Sheith

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Pairing
Pairing: Takashi Shirogane/Keith Kogane
Alternative name(s): Sheith, Keiro
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

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.

Season 1

In the first episode, Keith is shown going on a self-appointed mission to save Shiro. During the rescue, Keith tenderly holds Shiro's face in his hands, and there is a close up on Shiro's face and lips.
Keith cradling Shiro's face
After the rescue, it is made clear that the two have pre-canon history, the nature of which is left unclear. Shiro and Keith share a scene alone after the rescue which establishes some of their relationship cues (such as shoulder touches, longing looks and the "Good to have you back/Good to be back" exchange).
Shoulder touches are a common trope taken from canon

Shiro gets clothes from Keith's shack, implying a possibly intimate closeness, or that they lived together/stayed together often/were, at the very least, close enough for Keith to have had access to Shiro's wardrobe. It was also heavily implied in canon and by the showrunners that the reason for Keith's departure from the Galaxy Garrison was an inability to cope with the loss of Shiro and the subsequent cover up of the failed Kerberos mission, and that the reason for Iverson's permanently closed eye is because Keith punched him.

Season 2

The focus on Shiro and Keith's relationship increases dramatically in the second season. While the team is separated in Across the Universe, Keith and Shiro wind up stranded on the same planet with their lions disabled. One of the first reactions Keith has after recovering from the heavy damage the Red Lion took during the battle with Zarkon at the end of season one is to call out for Shiro and ask if he is okay. When Shiro reports he is in danger, Keith immediately rushes to find him, overcoming various obstacles. Keith saves Shiro from giant lizards by piloting the Black Lion, which Shiro is awestruck by. They build a fire together and rest while waiting for the others to find them. Shiro is suffering from a wound sustained in his fight with Haggar, and tells Keith that he wants Keith to lead the team if he "doesn't make it out of here." Keith stubbornly replies that Shiro will be fine. Despite a wormhole opening in the sky (when Pidge comes to rescue them), Shiro's fond gaze remains firmly fixed on Keith's face.

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." On the brink of exhaustion, Keith hallucinates a hologram Shiro that tells him to give up his blade so they can go back to the team. When Keith refuses, holo-Shiro turns away coldly and leaves, saying that Keith has "chosen to be alone." In the companion book to the episode, the narration states that to Keith, "nothing was worth Shiro's pain."

Shiro and Keith hug in Belly of the Weblum

At the beginning of the next episode, Belly of the Weblum, Keith and Shiro are shown sharing an intimate and prolonged hug as Keith prepares to go on a dangerous mission with Hunk. Keith is also the one shown running desperately towards the Black Lion, calling Shiro's name at the end of season two.

Season 3

With Shiro gone at the beginning of the third season, Keith reluctantly steps up to fill the leadership role Shiro tried to prepare him for. Keith spends most of the first episode distraught over the loss of Shiro, and it is implied that Keith has spent quite some time searching the wreckage of the final battle with Zarkon looking for Shiro. At an important diplomatic meeting, Keith loses his cool when the Voltron is discussed, angrily telling the team that Shiro is the Black Lion and that without Shiro there is no Voltron. Keith also tells the group that Shiro "is the only one who never gave up on [him]", alluding to their mysterious pre-canon history. When Keith eventually pilots the Black Lion for the first time, his first words are, "This one's for you, Shiro."

Mid-way through season three, Keith is again the one who finds and rescues Shiro, 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." There is intense speculation that Shiro is recovering in Keith's room/bed due to the furniture placement in the room, although this could simply be an animation error. In this scene, a bedraggled Shiro with overgrown hair and beard, rests in bed and tries to recount to Keith what happened to him at the end of season two. It is implied that Keith is the only one who has seen him since his return to Team Voltron. Keith tells Shiro "the team" needs him and asks him to pull himself together. Shiro jokingly asks Keith how many times Keith is going to have to save him, and Keith responds sincerely, "As many times as it takes." At the end of season three, they share an emotional scene alone together, where Shiro tells Keith that he is proud of the leader he has become and that Shiro is sure Keith will get better at leadership.

Season 4

After Shiro's return in season three and into season four, Keith and Shiro conflict over their leadership styles. In the beginning of season four, Shiro tells Keith that he supports his training with the Blade of Marmora but that Voltron needs Keith as a leader more than the Blade needs him. Keith disagrees. When Shiro proves able to pilot the Black Lion again, Keith decides to leave Team Voltron indefinitely to work with the Blade. When Keith leaves, Shiro tells him that he'll always have a place with the team whenever he wants to come back. Keith tells Shiro that it means a lot to him, and they clasp hands and share a hug similar to the one in season two.

Season 5

In the fifth season, Keith is still working with the Blade of Marmora. He is on a mission to disrupt the Kral Zera, where Galra compete to become the next Emperor, by setting bombs under the ritual flame. When Shiro arrives with the Black Lion, carrying Lotor, Keith immediately abandons the mission and sets Shiro's safety above all else. He scrambles to disable the bombs his teams had just set and compromises the mission.

Season 6

June 15!

Quotes

Keith: "It's good to have you back." Shiro: "It's good to be back.", S1E1: The Rise of Voltron
"Just remember, Patience yields focus." - Shiro, S1E1: The Rise of Voltron
Keith: "Patience yields focus." Shiro: "That really stuck with you, huh?", S2E1: Across the Universe
Shiro: "It's good to have you back." Keith: "It's good to be back." - S2E6: The Ark of Taujeer
Shiro: "How many times are you gonna have to save me before this is over?" Keith: "As many times as it takes.", S3E6: Begin the Blitz
"Nothing was worth Shiro's pain." - Blade of Marmora book
"At this moment, your friend desperately wants to see you." - Kolivan, S2E8: Blade of Marmora
"If it wasn’t for you, my life would have been a lot different.” - Keith, S2E1: Across the Universe
"Shiro is the only person who didn’t give up on me - I won't give up on him." Keith, S3E2: Changing of the Guard

Fandom

A (popular?) name for Sheith shippers is "Sheithans", possibly as a play on words with "Sheith" and "heathen" (because of the controversial nature of the ship.)

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.

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, Barlee, Christine Tseng, Eugene Lee, Kim Il Kwang, Steve Ahn, Josh Keaton, Neil Kaplan and Bex Taylor-Klaus.

More Shiro and Keith from Kim Il Kwang on Facebook
A doodle by Kim Il Kwang
  • “[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!" and that “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
  • Kim Il Kwang's "fanart" depicting Keith blushing while clutching onto Shiro from behind. This spawned many fanarts of Keith hugging Shiro.
  • 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]

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)
  • 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

Popular AUs on Tumblr

Fanworks

Fanfic

Fanmixes

Fanart

Zines

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