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 of spoilers.


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    General 
  • 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.
  • Army of the Ages: The Heroic Spirits can be summoned from any time period, even the future, as long as someone has an appropriate catalyst.
  • 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 there are exceptions, 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 is the oldest known hero and 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 exceptions of Saber and Archer, 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. Most 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 they make 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, even varying based on what Class they're summoned into and who their Master is.
  • 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 forces and eating souls. Saber considers it vile, but Rider depends on it as Shinji cannot empower her properly.

    Saber 

Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (JP), Kate Higgins (EN 2006 Anime), Michelle Ruff (EN 2010 Movie), Kari Wahlgren (EN 2015 Anime)

"There are no regrets. If one can be proud of one's life, one should not wish for another chance."

Saber is the focus and Love Interest 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.
  • Action Girl: Is a highly skilled swordswoman, despite being weakened by Shirou's mediocre magical abilities.
  • A-Cup Angst: Though anxieties do not play up until she actually falls in love with Shirou. When he accidentally finds her in the bathroom, she comments she doesn't want him to see her naked because she doesn't have a very... feminine physique.
  • Adaptational Badass: Although undoubtedly competent in the original VN, Saber finds herself overpowered against Berserker; while she was able to gain an edge against him in the Unlimited Blade Works route she did so by using the terrain to her advantage. The 2014 anime has her take on Berserker almost head-on and mortally wound him (though his Noble Phantasm instantly revives him).
  • Almost Dead Guy: She returns to the point of her death whether or not she obtains the Holy Grail, since King Arthur's story states he did obtain the Holy Grail and this is treated as Artoria's requirement to become a heroic spirit in the first place. She has a line like "This form is me, just before dying." in the game.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Saber is often given a lion motif due to their associations with power, bravery, leadership and royalty, as well as being a national symbol of Britain. Said motif includes lion plushies.
    • During her lifetime as King Arthur, she was also associated with dragons. The anime takes advantage of this.
  • Anti-Magic: An innate ability of the Saber class is to resist magic and this Saber's is near immunity.
  • Badass Adorable: While more beautiful and dignified than actually cute, Saber's sincere and honest personality is very endearing; along with that, she also has many Adorkable moments in the Visual Novel.
  • Badass in Distress: In Unlimited Blade Works she is captured by Servant Caster, who wants to use her power.
  • Bad Liar: She's not used to being embarrassed, so when she lies about something embarrassing it's really obvious. For example, saying that she was trying to take Shirou's pulse to cover up a handshake.
  • Battle Ballgown: She wears a puffy dress underneath her armour.
  • Berserk Button: Do not deny Saber lunch or feed her bad food. It does not end well.
  • Big Eater: She eats vast quantities of food as shorthand for her obsession with good cuisine.
  • Blade on a Stick: Supplementary materials reveal she has a spear-type Noble Phantasm and can therefore be summoned as a Lancer-class Servant. Due to said spear, Rhongomyniad, currently being in the possession of her distant descendant Gray, and due to her being summoned as a Saber-class Servant, she never uses it nor is it mentioned in any of the routes, though it briefly appears in the scene where she kills Mordred.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Despite taking her Master's safety seriously in all other scenes, in one of the bad endings note  Saber kills Shirou when she was promised the Holy Grail for doing so. It took both Shirou and Saber herself completely by surprise. This is AFTER he had already bedded her, romanced her, and their emotional development, making it pretty awkward that someone like Saber would do that. Though it does require missing just about every single 'affection' tag, so...
  • Bodyguard Crush: In Fate, she gradually falls in love with the Master she's sworn to protect.
  • Broken Ace: She's beautiful, graceful, powerful and one of the most well-known mythological figures in the story. She also has deep feelings of guilt over the destruction of her realm and inadequacy as a King who never understood the hearts of her people.
  • Broken Bird: Her behavior in the Fourth and Fifth Grail Wars is not actually what King Arthur was like in universe. Rather, on her death bed, her long suppressed normal personality wishes to save her country while the perfect King Arthur is satisfied with the job done. Thus, Artoria is sort of flailing about trying to fix things that can not and should not be fixed.
  • Cain and Abel: In Saber's backstory, her sister was responsible for her downfall because she was jealous of her. She appears to have been a magus and created Mordred as a homunculus that eventually brought about Saber's downfall.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Saber is a Shameless Fanservice Girl who doesn't care about being seen naked, but when she develops feelings for Shirou, she starts to act embarrassed about him seeing her naked and quickly asks him to leave the bathroom the second time when he runs into her taking a bath.
  • Captain Obvious: She has her moments.
    Saber: Shirou. The plate is broken.
  • Celibate Heroine: Doesn't want to bother with romance and stuff since it gets in the way.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being the King while hiding her true gender was already hard enough, but that coupled with having to make hard decisions in order to protect her kingdom made Saber's life really hard.
  • Chaste Heroine: She is completely impervious to sexual or even romantic innuendo unless it's pointed out to her.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Not nearly as often as Rin, she does occasionally hide her anger behind a seemingly innocent smile, the most notable being the Fission Mailed spar while wearing armor.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Shows shades of this after Ilya moves in with Shirou, clearly disliking Ilya's clinginess.
  • Closet Key: For Rin, who outright admits that she didn't know she was into girls until she had to arouse Saber.
  • Complete Immortality: Her lost Noble Phantasm, Avalon: The Everdistant Utopia (Excalibur's scabbard), can grant this, although in two out of three routes she doesn't have it, and in the third she still doesn't have it for long enough to matter. Either way, it stops her from aging and gives her an incredibly powerful Healing Factor. She wouldn't have fallen in battle if she hadn't lost the thing, which is precisely why some unnamed traitor stole it from her before the Battle of Camlann.
  • Covert Pervert: During the H-scenes she utters some raunchy lines, and despite having to pretend to be a man for most of her life she can give a fairly competent blow job. According to Nasu her experience comes from the time she was gender-bent.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: In the Unlimited Blade Works anime, she starts off getting her butt kicked by Archer due to lacking a master and being dangerously low on mana. Once she makes a pact with Rin, the tables turn until Archer uses Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Cuteness Proximity: She has a notable soft spot for stuffed animals, especially lions. Lion plushies in particular show that she has a soft spot for lions in general, since she once looked after a lion cub, and the time she spent with it was most likely one of the few happy moments she had during her lifetime.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Due to her limited mana supply using Excalibur to defeat Rider's Noble Phantasm leaves her powerless and on the verge of disappearing.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She starts off detached and aloof, but slowly opens up to Shirou.
  • Distress Ball: Much to her consternation in Unlimited Blade Works. Getting captured by Caster and requiring rescue isn't exactly her thing. Though technically it was Shirou's fault, but she doesn't seem to hold a grudge.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In Fate, Shirou does things for her such as going out on a date to get her to give up seeking the Grail, and admits that this is because he feels she needs to live in the present, not the past. This does not have the intended effect.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: With a proper Master to empower her, she's one of the best Servants around, matched only by the likes of Herakles and outshone only by the likes of Gilgamesh. However, with Shirou as her Master she has to struggle in every fight.
  • Emotionless Girl: When she was alive, she felt that it was her duty to totally suppress her human emotions. This resulted in several of her allies abandoning her, her people losing faith in her, and ultimately her downfall. When she is first summoned, she is cold and driven to win the Grail War at all costs, though she slowly defrosts.
  • Failure Knight: Thinks this of herself, having failed to save the country she lived to serve, and perhaps even led to the civil war which tore it apart.
  • The Fettered: Believes in traditional knightly values and will not do anything she considers dishonourable even if her existence is in danger. She warns Shirou that if he would have her attack humans for energy, he would have to use a Command Spell for stepping on her pride.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: She does not quite get modern conventions and everyday modern habits. Especially evident when Shirou asks her out on a date, but she doesn't know what a date is.
  • Gender Bender: In her backstory, she was turned into a pseudo-male so she could get married. According to Nasu, this is where she got her sexual experience. It also contributed to her downfall, since Morgan stole some of her semen and used it to make Mordred.
  • Gender Flip: Her true identity is that of King Arthur, but in the Nasuverse he was really a girl named Artoria Pendragon.
  • Genre Blindness: When Gilgamesh is nonchalantly telling her to just go ahead and use her Noble Phantasm against him in a condescenting tone, Saber does not at all get the clue that he may just have a countermeasure.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Occasionally dabbles in this, such as when Lancer asks if the invisible weapon she's wielding is a sword.
    Saber: Who knows? Maybe it's a battle axe. Or perhaps it's a spear. It might even be a bow, Lancer.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Blue, poofy sleeves under her armour.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Lion plushies are irresistible to Saber, since they remind her of a lion cub she once took care of.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: After Caster captures her, she naturally decides to stick Saber in a sexy dress while she's tied up with magic and being tortured.
  • Hair Decorations: Her blue ribbon, which presumably keeps her Prim and Proper Bun in place. As Saber Alter, she wears a black ribbon.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Beautiful, kind and feminine (despite what she thinks of her own physique), with golden hair in a small bun.
  • Healing Factor: All Servants have this going for them, but Saber Alter's is a couple steps above that.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Traditionally heroic and knightly, she uses a sword.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: She believes she failed as a ruler and her wish is to undo her rule. Unlike most examples of the trope, Saber tends to avoid her self-esteem issues unless people specifically push the issue. She also assumes she's not a very well known hero but of course she would have no way of knowing, unlike the other Servants.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Assassin introduces himself and instantly reveals his name, she deems it necessary to reveal her own identity, otherwise it would not be a fair and honourable duel. Assassin, however, says it's not needed.
  • I Am Not Pretty: She has serious problems comprehending that anyone could be attracted to her and when finally it gets through to her that Shirou is really interested in her she develops a inferiority complex. The second time Shirou comes in on her when she's bathing, she clearly has Muscle Angst. After Rin compliments her appearance we get this gem:
    Saber: I have never thought of myself as a woman, and I have never been treated as one. It cannot be true that I am gorgeous.
  • I Can Still Fight: When attempting to rescue Shirou despite her non-existent mana supply. She can't even walk.
  • Identical Stranger: Supplementary material and spinoffs reveal "Blue" Saber is nigh-identical in appearance to a number of other female warriors, many of whom became Heroic Spirits. This list including Red Saber (Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus), Sakura Saber (Okita Souji), Ruler (Jean of Arc),note  and Grey.note 
  • Idiot Hair: Memetic mutation turns it into such things as a third hand, an oven timer, and the infamous Ahogecopter. Plus, if by poor luck you pull it off, out comes Saber Alter, since she loses the ahoge in that state. There's even a picture of her eating using said ahoge!
  • Image Song: "Tooi Yume" ("Distant Dream")
  • Informed Ability: Supposedly the strongest Saber, which is supposedly the strongest class, but she is inferior to Berserker and little more than an ant to Gilgamesh, and routinely gets wrecked by other Servants, to the point where Caster, the one class the Saber class should never even be able to lose to defeats her in one of the Bad Ends, even without backup from Kuzuki. Though it doesn't help that she is nerfed because of Shirou's lack of a reliable Prana supply.
    • This is actually real in-universe, the reason she is called the "Strongest" servants, is because the Saber class are usually the most well rounded in terms of physical statistics and the Saber-Class Servants manage to survive to the end of the Grail War in all past Holy Grail Wars. However considering the fact that the third Grail War had TWO sabers and in the fourth Grail War Berserker would have killed her if not for him running out of mana. And in the fifth holy Grail War Lancer would have killed her if not for her high Luck Stat It really depends on how powerful the hero that gets summon rather than the class itself, hence why Berserker who is Hercules is able to outfight her, as nearly everyone in Holy Grail War are the heroes that are her equal or superior in legendary feats.
  • Informed Flaw: Saber has a weakness to anti-dragon weaponry due to her artificially having Dragon Blood due to Merlin's tampering with her , but she never gets to fight, say, Siegfried or St. George.
  • Intimate Healing: Because she wasn't properly summoned and because Shirou's prana control is spectacularly mediocre, the only way Saber is able to replenish her prana supplies in the Fate route of the original visual novel is by having sex with him.note  It doubles as Mate or Die since she had all-but expended her prana and they were being hunted by Illyasviel and Berserker.
  • Iron Lady: She dealt with The Chains of Commanding in a very stoic way, but still caring of her country, subjects, subordinates, and master. Unfortunately her stoic demeanor led to an uprising, since it made her people think she didn't care for them as much as she really did.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: She pronounces Shirou's name "SHIro", while a strong emphasis on the Shi and a short o instead of a long one. When Rider pronounces it the same way in Heaven's Feel, Shirou; actually thinks Saber is back for an instant.
  • I Will Wait for You: In Realta Nua's Last Episode. Her soul waits forever for Shirou until they are finally reunited.
  • Jack of All Stats: Only if her Master is Shirou. On her character sheet, all her attributes except for her Noble Phantasm are "B"- or "C"-rank. The other servants are much less balanced. Other Masters tend to grant her superior stats.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: She's unexpectedly a very straight example. She is an expert swordswoman, was born humble, but became the leader of her people, pretended to be male, and was eventually betrayed by her people. It's often the first guess as to her true identity, including in-story.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: She mows down other Servants in an ankle-length dress and a magical armour.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Of the archetypical style. Loyalty, honour and courage mean everything to Saber.
  • Lady of War: Graceful, demure and elegant master of the sword.
  • Lawful Good: In-universe alignment.
  • Leitmotif: "Sword of Promised Victory"
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Although Saber's hair is normally in its trademark bun, there are rare occasions where we see her hair down: in the Studio DEEN anime during her last moments with Shirou, and when she's crying and welcoming Shirou to Avalon during Fate's epilogue in Realta Nua.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As Rin Tohsaka's Servant she's faster, stronger and has much larger mana capacity than she did as Shirou's Servant.
  • Lonely at the Top: Saber was the king of ancient Britain, but she had to throw away all human bonds in order to rule.
  • Love Interest: To Shirou in the Fate route.
  • Magical Girlfriend: She can be seen as one in Fate. But for all her great traits, her insecurities reveal themselves over time.
  • Magic Knight: She wreaths her sword in wind magic to make it invisible, can break the laws of physics, and fire a massive Sword Beam.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Has a bit of this dynamic with Shirou. 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.
  • Master Swordswoman: Played with. She's very skilled and generally does quite well in a straight fight, but Assassin is on a whole different level when it comes to swordsmanship and Gilgamesh outgambits her with a combination of weird Noble Phantasms that quickly put her on the defensive.
  • Messianic Archetype: As King Arthur, she was this to her people, at least initially. The trope is played with however, as it shows how lonely and mentally messed up a "perfect single ruler" who only does what is best for the country while completely neglecting their own desires, interests and even emotions would be.
  • Muscle Angst: She thinks her body is too muscular. Readers may raise an eyebrow at this considering that her figure is that of a twig.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: 95% of Saber's amazing feats in life, down to her supposedly hereditary Dragon Blood, can be traced back to Merlin . Without the "Dragon Generator" being implanted into her body by him, Saber would little more than the weak, fragile-as-a-bundle-of-twigs girl that remained after she uses Excalibur on Rider.
  • Obsessed with Food: Food is very important to her. At one point, remembering the highly inadequate skills of the chefs of her era has her briefly let off a killing aura. However, except for in the anime, the volume of food she eats is not that great.
  • Older Than She Looks: Saber was around 25 when she died, but due to the fact that she stopped aging once she obtained Avalon, she looks around a year younger than Shirou, who is in his second year of high school and thus 14/15 - at least in the Japanese version.note 
  • Pet Baby, Wild Animal: She once looked after a lion cub.
  • Power Limiter: Shirou's mediocre mana supply greatly limits her combat effectiveness. When she becomes Rin's Servant in Unlimited Blade Works, she is nearly as powerful as she was when she was Kiritsugu's Servant in Fate/Zero.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: The bun befits her Lady of War image and status as a respected royal.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: In her civilian outfit, she wears a skirt and tights given to her by Rin. Her "proper" ladylike appearance contrasts Rin's miniskirt-Zettai Ryouiki combo.
  • Rags to Royalty: A Snow White type in her backstory. Due to being born into a time of chaos and war and her being a girl, Artoria's birth was made a secret and was raised as the child of a mere knight until she pulled the sword from the stone.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Saber says that in her backstory she was raised as a man and never thought of herself as a woman.
  • Red Baron: "King of Knights"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Saber is the Blue to Rin's Red, being calm in most circumstances in contrast to Rin's quick temper.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In her backstory. However, Saber herself feels that she failed to be this, so much so that she wants to use her wish on the Grail to retcon her legend out of existence by having someone else become king in her stead.
  • Selective Obliviousness: She refuses to think of herself as a woman or acknowledge her emotions.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Downplayed, since while she's perfectly willing to wear clothing most of the time she simply doesn't care if anyone sees her naked. After she falls for Shirou, however, she becomes bashful about him seeing her body.
  • She Is the King: The Once and Future King. King Arthur is thought of as male in universe, and the only ones aware of her gender were the Knights of the Round, her "wife" Guinevere and Merlin.
  • Shower of Awkward: In Fate, Shirou enters the bathroom while she's bathing twice. She doesn't mind the first time, but the second time she does.
  • Skirt over Slacks: When wearing her Battle Ballgown, as shown here.
  • Sore Loser: Implied and Played for Laughs in Unlimited Blade Works, when Rin takes her and Shirou; to a batting center.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Fate/complete material gives the official romanization for her name アルトリア (Arutoria) as Altria, other official works romanized it as Artoria, while mirror-moon's translation gives Arturia. Most fans prefer the latter, since She's a genderswapped King Arthur, so to them "Arturia" makes more sense as a name. It should be noted though, that the description in the game states her legend is partially historically based on Lucius Artorius Castus. Artoria is therefore most likely the actual romanization of her name, as it's the female version of Artorius.
  • The Stoic: Saber considers it impossible for her to have emotions and stays calm most of the time. Her composure shatters at some points, however.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: She's calm and aloof most of the time, but Saber is actually an emotionally conflicted girl who has a very caring and warm side. She has trouble accepting she has feelings for Shirou besides her duty, but towards the end of the Fate route, she finally acknowledges there's more to her than just being King Arthur.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In her backstory she used Merlin's magic to disguise herself as a man.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever "The Sword of Promised Victory" plays, something is going down.
  • They Call Him Sword: Known only by Saber even when her true identity is revealed.
  • Time Travel Escape: An unusual example. It works like this: Saber is destined to die on that hill. It has already happened from our standpoint, it just hasn't happened to her yet. Assuming that as a Servant she's still capable of aging, she could grow old and die and she would still end up at the battlefield immediately after that, where she would really die. However, Unlimited Blade Works Good End gets around this by the realization that it doesn't matter if was able to lead the normal life she sacrificed in life here.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Although Saber does have Lady of War elegance, she still acts very tomboyish. She contrasts with Rin's girlishness. She even laments not being as girlish or shapely as Rin later on in Fate.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She might say that she doesn't view herself as a woman, but Saber always wears rather feminine outfits and has a huge soft spot for stuffed animals, especially lions.
  • Town Girls: The Butch to Rin's Neither and Sakura's Femme.
  • Tranquil Fury: Played for Laughs. You know that Shirou has managed to piss her off if she shows up to their daily sparring sessions smiling, happy... and wearing her armor. Cue ass-kicking.
  • True Blue Femininity: Blue dress for the traditionally fair lady.
  • Tsurime Eyes: The aesthetic symbolizes she's strong-willed, proud, and fits with her Badass image.
  • Verbal Tic: "ga…" In Japanese she seems to punctuate a lot of her sentences with a suspensive particle, especially when talking with Shirou;.
  • Waif-Fu: Played With, depending on how you look at it. Without buffing herself with magic, she has the physical strength of someone befitting her size; she is quite a bit weaker than Shirou and Rin but has still exceptionally good sword skills and tactical mind. However, she's almost always buffing herself with magic.
  • Wave Motion Sword: Her Noble Phantasm, "Excalibur: The Sword of Promised Victory creates giant waves of magical energy and is ranked A++. She also once possessed Caliburn, which had a similar but lesser effect. However, that sword was broken.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: Saber's eyes are lovingly described often in both Shirou and Rin's narration/internal monologue.
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Since Saber has spent her entire life suppressing her emotions, her feelings for Shirou leave her confused and angry. She realizes that he's important to her, but it takes a while for her to figure out why.
  • When She Smiles: There are certain CGs towards the end of Fate where she truly gives a loving smile.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Aided by a Gender Flip illusion cast by Merlin, Saber was the ruler of her people and buried all her emotions and true desires to be the perfect monarch. Unfortunately it worked too well, and a rebellion rose up against Saber because some saw her as an inhuman demon that doesn't care for her people.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Pretty much never gets a full showing of her abilities, with a combination of being summoned by masters that don't mesh with her personality, incompetent masters that can't provide her with Prana, shock at the true identity of her opponent, as well as injuries that don't heal nigh-constantly impede her. Doesn't mean she can't kick plenty of ass anyway.
  • Worthy Opponent: Assassin considers her to be this. If not for the fact that she is a woman, Gilgamesh also seems to treat her as one at first, but it turns out he doesn't really care what she thinks and considers her far beneath him. Just not as far beneath him as some of the other mongrels.

    Saber Alter (SPOILERS) 

Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (JP)

Useless...! That Noble Phantasm cannot match me!"

Saber Alter is the corrupted version of Saber, tainted by Angra Mainyu through the Shadow. Accepting All the World's Evil, she becomes stern, callous, ruthless, and apathetic. The Servant of Dark Sakura, Saber Alter is a considered the strongest of all Servants, easily defeating strong opponents. A minor antagonist in the "Heaven's Feel" route, she has achieved such popularity that she has returned in the sequels and spinoffs like Fate/hollow ataraxia and Fate/unlimited codes.


  • Animal Battle Aura: In Fate/unlimited codes she can shape her prana into the form of a dragon's head to bite opponents.
  • Anti-Hero: Nasu and Gen Urobuchi refute the notion that Saber Alter is an outright villain, instead calling her a dark hero.
  • Battle Aura: Saber Alter is constantly wreathed in an aura of black and purple mana.
  • Black Swords Are Better: Her Excalibur becomes black with a red pattern on it, and far outshines the original version, to the point where Shirou and Rider only barely defeated it by putting Shirou's Rho Aias in front of Rider's Bellerophon.
  • Breakout Villain: Saber Alter started out as a secondary antagonist in the Heaven's Feel route, but has reappeared in Fate/unlimited codes, Fate/hollow ataraxia, and Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, and other spinoffs.
  • Casting a Shadow: In addition to her dark prana, she can teleport using shadows or Angra Mainyu's black ichor.
  • Cool Mask: She has a mask that covers the upper half of her face, and armour in the shape of fangs that covers her chin and jawline.
  • The Corruption: She is swallowed up by the Shadow and blackened by Angra Mainyu, becoming Dark Saber's Servant.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: She effortlessly defeats everyone she fights, until she faces Shirou.
  • Dark Reprise: Saber Alter's leitmotif is a sinister reprise of Saber's own, called "Sword of Promised Victory (ver. Alter)".
  • Death Glare: Her expression is constantly fixed in a stern scowl.
  • Death Seeker: Saber Alter is implied to be one in the last Bad End, when she curses Shirou for not landing the final blow, though this may be because of her philosophy that heroes are obliged to cut down their opponents without hesitation or restraint.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Realizing that the Grail is an object of evil after being swallowed by Angra Mainyu led her to embrace despair and hatred.
  • Dying as Yourself: In one of "Heaven's Feel"'s Bad Ends. Shirou manages to beat Saber Alter by himself at the cost of his own life, she compliments him on his strength in a warm way.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Her civilian clothes are a black and white gothic dress.
  • Emotionless Girl: Saber Alter is callous and apathetic, only caring about upholding her duty to follow Dark Sakura's orders.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Saber Alter's armor and dress are black and red, her irises turn yellow, her hair becomes much lighter without her Idiot Hair, her skin becomes like that of a corpse, and even Excalibur becomes Red and Black and Evil All Over.
  • Evil Overlord: While her kingdom is long gone, she is described as being the "Dark-Tainted Tyrant". She takes her duties as a ruler seriously out of obligation to those whose lives were lost because of her, but is nihilistic and believes her past self was a naive, idealistic fool.
  • Evil Makeover: Her clothes and sword turn black and red, her eyes turn yellow, her skin and hair become deathly pale, and her prana turns black and purple.
  • Gate Guardian: At the end of "Heaven's Feel", Saber Alter serves this role. Dark Sakura and Zouken task her with guarding the cave where Angra Mainyu's resurrection is taking place. She lets Rin pass to confront her sister, but challenges Shirou to a duel to the death.
  • Healing Factor: Due to her limitless supply of prana, she can recover from almost anything, even mortal wounds.
  • Invincible Villain: Saber Alter is practically immortal, strong enough to nearly send Archer flying from a successful parry, and her Excalibur Morgan completely shames the un-tainted version of the same Noble Phantasm. Even Berserker does not stand a chance against her this way despite the fact that he is normally stronger than her.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: After being corrupted by Angra Mainyu's hatred and rage, Saber Alter comes to consider her past self to be a naive, idealistic fool; and believe a hero's duty is to be feared and hated, killing anyone who opposes them without mercy or restraint.
  • Lawful Evil: In-universe alignment, following Angra Mainyu's corruption. She takes her duties as a king seriously out of obligation to her fallen servants, but considers a hero's duty to be hated and ostracized, cutting down their opponents without mercy and with the full extent of their power.
  • Mighty Glacier: In comparison to her normal self, after being blackened she is slower and has sacrificed some of her ancillary skills such as charisma and instinct, but is stronger, has limitless prana, and has an intense healing factor.
  • Noble Demon: The "Sparks Liner High" Bad End shows that Saber Alter still cares about Shirou to some extent — even if they had to fight on opposing sides.
  • Paint It Black: Her armor turns black and red as a result of her blackening.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Saber Alter's expression is a constant disapproving scowl.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Saber Alter's personality actually isn't that different from the first time Shirou meets her: cold, merciless and fully dedicated to her mission. She just happens to have Angra Mainyu and Dark Sakura as her Master.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her prana is purple and black.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her clothes, armor, and sword are black with red markings.
  • Spell Blade: She can cover Excalibur in dark prana without firing it, greatly augmenting her slashes' range and power.
  • Split Personality: In Fate/hollow ataraxia and Carnival Phantasm, she appears as a split personality that manifests if Saber's Idiot Hair is removed.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: After being captured and Blackened by the Grail, Saber is spat back out as the overall more powerful Saber Alter.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Saber Alter's eyes turn gold instead of their normal green, due to her Dragon Blood awakening as a result of the violent nature forced upon her by The Shadow.
  • Status Buff: The Blackening process provides Saber Alter with a limitless supply of dark prana, which grossly increases her offensive abilities.
  • The Stoic: Saber Alter is aloof and callous in her mannerisms and speech.
  • Sword Beam: In addition to her Noble Phantasm's normal ability, which is immensely amplified, in spinoffs like Fate/unlimited codes she can fire waves of dark prana just by swinging her sword.
  • Tin Tyrant: Saber Alter is both a Black Knight and a king. Her moniker is even the "Dark-Tainted Tyrant".
  • Tragic Monster: You can't help Saber Alter, even if the real Saber does seem to be in there somewhere. If you try, you get the worst bad end in the game.
  • Tranquil Fury: Saber Alter is filled to the brim with Angra Mainyu's murderous rage and hatred, masked behind stern, callous apathy. However, suppressing this bloodlust decreases her Charisma.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: Saber Alter's version of Excalibur - Excalibur Morgan - is corrupted by the Shadow, turning it black and red.
  • Walking Spoiler: Saber is corrupted half-way through the final route, making Saber Alter a spoilery antagonist.

    Archer 

Voiced by: Jun'ichi Suwabe (JP), Liam O' Brien (EN 2006 Anime), Kaiji Tang (EN 2015 Anime)

"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.

Archer's true identity is unknown for a large portion of the story, due to claiming to have amnesia. Archer's name is unknown.
  • Adaptational Badass: Though undoubtedly dangerous in the original VN, the 2014 anime seems to downplay his relative Weak, but Skilled nature, having him fight head-on against Lancer and Saber in melee (whereas he would have to take a careful defensive stance in the VN just to hold his own).
  • 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. Appears to be a straight example too, at one point Shirou calls Rin on the phone without introducing himself and she assumes she's talking to Archer, so in universe they do have similar voices.
  • 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.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Due to his stats being low, Archer relies on tactics and plans more then anything.
    • One of the best examples is when Saber and him fight Berserker in the Unlimited Blade Works path. When it becomes clear he's going to be in danger, he retreats back, firing a powerful arrow that creates an explosion that's aimed to hit Berserker, Saber and Shirou at the same time.
  • Confusion Fu: Archer depends heavily on the fact that none of the other heroes can identify him, which usually leads to them underestimating his abilities.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's revealed that Archer has faced betrayal and watched his ideals get crushed before his eyes, when becoming a hero was his very dream.
  • Dark Messiah: In life, Archer brought peace through heavy but controlled destruction, exactly like his father. Kill one to save ten, kill ten for a hundred, a hundred for a thousand and up. Even after death, he follows this way of life.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: His skin tanned and his hair bleached as a result of his constant overuse of his magic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He snarks quite often, even with Rin who is good at teasing herself.
  • Deconstruction: His existence is basically a challenge to the idea that trying to save everybody is practical, efficient or even meaningful when compared to more direct methods.
  • Deflector Shields: Rho Aias can block almost anything short of a projectile version of Gae Bolg, which it only barely diverts at the cost of the lance nearly tearing Archer's arm off.
  • Dual Wielding: He wields twin yin-yang swords, Kanshou and Bakuya. They always return to his hands.
  • Dying Alone: In his back-story he died to betrayal of an ally, though he was satisfied in the end.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Taken to its logical extreme. In the Fate route where he kills Hercules six times over without using his Reality Marble and with a broken arm.
  • Enigmatic Minion: In Fate and most of Unlimited Blade Works, he may help the heroes, but his goals, methods and identity are not something he's going to reveal willingly.
  • Fallen Hero: He still pursues his ideals and desire to be a hero, but his methods repulse Shirou and to a lesser extent Saber.
  • Field of Blades: 'Unlimited Blade Works', his Noble Phantasm, summons a Reality Marble filled with swords of his own creation.
  • First Name Basis: With Rin. In Heaven's Feel however, just before he dies, he calls her "Tohsaka" like in the old days.
  • Foil: To Gilgamesh, being very much an underdog Servant who has to play his cards just right to even make the cut compared to Gilgamesh's combination of being a Born Winner and The Ace whose very existence proved that heroes exist in the eyes of mankind.
  • Future Badass: It turns out that he is a future self of Shirou, the guy who could barely activate his Magic Circuit, turned into a mighty spirit that can project thousands of blades.
  • The Gadfly: Archer continually tests Shirou's, Saber's and Rin's ideals and personalities with jokes and barbs and is at the same time capable of claiming with a straight face that he would use the Grail for "World Peace".
  • Game-Breaking Injury: In Fate and Heaven's Feel, Saber nearly tears him in half on the 3rd day of the war, making his plans to kill Shirou impossible. When he recovers, he is killed shortly after by Berserker and The Shadow respectively.
  • Generation Xerox: In the end he was just like his father Kiritsugu Emiya. He started out idealistic and trying to save everyone, but in the end realized being a Pragmatic Hero is more effective.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In Unlimited Blade Works he finally disappears satisfied that his life wasn't a waste.
  • Gratuitous English: The activation speech for his Noble Phantasm is in fairly mangled Engrish. The Japanese version clarifies its meaning.
  • Gray Eyes: Strong willed, cold and, if you ask him, with an ideals above people mindset.
  • Guile Hero: In Unlimited Blade Works, at the very least, he displays profound manipulative skill.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: In Unlimited Blade Works, he works only and only for himself... And Rin's sake, even if she would end hating his actions.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In life, his actions didn't make sense to anyone since he didn't seem to have any easily understood reasons for his behavior, which eventually led to his death by betrayal.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Fate, Tohsaka leaves him to stall Berserker with the expectation that he'll die. Archer kills Berserker six times over and refuses to retreat before falling. What makes this even more amazing is that according to word of god he didn't use Unlimited Blade Works to do it.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: He is able to pull his short swords back out no matter how many times he loses them.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Thanks to Archer's relatively unknown abilities, many of his fights are won because he is able to pull out another Badass trick that he'd been holding back until just the right moment.
    • In the 2014 anime, he does a literal and figurative version of the trope during his first clash against Lancer. Initially he starts by wielding only Kanshou in his left hand, but after Lancer's increasing intensity forces him to summon Bakuya alongside it he then switches to a right-handed stance.
  • Identity Amnesia: Rin is frustrated when he informs her he can't remember his past or abilities due to her botched summoning. Unlimited Blade Works reveals he was lying about his memory, and is actually a Future Badass Shirou seeking to kill his past self.
  • I Hate Past Me: To say the very least. Shirou's idealism has driven him to despair, to the point he despises him and is trying to kill him to escape his fate.
  • I Let You Win: In a manner of speaking. The game makes clear that his battle with Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works ended at a point where Archer could still have killed Shirou. But once Archer realizes there's no way he could make Shirou give up his ideal in the process and has 'lost' the battle on the ideological level, he gives up.
  • Image Song: "Rise"
  • Ironic Hell:
    Rin: [narrating] The boy who stated that he just doesn't want to see anyone cry... could only see crying humans forever.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: When rescuing Shirou from Caster.
    "I just happened to drop by. Don't worry about it."
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: He's cynical and disillusioned with heroism. He wasn't always like this, but continued failures and betrayal brought him to this point.
  • Jerkass: Badassery aside, Archer can be a real dick sometimes. Even before going through the Heel-Face Revolving Door. Unlimited Blade Works shows that he used to be nicer, but he's very bitter, pragmatic and sarcastic now.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Saber, and to a lesser extent Lancer, recognize him as a knight, but both are rather appalled at his manipulative nature, cynicism and Shoot the Dog attitude.
  • Leitmotif: "The End of Reminiscence" serves as a de facto leitmotif for Archer, especially in the Fate route.
    • In the anime adaptation of UBW, he gets a very distinctive theme simply titled Archer that plays in the background during most of his major scenes; most notably, when he was first summoned. Its similarity with Emiya, Shirou's theme, has not gone unnoticed.
  • Locked into Strangeness: His dark skin, white hair and gray eyes are the result of his constant overuse of his magic. Justified, since it's a side effect of using Projection beyond his body limits, thus damaging skin and hair cells.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Rho Aias, the shield used by Aias/Ajax. The shield is seven-layered and each as strong as a castle wall, making it able to resist even the spear throws of Hector of Troy. It cannot hold against the full power of Lancer's Gae Bolg, however, and it's collapse nearly tears Archer's arm off.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulation is his game. He pretends to join Caster's cause and has her and Kuzuki exhaust their energy against Shirou and Rin. This benefits him in three ways: it enables him to kill both Caster and Kuzuki easily, it leaves Shirou defenseless, and Saber is available to make a contract with Rin in his place.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When asked if he could follow his ideal to the end without regrets he evades the question by saying it's meaningless: He already met his end. The answer is both yes and no. He can meet his end without regrets, but after the end he sees the inevitable conclusion, which leaves him lashing out in ways he doesn't even fully understand.
  • Mental World: The Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works is a separate boundary field within Archer's consciousness where he can use his ultimate power.
  • My Greatest Failure: As the supplemental materials reveal, Archer's back story had him saving Ilya just like Shirou did in Fate, only to see her waste away and die a year after the end of the Fifth Grail War due to her Homunculus body. It's one of the first real dents in his idealism, and the main reason why Archer never considers attacking Ilya directly as an option, even if he could have very easily slain her in Fate to indirectly kill Berserker and survive their fight.
  • Nerves of Steel: Archer's strongest combat ability, Eye of The Mind (True), allows him to plan out strategies while trading blows and work out the most effective path to victory.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He willingly gave both his life and his afterlife for the sake of other people and it never brought him anything but pain and betrayal.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite being called "Archer" since this is his Servant class, he doesn't really use bow and arrows much at all, being a swordsman instead. He does use a bow from time to time, but he shoots SWORDS with it instead.
  • Original Generation: He is the only Servant seen in the franchise so far who doesn't hail from a myth, legend, or from Real Life in at least a small aspect, discounting his Fate/EXTRA counterpart and Arcueid's Berserker state in that same game.
  • Pet the Dog: As he lays dying in Heaven's Feel after the Shadow nearly tears him apart in a giant explosion and having given his left arm to Shirou, he pats the unconscious Tohsaka on the head, before Going Out With A Smile.
  • The Plan: Depends a lot upon these. The entirety of Unlimited Blade Works is Archer playing a one-man round of Xanatos Speed Chess against everybody at the same time and basically winning. Even if he gives up on his primary objective, he's basically one step ahead of everyone else for the entirety of the route. This is actually one of his skills: Eye of the Mind (True), which means the user can see every possible option for victory and take the best one, turning a near-zero percent chance of winning into a sure-win.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Untwisted, as he is stated to be maker not wielder, yet functions as Gilgamesh's natural enemy due to the latter's inability to wield his weapons. Somewhat justified, as he copies not only weapons but also experience accumulated in them.
  • Pragmatic Hero: A good example of his attitude can be seen with Caster. Shirou wants to kill her immediately for the damage she causes, but Archer says he can kill her at any time but can't beat Berserker, so he'll just let her do that for him. He justifies this by saying that Ilya and Caster can't be trusted with the Grail so it's best to get them both.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Kanshou and Bakuya, his twin swords. As long as Archer holds one, the other will always return to his hands. This is their special abilities as Noble Phantasms, along with their Anti-Monster powers and Anti-Magic wards.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: To Rin. Eventually subverted in Unlimited Blade Works as he ends up betraying her to fulfill his own objective.
  • The Scapegoat: Archer was blamed for a war he had tried to stop, by one of the people he had personally saved no less. This ultimately led to his death.
  • Self-Made Man: Unlike the majority of Servants who are mostly Born Winners with ridiculous talents and block-destroying magical weaponry, Archer went from a normal human with nearly no magic talent to one of the single most dangerous servants one could ever summon.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: "Drown in your ideals and die!"
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In Heaven's Feel, he dies rather early and without having accomplished much, but without his arm that he gives to Shirou in his final moments the good guys would've been screwed several times later in the story.
  • Sour Supporter/Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: To Shirou, whenever they're forced to work together. He's not very fond of him, making it difficult to escape Caster's temple.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: In the prologue, Rin is impressed with him seemingly pulling a new pair of swords every time Lancer destroys them, as a Servant's weapon is supposed to be unique. It's easy for him to create weapons out of thin air.
  • Storm of Blades: While it's not his trademark, Archer is fully capable of this by invoking his Reality Marble.
  • Taking the Bullet: He takes one of The Shadow's tentacles through the midriff in Tohsaka's place, which makes it impossible for him to save both him and Tohsaka in time, opting to protect her instead of himself.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: He can fire infinite exploding arrows and Kanshou and Bakuya have a magical connection so that when thrown to the sides of an opponent they will loop in and chop them in half.
  • Tragic Hero: This is a guy whose original desire was to save everyone.
    Archer: Conflicts come into my view as long as I'm alive. It was endless. I didn't dream of a world without conflicts. I just wanted people in my view to not cry.
  • Trick Arrow: He uses various legendary swords (that EXPLODE) as arrows.
  • True Neutral: In-universe alignment, a reflection of his good goals and bad methods and of his nature as a servant of the Beast of Alaya, whose sole purpose is to keep humanity in a stable state.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Of the kinked type. He and Shirou are the only characters drawn with such eyebrows, which is actually a rather subtle hint of his true identity.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He wasn't always so sarcastic and harsh but instead rather straightforward and honest.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Archer has none of the superhuman abilities that heroes like Saber or Lancer possess in life. Leaving him with mediocre strength, average speed and no outstanding abilities. On the other hand, he's quite analytical and good enough that he can at least hold up temporarily against Lancer or Assassin.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: His white hair and cynical Anti-Hero nature qualify him for this trope. Further, his actions and intent, in the Unlimited Blade Works arc grant him Anti-Villain status.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Archer switches to Caster's side in Unlimited Blade Works in order to get out from under Tohsaka's Command Seal. The moment Caster's guard against him is down, he impales her.

    Lancer (Cu Chulainn) 

Voiced by: Nobutoshi Canna (JP), Tony Oliver (EN)

"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.
    • Because of his Master's orders, Lancer is never able to use his full fighting capabilities in any first confrontation with a Servant. But even with that making him weaker, he holds his own against Saber, almost defeats Archer in the prologue, and holds off Gilgamesh for half a day in Fate. One battle where Lancer is able to go all out is his second fight against Archer, and the narration makes it very clear that the only reason Archer is able to survive Lancer's strikes is because he already faced Lancer once.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: Is probably the kindest and most amicable servant besides Saber.
  • 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.
  • Rasputinian Death: In life was so notoriously hard to kill that his enemies had to resort to Loophole Abuse to get it done, so it's no surprise that his death in Unlimited Blade Works not only takes a while but gets him the last laugh over Kirei.
  • 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.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Rin/Shirou, in a sense. Despite his flirting with her, he respects Shirou's protectiveness of Rin. When she states that they aren't a couple, he tells her that they already act like one.
  • 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 Plot Armor. 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

    Rider 

Voiced by: Yuu Asakawa (JP), Karen Strassman (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Movie), Melissa Fahn (EN 2015 Anime)

"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.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: While Rider is of questionable humanity and both enjoys and is empowered by sucking blood, vampires are actually something different.
  • Animal Motifs: Rider gets motifs for both horses for her ability to summon Pegasus and snakes as befits her real identity of Medusa.
  • Anti-Magic: Rider has innate magic resistance as part of her class, although it's not quite Saber's level. Caster gets around this by having Kuzuki kill her in the route the two come to blows.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Shirou thinks her voice is incredibly beautiful.
  • The Beastmaster: As a nature spirit her Noble Phantasm the "Bellerophon bridle" has the ability to summon some types of beasts to aid her and is capable of riding them. In Fate she summons a massive Pegasus that is nearly as powerful as a dragon like it was nothing.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Her blindfold is stated in the Status sheets to seal all properties of her eyes, including vision, so she relies on her other senses for everything. It works well enough that her blindness isn't noticeable at all.
  • Blood Magic: She can use her blood as a material component in a Noble Phantasm called Blood Fort Andromeda, which dissolves its victim into a slurry that Rider can then absorb as Mana.
  • Boobs of Steel: She has the largest bust of any female servant and is the physically strongest female servant, even if she can't match Saber in close combat.
  • Broken Bird: Her backstory. She was teased by her sisters for being mortal unlike them, and because Athena sent her followers to attack them, she turned into a man-eating monster that devoured them. At the time of her death, she reminisced that they did actually love one another and accepted she misses her time with them. One of the reasons she is so sympathetic to Sakura is because she is so broken too.
  • Cain and Abel: In her backstory, she was constantly bullied by her sisters and devoured them after she turned into a monster. As she died, Rider realized that she did love them, and would later consider their time together as her fondest memories.
  • Chain of Command: Wears a leather collar on her neck as part of her standard battle costume.
  • Chain Pain: Her standard weapon is a nail attached to a long chain.
  • Chaotic Good: In-universe alignment, which is most likely a holdover from her Fate/Prototype basis.
  • Dark Action Girl: She embraces this image. She wears a black outfit, can be rather ruthless and being a chosen hero means she's more than competent in fighting. The only thing preventing her from showing how Badass she is was Shinji's uselessness as a master.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Her appearance and abilities based in blood and darkness just scream dark creature and is not helped by her vampiric traits, but once you get to know her, she's really not that bad.
  • Deadly Gaze: Cybele, the Mystic Eyes of Petrification, which will leave you Taken for Granite.
  • Detached Sleeves: Another part of her standard battle costume. Her sleeves are tight.
  • Dropped A Bridge On Her: In Unlimited Blade Works Rider dies anticlimactically off-screen against Caster and her Master.
  • Facial Markings: She has some sort of rune on her forehead.
  • Friendly Enemy: The only times she is hostile is when Shinji orders her to be. When she escorted Shirou out of the Matou Household she was surprisingly friendly. In the beginning of Unlimited Blade Works she compliments Shirou on his bravery in contrast to the cowardly Shinji.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When she takes the blinders off, her eyes have a strange glowing quality. Shirou describes them as too beautiful for any human to posses, and could either be art the gods admired or a nature they cursed.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Her true identity is that of Medusa, the infamous gorgon of Greek myth. The original myths describe Medusa as looking hideous with snakes as her hair, but contrary to that, Rider has beautiful flowing hair and is even described as gorgeous in the game. This could actually be a reference to mythology on how she used to be a beautiful maiden but was later turned into a monster. She actually has a skill known as Monstrous Strength that cause her to revert to the more familiar Gorgon monster.
    Rin: To be blunt, she's really gorgeous. When a woman calls another woman gorgeous, you know it's true.
  • Hellish Pupils: Rider has unusual, square-shaped pupils that are used to identify her Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: In Heaven's Feel she's revealed as being conscious of her height.
  • Image Song: "Shunji no Uzu" ("Instant Vortex")
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: In one Bad End, she outright tells Shirou that she'll have an orgasm if she doesn't kill him off soon, because of his screams.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: She does this because of Shinji's inability to provide her with mana. One Bad End in Unlimited Blade Works has her sucking the blood on Shirou's neck.
  • Licking the Blade
  • Magic Skirt: Extremely agile, jumping from wall to wall and across buildings with her skirt apparently glued to her thighs.
  • Meganekko: In her casual clothes.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: She wears a very short one-piece dress that doesn't restrict her from doing all kinds of crazy acrobatic stunts.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The most scantily clad Rapunzel Hair Statuesque Stunner lady in the visual novel.
  • Noble Demon: She describes herself in rather monstrous terms and can back it up, but she's disgusted by the likes of Shinji and isn't pointlessly cruel.
  • Poisonous Friend: While more or less a good person, Sakura, her true Master, is by far her top priority. In general she's quite willing to do essentially anything for Sakura whether she wants her to or not. Drink blood, kill Shirou, put up with Shinji...
  • Power Limiter: Her blindfold, the Breaker Gorgon Noble Phantasm, which prevents her from using her Glowing Eyes of Doom. Later on, she gets a pair of glasses similar to Shiki's, the same ones fashioned by Touko Aozaki, so she can have a more public appearance.
  • The Quiet One: She keeps quiet around Shinji, but some awkward situations in her more casual moments during Heaven's Feel suggest she generally doesn't talk much.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Of the greatest level. It easily goes down to her ankles, yet does nothing to limit her fighting abilities.
  • Restraining Bolt: Shinji would have died a long time ago if it hadn't been for his possession of the Book of False Attendant, which Sakura gave him to allow him to command Rider.
  • Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank E-; she originally had a higher rank, but having been turned into a demonic beast, Rider's divinity was reduced to E-.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: In her backstory. Because she and her sisters were born out of mankind's wishes for perfect gods, their beauty earned them the ire of Athena, who sent her followers to attack them. She ended up becoming a monster out of her resentment for what humans did to them.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Quite literally considering her powers. By far the tallest female in the game and described as beautiful.
  • The Stoic: Rider's facial expression rarely changes even in the face of danger or Shinji's threats.
  • Stripperiffic: A short black dress with cutoff black and magenta armor on the legs. The total amount of raw flesh exposed is actually fairly low, but clearly designed more with fanservice in mind than combat.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: She's actually both a loyal and kind person but she does not look it. The first impression Shirou has of her is that she reeks of blood, but not necessarily in a bad way.
  • Super Strength: She typically doesn't use it, though, favoring her agility. Reason being that if she overdoes it she might revert into a monster.
  • Taken for Granite: As Medusa, anyone she looks at will be turned to stone. One bad end has Shirou charge at her with his eyes closed, but he still turns to stone.
  • Thigh-High Boots: Yet another part of her appearance that would normally be inconvenient for a fighter, but hey, fanservice.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After two first routes getting touted as the weakest Servant due to Shinji and always being the first to be eliminated, Heaven's Feel shows the extent of her power if not being held back by Shinji and lets her survive the whole storyline, Epilogue included.
  • Tragic Monster: Her backstory, as per Greek mythology. Cursed by the gods for being raped.
  • Weapon of Choice: A pair of giant nails chained together and wielded like daggers. They can also become invisible, allowing Rider to trap people with the chain.
  • Woman in Black: Her black dress and boots give her an ominous appearance, and Shirou's first impression is that she looks like a miko covered in blood.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, she is weakened by Shinji's inability to provide her a reliable source of Prana. In Heaven's Feel where she is Sakura's servant, she becomes far more powerful and able to defeat True Assassin and briefly hold back Saber Alter.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Like most Nasuverse characters with odd hair colors it's a good indication that she's not exactly human.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: In her battle getup, her boots reach very high on her thighs. Casual attire is usually jeans.

    Berserker (Heracles) 

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 a boost to his 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.
  • The Ace: He can fulfill the role of any of the seven Classes except Caster. Despite the Berserker class being arguably his weakest class, he's still a Made of Iron Lightning Bruiser who's better at dealing with the effects of his mad state than most heroes would be. Again, he's friggin Heracles.
  • Adaptational Badass: Unlike his usual showing as Unskilled, but Strong, he's shown to be fully capable of dodging, parrying and otherwise fighting beyond Attack! Attack! Attack! in the Unlimted Blade Works anime.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Once again, courtesy of the the UBW anime, he's much less Gonk, looking more like a extremely wild-haired Barbarian Hero than the "Borderline rock man" from the original.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Yet again in the same anime, he's shown to be much less Nigh Invulnerable, and both his strength, speed and sheer endurance even ignoring his Noble Phantasm have been decreased to the point where Saber, who in the Visual Novel can't last more than a minute or two against him, can take him head-on. although that's more a result of Saber being multiple levels more badass than Berserker being less so.
  • 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 incredibly skilled with every weapon 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, and his natural instinct in the form of his Eye of the Mind still functions through the cloud of madness in his mind.
  • Back from the Dead: God Hand grants him twelve extra lives, though powerful enough attacks could take more than one life at once.
  • Badass: As is appropriate of Herakles. He's so badass that Archer reasons he might be able to take out the rest of the combatants in the war at the same time. Even though he is often using as a sandbag to display a new character's or Noble Phantasm's power, he gets to show off just how supreme he is on several occasions.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Naturally, as the inventor of Pankration, he is a supreme martial artist that is said to be the greatest Servant of all in hand-to-hand combat if he was sane. While he can still use a bit of it as seen in the UBW anime, he doesn't make more of it due to him becoming a Berserker.
  • 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. Nasu clarifies that he would indeed maintain the same size under other classes, but his muscles would be a bit softer and his face would look less bestial.
  • Heroic Willpower: Can outright No Sell Command Spells if he does not want to obey the order. In the anime, he outright survives death 13 times trying to defend Illya from Gilgamesh, despite God Hand only giving him 11 extra lives.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Extreme height difference between him and his Master, Ilya. Berserker towers one-point-two meters over Ilya, and is about 5 times as broad.
    • For those of you who don't use metric here's some math; Berserker's height is listed at 253cm (8ft 3in), Illya's is 133cm (4ft 4in). Weight wise, Berserker is 311kg (685lb 10.203oz), Illya is 34kg (74lb 15.315oz). Yes, he is about four feet taller than his master and nine times heavier than her.
  • 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. Retconned in later Realta Nua edition. Instead of negating actual stat buff, Ilya simply controlled him to the extent, and only during last battle, which conveniently happens in uninhabited forest, she finally allows him to cut loose. This actually makes much more sense, since Berserker's boosted statistics is clearly visible through Master's Stat-O-Vision even on their very first encounter.
  • Implacable Man: He's Nigh Invulnerable and even if you could kill him he'll just get back up again. Twelve times.
  • It Can Think: Averted. He can only project simple surface thoughts that Illya can understand, and he has lost his swordsmanship that could rival even Assassin's. However, the game makes repeated statements that with enough strength and agility, one can replicate things that would require incredible skill unintentionally, and combined with his still-remaining combat instincts, he can truly come across as still possessing his martial skill.
  • Irony: Word of God has stated that Heracles could make the most effective use of his Noble Phantasms if he was in the Archer class, but he was designated to the hand-to-hand, in-your-face Berserker class.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his hulking size that towers a good meter above all other characters, he completely avoids the Mighty Glacier trope and displays both speed, strength and toughness greatly superior to any other Servant. Not for nothing is Herakles considered one of the most powerful Heroic Spirits of all even when summoned in what might be his weakest Class.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Only the best weapons/attacks can hurt him at all and he gains incredible resistance to anything that has already hurt him.
  • 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.
  • Undying Loyalty: Utterly protective of Illya even though she initially hated him, and is called a Servant completely satisfied with his Master by Archer. Even when prompted by Gilgamesh and told by him that he only stands a chance if he stops protecting Illya, Berserker stands his ground and defends her to the end, even managing to break out of Enkidu in the process despite it being seemingly impossible.
  • 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. Interestingly, he is said to have completely inhuman levels of skill with all weapons if he was sane, far surpassing even Saber, but naturally, this is never shown.
  • The Worf Effect: He's a monstrously powerful Servant that takes a combined effort from Archer, Rin, Saber, and Shirou to defeat in the Fate route. In the other routes he falls to prove how dangerous Gilgamesh and the Shadow/Saber Alter are.

    Caster 

Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka (JP), Tara Platt (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Movie), Megan Hollingshead (EN 2015 Anime)

Caster with hood
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.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the UBW anime she's shown to have a compassionate side as she destroyed the facility of her former master due to him using slave kids as sacrifices in a rather crass manner to generate mana gems without remorse.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While her character is aligned to Neutral Evil, using children as cattle to create prana gems is something she would never lower herself to do, unlike her first master.
  • 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.
  • Flight: One of her spells and a central part of her skill in running away.
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Archer notes she is particularly skilled in running away.
  • 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.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The whole "killing her kids to spite her unfaithful husband" thing didn't happen in this universe, and every other evil thing she did was the result of having been driven mad with a love forced upon her by Aphrodite. In the modern day when presented with her original master's means of producing powerful magic gemstones, she calmly gives him an alternative that requires no killing. When he doesn't listen, she destroys the entire sacrificial chamber and kills the staff, but lets the would-be human sacrifices go unharmed.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair

    Assassin ("Sasaki Kojirō") 

Voiced by: Shinichiro Miki (JP), David Vincent (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Movie), Todd Haberkorn (EN 2015 Anime)

"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 refereed to as such.

Assassin is very different from normal Servants, and as such doesn't really have a Noble Phantasm. The closest thing that could be called his Noble Phantasm is Monohoshi Zao (lit. The Laundry-Drying Pole, a derogatory nickname that almost literally means "Really damn long sword"), a simple nodachi.
  • Affably Evil: Even if he's somewhat snarky, he's always polite and has respect for his opponent.
    • Taken almost to extremes when he openly introduces himself to Saber (revealing your identity often lets opponents gain an advantage just by knowing what your history was) and when Saber realizes she's forced to reply due to knightly honor he stops her from doing so affirming that he only did it as a courtesy, not as a way to influence the fight.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: Pulls this twice on Archer in rapid succession during UBW. First, Assassin tells him that since he told Saber and Shirou to leave, he won't let Archer stop them from doing so. Second, he reminds Archer that as the protector of the gate, he won't let anyone enter or exit, attacking him.
  • 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 chooses to block an attack instead of parrying, as his opponent had other things she needed to be doing.
  • 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.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: According to the Character Materials he fought Berserker to a stand still. The same Berserker he's physically incapable of hurting, which according to Nasu is proof that "Whoa, Koujiro's amazing."
  • 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 still has far above human strength or agility, but all that actually makes him a threat is his inhuman skill.
  • 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.

     Other Archer (Gilgamesh) 

Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (JP), Grant George (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Movie), David Vincent (EN 2015 Anime)

"'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. 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 key-shaped sword that opens the way to the storehouse he possessed during his life, containing the idealized wishes of humanity in the form of the originals of all Noble Phantasms that he collected in his lifetime as the king of Babylon, though it also contains an "Original" of any concept created since his lifetime, since as the First Hero, all originals must have belonged to him, no matter if it is a paradox. 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.
  • Adaptational Heroism/Adaptational Intelligence: Due to Nasu having since the original Visual Novel heavily expanded on Gilgamesh's more heroic and wise side, much of his dialogue for the Ufotable anime has been rewritten, making him come off as much more of a Genius Bruiser and generally more respecting and respectable person overall, while still keeping some of his characteristic vitriol.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Gilgamesh expresses admiration towards Angra Mainyu, wanting to unleash it so that it will purge the world of those unworthy of his reign.
  • Amazon Chaser: Subverted; at first it seems his attraction to Saber is because he considers her a strong and Worthy Opponent, but it later becomes clear that he views Saber as nothing more than an object that he'd have absolute power over if he could have her.
  • 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. 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. CCC reveals that the armor possesses Magic Resistance equal or superior to that of Saber's and makes him immune to petrification, which the Humbaba he battled in life utilized.
  • 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: A matter of perspective. Gilgamesh is entirely sane, but he treats humans of the modern era as more worthless than dirt and enjoys violence a great deal.
  • Badass: The very concept of a "Hero" was born with Gilgamesh, and through his actions during his life, the catalyst to the beginning of the Age of Man and the slow decline of the Gods came to be. The title "King of Heroes" did not come easy, and it shows.
  • Badass Armfold: Natch.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Delivers a surprisingly direct one, considering his ego, when Saber and Shirou figure out his name.
      Gilgamesh: 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.
      Gilgamesh: 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.
  • Blood Knight: He greatly enjoys combat, but because everyone else is far weaker than him, he often ends up either angry or disappointed that his opponent doesn't prove more of a challenge.
  • Boom, Headshot: In the Unlimited Blade Works Route he dies when Archer puts an arrow through his head as Gilgamesh tried to pull himself out of the Grail using Shirou as a counterweight.
  • Born Winner: He's the richest king and the strongest Heroic Spirit, leaving everyone else, human or Servant, really far below him.
  • Breakout Character: Having first featured in Stay Night as an antagonist with a rather minor role in two of the routes, Gilgamesh has since appeared as a major antagonist in Fate/Zero, as one of the four playable Servants in Fate/Extra CCC and as one of the Servants in Fate/Strange Fake, as well as other minor features.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Or rather, brilliant but arrogant. He has the potential to win pretty much any Holy Grail War he's summoned into in a blink of an eye (not to mention crush any individual opponent, or combination of them, for that matter), but is just so absurdly proud and lazy that he always ends up dooming himself by not using as much power as he could, or as efficiently, when he needs to. An appropriate metaphor would be that Gilgamesh possesses the firepower of an artillery battery, which he obviously wouldn't use against a swarm of ants, leaving him off-guard when the ants occasionally come across a way to defeat him while he's trying to manually step on them.
  • 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. Nasu clarifies that he is the kind of hero who does immeasurable amounts of good, but also does a lesser amount of evil and the good is only exercised on his terms. Gilgamesh explains in CCC that his behavior is influenced by the era he is summoned in, and claims the modern world would frustrate him greatly because of their defilement of his "garden".
  • 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.
  • Cool Starship: His Vimana is incredibly fast, is steered by mental commands, can turn invisible and has a Deflector Shield. It's also armed with numerous weapon systems (including "machine guns and nuclear missiles"), but using any of those is, of course, beneath Gilgamesh and he'd rather just throw swords out of the Gate of Babylon while flying it. It's telling that what would almost certainly be the main gimmick of any other character is nothing but a tiny note on Gilgamesh' impossibly long list of legendary possessions. Gilgamesh reveals another flying ship invented by humans of the far future in CCC capable of crossing the entire universe in nine seconds.
  • 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.
    • Attaining a physical body from Angra Mainyu comes back to bite him when it attempts to use him as a host in Unlimited Blade Works, destroying them both.
  • Death Glare: If looks could kill, Gil's angry eyes would be a nuclear weapon.
  • Determinator: After losing an arm to Shirou and being sucked into a black hole courtesy of the Grail, Gil seems at most mildly fazed before he begins to simply pull himself out with Shirou as an anchor, and even the following knife to the head from Archer did little more than distract him long enough to get consumed entirely.
  • 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 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 confidence 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 he 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 Bruiser: Shows an extremely high level of intellect when he doesn't feel the need to rub his giant ego all over people's faces. in Fate/EXTRA he demonstrates this by annihilating an inhumanly smart Homunculus in a game of chess, and repeatedly seeing through other's character and flaws with simple observations.
  • 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.
    Gilgamesh: 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. Word of God is that his time spent living among the humans of the modern age has made him more irritable.
  • 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 in Heaven's Feel, 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. His ordinary firepower is compared to that of five Servants, so whenever this happens not to be enough to utterly decimate anything in his way, he can be caught off guard.
  • 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.
  • Kill All Humans: Gilgamesh's plan invokes this. He wants to unleash Angra Mainyu so that it will exterminate all but the strongest humans, who he will reign over. He doesn't have a problem if none survive, since that would mean they were unworthy of his glorious rule.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: Dark Glow, a sinister and foreboding melody with a clear Middle Eastern-ish flavor, in the anime adaptation of UBW.
  • 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 the very concept of a "Hero" was born with 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.
  • 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, which usually is overshadowed by his extreme self-confidence.
  • 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.
    Gilgamesh: 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 is completely overpowered by it even when Gilgamesh is simply playing around. 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 all Noble Phantasms and items that have been comprehended by mankind 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 infinite weapons he can launch like missiles, a chain that can bind gods, and a sword that can literally turn the world into a scorched rock, Gilgamesh is the most powerful person in the VN 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-Sabbah) 

Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (JP)

"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.

    Angra Mainyu 

A malevolent entity whose very existence has enormous repercussions for all three routes, and as such is a Walking Spoiler.

  • The Corruption: The black sludge it produces contaminates the souls of anything it touches, giving Servants a physical body and limitless prana but turning them evil, a process referred to as "blackening". It's how Saber is transformed into Saber Alter in "Heaven's Feel. Gilgamesh partially resists being blackened in Fate/Zero, attaining a physical body but not being driven insane due to his ego.
  • Curse: Its hatred is so powerful it manifests as a cursed black ooze that corrupts and destroys everything it comes into contact with.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In the 2013 Fate/Zero anime and the 2014 Unlimited Blade Works anime, it appears to Kiritsugu and Illyasviel as a hallucination in the form of Irisviel.
  • Demonic Possession: In Heaven's Feel, it forms a Master-Servant pact with Sakura Matou and takes over her while she sleeps, manifesting as the Shadow. When she accepts her bond with it, Angra Mainyu fully corrupts her into its avatar, Dark Sakura.
  • Devour the Dragon: In Unlimited Blade Works, it attempts to use Gilgamesh as a host. This attempt backfires and it ends up eating him instead.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It is an immeasurably powerful supernatural entity that desires nothing less than to be reborn and destroy humanity, and either corrupts or destroys everything it comes into contact with. In the 2014 Unlimited Blade Works anime it imperfectly manifests as a massive humanoid torso with two glowing red slit-shaped openings, one in its chest and one in its head; and in the Heaven's Feel route it partially manifests as the Shadow using Sakura as a host.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Its name was completely erased from the annals of history. Even "Angra Mainyu" isn't its real name, and most simply refer to it as the Greater Grail.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Despite partially manifesting in all three routes, Angra Mainyu remains inside the Greater Grail until Fate/hollow ataraxia, where it is expelled and reverted back to being Avenger.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In the distant past, it had no supernatural powers at all. The reason being that it was an ordinary man chosen to be scapegoat for every evil in the world and brutally tortured until he was driven insane and eventually died. Even when summoned in the Third Grail War as Avenger he wasn't a true Heroic Spirit and had no Noble Phantasm. It wasn't until his soul was taken into the Greater Grail that his people's wish for him to become the embodiment of All the World's Evil was granted and he was transfigured into an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Hate Plague: It enflames the negative emotions of those who are connected to it, corrupting them.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: While the Greater Grail itself technically had no will of its own, Angra Mainyu took over and corrupted it.
  • Kill All Humans: It's tied with Primate Murder for second place in the "Entity best suited for wiping out humanity" contest. Furthermore, any wish it grants is twisted to result in death and destruction.
  • Jerkass Genie: One of the walking spoilers is that Angra Mainyu has taken over the Greater Grail. While the Grail system is still capable of granting the wishes of whoever touches it, it only does so in a way that ensures mass destruction and death.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Its black ichor can set things on fire. It's what caused the Fuyuki Fire.
  • Outside-Context Villain: It is the driving force behind the actions of many of the antagonists.
  • Made of Evil: It is literally the incarnation of All the World's Evil.
  • Mind Rape: Those who are blackened by its ichor are overwhelmed and corrupted by its raw hatred and turned evil.
  • Muck Monster: Its primary manifestation is as a cursed black ichor that corrupts or destroys whatever it touches.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Its essence is sealed away, and it seeks to be reborn to destroy humanity. Said can is the Greater Grail, which it has corrupted and taken over.
  • Walking Spoiler: Due to its nature as the entire saga's Outside-Context Villain.
  • Was Once a Man: One of the most shocking revelations about it is that it used to be human. Specifically, it used to be a literally nameless man living in the 5th Century who was scapegoated as the incarnation of all the evils in the world and tortured until he went insane with hatred. After he died he became an evil Heroic Spirit and was summoned as Avenger during the Third Holy Grail War, but upon his defeat his soul took over the Greater Grail and was transfigured into the embodiment of All the World's Evil.

    The Shadow 

"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.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Is nearly devoured itself when it attacks Gilgamesh in Heaven's Feel. This is why you don't see Gilgamesh corrupted: The Shadow had to break him down quickly instead of corrupting him.
  • The Assimilator: Can devour Servants and instead of breaking them down turn it into its own defenders.
  • 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. It is an imperfect manifestation of Angra Mainyu, which 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: It corrupts the already fragile psyche and emotions of its host. [[spoiler Said host is Sakura, ultimately causing her to consciously accept the corruption after killing her brother in self-defence, turning her into Dark Sakura and gaining conscious control of its immense power at the cost of her sanity.]]
  • Demonic Possession: It is the result of Angra Mainyu possessing Sakura Matou through the shards of the Grail in her body, initially taking over her while she sleeps and gaining increasing amounts of influence over her. Consciously accepting All the World's Evil causes her to transform into Dark Sakura.
  • The Dreaded: Nobody tries to fight the Shadow. It's just too alien and strange.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It is an incomplete manifestation of Angra Mainyu, who was once summoned as the evil Heroic Spirit Avenger but has since become the embodiment of All the World's Evil and is the being corrupting the Greater Grail, using Sakura Matou's body as a medium.
  • 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 with Sakura, eventually becomes the 'embryo' of Angra Mainyu, the source of 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: It can manifest itself from its host's shadow.
  • Made of Evil: It is a manifestation of All The World's Evil.
  • 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, Angra Mainyu/Avenger, and the tower is the fully manifested Greater Grail, corrupted by Angra Mainyu.