Okay, but one of the things that I noticed right off the bat the first time I watched the Balmera arc is the design of Shay’s people.
I didn’t immediately connect Shay’s voice to her on-screen character because I was expecting a very feminine design to match a female voice actress; in almost every story about an alien or fantasy race, you immediately know who’s female in the bunch because they look exactly like human women, as compared to the males who can pretty much look like anything.
Case in point:
So when I didn’t see a stereotypical female design for the Balmerans, it threw me for a minute. Because Shay and her grandmother look very similar to Rax and the other male Balmerans. They have thick, knobby skin and sharp claws rather than slender arms and graceful fingers. Maybe their earring-things differentiate between genders (who’s to say Balmerans are only male/female?) but I’m seeing a distinct lack of boobs, makeup (long eyelashes, lipstick) and long hair that usually identify an alien woman.
Nope, still not seeing it.
It’s a super small thing and not very important to the overall story of Voltron, but this is one of the first times I’ve ever seen alien women designed like this and I think it’s so cool.
Like honestly, she’s such a wonderful character and I’m so happy with how she’s portrayed.
First of all, I love her character design so much. I love that she’s so tall and muscular. And sure, she has those big … earring things, but otherwise she doesn’t have any ridiculous facial features (i.e. huge eyelashes, lipstick, etc.) so that we “””know she’s a girl”””” Yet she is still super adorable!
Not that I don’t like the character designs of other, more “”””feminine-looking””” female aliens on the show (i.e. Allura obviously, and Nyma) but I just really, really like Shay’s design and how unique it is.
But more than that, I absolutely love her as a character and how other characters treat her.
Tall/muscular female characters are so often made into stupid jokes and shamed by other characters for not being “feminine enough.” I was just bracing myself for someone to make some idiotic comment like “lmao that thing is a girl?!?!” but it never happens.
Not only that, but she plays a fairly pivotal role in the story and her character is treated with so much respect. She’s not portrayed as some random extra character, but someone who is really important, really sweet and kind, and incredibly brave.
At one point Hunk is talking about her and calls her “a hero named Shay” and I just really love that––not “an alien” or “some girl” but a hero.
And that brings me to the relationship between Hunk and Shay, which is honestly one of my favorite things about the whole show––and something that I feel deserves a lot more recognition. I mean, LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE.
And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s platonic or romantic, because either way it’s just so utterly genuine and important. What matters most is that they teach each other so much about freedom and bravery and fighting against injustice. They bring out the hero in each other.
But I also like that even the possibility of it being romantic isn’t made out to be something to laugh at. Like yeah, Lance and Pidge both kinda poke fun at Hunk about it, but it’s more of an “ooooh Hunk likes someone!!” kind of way and not “lmao I can’t believe you like her”kind of way. (Granted, I don’t think either of them know what she looks like when they make those comments. But as far as I recall they don’t tease him after they meet Shay, either.)
TL;DR - Shay is amazing and important, and I love how respectfully she’s portrayed. Bless her and bless this show.