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Characters: Fate Stay Night Servants
This is a page about the Heroic Spirits appearing in the Visual Novel
turned Anime Fate/stay night
. Contains a LOT
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- Artistic License: Word of God establishes that not everything that recorded history and mythology say about the Heroic Spirits' backgrounds is (completely) true, and some parts of their legends may have even been lost to time, forgotten by future generations. That's why Cú Chulainn has blue hair and red eyes, Herakles is a nine-foot-tall monster and many other liberties are taken with the legends of mythological heroes. There's also the fact that the Nasuverse is different from our own, so history is fair game.
- Calling Your Attacks: When a Servant uses what's usually their most powerful weapon or distinctive skill -the Noble Phantasm- they shout its name. All Noble Phantasms must be called out to be used. This is explained as being required to unlock their power in the Holy Grail War system.
- Character Alignment: Canonical alignments in the status pages. These tend to be points of contention among the fandom, particularily Gilgamesh's. It's worth noting, though, that they're from the perspective of the Grail, which has a rather... unusual way of seeing the world.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: All Mythological Heroes Are Real... if their legend is popular enough. The more well-known heroes are in the time they are summoned, the more powerful they are. Though they're are exception, as Gilgamesh is one of the most powerful servants despite being one of the least well-known heroes. Though this can be a subversion, as Gilgamesh is only so powerful because he has a Hyperspace Arsenal full of weapons, plus one planet destroying weapon, without those even Shirou of all people can take him on.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Justified. The Servants are usually only addressed by their Class. Knowing a Servant's real name may give a clue to their weaknesses, so their names are kept secret where possible. Also, out of formality, most Servants refer to their masters simply as "Master," but Archer and Saber go against common practice and refer to their Masters by first name.
- Fighting a Shadow: With the exception of Saber, the Heroic Spirits summoned as Servants are copies of the original hero, whose soul is recorded in the Throne of Heroes. This means that a Heroic Spirit can theoretically be summoned multiple times, but that the memories accumulated by each individual copy will be lost after its destruction.
- Human Resources: Servants can recover magical energy by draining the prana of humans. Depending on how much they drain, the process is either highly draining or outright fatal to the human in question. Servants who lack Masters capable of granting them magical energy do this often.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Servants can have their Noble Phantasm coming out of thin air. Justified by the Holy Grail War system.
- Mons: The Servants are humanoid version. A Master can order his Servant around, can make a contract with more than one and a Servant can continue in the Grail War if he makes another contract with someone.
- No Ontological Inertia: Averted: Servants cease to exist if they stop getting mana from, or lose their contract with, their Masters. However, disappearing generally takes a few hours. In that few-hour window if the Servant can save themselves if they can find a Magus to form a new contract. There are Servants with Independent Action (mostly a class skill of the Archer class, though Rider has it as a non-class one), who can survive longer; Gilgamesh with a Rank A+ can last for a whole week (indefinitely due to Kirei keeping him alive), Archer, with Rank B, can last for three days without a contract, while Rider, with Rank C, can last for one day.
- Older Is Better: The closer the hero lived to the beginning of history, the more mystery is built around them, making them more powerful. This makes characters like Gilgamesh and Karna freakishly overpowered. People from those times are specifically stated to be far, far stronger than anyone from the modern age because the power of Alaya, the collective human subconscious was not spread as thinly as it is in the modern age due to the lower population back then.
- Psychic Link: Servants and Masters have the ability to see parts of each others lives when they sleep, especially when they have a strong connection.
- Public Domain Character: Servants are heroes from myths and legends, making it possible for Nasu to take certain liberties with their stories and portrayals.
- Random Power Ranking: All Servant abilities such as Strength or their Noble Phantasm get a score ranging from E to A to EX, but the actual bearing on how effective they are in this area is rather vague and occasionally seem to contradict what we are shown.
- Rank Inflation: We've got A...and A+...and A++...and then A+++...also EX... It's explained that the E through A ranks are where a skill or stat rates as a quantifiable amount, with EX meaning "Too powerful to accurately rank", and plus marks indicating situational increases in rank. Rarely, minus marks marks on a rank are seen, and though those haven't been explicitly explained, it stands to reason that they're the opposite of plus marks. Which means that the rank can decrease in certain situations.
- Role-Playing Game Verse: The character profiles have stats such as endurance, strength, magic resistance, special abilities and Character Alignment, despite the fact that the visual novel is text-based and you can only make story choices.
- Time Travel: The Holy Grail summons the souls of dead heroic spirits across time. Justified in that the location of their dead souls is separated from time, but the effect is still summoning heroes into a time different from when they last lived.
- Vampiric Draining: A Servant can obtain power and restore their prana by absorbing people's life forms. Saber considers it vile, but Rider depends on it as Shinji cannot empower her properly.
"There are no regrets. If one can be proud of one's life, one should not wish for another chance."
Saber is the main heroine of Fate/stay night
as a whole and the focus of the Fate
route. Saber is the Servant summoned by The Hero
, Shirou Emiya. Being a Saber class, she excels in many areas of fighting and has a very high magic resistance. She is often considered the best Servant type, but due to Shirou's shortcomings as a Master, she cannot reach her full potential. She is very serious and stoic in general so Shirou has a tough time getting along with her. Fortunately, they do share similar ideas on proper, honorable ways of fighting, though Shirou's reckless endangerment of his own life makes her uneasy.
Her Noble Phantasm is a Wave Motion Sword
that she makes invisible with the barrier magic Invisible Air
"Do not think about other things, there is only one thing you can do. So master that one thing. Do not forget. What you must imagine is always that you, yourself, are the strongest. You do not need outside enemies. For you, the one you have to fight is none other than your own image."
Archer is the Servant of Rin and one of the more popular characters in the story. Sarcastic but well intentioned, he tends to look down on Shirou's ideals and usually dispenses either cryptic advice or razor-sharp putdowns
. He is obedient to Rin, although to what extent nobody really knows; Though he does as she asks, he seems to enjoy pissing her off to the extent that she wasted one of her three Command Seals giving an order she knew would have little effect.
His summoning was botched and as a result of this he claims not to remember his Noble Phantasm or true name. Instead, he fights primarily with dual short swords known as Kanshou and Bakuya despite supposedly being an Archer.
Archer has a big impact in all three routes, but Unlimited Blade Works
is the route in which he takes center stage.
- Anti-Hero: He generally fits into the Pragmatic Hero niche and it's occasionally noted that in life he did some pretty brutal things. Just like dear old Dad.
- Archer Archetype: He's stoic, analytical and always has a few tricks up his sleeve. Oddly enough, he doesn't think of himself as being an archer and most of the time he uses swords instead of a bow.
- Alternate Self: His true identity is an alternate future counterpart of Shirou.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: His "Eye of the Mind" skill compensates for him having the worst Luck rank possible and relatively mediocre physical attributes. During his battle with Lancer in Unlimited Blade Works, Lancer is moving and attacking at speeds so inhumanly fast that even other Servants couldn't keep up with him; Archer manages to hold him off by deliberately making holes in his defense and then parrying every time his foe attacks those holes in order to prevent himself from simply being whittled down.
- Badass: The man the word "GAR" was invented for, folks. Despite being a nobody in life, he's one of the most dangerous competitors in the war.
- BFS: The Overedge forms of Kanshou and Bakuya. They actually originated from the DEEN Anime version of his final fight against Berserker, Nasu was reportedy impressed by the designs of these swords◊ that he incorporated it into canon.
- The Blacksmith: Also known as "The Blacksmith Heroic Spirit." His version of Unlimited Blade Works has steam and gears in the background, resembling that of a workshop. He likes to make weapons, LOTS and LOTS of weapons; it defines his very existence.
- Big Damn Heroes: For the finale of Unlimited Blade Works he is thought to have been killed by Gilgamesh in the Einzbern castle, but appears to help Rin escape from within the Grail and to finish Gilgamesh with one last sword in the head.
- Breaking Speech: In Unlimited Blade Works he tried to break Shirou's idealism and turn him into a nihilist like him in their final battle. He fails.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: He can make use of pretty much any weapon, so he sometimes uses his bow to fire even swords.
- Cast as a Mask: Why is his voice so different from Shirou;, even though they are the same person you ask? Because there is something called a plot-twist that wouldn't work otherwise.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Archer speaks to everyone with the same bored indifference, even if they are much stronger and on the verge of attacking him. The craziest example was when he, near the end of his route, calmly threatened Gilgamesh with death at 1/10 of his original strength.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Archer was an ordinary person with average physical and subpar magical aptitude but through rigorous training he became able to hold his own against Servants and armies.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In Unlimited Blade Works, Archer doesn't have allies, Archer has goals. He switches sides just like he switches weapons.
"It should be natural for you to drink until dawn with someone you get along with, even if he may be your enemy."
Lancer is a carefree, laid back Servant always eager to get into a good fight, and will never back down unless commanded. When not being an enemy, he shows a playful attitude and loves to tease. He is most often seen fighting Archer throughout the whole story. Although easy to dismiss as being a mediocre Servant, he is in fact extremely fast and skilled in the use of the lance.
His identity is revealed early on as one of the greater heroes of Irish Mythology, Cu Chulainn
. Thus, his Noble Phantasm is easily guessable: The Gae Bolg
, which kills its target instantly
by automatically piercing the victim's heart and then reversing cause-and-effect
to create a reason for it.
- Animal Motif: Dogs, as per his legend.
- Anti-Villain: He's merely following orders from his mysterious Master and seems disgusted or annoyed at the more unpleasant things he has to do. In two routes he gets fed up with it and turns on Kotomine.
- Badass: His battle with Archer in the prologue, which he would have won, is just the first of his many awesome feats.
- Bishōnen: Surprisingly for the Fate franchise, it's mythologically accurate. When he wasn't in the middle of one of his infamous berserker rages, Cu Chulainn was described as being slim, wiry, fine-boned, and more beautiful than handsome despite his fearsome reputation and monstrous strength.
- Berserk Button: Comparing him to a dog is a bad idea and he also hates traitors and liars.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Tohsaka several times in Unlimited Blade Works
- Blade on a Stick: His weapon is a really powerful lance, the legendary Gae Bolg.
- Blood Knight: He actually doesn't care about getting the Grail at all since he just wants to fight. Hence his frustration that he's never allowed to do so.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Especially in Unlimited Blade Works, whereas he's shown to love teasing both Rin and Saber, and he fights for the fight itself.
- Body Paint: His full-body spandex is generally considered a nod toward the popular perception of Celtic warriors fighting in the nude in blue body paint.
- Boring, but Practical: Despite being not very flashy and useless against multiple foes or fortifications, Gae Bolg can easily One-Hit Kill servants and uses extremely little mana. Saber states he could probably use it six or seven times for the same amount of mana that an equally decisive blow from an "A"-rank Noble Phantasm would consume, and likens it to a man who can use a single arrow to win a battle most Servants could only win with an artillery barrage.
- Born Unlucky: Luck stat E, the worst possible. It shows in-game too, considering all the messes he ends up in.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Has his heart ripped out by True Assassin and is then eaten alive by the Shadow.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: His attitude towards killing and being a Friendly Enemy somewhat alienates the others, who are antagonistic towards him for it. In Unlimited Blade Works, he spends a lot of time messing with Tohsaka due to these values.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being forced to follow orders he continues disgusting throughout the Grail War, near the end of Unlimited Blade Works he finally gets fed up when ordered to kill Tohsaka after protecting her for a day or two and refuses to do it. Kotomine forces him to stab himself in the heart, after which he gets back up and kills Kotomine, saves Tohsaka and lights the castle on fire before dying.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He's killed by True Assassin and the Shadow in Heaven's Feel to establish True Assassin as a threat and give some mystery to the Shadow.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: In Unlimited Blade Works a mostly dead Lancer kills Kotomine, stabs Shinji, frees Tohsaka and burns the castle down.
- Enemy Mine: Teams up with Shirou and Rin in Unlimited Blade Works to defeat Caster.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While technically a villain, he's disgusted by Kirei and Gilgamesh and betrays them in Fate and Unlimited Blade Works.
- Fighting Irish: He's one of Ireland's better known heroes, and he enjoys nothing more than fighting.
- Fragile Speedster: In Fate/unlimited codes. Also has one of the longest reaches in the game.
- Friendly Enemy: He actually prefers this kind of relationship and finds it odd when people feel they have to be antagonistic towards people they might end up killing. On the flipside is the fact that this does not get in the way of the fact that anyone who is an enemy is to be killed.
- The Gadfly: Only really apparent in Unlimited Blade Works, but Lancer is shown to get a great deal of amusement from teasing girls he finds interesting. "Even Rin?", you ask? Especially Rin.
- Geas: It's mentioned on the weapons page that he is under a geas to lose to a man wielding Caladbolg if he comes from Ulster. It never comes up, though.
- Honor Before Reason: Fate/hollow ataraxia explains something that was only implied here. Namely, he made a vow that he would follow the orders of anyone he had sworn his allegiance to without question. Kind of regrets that one considering who he's working for.
- Jack of All Stats: He is the fastest Servant, but can't walk on walls or attack from multiple directions like Rider. He is good offensively, but not as skilled as Saber or Assassin or as strong as Berserker. He is good defensively, but lacks Berserker's toughness and special defences. He knows some magic runes, but not specialized offensive and defensive magics like Caster and Archer. His Noble Phantasm is Boring, but Practical and not as flashy or destructive as Saber's, Rider's or Gilgamesh's. Like Berserker he could also qualify for several Servant classes in addition to Lancer.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Comes off as a bit of a dick at first, but genuinely praises Shirou for surviving against him with nothing but a poster and is actually a pretty good guy.
- Lawful Neutral: In-universe alignment.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Not nearly as bad as his predecessor in the 4th war but still applies. The voice actors pronounce it "Koo Hoolin". Repeat after me.
- Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Lancer has the "Battle Continuation" ability, which allows him to fight effectively even when mortally wounded. He uses it to his advantage in Unlimited Blade Works, allowing him to live for a few minutes after having had his heart removed from his body.
- One-Hit Kill: The entire point of Gae Bolg's activated ability. There is no way for it to miss the target's heart unless their Luck stat is high enough, some form of divine protection ( Hercules's God Hand) or a special Anti-Spear Noble Phantasm like Archer's Rhos Aias.
- Red Baron: "Cú Chulainn" means "Culann's hound". In-game, he's also referred to as "Ireland's Man of Light" on top of this.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ultimately subverted, though at first he looks like he's playing it straight. He may have quite a bit of bloodlust, and tries to kill Shirou but he's actually not a bad guy.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: After helping the protagonists out against Caster and hearing that Archer kidnapped Rin, he volunteers to help Shirou get her back, despite it going against Kotomine's orders.
- Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank B, being the son of Lugh. It's what allows him to be immobilized by Gilgamesh's Enkidu.
- Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: He uses Gae Bolg for both thrusting and occasionally slashing.
- Spam Attack: He has a penchant for rapid-fire spear thrusts.
- Taking You with Me: He kills Kirei after being ordered to kill himself for refusing to rip out Rin's heart in Unlimited Blade Works.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Snarking around his opponents seems to be one of his hobbies.
- The Tease: He flirts a lot with Tohsaka in Unlimited Blade Works even though he knows Tohsaka isn't really interested.
- The Worf Barrage: For all its reputation as a One-Hit Kill weapon, Gae Bolg has a really poor track record at actually doing this. The primary reason for this is because everyone he uses it on happens to have some way to survive it due to their Character Shields. Saber has a ridiculous Luck stat and basically wins the coin toss and Archer just happens to bring out a shield specifically made to counter missiles at the exact time that Lancer tries to use the thrown version of the attack. Basically, Lancer has really bad luck with actually using Gae Bolg on people.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: Wounds caused by Gae Bolg do not heal naturally. Mana-based healing like magic or Servants' Healing Factor works, but a normal human struck by it is doomed. Being struck in the heart with it is also fatal and even Servants cannot survive this.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
"You appear to be a brave person, unlike my master. I shall kill you kindly."
Rider is a tall, dark, silent and gorgeous Servant controlled by Shinji Matou
. Rider is always seen with a blindfold and very long hair
. Unlike Shinji, she is a little amiable; in fact, she dislikes him and considers him to be a coward. She wields a very long chain in battle with spikes on the ends. These chains make sounds like slithering snakes. However, because Shinji is not a magus, he greatly holds back her true potential, making her one of the weakest Servants.
Because she is so quiet and her Master is so difficult to deal with, she remains quite mysterious until the third route when she begins receiving more focus.
Voiced by: Tadahisa Saizen (JP), Michael McConnohie (EN)
A very huge and very un-Gentle Giant
: The mad Servant Berserker. This is the Servant of Ilyasviel von Einzbern, and being a Berserker class, he is stripped of his sanity and ability to speak in exchange for extreme boosts in all other stats. Despite his bouts of insanity and the Berserker class' reputation of killing their own Masters, Berserker is entirely loyal to his Master.
His identity, immediately told by Ilya, was in fact Greek Mythology's World's Strongest Man
and all around badass
: Heracles. Due to his wide range of talents, Heracles could fulfill the role of any of the seven Classes except Caster
. Unfortunately, he was summoned as a Berserker and is unable to use his Noble Phantasm Nine Lives or the Bow of the Hydra. Despite this, his sheer speed, strength and resilience make him the most powerful Servant in the war.
- Adaptive Ability: God Hand renders Berserker immune to any attack that has killed him before, as long as he's got a life left to use for a regeneration. It's more of an Informed Ability than anything since nobody ever tries to use the same attack on him twice on-screen.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Even though he was skilled in archery during his life, the Berserker class has made his mind give into madness so he can only swing the giant sword around. It works disgustingly well, his Eye of Mind (false), is mostly instinct though.
- Badass: He curbstomps Saber in their first fight and would've killed her had Shirou not intercepted the final blow. In UBW, despite his A-rank divinity he broke out of Enkidu because Gilgamesh was threatening Ilya and is easily the strongest non-Gilgamesh servant in the war. The scary part? He does all this despite being summoned in what is most likely his weakest possible role. Due to being summoned as a Berserker he lacks his intellect, B-ranked Eye of the Mind (Fake) [only remains as an instinct] and access to any active Noble Phantasms such as the Bow of the Hydra or the technique Nine Lives, The latter of which we saw a weakened version of in Heaven's Feel, which was still capable of killing Berserker 9 times in a nanosecond.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: If he was sane, he would have access to his A-rank Bravery skill, which would not only make him nigh-immune to mental inteference, but also make him capable of killing Servants with his bare hands just as effectively as with a weapon.
- The Berserker: Completely devoid of rational thought because he was summoned in this class.
- BFS: Referred to in-game as an axe-sword, and for good reason. It's about the size of Rider.
- Blessed with Suck: Sure, when Mad Enhancement is active he's faster and stronger, but on the other hand it strips him of rationality and prevents him from using any of his Noble Phantasms apart from God Hand, which is passive. Thus, Berserker is actually one of his worst classes.
- Character Alignment: In-universe alignment is Chaotic Insane, which probably pegs him under Chaotic Neutral. He lacks the rationality to make moral judgments, but apparently under normal circumstances he would be Chaotic Good.
- Death Is Cheap: He dies a number of times in his fight against Archer, yet goes on to face Saber. This is because his Noble Phantasm possesses eleven layers of automatic revival magic, meaning he needs to get killed twelve times to die.
- Died Standing Up: He never falls during his death. He always disappears standing, possibly because he's too huge to topple over.
- Disc One Final Boss: In Fate, he is introduced early on as the biggest threat among the known Servants. He is defeated in a truly desperate and climactic battle, and no other Servant was thought to be on his level. That's when the bigger villains show...
- Gentle Giant: Towards Ilya. Even though he should be stark raving mad and kill anything in sight, he protects her and carries her around almost like a father.
- Graceful Loser: Compliments Saber and Shirou on beating him in his final moments, where he has regained his sanity.
- Gonk: The whole "Berserker" thing has some effect on his physique, notable after things like his head explodes, re-grows, and looks somewhat normal for a moment.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Extreme height difference between him and his Master, Ilya. Guesstimating by comparing her size with Saber's, Berserker towers roughly one and a half meters over Ilya, and is about 5 times as broad.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Ilya has been holding back the boost he would be getting from his Mad Enhancement, meaning that his curbstomps until his final battle in Fate had been the same even if he wasn't a Berserker.
- Jack of All Stats: Of the variety that has ridiculously high statistics in everything.
- Mighty Glacier: Completely and totally averted, as he is noted to be not just stupidly strong but also faster than Saber, not needing anything like technique. Fate/unlimited codes has him as a proper Mighty Glacier for the sake of Competitive Balance.
- No Sell: God Hand works by denying the very concept of an attack below 'A' rank being able to harm Berserker, meaning that as long as an attack isn't high enough rank Berserker won't even register it no matter how much power is behind it or how much collateral damage it does.
- Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Like Lancer, Berserker has "Battle Continuation". Like Lancer, he gets to showcase it in Unlimited Blade Works where it allows him to stand up to Gilgamesh long enough for Ilya to die in peace.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: His 'sword' is more like a massive chunk of metal with a hilt, but being huge makes to easy to swing it around as if it's nothing. His hands are also simply too large to have both of them on the handle.
- Papa Wolf: Fiercely protective of Ilya far beyond what even a Servant would usually would be. He protects her with his own body from Gilgamesh's Storm of Blades. This may have something to do with how Hera made him kill his own children in life.
- Passing the Torch: In the manga, his final words are "Young me...I entrust this girl to you!" to Shirou, on Ilya.
- Power Born of Madness: The "Mad Enhancement" ability of the Berserker class increases all their stats in return for taking away their sanity and making them uncontrollable. Being that Berserker is Heracles, it's noted that the stat gains are likely minimal in comparison to the loss of at least one Noble Phantasm and the inability to fight tactically.
- Power of the God Hand: His Noble Phantasm (Well, the only one he can use anyway, due to his madness). More "God," less "hand" than most examples.
- Protectorate: Do NOT mess with Ilya.
- Restraining Bolt: Ilya herself acts as this for him, which says a lot about how powerful she must be in order to keep freaking Heracles on a short leash.
- Screaming Warrior: His screams are completely incoherent and sound more like roars.
- Resurrective Immortality: His Noble Phantasm, God Hand, grants him twelve lives, requiring him to be killed twelve times.
- Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank A, the highest normally achievable rank, being the son of Zeus and having ascended to the Olympic pantheon. Comes back to bite him back in Unlimited Blade Works where it allows Gilgamesh to restrain him with Enkidu and impale him with Gate of Babylon.
- Simultaneous Blade Spam: Nine Lives is Berserker's second Noble Phantasm and can't be used in-story because his class ability Mad Enhancement won't let him. The actual Noble Phantasm itself, derived from Herakles's feat of defeating the many-headed, nigh-immortal Hydra with his bow and arrows, was never used by Berserker himself in Fate/stay night. However, when Shirou in the Heaven's Feel route used his Projection magic to adapt the Noble Phantasm for his own use, the resulting "Nine Lives Blade Works" was composed of eight simultaneous slashes from different directions in one instant, followed by a stab to the center, all done with Super Speed. The fighting game spin-off Fate/unlimited codes resorted to depicting Nine Lives as butchering an enemy by hitting them one hundred times in a short span of time.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Though most people use the more common Roman spelling of "Hercules", Berserker's name is pronounced in the Visual Novel like the original Greek name "Herakles."
- Superpowered Evil Side: Averted. Heaven's Feel sees Berserker taken by The Shadow like Saber, but Black Berserker is blind, lacks his Noble Phantasm, his weapon, and his skin. He is also slower and weaker than regular Berserker. He's also not under control of the Shadow/Sakura but simply assumes Shirou is his enemy and is thus not considered a distinct character like Saber Alter.
- The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Berserker is completely immune to all attacks beneath "A"-rank and consequently never bothers to go on the defensive except in the most extreme cases. He also normally has the ability to sense harm through sheer instinct, but can't use it because of his insanity.
- The Speechless: While insane he only roars and the visual novel makes a point of emphasizing the wordlessness of his roars by always denoting them with "▂▂▃▃▄▄▅▅!". No "GRAAHH", no "RRAAARR", no any of the usual "stock" SFX for screaming/yelling/roaring. Just blank rectangles. He only speaks twice in the entire visual novel, when Saber kills him in the Fate route, and only for the half minute he has before his body completely vanishes and when he tells Ilya to "Run." away from Dark Sakura in Heaven's Feel.
- The Worf Effect: Despite being touted as the strongest of all Servants early on, this quickly becomes a meaningless title due to his poor performance in every single route. He's often used to show how great someone is or to say that someone could now beat him. Well, that's what happens when your Master strips you of all tactics or the rationality required to use your other abilities and doesn't even give you the power up that's supposed to go with it until the scene you die in.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Being incapable of any strategy more complicated than Attack! Attack! Attack! usually doesn't matter when you can shatter buildings with a single blow and move faster than the human eye can follow. In theory, anyway.
Caster without her hood
"If the Holy Grail has infinite wealth, it should not run out no matter how much we split it. Then can you not share the Holy Grail with those you trust?"
A mysterious wizard operating out of the local temple. Caster is a heretic who has made a personal enemy out of Tohsaka due to her draining the townsfolk of mana and nearly killing them in the process. She is ruthless, talented and determined. Assassin guards the gate of her base of operations and is her Servant. Despite this, she shows a level of interest in all of the protagonists and desires to take Saber for her own.
Caster is one of the physically-weakest Servants and relies mostly on her powerful anti-Army magic, her Territory Creation skill and her skeletal golems when fighting her opponents. She does less well in single combat
- And I Must Scream: Let's just say, agreeing to Caster's proposals is a very bad idea Getting trapped into a glass jar as her puppet is par for the course.
- Anti-Magic: Her Noble Phantasm, Rule Breaker. It can nullify every magical contract, including Master-Servant binding.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Rule Breaker. You have a Noble Phantasm that can null any and all contracts, but it's a dagger meaning she has to get close to her opponent to use it when she has the physical defense of a wet paper bag.
- Battle Couple: She does the high speed spellcasting, her Master handles close-range physical combat and shields her.
- Beam Spam: In fights she simply spams instant A rank spells.
- Brains and Bondage: Being a Squishy Wizard, her attacks focus more on the mental than the physical, but that certainly doesn't stop her from enjoying seeing Saber tied up and tortured.
- Broken Bird: Her life as a mortal has left her fairly twisted. Her real identity is that of Medea, and people cursed her as a witch who would go so far as to kill her own brother to get what she wants. But that's not why she's half killing townspeople. She never did that in life.
- Combat Pragmatist: Seeing as she's one of the two weakest Servant classes, Caster is not above fighting dirty. She takes hostages, turns allies against each other, sends minions to distract people while she fulfills her goals and engages in some good old fashioned torture.
- Curtains Match the Window: Her hair and eyes share the same colour.
- Death from Above: One of her favorite tactics is to Beam Spam anti-army class spells from overhead.
- Depraved Bisexual: Caster manages to prove both aspects of the trope in one scene, as she gets aroused by magically torturing Saber into obedience (having put her in a revealing white dress) and contemplates exactly how far she can get Saber to be a slave to her lust.
- Disc One Final Boss: In Unlimited Blade Works, she controls the game by taking over a number of Servants, but in the end she is defeated and the Gilgamesh-Kotomine duo take center stage.
- Does Not Like Men: She detests men by default thanks to her experiences with Jason in her past life as Medea, but she seems to have some measure of respect for Shirou's honesty. She's also motivated by her genuine love for her Master, Kuzuki.
- Familiar: She herself is technically a familiar, but this is referring to the dragon tooth golems she uses. She also turns Shirou into a familiar in a bad end or two and has some Servants herself in Unlimited Blade Works.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Averted. Caster's sex life with her Master Kuzuki is a genuine love based relationship, though it's on rocky ground due to difficulty in communicating.
- Homoerotic Subtext: With the captured Saber. She really seems to enjoy dressing her up. Fate/hollow ataraxia and Carnival Phantasm have a lot of fun with this one.
- Hot Witch: Without her hood, she is a beautiful spellcaster. Her true identity is Medea, the beautiful sorceress from Greek myth.
- Image Song: "Sasoi" ("Temptation")
- In the Hood: She keeps her face hidden within her hood 95% of the time, even when she's getting the crap kicked outta her.
- Instant Runes: She can make 'em, easy. Her high-speed divine language skill means her spells take effect immediately, and no magus can replicate it as the language of the gods is lost in the present day.
- Lady of Black Magic: She creates skeletal-like golems and has a thing for torturing people though her magic.
- Load-Bearing Boss: In the anime, her elaborate temple turns out to have No Ontological Inertia. Saber and Tohsaka also agree that she'd totally blow up her base if beaten while in it.
- Love Makes You Evil: All the atrocities she committed were just a desperate attempt to prolong her time with her Master.
- Neutral Evil: In-Universe alignment.
- Pointed Ears
- Power Floats: She floats while in the temple as she receives special power within her lair.
- Rescue Romance: With her Master Kuzuki. Caster was originally summoned by a magus from the Mage's Association, but she killed him with Rule Breaker. On the verge of her spiritual body dissipating, she stumbled upon Souichirou Kuzuki at the foot of the Ryuudou Temple. He then brought Caster into the temple and attended to her recovery. While initially planning to use him as a puppet, she instead quickly fell in love.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She fell in love with Kuzuki because he was the first man to show her genuine kindness, dedication and loyalty.
- Smug Snake: Subverted. While she acts like a Smug Snake, she knows what she is doing is wrong and doubts that it will actually work out. Her one interlude even reveals that the forbidden magic she’s using is something she would normally never use if she wasn't so desperate to stay with Kuzuki.
- Squishy Wizard: Gloriously proven during Rin's counterattack in Unlimited Blade Works. For all her magical prowess, she cannot handle a physical smackdown.
- Unholy Matrimony: She genuinely loves her Master and together they form an evil duo. Judging by his actions and "Ataraxia", her feelings are reciprocated.
- Vancian Magic: While she can mostly avoid this thanks to being a true sorcerer from the age of the gods, she does have to verbally invoke her strongest spells. It's just that the language she uses to incant them (which happens to be Greek) makes it take nowhere near as long as it would for a modern day magi to do so.
- Weak, but Skilled: The Caster is considered the weakest of the seven Servant classes due to their overreliance on magic and the fact that out of the six remaining classes, four have natural magic resistance. Nonetheless, she still manages to be a very dangerous antagonist thanks to her cunning and resourcefulness. If serious, she can give Touko or even Aoko Aozaki a very difficult fight.
- We Can Rule Together: She tries to recruit Shirou and Archer to her side during "Unlimited Blade Works. For Shirou, agreeing is not a good idea. Archer declines after concluding it's not necessary for him to win. He later takes the offer, but it's just so the Command Seal from Tohsaka can be nullified.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
"My role is to guard this gate. I won't let you through alive, nor shall I let you out alive."
A Servant summoned by Caster to guard the gate of the Ryuudouji Temple. Assassin is a solemn character who delights nothing more than having a good fight. He is, however, an incomplete Servant, thus he is linked with the gate and cannot travel further than the areas in the vicinity of the gate.
He claims the identity of Miyamoto Musashi
's rival Sasaki Kojirou. However, in the Nasuverse
, Kojirou does not exist, he was in fact a fabrication of various swordsman's skills and the name of a person who really existed blended together to create the image of a Worthy Opponent
for Musashi. Assassin himself was an illiterate, nameless swordsman with no legend whatsoever. However, he is the entity closest to being the mythical Sasaki Kojiro and is very deadly with his nodachi Monohoshizao.
- Affably Evil: Even if he's somewhat snarky, he's always polite and has respect for his opponent.
- Anti-Villain: He's a villain because he works for Caster. That's about it.
- Badass Normal: Stated to be a nameless samurai, he developed an ultimate technique on level with an anti-personnel Noble Phantasm simply by practicing. And with his lack of Noble Phantasm, he nearly manages to defeat Saber in a sword fight twice. He also somehow managed to fend off all the other Servants as well offscreen. Even Berserker somehow.
- Beyond the Impossible: His Tsubame Gaeshi technique is just absurd in universe as it is outside of it. In the Nasuverse, The Second Magic is able to traverse the dimensional barrier. Assassin does this by swinging his sword 3 times in 1 swing from 3 different angles, defying all logic as he has absolutely zero magical prowess.
- BFS: His Monohoshizao is 170 cm long.
- Bishōnen: Probably embodies the aesthetic most out of all the characters in the visual novel. Slim, long hair, feminine face...
- Blood Knight: Assassin has no wish and probably could not get one even if he tried. All he has is the satisfaction he gets from fighting a Worthy Opponent.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Tsubame Gaeshi. While acknowledging that cutting a swallow out of the air would be impossible, he just kept practicing and eventually, he got it to work. The final version of the technique somehow intruded into the territory of not magecraft but actual dimensional distortion magic.
- Composite Character: Assassin is the person closest to the being known as Sasaki Kojiro. This makes him a combination of three people: He's a samurai who could perform Tsubame Gaeshi, he has the name Sasaki Kojiro now and finally he wields Monoshizao. In the Nasuverse, these were attributes of three different people.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In Heaven's Feel Assassin dies almost instantly with no impact on the storyline as True Assassin is summoned.
- Extreme Doormat: Beyond his desire to duel Saber, he has practically no drives or desires of his own. He allows his master to walk over him apart from making fun of her and seems to treat his life as expendable.
- Face Death with Dignity: A big-time believer in this trope. He may disappear, but he will have an honourable duel with the ultimate swordsman first.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Quite literally. Assassin, unlike the other Servants, is physically incapable of winning the Holy Grail War: Even if all the other Servants killed each other off he'd be unable to move from his summoning spot and reach the location of the Grail — nevermind that it wouldn't respond to him without his master.
- Flynning: Averted. Just like real-life Japanese swords, his sword chips and breaks much easier than Western swords, especially magic ones like Excalibur. This ultimately leads to his defeat in Unlimited Blade Works when he's forced to block an attack instead of parry.
- Friendly Enemy: Mainly towards Saber. He respects her and wishes nothing more than to duel her, bearing no malice. He even warns her that somebody is watching their duel and helps her get away with Shirou when Archer is trying to kill her Master.
- The Gadfly: Only around Caster. He likes teasing her with snarky remarks since he isn't very fond of her manipulation and backhanded tricks. It really pisses her off.
- Glass Cannon: His defining sword technique is pretty much an instant kill attack if all three blows land. On the defensive side he has no armor, an "E" rating in toughness, and dies more or less instantly if struck even once.
- Go Out with a Smile:
- He does so in Unlimited Blade Works, having fulfilled his wish of having a climactic battle with Saber.
- In Heaven's Feel it happens again, though less because he's actually happy and more because he's being devoured from the inside and smiling is his way of showing contempt for his killer and going out with dignity.
- Handsome Lech: To the point of flirting while battling, even tough he does admit that he isn't very lucky with the ladies.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Even more so than Saber by performing abstract combinations of attacks with a sword taller than most of the characters in the game. Taken to absurd levels with the previously mentioned Tsubame Gaeshi, where he breaks the laws of physics by attacking from three different angles in a single swing.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Calls off his first fight against Saber in Unlimited Blade Works due to a wounded Shirou being pursued by Archer stumbles into the middle of their fight.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy
- Master Swordsman: He can fight on par with Saber, who is supposedly the strongest of the Saber class.
- Neutral Evil: In-universe alignment.
- Noble Demon: He seems to be pretty much okay with his evil image, but when he makes a deal he sticks to it and even defends apparent enemies against those who would interfere with the deal.
- Samurai: Supposed to be the archenemy to Miyamoto Musashi, complete with the samurai robe, katana and samurai hair.
- Samurai Ponytail: Assassin has very polite speech patterns, if a bit flirty. Similarly, his long hair matches his samurai outlook emphasizing grace.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Assassin doesn't particularly like his Master and makes no attempt at hiding this.
- Simultaneous Blade Spam: Before he became Servant Assassin, he created Tsubame Gaeshi, a sword technique that twists dimensions so that he can strike from three directions at the same time. He did this by... swinging his sword. A lot. And kept doing with utter determination until reality essentially gave up and granted him what he wanted, via partial access to "multi-dimension refraction phenomenon", known also as the Second Sorcery.
- Spirited Competitor: Assassin seems to relish the act of competing with Saber more than he does the actual act of battle itself. Dueling people he don't consider worthy competitors, like Archer, offers him no enjoyment even if they're quite good.
- Unusual Eyebrows: For some reason, his eyebrows fork.
- Weak, but Skilled: He's basically a normal human in spirit form. No superspeed, no super strength, nothing. He's a swordsman.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
- Your Days Are Numbered: Having been summoned into the world without a Master granting him mana and only a limited supply by Caster, Assassin is slowly wasting away and fully aware of it.
"'All the evils in the world'? Bring thrice as much if you want to stain me!"
An Archer-class Servant from the previous Holy Grail War
who doesn't bother to hide his identity as the famous Babylonian king
. Overconfident and full of himself, he believes the world rests in the palm of his hand and is his to rule as he pleases. At the conclusion of the Fourth Holy Grail War he was drenched by the pollution within the Holy Grail, which is supposed to give a Servant a true flesh-and-bone body at the cost of their mind and sanity
. However, Gilgamesh's ego was too strong to be corrupted, and with a physical body he could continue existing in the world.
He has a strong desire to possess Saber. His Noble Phantasm is the Gate of Babylon
, a portal which leads to a storage of the hundreds upon hundreds of Noble Phantasms
that he collected in his lifetime as the king of Babylon. Lacking the proficiency or will to actually wield most of them, he mainly just shoots them at people
, hence his Archer class.
- Abnormal Ammo: Archers are usually expected to use some kind of projectile weapon like a bow, crossbow or even a sling. Gilgamesh uses his infinite treasury of Noble Phantasms as projectiles, all of which are fired with force enough to rip people in half and level buildings.
- Anime Hair: Interestingly, his hair gets spiky and stands up whenever he puts on his armor for no explicable reason and lets itself down when he takes it off.
- All Your Powers Combined: Gate of Babylon is basically this, since the numerous weapons are all Noble Phantasms in their own right, albeit this is more like "ALL Powers combined" due to possessing the prototypes for almost all Noble Phantasms. He also has a fondness for taking out his version of the weapon someone uses when possible and showing that his is even better.
- Anti-Magic: Although his natural Magic Resistance is only rank E, Gilgamesh possesses so many anti-magic wards, charms, and amulets that he's effectively immune to it anyway.
- Antiquated Linguistics: More evident in Japanese. For a relatively simple example, Gilgamesh refers to himself with the extremely archaic "Ware" in text, but pronounces it with the gruff "Ore". His extremely archaic way of speech makes his lines awkward to read even to native speakers.
- Armor Is Useless: Averted in the Fate route, where Gilgamesh's first fight with Saber has him simply standing there and shrugging off blows with his armor. He mentions that it's nearing its limit after a little bit and opens the Gate of Babylon to attack her. The anime chooses to go with the Rule of Cool and instead has Gil summon swords directly from his vault to block incoming strikes without lifting a finger. Failure to equip his armor gets him beaten by Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works.
- Armor of Invincibility: The only thing that visibly damages his armor in the entire game is a point-blank Excalibur, and even that leaves him alive for several minutes.
- Artificial Human: Fate Extra CCC reveals that Gilgamesh was created artificially to be the "Keystone of Heaven", the medium between mortals and gods that was supposed to rule over humanity. He ended up completely differently from what they planned, however.
- Attack Reflector: Character Materials reveal that Gilgamesh has a mirror-shaped Noble Phantasm in the Gate of Babylon that causes magic to bounce off of him like jello. Ilya did not see that coming.
- Attempted Rape: Even if he never actually succeeds, it's made very, very clear that he intends to have his way with Saber. One of the verbs he uses in Japanese even means both "to trap" and "to rape", and his description of what he's going to do with Saber once he beats her is pretty sickening.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The greatest king and the greatest Heroic Spirit. Well, the first part is debatable
- Ax-Crazy: While Word of God states that he retained his sanity after being covered by the mud of the Holy Grail, it does say that he is not quite as sane as he was in Fate/Zero. He's far more cruel and has several sprites where he looks completely batshit crazy.
- Badass: He isn't called King of Heroes for nothing.
- Badass Armfold: Natch.◊
- Badass Boast
- Delivers a surprisingly direct one, considering his ego, when Saber and Shirou figure out his name.
"Indeed. I am the strongest Heroic Spirit. You shall be no match."
- Delivers an even more Badass one late in the route while discussing the Holy Grail.
"All evils of the world? Ha! Bring three times that if you want to stain me."
- Badass Cape: His golden armor incorporates a fabulous red half-cape that reaches from his hips to just above the ground.
- Badass Finger Snap: Abused to copious effect in Unlimited Blade Works, where every barrage of weapons from him is signaled with one of these.
- Berserk Button: Gilgamesh gets extremely angry when he believes anyone has taken something that belongs to him. Fourth Berserker's use of items from Gate of Babylon, Archer and Shirou's copying his weapons and Shirou daring to try to 'take' Saber from him. Slights to his pride also appear to upset him, though this does not come up as much.
- BFS: Considering it's a one-handed sword, Ea is absolutely huge. He later uses a sword the size of Rider trying to kill a Shadow-possessed Sakura.
- Big Bad: In Unlimited Blade Works, Kotomine works mostly in the shadows and dies before he can take centre stage, leaving Gilgamesh as the main villain.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: In Fate he operates as Kotomine's partner, though he's slightly less prominent.
- Bishōnen: Sakura notes that he "looks like a model".
- Bling of War: His golden armor, which includes giant circular shoulder pads, ornate blue details, giant golden earrings and a beautiful red cape.
- Born Winner: He's the richest king and the strongest Heroic Spirit, leaving everyone else, human or Servant, really far below him.
- The Caligula: Violent, arrogant and greedy, Gilgamesh isn't exactly the ideal King to live under. The status screen mentions that people even prayed to the Gods to mend his ways because they suffered under him.
- Catch Phrase: Zasshu. ("Mongrels!"). Always said with a slow and emphasized enunciation.
- Chaotic Good: In-universe alignment. It's a holdover from the original concept of Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Prototype, where he was The Rival as opposed to a villain.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He shows up in the prologue around Sakura as Rin and Archer are scouting around the city. His next appearance is at the end of Fate, and the reason he was with Sakura is only revealed in Heaven's Feel.
- Chain Pain: Enkidu, a chain that restrains the target the more divine they are. Not even a Command Spell or True Magic can undo their grasp on something.
- Conflict Killer: In the Fate route. Caster has just made her first attack and seemingly has the heroes at her mercy. How are they going to get out of this one? Answer: They're not; Gilgamesh is going to drop by and kill Caster deader than dead.
- Confusion Fu: One of Gilgamesh's strongest traits is that he has a literally infinite bag of tricks due to the Gate of Babylon.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Always on the giving end of it. He dominates Saber and Shirou when they encounter him in Fate and only loses the second time because of Avalon. In Unlimited Blade Works he kills Berserker in a matter of minutes by restraining him with Enkidu. The only reasons literally every encounter he participates in isn't this is because he never goes all-out.
- Death by Irony: See the above quote? In Heaven's Feel, he is defeated and consumed by Sakura's Superpowered Evil Side powered by "all the evils in the world", Angra Mainyu, when he attempts to defend his territory from the Shadow.
- Death Glare: If looks could kill, Gil's stare would be a nuclear weapon.
- Determinator: After losing an arm to Shirou and being sucked into a black hole courtesy of the Grail, Gil starts dragging himself out using Shirou as a counterweight for Enkidu, his chain. He's already started dissolving.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: The only reason every opponent that comes within a 2 mile radius of Gil doesn't get absolutely wrecked in seconds is that Gil has an ego so big that it acts as a sort of Power Limiter; He will never fight at anything more than single decimals of his full potential because anything more would be hurtful to his pride, having to take "mongrels" seriously.
- The Dreaded: Pretty much everyone who encounters him, including Shirou and Saber, are scared out of their wits of his incredible power.
- Dual Wielding: When he actually fights in melee combat, he always uses two weapons unless it's Ea. This may be a Shout-Out to the original myth, where Gilgamesh dual-wielded a sword and an axe.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He's seen talking to Sakura by Rin in the prologue of the visual novel.
- He and Saber fighting in the burning Fuyuki City in the prologue of the first episode of the anime.
- Entitled to Have You: He believes Saber to be his by right, and he won't take no for an answer. All treasures are his, after all.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Although he's taken a liking to Saber, in Unlimited Codes Gilgamesh is outright hostile to Saber Alter because she's corrupted and abandoned her ideals. He also finds himself somewhat regretting corrupting Saber himself with the grail in his ending, as he likes her best when she's both idealistic and resisting him.
- He's clearly not that psyched to have to work with Shinji in Unlimited Blade Works, though the whole point is to make him suffer horribly anyway if he can't get his hands on Tohsaka.
- He attempts to kill Sakura as the Shadow in Heaven's Feel because someone else is taking his stuff, namely the townspeople. Not exactly the best reason, but hey, it's Gilgamesh.
- Everything but the Girl: He's supposed to possess literally everything, but Saber keeps refusing him. Since he's a villainous version he doesn't give up his powers to win her over.
- Evil Laugh: He likes taunting his opponents with this as he has very little to fear. Especially in Unlimited Blade Works.
- Evil Plan: Revealed in Unlimited Blade Works; Gil wants to use the heart of Illya, the core of the Holy Grail's vessel, and fuse it with another human to complete an incomplete Grail that cannot grant wishes, but can still unleash Angra Mainyu upon the world. The remaining humans who can survive the curse (Numbers are vague, but it supposedly contains six billion curses) are worthy of becoming his subjects, and he will rule over them as the king of the world, just like he was in the distant past.
- Fatal Flaw: Word of God states that Gilgamesh is so powerful that he could single-handedly win the Holy Grail War if he ever fought at full power… which he never does, because of his incredible ego and self-assurance in his own superiority. It always comes back to bite him in the ass.
- Fiction 500: His trademark ability is based on the premise that he owned everything in the world at one point. One of his secondary abilities, Golden Rule, specifically measures a character's ability to attract wealth to himself. His is "A"-rank, meaning money basically falls into his lap with little to no effort from him.
- The Fighting Narcissist: Gilgamesh is damn proud of himself as is pretty evident in the contempt he shows to his opponents.
- Fountain of Youth: Gilgamesh has access to an indefinite amount of the Herb of Immortality from his legend, which used during the ten-year time-span between the two Grail Wars to entertain himself by transforming into his absurdly adorable child form◊.
- Fur and Loathing: His pimp-tastic civilian dress.
- Genius Bonus: His constant self-aggrandizement, beyond being simply indicative of his universe sized ego, might be a reference to the actual Epic of Gilgamesh, which does, in fact, dedicate entire verses every few chapters to reminding the reader just how ridiculously amazing the main character is.
- Genius Bruiser: Shows an extremely high level of intellectual competence when he doesn't feel the need to rub his giant ego all over people's faces.
- The Good King: If he was in life anything like the legend he's based on, he certainly wasn't always that way, but after he met Enkidu, he was a fair and just king who generally ruled over everyone by being more awesome than everyone else. Fits his character, really.
- Go Out with a Smile: His death at the hands of Saber has him smiling, possibly because she's one of the few people he considers worthy.
"King of Knights, it was... truly fun."
- Graceful Loser: Played with in Fate. He tries to act like he doesn't mind losing and maybe to an extent he doesn't, but the narration tells us he sounds rather sulky about it.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He can go from at least tolerable and talkative to extremely angry at the drop of a hat.
- The Hedonist: He's a big believer in pleasure of whatever kind. He urges Kotomine to give into his desires to see people suffer and that is the very reason they're still partners. He also promised Saber she would have any pleasure if she married him. She wasn't amused.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Rebelled against the rule of the gods during his life, but only got twisted further by it.
- Hidden Depths: He's a lot smarter than he appears, and understands a surprising amount about magic and human nature. The parts where he reveals his intellect are overshadowed by the parts where he's being a jerk.
- Hijacking Cthulhu: Averted. He almost succeeds at taking over The Shadow from the inside out after it devours him, but he is broken down into mana a few seconds before he succeeds.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Gilgamesh, hero of the oldest surviving epic, is the arrogant, selfish jerk that he started off as in the epic.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: His Noble Phantasm, Gates of Babylon, is an extra-dimensional storage space.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Gilgamesh tends to use an overpowering level of force, but still far below what he's capable of doing when going all out. For example, tossing ten Noble Phantasms at you when he could do twenty, or twenty when he could use forty. He also almost never uses Ea, which is a weapon that is too powerful for any other weapon in the story to counter though Avalon can simply ignore it. Whenever his current level of power isn't enough, he'll just use even more force.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: All treasures are meant to be his. This makes Saber's indifference towards him very appealing and causes him to pursue her even more.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: Ignoring the plethora of weapons in the Gate of Babylon, Ea◊ definitely fits the bill.
- Infinite Supplies: His mana reserves are equivalent to several hundred thousand normal magi, according to Dark Sakura, and he can call his shot Noble Phantasms back into the Gate of Babylon, making sure he always has every one of them at his disposal.
- Informed Ability: Gilgamesh is stated to be as powerful as numerous other Servants combined, but because of his ego we never actually see him going all out and thus his limits are unclear. He is also said to be almost as physically strong as Rin!Saber and Fourth Berserker, but this trait goes under the radar.
- In-Series Nickname: Ea does not have a true name and the name is simply a pet name that Gilgamesh gave the sword. This comes from that Ea never went on to become a named weapon of legend like all the artifacts he collected from across the earth long ago, and was therefor never given a true name by history.
- It's All About Me: His defining trait. The possibility that the world might not be about him escapes him.
- Jerkass: Yeah, Gilgamesh is sort of a douche bag.
- Karmic Death: In Unlimited Blade Works. After having gone through the whole route Sword Spamming people to death, he' s killed when a Not Quite Dead Archer nails him right between the eyes with a duplicate of one of his own swords.
- The Killer Becomes the Killed: Due to arrogance, yet again, Gil finds himself on the losing end of Eviler than Thou in Heaven's Feel when Sakura's Super-Powered Evil Side, the embodiment of 'All the Evils in the World' Angra Mainyu, eats him.
- Lack of Empathy: Shirou even comments that it's more like he's staring through Shirou than looking at him, as if not even recognizing him as a human being.
- Large Ham: In an "always mounted on his big horse" sort of way.
- Mundane Utility: In addition to all the weapons and other Noble Phantasms in the Gate of Babylon, Gilgamesh also has several other items from his former life including wine brewed by the gods, the Herb of Immortality, a youth potion and an item of unknown description that can detect poison, which he used for all his food and drink.
- Narcissist: Passes up on killing the protagonists in Unlimited Blade Works because the ashes from the fire in the Einzbern castle were dirtying his clothes.
- Nerves of Steel: He shows emotions frequently and without reserve, but he's never actually controlled by them. As shown in Fate, when he immediately curbs his anger when it begins to amper his judgment. In the novel version of Unlimited Blade Works, he continues to think clearly even while being melted by the Holy Grail, to the point that Shirou comments that he still sounds as arrogant as ever.
- No Sell: Rin tries to blast Gilgamesh to smithereens with one of her special-prepared gems, each of which contain spells powerful enough to heavily damage a Servant, for attacking Archer while he's reconciling with Shirou. It doesn't even dirty his clothes.
- Oddly Shaped Sword: Ea looks less like a sword and more like a rotating cylinder or a drill. This is because it predates the concept of a sword.
- Older Is Better: No weapon is older than Ea, and no person is older than Gilgamesh. Even his "lesser" treasures are the oldest and most powerful form of every other wonder from every single Hero's adventures.
- Older Than Dirt: Gilgamesh. Ea is Older Than LIFE.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Gilgamesh does this with all of humanity. He states quite plainly in the Heaven's Feel route that he does not like it when people are killed by someone besides him.
- Person of Mass Destruction: The weapons from the Gate of Babylon are shot with enough force to level buildings. On top of that he is in possession of the planet buster-level Ea.
- Possession Implies Mastery: Averted. Gilgamesh owns all the world's treasures, but he isn't particularly skilled with using any of them in melee, so he just uses them in a storm of blades.
- Pride: His Fatal Flaw. He could easily defeat anyone in the series if he wasn't too busy considering them unworthy mongrels.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Gilgamesh stockpiles prana drawn from the consumed souls of the orphans of the Fuyuki fire that Kirei rounded up afterwards and sacrificed to him. It's far more than he actually needs and is mainly just there to let him spam Ea.
- Power Tattoo: When he accesses his full power, his top explodes off of him◊, seemingly by awesomeness, and several tattoos similar in appearance to the writing on Ea appear on his body.
- Psychotic Smirk: Only on a very few occasions does Gilgamesh change his expression from this, usually to a Slasher Smile.
- Pure Is Not Good: Let us reiterate: Gilgamesh got the concentrated form of all humanity's evils and sins combined poured onto him. He didn't even flinch.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: This is actually part of his backstory. Before meeting Enkidu, he apparently liked to abuse his "right" as a king to a bride's virginity; which was not cool with anyone and earned him a good deal of ire from his people. During the Grail War, it's extremely clear that he wants Saber and only seems to be more drawn to her as she continues to refuse him.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Saber in Fate, explaining that her country had turned on her because she lacked the power to control and protect her country/property. (The two are the same to him.)
- He in turn gets one from Lancer, who tells him that a real epic hero would have no need for the second chance at life the Grail has given him.
- Red Baron: "King of Heroes".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: His eyes are the first sign he is in fact bad news.
- Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank B, originally Rank A+ since he's two-thirds god, but his divinity suffers a rank-down since he himself hates the gods.
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Ea is classified as an "Anti-World" Noble Phantasm, but due to Gilgamesh's immense pride, he does not use it at its full potential. Even during the Beam-O-War he has with Saber's Excalibur, he only uses a fraction of Ea's strength, which is still enough to overpower Excalibur. Full power usage breaks reality to the point a rift is created that shows the world before it was even created.
- Smarter Than You Look: Gil's ego may make it seem like he is an idiot armed with a machinegun that shoots Noble Phantasms but as his Hidden Depths reveal he is actually really intelligent, just arrogant and crazy as well.
- Smug Super: His colossal strength and power could transform him into a much more successful villain. However, his ego manages to be even more powerful and domineering than either of those combined, leading to his downfall in all three routes.
- Social Darwinist
- Staring Down Cthulhu: Gilgamesh's willpower and ego is so great that he could resist having all of the Grail's contents, containing all evils of the world, poured onto him without going insane or dying on the spot, something that would be impossible for anyone else.
"See, Saber, A hero is something who carries with them everything they see. I am already carrying everything in this world."
- Storm of Blades: "Gate of Babylon" is his personal treasury and he can supposedly have any Noble Phantasm rain on his opponents.
- Story Breaker Power: No matter who he's fighting, he's almost guaranteed to have at least a dozen weapons specifically designed to exploit their weaknesses, and as a fallback he always has Ea, which is so unstoppably powerful that even Excalibur itself pales in comparison and even Dark Sakura, who is almost perfectly specialized for defeating Servants, most likely couldn't survive a direct hit from it, in the previous war it defeated an ENTIRE ARMY of SERVANTS, and possibly depicted in Fate/EXTRA at full power it can THROW GALAXIES UPON YOU. Were it not for his colossal ego ensuring that he never takes advantage of this, there is really no reason he should ever be defeated by anyone.
- Superpower Lottery: For an Archer, he has surprisingly high stats, but doesn't seem able to use them efficiently. However, his mana reserves and the power of his noble phantasms are off the charts, in one case literally. The first Noble Phantasm contains a prototype of most known Noble Phantasms and the latter has a power ranking attached to it indicating it literally cannot be defined. Word of God indicates he is as strong as five normal Servants.
- Super Prototype: His Gate of Babylon holds the "perfect prototype" of every Heroic Spirit's Noble Phantasm. By Nasuverse rules (i.e. Older Is Better), this makes all of them better than their later models.
- Telepathy: Hinted at. When Shirou deciphers his identity in his thoughts, Gilgamesh instantly turns to him and says aloud that Shirou knows of his identity. He can also tell Saber is no longer a virgin despite her being fully clothed and that Hercules is a demigod and therefor able to be restrained by Enkidu.
- This Is a Drill: Ea, a drill-sword. Complete with spinning segments.
- This Is Unforgivable: His Famous Last Words in the anime movie adaption of Unlimited Blade Works, announcing that Archer must pay for killing him before being sucked into the vortex completely.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: The Shadow is terrified of Gilgamesh and even after devouring himself breaks him down into his component mana as quickly as possible for fear of Gilgamesh taking it over from the inside. This is why you never see a Black Gilgamesh like you do Saber and Berserker.
- Tranquil Fury: Briefly at the end of Fate. It is arguably where he is the most terrifying.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Due to his powerful armor, possessing hundreds if not thousands of weapons he can launch like missiles, a chain that can bind gods, and a sword that can tear holes in reality, Gilgamesh is the most powerful person in the game by a considerable margin. He could easily defeat anything he encounters during the Fifth War just by blasting it into oblivion with his full strength right off the bat. But of course, nobody he meets is worthy of seeing his full power, and inevitably he gets killed by underestimating his opponent. He does have some skill in swordplay and a high knowledge of magecraft, but not enough to really match up to specialists.
- Ur Example: In the Nasuverse, Older Is Better, and Gilgamesh is the first hero ever, who possessed all the treasures of the world—meaning that, not only is he older than every other hero, he possessed the archetypes from which every of Servant's Noble Phantasms originate. There's a reason he's called the King of Heroes.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Gilgamesh as a child was the embodiment of The Good King, loved by both gods and mortals in his time who ruled over all of the world, and was ridiculously cute.◊ Then things went to shit...
- Variable-Length Chain: Enkidu is as long as he needs it to be, basically. In side material he takes out the full chain and it's only a few meters long, yet he can restrain Berserker with it from dozens of angles at once and in life he used it to restrain The Bull of Heaven, which was absolutely huge.
- Villainous Breakdown: In Unlimited Blade Works. Over the course of his final fight with Shirou, he gradually loses his cool, repeatedly hitting him with many Why Won't You Die? lines, up to the point of losing an arm and suddenly getting sucked into a black hole to his own surprise. He then tries to pull himself out with Enkidu using Shirou as leverage and would've succeded if it weren't for Archer killing him with one last attack and causing him to suffer his Karmic Death. This is only in the animated version, however. In the Visual Novel, he's quite a bit calmer (though still angry at the situation).
- Wave Motion Sword: Ea, "The Star of Creation that Splits Apart Heaven and Earth". Enuma Elish is in fact the activation phrase, but many people get it confused because of the way most Noble Phantasms are activated. Also, let's face it: Enuma Elish just sounds cooler.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Leaning really far on the extreme part of the trope, but From a Certain Point of View Gil can be seen as this; Gilgamesh loves humanity as a whole, but he hates individuals. He is disgusted by how lazy and weak humans have become since the age where he ruled and how they escape reality through ignorance. To create a new kingdom worthy of him in the modern age, Gil wants to subject humanity to Angra Mainyu, the embodiment of all human sins in the form of six billion curses, and will then rule over the survivors, as they are "worthy" of his kingship.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Simply because he has no need to lie.
- World's Strongest Man: He's stated by Word of God to be the most powerful Heroic Spirit that can possibly be summoned and it shows. Were he actually to fight at full force, every other combatant in the war combined wouldn't even be a match for him.
True Assassin (Hassan-i-Sabah)
"It looks like your weapon is a projectile weapon as well. Would you like to try a match?"
An Assassin-class Servant who was meant to be summoned for the Fuyuki Holy Grail War, but was denied because Caster broke the rules and called in her own
Assassin. He is only summoned in Heaven's Feel
by Shinji and Sakura's grandfather Zouken Matou in order to take the Holy Grail for themselves and grant their shared desire for eternal life.
His true identity is one of the nineteen 'original' assassins, Hassan-i-Sabah, all of whom are considered the only real Assassins, though they lack true distinct identities to the functions of the Grail War.
Like all Assassins, he is a master of moving about undetected and prefers to fight using thrown knives. His Noble Phantasm is a curse known as Zabaniya: Delusional Heartbeat.
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl L Able: Only at first, when he was still unstable. After devouring Lancer he begins talking normally.
- Affably Evil: While he looks Obviously Evil, he's not that bad.
- Badass Longrobe: He wears a tattered black one on a few scenes.
- Beat Still, My Heart: His Noble Phantasm works by cursing the enemy's heart, allowing True Assassin to make a perfect replica in his right hand. He then crushes the fake heart, destroying the enemy's real heart. He can also replace the real heart with the fake, allowing him to devour the enemy's heart to boost his intelligence.
- The Blank: When Dark Sakura decides to kill him, she removes his mask to see what his face looks like. He had no face at all.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't really approve of some of his Master's crueller actions, but he also knows his place.
- Evil Duo: He and Zouken team up because they both want some form of immortality.
- Genre Savvy: True Assassin more than once states that he thinks Zouken's screwing around with Dark Sakura and refusal to just wipe out the heroes when he has the chance are probably not smart. Zouken does have logical reasons for both, but considering that his plans utterly fail and get both him and Assassin killed horribly, one can't help but think maybe the Servant had a point.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Increases his intelligence by eating other Servants.
- Infinite Supplies: Averted. Assassin has to manually create new Dirks and only carries around forty at a time.
- Invisibility Cloak: His Presence Concealment skill does exactly what it says, allowing him to go fairly undetected by others. That includes passing through the boundary field around Shirou's house.
- The Killer Becomes the Killed: Dark Sakura kills him For the Evulz.
- Knife Nut: He uses a special kind of throwing knife called a Dirk to throw at his with the speed and power of a low-caliber bullet.
- Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Assassin has a high rank in "Protection from Wind", an enchantment he got in life to counteract sandstorms and Jinns. This gives him immunity to Saber's Invisible Air.
- Lawful Evil: In-universe alignment. He's a contract killer, but he's not some Psycho for Hire sadist.
- Legacy Immortality: According to True Assassin's back-story, anyone who becomes leader of the Hashashin takes on the name and persona of Hassan-i-Sabah. Thus, the True Assassin Heroic Spirit is a compound being made up from the deeds of all the Hassan-i-Sabahs.
- Mercy Kill: In one of the last Bad ends, True Assassin kills Shirou after he catches him trying to infiltrate the Einzbern Castle, stating that it's far better to die by his hand than at Dark Sakura's. If you have encountered any of those bad endings so far, you'll agree.
- One-Hit Kill: His Noble Phantasm destroys the opponents heart, killing them instantly. Doesn't work well against targets with high magic resistance, though.
- Red Right Hand: Just look at the picture above.
- The Speechless: During the few hours after he is summoned, he speaks essentially in screeches.
- Stealth Expert: The whole point of "Presence Concealment" ability, which allows the Assassin class to remain undetected when spying or preparing an ambush. True Assassin is particularly skilled in this accord, being even capable to sneak into Shirou's house without alerting any of its other occupants or triggering the bounded field that serves as a perimeter alarm.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: He asks Zouken this exact question when the latter is amusing himself by watching Shirou and Rin's futile attempts to find a solution to the predicament involving the "Shadow" consuming people left and right. Zouken replies that it would be more fun to let Sakura's Super-Powered Evil Side do the job for them. Although Zouken is lying, he actually needs Shirou and Rin to break Sakura completely.
"It is not enough..."
The Shadow is a horrifying pseudo Servant of sorts that appears in Heaven's Feel.
It devours anything that it can, though its source and origins are enigmatic. It does not seem to be a truly sapient being and is instead ruled by its hunger. It is associated with Zouken Matou, but is not truly under his control.
The Shadow is a particularly spoilery entry in the story, so beware.
- Animal Motif: It is likened to some sort of deep sea creature by Shirou, most likely a squid. Even invoked somewhat when Lancer discovers it hiding in the lake of Ryoudou Temple and is eaten by it after being wounded by True Assassin.
- Anti-Magic: Mana Drain variety: The Shadow absorbs all mana in anything it comes into contact with, which makes Servants completely useless against it. The drain is so powerful that it ate through Lancer's runic barrier, a spell on level with Caster-class Noble Phantasms, in about 4 seconds.
- The Assimilator: Can devour Servants and instead of breaking them down turn it into its own defenders.
- Assimilation Backfire: Is nearly devoured itself when it attacks Gilgamesh. This is why you don't see Gilgamesh corrupted: The Shadow had to break him down quickly instead of corrupting him.
- Ax-Crazy: The Shadow is directed by a combination of Sakura's subconscious and Angra Mainyu's eternal hatred and is thus on a rampage with no way to reason with it.
- Captured Super Entity: While an almost mindless monster, Zouken is able to direct it to some extent, but only somewhat. He manipulates it a little by using the Crest Worm in Sakura, but it nearly kills him early on.
- Casting a Shadow: It blankets the ground in shadows that attempt to devour anything they touch.
- The Corruption: Corrupts the already fragile psyche and emotions of its host, Sakura, ultimately causing her to consciously accept the corruption after killing her brother in self-defence. Gaining conscious control gives her immense power at the cost of her sanity.
- The Dreaded: Nobody tries to fight the Shadow. It's just too alien and strange.
- Eviler than Thou: Kills off Gilgamesh when he let his guard down during trying to kill Sakura, who is subconsciously giving it a way into the world.
- Fetus Terrible: The Shadow, given a chance to grow and merge and with Sakura, eventually becomes the 'embryo' of Angra Mainyu, or rather the Grail's corruption itself. It has no mind yet and, therefore, no sense of morality, but its birth will cause devastation.
- Hero Killer: The Shadow is more of a force of nature than an antagonist, so it's pointless to try to fight it.
- Horror Hunger: The Shadow feels as though it is constantly starving and begins absorbing hundreds of townspeople and several Servants in an attempt to sate itself.
- Invincible Villain: The Shadow is impossible to fight due to it melting and devouring anything that comes close. Gilgamesh nearly destroys it by attacking the host directly, but lets his guard down in the last second and gets eaten for his trouble. Sakura is still a mangled mess afterward even if she looks okay, though.
- Knight of Cerebus: When the Shadow appears, the story takes a definite turn for the darker, especially when it eats Saber herself.
- Living Shadow
- Mind Rape: Coming into contact with The Shadow causes the unfortunate soul's mind to be flooded with pure, concentrated madness and hatred. Before being eaten alive. Shirou only avoids death because the Shadow is powered by Sakura's subconscious.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By mortally injuring Archer and tearing Shirou's left arm off, it inadvertently gives Shirou the means, namely Archer's arm, to defeat Berserker, Saber and ultimately sever it's contact with Sakura.
- Oh, Crap: Everyone's reaction when it appears. The Shadow itself reacts like this upon encountering Gilgamesh and is almost slain before managing to take advantage of his carelessness.
- Pre Explosion Buildup: It takes it a few seconds for it to collect enough mana in one spot, which then explodes in all directions, killing anything it touches.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: It's a solid, inky black mess with red stripes.
- Run or Die: There is no fighting The Shadow. There is only escaping from it, intact or otherwise.
- Silent Antagonist: It doesn't speak. It just shows up and both confuses and terrifies everyone.
- Vader Breath: Combined with a female thirsty-sounding rasp the few times it does talk.
- You Remind Me of X: Shirou is reminded of the Great Fuyuki Fire when he sees it, particularly a large tower-like thing seemingly looming over the fire. This gives you a hint that it is actually the embryotic state of the Grail's contents, and the tower is the fully manifested Angra Mainyu.