Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane is a protagonist from the Netflix TV series Voltron: Legendary Defender. He is a skilled pilot of legendary reputation from the Galaxy Garrison who now serves as the Black Paladin, leading the Paladins and piloting the Black Lion of Voltron.
Captive of the Galra and Early Life
Shiro was originally a pilot for Galaxy Garrison with a legendary reputation on Earth, he was assigned as the pilot to an expedition mission to Kerberos, one of the moons of Pluto. However, he and his comrades, his commander, Samuel Holt and Sam's son Matthew Holt were abducted by the Galra Empire and held prisoner at least for a time aboard the ship of an Galra Commander and then Commander Sendak's ship; after that, Sam was sent with weaker prisoners to a work camp while Shiro and Matt were sent to fight for Zarkon's entertainment in the gladiator arena against Myzax. Matt was intended to fight first, but Shiro, seeking to protect the younger and less able Matt after he discover that the boy would not survive, Shiro feigned a bloodthirsty attitude and injured his friend to insure that he wouldn't be forced to fight. After facing Myzax and defeating him, Shiro became known far and wide as "the Champion," and was eventually delivered to Haggar and her Druids for experimentation as his right arm was replaced with a powerful prosthetic and Haggar intended for him to be the Empire's "greatest weapon. But during one year after capture, Shiro was rescued by Ulaz, a member of the Blade of Marmora while being examined by Galra technicians and with his help was able to steal a escape pod to make his way back to Earth, however during his escape, he suffered a head injury from an explosion during this on his way back to Earth, leaving him with amnesia.
Becoming a Paladin
After Shiro's pod crashed on Earth, it was discovered by Galaxy Garrison, who took Shiro into custody for examination. Due to all that he had endured and his urgency to warn them of the Galra threat, he was restrained and eventually sedated. However, he was then unexpectedly freed by his old friend Keith, who had spotted his crash, and three Galaxy Garrison cadets: Hunk, Lance, and Pidge. After escaping pursuing forces from Galaxy Garrison, Shiro awoke at Keith's cabin and was introduced to his rescuers, before informing them of what he knew about Voltron. Hunk was able to Pidge and Keith's research to create a device that would allow them to seek out alien material, and this led them to the Blue Lion of Voltron. With Lance piloting it, the group then found themselves departing Earth and heading into space with a Galra warship in pursuit, though they escaped it by entering a wormhole that appeared once they had traveled beyond Pluto.
The wormhole brought the group to the planet Arus, where they found the Castle of Lions, inside which they found Princess Allura and Coran, the last known survivors of the planet Altea, in stasis. Upon being awakened, the two realized that they had been asleep for over ten thousand years, in which much of the galaxy had been conquered by the Galra Empire. When Allura spoke the name of Emperor Zarkon, it triggered Shiro's memory and he recalled being the Emperor's prisoner, shocking Allura with the news that her ancient foe was still alive. Despite her initial mistrust of the five humans, Allura decided that they had found the Blue Lion and come to her castle for a reason: to become the new Paladins of Voltron. Shiro, who had demonstrated his leadership abilities, was selected to pilot the Black Lion, which could only be accessed once all four other lions had been collected.
Shiro traveled with Pidge to the hiding place of the Green Lion, and shared some wisdom from Commander Holt to help Pidge deal with some insecurities. The pair returned to Arus to find that the Yellow Lion had been retrieved by Hunk but that the Red Lion was in the hands of Commander Sendak, whose ship was in orbit above Arus. After donning their Paladin armor and all-with the exception of Shiro-receiving their Bayards, the Paladins launched a mission to recover the Red Lion. They succeeded in doing so and rescuing a number of prisoners after Commander Holt was revealed to be Pidge's father, though neither he nor Matt were aboard the ship. After unlocking the Black Lion, Shiro led his fellow Paladins into battle and managed to form Voltron and bring down Sendak's ship, confirming their new role as Defenders of the Universe.
Trouble on Arus
Shiro and the others would soon be put to work training in order to bond as Paladins and gain the ability to form Voltron at will. The challenge proved difficult as Shiro was still suffering flashbacks of his time as Zarkon's prisoner but he and the other Paladins eventually banded together after Allura and Coran antagonized them once too often. After a food fight served as an unlikely bonding experience, the group finally master forming the giant robot. After that Shiro and Pidge ask the freed Galra prisoners about Sam and Matt Holt. Xi recounts the tale of Shiro's rise as Champion of the Galra Empire's Arena: the prisoners were offered up like cattle to be slaughtered by the reigning gladiator, Myzax. Sam was not among the group of prisoners but Matt was the first set to fight. However, Shiro was so thirsty for blood, he stole the blade offered to Matt and attacked him instead, injuring him. mortified by the tale and demands more answers the two investigate Sendak's fallen warship for logs of former prisoners, however it cut short when Shiro spots a massive Galra spacecraft carrying a Robeast, Shiro contacts the others to form Voltron who stand before the Galactic Gladiator ready to face off. As Voltron charges in to attack however the Galactic Gladiator has proven to be a tough enemy but guided by his returning memories, they managed to defeat him using a sword that Keith was able to unlock using his Bayard. Afterwards the Defenders of the Universe welcomed the Arusians into the castle for a party preceding their departure from the planet, during which Shiro is concerned another attack from the Galra Empire. As Shiro feared, Sendak would choose this moment to make a second bid to claim Voltron, taking out the castle's power crystal badly injured Lance in the process. As he watch over the Castle, Shiro carries Lance, over his shoulder. Sendak approaching with a small squadron of Galra Sentries carrying a Galra Power Crystal and recognizes the Commander right away and battle him. Unfortunately, Shiro had been so caught up in the battle that he left Lance unguarded.
The Balmera and the Castle
Taking the Fight to the Galra
Finding Allies and learning the Truth
Going After Zarkon
Dealing with Lotor
Building The Coalition
- Skilled Pilot: Shiro is a skilled pilot with a legendary reputation as one of the best on Earth. Out of all of Voltron's Paladins, Shiro is easily the best of them in terms of piloting his Lion.
- Skilled Hand-to-Hand Fighter: Due to being stuck as a gladiator for a year, Shiro is incredibly skilled in hand-to-hand combat. He can easily take on Galra soldiers with his bare hands, and even match Sendak, Zarkon's second-in-command, in a fight.
- Bond with the Black Lion: Shiro's bond with his Lion is the best of all the Paladins, and is even superior to the Black Lion's bond with its original Paladin, Zarkon. This allows Shiro to see through his Lion's eyes and get visions of the Black Lion's memories. However, after his disappearance and return, the Black Lion rejected him in favor of Keith, besides this, he manages to re-establish his bond with the Black Lion when Keith was absent during an intense battle.
- Cybernetic Arm: While in Galra custody, Shiro's right arm was removed and replaced with a robotic prosthetic. This robotic arm is much stronger than Shiro's regular arm, and can emit energy that Shiro can use like a blade to slice through solid metal with ease. As a piece of Galra technology, Shiro can use the arm to interface with and activate other forms of Galra tech.
- Paladin Armor: The standard armor worn by Paladins of Voltron. The armor protects Shiro from harm, allows communication with the other Paladins, and is equipped with a jetpack for sustained flight, along with an energy shield to block attacks. The helmet produces oxygen when worn, allowing Shiro to function normally underwater or in a vacuum, and the bracers can fire small lasers or project holograms of Shiro.
- Bayard: The Bayards are the Paladins' main weapons when on foot. Each one takes the form most well-suited for its Paladin. However, Shiro has never used his Bayard in combat, with it being in Zarkon's possession for most of the series, though Shiro did manage to retrieve it. When Zarkon used it, it could take multiple forms, such as a cannon, a broadsword, a whip-sword, or an energy shield, though its unlikely Shiro could make it take these forms as well.
- Shiro is based on a character of the same name from Beast King GoLion, the anime that was adapted into the original Voltron: Defender of the Universe animated series. The GoLion incarnation was also named Takashi Shirogane, and perished in the sixth episode of the series, later to be replaced by his twin brother. For Defender of the Universe the character's name was changed to Sven, reflecting the character's portrayal as a Norwegian, and he did not die but left the team after being badly injured by Haggar, eventually returning in both the original series and Voltron Force. Both versions of the character wore black uniforms but served as the original pilot of the Blue Lion, a role in which they would be succeeded by Farla/Allura.