BackgroundEditThe two Shirogane brothers, Shirogane Takashi and Shirogane Ryou, are characters in the classic super-robot anime, Go Lion. Their heroic and tragic lives bookend the series, and define sacrifice and duty for the five main members of the Go Lion team. Upon reaching American shores, the tale of the two brothers took an even more unexpected turn.
The original pilot of Blue Lion before Princess Fala, and also the original second-in-command before Kurogane. Always providing loyal and intense support to his commander Kogane without question and with all speed, he was given the team nickname Quiet. It could be said that Takashi showed the best traits of all the others, including Hothead and Shorty, and was said to be the heart of the team. Sadly, not long after the team first successfully formed the super-robot Go Lion and delivered defeats to the Galran forces, Takashi, who was trying to tell the people of Planet Altea it was safe to emerge from hiding, was isolated and ambushed by the Galran Sorceress Honerva. Despite a valiant effort against the trickster hag, he was blasted by bolts from a distance, blinded by Honerva's blue cat familiar, Jaga, and finally directly slashed by Honerva's staff. He died in Kogane's arms, and was given a hero's burial on a beautiful hillside overlooking Castle Gradam, which he had protected in life. Princess Fala, the ruler of Altea, stepped up and became his able replacement, though it took her a long while to feel like she was living up to Shirogane's example. His friends and family would often look to his spirit for guidance.
The younger brother of Takashi. It can be assumed that he was among the Earth Humans captured in Galran sweeps of post-World War Three Earth. It can also be assumed that he was not there long after the nuclear exchange, since he showed no signs of radiation-induced illnesses. Despite his poor position, he managed to learn that his brother was still alive and was part of the Go Lion team. Escaping to a part of the cave system on Galra where he could live somewhat better, he had a vision of Takashi urging him to defeat Galra. He took this as a sign of his isolation, and only later came to realize the truth of it.
Despite his claims to care only about the overthrow of Daibazaal, Ryou took a risk when he rescued Princess Amue Of Heracles from a firing squad led by Prince Imperial Sincline. He was shocked to learn of the death of his older brother, and vowed vengeance on Galra. (How Amue knew of Takashi is not known, since her imprisonment would have kept her from learning too much about the Go Lion team's past; Perhaps the Galrans bragged of Takashi's murder in front of her). At first calling Amue a liar, he recalled his dream and realized the truth of Takashi's death. He began his campaign by immediately aiding prisoners from Planet Heracles in making their escape, then forcing Amue to steel herself against the horror when those prisoners, once recovered, were slaughtered by Sincline and Honerva. With a cause to live for, Ryou contacted the Go Lion team and aided Amue in her final escape. Echoing the courage he had shown, Amue helped save Go Lion and her home planet from a MechaBeast. From the moment Ryou appeared, the focus of the series put Galra on the defensive. Amue, developing feelings for Ryou, even aided him in a risky mission of sabotage against a Galran outpost. The two also aided Go Lion when the team finally managed to breach Galra's planetary shield and take the fight to Sincline, Daibazaal and Honerva. Taken hostage while stopping Sincline from escaping, Ryou stabs Sincline, causing both of them to fall to their deaths. Ryou was buried next to Takashi on Altea, his vow of vengeance and overthrow against Galra fulfilled, and his brother avenged. He was openly mourned but his sacrifice understood by Amue.
When Go Lion was adapted for American television as Voltron, various characters, events and situations were altered to make the program suitable for syndicated afternoon broadcast. No characters underwent more radical and thorough changes than the Shiroganes. Since broadcast standards at the time forbid the instance, mention, or depiction of death, Sven, the original pilot of Blue Lion, survived the attack that killed Takashi. Many episodes later, it was not Ryou or a brother to Sven but Sven himself who contacted his old friends on the Voltron Force. The slight change in appearance was chalked up to his many months as a prisoner after his hospital was raided during his recuperation. Both Sven and Sincline's counterpart Lotor survived the fall during the attack on the enemy homeworld. Whereas Japan had seen many giant robot series come and go, Voltron was a sensation in America, totally eclipsing Go Lion's popularity in Japan. To this end, World Events Productions, the ones who recrafted Go Lion into Voltron for American audiences, did the almost unheard of and ordered new footage from Toei in Japan. In these new adventures, the enemies recovered from their huge defeat and the conflict continued. Sven, now in original footage rather than edited footage of the Shiroganes, was actually more open about his feelings for Amue's counterpart Princess Romelle of Pollux than Kogane's counterpart Keith was for Fala's counterpart Allura. He also chose to live on Heracles/Pollux. In the ultimate differentiation, this 'second season' of LIon Voltron had a single episode in which Earth is visited--impossible in Go Lion. With the Princess tied up in diplomacy, she was unable to pilot Blue Lion - so Sven briefly resumed his role and flew the ship one last time. So it can be said that emigrating to America both erased the Shiroganes and brought them back to life as well.