hello! i don't personally ship she/ith but also no hate on you at all, just curious: how can you see their hugs as romantic? they're the only people who hug that way in vld (clasping hands and pulling each other into a hug,with pats on the back) and uhhh the only characters who hugged the literal same way (like, it's /literally/ the same if you look at screencaps) are bolin and mako from lok (same studio) and they're brothers so this kinda hug has clearly no romantic intentions ahhhh thoughts?
Hi! Okay, so first some ground things.This isn’t Korra. We have our own set of actual siblings (Matt and Pidge) in VLD to look at and compare sheith interactions to in the context of this universe, and there’s a very deliberate difference. Here’s something from one of my previous metas:
- Speaking of intimacy, let’s look at how the first hug we see for sheith turns out and the way the first hug between Pidge and Matt goes. Again, one is framed and presented as distinctly romantic and intimately private, while the other is clearly familial:
The fact that Allura peers in on the first sheith hug and then guiltily looks away, like she was caught doing something she shouldn’t have–it makes the scene feel like a very intrusive moment. A stolen moment between just the two of them. There’s also the fact that everyone else is saying goodbye while these two appear to be off in their own little world. The way the camera angles to look similar to a couple sharing a kiss, the fact that you can see Keith’s hand has moved further down Shiro’s back as he tugged him closer–these are very distinctly romantic cues. So yeah, there are unique connotations here that should really be taken into account, and they speak of an intimacy far beyond the depths of casual brotherhood.
And again, the concept of this being a distinctly sibling way to hug in either VLD or Korra falls apart at the seams when it’s not something that our actual sibling characters in Voltron ever do. There’s just no basis for it here in-universe. And here’s another hug literally outright stated as brotherly that doesn’t conform to that notion in VLD and is so obviously far less intimate than sheith’s:
Also, “they’re the only people who hug that way in VLD”–wrong. Shiro hugs Matt the same way, and that sure isn’t his brother either:
From this, we can assume that’s simply the way Shiro hugs people. It’s like his trademark thing. However, there’s a world of difference between Matt’s response and Keith’s. Matt leads with, “It’s good to see you, um, sir.” The stilted wording, the forced note of professionalism, the utter surprise and obvious discomfort at being pulled into a hug all of a sudden. Went in for a handshake, got a hug. Matt wasn’t prepared for this, and he sees it as some kind of breach in assumed boundaries. He and Shiro aren’t casual or close with one another in the way Shiro and Keith are. They just don’t share that easy intimacy.
Both times Shiro and Keith hug, you can see how genuinely touched and moonstruck Keith looks. In the second hug, you can see “Shiro” really shares this loving gaze–it’s a softness neither of them ever exhibit when embracing anyone else. And it definitely feels romantic in tone. Their heartfelt goodbye is literally followed by everyone else on the team either tearing up or inwardly cheering them on. It’s really very sweet. And when you compare the way they come together to the start of Matt and Shiro’s hug, the difference is blatantly obvious.
I also think it’s underappreciated just how amazing this open closeness and vulnerability is for someone like Keith. A quick thing from one of my earlier metas about Keith’s comfort level with the rest of the team:
- There are a couple times when someone grabs him and he tenses or freezes up. Keith tells the Arusion he “doesn’t usually hug strangers” and that much is clear when you see his initial response to a lot of physical contact. So you get things like:
- As opposed to:
- I think Keith being so calm and touchy feely around Shiro also has a lot to do with the fact that that not only are they closer, but Shiro understands and adheres to his boundaries. In every other hug, the other person just grabs Keith and he doesn’t really get any say in it. He also looks startled at first before he can kinda ease into it. With Shiro, they both reach out and walk into the hug together, so it’s the one time when Keith really gets any choice in the matter. I’ve talked about it more here if you’re interested
And again, this isn’t Korra. That being said, there are other noticeable comparisons between Shiro and Keith that can be made with characters in Korra–most notably Korra and Asami. In the first you’ll notice how Korra and Keith appear to have nearly the same expression when holding onto their loved one. And in the latter comparison, it’s obvious that a couple lovingly embracing while their family and friends looks on in support and maybe even tears up at their relationship is a clear sign of a romantic trope:
So yeah. Within the context of the series, I can still very easily read all the sheith hugs romantically. For me, it makes the most sense for that level of intimacy they indulge in. I understand if others prefer to interpret their interactions as platonic, but given all the other hugs and levels of intimacy presented in the series, a romantic connotation makes by far the most sense to me.