Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane is the current Black Paladin who pilots the Black Lion of Voltron and functions as the leader of the Paladins. He is a skilled pilot of legendary reputation from the Galaxy Garrison 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. His sudden return to Earth a year later with claims of aliens on the attack draws Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith together and 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 soon learns that he was he a famed gladiator heralded as the champion of the Empire's arena, and later that Zarkon was the previous Black Paladin who retains a connection to the Black Lion. Shiro uses the emperor's obsession with the Lion, coupled with aid from the Galra rebel faction called the Blade of Marmora and their allies, to ensure Zarkon's downfall and defeat at the hands of Voltron's team 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.
Shiro has the appearance of a tall and broad-shouldered young Japanese man with pale skin; 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. 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 eyes are a dark gray, notably drawn with a winged outer tip. He has a thin scar across the bridge of his nose. 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.
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. Shiro has an 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. 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, 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.
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. 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; 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.
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: 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. 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. 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. 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, and defeated the emperor's connection to the Lion. 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.
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.
- There have been discrepancies regarding Shiro's age. When asked about ages at San Diego Comic Con 2016, Tim Hedrick, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Lauren Montgomery agreed on the "safety zone" age of "25" for Shiro. However, the DreamWorks website and published Comic synopses describe the group of Paladins as "five unsuspecting teenagers", making him no older than 19.
- Shiro's full name is revealed during Pidge's flashback to a television news broadcast proclaiming the Kerberos crew missing and presumed dead.
- 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. Lance describes Shiro as a "senior officer" in relation to the cadets. Shiro refers to Samuel Holt respectfully with the title "Commander".
- Shiro's name is clearly of Japanese origin, and it has been confirmed by Lauren Montgomery that he is Japanese.
- Shiro's Galra prisoner designation is "Fugitive Prisoner 117-9875".
- Shiro's idea of how laser guns sound is "BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!!"
- 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.
|Team Voltron||Allura ◆ Coran ◆ Hunk ◆ Keith ◆ Lance ◆ Pidge ◆ Shiro|
|Galra Empire||Beta Traz Warden ◆ Drazil ◆ Haggar ◆ Haxus ◆ Lotor ◆ Morvok ◆ Myzax ◆ Olkarion Commander ◆ Prorok ◆ Sendak ◆ Galra Commander ◆ Zarkon|
|Blade of Marmora||Antok ◆ Kolivan ◆ Thace ◆ Ulaz|
|Galaxy Garrison||Iverson ◆ Matthew Holt ◆ Samuel Holt|
|Arusians||Arusian King ◆ Klaizap ◆ Moontow|
|Balmerans||Shay ◆ Rax|
|Mer Aliens||Blumfump ◆ Florona ◆ Luxia ◆ Plaxum ◆ Swirn|
|Olkari||Ryner ◆ Lubos|
|Other Aliens||Alfor ◆ Baku ◆ Baujal ◆ Laika ◆ Nyma ◆ Rolo ◆ Slav ◆ Varkon ◆ Vrepit Sal ◆ Xi|
|Robots||Beezer ◆ Rover|