dual feature alien tech (shiro’s arm as a subjugation tool)
(caps credited to @xtokyoshinjuu, except for one kinda shitty one of Shiro’s hand taken by me)
so something that’s been bothering me for ages is why on earth takashi shirogane, who was a prisoner of the galra, has such an incredibly badass weapon installed as a limb by his captors.
More specifically: why is he able to use this arm against the Galra at all?
We don’t know much about Shiro’s arm, as Shiro himself doesn’t remember its installation or what it’s even capable of until most of the way through the first episode. What we do know is:
- it’s the work of the druids, which seem to be the Galra magicians, of which Haggar is one
- it has incredible cutting force, to the tune of cutting holes into ship hulls that are six inches thick
- it can act as a power source for galra tech
- it grants shiro access to lots of galra information and passage through locked doors
This is a ridiculously powerful weapon.
there’s a lot fan theories floating around about him being intended as a double-agent, about his being brainwashed into being a galra soldier, etc etc - and these are all really great theories with a lot of canon evidence to back it up. Haggar outright states he ‘could have been [the Galra’s] greatest weapon’, so he was never meant to just be gladiator entertainment. How far that ended up going, we just don’t know.
But let’s rewind for a second. Even if Shiro was brainwashed or mind-controlled into being a force of evil for the Galra, did they seriously gift an unknown alien with this incredibly powerful weapon installed into his body and just trust him to never use it against them? Because it’s obvious throughout the series that the Galra have no way to stop Shiro from using his arm as he pleases. He faces off directly with Sendak and Haggar and neither of them have any way to remotely or otherwise turn off his arm (and it’s implied that Haggar is the one that gave it to him).
the short answer is: no, of course they didn’t.
The long answer is: Shiro’s arm was probably granted a lot of cool shit in exchange for doubling as a shock collar - but something lets Shiro overpower its effect in episode 1.
The first time Shiro’s arm does the Glowy Thing is most of the way through episode 1, when Shiro and Pidge are about to fight some Galra soldiers.
Which is a total (unpleasant) surprise to Shiro, because it causes him so much pain that he falls to his knees.
(save him! D:)
okay, but take a look at that weird black-purple energy around his hand. What the hell is that?
Well: we don’t know. Shiro fights it for a few upsetting seconds and then he seems to get control and straighten his hand; the black stuff dissipates.
And Shiro gets up and kicks Galra android ass.
(and back to where this post started.)
This never happens again. Shiro is able to activate it at will from this point onwards, and it never appears to hurt him to do so. Importantly, it also never activates against Shiro’s will.
This first time is an aberration:
- his arm activates without Shiro actively willing it and
- it hurts him when it does.
I think we’re seeing the arm’s secondary function in action: specifically, it’s acting as a shock collar. When Shiro goes to fight his Galra captors, the arm activates on its own and causes him pain, incapacitating him and leaving Shiro defenseless against being subdued.
However, whatever was causing the arm to activate against Shiro’s will is something Shiro is able to fight against and, in this moment, finally break (as represented by the black energy around his hand). Also, the delightful irony is that if the arm did not have this shock collar effect, Shiro might not have ever realized what his arm was capable of. His memories are still largely fragmented.
In conclusion: In ep 1, I think Shiro broke the safety lock on his Galra arm, and the Galra spend all of season 1 paying for it.
(also we should all appreciate that Shiro was prepared to go up against several galra android soldiers with nothing but his bare fists, as he had no idea about his Extra Features. What a guy.)