Characters: Fate Stay Night Humans
This is a page about the human characters appearing in the Visual Novel
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"I don't want to regret anything.I want to make all the tragedies that happened into meaningful things by believing that my path is right."
The protagonist of the series, Shirou is a rather untalented Magus whose only skill is basic Tracing and Reinforcement magic, which allows him to analyze the physical make-up of an object and then strengthen it. His dream is to become a "Hero of Justice", someone who can selflessly protect the lives of everyone from disaster. He inherited this dream from his adoptive father Kiritsugu Emiya, who had given up on it. He is not really sure what it takes to reach that ideal.
At the beginning of the story, he possesses a Healing Factor
that makes him practically immortal, though the source of this is unknown and he did not have it before. Shirou is also an accomplished archer as a side effect of his mage training and, following some training from Saber, is mildly proficient in swordplay.
He is Saber's Master.
- Accidental Pervert: In Fate, he enters the bathroom while Saber is taking a bath twice. While she doesn't mind the first time, the second time she feels embarrassed and asks him to leave.
- Almighty Janitor: In the True End of Unlimited Blade Works, he becomes this. Shirou decides to tag along with Rin to London so that he can learn magic from the Magician's Association. Although enrolling as Rin's disciple means that he's exempt from tuition fees, it effectively puts him at the lowest point on the totem pole. However, this is justified as considering how most magi act, he'd end up on a dissection table if he ever let the secret of his Reality Marble out.
- Always Save the Girl: In Heaven's Feel, he decides that saving Sakura is what he wants most, even though he understands the dangers she might pose for the city.
- Anti-Hero: Idealistic as his goal is, it can actually push him in this direction. In Heaven's Feel he ends up here for entirely different reasons.
- An Arm and a Leg: Loses his left arm while protecting Ilya from the Shadow, although it's quickly replaced with Archer's arm.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Structural Analysis only allows Shirou to scan objects and see their inner workings. However, this plays a BIG part of Unlimited Blade Works. UBW is basically a glorified recording device which keeps all the weapons Shirou has seen. Using Projection, he can call upon ANY of these weapons. More traditionally, the battles he partakes in start out shoddily at first, but by Heaven's Feel he calculates movements and plans down to the second.
- Badass: He only shows it a handful of times in Fate, but in Unlimited Blade Works he begins copying Archer and starts out more competent than he was at the end of Fate while in Heaven's Feel he goes one further and basically becomes a slightly nerfed Archer who burns his brain every time he fights.
- Berserk Button: Oddly enough, he shows the strongest signs of this when Taiga of all people is threatened, reverting to a completely flat tone with a light of Tranquil Fury.
- Beware the Honest Ones: Shirou's a little too far on the idealistic side for even Saber, so while his allies appreciate him somewhat, they also know he'll do something stupidly reckless if it's the "right" thing to do. Tohsaka at the very end of the last route realizes she has no right to criticize because she isn't as ruthless as she thinks she is.
- BFS: Berserker's sword traced in Heaven's Feel definitely counts, bonus points for wielding it with a single hand.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Ilya.
- Big Little Brother: Ilya's actually older than Shirou, so she's his older adoptive sister despite her childlike appearance and her calling him "onii-chan".
- Blessed with Suck: Shirou's often-forgotten semi-unknown instinctual internal reinforcement works by protecting vital organs and holding normally-severed limbs together using his own magical energy, which happens to have a "sword" affinity, which means it manifests as thousands of ephemeral blades keeping him stitched together. The downside being that it works by creating a bunch of blades inside his body. The power's track record is a mixed bag:
- In Fate: It lets him survive Rider's attacks, but also causes him to accidentally stab himself to death when he tries to use reinforcement to survive a three story fall immediately afterwards. However, it also saves him in the same route when it, along with Avalon's Healing Factor, sutures him back together after he has been cleaved in half by Gilgamesh's Merodach.
- In Heaven's Feel: However, overloading on mana from Archer's arm causes the blades to manifest permanently, slowly skewering him from the inside, but the protruding blades also end up giving him an edge in his last fight against Kotomine.
- Body Backup Drive: In the True End of Heaven's Feel courtesy of Touko Aozaki.
- Body Horror: In Heaven's Feel he undoes the Shroud of Martin used to seal Archer's arm. As a consequence, first his brain begins to burn out and later this trope comes into play when the physical reinforcement of his Reality Marble causes swords to burst from his body in an attempt to hold him together.
- Broken Hero: Even called that in-series a few times. Much of Unlimited Blade Works is devoted to exploring it.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Heaven's Feel Bad End #38, drawing on Archer's arm in order to use his super move against Saber Alter leaves Shirou a vegetable. To be sure, he's cut her in two, but she could fully regenerate in 10 minutes. And to think that he could have taken her out with him had he managed to destroy her head or heart...
- Bully Hunter: As a child, he adopted Kiritsugu's basic ideal of trying to help people, but unlike Kiritsugu, he picked sides. Therefore, he decided he would protect the weak. Upon meeting Tohsaka, he thinks to himself that she's exactly the sort of person he would have fought as a kid, though they clearly hadn't really met.
- Character Development: He only gets a faint hint of this in Fate, but the other routes multiply this exponentially.
- Chekhov's Hobby: The fact that he was in the archery club foreshadowing one of his possible futures and his mastery of Projection Magic.
- Chekhov's Skill: Shirou's ability to use magic to create fake objects becomes his main combat ability.
- He's a former member of his school's Archery Club. This foreshadows his class as a Servant.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shirou's inability to turn people down when they ask for help worries his friends and colleagues. He also tends to jump headfirst into any situation whenever he feels it's the 'right' thing to do.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Shirou's projection magecraft works with this; his tracings break down and vanish if he acknowledges even for an instant that they are but illusions.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Shirou honestly doesn't understand why ordering his male best friend to take off his clothes would be at all strange.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Downplayed, but in UBW he wasn't happy when he saw how close Archer and Rin were. Ironically he was jealous of himself
- Crippling Overspecialization: He can only use Reinforcement and Structural Analysis in the beginning. This is justified, as he misunderstood his father's teachings on magic. When he adds projection to that list, that's justified as well, as since his element and origin are both Sword, he is literally made for no other magic.
- Deadly Upgrade: Archer's Left Arm. It greatly boosts his ability to project swords, but slowly eats away at his mind and body, to the point his sense of self and memories fade away. Also, due to Archer's arm forcing Unlimited Blade Works on him when he's no longer compatible, it causes the body reinforcement to go out of control and begin forcing swords out of his body.
- Deadpan Snarker: He tends to snark a lot in his internal monologues, but not that often out loud, except maybe around Taiga and Rin. You can think of Archer as what Shirou would sound like if he didn't hold his tongue more often.
- Death Is Cheap: By virtue of outrageous self-healing which can revive someone from the brink of death.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: It's just what Shirou does, but most notably, He takes down Berserker on his own with the use of Archer's arm in Heaven's Feel.
- Defusing The Tykebomb: He tries to do this for Ilya.
- Determinator: Shirou has shades of this in all three routes, but Heaven's Feel deserves a special mention: After having lost his servant, and discovering that the woman he loves is possessed by the avatar of all evil, Shirou decides that he's going to save Sakura, and he means it. He is supposed to drop dead after using Archer's Arm to project three times. He projects six times. He also fights both Dark Berserker and Saber Alter, both of whom are many times stronger than usual due to Sakura's increased prana, and wins. Oh, and his whole body is slowly being skewered by swords growing inside of him due to overuse of projection, he still keeps going. Then after all that, he still has a fist fight with Kotomine. Now with only a shred of his consciousness remaining, Shirou with his final thought projects Excalibur, and pops Angra Mainyu like a zit. Shirou should have been dead five times up this point, and he STILL. KEPT. GOING.
Shirou: I pour determination into my dying body.
- Determined Defeatist: Even when he's fighting opponents he couldn't possibly hope to match like Lancer, Rider, Berserker or Gilgamesh, Shirou never thinks about giving up for even a second. Even if Saber doesn't come to pull him out, he usually finds a clever way out of the situation.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Repeatedly fights and wins against people he should have absolutely no chance against. Played straight in the Normal End of Heaven's Feel where he destroys Angra Mainyu, the nearly manifested Zoroastrian god representing ALL evils of the world, using Excalibur.
- Died Standing Up: Normal End of Heaven's Feel, and unleashing Excalibur on the Great Grail after he died.
- Distressed Dude: In Fate and the anime, Shirou is kidnapped by Ilyasviel and tied to a chair, in an attempt to make him her servant. He is then rescued by Saber, Rin and Archer.
- Don't Call Me Sir: He tells Saber not to call him "Master", and she complies.
- Dual Wielding: In Unlimited Blade Works and in Heaven's Feel, he begins fighting with Kanshou and Bakuya while copying some of Archer's technique.
- Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Helping people is one thing. Helping little girls out is even better. Helping little girls who were just stabbed in the chest by what is damn near a physical god, at least compared to YOU, is not an advisable course of action. And you HAVE to do it or you get a bad end.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Shirou has a tendency to risk his life for people he just met or barely even knows. Saber is a good example early in Fate and in Unlimited Blade Works after he pulls this with Ilya, Tohsaka confronts him about his recklessness especially since it was obvious that there was no way he could save Ilya.
- Dying Moment of Awesome
- In the "Sparks Liner High" Bad End, he takes on and wins against Saber Alter by utilizing multiple copies of Kansho and Byakuya to perform a chain of simultaneous and ultimately unavoidable attacks, he then dies having earned Saber's respect and acknowledgment and having been able to give her one last goodbye.
- In the Heaven's Feel Normal End, Shirou survives the fight against Saber Alter (as Rider was there to help), and goes on to face Kotomine alone. Shirou's mind and body is steadily being corrupted by his 'own' power given from Archer, turning him physically and mentally into a sword, which causes metal creaking sounds inside his own body. The two fight fist to fist, both running on borrowed time. Kotomine finally expires before Shirou, who, having saved Sakura and done everything he set out to, just stops... but not before tracing Excalibur and destroying the Great Grail. By the time he swings Excalibur, he was already dead, but his attacks still goes through and destroys the Grail.
- Earn Your Happy Ending:
- Particularly in Heaven's Feel, where he goes through things that would break a hundred lesser men. It is so worth it all, however.
- The perfect ending to Realta Nua where he does the IMPOSSIBLE to get reunited with Saber in Avalon.
- Everyone Can See It: In Fate, absolutely everyone can see the Saber/Shirou attraction. Even Issei.
- Expy: Shirou shares a character model with Tomoe Enjou. The two have similar issues regarding what is fake and what is real, as well. Also, Shirou becomes an Artificial Human like Tomoe in the True End of the Heaven's Feel route.
- Fate Worse Than Death: There are a few bad ends like this, mostly involving Caster or Ilya. Caster is intriqued by his Projection ability while Ilya just wants her onii-chan... Well, his head anyway. Which she can keep alive with magic.
- The Fettered: Shirou's ideal of wanting to save everybody is a large source of his strength. Unlimited Blade Works reveals that his magic specialty arose specifically due to his lack of self-image and pursuit of his ideal.
- Field of Blades: Can summon one in Unlimited Blade Works, and it's not just for show.
- First-Person Smartass: Not very obvious. Then the realization hits that his narration is just as sarcastic as Rin's and boggling occurs. He is more of a snarker than people give him credit for, especially around Rin. Archer is basically what he would be like if he wasn't so polite all the time; is it any wonder why he and Rin have such great chemistry?
- For Happiness: Shirou wants everyone to be happy. Deconstructed in Unlimited Blade Works. To clarify, unlike normal people who can somewhat create their own happiness, Shirou, thanks to his lack of any concept or sense of self preservation always places the need of others before his own and is completely unable to create his own happiness and has to live through others.
Rin: Shirou. Your way of life is really distorted.
- Full-Contact Magic: An inversion of this trope as the only way he could initially use his magic is to reinforce his martial-arts abilities, not the other way round as this trope usually would. This is because his misunderstood his dad's teachings on magic and thus causes himself great pain just with simple spells. After finding out how magic works, particularly how HIS magic works, this changes greatly.
- Future Badass: In the final bonus epilogue of the Realta Nua port (effectively the distant finale to Fate-route), you will learn that Shirou takes the same path that Archer did, minus the regrets and eternal loneliness. As Saber says, he no longer needs her to be his sword and shield, he is more than capable of taking care of himself now.
- Generation Xerox: "Mind of Steel" sees Shirou go down the exact same route as his foster father and willingly damn himself for his ideals. Kotomine, who knew his father, even points this out.
- Happily Adopted: By Kiritsugu until his death.
- Hate at First Sight: Twice, and for fairly similar reasons both times. Namely that he sees too much of himself in the other person.
- He and Archer are instantly in opposition because Shirou recognizes that Archer embodies his ideals as a hero of justice, but absolutely despises his methods. Archer, in turn, views Shirou as a naive fool whose insistence on fair play, honor and trying to help everyone will just get even more people killed and will lead him to being crushed by his ideals like Archer himself, who is Shirou's future self.
- He's also instantly hostile to Kotomine Kirei, though in this case Shirou doesn't really try to think about it too much and just calls him a fake priest. In truth, he doesn't really dislike Kotomine, but feels he must oppose him because like Archer he is someone that is just different enough to merit his instant hostilities. He actually likes Kotomine since they're so similar.
- Healing Factor: Shirou being Shirou, he wouldn't survive without it. It's caused by Avalon, Excalibur's holy scabbard, and had been implanted into his body by Kiritsugu when Shirou was dying from the 4th Grail War's aftereffects. He can't use it fully without his connection to Saber, so before the story it was barely noticeable, he was just a little more resistant. Notably, all three paths see him lose it.
- Heroic BSOD: At a certain point in Heaven's Feel, after finding out that not only is Sakura in lethal danger but may also be a serious threat to everyone around her, Shirou nearly gives up on everything, simply too emotionally crushed to go on and on the verge of crying. Ilya gives him new hope and cheers him on, giving him the will to not give in and try to save her.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- There are a few bad ends where Shirou pulls one of these, but since they're bad ends that means they weren't necessary.
- In the Normal End of Heaven's Feel Shirou burns himself out completely to save Sakura, who spends the rest of her life waiting for him.
- The Hero
- The Hero Dies: The Normal End of Heaven's Feel features Shirou destroying the Grail and dying due to using Archer's arm too many times.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Hell, even his affinity (and Origin) is "Sword".
- Honor Before Reason: For better or worse.
- How Much More Can He Take: Justified because of his incredible Healing Factor, but his beating at the hands of Rider in Heaven's Feel, where his Healing Factor no longer works, is a prime example of Shirou's incredible willpower.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Unlimited Blade Works, unique in that it not only stores weapons, but weapon techniques for Shirou to use.. Also allows him to change the battlefield to a hill of swords ready for all of his weapons to be used immediately.
- Idiot Hero: He gets a lot better. It's at it's worst in Fate, but even then he shows multiple times before his Character Development that he's not completely stupid.
- Image Song: "Kogane no Hikari"
- Improbable Aiming Skills: As a former member of archery club, he is said to miss his target only once- when he wanted to do so.
- In-Series Nickname: "Fake School Janitor", "In charge of mending", "Vacuum Cleaner of the Archery Club" and "Homurahara's Brownie" among others, due to his self-sacrificial nature, which includes voluntarily doing cleaning work and fixing the school's electrical appliances.
- Trace... ON!
- Unlimited Blade Works: I am the bone of my sword. Steel is my body, and fire is my blood. I have created over a thousand blades. Unaware of loss, nor aware of gain. Withstood pain to create many weapons, waiting for one's arrival. I have no regrets. This is the only path. My whole life was Unlimited Blade Works.
- Heaven's Feel Bad End #38: Divine skill, flawless and firm. Strength moves mountains. Blade cuts water. Life approaches the Imperial Villa. Two great men, shared life!
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: With a twist towards the end of Heaven's Feel Shirou gets skewered from the inside out by swords slowly growing out of his body.
- I Will Find You: Shirou's reaction to Saber's disappearance in Fate; in Fate's Distant Finale in Realta Nua, he spends the rest of his life searching for her until they're reunited in Avalon.
- Knight in Shining Armor: His role in the Fate route.
- Knight in Sour Armor: What he becomes in the Unlimited Blade Works route. Hanging out with your cynical future self will do this to you.
- Living Emotional Crutch: To Sakura. Her love for both Shirou and Rin are a great part of what makes her keep her sanity for so long after awakening as a Holy Grail.
- He was also one to Kiritsugu in the past.
- Loss of Identity: Goes through it during the last half of Heaven's Feel as a side effect of using Archer's artificially attached arm.
- Love at First Sight: In Fate, Shirou claims he fell in love with Saber upon first seeing. However, this is an interesting case since he doesn't comes to understand his feelings for her until two weeks later and in the other routes he never does.
- Made of Iron: Even without his Healing Factor, Shirou is superhumanly tough and repeatedly takes injuries that would kill another man 3 times over.
- Magikarp Power: The only kind of spellcraft Shirou is consistently skilled at is largely considered to be mostly useless, that is, until it turns out he's got a twist to it that allows him to materialize and use legendary weapons relatively at will.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Has a streak of this over all three routes, from taking one of Rider's nails straight through the hand and then asking Rin, whom he took it for, whether or not she's ok to losing an arm to The Shadow while protecting Ilya and uttering the following quote:
I panicked too much. All I lost was my left arm."
- Martyr Without a Cause: In Fate.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Has a bit of this dynamic with Saber. Saber spent her entire life playing the role of a man, has excellent swordsmanship skills, and is uncomfortable around her emotions, while Shirou has little combat ability compared to her, is much more emotional and excels at domestic tasks such as cooking.
- Mega Manning/Spectral Weapon Copy: The ability Unlimited Blade Works allows Shirou to copy any weapon he sees and instantly understand his structure. It then allows him to project it at next to no mana cost.
- Mr. Fanservice: He's pretty ripped for a highschooler◊, and definitely not sore on the eyes.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Works to his advantage. Shirou ends up siphoning skill and knowledge of fighting from his future self due to the time paradox that brought them together.
- Nice Guy: Fate/Stay In The Kitchen in Fate and the anime aside, Shirou is considerate, thoughtful, industrious, and easily a textbook example of this.
- Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Shirou is apparently not allowed to do anything awesome without first being reduced to a near-dead cripple. Ever.
- Not So Different: Shirou spends all of Fate and Unlimited Blade Works hating Kotomine's guts, though he is never able to figure out why. Then during their final confrontation in Heaven's Feel Shirou finally realizes it: he was trying to ignore the fact that the two of them are actually incredibly similar: both felt guilty over the past, and sought to follow paths of atonement knowing they could never actually be satisfied.
- Not So Weak: His classmates, Shinji in particular, look at him like he's an idiot for his willingness to do all their work. The Servants and Tohsaka look at him like an idiot for being, well, an idiot. He has no real self identity, dreams or goals of his own and as such really views himself as worthless compared to saving anyone and everyone else that he can.
- Oblivious to Love
- Shirou seems to be trying not to notice how Sakura feels about him, though a fair measure of genuine obliviousness also appears to be mixed in.
- In Fate he's surprisingly slow to catch on to the changes in Saber.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Shirou instinctively can't get along with Archer, even long before he knows his identity.
- Parental Abandonment: Twice yet. Once when he was orphaned in the Fuyuki Fire, and a second time when Kiritsugu passed away.
- Possession Implies Mastery: Played With. When he duplicates weapons, Shirou also duplicates the skill of the weapon's wielder. Like with the weapon itself, it's not as good as the original, but it works. It even allows him to semi-replicate Berserker's offensive Noble Phantasm in Heaven's Feel. It doesn't mean he has the muscle memory for it though.
- Principles Zealot: He can be this in the Heaven's Feel route, should you choose. It's not a good idea.
- Raging Stiffie: Morning Wood variety. Shirou has a bad streak of waking up with an erection, particularly when a girl is also in the room. However given the nature of futons, he always manages to hide it.
- Real Men Cook: Quite ironic considering his Stay in the Kitchen tendencies in Fate.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Shirou loves and is quite skilled at cooking, and owns a cute pink apron.
- Red-Headed Hero: Obviously his hair is red, but it's interesting that one of the changes that Archer went through due to damage from Projection overuse was that his hair turned white. Archer is certainly less traditionally heroic than Shirou as well.
- Say My Name
- KOTOMINE KIREI!
- Second Year Protagonist: Shirou is stated to be in his second year, meaning he doesn't have the worries of a first year or a third year. This also means Sakura is younger and can go to the same school while there's another year ahead of Tohsaka Unlimited Blade Works endings.
- Selective Obliviousness
- Trying hard not to notice anything in regards to how Sakura feels or how he himself is starting to feel about her since he feels it's inappropriate to be attracted to his friend's sister
- It's implied (and stated by Shirou himself, even) that he knew who Archer was all alongnote , but couldn't possibly accept the idea.
- Sempai/Kohai: With Sakura.
- Shoot the Dog
- Spam Attack: Nine Lives Blade Works. Shirou projects Berserker's sword. Much ass is kicked.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Shirou, or Shirō, depending on the source.
- Spider-Sense: Has a superhuman sense of danger, which repeatedly saves him and others from otherwise certain death. This tranlates into having the Eye of the Mind (True) skill as Archer.. Aside from that, he has a small ability of smelling magic.
- Stay in the Kitchen
- During the Fate route, Shirou is worried about Saber getting hurt and constantly tells her that girls shouldn't fight. In the next two routes, he doesn't bring it up anymore, nor does it ever apply to anyone else apart from her.
- When Ayako is attacked by a molester and nothing serious comes of it, Shirou accidentally blurts out that she ought to be more feminine and almost views it as a good thing. He does not get away with this line and immediately regrets it. Especially since Taiga might tell her he said it.
- Supporting Protagonist: In Fate.
- Supreme Chef: He, Tohsaka and Sakura have a bit of a competition going on with this and each has their own specialty that they refuse to let the others match them in (specifically, his specialty is Japanese food).
- Survivor Guilt: He has a massive case of this, shown during both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, and present but barely and far more subtle in Heaven's Feel. Zig-Zagged a bit later, as Unlimited Blade Works is where he shows this the most, but it's also when it's revealed that it doesn't apply as much as it initially seemed to. While he does feel guilty about being the only survivor, his actual actions are mostly based on trying to find meaning through saving others.
- Swiss Army Superpower: Reinforcement. Want a weapon? Reinforce anything from a paper poster to a Noble Phantasm, and they'll get stronger. Run fast? Reinforce your legs. Super Strength? Reinforce your muscles or your hands. Sniper Sight? Reinforce your eyes.
- Sympathy for the Devil: In Heaven's Feel Shirou realizes that the reason he was always hostile to Kotomine is because he actually likes him. Unlike Kiritsugu, Kotomine and Shirou are in fact very similar people. This doesn't stop Shirou from doing what must be done, but it does show that Shirou feels sort of bad about it.
- Taking the Bullet: You could make a Drinking Game counting how many times Shirou jumps in front of an attack meant for someone else. See Chronic Hero Syndrome above.
- Theme Music Power-Up: His moments of asskickery are usually signaled by "Emiya" starting up in the background.
- They Would Cut You Up: He has to keep his Unlimited Blade Works ability secret because it's an extremely rare ability that appears pretty much at random—it cannot be learned or passed down through blood. People with abilities like this get Sealing Designations from the Mage's Association. They call it the "greatest honor" a mage can get, but what it really amounts to is being incarcerated and frozen in time so their ability can be studied.
- Together in Death: Reunites with Saber in Avalon in one of the endings.
- Too Dumb to Live: Prior to his Character Development. Pretty much everybody calls him out on it. Visual Novel-wise, there are 40 main Tiger Dojos and an awful lot of them call him out, especially 11, 24, and 36 which are Nobody Calls Me Chicken Player Punches.
- Took a Level in Badass: Considering how relatively incompetent he is at fighting compared to almost every other major character in the series at the start, Shirou makes amazing progress.
- In Fate he begins to pick up Projection magic for real, though for the most part he has to rely on Saber.
- Unlimited Blade Works: Two moments cement this: when using Projection for the first time at a level superior to what he accomplished in Fate as well as learning some decent sword technique and the second when he uses the actual Reality Marble itself against Gilgamesh.
- Heaven's Feel: He gets Archer's arm attached and gains a mastery of Projection on par with Archers... but it slowly kills him. At the same time, though, it's turning his body into swords and speeds up the process, but still useful in the middle of hand to hand combat.
- Tragic Dream: His dream is to realize Kiritsugu's dream and become a superhero who can save everyone. He is continuously confronted with the fruitlessness of his endeavour and the disastrous effect it has on his own happiness, to the point where he chooses to abandon his ideals in Heaven's Feel.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia
- Shirou lost all his memories prior to the fire ten years before from which Kiritsugu saved him.
- After stabbing Saber Alter in Heaven's Feel he erases all his memories of Saber over his crushing guilt at killing her.
- Tsundere: Toward Rin in UBW.
- The Unfettered: In the "Mind of Steel" Bad End, Shirou puts down Sakura for the sake of his ideals and has to kill off Rin and Ilya as well to keep them from abusing the Grail. He basically becomes like his father.
- Unusual Eyebrows: Of the kinked type. They're one of the few things he has in common visually with Archer.
- Weak, but Skilled/Strong, but Unskilled: Unusually, Shirou falls under both tropes in regard to his magical ability.
- On one hand, he was born with almost zero talent as a mage. He was born into a family without a Magical Crest (which would make spells much easier to cast) and has received virtually no training whatsoever. Nevertheless, Shirou made up for his lack of knowledge through relentless training: by the time of the Fifth Grail War, he was sufficiently skilled with reinforcement to allow a rolled up poster to withstand blows from Servants, if only momentarily. His relative lack of proficiency in magecraft is further compensated for by his basic training in archery and swordplay, which is sufficient to allow him to fight off Caster's puppets in the Fate route.
- On the other hand, Shirou possesses his own Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works, which very few magic users have access to. Essentially a Pocket Dimension which is capable of storing and reproducing any bladed weapon that Shirou analyzes in exact detail, it can be expanded into normal space for a short while, though doing so requires an enormous amount of power because it essentially amounts to imposing the reality represented by the marble into the world. However, this ability is what enables Shirou to create successful projections of Noble Phantasms without expending too much energy, as he is actually projecting a copy of the weapon existing within his Reality Marble.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: One of his defining traits. Eventually, heavily Deconstructed in both the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes. Only gets Reconstructed in UBW.
- With This Herring: Before he really unlocks projection, this happens often. His first real fight is him against Lancer, who is wielding the legendary Gae Bolg. Shirou is using a reinforced poster. It manages to survive several hits.
- You Killed My Father: In Fate, Shirou finds out that Kotomine killed Kiritsugu, and his original parents by causing the fire. He doesn't take that well. He finds out the former in Heaven's Feel as well, but at that point it makes no difference to him.
"The world is just another word for the things you value around you, right? That's something I've had since I was born. If you tell me to rule such a world, I already rule it."
Tohsaka is one of the main Magi of the series and the Tritagonist
. She is known in the fandom
for her Tsundere
traits and helping popularize the twin tail tsundere with Zettai Ryouiki
look. Rin is an honor student in Shirou's school, and the talented heir of the prestigious Tohsaka magus family, one of the founders of the Holy Grail Wars. She enters the Fifth Holy Grail Wars out of a sense of responsibility as the Tohaska heir and her own competitive desire to win. She tries to summon a Saber-class Servant, which is widely considered to be the best Servant class. Thus, it is a point of much irritation when she summons Archer instead. Eventually she grows accustomed to him, and they are partners in every route of the game.
Rin is a complex person, using a honor student facade to hide her fairly abrasive nature, but this is also
a disguise for her rather good nature and the strong morals she tries to ignore. More than anything, Rin seems driven by her sense of duty to the Tohsaka lineage, though her moral values save her from being the cruel, emotionless magus her brain tells her she's supposed to be.
While she is mostly an adviser to Shirou in Fate
, she becomes the main heroine in Unlimited Blade Works
and plays a major role in Heaven's Feel
"No, you are strong, Senpai. It's not because of your Magic Circuit or your talent, but because your mind is pure....I knew that from the first time I met you. I knew you would never betray anyone."
Sakura is Shirou's timid underclassman and the third and final heroine of the story. She has been friends with him since the previous summer when he was injured in an accident and she began visiting him with the excuse of taking care of him while he couldn't care for himself. Even after he recovered, she continued to visit him and attempts to do all the chores at his house due to her massive crush on him, which he attempts to ignore. Despite coming from the Matou family, Shinji claims she has been kept in the dark regarding magic as in a traditional magus household only the successor will be taught any magecraft. Though she is respectful of her brother and defends his misconduct, he is in turn an abusive ass towards her. Further, despite her upbeat attitude with Shirou, she is actually nearly silent and much gloomier when away from the Emiya household or Taiga and has no real friends apart from those two.
In Heaven's Feel
, Sakura becomes the love interest of the story and secrets about her life and the Matou family are slowly revealed.
- Abusive Parents: Her (supposed) grandparent subjected her to years of "training", which was basically torture.
- Apocalypse Maiden: Her body has been modified to be a fake Grail and absorb the souls of Servants.
- Beneath the Mask: Portions of Heaven's Feel are taken from her perspective and provide and alternate look at her personality. For a relatively spoiler free example, she invokes the Yamato Nadeshiko image as a way of appealing to Shirou.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Sakura is very calm and gentle, but as Heaven's Feel shows, years of abuse make her snap, making her very powerful and dangerous.
- Big Eater: Although she tries to reserve herself out of fear of looking unladylike, Shirou notices that she eats quite a lot.
- Big "NO!": She has two of these after she accidentally stabs Shirou with a spell she, in a bout of crazy caused by Shinji, shot at Rin. She feels extremely guilty about it for the rest of the route.
- Break the Cutie: First, she's taken from her parents and sister and dumped into an unfamiliar but supposedly allied household, the Matou family. Her parents die soon after as well as the one decent Matou, leaving her with no advocate. She is then 'trained' in Matou magic, which involves infesting her body with maneating worms and having her brother rape her because he's envious of her status as the Matou heir. Things are looking up when Shirou enters the picture and inspires her to keep trying and gives her a resolve that Zouken cannot break, but then Heaven's Feel happens and things just keep getting worse until she finally breaks down.
- Broken Bird: Despite acting nice and cheerful around Shirou, Sakura actually is a lonely and sad girl who is almost completely broken inside. The extent of bad things that have happened to her is only revealed in her route; her brother, Shinji, is shown to mistreat her, her biological family gave her away to the Matou family, she was abused emotionally, physically and sexually and her sister doesn't seem to care at all about her.
- Cain and Abel: Shinji resents her for being the true Matou heir.
- Cherry Blossom Girl: Named Sakura, has a flower themed ending, is the final love interest and is working hard at being a Yamato Nadeshiko. However, things aren't as pleasant as they seem.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: She does NOT like the idea of Saber living in Shirou's house even outside of Heaven's Feel at first, doesn't like having Tohsaka around because Shirou admires her and is generally very possesive of Shirou (including when Rider is with them). In Heaven's Feel Zouken uses this and her genuine love for both Shirou and her brother to eventually cause her to snap by putting too much pressure on her.
- Club President: In the True End of Heaven's Feel it's revealed that she became the head of the archery club along with the fact that she became the supervisor for Fuyuki in Rin's abscence.
- The Corruptible: Throughout Heaven's Feel, there's a constant fear of Sakura succumbing to the corruption. She resists more than seems humanly possible, but eventually she does.
- Covert Pervert: A very rare instance of the trope Played for Drama. Because of the crest worm she gets sexually aroused very easily, and hates herself for that.
- Cry Cute: When Shiro and Rin learn the truth about her, Shiro finds her crying in the rain alone, in a really heartwrenching moment.
- Curtains Match the Window: Sakura has unusual, purple-colored eyes and hair. This is revealed to be because of the "conditioning" imposed upon her by Zouken in order to make her into the successor of the Matou brand of magecraft.
- Dark Magical Girl: She has next to no friends or decent family and in front of people not named Taiga and Shirou and she tends to be nearly silent and very submissive.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: After treating Shirou's wounds caused by True Assassin, Sakura masturbates thinking about Shirou's rather muscular chest and back. However the circumstances at the time make her feel particularly horrible about it.
- D-Cup Distress: She's quite embarrassed about her bust size (which Taiga takes great delight in revealing to Shirou).
- Deal with the Devil: Rather involuntarily, Sakura becomes outrageously powerful by virtue of drawing on the power of Angra Mainyu due to Zouken having her make a contract with it.
- Defiled Forever: Thinks of herself as a woman unworthy of Shirou due to have been repeatedly raped and violated through her life. Essentially she internalized Madonna–Whore Complex.
- Defusing the Tyke Bomb: The objective of Heaven's Feel is to stop the Crest Worm from going haywire and subsequently, the destruction of Angra Mainyu without killing Sakura.
- Demoted to Extra: Despite being one of main heroines of the visual novel, Sakura is one of the least commercial characters in the series. For example, in Carnival Phantasm she not only rarely appears, but the jokes to be made about her are either mean spirited or even larger flanderizations than normal, portraying her as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and a Yandere.
- Despair Event Horizon: An implied offscreen one. In the main route, Sakura flees the church while Rin and Shirou debate whether they should kill her. But in the Superhero ending, Rin apparently kills Sakura without difficulty after Shirou agrees with her that Sakura should die, the implication being that hearing Shirou wants her dead kept Sakura from resisting.
- The Dog Bites Back: Her Superpowered Evil Side, once fully established, decides that it's not going to put up with her grandfather's abuse anymore...
- Dogged Nice Girl: Sakura is not the most subtle of suitors.
- Driven to Suicide: She never kills herself, but she does consider it. On Day 9 of Heaven's Feel she mentions several previous attempts at suicide, though she never went through with it. After her My God, What Have I Done? moment, she attempts to kill herself out of remorse, only to be prevented by Angra Mainyu long enough for Shirou to free her with Rule Breaker.
- Eating the Eye Candy: At one point when she has to help treat Shirou's wounds, she sits there for a good 3 minutes blushing and staring at his muscular chest.
- Everyone Can See It: It's obvious to everyone that she loves Shirou.
- Evil Makeover: As Dark Sakura, her magic and her outfit turn black and red while her hair turns white.
- Expy: She is similar in appearance and personality and shares some aspects of her back-story, with Fujino Asagami from the earlier Nasu work Kara no Kyoukai.
- Extreme Doormat: Before she fell in love with Shirou, she felt empty and was resigned to her fate. Meeting Shiro made her feel alive again. She's still pretty doormat when she isn't around Shirou.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: A few years back, she was even quieter and more withdrawn, but after noticing Shirou she resolved to make herself more girly and appealing and thus learned to cook from Shirou and kept practicing to the point where she's roughly as good at it as he is.
- Freak Out!: After killing Shinji, she finally succumbs to the corruption and willingly enters the villain camp out of despair and resentment. It takes a lot of work for the good guys to get through to her again thanks in no small part to Tohsaka's distant attitude.
- Friendless Background: Shirou notes that she doesn't really have any friends at school and didn't really hang out with anyone but Shirou in the past.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: After her breakdown, she becomes a threat to the world itself because she contains All Evils Of This World, which can either enter the world as six billion curses or, at the end of the route, can instead come out as an evil god. She doesn't seem to mind too much.
- Go-Go Enslavement: In the anime, Caster puts Sakura in black leather after she captures her.
- Gratuitous German: Heaven's Feel only.
- Hair Decorations: Always wears a ribbon in the left side of her hair. It is a Memento MacGuffin since it was the first ribbon Rin ever made, and one of the few signs of their true feelings for each other.
- Hates Being Alone
- Healing Factor: The power of Angra Mainyu gives her regeneration more powerful even than that of Avalon. Showcased when she pulls the Crest Worm attached to a third of her nerves out of her heart and crushes it without suffering any damage and when Gilgamesh impales her with several weapons, but does no lasting damage.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation
- Hidden Buxom: Taiga says she's actually an E-cup, though her rather large bust isn't visible when she's not wearing her casual clothes or in the H-scenes.
- Ill Girl: Due to the stress of the Matou family's crest worms becoming more active she's bedridden for a large portion of the route.
- Image Song: "Egao Hitotsu de" ("With One Smile")
- Insecure Love Interest: Due to her severe self-esteem issues, she's constantly scared that Shirou will fall for some other, "better" girl and leave her alone.
- I Will Wait for You: In the Normal End of Heaven's Feel. Sakura promises to wait for Shirou after his Heroic Sacrifice, though it eventually becomes clear that he never returns to her and she eventually dies of old age.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Her ruthless treatment of Zouken and Shinji. She herself is rather stunned at what she did to Shinji, however, since she did care about him.
- Leitmotif: "All the Evils in this World", a remix of Kirei's "The Church on the Hill".
- Lighter and Softer: In the manga, many of the horrible things from her backstory seem not to have occurred or, at least, are not mentioned.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The light to Rin's dark.
- Living Shadow: Due to Zouken tampering with her, she can morph into the Shadow, a premature form of Angra Mainyu, but she initially has no control over it.
- Locked into Strangeness: Sakura's purple eyes and hair are the result of the parasitic worms Zouken implanted in her body, that feed on her mana and carnal impulses, greatly boosting her magical power and sexual aggression.
- Marked Change: As Dark Sakura, red marks appear on her face.
- Meaningful Name: In the myth of the cherry blossom tree, Sakura, it used to have pure petals, but they were stained pink from the blood of the soldier who died at its roots (short version of the myth). It is used as both a metaphor for life, and for death. Sakura made her transformation after killing Shinji, and ate people, similarly to how the tree roots drank blood.
- Mood-Swinger: During the course of her route she becomes Dark Sakura, whose emotions and personality are highly unstable.
- The Mourning After: Through the rest of her life in the Normal End of the Heaven's Feel, Sakura stays in Shirou's home constantly waiting for Shirou to come home after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the Grail War.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After Rin (seemingly) dies, Sakura realizes that she destroyed everyone who still loved her with her own hands.
- Mystical White Hair: As Dark Sakura, her hair turns white to show her great magic power.
- Necessary Evil: While gradually progressing through much of the "Heaven's Feel" route with increasing despair, Sakura kills Shinji and Zouken, the former was her brother who raped the girl to maintain her dark side, and the latter was her father whose treatment of her led to her corruption. Both incidents actually contributed to her post-Fifth Holy Grail War self being happier, otherwise she would die as a result of her Dark and Troubled Past.
- Nice Girl: Subverted. While far from a bad person, she's only really friendly and bright around Shirou, while at school, she's moody and silent. Thanks to Zouken, her mind is heavily fractured, and her mental and emotional instability caused by everything that had happened to her causes her to occasionally behave badly towards the people she cares about, like Tohsaka and Rider, despite her best efforts.
- Not So Weak: A plot point. Zouken Matou can't break her by himself, and she won't fight back. At all. It takes a great deal of manipulation of outside factors and a good deal of stupidity from the heroes to actually make her snap. Until then, she was far more resilient than you'd expect for someone that's essentially broken inside. Still mostly sane after being raped constantly by Shinji at least, plus violated by worms, plus worms living inside her, plus excruciating pain and who knows what the hell else. But the crack that breaks her is how she tries to settle things to keep Shirou safe.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Sakura knew from minute 1 what Saber really was and why she suddenly disappeared in Heaven's Feel, being a Master herself, but acted like she didn't for the sake of Shirou's sanity.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Her direct connection to Angra Mainyu and the Grail gives her more mana than she could use in a thousand lifetimes, which she uses to summon building-sized shadows that melt and absorb anything they come into contact with.
- Phlebotinum Girl
- Power Dyes Your Hair: Her hair turns white when she accepts her Super-Powered Evil Side. It turns back to purple if she's saved by Shirou.
- Protectorate: To Shirou and her Servant Rider in Heaven's Feel.
- Rape as Backstory: Over the past eleven years, she has been raped on a near daily basis by Zouken's worms and Shinji. And maybe by her adoptive father Byakuya, but this is never made clear.
- Rapunzel Hair: In the Heaven's Feel True End, she has let her hair grow down to her hips.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: As Dark Sakura, she wears a long black dress made of black ribbons, that are trimmed in red.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dark Sakura's eyes are a dull, bloody red.
- The Resenter: While she does love Rin, she also resents that Rin has had a much happier life and never even really bothered to find out her situation.
- Sempai/Kohai: She is Shirou's kohai. It's notable the fact that she always refers to Shirou as "Sempai" even when in the presence of other people who are also her sempais, like Rin. In the Heaven's Feel True epilogue, she still calls him "Sempai" even though they've been in a relationship for several years and he's no longer even her Sempai.
- Shrinking Violet: She's rather hesitant and shy, though not particularly subtle with how she feels.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Shinji and Rin.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She loves Shirou because he's honest and hardworking.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Matou, Matô or Matō depending on the source/transliteration paradigm used.
- Stepford Smiler: Played with. At school, Sakura is more or less her "true self"; quiet, stoic and never smiles in front of people. Around Shirou, she's cheerful, happy, lively and always has a smile on her face. The latter is not an act, but this trope still applies to some extent because of everything she's hiding under that smile.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Dark Sakura. Unlike the normal Sakura, she has control over the vast mana reserves inside the Grail or at least the inclination to use them. This is more than she could ever possibly use as well as the ability to do such actions as self healing or summoning of massive shadow familiars. Her personality, on the other hand, is highly unstable and switches between near catatonia and violent lashing out at her loved ones.
- Super Power Meltdown: Sakura loses the ability to control the Grail's energy, resulting in a potentially world destroying monster requiring first the use of Rule Breaker to separate Sakura from the Grail and then either Shirou or Ilya's Heroic Sacrifice to keep from getting worse.
- Supreme Chef: Taught by Shirou, which makes him uncomfortable when he notices that she may be becoming better than him (and he flat out considers her to be better than him at Western food).
- Tareme Eyes
- Through His Stomach: She decided that if she wanted Shirou to like her she had to be more appealing, so she started reforming her personality into that of a Yamato Nadeshiko. She's especially determined to outdo him at cooking.
- Town Girls: The Femme to Rin's Neither and Saber's Butch.
- Tykebomb: For eleven years, Sakura has been forced to act as a host for magical worms that allow Zouken to control her at will.
- The Unfavourite: Considers herself as such in regards to Rin.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In this case, "Well Done, Sis" Girl. The only thing Sakura always expected from Rin was for her to show some fraternal love.
- White Hair, Black Heart: As part of her Evil Makeover, her hair turns white.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: After her breakdown she basically decides "Eh, screw it. If I'm screwed anyway the world going with me is okay."
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Invoked. When she grew interested in Shirou, she resolved to reform herself to be more appealing.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She used to have black hair like her biological sister Rin Tohsaka. The purple coloration is a result of receiving the Crest Worm.
Ilyasviel "Ilya" von Einzbern
"I don't intend to kill you, Shirou. You're mine. I'll kill the other Masters, but you're special. That's why I locked you up here, so there won't be any interruptions... "
The little noble girl Ilyasviel, usually called Ilya for short, was sent by the Einzbern Clan to be their champion the Holy Grail War. She is in fact a homunculus and the Master of Berserker. Due to being a homunculus, her great affinity for magic allows her to effortlessly control the otherwise rampaging Berserker class with ease. She lives in a mansion in the middle of a forest with her Servant and two maids.
Though she is indeed very innocent, this is not necessarily a good thing.
She's cruel and occasionally vindictive in her naivety and has an odd obsession and attachment to Shirou.
- Adaptational Badass: While she was always considered the most powerful master, that was because of her control of Berserker. In the 2014 anime, she also shows off a more advanced version of her mother's magic. Making dangerous by herself. Even Rin couldn't take her.
- All There in the Manual: Several notable things, for instance we only find out that she dies a year after the Holy Grail war in Archer's back-story via supplementary materials, and apparently the Dress of Heaven she wears at the end of Heaven's Feel will turn any human who touches it into gold!
- Beat Still, My Heart: Gilgamesh tears her heart out in Unlimited Blade Works after slashing her eyes in half so that he can use it to create an incomplete Grail with which he can unleash Angra Mainyu upon the world.
- Big Brother Attraction: Played pretty darkly, especially since Shirou has no clue why she's calling him onii-chan until Heaven's Feel.
- Big Sister Instinct: "You said an older brother protects his younger sister, right?... Yeah. I'm the older sister. So I have to protect my younger brother."
- But Not Too Foreign: Ilya's biological father is Emiya Kiritsugu and her mother is a German homunculus.
- Cheerful Child/Creepy Child: Yes, she's both. It's not contradictory.
- Clingy Jealous Girl
- Clone Degeneration: Even if she survives the war, she still has less than a year to live.
- Cool Crown: Seen donning one along with the Dress of Heaven in Heaven's Feel.
- Creepy Cool Crosses: The cuffs of her shirt prominently display a row of them.
- Cute and Psycho: In Fate, mostly; in Unlimited Blade Works she doesn't appear much and in Heaven's Feel the psycho part is pretty much absent. But even without that she's a bit bipolar.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: She just doesn't know. More to the point, she doesn't know that he spent the next five years prior to his death trying to come back, but the Einzberns wouldn't let him see her. The fact that he told her he would be back and then never returned for no obvious reason is understandably upsetting for her. Making it worse is that the Einzberns almost certainly made it sound as bad as they possibly could, too, because it gives her more of a reason to fight. She doesn't seem to buy the cover story entirely, but she's got a major grudge against Shirou to go along with some level of Big Brother Attraction.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After losing in Fate she's spared by Shirou and taken into the Emiya household. Which would have been a surprisingly good idea if they'd known Kotomine would raid the house to take her.
- Enfante Terrible
- Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Her preferred form of greeting.
- Evil Albino: In much of Fate.
- Expy: Of SHIKI Tohno fron Tsukihime. The two are sadistic albinos who were isolated from the outside world and have an obsession with a sibling. Ilya also feels attached but resents the main protagonist. They also become more Affably Evil in each route.
- Eye Scream: Suffers a brutal version of this in Unlimited Blade Works when Gilgamesh cuts her across the face in a manner that leaves anything but her now-cut-on-the-middle eyes unharmed. Before he tears her heart out with his bare hands..
- Failure Is the Only Option: Ilya is actually in a rather similar situation to Assassin, in that both are literally incapable of actually winning the Holy Grail war. As the vessel for the Grail itself, her mind is destroyed when it finishes forming, leaving her unable to claim the prize even if her Servant is the last one standing.
- The Fake Cutie: She's genuinely quite innocent and naive, but in contrast to that she's probably the most brutal character in the story. Heaven's Feel makes it pretty clear that her little girl act is just an act. She's actually quite emotionally conflicted about what she should be doing and almost entirely lacks any hope for the future.
- Fille Fatale: Exactly what she plans to do with Shirou once she gets him varies from route to route, but in Fate at least she made it pretty clear just what she was planning to do with her new "toy." You can't get much more explicit than straddling a tied-up boy and asking him if he'd like to be your slave!. Tiger Dojo confirms there was originally an H scene here if you picked the wrong option. On the other hand, she's actually older than he is.
- First Name Basis: She generally prefers being called by her nickname of "Ilya".
- Freudian Excuse: Parental Abandonment? Check. Isolated from the outside world and basically raised to be a sociopath by her mother's family? Check. Put through agonizing Training from Hell by said family so she could control Berserker and be their representative in the Grail War, despite the fact that she was mentally pretty much still a child? Check and check.
- Go Out with a Smile: In Heaven's Feel True End.
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple
- Happily Adopted: The ending to Fate features her more or less adopted by Taiga. The two get along more like sisters than parent and child, but it's hard to dispute that Ilya's having a much better time with the Fujimura than the Einzbern family.
- Heel-Face Turn: In Fate after Shirou and Saber defeat Berserker.
- Heroic Albino: In Heaven's Feel.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the True End of Heaven's Feel she sacrifices herself to shut down the Artifact of Doom behind the Holy Grail War once and for all.
- Hostile Show Takeover: She cheerfully announces her intent to do this in Heaven's Feel during a Taiga Dojo segment in Unlimited Blade Works. When it doesn't work out that way, she tries to take over the Dojo instead with a tank.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She just barely reaches her servant's knee.
- Hypnotic Eyes
- In-Series Nickname: In the Tiger Dojo, SD-Rin calls her "buruma", since she wears a gym uniform with bloomers in that section.
- Image Song: "Tsuki no Namida"; also shares a more "fun" version with Taiga.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: When dying in Unlimited Blade Works, she mentions that it's a little cold but things will surely be okay again soon so long as Berserker is there to protect her. He's already dead.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Her ruthless murder of Shinji in Fate is supposed to indicate that she's a little psycho... but honestly, it's Shinji. Who cares?
- Kid with the Leash: To Berserker.
- Leitmotif: "Die Lorelei" by Phillipp Friedrich Silcher. Notable in being an actual German folk song.
- Meta Gal: She becomes this during the Tiger Dojo segments accompanying each of the game's 40 Bad Ends.
- Ms. Exposition: She fills this role pretty often, especially in Heaven's Feel.
- Mystical White Hair
- Nom de Mom: She uses her mother's surname instead of her father's.
- Older Than She Looks: She looks around ten years old, but is in fact eighteen. Homunculi have strange growth patterns, but hers is nonexistent as she wasn't made to be able to live as a human.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: She was naturally conceived, but she's still a homunculus, since homunculi in this setting resemble Designer Babies mixed with Cloning Blues.
- Parental Abandonment: After the previous Grail War, the Einzberns wouldn't even allow Ilya and Kiritsugu to meet, and having her mother already dead, Ilya feels she has been abandoned. This distresses her so much that it is implied that the reason she keeps Berserker in an "always semi berserk" state is to deprive the only real father figure she's ever known of even the opportunity of leaving her.
- Proper Lady: She likes to act like one; curtsying when thanking someone or saying something like "the lady of the mansion has to entertain her guests".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Some of the time, anyway. Generally, if the narration starts focusing on her eyes, bad things are about to happen.
- The Resenter: She's got a major grudge against Shirou for being Kiritsugu's adopted son.
- The Sociopath: Until she turns and her more sadistic tendencies seem to be put to rest.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The arrangement of her lietmotif Die Lorelei in this game sounds like a lullaby played by a music box. The first time you hear it in the very first Bad End, Berserker is chopping your limbs off, leaving your head kept alive as a toy for Ilya. The leitmotif changes to a depressing theme on subsequent appearances, but still keeps the dissonance.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Even the official manga translation can't seem to decide if it's "Ilyasviel" or "Illyasviel". To make matters worse, Type Moon's official website uses "Ilya", while nearly all Type Moon merchandise uses "Illya". So it seems both spellings are canon.
- Stepford Smiler: She's a lot less carefree than she looks since she knows that she'll probably be dead by the end of the Grail War even if she wins, a year after that if she doesn't and the one thing she actually wants is something she feels she can't get. That one thing is for Shirou to actually care about her.
- Token Mini-Moe: Lampshaded and providing the page quote.
- Tykebomb: She was raised by the Einzbern family to be the ultimate Master and not to play a great value on human life.
- Units Not to Scale: Reversed from the normal presentation. The artwork actually exaggerates the size difference between her and Berserker. He's about eight feet tall while she's four to four and a half feet, but she doesn't reach much past his knee if the artwork is anything to go by.
- The Von Trope Family
- What Could Have Been: It's stated in the Tiger Dojos that Nasu had been toying with the idea of giving Ilya her own route if Heaven's Feel was short enough, but it wasn't. The details of her own route were largely folded into Heaven's Feel instead. It's also mentioned once that there was originally a scene in the Fate route where she raped Shirou in a Bad End, but that scene was obviously cut.
- And then in Fate/hollow ataraxia it's revealed that even Shinji was more likely to get his own route than her.
- Winter Royal Lady: Not literally, but certainly she is characterized both by her princess-like looks and character and her affinity with winter.
- Yandere: Non romantic despite her clinginess. She really seems to be dead set on having Shirou be her servant; or worse, her doll. Heck, she'll settle for his still living head. She just wants to be properly acknowledged and secretly believes that Shirou won't.
- You Are Number Six: Her name is "Pupil Number One" in the Tiger Dojo.
- You Lose at Zero Trust: From early on in Heaven's Feel Shirou is getting along with her much better than in the previous two routes. However, thanks to Zouken dicking around, she feels she has to ignore how she feels and opts for pragmatism and kills him rather regretfully if you don't have a high enough affection score with her.
"If you want me to drop the barrier, you'll have to get on your knees and beg."
Sakura's brother and Shirou's friend from middle school, Shinji is abrasive, smug and sarcastic. While he comes from a family of magi, due to the land of Fuyuki "rejecting" the Matou family, they had lost their magical potential by the time that Shinji was born. Thus, Shinji lacks a Magic Circuit and thus, has no magical potential whatsoever. Questioning his ability is an easy way to get on his bad side and in general he seems largely unstable. At school, he's a popular ladies' man, but it's not quite clear why: He's rude, arrogant and ineptly manipulates the few friends he has.
Shinji is shown early on to be the Master of the mysterious Servant Rider, whom he controls using an artifact created from Rider's Command Spells called the Book of the False Attendant
, and takes up a fairly prominent role in all three routes.
"People cannot change the past. All we can do, is accept our own actions. If you still wish to be burdened by your sins, let it show in your future actions. It is your choice how to perceive something that has already happened."
Kotomine Kirei is the overseer of the Holy Grail War and resides at the church on top of the hill. He is callous and sarcastic, but also quite knowledgeable. As the supervisor of the Grail War, it is his duty to uphold the rules of the Holy Grail War, cover up any incidents that might expose the War to the public, and give sanctuary to any Masters who drop out. Both Tohsaka and Shirou appear to detest him, though in truth they don't seem to dislike him too much. Despite the enmity between the Mage's Association and the Church, Kotomine is a member of both organizations, which is presumably the reason he was chosen to be be the overseer.
Kotomine plays an important role in the unfolding events in all three routes, but the route that features him most heavily is the final one, Heaven's Feel
where he takes an active role early on.
- Affably Evil: He's gracious and well mannered in his own way, though sarcastic. He even seems to genuinely like Tohsaka and Shirou. Doesn't stop him from sacrificing orphans to feed his Servant, trying to rip out Tohsaka's heart or any number of other charming things.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Has a habit of dropping these that completely flabbergast the person who's asked. "Is killing someone always a sin, no matter what?" being the prime example, at the end of Heaven's Feel.
- Back from the Dead: Kirei was killed by Kiritsugu at the end of the 4th Holy Grail War, but was resurrected by the Holy Grail and given a new heart.
- Badass: He doesn't get to show off until Heaven's Feel but he's capable of beating True Assassin in a fight, almost kills Zouken with a baptism and mauling Shirou when he is not only fighting at Archer's level of ability but also turning into swords.
- Badass Baritone: Joji Nakata gives him a deep, booming voice.
- Badass Longcoat: His priest garments are like a combo between this and Badass Longrobe. They are also bulletproof to boot.
- Badass Preacher
- Badass Teacher: This is the guy who taught Rin pretty much everything she knows in terms of magecraft and combating it.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Primarily utilizes various chinese martial arts, particularly Baji Quan, although he also has access to Black Key throwing swords that serve as the Church's primary armament against the supernatural.
- Batman Gambit: He only wins against True Assassin specifically because of Assassin's Noble Phantasm, which targets the heart with a curse. Sadly, you cannot curse a living mass of curses with another curse. This gets Assassin nailed to a tree for his trouble.
- Being Good Sucks: He explains in Fate that he's the villain because doing 'good' doesn't make him happy. Only the suffering of others does that. However, Being Evil Sucks too: He has a strong moral compass BECAUSE of what he is taught before his Start of Darkness. He's stuck in the middle of between a good person and a terrible one and frustrated that there's no place for him and no one that understands.
- Big Bad: In Fate he's the clear primary villain since there's no one else around. After Ilya is defeated, he breaks in, mauls Tohsaka, takes Ilya and begins using her to spew out the corrupt contents of the Grail, which will eventually end the world.
- Big Bad Ensemble: In Heaven's Feel he has to share the bad guy position with Zouken Matou after the latter finally steps forward, due in no small part to losing both his pawns before the story really gets going. He works together with Shirou and manages to outlast Zouken and has a final climactic duel with Shirou.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: He seems to love intensely hot mapo tofu, a character quirk that carries over into several other installments like Fate/EXTRA.
- Character Filibuster: He is physically incapable of entering and exiting a scene without at least a few dozen pages' worth of exposition, philosophical contemplation or cruel mind games in between. Usually, all three at the same time, or at least two out of them at the same time, depending on the length of the scene.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Due to immense training as an Executor and his mastery of Baji Quan, Kotomine is able to stand up to True Assassin and a body-transmuted-into-swords Shirou in Heaven's Feel.
- He can even run at fifty kilometers per hour while carrying someone, and jump out of a building 80 feet high without having to break his fall.
- The Chessmaster
- Chewing the Scenery: He can sometimes drift into this territory, although this is partly just how Joji Nakata acts. He's generally fairly calm, however.
- Child Prodigy: Started his training as an Executor at age 10.
- Church Militant: A former Executor and member of the Assembly of the Eight Sacrament, and now a semi-retired Kung-Fu Jesus.
- Classic Villain: In Heaven's Feel Kotomine's parallels to Shirou become quite obvious with the classic climactic conclusion being resolved by Kotomine's lack of purpose outside the emptiness that is at both Shirou and his own core. Shirou's nature lies in defining himself through others, which is the same as Kotomine. The reason it is a virtue for Shirou and a vice for Kotomine is that Shirou's self definition lies in aiding others while Kotomine's is in harming them.
- The Coats Are Off: At the end of Heaven's Feel.
- Creepy Cool Crosses
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers the greatest human-to-human curbstomp in the entire game when he fights Shirou at the end of Heaven's Feel. Shirou doesn't even get to land a single hit and is only saved from death through sheer determination and the fact that Kirei is literally destroying his hands beating Shirou because of the swords growing under his skin.
- Death by Irony: In all three routes no less.
- In Fate, Shirou kills Kotomine with the Azoth dagger that he gave to Rin Tohsaka, and it becomes even more ironic when he used that very dagger to quite literally backstab and kill the person who gave it to him in Fate/Zero, Rin's Father Tokiomi Tohsaka. In fact, the very reason he stabbed him using that dagger is the irony of it.
- In Unlimited Blade Works, dispatched by Lancer, the original Servant of Bazett whose Command Seals he stole to obtain him, in a successful attempt to kill him off as well.
- In Heaven's Feel, he dies not because Shirou overpowers him, but because hours ago his black heart was stopped by Sakura, who was overtaken by Angra Mainyu. It was the corrupted Grail which saved him in Fate/Zero by giving him a new heart.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Played with in Heaven's Feel. He comes to mutual understanding over their afflictions with Shirou, and dies with little regret, admitting that Shirou was the one who was the most determined.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: When he was younger: Mage? Not fulfilling. Church? Ditto. Devoted husband? Empty. Evil? Bingo! And he's still not happy with that specifically because it makes him happy.
- Determinator: In Heaven's Feel, he survives for about 24 hours without his artificial heart of curses after Sakura destroys it, yet he still has the energy to maul Shirou.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Kotomine is the only human in the entire game who, without the use of ridiculously powerful magic or other incredible magic weaponry defeats a Servant, despite not even being able to touch it.
- Died Standing Up: In Heaven's Feel. It takes him a good thirty seconds before he finally topples over.
- Disk One Final Boss: In Unlimited Blade Works.
- Dissonant Serenity: In the Fate route, during the scene where Shirou discovers the little secret Kotomine keeps underneath the church and Kotomine more or less psychologically tortures him about it while they stand there surrounded by corpses undergoing Body Horror, he is described in the narration as speaking in his most genuinely cheerful tone of voice possible, smiling pleasantly, and generally treating him as a friend who came over for dinner. In the voiced version he even chuckles in between speaking as though at some kind of exceptionally funny joke he's listening to.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness
- Dying Moment of Awesome: His epic showdown with Shirou at the end of Heaven's Feel.
- '80s Hair: His Magic Mullet is often joked about to be an aftereffect of his hereditary Sorcery Trait, as his late father shared the same kind of hair.
- Enemy Mine: In Heaven's Feel, Kirei teams up with Shirou once Zouken and Sakura kill off Lancer and Gilgamesh which allows him to be the final villain standing at the end.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Whatever else might be said about Kirei, he holds Zouken Matou in utter contempt.
- Evil Duo: With Gilgamesh.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Averted with a vengeance.
- Evil Feels Good: Kirei's entire raison d'être. He's lived his entire life being unable to find joy in anything other than the suffering of other people and what was the opposite of 'good'. Believing something to be wrong with himself, he tried out several vocations, including studying under the magic association, turning around and switching to the Church, an organization that loosely opposes the Association and even loving an Ill Girl who eventually bore him a child. When said Ill Girl died, the fact that he felt sorrow only for being unable to kill her himself caused his true Start of Darkness, which in turn causes him to attempt to release the Artifact of Doom behind the Grail War upon the world out of a mixture of entertaining himself, wanting answers from God, a defense of his being and sheer frustration.
- False Reassurance: The God of it, in fact.
- Fights Like a Normal: Technically, he is a magus, but all he seems capable of doing in regards to magecraft is healing others and some holy powers derived from the Church. Instead he fights using the superhuman strength and speed he earned from being an Executor, the series' resident group of Kung Fu Jesuses.
- Final Speech: At the end of Heaven's Feel, Kirei gives a speech that even Shirou has to accept as right, asking such questions as whether not killing is always a sin and how everything deserves to be born into the world, regardless of their actions before and after.
- Foil: Is portrayed as quite an explicit one to Kiritsugu Emiya, Shirou's father. Whereas Kiritsugu is a just, moral man who makes of himself a monster to protect the innocent from supernatural evil and to preserve the world, Kirei is a sociopath who was raised to be selfless and to serve goodness, but finds no pleasure in anything except doing evil, and wants to destroy the world which created him. Shirou finds himself also as a foil to Kirei, once his motivations are revealed.
- For the Evulz: After a long life filled with various experiences, he has reached the conclusion that only the suffering of others makes him happy. Which kind of pisses him off because he has a perfectly functional moral compass. His true objective is to know just why he was born to only enjoy evil, yet was also born with a normal conscience, which is why he seeks the Grail.
- Friendly Enemy: The only way to describe his relationship with Shirou in the Heaven's Feel route.
Shirou: I see. I'm sorry I troubled you... um, I'm glad you were awake.
Kirei: You're thanking me? Are you sick? I will listen if something is worrying you.
Shirou: ...I am worried about many things, and you are the cause of most of them. I'll pass on another long talk with you.
- The Gadfly: He derives pleasure from the misery of others. According to a humorous little side-story in the manga adaptation, this includes giving Rin clothes she absolutely hates every year.
- Genius Bruiser: While not excelling at magic, he's very savvy on the subject and many others. He's also stronger and faster than Kuzuki to boot.
- Good Powers, Bad People: What is his skillset? Magical surgery and performing exorcisms on evil spirits. That's it. He still nearly destroys the world.
- Good Shepherd: A truly weird case. He's a priest with genuine faith in God whose speciality is magical surgery and exorcism. He's supposed to keep the peace in the war and provide shelter to masters. He even claims that no one loves humanity more than him. As for morality he's a card carying evil bastard.
- Graceful Loser: In Heaven's Feel, as he finally runs out of juice, he gives a short admittance of defeat and accepts Shirou as the superior man, before he falls over a good 30 seconds after he finally bites the bullet.
- Hidden Depths: You don't really get to know Kotomine until Heaven's Feel route. He's not as simple as he looks.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Turns out Rin is wrong to call him a "Fake Priest", as he baptizes Zouken to death with prayers, reducing him into a tiny worm.
- Inept Mage: Not obvious at first because anyone looks magically talented in comparison to Shirou, but the only reason Kotomine doesn't mess up his magecraft at any point in the story is because he is using the ten Command Spells he inherited from dear old dad in the last war as a power source. When you have ten things that are explicitly compared to "a miracle" to power your spells, it's hard to mess up.
- Kung-Fu Jesus: He's able to go toe-to-toe with Servants even though he's been out of shape since Fate/Zero.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: Averted. His magical prowess is actually pretty subpar besides healing, spiritual surgery and holy magic. The kung fu part sticks however because if he had an enchantment like the one Caster applies to Kuzuki so he can harm spiritual bodies, Kirei wouldn't even need Lancer.
- Large Ham: "In short our fight is NOT A FIGHT AGAINST SOMEONE BUT ONE WITH YOUR OWN BODY AT STAKE!."
- Leitmotif: "The Church on the Hill".
- A Lighter Shade of Black: In Heaven's Feel, Kotomine comes off as WAY better than Zouken, despite being technically worse for the world. Unlike Zouken, he stays true and consequent to his motives and beliefs and helps the heroes out in an Enemy Mine.
- Light Is Not Good: He's a priest, an Executor and wields genuine holy powers. He's also quite obviously up to no good.
- Lightning Bruiser: Fast, stupidly strong and tough as nails. He's only a few steps below the Three Knight Classes in combat ability.
- Limited Wardrobe: Viewers may notice that besides the sassy longcoat, Kirei wears the exact same outfit as he did in Fate/Zero. After a ten-year timeskip, during which he grew 8 centimeters.
- Love Makes You Evil: In a weird, twisted way. Kirei married a terminally ill woman by the name of Claudia Hortensia. He wanted to be able to love someone and to an extent he succeeded, but this only made him more upset because it didn't make him happy. On her deathbed he told her that he couldn't truly love her. She then killed herself on the spot to reignite the compassion in his heart, smiling even in death with her last words being "No, you do love me". Yet all he felt was that he would have liked to have killed her himself, which horrifies him.
- Made of Iron: Whatever Caster did to him in Unlimited Blade Works was apparently very painful and involved a lot of blood, yet he's back and kicking not even 3 days later. in ''Heaven's Feel'' he survives without a heart for 24 hours, seemingly held together by his sheer badassery.
- Manipulative Bastard: It becomes obvious pretty quickly that he's more than just an overseer for the war.
- Meaningful Echo: In Fate, he tells Shirou that, to have a chance of winning against him, he has to put his life on the line. He applies what he said on himself in Heaven's Feel upon finding his knuckles pulverized by punching Shirou's body which had been turning to swords.
- Moral Sociopathy: He genuinely likes Tohsaka and Shirou, but wouldn't hesitate a second to kill them. Quite the opposite: While even he thinks it's twisted, he regrets it when he can't kill people he likes. He also believes in conventional morality, but it doesn't temper his actions. He gave up on that a decade ago.
- Mr. Exposition: Primarily in Fate, he explains the rules of the war, and later narrates the story behind the three families that started the ritual.
- Nerves of Steel: Even while fighting off True Assassin and insulting Dark Sakura to her face, he never loses his cool. The only time he loses the magic is when Lancer kills him in Unlimited Blade Works and during his final showdown with Shirou in Heaven's Feel, though he still faces death with dignity in the latter.
- Noble Demon: In Heaven's Feel, Kotomine saves Rin, Shirou and Sakura several times, helps Shirou save Ilya and puts not one, but two antagonists (True Assassin and Zouken) in positions where they cannot possibly be a threat anymore.
- No Cure for Evil: Inverted. The only kind of magic he shows any aptitude for is magical surgery, at which he is quite adept. The irony is not lost on him.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His final showdown with Shirou in Heaven's Feel boils down to this, largely because both of them have no Prana to use, and because their bodies are completely broken. Kirei loses only because he died of the classic 'not having a heart for several days' disease slightly before he could land the last few blows.
- Not So Different: By the end of Heaven's Feel when the two meet for the final battle of the entire visual novel Shirou is finally able to admit to himself that not only is he similar to Kotomine, but he actually likes the guy.
- Power Tattoo: That Magic Crest he's talking about sometimes? It's actually the Command Spells from the last war, which he inherited from his father. He has eight left and uses the magic from them to cure Sakura in Heaven's Feel.
- Psychotic Smirk: in his final showdown with Shirou◊ .
- Rated M for Manly: His reputation for being a super-ripped Kung-Fu Jesus who uses shortswords as Wolverine Claws and has a habit of not giving a fuck even when he has every reason to makes people deem him as this, with nicknames like "Kotomanly" to boot.
Nameless commenter on a Type-Moon Forum: "Kotomine's end in both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works are great because they create an atmosphere where you begin to underestimate him. Then Heaven's Feel happens and how amazing he is creates a state of perpetual arousal whenever he is on screen."
- Reluctant Psycho: To some degree.
- Say My Name: Shirou and Kirei seem especially fond of calling each other by full names, especially when yelling.
- Shadow Archetype: As Shirou comes to realize in Heaven's Feel, Kotomine and he are Not So Different — both have essentially no sense of self and can only find purpose through their fellow humans: The only difference is that for Shirou it is helping people, and for Kotomine it is to cause them pain.
- Shadow Pin: Through the use of Black Keys, which freeze the movement of any person who's shadow they land in.
- Sinister Minister: In a way. However, it's more that he is unspeakably evil and also a priest. He possesses genuine faith in God and would like to know why He created someone like him.
- The Sociopath: Subversion and possible deconstruction. He's a born sadist and enjoys pain...but he also has a moral compass and genuinely despises the fact that he enjoys evil, meaning that while he is lacking in empathy, he has a great deal of remorse over that fact.
- Spellblade: His Black Keys can be made to do this, applying various afflictions unto anyone hit by them up to and including petrification, extreme dehydration, setting the target ablaze or getting devoured by a swarm of crows. Kirei is unable to use this because he is an inadequate magus.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: He lectures and insults Dark Sakura to her face, calling her attempts at For the Evulz laughable before escaping.
- The Stoic: Outside of a a small handful of scenes, you will never see Kirei with anything other than a sarcastic smile or a smirk on his lips.
- Super Empowering: He uses the eight spare Command Spells from the last war to temporarily boost himself to the level of a Servant. The one time he actually needs this ability, however, he has already used seven of them saving Sakura.
- Superpowerful Genetics: In the Nasuverse, "Sorcery Traits" are special genes developed throughout time in a Magus family. Kirei inherited a nameless Sorcery Trait from his father used for opening wounds that makes him fit for spiritual surgery.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Stands a full 193 centimeters tall, and is arguably the snarkiest character besides Rin and Shirou.
- Teen Genius: Graduated Valedictorian from the Theological College of Manresa St. Ignacio at Age 14, where he was Student Council President. As his ridiculously long expositions should prove, Kirei has lost none of his genius.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Due to his time spent as an Executor, Kirei has a supply of "Black Keys", basically throwing swords that are the same as the ones used by Ciel. They can also nail people to the ground if they land in their shadow.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mapo tofu. And he likes it hellishly hot. Since he can only feel joy in the suffering of others, he needs a food that causes lesser men to weep just by watching him eat.
- Tragic Villain: Once his motives are expanded upon in Heaven's Feel, he becomes far more sympathetic.
- Treacherous Advisor: He technically fulfils this role for Shirou and Rin, but neither of them trust him very much.
- Troll: His only pleasure literally comes from the suffering of others, so he enjoys telling people things that will hurt them. Generally things that are true or might even sound good.
- The Unfettered: Not as bad as Kiritsugu but still...
- Unusual Eyebrows
- Villainous Breakdown: At the end of Heaven's Feel, where both he and Shirou are basically dead on their feet. Despite his 6 or so hours of raw dialogue, this is the only part of the game where Kirei enters Large Ham territory.
- Villains Out Shopping: Shirou enters a restaurant and finds Kirei eating infamously hot mapo tofu at a Chinese restaurant. He asks Shirou if he wants any.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The main topic of his attempted Breaking Speeches to Shirou in Heaven's Feel, where he argues that Shirou has no right to stop the monster about to use Sakura to let itself loose on the world because, despite the fact that it has killed scores of people in its embryonic state, all creatures deserve to be born into the world. It is not difficult to read this as being about himself more than the monster.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: For shits and giggles. It's much more fun to trick people without lying. He does occasionally lie or at least only tell a half-truth, however.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In a manner of speaking. What could be worse than being born naturally evil, only able to take pleasure in the suffering of others, but still born with a conscience? This only shows up in Heaven's Feel, however; the other two routes don't go into his back-story enough to show him as anything but in it For the Evulz.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Kirei will honestly applaud you for picking the choice that leads to Bad End #30. The infamous "Mind of Steel" Bad End.
Voiced by: Kazuhiro Nakata, Masaki Terasoma (2014 anime series) (JP), Patrick Seitz (EN)
"It is fine to assume that the Master's role is to support the battle from the back. But there are always exceptions. There are Masters who can only fight head on."
Souichirou Kuzuki is Tohsaka's homeroom teacher and one of only two apparent teachers that we even see.
He lives in the Ryuudouji Temple and is Issei's older-brother figure. A tall, stern man who rarely expresses any emotion at all
, he appears physically intimidating, but is really a gentle soul who does his best to give each student a fair and proper education.
Kuzuki takes up a supporting role in the second route, Unlimited Blade Works.
- Ass Kicking Pose
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Badass Normal: He actually manages to defeat Saber during their first encounter with only magical enhancements from Caster toughening up his hands and his own unconventional martial arts style. It's stated that had they figured out his assassin-like fighting style, any Servant could easily beat him, but that kind of invalidates the point of an assassin like technique.
- Badass Teacher
- Barehanded Blade Block: The very first demonstration of his Badass Normal status came when he caught Saber's invisible sword between his elbow and knee.
- Battle Couple: With Caster.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: He's got an enchantment on his fists, sure, but the speed and technique with which he defeats Saber are the product of years of training as a martial artist. Compare to fellow teacher Fujimura Taiga, a 5th Dan in Kendo, who couldn't touch a single hair on Saber's head during their "fight".
- Confusion Fu: Kuzuki uses a self-made martial art called Snake, which involves throwing an obvious hit, but then following it up with a strike from the previous dodge's blind angle, and then just keep striking the opponent's blind spots. In effect it almost looks like he can predict the future. The reason the strikes are so absurdly effective is that through extreme training Kuzuki has learned to bend his arms mid-swing in ways that should be impossible, making it a lot easier to hit people from angles they dont see coming.
- Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His death is quite literally the only fight scene he has in the game where he isn't issuing one of these to somebody... and even THAT was a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He was raised by an organization to become a professional assassin.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: He felt nothing as an assassin, or as a teacher, not until he met Caster.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: His eyes never have light on them.
- Emotionless Man: He has about 3 facial sprites, and 2 of them look almost the same.
- Extreme Doormat: While he's not a puppet, he is so incredibly passive that he's suspected to be under mind control at first. He's not, but he rather bluntly says that Caster can do anything she likes and he'll let her, and his only priority is his own life over hers. He lied. After she dies, he knowingly gets himself into a fight he has no chance of winning.
- Face of a Thug: Most of his students are at least somewhat scared of him due to his piercing eyes and incredible stoicism. Issei, however, notes that he's actually a pretty nice guy.
- The Glasses Come Off
- Good People Have Good Sex: Inverted. Caster and Kuzuki have a good sex life, but they are definite antagonists, although not nearly as evil as Kotomine and Gilgamesh or Zouken.
- Hitman with a Heart: He really is a nice guy, but pretty brutal.
- Inexplicably Awesome: You'd think that someone who can outskill Servants would get some backstory beyond "Retired Assassin". You'd be wrong.
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Justified.
- One Head Taller: Than Caster.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Power Fist: With a bit of help from Caster.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs
- Rescue Romance: With Caster.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: In the anime and manga adaptations.
- Spell My Name with an "S": As there are two long vowels in his name, there's quite a lot of possible permutations to it. It's usually spelled Souichirou, Soichirou or Sōichirō in Fate/stay night media.
- Stern Teacher: He's contrasted with Taiga in the eyes of the students as the kind of teacher that grows more popular with time until the point of graduation.
- The Other Darrin: Masaki Terasoma replaced Kazuhiro Nakata in the 2014 anime series due to the latter taking a hiatus from voice acting due to medical issues.
- The Stoic
- The Undefeated: In Unlimited Blade Works, Kuzuki tries to fight Archer even after Caster is killed and his enhancements are gone, despite the heroes being willing to let him go. He gets to land one punch, which Archer doesn't even try to dodge or block, before being sliced in half.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Caster.
- Unusual Eyebrows
- Weak, but Skilled: He's a normal man with no knowledge of the supernatural world and no magical abilities whatsoever. Yet with an enchantment on his fists and his own unconventional martial arts style, he manages to temporarily overwhelm Saber, the best close-range fighter, and rips out Rider's throat during his most prominent route.
- Would Hit a Girl: Even if you don't take Saber and Rider into account, he has no qualms about punching Rin. He even gets as far as to kill her if you pick the wrong choice.
Voiced by: Masane Tsukayama (JP)
The head of the Matou family and grandfather to Shinji and Sakura, he is the source of a great deal of misery for many characters. His presence is indirectly felt in Fate
and Unlimited Blade Works
, but in Heaven's Feel
the true extent of his evil comes to light. He is seeking immortality and has already lived for several centuries by the start of the story. He is not, in fact, the kindly old grandfather he claims to be to Shirou. What a surprise.
Zouken is the Master of True Assassin, a character newly introduced in Heaven's Feel
- Badass Bookworm: He not only found a way to survive for 500 years but also invented the Command Spells.
- Bald of Evil
- Big Bad Ensemble: In Heaven's Feel he and Kotomine have utter hatred and contempt for each other.
- Black Eyes of Evil
- Blatant Lies: By the time he tells Shirou; that "Sakura knows nothing of the Holy Grail War", the contrary is already pretty obvious. He reoffends when he says later to the same Shirou; that he cannot get close to Sakura and has no longer any control on her.
- But Not Too Foreign: The original Makiri family was from Russia, and Zouken's real name is actually Zolgen.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: His original motive for attaining the Grail was to honor the life of a colleague who had sacrificed herself to create the original Holy Grail (in order to create the Gate of All Things, which would lead to the root of the universe itself). Over time, frustration, age and his deteriorating body caused him to forget his original goal, leaving only an unnatural obsession with immortality.
- Determinator: Still alive after being exorcised by Kotomine and having the worm carrying his soul crushed by Dark Sakura by jumping into a bunch of hastily created worms all the while enduring agonizing pain for the sake of not dying — until he was convinced to finally let go by Ilya.
- The Dog Bites Back: Killed by Dark Sakura when at his most vulnerable after years of mistreatment.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: His plan for obtaining the Grail involves corrupting Sakura, who he has been torturing for over a decade, with an entity representing all the evils of the world, which also happens to give her almost godlike power and super-regeneration abilities, and then expecting her to follow his orders until she breaks down entirely, at which point he will possess her body. All this whilst the main worm containing his soul is buried within her heart. Three guesses at what happens... .
- Evil Old Folks
- Expy: Of Michael Roa Valdamjong from Tsukihime. Both are Big Bads who perform Grand Theft Me and have an obsession with immortality — the reason for which (falling in love — with Arcueid in Roa's case, with Justizia in Zouken's) they both have forgotten over the centuries.
- Faux Affably Evil: The very first time Shirou encounters him, Zouken just looks like a well-mannered grandfather to Sakura and Shinji. He invites Shirou to stay for dinner and asks him to be a good friend to his grandchildren. He even threatens to call the police or to "hurt [Shirou] a bit" when he first mistakes him for a stalker following Sakura. Then we learn how he himself treats Sakura. Feel free to think about what he might have meant by that "hurting a bit" thing.
- Grand Theft Me: In order to keep himself alive, he has to obtain a new body every few months or when the old one is damaged beyond repair.
- Heel Realization: When he's seconds from dying near the end of Heaven's Feel, Zouken realizes how far he has fallen from the noble man he once was. This causes him to accept death instead of trying to live on in constant suffering, now looking at death as a chance to start over.
- Immortality Immorality: To sustain himself, Zouken has to obtain a new body every few months, although that time window is slowly decreasing. This is due to the fact that Zouken is a human that has lived for many times what a human should, meaning his soul is rotting.
- Immortality Seeker: He wants the Holy Grail to become truly immortal, as his current method of possessing bodies is making his soul rot.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Zouken was far from ugly in his youth.◊
- Karmic Death: After seeming to succeed in finally breaking Sakura and destroying her mind, she rather nonchalantly rips him out of her chest and crushes him, giving him a mortal wound.
- Karma Houdini: He doesn't show up outside of Heaven's Feel.
- Knight of Cerebus
- Leitmotif: "Wandering Shadow" plays almost every time Zouken appears onscreen.
- Love Makes You Evil: His original and long-forgotten motivation for getting the Grail was to honor the sacrifice of the woman he loved, Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern.
- Manipulative Bastard: He certainly attempts this with all his manipulation of the main characters.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Completely impervious to physical attacks and magic due to the composition of his body, although he's vulnerable to Kirei's exorcism.
- Obviously Evil: Let's see... wrinkled and decrepit, his only "smile" sprite is a Psychotic Smirk, his eyes are solid black with white pupils... yeah, it was pretty obvious from his first appearance that he wasn't going to be a good guy.
- Possession Burnout: This is why he wants the Holy Grail. His method of prolonging life is by possessing and molding other bodies by filling them with worms, but each body lasts less than the previous one, and by the time the game starts, he can only remain in a body for a few months at most.
- Shadow Archetype: His original motivation as a magus, revealed upon his death, was the betterment of the human condition, even if his life and efforts aren't rewarded at all. In the last portion he was exactly what Shirou is.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on the transliteration convention used, usually either Zouken Matou or Zōken Matō.
- The Worm That Walks
"... wow, that was so stupid that I don't have anything to say."
Shirou's English teacher and older sister figure. Her grandfather is a Yakuza
boss who Kiritsugu was acquainted with. Thus, she and Shirou have known each other since he was a child. Although she's ostensibly his caretaker, she has no domestic skills, relying on Shirou to cook for her. Taiga was the star of the kendo club when she was in school, and might have become famous across Japan were she not disqualified from official tournaments.
Although having a small role in the actual storyline, Taiga is the star of "Tiger Dojo", a Have a Nice Death
hint corner which appears whenever the player receives a "Bad End
". In this segment, Taiga, along with Ilya, often admonish Shirou for making the poor choices which lead to his demise while dropping hints to help the player complete the game properly.
"What's so good...? What's with you doing all this for nothing?!"
The Student Council President, and one of Shirou's classmates. Issei is often asking Shirou to help out the student council by fixing broken equipment, and they have lunch together in the student council room. Due to the fact that they went to middle school together and frequently clashed, Issei hates Rin and is convinced that she's pure evil. In fact, he isn't very fond of most women due to his celibate nature, which stems from his upbringing as a Buddhist monk-in-training. However, he does admit to Shirou during Unlimited Blade Works
that he has something of a crush on the fiancée of one of the teachers at their school.
He gets the dubious honor of being the most minor character to kill Shirou. And the honor of being the only male character with blushing sprites. Oh, does he blush
- Ambiguously Gay: He's noted as not liking girls much, tends to blush around Shirou, is rather possessive of him, somewhat jealous of Tohsaka and may be thought of as part of Shirou's harem by the school. However, with Issei's character it's entirely possibly that this means nothing.
- Gut Feeling: Unlike most girls, he approves of Saber immediately. To paraphrase: "Even an amateur monk can tell when a Buddha is standing next to him".
- He-Man Woman Hater: Caster and Saber being exceptions.
- Manchurian Agent: Along with everyone else in the Ryuujouji Temple, according to Dead End 18.
- Mistaken for Gay: In the Versus Valentine story in Type-Moon Ace Vol. 2, Issei tries to give Shirou Valentine's Day chocolates. After telling Issei he's straight and hearing "it'll bother me if you don't accept these!" in reply, Shirou freaks out and runs away. Later it turns out that Issei was just delivering the chocolates on behalf of Ilya... and then Issei gives him actual Valentine's Day chocolates and tells him that they're from him.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Gets these when Caster is possessing him. She has put a spell on him that forces him to kill anyone who inquires about her.
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Spell My Name with an "S": Issei is fairly standard, but Ryuudou can and has also be transliterated as Ryuudou, Ryudou, Ryūdō, or Ryûdô depending on source.
- Student Council President
- The Stoic
- Unknown Rival: To Rin.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
Voiced by: Fumie Mizusawa (JP), Minx Lee (EN)
Ayako is the captain of the archery club during Fate/stay night
. She's a friend of both Shirou and Tohsaka, though there's also a feeling of rivalry in both relationships.
- Club President: Head of the archery club. She has difficulty controlling Shinji since she can't be everywhere at once.
- Cool Big Sis: To the archery club.
- Hopeless Suitor: Hints at having a thing for Shirou. He has no clue.
- Unknown Rival: To Shirou in regards to archery. She's quite good but Shirou was apparently so good that he had to intentionally miss to not hit the bullseye.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tohsaka. When she and Shirou are discussing her at one point, Shirou briefly wonders if Ayako might be one of the girls that hates her.
Kiritsugu is Shirou's adoptive father. During the Fuyuki fire in which Shirou's old life was destroyed, Kiritsugu found a dying Shirou and managed to save his life. When Shirou awoke in the hospital, he found a middle aged man who introduced himself as a sorcerer and offered to adopt him. Having nowhere better to go, Shirou complied. Though Kiritsugu did not wish to teach him, Shirou pestered Kiritsugu until he showed him the most basic of fundamentals. Five years before the story began, he died after passing his ideal along to his son.
He has a much larger role in Fate/Zero
, the series' prequel.
- Adult Child: According to Shirou's descriptions.
- Anti-Hero: Saber calls him a ruthless man who would treat himself and those around him as tools while tearing a bloody path to victory to preserve his ideals.
- Disappeared Dad: He's been dead for quite some time as the story begins, but Shirou mentions that he would sometimes leave the house for months on end while he was still alive. He's a more literal example to his actual biological daughter, Ilya.
- Passing the Torch: Inadvertently gives Shirou the desire to become a hero of justice.
- Posthumous Character
Voiced by: Yukari Tamura (JP) in Realta Nua, Shizuka Ito (JP) in Unlimited Codes
Luvia is the head of the Finnish Edelfelt family and in good standing in the Clock Tower
Academy. She's currently in the running for Student Council President
. Although we almost always see her acting like a Rich Bitch
since she's usually around Rin, she's actually a very proper, generous person. Rin just sets off her Berserk Button
as a rival partly since her family was defeated in the Third War in Tohsaka territory, and she's looking to avenge the loss. Besides knowing almost exactly the same kind of magic Rin does, she's also a celebrated pro-wrestler
- Ascended Extra: She goes from a very brief mention at the end of one route of Fate/stay night, to a minor character in hollow ataraxia, to a featured character in Unlimited Codes (after an April Fool's hoax about a Fate wrestling game) and a main character in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. She certainly seems to get more popular with time.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Luviagelita? Really?
- Boobs of Steel: She's immensely strong, both physically and magically.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In her Fate/Unlimited Codes ending. It has her and Rin beat the crap out of each other. Afterwards the two bicker briefly, then share a good laugh together while they're still both flat on their backs catching their breaths.
- Last Episode New Character: She shows up literally in the epilogue of Fate/stay night.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Mostly in Unlimited Codes.
- The Ojou
- Ojou Ringlets: Massive ones. And as you might expect, they fit quite well.
- Professional Wrestling: I bet you didn't see that coming with her character type, but then, neither did Rin. Technically the "Lancashire-style of martial combat", but just play Unlimited Codes and you'll see the truth.
- Shown Their Work: Lancashire wrestling is one of the ancestors of Professional Wrestling.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Some people call her Luvia Zeritta instead of Luviagelita.
- The Rival: To Rin, oh so very much.
- Student Council President: Running for this position at the Clock Tower, anyway.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rin as time goes on.
Sella and Leysritt
Ilya's maids, both of whom combined have about five minutes of total screen time. They both wear nurse uniforms which Shirou refers to as Florence Nightingale outfits, and make them look almost identical. When they're not wearing the hats, however, they're pretty distinctive.Despite both looking like they are in their twenties
, they are in fact homunculi that Ilya made about two years ago. She considers them to be failures. Despite this, however, they're still homunculi and are considered strong enough to threaten Magic Association enforcers in one-on-one combat.