Sheith

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Pairing
Pairing: Takashi Shirogane/Keith Kogane
Alternative name(s): Sheith, Keiro, キスシロ
Gender category: M/M
Fandom: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Canonical?: non-canon
Prevalence: common
Archives:
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Shiro/Keith is a slash pairing of Takashi Shirogane and Keith Kogane from Voltron: Legendary Defender.

Canon

Shoulder touches are a common trope taken from canon

Shiro and Keith show a caring dynamic throughout the show's ongoing run that hints at a deep friendship based on mutual understanding and respect, developed at some point pre-canon. Keith seems much more comfortable and open with Shiro than he usually does with others, to the point of a casual physical intimacy that he doesn't typically show with other characters including shoulder touches, clasped hands, hugs and simply being close to one another. The very first episode has Keith's first appearance being a self-appointed mission to save Shiro.

The focus on Shiro and Keith's relationship increases dramatically in the second season. The Blade of Marmora is generally viewed as one of the episodes that supports the ship the most. In this episode, Keith learns about his Galra heritage by undergoing a physical and psychological test that pushes him to his limits. Shiro watches while Keith fights for his life in an arena-style battle. Kolivan, leader of the Blade of Marmora, a group of rebel Galra, tells Shiro that Keith is wearing a special suit which creates a mind-scape that shows Keith his "greatest hopes and fears." The resulting scene showed that Keith's greatest fear was doing or saying anything to make Shiro walk away from him. The fear is groundless, however, as Shiro risks the team's alliance with the Blade in order to rush in and rescue Keith.

With Shiro gone at the beginning of the third season, Keith spends most of the first episode distraught over his loss, and it is implied that Keith has spent quite some time searching the wreckage of the final battle with Zarkon looking for Shiro. Mid-way through season three, Keith is again the one who finds and rescues him, who is on the brink of death after escaping from Galra imprisonment a second time. Keith is also the only one shown aiding a recuperating Shiro in a scene fans have nicknamed "The Bedroom Scene."

Season 6's episode The Black Paladins is a huge fan favorite, with Keith fighting a brainwashed Shiro and going so far as to tell him he loves him. This briefly breaks through Shiro's madness, but to little avail. We also learn that the real Shiro died in season 2, in the final battle, and the Shiro whom Keith rescued in the following season was a clone. The final episode of the season had Shiro coming back to life as Allura merged his preserved soul with the clone body. The following season's first episode delves into Keith and Shiro's past together, showing just why Keith is so devoted to him.

Shiro and Keith hug in Belly of the Weblum

Season 8

The final season of the show disappointed many Sheith shippers due to their lack of on-screen interaction, including having them split up when in the past they'd have gone somewhere together. Some fans blamed executive meddling for "ruining" the pairing's dynamic due to fan complaints or fear of inviting controversy, while others wondered if the new writing team simply didn't have a handle on the characters' previously established bonds. However, other shippers will point out that the moment the Atlas merged with Voltron was the moment Shiro realized Keith was in danger during the final showdown with Honerva. Many believe the clumsy writing and lack of interaction have no bearing on Keith and Shiro's bond.

Shiro's marriage to communications officer Curtis in the epilogue also generated much disappointment and heartbreak in fans who at most hoped for an open ending for their pairing. Some fans choose to ignore the epilogue, or treat it as just one of many realities as the show has canon multiple universes.

Fandom

Antis, Shaladin and Ship Wars

The pairing has a dedicated anti fandom who consider it (and any relationship between Shiro and a paladin) pedophilia due to previously unclear information about ages. The handbook, which is not yet considered by the creators to be canon, states that Keith is 18. Still, anti-shippers try to claim that the ship is either pedophilia or that the characters are brothers (to make the pairing incest) despite a lack of canonical basis, and racist undertones implying that there cannot be two Asian characters without them being related somehow.[1] Coincidentally or not, the ship also happens to get in the way of the juggernaut ship. Nevertheless, it continues to be a fairly popular pairing with an enthusiastic fandom.

Klance vs Sheith was a significant ship war.

In early 2018, as a response to anti-shippers' continued harassment of voice actor Josh Keaton and his family, a campaign in the VLD fandom led by prominent Tumblr users to disaffiliate completely (blocking and not reblogging any content, ship related or not) from any anti-run fandom blogs has helped soothe inflammatory anti-ship rhetoric.

Staff Support

Shiro loves you baby #he is looking at keith[2]

Members of the VLD staff, including directors and voice actors, have shown support for the ship. Of course, fandom reacts excitedly each time staff shows support.

Here's a handy list of staff support for Sheith with references and sources compiled by Tumblr user blacklionshiro. Includes: Chris Palmer, Lauren Montgomery, Joaquim Dos Santos, Christine Tseng, Eugene Lee, Kim Il Kwang, Steve Ahn, Josh Keaton, Neil Kaplan and Bex Taylor-Klaus.

Shiro and Keith from Kim Il Kwang on Facebook
A doodle by Kihyun Ryu on Instagram

Explaining the "Shiro loves you baby" art by Chris Palmer, Director:

tl;dr: an episodic director of V:LD posted a picture of shiro smiling with the caption ‘shiro loves you baby’ and tagged it as '#he is looking at keith'

Josh Keaton on AfterBuzz TV in the VLD Season 2 episodes 7&8 Review & After Show:

[Keith]’s constantly scared that he’s gonna do something or say something wrong and he’s gonna lose Shiro[3]

Executive Producer Joaquim Dos Santos remarks:

[Keith] latches onto Shiro at times because Shiro’s sort of the only thing that can really calm him down and keep him in check. [4]

JDS has also said "[Keith] and Shiro have the closest relationship so there was that kinship there." and "Shiro, he loves Keith" at ECCC 2018.

In a brief flashback during S4E2, you can see Shiro and Keith together at the Kerberos launch site. When asked about the Easter egg in an interview, Executive Producer Lauren Montgomery giggled and responded

I put that sh** in there! [...] Shiro was still his [Keith's] guiding light. It was good.[5]

Shiro's voice actor Josh Keaton was the one to name the ship "Sheith"[6]

Shiro and Keith by barlee
Lauren Montgomery likes Sheith fanart on Twitter

Kihyun Ryu drew "fanart" depicting Keith blushing while clutching onto Shiro from behind. This spawned many fanarts of Keith hugging Shiro and staff have been known to sign and love Sheith merch they see at conventions. The book staff have made several posts on twitter regarding the Sheith-y content of the Blade of Marmora book[7]

Lauren Montgomery liked Sheith fanart and Dos Santos commented positively on a Sheith fanvid on Twitter.[8]

Common Tropes

Common Story Elements

  • Sparring as foreplay
  • Shoulder touches
  • Stargazing
  • Riding the hoverbike through the desert
  • Galra Keith
  • Orphan Keith
  • Shiro has a service animal
  • Keith rides a motorcycle
  • Keith Saves Shiro (again)
  • Shiro Saves Keith
  • Keith is raised by the Blade
  • Shiro gave Keith his gloves
  • Shiro's Vibrating Galra Arm / Hand kink
  • Sex in the lions
  • Dads of Marmora
  • Sick Keith
  • Dealing with the fallout of season 6's revelations
  • Everyone can see they're in love except Keith and Shiro themselves
  • Fix Fic for season 8 and the epilogue

Popular AUs on Tumblr

Fanworks

Fanfic

Fanmixes

Fanart

Zines

AMVs

Meta

Popular blogs for Sheith meta:

Communities and Archives

References

  1. the viral mutation of the klanti movement: aka ‘whatever makes everything but kl@nce problematic is our position on shipping’, a write-up by freedom-of-fanfic on the changing arguments of antis. September 13th, 2017.
  2. http://chrispalmerart.tumblr.com/post/146348772587/shiro-loves-you-baby
  3. Josh Keaton, Voltron Legendary Defender Season 2 Episodes 7 & 8 Review & After Show | AfterBuzz TV Feb 9, 2017
  4. Nerdist’s interview with Joaquin Dos Santos (Executive Producer), Lauren Montogomery (Co-Executive Producer), and Christian Bian (Design Supervisor) MARCH 25, 2016
  5. Voltron Season 4 Episodes 1 & 2 Review w/ Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, & Jeremy Shada Oct 16, 2017
  6. “Also, I notice the fandom has already started shipping Keith and Shiro. If a name hasn’t yet been suggested, I’d like to submit ‘Sheith’.” June 3, 2016
  7. Book staff supports Sheith March 2018
  8. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DgBLHH1UcAE4imG.jpg