I said during my 30 Day Anime Challenge back in December that I had a post in mind for this show, and here it is. I really like doing character analysis posts, since I think about this stuff a lot, but they take a lot more time to write than a review. Hence why there’s a real lack of them on my blog.
You should be able to read this post as long as you have an idea of what the show is about, and I won’t be giving any sort of summary to save on length.
You also may notice this is a part one. I knew before even starting this post that I’d need two parts to fully do this justice.
Also, before we get into this, I love all six characters I’ll be focusing on, and I’m mainly going to highlight the good pieces of each of them the fanbase generally overlooks.
I’ll have it set up so there’s a brief description of each character first for those unaware of the characters, then get into the specific details that are sometimes ignored.
Takashi Shirogane (Shiro)
Description: The Black Paladin, pilot of the Black Lion and Guardian Spirit of Sky. Leader of the Defenders of the Universe, Shiro was captured by the Galra Empire a year before the start of the series during which he was given a weaponized prosthetic right arm. A natural, decisive leader, Shiro is calm and always in control. (Wikipedia)
As mentioned in the description, Shiro starts the series off having been captured by the Galra, the race of the opposing side. There are hints as to how they treated him while he was in their presence, and none of it suggests that it was kind.
This man suffers heavily from trauma and PTSD, but he’s really good at not showing it often. Whenever his past experience of being captured is brought up, it’s brushed off fairly quickly, or is only mentioned in passing.
On top of having his own baggage to handle, there’s the responsibility of looking after his teammates, all younger than him, and also leading them all in their missions. He never gets a chance to breathe, if I’m being honest. He’s the one always ready for anything coming at them, and is generally the only one who can rationally make decisions. I’d say it’s mostly due to him being 7+ years older than his teammates, and has had the most experience in doing space stuff.
Hence why the fandom has given him the title “Space Dad,” which joking aside, is pretty much exactly what he is to the rest of them. They are all on these missions without a parent around, and heck, they probably have no idea if they’ll ever see their parents again. It’s comforting to at least have a person that portrays the role even slightly.
So, overall, I think in the fandom, we joke about this, but really, it’s hard for Shiro to maintain everything, but because he loves being around them all, he tries his hardest to assist and teach his teammates.
Katie Holt (Pidge Gunderson)
Description: The Green Paladin, pilot of the Green Lion and Guardian Spirit of Forest. Katie disguised herself as a boy named Pidge Gunderson to get into Galaxy Garrison academy to find out what happened to her father and brother who disappeared whilst on the same mission which Shiro was captured on. A technical genius, Pidge is the smartest member of the team able to create specialist modifications for the Green Lion such as a cloaking device (which only lasts thirty seconds) and she re-purposed a Galran drone to work for her, naming it Rover. (Wikipedia)
I apologize to anyone who hasn’t watched this show already, or at least the first season, since right away, there’s a spoiler for you. In the first few episodes, Pidge passes off as a boy, but eventually she reveals her gender to the others. I’ll be using this part of her character for my discussion.
In typical shows that have a crossdressing character, when the real gender is revealed, it’s hard for the other characters to adapt. For example, in Ouran High School Host Club, a show I hold near and dear to my heart, Haruhi is sometimes treated in the typical way a girl would be. She’s expressed that she gets a bit angry when this happens, when her gender is thrown in her face like that, when she just wants to be treated as she had been previously, or with no gender attached.
It’s a little part of Ouran that I kind of wish could be a bit different, but I’ll never stop loving that show. In Pidge’s instance though, there’s absolutely no change when it is revealed. It’s almost like nothing ever happened, except now when you see her in flashbacks it makes sense. She’s not treated like her skills are downgraded, or more impressive just because of her gender. She doesn’t dress any different to suit her true gender, most likely because she just likes wearing the clothes anyway. And that’s just so cool to see in a kids’ show. Kids should know that it’s okay to dress however you want without being ridiculed for not conforming to gendered clothing.
There’s much, much more to talk about Pidge, but if I highlighted everything, this post would be 5,000 words long.
Description: The Blue Paladin, pilot of the Blue Lion and Guardian Spirit of Water. Lance was the fighter pilot of his team at Galaxy Garrison academy. Cocky and confident, Lance is the comic relief of the Defenders and likes to think of himself as a ladies’ man as well as the sharpshooter. Lance has maintained a rivalry with Keith from when the two were at the Galaxy Garrison together, but the two have shown to be an effective team. (Wikipedia)
Lance is so cheated when it comes to the way people talk about him. Generally, when I see something regarding Lance, it’s some stupid expression he makes, a joke he makes, or a meme attached to his name. Rarely does anyone talk about his skills that help the rest of the team in their missions. That saddens me to the core. As I watch more and more, the worse I feel for him.
Using the description above, let’s break this apart. For one, it determines that it’s a fact he’s cocky, confident, and the comic relief character. While, it says “he likes to think of himself as” a sharpshooter. Newsflash for ya, Wikipedia, he is their sharpshooter. Let’s also discuss the “confidence” aspect as well. Only sometimes is he confident. In making people sigh at his dumb jokes, yes, but knowing his place in the team, no. He does say he’s the sharpshooter, that he has a good aim, but nobody really believes him when he says it. I don’t know if it’s because he jokes around so much, or if they just don’t realize that he does actually have talent besides flying, which all of them technically do have, since they each pilot their respective lion.
There’s a scene regarding his confidence in his shooting skills that I won’t ever forget. I don’t know exactly which episode it was, but it was in season two, and it was within the first two or three minutes of the episode. I again can’t remember the details, but they needed to shoot something, and they only had enough power to shoot once, so Lance volunteers. He says something along the lines of “I’ve got a great aim” and in a split second, Pidge already is remarking, “Since when?” I remember laughing at that, because at the time, I even thought Lance couldn’t do much of anything. By the end of the episode, I think he proved that he could shoot well, and Pidge apologized, but even so, in later seasons, he’s doubting his purpose on the team.
In season three, he considers leaving. He doesn’t feel like he can give much if nobody believes in him anyway. He’s only the comic relief, right? Just the cocky funny guy.
Even if the writers intended to make people think he’s just a goof with nothing to give, and then later show that he actually can do a lot and is a huge asset to the team, it still seems to be something glanced over. That’s why I needed to express just how important he is. He has a skill, and it’s an important one. It’s not just a title he gave himself to make it seem like he is cool.
He’s not even my favorite character, but I think he’s my second favorite. Get ready for when I discuss my favorite because that’s going to be a really long section, I can already tell.
Even in cutting this down to two parts, it’s still well over 1,000 words, dang (Specifically 1,552). I’ve had this idea brewing for months, I just couldn’t find a spot in my schedule to plop it in.
I hope this fits on my blog well, I think this show kind of wiggled its way into the anime community, so it should be alright.
I’ll have part two out on Friday, discussing Hunk, Allura, and Keith. I hope you enjoy both this part and that one!