"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.
An Arm and a Leg: Loses his left arm while protecting Ilya from the Shadow, although it's quickly replaced with Archer's arm.
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.
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.
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 Horror: In Heaven's Feelhe 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 FeelBad 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 FeelNormal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 FeelBad 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 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:
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: 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Do note that even before Archer uses the Trace On spell, Shirou recognizes him someone who embodies his ideals, but couldn't possibly accept the idea.
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.
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.
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.
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 FeelShirou 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.
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 realise 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.
Shirou lost all his memories prior to the fire ten years before from which Kiritsugu saved him.
After stabbing Saber Alter in Heaven's Feelhe erases all his memories of Saber over his crushing guilt at killing her.
Two WrongsMake A Right: Being born as a regular human with just few (or none at all) magic circuits and growing up without recieving proper knowledge about magic makes him ridiculously powerful in the end. He is not aware that ciruicts only need to be activated to cast spells, so he uses magic considered to be least useful of all(projection) to CREATE them instead. As a result, he possess about as much magic circuits as geniuses like Rin Tohsaka and masters projection magic to degree that makes him equal to Servants.
Unreliable Narrator: Shirou often mentally notes things that turn out to be completely and totally wrong. For example, watch as he thinks "Saber can surely kill Gilgamesh now if she just attacks him again!" only for Gilgamesh to put her on the defensive in a span of 5 seconds. Justified somewhat by the fact that he cannot possibly always know the outcome, but his assurances can become a little jarring when they have such a low precision rate.
Unusual Eyebrows: Of the kinked type. They're one of the few things he has in common visually with Archer.
Weak, but Skilled: Shirou was born with almost zero talent as a mage due to a lack of proper access to his normal magic circuits, which kind of suck anyway. To make up for it, he work so incredibly hard that people even ridicule him for it while Tohsaka is actually a little scared for his sake. This is why his ( and Archer's) battle abilities are pretty much all fighter-oriented as opposed to talented mages like Rin. He has an affinity for swords in more ways than one and that's what he sticks with.
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.
Action Girl: She has a take-charge attitude by nature, and is extremely competent with her magic.
Aloof Big Sister: Rin does not make it very obvious she cares for Sakura, and will retreat to her "we're just strangers" mask when around her. Though she has reasons for this, whether they are good ones, is up to the reader.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: Rin is the POV character in the game's prologue before it switches over to Shirou once the game proper begins. She also gets the POV at several times during Unlimited Blade Works.
Badass Adorable: More relaxed than the stern and stoic Saber, but still more beautiful than cute.
Badass in Distress: Her Servant Archer kidnaps her in order to force Shirou into a duel in Unlimited Blade Works.
Batman Gambit: During a battle against Servant Caster in Unlimited Blade Works, Rin is hopelessly outmatched in sorcery, but it turns out that in case her original plan to Beam Spam Caster fails, she was fully prepared. She lulls Caster into thinking that she's given up, waits for Caster to get in range... And then shows that she knows Chinese martial arts, to the shock of everyone.
Beneath the Mask: Two different levels, and she's only aware of the first. Beneath her perfect student facade, she's grouchy, a tsundere and a troll. But only halfway acknowledged beneath that is that she's actually pretty kind and strongly values both lives and fair play.
Bi the Way: She pulls this on herself, when having sex with Saber: "I didn't know I was into girls..."
Blood Magic: Uses blood runes for summoning. It's later shown that she gradually enhances her magic arsenal by drawing her own blood and applying it to gems.
Born in the Wrong Century: Rin, like most Magi, barely knows what a VCR is, let alone DVD or Blu-Ray. She hates technology with a passion since she can't understand it, although she is learning from Shirou. In the Type-Moon April's Fool's joke with various Nasuverse characters setting up their own Twitter accounts, Rin has Archer set up her account, and starts using that as her secret diary. Hilarity ensues.
A great example happens during the scene where Shirou comforts Tohsaka after Archer betrays her.
"... I can't believe it. A guy made me cry."
She gets another good one in the Unlimited Blade Works movie when Shirou tells her the story of how Kiritsugu saved him right after Gilgamesh rips Ilya's heart out. It's not even the story that does it, it's the fact that it twisted him so much.
Deuteragonist: The closest thing the story has to one; she is the character with the most screentime next to Shirou, narrates both the prologue and the epilogue of the Heaven's FeelTrue End, has the most scenes from her point of view in first person next to him, and is the only one of the heroines who has a major role in every route, even in Fate, where it's the smallest. She is a counterpart and Foil to Shirou and while he is the central focus and most of the story is his, many parts of it are also about Rin.
Equivalent Exchange: Supposedly a strong advocate of this, but it's a very poor cover for the good natured aid she gives at almost any opportunity.
Expy: It's very hard not to see similarities between Rin and Akiha. They're both the young female heads of prestigious families involved in the occult with long black hair, blue eyes and essentially the same face. They even have the same Tsundere "humph!" pose, except that Akiha's lacks the flying hair that Rin has whenever she does it. Both characters are in turn partly based on Azaka — young Rin and young Azaka look exactly alike.
Facepalm: She has several dedicated sprites for that. Often because of Shirou.
Finger Gun: The Gandr spell is fired from the index finger. It should be a curse, but Rin's variant fires actual energy bullets, and at an high rate.
First Name Basis: At first, she addresses Shirou primarily as "Emiya", but at some point in every route, she switches to his first name when they get to know each other better. She still occasionally uses his last name; according to Shirou;, it's either when she is about to mock him or to say something important.
The Gadfly: Mixed with The Tease. Tohsaka doesn't limit herself here. Equal opportunity harassment.
Gemstone Assault: A practitioner of Jewel Magic. Usually, the jewels are just charged up with a bit of magic everyday to supply greater amount of energy when needed, but they also make good explosives.
Infinite Supplies: Averted. She stores her mana into gemstones in order to use it for her big spells, but since jewelry is expensive, she only has so many shots. However, she gains an Infinity+1 Sword in Heaven's Feel, which gives her the ability to pull in Mana from alternate realities, theoretically giving her an infinite supply.
Ironic Hell: In what's widely considered to be the most twisted and horrific of all the Bad Ends, Rin shoots her mouth off to Dark Sakura about how she doesn't care about the abuse her sister went through. Sakura promptly summons Saber Alter, and the two subdue Rin and force her to experience Sakura's memories of her Rape as Backstory through Sakura's eyes. When Shirou dies, he can hear Rin screaming that she's sorry over and over.
Jerkass Façade: Her "uncaring magus" persona which is how she believes a magus is supposed to behave. In Heaven's Feelit backfires horrible with her sister. Rin genuinely cares for Sakura but for a variety of reasons she acts exceptionally cold towards her and always retreats to her mask around her. It works too well; Sakura being so convinced that her older sister sees her as an enemy and doesn't care for her is one of the things that push Sakura towards her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and the exceptionally horrific last Bad End is a direct result of this behavior.
Kung-Fu Wizard: She was taught some basics of Baji Quan by Kirei which turns out to be a powerful trump card when combined with strengthening magic.
Lack of Empathy: Describes herself as this when Sakura gives Rin her speech about how much her life had sucked. Rin tells Sakura that she never really cared about her situation and doesn't think that Sakura becoming a monster is a bad thing, sending Sakura nuts. However, Rin realizes that she is wrong when she finally realizes that she can't bring herself to kill her sister after all.
Leitmotif: "Gentle Everyday", which often plays during light-hearted moments.
Not a Morning Person: Rin tends to be decidedly grumpy in the mornings. It clashes with her perfect schoolgirl image so badly that even after knowing her for awhile, people are outright shocked to see her dragging about in the morning, completely at a loss for words and unsure if what they've just seen was real. And then they choose to forget about it.
Ojou: Complete with a Big Fancy House. Despite this, she's mocked as a bumpkin by Luviagelita, since she's from a country the Magic Association considers a backwater. As it turns out, she actually isn't very rich. Jewel sorcery is expensive.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Considering all the super-powered entities at play it's easy to forget just how much Rin accomplishes pretty much on her own. With little more than a distraction from Saber she manages to kill Berserker, though it doesn't stick and she was even winning against Caster until Shirou's failure allowed another enemy to join the fray. Makes you wonder how the war would have gone had she not used her amulet, containing enough mana to win the war, to revive Shirou in the prologue.
Panty Shot: Shirou almost gets one of these in the anime, which distracts Rin enough to make her lose her concentration.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Let's be serious, most Magi in the Nasuverse are sociopaths in the name of Magic. So long as you don't draw too much attention to yourself from the muggles, it's fine. However, Rin doesn't really want to wish for anything with the Holy Grail and she's very against the idea of innocent people being killed no matter what she says to the contrary. She's also a great believer in fair play.
Selective Obliviousness: Rin seems to exhibit this in regards to Sakura. For someone who is usually very intelligent and observant, she is remarkably poor at noticing all of the things that have changed about her sister, including even her hair color. When she goes into the Matou house for the first time, she immediately realizes what being the Matou heir means, and yet despite knowing that Shinji has no potential as a magus, and that her sister was adopted into that family because her father couldn't train both of them, she fails to make the obvious logical jump to figuring out Rider's true Master or her sister's situation until it is explicitly pointed out to her. Of course, since working it out would have meant either hand-waving the fact that her sister is suffering horrific torture, or breaking from her duty as guardian of Fuyuki in an effort to save her, it's perhaps understandable that she decided not to think too hard about it.
Shipper on Deck: She's this to an extent for Shirou; and Saber, near the end Fate.
Shoot the Dog: She attempts this twice with Sakura in Heaven's Feel. The first time, Shirou calls her out on it, then prevents it. The second, Rin herself stops short because she can't go through with it. This is consistent with her advocating this mentality but not being able to reconcile it with her morals.
So Proud of You: Zelretch tells her this as he saves her from the wrath of the Mage's Association in her hearing, during the True End of the Heaven's Feel route.
Spell My Name with an S: Sort of. Different Romanizations have spelled her surname Tohsaka, Tousaka, Tosaka, Toosaka, Tôsaka, or Tōsaka. The first three seem the most popular in that order, but it still hasn't really been standardized in any way yet.
Suddenly Always Knew That: She suddenly pulls out excellent martial arts ability against Caster with the only foreshadowing at all her confidence before going into the fight.
The Tease: She repeatedly teases Shirou in an overly flirtatious manner after finding out that he is easily embarrassed. It's turned back on her in her route when she starts becoming embarrassed when they're about to horizontal lambada.
Teen Genius: Considering that her family has been known as backwater bumpkins and incredibly mediocre magi compared to the "Lord"Families of the Clock Tower, Rin is basically a prodigy in comparison to her ancestors.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: While Rin is rather fiery-tempered, she is actually very feminine. The tomboy here would be Saber, who refuses to view herself as a woman.
Town Girls: The Neither to Sakura's Femme and Saber's Butch.
Tsundere: A textbook case and wildly considered the most famous example. She is even tsundere in bed. However, her major tsundere traits are mostly reserved for her route and Sakura.
Tsurime Eyes: As befitting her rather teasing nature she has matching narrow eyes.
Waif-Fu: She's fairly short and has quite the thin build, but she's surprisingly strong and quite good in hand to hand combat.
Walking Tech Bane: As a mage, she doesn't get technology at all. The sad thing is that she's actually better than most.
"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: Becomes evident through the Heaven's Feel route. Her brother, Shinji, is shown to mistreat her in other routes, but the extent of bad things that have happened to her is only revealed in this route.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 presense 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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!
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.
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 must 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Winter Royal Lady: Not literally, but certainly she is characterized both by her princess-like looks and character and her affinity with winter.
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.
All There in the Manual: In the Character Material, Nasu explains lots of his current attitudes, like his jerkass attitude and his feelings for Sakura and Shirou across the years.
Attempted Rape: One attempt on Tohsaka, something that isn't really gone into with Ayako and many successful attempts on Sakura in the past. That last one really comes back to bite him in the ass, as she ends up slicing his head off.
Ax-Crazy: While he shows shades of this in all 3 routes, particularly when he's trying to melt the entire student body into magic koolaid, it gets a lot worse near the end of Heaven's Feel, where he's giggling while trying to rape Sakura.
Beneath the Mask: Character Material reveals that he is much less of a jerk if you aren't Sakura, though the only male he could actually get along with was Shirou, before their estrangement.
What really sets him off is the implication that he is useless.
In the manga, what triggers him is the fact everyone is trying to hide facts from him and making a fool of him. This has more sense after his past is revealed (with Sakura and his father trying to hide the truth about Sakura from him for years).
Big Bad Wannabe: He seems aware that he's pathetic and resents the hell out of it and tries to be more intimidating than he really is.
Big Brother Bully: His friendship with Shirou largely fell apart after the latter figured out he was abusing his little sister.
Big Brother Mentor: He tried to be this in the manga backstory, after he met Sakura for the first time. Or at least he did until he found out why Sakura was adopted into the Matou family.
Body Horror: In Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh turns Shinji into a new vessel for the Holy Grail, which results in him being forced to endure a lake-sized mass of flesh growing from his body. The resulting Transformation Trauma eventually scared him straight.
Casanova Wannabe: He doesn't seem to be able to get the girl he's most interested in. He never gets anywhere with Tohsaka, but his ego doesn't seem to allow him to compute the fact that she isn't interested. This causes more conflict than you would think.
The Chew Toy: Shinji is introduced as an extremely ineffectual little slime ball. He is smacked around in confrontations with Shirou and other Servants, cannot get Rin's attention at all, is bloodily killed in two of the routes, and the sole remaining route spends a good deal of timeconvincing him that yes, Shinji, it really is not all fun and games being a magus/Master/the Holy Grail. Considering that he is a conceited little git at best and a sociopathic rapist at worst, he doesn't get too much sympathy about this. About 90% of what he does is trying to prove that he isn't useless. The rest is rape subtext. In the manga, his personality is much less harsh.
Control Freak: As noted by Rin, his biggest weakness is that he can't handle not being in control of everything, especially when it comes to Sakura. In Heaven's Feel, when Sakura is not around for him to control and with Zouken triggering his Berserk Button he loses it and enters his Villainous Breakdown.
Despair Event Horizon: The Heaven's Feel route hints at it, but the manga and the Character Material come right out and openly states that Shinji's came when he discovered the Matou were a clan of magi and began putting all of his heart and effort into becoming one himself... only to later find they were a fallen clan who no longer had magical power, and that if anyone in his family was going to end up fulfilling his lifelong dream, it was going to be Sakura whether she liked it or not. Basically, he Jumped at the Call only to discover that there was no call, and upon learning this reacted... poorly. The final nail in the coffin was Sakura's pity.
Dirty Coward: When Shirou gets his hands on him after Being cut repeatedly and kicked out of a 3rd floor window by Rider, he is understandably nearly pissing himself in fear. As soon as a situation is no longer in his favor, he will beg, flee and backstab to ensure his own safety.
Disproportionate Retribution: In the manga, he bullies an archery student over minor and imagined infractions, prompting Ayako to warn him that he's on the verge of being expelled from the club. In response, he orders Rider to attack her, putting her in the hospital.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Shinji's attitude makes it impossible for him to believe that Shirou and Sakura are the only ones that actually care about him and mistakes it as pity, though Sakura does pity him somewhat. And he hates being pitied enough to turn him into the jerk he is.
Rin still manages to find it within herself to save his life in Unlimited Blade Worksin spite of the fact he tried to rape her while she was bound to a chair and completely helpless. This is probably in part because it would make Shirou happy and because he's Sakura's brother and Sakura does care about him.
In the manga, he gets this from Ayako, whom he had Rider attack, and Sakura, who saved his life. It should be noted that he does not rape Sakura in the manga, and this causes him to undergo a Heel-Face Turn.
Eviler than Thou: Shinji faces off against other villains in every path; Ilyasviel in Fate, Gilgamesh in Unlimited Blade Works, and Dark Sakura in Heaven's Feel. Too bad for him that he's the "Thou" part of the trope all three times.
Freudian Excuse: Believing Sakura pitied and looked down on him due to her being the heir instead of him, combined with his father becoming distant to him (and later dying) after failing to hide the truths of the family to him combined with a manipulative, emotionally abusive grandfather who did encourage him to be a complete Jerkass so he'd be more useful to him that way.
Hopeless Suitor: He has a thing for Tohsaka. You can tell how that one is going for him. Her rejection caused him to attempt to rape her in Unlimited Blade Works, but he is scared off by Lancer.
Humiliation Conga: In Unlimited Blade Works, he goes from having the strongest Servant to getting his ass kicked by a dying Lancer and becoming the substitute Grail for Gilgamesh. The entire scene makes him look completely pathetic.
Not So Different: Tries to pull this on Tohsaka in the manga, a comparison that falls flat when you consider that she never tried to harvest souls from random people. She just punches him in the face and calls him disgusting.
Parental Abandonment: After Shinji finds the truth about Sakura, Byakuya, who Does Not Like Magic and did not want his son to get involved as well, becomes distant with his son and dies shortly after. Shinji claims that he hates his father for not choosing him to be the heir and because he believes he won't end up being a failure like him. However, it is implied in Heaven's Feel that they were on a good relationship until Shinji found the Awful Truth about Sakura. His mother is gone and implied to have been thrown into the worm pit beneath the Matou household.
Parental Neglect: Zouken considers Shinji to be a disgrace of a sorcerer and often neglects him. In Heaven's Feel it is revealed that even Byakuya, after years of trying to hide the family's secrets from him and later failing, started ignoring his son.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He seems to view the idea of consent as a quaint idea. He's been raping Sakura for three years, apparently raped Rider, did something to Ayako in Unlimited Blade Works and later tried to rape Tohsaka, though he just got stabbed for it that time.
"'Fool. I didn't expect victory from a failure like you. What I expected was enough pride to challenge others in spite of your powerlessness...But you failed miserably. You disgraced the name of the Makiri. Hmph...you and your father are both disgraces to our family."
The Unfavorite: Besides Sakura and Shirou, no one likes him. Not even his family.
Unwitting Pawn: Pretty much everything he does in Heaven's Feelis orchestrated by Zouken in order to further his plans for Sakura, culminating in his death, which results in Sakura's Freak Out.
Villainous Breakdown: Shinji's state of mind gets particularly bad in the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes. Eventually, he gets scared straight in the former and absolutely snaps in the latter.
"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.
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 Teacher: This is the guy who taught Rin pretty much everything she knows in terms of magecraft and combating it.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Played with. While Kotomine does fight bare-handed using various chinese martial arts, he also uses a kind of throwing sword called Black Keys, though never in actual melee combat.
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.
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.
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.
In Fate, Shirou kills Kotomine with the Azoth dagger that he gave to Rin Tohsaka, and it becomes even more ironicwhen 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 actually that good 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.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 and he's supposed to keep the peace in the war and provide shelter to masters, but 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 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 SOMEONEBUT ONE WITH YOUR OWN BODY AT STAKE!."
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.
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.
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 Feelupon 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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... .
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.
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.
"... 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.
Animal Motifs: Although she hates being called one, Taiga's mannerisms, style of dress, and penchant for (comedic) violence are all highly evocative of tigers.
Establishing Character Moment: You can basically tell exactly who Taiga is from an early scene. During breakfast, a complete stoic Taiga is silent until Shirou asks her to pass the soy sauce and puts it in his soup, only to find that it's actually oyster sauce: She wanted petty revenge for him teasing her the day before. Laughing loudly at his expense, she then goes off to do her actual job and grade exams.
Fridge Logic: A repeated offender in-universe; she actually has a literal case in Unlimited Blade Works, when she greets Rin casually, goes to take food in the fridge, and remembers that she is supposed to be surprised.
Guilty Pleasure: She admits in a special video you get after achieving all Routes and Bad Ends in the VN that although she hates being called "Tiger" she actually loves tigers and to quote her, "have a love-hate relationship with them because of that".
Master Swordsman: She's a five dan who should've progressed much higher if she wasn't banned from so many tournaments because of her tiger strap. Not that this has any impact on the story. Word of God states that her mastery of Kenjutsu (Japanese Swordsmanship) is equal to that of Ryougi Shiki, the most fearsome warrior of Kara no Kyoukai.
Nice Girl: How she can be so upbeat and good natured with a crime boss grandfather is anybody's guess.
One of the Kids: Even more-so in the anime adaptation, if at all possible. It doesn't help that we never see her interact with anyone her age.
Precocious Crush: Had a crush on Kiritsugu when she was younger. The time frame indicates this probably started around middle school at the latest.
Replacement Goldfish: Of sorts, to Kiritsugu; she reminded him of his deceased childhood friend, Shirley.
Ilya: I see. You are really a teacher after all, even if a bad one. Taiga: Oh ho ho ho! Praise me, praise me!
Sensei-chan: Played with; while she acts very much like One of the Kids when she's not working, she's noted to be a responsible person when it comes to being a teacher.
Shipper on Deck: Taiga seems to be actively trying to hook Shirou up with Sakura, which may explain her immediate disapproval of allowing other females into the Kiritsugu household even when she has no problem with Sakura staying the night.
Shoo Out the Clowns: You can tell that a route is about to become extremely serious whenever it's mentioned that Taiga won't be able to come over to Shirou's house for a while.
Weapon of Choice: A shinai with a cutesy tiger trinket strapped to it. She calls it "Tora-Shinai". It's rumored to be cursed and it will never stop until it draws blood.
Yakuza Princess: Her grandfather runs the local yakuza. She doesn't have much to do with it, though, and her grandfather never even enters the story.
"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".
Rape as Drama: Maybe. She is apparently sexually assaulted in Fate, though not to outright rape levels. However, it's left very vague as to what exactly happened to her in Unlimited Blade Works. Taiga suggests that he ask Ayako about it, which could mean it was nothing too bad, though we do know Shinji was involved. However, Word of God states that Ayako wasn't a victim of any kind of sexual harassment, she just had her blood sucked by Rider.
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.
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.
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.
Defeat Means Friendship: Kinda sorta 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.
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.
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.