Klance vs Sheith
|ShipWar:||Klance vs. Sheith|
|Date(s):||June 2016 — present|
|Fandom:||Voltron: Legendary Defender|
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Klance vs. Sheith is a Ship War that originated in the Twitter and Tumblr fandoms of the Netflix animated series Voltron: Legendary Defender, arguably between stans of two Keith Kogane pairings: Klance (Keith/Lance) and Sheith (Shiro/Keith).
Many fans approached Voltron expecting queer representation, because much of the creative team had previously been involved in Legend of Korra, but also because of comments made by the creative team themselves. In this context, Voltron fans were looking for hints that their fanon pairing could become canon. Fans developed theories based on the source material and comments by the creative team, and shippers were heavily invested in proving their ship was endgame.
In season 1 Klance became the dominant ship in this fandom and Sheith has always been the second most popular ship. The ship war between fans of these pairings was categorized by anti-shipping and the co-opting of social justice terminology to invalidate the opposing ship. Both pairings have been accused of promoting pedophilia, at different times during the show's run, as the debate around the ages of characters raged on. Klance was called problematic as it paired canon rivals. Sheith's pseudo-familial relationship was also viewed as problematic by some fans.
Anti fans often used the tags of ships they opposed to share their posts, making the general tags for Klance and Sheith on Tumblr, a toxic space for those hoping to avoid the ship war. In some cases, users/tags were spammed with images of gore or pornography. The aggressive attacks by antis, led to the growth of anti-anti blogs on Tumblr. Although observers noticed that anti-anti behavior was very similar to anti behaviour, and the only difference between these two was the type of people/blogs they targeted. With anti-antis attacking anti-blogs, and antis attacking shippers.
Ultimately the Voltron fandom got a reputation as a toxic fandom, in large part due to this ship war, with several actions by shippers and anti-fans garnering mainstream media coverage.
Possible Topics for Expansion
- Debate around ages of characters: Comments at 2016 comic con and the release of The Paladin's Handboook in 2017
- Attacks on the creative team for their comments (including comments that were pro-shipping)
- The Blackmail incident and how that related to and impacted the ship war
- Both ships lost: Lance got together with Princess Allura and Shiro married his communications officer Curtis
Results of the Conflict
The ship war contributed to the conversation around Minors in Fandom.