor's Sincline mech, Allura restored Shiro by transferring his consciousness from the Black Lion to his clone's body. The process turned the rest of Shiro's hair white.

During season 7, the paladins arrive back on Earth, and Shiro goes on to captain the Atlas - a ship created by Sam Holt and powered using the crystal created from the Castle of Lions. Shiro ends up in a battle against Sendak, a fight that he ultimately succumbs to, only being saved after Keith attacks Sendak from behind and defeats him. He returns to the Atlas and finds the paladins in trouble, at which point he realises that the Atlas had the ability to transform into a robot too, similar in design to Voltron.

Personality

Shiro's personality is that of a born leader, naturally adept at calmly commanding his team. Although he holds a commanding presence, Shiro is actually quite kind as well as sensitive to the struggles and concerns his fellow Paladins are undergoing or may have. This is highlighted in his patience with Pidge, as he knew that she was Katie Holt due to having worked closely with her missing family members, and sympathized with her loss and understood her grief, frustration, and desire to uncover their fates. Shiro's skills as a leader are further enhanced by the familial bond he forms with all of his teammates. Despite how serious and straightforward Shiro can be, he can also be just as silly and laid back as his friends when he has the chance, such as when his friends were making "laser noises". He initially sided with Keith on knocking it off before engaging in it himself, causing the Red Paladin to appear embarrassed that his leader was acting so ridiculously. [3]

Shiro's experiences as a gladiator and a test subject have left him suffering from a degree of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is noticeable when he has momentary flashbacks when confronted with particular stimuli. These flashbacks are actually invasive memories, which are typically triggered in people suffering post-traumatic stress by things that are connected or similar to features or stimuli that one experienced during trauma. Normally Shiro just brushes it off, but when he was confronted by Haggar, he started to lose control of his emotions and became frantic, wild, and certainly not the disciplined warrior most people know him to be. This degree of trauma became such that he began to doubt his chances of surviving. Therefore he made the decision to designate Keith as the new team leader in the event of his death. In the following of his return, his personality has become harsher as well as becoming more dominant in his role as leader - to the point of not listening to his team when dealing with Lotor and his allegiance. As of recent events, Shiro has begun to notice that he isn't himself, to the point of approaching Lance for advice on the situation. In Season Six, it was revealed that this sudden change in personality is due to a combination of Haggar mentally controlling him as well as being a clone of the real Shiro.

He is also known to feel somewhat disgusted by his Galra tech prosthetic hand, as his conversation with Sendak's memories in their Altean container managed to pry at the insecurity of his that his cyborg arm is the strongest part of him, thereby making him part of the Galra. This moment of psychological warfare was enough to cause Shiro to jettison Sendak and his cryo-pod into deep space due to his deep-seated fears which the Galra Commander revealed to Shiro. This tendency to make irrational choices based on trauma, in spite of being extremely collected most of the time, is another one of Shiro's symptoms of extreme, but well restrained PTSD.

Shiro is incredibly patient with his teammates' personalities, though his patience is measured. Due to his pragmatic military background, Shiro has an extremely difficult time coping with the obstructive neuroses of tightly-wound people like Slav. The famed engineer's preoccupation with extremely unlikely hypothetical scenarios that bordered on psychotic had a noticeably negative effect on Shiro's ability to stay calm, to the point of him ridiculing Slav in an attempt to keep his head cool.

Shiro embodies the Black Lion's elemental affiliation of Air in which that he is the current that guides his fellow Paladins and keeps them on course, and that his personality can be kind and gentle while also being a powerful and overwhelming force of nature. Also, like air, Shiro serves as the fuel to the fire of the Team's spirit and will to fight.

Abilities

Shiro is a pilot of almost unheard of ability. He is a natural pilot of legendary reputation back on Earth, where his skills made him a hero to many aspiring pilots such as Keith and Lance. In addition to his skills piloting human ships, Shiro was also a master pilot of the Black Lion. His bond with Black was so deep that Shiro was the only Paladin to pass the blind dive training exercise, thus allowing him to see through Black's senses and body. Shiro was also known to be among the most skilled in hand-to-hand combat among the Paladins. Shiro's lean and muscular build marks him as possessing incredible athletic abilities that allow him to rival even the likes of Hunk in terms of raw strength, and is able to duck and dodge with great agility and grace, rivaling Keith's speed, Pidge's balance, and Lance's precision. Shiro's greatest asset is his superb tactical mind and leadership skills, allowing him to take on stronger foes such as Myzax in both the gladiator pit and on Arus within Voltron. Shiro regularly and skillfully inspires his team with his charismatic personality and indomitable spirit and is able to bring them from the depths of defeat and ignite their will to win, thus allowing them to push back with the strength of a true army while acting as one. He is also skilled in military tactics, which is how he learned the guards' routines aboard the prison ship where he was held. Shiro is also skilled at reading the tactical weaknesses of others, devising plans based on their weak points, and often drawing out fights against stronger foes to learn any and all possible faults in their fighting styles and move sets.

A quality that very much describes Shiro is dynamic. He is able to endure and withstand just about anything, often adapting on the fly to new threats and environments. Despite his PTSD, Shiro is still able to fight back and endure incredible levels of stress, both mental and physical, and is skilled at concealing this trauma from his friends and allies most of the time. His ability to conceal this also marks Shiro as a rather talented actor. This talent for acting was best witnessed during his time as a gladiator in Zarkon's arena, where he quickly concocted a bloodthirsty and homicidal persona in order to protect his comrade, Matt, from the dangers of the ring. This performance was thoroughly convincing as even Matt appeared terrified of his friend's aggression and zeal, as were the rest of Zarkon's prisoners who bore witness to Shiro's actions.

Shiro's Galra tech prosthetic arm gave him a number of abilities that enhanced his prowess in combat, such as energy emission that he could use to cut through various dense materials such as metal, often using his hand like a sword to slice his enemies with energy blades. Shiro could also interface with Galra computers and systems through his prosthetic arm, making him the only Paladin besides Keith to be able to access enemy installations despite not understanding anything about the Galra's technology. The arm also afforded Shiro a degree of superhuman strength and durability, given that it was able to handle direct blows from Sendak and others without any apparent damage to the arm as well as the surrounding tissue even when not encased in armor. Shiro's duel with Sendak displays this durability at its peak, as Sendak's own cybernetic arm was capable of rending steel and delivering devastating attacks, yet Shiro's arm was able to absorb a head-on attack with no difficulty at all. This lack of damage to his organic body parts suggests that his body may have had a few upgrades or augmentations as well to handle the increased strain of his new limb's enhanced strength.

Among Shiro's other advanced abilities is his natural ability to connect to the Black Lion. This bond, while strong enough to pass the blind dive training exercise with flying colors, was not enough to wrestle control away from Zarkon during their first encounter. This shook much of Shiro's confidence, but not his determination to win. When confronted on the metaphysical plain, Shiro's respect for Black as a sentient being and independent life form won the lion's allegiance further. This bond increased to such an extent that Zarkon could only commune with Black when Shiro purposely lowered their psychic defenses, allowing him to sense their location. This ability to not only repel an enhanced Zarkon, but also to mask Voltron's presence entirely from him paints a picture of Shiro's natural talents with psychic combat as being of near prodigy-level. However there are some moments of interference, such as with Keith who has become the next Black Paladin due to his absence, but nevertheless he resembles his bond with the Black Lion.

Following his second capture by the Galra, Shiro took a Galra blaster and aimed it at the guards while using it with tremendous accuracy, which shows that Shiro is a good marksman as well.

In Season 7, Shiro was able to use his new prosthetic arm to fight Sendak on the top of a falling Galra ship, again demonstrating his hand-to-hand combat skills.

Notes

  • Shiro is LGBT+, having had a lover on Earth named Adam.[4] This was always intended to be part of his character, but his history had to be postponed due to scheduling and production.[5] As far as his exact orientation, staff wrote him in such a way so as to leave room for interpretation.[5] However, both Lauren Montgomery and Joshua Hamilton refer to Shiro as a gay man.[6][7]
    • 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.[8]
  • 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.[9][10][11]
    • His age was published as being 25 in The Paladin's Handbook, which was not reviewed by executive series staff.[12][13] 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.[14]
  • Shiro's birthday is on Leap Day (February 29th), which only occurs once every 4 years.[2] Leap Day birthdays are usually celebrated on the 28th on years that it does not occur.
  • His full name, "Takashi Shirogane", is displayed during the Garrison news report declaring the Kerberos Mission crew missing and presumed dead.[15]
    • Shiro is Japanese, as evident by his name. Lauren Montgomery confirmed this in an interview with Newsarama.[16] This was also confirmed in The Paladin's Handbook official guidebook.
    • Shiro's nickname (derived from his surname) means "white" in Japanese (Shiro 白), contrary to his position as the Black Paladin.
    • The full surname "Shirogane" means "white metal" or "silver".
  • Shiro shares his name with GoLion's Shirogane Takashi, who became Sven when WEP edited the original anime into Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Rather than the leader, this character was the second-in-command, under Keith.
  • Prior to his second escape from Galra captivity, Shiro was used for something called Project Kuron, but the details and purpose of the project are unclear. This apparently involved Haggar using him as her eyes. It was then revealed in Season Six that Shiro had been cloned en mass by Haggar. The real Shiro died during the battle against Zarkon and his gigantic mech, but Shiro's mind was preserved within the Black Lion. Kuron is pronounced the same way as the word "clone" would be with a Japanese accent, thus being a clue to many fans as to the impostor Shiro's true nature.
  • The black vest that Shiro sports in the first two seasons once belonged to Keith's father.[17]
  • The showrunners have stated that the real Shiro has incorporated his clone's memories, essentially making them one and the same.[18][19]

References

  1. The Paladin's Handbook
  2. 2.0 2.1 Voltron Twitter
  3. Return to the Balmera
  4. Voltron Twitter: "@ArtOfLaurenM says you will meet Adam, Shiro's significant other in season 7!"
  5. 5.0 5.1 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."
  6. Hypable: "SDCC: ‘Voltron’ EPs and Cast Discuss Shiro, LGBT Representation, Season 7, and More", July 2018
  7. The Geekiary: "Voltron - Josh Hamilton & Rhys Darby - SDCC 2018", July 2018
  8. Screen Rant: "Voltron: Legendary Defender Showrunners Knew Shiro Was Gay For 'A Very Long Time'", July 2018
  9. 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."
  10. DreamWorks Official Website
  11. Comic Synopses
  12. Den of Geek: Is the Paladin's Handbook Canon? August 2017
  13. AfterBuzzTV with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, August 2017
  14. Let's Voltron: Shironanigans! With Josh Keaton - 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."
  15. "Tears of the Balmera" Screenshot
  16. Newsarama Interview, August 2016
  17. https://geekdad.com/2018/06/voltron-legendary-defender-season-6-interview/
  18. https://www.hypable.com/voltron-interview-lauren-joaquim-season-7/
  19. https://geekdad.com/2018/06/voltron-legendary-defender-season-6-interview/
VE Team Voltron in Voltron: Legendary Defender
Voltron (Black LionRed LionGreen LionBlue LionYellow Lion)
Former Paladins KeithPidgeHunkLanceAlluraShiroShiro (clone)ZarkonAlforTrigelBlaytzGyrgan
Additional Members CoranSpace MiceRover