Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. This week I want to talk about a semi-controversial ship: Adashi.
Who Are Adashi?
Adashi is the ship name for Takashi Shirogane (known as Shiro) and Adam W. (no last name given) from the show Voltron: Legendary Defender.
Takashi “Shiro” Shirogane is one of the main characters of Voltron. Shiro was a successful young pilot who was selected for a mission to Kerberos. Unfortunately, while on the mission Shiro and his team were captured by the Galra, an aggressive imperial alien species.
While in captivity, Shiro saved his teammates, but was subject to torture and experimentation. He eventually escapes and makes it back to Earth, where he is found by his pseudo-brother, Keith, and taken to safety. When the Galra show up, Keith, Shiro, and some former classmates escape in a robot lion and find themselves on a foreign planet.
The five of them become the new paladins of Voltron, the greatest weapon in the universe. Shiro becomes the paladin of the Black Lion, the head of Voltron. He leads the team with skill and compassion, though it’s sometimes hard saving the galaxy with a group of teenagers. However, on an important mission, Shiro is lost.
The team later finds Shiro, and things seem to go back to normal. But things are still messed up; Shiro is acting weirdly and there’s a lot of drama. We later learn that Shiro died and the person they found is a clone controlled by the Galra. However, thanks to magic, they are able to resurrect Shiro and reunite the team.
They then return to Earth, where the Galra have occupied the planet. Shiro is still weak from his time being dead, and no longer pilots the Black Lion. Instead, he takes charge of the Earth’s best defense: the Atlas, a massive spaceship. Together with his team, Shiro is able to defeat the Galra and save the Earth. It comes at quite a personal price, however, and Shiro is very tired from the heroics.
While it is incredibly hard to sum up seven seasons of Takashi Shirogane in one section, the opposite problem exists for Adam. Adam, at this point in time, is practically an original character in the fandom. He’s pretty popular in fanon, but in terms of canon there isn’t much to go on. We don’t even know his last name, just the initial.
Adam was announced at SDCC before the release of season 7 when the creators of Voltron announced that Shiro was gay. According to the creators, we would meet Shiro’s former fiancé, Adam, in season 7. Fans were ecstatic; canon gay representation was welcome, especially for one of the main heroes.
And then season 7 premiered. And Adam appeared for brief moments. We learned that Adam and Shiro had broken up before Shiro left for Kerberos. Shiro was dying of a terminal illness, and Adam didn’t want him to go off into space. So they broke things off. That is essentially the extent of Adam in canon.
Essentially, because there is a little bit more: Adam is dead. When the Galra attacked Earth, Adam helped defend the planet in a futile attack that led to the deaths of just about all the planetary defense pilots. Shiro comes back and finds that he has no hope of reconciling with his fiancé, because despite all that Shiro went through, Adam is the one who is dead.
The fandom didn’t take too well to that. The Adashi relationship was pretty hyped up for a split-second scene that revealed them breaking up and then Adam dying off. So instead, they’re run with their own version. Fanon Adam is alive and well, and the Adashi ship is always accepting new passengers. Canon who? Never heard of her.
Why Is Adashi OTP?
I was struggling to come up with an OTP to write about this week since I haven’t watched anything new, so I asked my group chat. Being that we are all VLD trash (sorry guys I love you), Adashi was quick to come up. And you know what, they’re right. While Voltron canon really does not give us a lot to go on, fans have taken that little bit and run with it.
Adashi is heartbreaking because we could have had it all. We could have had a canon gay hero, in a canon same-sex relationship. But, for whatever reasons, Voltron went in another direction. But never fear! Fanon is always here to save the day. The Voltron fandom especially is big on creating content, and they have given us a wonderful ship in Adashi.
And They Were Flight Partners
Part of why Adashi is so great is because the hints we’ve gotten in canon point toward a really interesting relationship that fanon has then run with. In terms of what is actually canon, we don’t know too much. Both Shiro and Adam were instructors at the Galaxy Garrison flight school and lived together. They were engaged at one point.
But fanon has taken that and made it beautiful. A whole backstory has been created and more or less universally adopted by the fandom. Adam and Shiro met when they were students at the Garrison. They may not have gotten off to the best start, but soon figured things out and became close friends. Over time they started a relationship.
Transformative works allow fans to put their own spin on Adashi. Perhaps the one good thing about how little information we were given in canon is that it allows for more freedom of interpretation. Fans have created a whole personality for Adam, refusing to let go of this character who was hyped up and then quickly killed off.
The potential for Adashi content is wide open, and there have been many interpretations. Pre-Voltron stories focus on how Shiro and Adam came to be (my favorite headcanon is a rivals-to-lovers story to parallel Klance). This timeline also gives great content with reluctant parents Adashi working together to take care of Keith.
Post-canon even brings in some good stories. Fan creators who are working to figure out how Adam might not be dead are keeping the love alive. While I personally am not too hopeful, it’s nice to see the ways fans are able to make the story better. It at least gives us something to look forward to.
Adashi is so important to the VLD fandom, however, because of what it represents. Popular shows featuring LGBTQ+ characters are still, sadly, rare. When they do feature LGBTQ+ characters, they are often minor characters, evil, or dead. It’s not a great look.
While Voltron may have seriously screwed up by killing off Adam and contributing to the “Bury Your Gays” stereotype, it was still a step forward in terms of representation. Making Shiro canonically gay gives a lot to queer fans looking to see themselves on screen, even if Adam is gone.
Shiro is an amazing rep. He is one of the protagonists of Voltron, not a minor or side character. He’s a big part of the story and plays a major role in events. Shiro was already a big step forward before this. Shiro ticks a lot of diversity boxes: he is a person of color, he is disabled, and he suffers from PTSD. And yet none of these things feel stereotypical. Instead, it shows that real people are multifaceted.
Adding in the canonical fact that Shiro is gay is great. Little kids watching the show will see that a person can be gay and all the other facets of Shiro’s character and be a main character. They can be diverse and still important. They do not have to be relegated to a background character in their own lives. That kind of representation can’t be underestimated. It is so important.
Yes, it’s absolutely tragic that the show killed off Adam. Killing off queer characters is a weak trope, and robbed us of the chance of more Adashi content. Shiro, more than anyone, deserves happiness and love. But at least by making it a part of the show, the Voltron creators did something right.
What’s Next For Adashi?
Oh man, watch out for incoming salt. The announcement of Shiro being gay and formerly engaged got fans very excited. The build-up to season 7 saw a lot of fan frenzy as the fans prepared to meet Shiro’s ex-fiancé and see Adashi content made real. Then… Voltron cut us off at the knees.
What’s next for Adashi? Absolutely nothing. Adashi was killed off before it even really got a chance to get started. Instead of giving the queer storyline fans were craving, the showrunners gave us vague hints and left us hanging. Now that Adam is dead, there almost certainly won’t be any more Adashi content, and any that might come up will be relegated to flashbacks.
Some fans have more faith than I do. When the “leaks” came out some time back, some fans were quick to speculate that the man Shiro was marrying was actually Adam, somehow miraculously revived. And it’s true that we never saw Adam’s body. It’s entirely possible that he may not be dead, that there may have been a misunderstanding, and that Adashi may yet live.
Possible, but very very unlikely. For one thing, those leaks are not confirmed. I’m very skeptical that they are real in the first place. While I would love to see Shiro get married and finally have some happiness, I don’t hold out hope for that happening. Secondly, that man doesn’t look like Adam anyway. I doubt the show will bring him back.
There is likely nothing next for Adashi. Adam is dead. Shiro may or may not move on. But one thing is for certain: Adashi lives on in fandom. If you’re craving that Adashi content, look no further than the Voltron fan community, keeping the torch lit.
Is Adashi Canon?
Adashi actually is canon. There’s some debate over to what extent that’s true, given that the show doesn’t make it explicit that the two are romantically engaged. However, the creators have stated that Adam and Shiro were previously engaged. The debate over “word of God” versus “textual evidence” aside, that’s pretty much canon.
Now, what is canon is just that basic level. All that is canon is that Shiro and Adam were once upon a time engaged. All the other content is purely fanon, but it at least has a basis in canon, unlike many of my other ships.
In the case of Adashi, fans have taken a ship that is canon but not fully explored and given more depth. While almost all of Adam’s character is fan speculation, that is simply expanding on what is not covered in the show itself. It’s not creating something wholly out of the blue.
Adashi is a really weird situation. Many of my ships are not canon, and that’s nothing new to me. I’m used to relying on fanworks to give me the shipping content I want. But it’s unusual for a ship to actually be canon but be so shallowly covered that I have to rely on fanwork to still get that content.
Still, I’ll take it. The Voltron fandom has refused to give up on Adam or Adashi, and is gleefully churning out content. Adam may not have gotten much in the show, but he’s still a fan-favorite and his relationship with Shiro is bringing a lot of happiness to some parts of the fandom. Remember, no matter what canon might have to say, there’s a fanfic for that.