"Even if I am to carry 'all the evils of this world', it won't matter. If that can save the world, then I'd gladly accept it."
Kiritsugu is the protagonist of Fate Zero and an infamous mercenary known as the Magus Killer. Despite his brutal methods, he actually has the best intentions of mankind as a whole at heart and enters into conflicts with the intention of ending them as quickly as possible before they can escalate. He stands far on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism due to his belief that it is impossible for everyone in the world to be happy; in order to be a true hero, one must eliminate the destructive factors which would in turn threaten the survival of humanity as a whole. Killing one to save a hundred, dozens to save thousands.Because he finds his normal methods insufficient due to the matter of scale, he chose to work for the Einzbern family, who allowed him to marry into the family. Ten years later, the Fourth Grail War begins and he and his wife Irisviel leave their daughter Ilya behind in order to hopefully use the omnipotent wish granting abilities of the Grail to bring true peace. He is the Master of Saber, but the pair are so incompatible that they never speak to each other, leaving Saber to work with Irisviel instead while Kiritsugu operates behind the scenes.
Anti-Hero: Kiritsugu is The Unfettered and willing to kill the few to save the many. Even if they are completely innocent or tragic.
Badass: Kiritsugu was personally trained by one of the greatest hitmen in the world, will go to any lengths to win and is also a genius Magus. He is arguably the single most dangerous human combatant in the war.
Break the Badass: He experiences a number of fairly major breakdowns over the course of the story, even though he's already a hardened killer:
He briefly breaks down in front of Irisviel and proposes that the both of them just take Ilya and run away from it all.
He broke down after he was forced to blow up the plane on which Natalia was trapped.
Finally, his most major breakdown was in the aftermath of his battle with Kotomine, the only reason he was still able to (barely) hold on to his sanity afterwards was because he found a young Shirou, still alive amidst all the death and destruction.
Batman Gambit: He defeats Kayneth by utilizing a strategy that hinges on him accurately predicting the ways Kayneth would try to counter his attacks, and changing up said attacks accordingly.
Boring but Practical: Kiritsugu doesn't use fancy magic attacks or familiars to win fights. Instead he uses tradtional tactics such as traps, conventional weapons and explosives. Considering most mages don't anticipate this, it works out fairly well.
Break the Cutie: His backstory, revealed in Volume 4, involves watching his childhood friend turn his entire village into zombies after she drank a potion which turned her into a failed Dead Apostle, since he couldn't give her a Mercy Kill. To prevent future damages, he killed his own father for making the potion in the first place so that he could not do it again. Later, he took down a plane with his mentor and mother-figure on it after they attempt to stop an outbreak of vampirism on said plane.
Broken Bird: He actually invokes this one on himself. He feels the full range of normal emotions, but he intentionally kills them off so that he can treat himself like a tool.
Bullet Time: Through an extension of the Emiya magecraft called 'Innate Time Control', he can internally affect time. He once uses it to avoid Kayneth's autonomous search-and-destroy weapon by slowing down his bodily functions.
Byronic Hero: Kiritsugu has strong ideals, but pursuing them kills his inner identity. In the end, he's shown that his life was a waste and that he sacrificed his family for nothing, causing him to break down.
His choices did help set events in motion to prevent the Grail from destroying the world, as others could have made a wish and screwed over the world had he not entered. He also saved Shirou, who can destroy the Grail in Fate/Stay Night.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Despite being in his late 30's and far physically inferior to Kirei, he is still able to backflip three meters into the air while throwing a rather large knife with pinpoint accuracy into's Kirei's leg.
Cold Sniper: Played realistically in that Kiritsugu temporarily shuts off his emotions to achieve this talent.
Combat Pragmatist: Kiritsugu despises the glorification of war so he ends all conflicts as quickly and brutally as possible to ensure that they do not repeat.
An example is his fight with Kayneth. Kayneth mistakes his use of conventional weapons as a sign that he has no magic or abilities. In truth, it leads him into a trap Kiritsugu sets by using his Origin Bullets.
Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The protagonist of Fate/stay night, Shirou Emiya, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is dragged into the 5th Holy Grail War with no knowledge of how it works and very little talent as a magus. In Fate/zero, his adoptive father Kiritsugu Emiya is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who willingly enters the 4th Holy Grail War knowing full well what he's getting into, and he already has a reputation as the "Magus Killer".
Coup de Grâce: His Origin Bullets, made from his ribs. This actualizes his Origin of Severing and Binding, turning a magus' own magic circuits against them.
Cynicism Catalyst: His inability to Shoot the Dog when he was a child haunts him. His inability to kill Shirley while he still could forced him into the conclusion that the most lives are saved with brutal pragmatism and not soft feelings.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Use of Time Alter causes significant damage to Kiritsugu's body, especially when speeding him up, thus he is unable to go beyond a twofold speed boost. However, with Avalon and its passive regeneration factor he was able to go three, and then four times faster, in his fight with Kotomine.
Dark Messiah: Kiritsugu in his Magus-killing prime was described as appearing at battles around the world only at their most critical stages. Combined with Necessary Evil and I Did What I Had to Do, his modus operandi is exactly how Counter Guardians (the 'verse's resident Dark Messiahs) protect humanity from itself.
Despair Event Horizon: At the end of the novel his hopes for using the Grail to bring about a better world fall through when it turns out to be corrupted and he is forced to kill an illusion of Irisviel and Ilya with his own hands and then destroy the Grail he sacrificed the real versions of them for. When he's finally done that, he saves Shirou and becomes a broken man who can no longer believe in his childhood dream until his dying moments with Shirou.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Kiritsugu kills off his emotions, leaving his eyes almost perpetually flat and blank looking as a visual cue.
Dungeon Bypass: In order to get to Kayneth through his multi-layered magic fortress, Kiritsugu has Maiya rig the building with explosives, thus rendering all of Kayneth's careful preparations useless.
Fatal Flaw: Kiritsugu is too idealistic and yet unable to see a way to bring about the world he desires, causing him to slowly break down over time until the end of the Grail War, at which point he breaks entirely.
Fights Like a Normal: His primary fighting abilities tend to revolve around the use of normal human technology like high powered weaponry in place of offensive magecraft, cameras in place of easily tricked familiars and exploiting the mental blindspots of his opponents. The largest one, of course, is that most of his opponents do not expect to have to deal with human weaponry. He does perform some magecraft such as Innate Time Control, using the Origin Bullet, or giving himself Innate Night Vision, however.
Flash Step: His Time Alter magic allows him to move at faster-than-the-eye speeds for short bursts.
Geas: He uses a self-geis scroll to bind himself from attacking Kayneth as part of a contract to remove both Kayneth and Sola-Ui from the war. Of course, it doesn't say anything about someone else attacking Kayneth.
The Gunslinger: Kiritsugu prefers to use simple, direct methods like guns to any flashy like magecraft. He in fact defines himself as a magecraft user because he does not follow the practices of a magus.
Hand Cannon: His Thompson Contender is an handgun chambered to fire rifle rounds. Full powered rifle rounds.
Healing Factor: Takes back Avalon from Irisviel, which allows him to use Time Alter: Triple and Square Accel without wrecking his body from the inside out.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Kiri's signature Origin Bullets. They cut a magus' circuits and heal them in the worst way possible. They do more damage the more od the magus is using when they're shot. So he first shoots a normal bullet so that will make them pump up their defenses, and then he shoots the Origin Bullet.
Japanese Pronouns: Uses "boku", a pronoun used to denote an innocent and non-threatening young boy. This indicates that he is immature in some ways, like how he relentlessly pursues his dream of saving people that he first had as a child but never outgrew.
Jedi Mind Trick: He is capable of convincing a bellboy that he is Kayneth and that "he" and "his wife" Sola-Ui have evacuated said bellboy's building.
Jerkass Façade: On the outside he's a cold and stoic hitman, on the inside he's a loving father and husband.
Kick the Dog: Kiritsugu paints himself as Necessarily Evil, and while it is true that a lot of the horribly things he's done were necessary in order to win and further his goal of saving the world, he'd often do something that was completely unnecessary and motivated by what could only be cruelty and spite, such as having Maiya kill Kayneth, who was no longer a threat and who only wanted to go home with his fiancee, and when Kayneth survived, if only barely, Kiritsugu didn't even have Maiya shoot him again to put him out of his misery. He was content to simply watch as the man bled out in horrible pain and despair. Sure, War Is Hell, and enemies need to killed as quickly as ruthlessly as possible, but to do the same to defeated and helpless enemies is just pointless cruelty.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: However, the impact of his crueler actions is often diminished by the fact that his targets are kind of assholes.
Kill the Ones You Love: He was forced to kill his mentor and mother figure to stop her from unleashing zombies into a major city.
Necessarily Evil: To put it simply, his ideal is "Save a ton of people by killing a couple of other people". The Grail twists this at the very end by forcing him to choose between two groups and having him always pick the group with more people until there are only two people left out of five hundred, at which point he realizes that the Grail is hopelessly corrupt and cannot grant the wish he wants it to. Needless to say, finding out that due to the Grail's corruption, the evils he's committed won't actually accomplish anything does not make him terribly happy.
The Needs of the Many: His main principle in saving people—"kill one to save tens", "kill ten to save hundreds". The Grail twists this at the very end by forcing him to choose between two groups and having him always pick the group with more people until he realizes that the Grail is hopelessly corrupt.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: His most lethal bullets are made out of powdered ribs. His own powdered ribs, which force his Origin on his target, which severs their Magic Circuits and crudely reconnects them, hopelessly mangling them in the process. The reason they qualify for this trope is that he made them while he was still a child.
Pragmatic Hero: An extreme example. Originally, he wanted to be "a hero of justice" who would help the weak and needed, but this led him to become an assassin capable of committing many atrocities in his belief that choosing the smaller sacrifice is always the best outcome.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Saber calls him out on his absolutely ruthless behavior, he retorts that the legends of heroic spirits like her are what have beguiled mankind into glorifying war and suffering for thousands of years.
Weak, but Skilled: His knowledge of magecraft is not really that impressive due to him specializing purely in killing other people. However, his killing skills are on the same level of a Executor and it's his usage of conventional skills that makes him such a threat.
"From the moment a magus is born, he is someone that has 'power'. And some day, he will achieve a 'greater power'. This responsibility was already flowing in his 'blood' before he realized this destiny. That is what it means to be born into this world as the child of a magus."
Tokiomi Tohsaka is the father of Rin and Sakura, the husband of Aoi and the head of the Tohsaka family. Of the three families that founded the Grail War system, he is the only one that is still pursuing the original goal of reaching the Origin. To give himself an advantage, he conspires with his close friend and Grail Overseer Risei to give himself an advantage of the war.Though he loves his daughters, he allowed his younger daughter Sakura to be adopted by the Matou family because he felt it would give her a better life, earning the hatred of Kariya Matou, who feels that Tokiomi has sold his own daughter to a monster. Tokiomi also works with Risei's son Kirei, who he has taken as his apprentice. Kirei is the Master of Assassin and uses them as an information network while Tokiomi uses the immensely powerful Archer class Servant Gilgamesh. The arrogant Gilgamesh is highly independent, making him very difficult for Tokiomi to control, but he does seem to accept Tokiomi as a subordinate that will occasionally be listened to.
Anti-Villain: Tokiomi is actually a rather decent person in his own way, though he is too blind to the damage that magus values can cause and not a very good judge of character. Pet the Dog below shows some good examples of how.
Arch-Enemy: Kariya utterly hates him because he believes that Tokiomi values his daughters being important more than them being happy. Tokiomi thinks that they are equivalent and in turn despises Kariya for quitting being a magus. Neither one actually understands the other.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Kariya brings out a massive swarm of giant insects. Tokiomi simply roasts them all as well as Kariya himself.
Death by Irony: One of his first actions in the War is ordering Kirei to stage an assassination attempt on him. Later on, he entrusts him with an Azoth Dagger. Kirei kills him with that same dagger shortly afterwards.
Didn't See That Coming: He is killed by his own apprentice, Kotomine, because he made the false assumption that his pupil was as loyal as he appeared. Otherwise, he would quite likely have won the war, though drawing Kiritsugu out into the open would have been difficult.
Doomed by Canon: It's mentioned early on in the prologue of Fate/stay night that he died while taking part in the 4th Holy Grail War, so it's only a matter of finding out how he dies.
Et Tu, Brute?: He appears very shocked when Kotomine stabs him In the Back. In the novel it was over before he knew what was going on.
Gentleman Wizard: Very much so. In the anime, he discusses the importance of fusing power and elegance.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Totally averted. He became such an outstanding magus through sheer determination and hard work.
Manipulative Bastard: He acts servile to Gilgamesh in an attempt to manipulate him. It works occasionally. Gilgamesh thinks he's pathetic, but since he knows his place he will occasionally deign to do as asked. However, since Gilgamesh has no true respect for him, he is quite likely to do whatever he pleases. It turns out that Tokiomi was planning to betray Gilgamesh, who had absolutely no idea. Had Kotomine not clued him in, it likely would have succeeded.
Pet the Dog: The story likes to show us that he is well meaning and simply misguided. His last meeting with Rin shows his true concern for her. He's also visibly upset when innocents are caught in magical accidents and along with Waver he is one of the only Masters that is shown to be visibly upset by the actions of Caster and Ryuunosuke.
"In the world of mages, bloodline is everything. The secrets of magic cannot be discovered in a single generation."
Kayneth is a renowned magus and lecturer at the Department of Euryphis in the Magi Association. Apart from this, Kayneth is the head of the noble El-Melloi family and engaged to the department head's daughter, Sola-Ui, though she is less than thrilled about the idea. He is Waver Velvet's teacher and tore his whose controversial thesis to pieces without examining the ideas it contained. In retaliation, Waver stole the catalyst that Kayneth intended to use in the war and entered himself. Upon discovering what Waver had done, an enraged Kayneth uses a second artifact to enter the War summoning the Lancer class Diarmuid.
Badass Bookworm: In sheer magical talent, Kayneth is far and away the single most powerful human magus in the Grail War. Sadly, his first opponent happens to have an extremely powerful countermeasure to such a trait.
Crazy-Prepared: There's no discernible reason he should have brought a gun all the way from Britain, yet he was shown in possession of a customizedWebley .38 Mk IV, a gun that he could have not procured anywhere else.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Kayneth is too selfish and/or paranoid, albeit not without reason, to believe that Lancer really does just want to serve with honor.
Evil Counterpart: His negative relation to Lancer, and the friction due to their beliefs, is much like a more antagonistic reflection of Shirou and Saber's relationship.
Green-Eyed Monster: Part of the friction between him and Lancer is that Sola-Ui doesn't even bother hiding her attraction to Lancer.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Kayneth sneers at modern muggle weaponry, but Kiritsugu's Mystic Code is a gun that shoots an anti-magus bullet that destroys the target by shorting out their magic circuits and blowing out their bodies with their own overloaded prana. When Kayneth, a powerful mage, pours all his power into his already-powerful Mystic Code, Kiritsugu's bullet nearly tears Kayneth apart from the backlash.
Hypocrite: Kayneth is a firm believer in the superiority of magecraft over modern weapons. He also carries a Webley .38 Mk IV, an extremely improbable gun to find in Japan. That said, his primary objection to modern weaponry seems to be their use in what he had expected to be a test of magical firepower.
Immune to Bullets: His Mystic Code automatically shields him from damage, even explosions.
Improbable Weapon User: Volumen Hydragyrum, his Mystic Code, is 140 kg of weaponized mercury. He can shape it according to his will, creating anything from Combat Tentacles to Razor Floss. He can even use it to scout out his environment, locating enemies through their heat signatures and vibration.
Insufferable Genius: He really is quite talented, but Kayneth's arrogant nature makes him rather unsympathetic for the majority of the war.
Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: He is praised by Tokiomi for how well he abides by the rules of the Holy Grail War... though his challenge to Kiritsugu for a proper duel doesn't end well for him.
Loophole Abuse: Kayneth modifies and exploits the contract system so that while he carries the Command Seals, Sola-Ui is the one supplying Lancer with the prana he needs. This allows Kayneth to fight at full strength without needing to worry about sharing his prana with his Servant.
Smug Snake: He's utterly convinced of his own invulnerability, and believes that his victory is nearly a foregone conclusion. If the War was actually a test of magic, he may well have been right. Of course, it's not.
Weapon of Choice: His Mystic Code, Volumen Hydragyrum, is a mass of weaponized mercury.
The Worf Effect: He's the most skilled Magus of all the Masters in the Holy Grail War, so he's the one that Kiritsugu beats several times by using his pragmatic and destructive methods, cementing his title as the Magus Killer.
"What I wish for is only to be judged equitably. To renew the impression of my colleagues at the Clock Tower, who never acknowledged my talent..."
Waver Velvet is a nontraditional student at the Clock Tower of the Magi Association. He developed a revolutionary concept on increasing magical potential with methods that go against the ancient tradition of bloodline inheritance, but due to the static nature of mage culture his teacher, Kayneth, simply ripped apart his manuscript and insulted it in front of the entire class. In retaliation, he steals Kayneth's summoning artifact and enters the War, intending to win the Grail to prove his own genius.While Waver is young and neither particularly strong nor talented, he tends to favor simple but effective methods that his enemies in the war frequently overlook. This along with his humility leads to Waver having the closest Master and Servant bond in the war with the mighty Iskhander of the Rider class.
Boring but Practical: His method to find Caster's hideout was practically something you'd see in a chemist's lab and is the basic of basics. Rider is pleased to see the spell actually work while Waver is gloomy that he couldn't think of anything flashier.
Butt Monkey: Waver gets to be the butt of a lot of jokes involving himself and Rider but this just leads to his growth as a character, making him the only good character to end up better off at the end of the war than before it. The All Around TYPE-MOON Drama CD really plays it up as well.
Character Development: Goes from a self-centered, obnoxious, arrogant brat to a true man, dignified and loyal follower of the great King of Conquerors that even Gilgamesh somehow considers worthy of living.
Cheaters Never Prosper: He's the only Master in the war who doesn't cheat at some point, and while he doesn't win, he makes it through the war alive, and is the only one of the surviving Masters who is better off at the end of the war than he was at the start.
Heroes Gone Fishing: An avid videogame player later in life. It was a pastime he took up in memory of his servant Iskander; see his own entry below.
Hero-Worshipper: In the end, facing Gilgamesh alone, Iskander asks if Waver would serve him. Without hesitating, he replies that he would. When Gilgamesh confronts him after defeating Iskander, he proudly replies that he's not Rider's Master, but his follower.
Hot Teacher: According to his profile as Lord El-Melloi II, "Professor Charisma" is apparently very popular with his female students: they even voted him the number one man they'd have sex with.
Humble Pie: Kayneth utterly humiliates him in public at the very start of the story. This prompts him to impulsively enter the Grail War to prove his worth and claim back his honor.
Humble Hero: He quickly grows less arrogant and bratty. Supplemental materials mention that he's outright annoyed with the prestige and popularity he's gained as Lord El-Melloi II after the War.
I Have Many Names: Waver acquires a large swath of titles and nicknames upon becoming a Clock Tower professor. Examples include Master V, Great Big Ben ★ Londonstar, Professor Charisma, and—most notably—Lord El-Melloi II.
Inferiority Superiority Complex: While Waver begins the series as quite arrogant and self-assured, Rider's forceful presence quickly strips away that confidence, revealing his insecurities about his less-than-stellar talent at magecraft.
Manly Tears: After Iskander dies, Waver weeps, but he maintains his dignity.
Memento Macguffin: Iskander's videogames. Character materials also show him wearing the shirt emblazoned with "The Admiral's Great Tactics" that Iskander previously wore. And as Lord Melloi II, he wears Iskander's colors.
The Napoleon: Iskander's even joked that he'd probably use the Holy Grail to make himself taller.
Non-Action Guy: Waver is merely a student and lacks any real combat ability.
Occidental Otaku: Later in life, he has a well known preoccupation with Japanese video games. He was quite excited to learn that one of the students he was sponsoring was actually Japanese... Until he discovered that she knew absolutely nothing about Akihabara or otaku culture.
"Nah, it's fine. I'm kind of a demon. But if there were real demons beside me, I'd like to try to talk a little with them. Now that'd be nice."
Unlike the rest of the participants in the Grail War, Ryuunosuke is not a magus nor is he even aware of the Grail War when the story begins. Rather, he is in fact a mere serial killer who simply stumbles across a grimoire and uses the blood of his murdered victims to summon a Servant. Because of his own twisted nature and insanity, he summons an equally insane Servant in the form of Gilles de Rais, a Caster class Servant that shares his love of murder. Neither of the two has any real interest in winning the Grail War and Ryuunosuke simply enjoys himself by killing civilians with his Servant in extremely gruesome ways that are, oddly enough, played for a measure of dark comedy.Despite being the cruelest and most unbalanced pair in the War, Caster and Ryuunosuke have an ironically close relationship matched only by that of Waver and Rider.
Ax-Crazy: He starts out the story as a serial killer and exits the story as a serial killer. To illustrate just how fucked up Ryuunosuke's brain is, his Servant has a skill called "Mental Pollution" that is based on his insanity and prevents Caster from getting along with anyone whose mind is not equally twisted, and Ryuunosuke and Caster understand each other perfectly well.
Irony: In spite of being one of the most amoral Master/Servant duo, they get along far better than all the other servants, especially the ones with higher moral standards
Laughably Evil: Despite being a completely amoral person, his gushing over evil is too Played for Laughs to be taken seriously compared to the heinous acts of his partner
Luminescent Blush: In the anime, Bluebeard's sadistic shenanigans often make Ryuunosuke's face turn pink in excitement.
Psychopathic Manchild: Ryuuonsuke's view of his actions is roughly equal to a six year old burning ants with a magnifying glass.
Rousing Speech: Delivers a long and coherent speech on his thoughts on the role of evil and God in the universe after Rider burns down the duo's art studio, which succeeds at getting Caster out of his slump and accept his role as a villain in God's great narrative.
Strange Minds Think Alike: As explained under Ax-Crazy, Caster is a Servant with insanity leagues beyond human standards, and Ryuunosuke is equally messed up, meaning the two are perfect partners.
Villainous Friendship: He and his Servant seem to be genuinely fond of each other; making them ironically best Master/Servant relationship in the entire series including Fate/stay night as most of the servants and their masters have ideals that contrast each other too much to have a functioning bond that doesn't require bantering.
You Monster!: He is called by the news services as a demon. Not that he minds though. His introduction has him giving a little speech casually contemplating whether he likes that title.
Uryuu "'Sup! I'm Uryuu Ryuunosuke, and I'm a demon! I don't know if that's how I should be introducing myself..."
Your Head Asplode: Kiritsugu's second bullet takes off the top of his head, though the anime downgrades the violence somewhat and obscures the damage down.
“Say, Sakura-chan, shall we play together again when uncle’s work is finished? Together with your mother and big sister.”
Kariya is the White Sheep of the Matou family and the first in many generations to have any real talent for magecraft. However, due to his disgust with his family he severed ties with them ten years prior, earning him the ire of family head Matou Zouken. Kariya has loved Aoi since they were childhood friends, so upon seeing Tokiomi Tohsaka apparently abandoning one of the girls he views almost as his own daughters he vows to protect her. While Kariya has no interest in the Grail, he made a deal with Zouken that should he win the Grail for him, Sakura will be taken from the horrible abuse Zouken intends for her and released back to the Tohsaka family.However, despite his noble intentions, Kariya simply lacks the training to participate as an equal and is inflicted with parasitic worms that will boost his abilities in exchange for rapidly degrading his health. Making matters worse, Zouken forces him to summon the extremely difficult to control Berserker class, which so far has killed all of their Masters either directly or through the sheer burden they put on their Masters. Berserker and Kariya do not interact due to Berserker's madness.
Big Damn Heroes: He destroys one of Caster's familiars right before it can kill Rin.
Body Horror: He is filled with Crest worms that are eating him alive. The damage is so extensive that he's half-blind and exhibits all the signs and symptoms of a stroke victim. Trying to use magic makes his capillaries explode. And those penis worms? He lets them turn into giant penis beetles and expels them from his body. He's got it as bad as poor Sakura.
Byronic Hero: Kariya starts off entirely well intentioned, but his resentment and envy of Tokiomi merely grows with time and is partially to blame for the two failing to understand the full situation when they confront each other. In the end, he fails to save Sakura.
Butt Monkey: Even though he doesn't physically appear in the Einzbern Consulation Room specials, Berserker and Iri both view him as hopeless.
Cast from Hit Points: He lacks training as a magus despite his talent and thus Zouken infests him with worms to boost his abilities at the expense of slowly devouring him.
Childhood Friend Romance: He has loved Aoi since he was young, but due to abandoning the Matou family she married Tokiomi.
Dark Is Not Evil: Contrary to what his sinister appearance might suggest, he's a pretty decent guy whose reason for entering the Holy Grail War is the most selfless of all the Masters excepting perhaps Kiritsugu, who just wants to fix the world.
Despair Event Horizon: When Aoi, never realizing Kariya's love for her, accuses him of never having loved someone, he snaps.
Determinator: He begins the War infested with carnivorous worms that slowly rob his bodily functions. It only goes down from there, but he does not give up.
Dogged Nice Guy: So dogged, he still hangs around Aoi despite her being married for several years to and having two children with Tokiomi. And he fails to realize that Aoi actually loves Tokiomi.
Doomed by Canon: He enters the war on the condition that Zouken will release Sakura if he manages to win. Needless to say, he's destined to fail.
Driven by Envy: Though he genuinely wishes to save Sakura and help Aoi, jealousy is definitely also one of his motivations.
It is ultimately Kariya's own fault that Sakura was given to the Matou; had Kariya not ran away, become a magus, and gotten over Aoi, he could have extended the Matou line and Zouken would have no need for Sakura.
Zouken: "That piece of prana you swallowed just now came from a Lust Worm. The one that first absorbed Sakura’s innocence. How about that, Kariya? The vitality of a young girl, absorbed continuously over the course of this past year—-it is the best magecraft energy of all, yes?"
Finally, Kariya dies in his attempt to save Sakura. His death demoralizes Sakura and convinces her that she should not attempt to fight against Zouken.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The Zero material states that while he has always loved Aoi and Zouken in fact intended to set her up with him due to fertility and ability to bring out the best magical traits, he knew what Zouken intended to do with any heirs they might have. This is a large factor in why he abandoned the Matou clan. In the present, however, he can't or won't admit that Aoi is happy with Tokiomi and supports his decision to have Sakura adopted.
Love Makes You Evil: Not realizing that Aoi never wanted Kariya to fight Tokiomi, when she raged at him for apparently causing Tokiomi's death, he strangles her, leaving her with brain damage for the rest of her life.
Mistaken for Murderer: Kotomine tricks Kariya and makes him look like Tokiomi's murder in front of Aoi. Kariya doesn't react well to Aoi's rage.
Nice Guy: As shown in the prologue, he is the nicest of all the Masters. Sadly, his desperation to save Sakura before the Crest Worms kill him as well as his hatred for Tokiomi causes him to degrade in this regard when he's not interacting with Sakura.
Not Quite Dead: Kotomine heals him after Tokiomi roasts him because he wants to see Kariya suffer even more.
Papa Wolf: For Sakura and Rin, even though he's not even related to them.
Two-Faced: He has a hideously disfigured left side of his face as a result of the crest worms in his body. The anime adaption toned it down a bit, however.
Unknown Rival: To Tokiomi, who barely acknowledges his existence. He got a confrontation with Tokiomi... which went nowhere, as they couldn't understand each other.
Unwitting Pawn: Kotomine saves his life and then promises to bring him to Tokiomi in exchange for Kariya's assistance in another matter... except Tokiomi is already dead and Kotomine brings in Aoi to see the dead Tokiomi and Kariya and cause Kariya to mentally break down even faster.
The Worm That Walks: Not as extreme an example as Zouken, but Kariya's body is infested with the Matou family's crest worms. He can actually vomit these worms out and transform them into much more dangerous bugs to use as weapons.
"Why would the Holy Grail choose me? Someone without any ideals to accomplish; someone without any cravings to fulfill... Why am I chosen?"
Kirei Kotomine is an Executor for the Church and the magecraft apprentice of Tohsaka Tokiomi. Prior to the story, his wife died after a long illness, plunging him into despair. He received the Command Spells in the same week, but unlike the other Masters he had no wish or desire for the Grail whatsoever. Due to his passive nature and lack of desire, Tokiomi and Risei inform him that he is to support Tokiomi in his bid for the Grail, to which he complies. He summons Servant Assassin and uses his unique abilities to both trick the other Masters and work as an information gathering force.Though he has no interest in the Grail and no apparent desires, he terrifies Kiritsugu. Kirei, however, thinks he may have found a being similar to himself in Kiritsugu and attempts to research him and the other Masters. While he does not speak much with his own Servant, Gilgamesh finds Kirei to be of great interest to him.
Arch-Enemy: Kiritsugu fears Kotomine because while Kotomine is not that interesting on paper, he can see how much he is truly capable of. Kotomine, on the other hand, believes that he has found someone like himself and wants to meet Kiritsugu.
Badass: Due to his training as an Executor, calling Kirei's physical prowess and combat experience superhuman would be putting it all too lightly. Kirei can shatter trees with a single punch and can with only 1 functional hand block all of Kiritsugu's knife attacks while Kiritsugu was sped up to three times his normal speed. And he did this from the side of his body he was currently blinded from.
Badass Longcoat: They're technically robes, but the general appearance is of this.
Badass Preacher: A trained killer serving the Church who possesses genuine faith in God.
Batman Gambit: After killing Tokiomi, he places the latter's corpse together with an unconscious Kariya in order to set Aoi against him, then manipulates Kariya into kidnapping Irisviel with Berserker disguised as Rider using the former's Noble Phantasm For Someone's Glory. This provokes Saber to attack Iskander, whose chariot is destroyed in the process. Gilgamesh then moves to finish off Iskander while Berserker duels Saber, ensuring that Kirei faces Kiritsugu alone.
Battle Butler: To Tokiomi, in whose service he is obedient, dutiful, and effective. Until he decides he does not wish to quit the war.
Byronic Hero: Kotomine starts out a moral man greatly troubled over his inability to find happiness without the suffering of others. Due to Gilgamesh, he eventually descends into full blown villainy for its own sake.
Card-Carrying Villain: Of the Destruction sphere. His only finds pleasure in the suffering of others, which is ironic because his profession directly contradicts his "passion". He is, however, a slightly unusual spin on this trope as he spends most of his life trying to repress it, which puts him into Tragic Villain territory.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Master of the Baji Quan martial art, and capable of keeping up with Kiritsugu's attacks when Kiritsugu is using time manipulation to speed himself up to three times past the human limit. He can literally dodge bullets at a range of 20 meters or shatter trees that he is tied to.
Confusion Fu: With magic no less. Kirei baffles Kiritsugu by using Magecraft to counter Kiritsugu's origin bullets, which are designed to kill magi with their own prana, by utilizing his command seals in place of his own magic circuits.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: A rare villanous example. Obtaining both the accumulated Command Spells and Gilgamesh as his Servant considerably boost his power just in time for the finale.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He demands that Irisviel tells him who's ordering her to get involved in the Holy Grail War, unable to realize she's doing it because she loves Kiritsugu. This is because Kirei believed the 'Magus Killer who threw away his pride' was like him, and Kiritsugu being sufficiently understood to be loved so deeply would invalidate that belief.
Evil Counterpart: To Kiritsugu. The two contrast in all aspects of their lives, from reputation, motivation, family life, and fighting technique.
Evil Feels Good: He's particularly aware of this because evil is the only thing that feels good to him, despite a lifetime in service to Good.
Immune to Bullets: Even if he doesn't parry or dodge them, his priest robes are bulletproof (as in they can take a salvo of about 50 rounds during his fight with Kiritsugu and not even get scratched). He does have his limits though, as he is unable to block or dodge bullets from a high-powered gun like Kiritsugu's Thompson Contender.
In the Back: Stabs Tokiomi in the back with the Azoth dagger Tokiomi gave him.
Irony: Invokes it, killing Tokiomi with the Azoth dagger he gave to Kirei as a parting gift, and then gives it to Rin as a gift. This comes up again in Fate/stay night.
Kung-Fu Wizard: You can't get any more literal. Word of God says his "Super Bai Ji Quan" is actually augmented with Magecraft, to the point it's more like a martial art for Mages than anything resembling the traditional school.
Love Makes You Evil: It was the death of his wife Claudia that caused Kirei to become depressed and lose faith in the teachings of God, because not only was he not saddened by her death, he wanted to be the one to kill her himself, which horrifies him.
Made of Iron: His final confrontation with Kiritsugu just goes to show how ridiculously tough he actually is. Among other things he takes a massive rifle-caliber bullet through his hand without even keeling over, suffers a massive blow on the same hand with the butt of Kiritsugu's Thompson Contender and a knife through the thigh without as much as a flinch.
Mage Killer: Executors are trained to combat mages among other things. He happens to be a very skilled one.
Manly Tears: In the novel, he cries upon finding his father's body, even though he feels the same as he did when his wife Claudia died; He would've rather killed him himself.
Not Worth Killing: At the end of the novel, a triumphant Kotomine is gloating with Gilgamesh when he spots Kiritsugu going through the rubble. While initially excited at the chance to fight the man again, Kotomine is obviously angered by Kiritsugu's broken state, and just lets him go.
Saved by Canon: Fate/Zero was written after Fate/Stay Night so his survival is guaranteed.
Stalker Without A Crush: Kotomine is fascinated by Kiritsugu because he thinks he has found someone as empty as himself. Thus, he goes out of his way to track Kiritsugu's movements and attempt to meet him.
Teen Genius: Graduating valedictorian from the Theological College of St. Ignatius at Manresa, where he was Student Council President, after skipping two levels at the age of fourteen. He began his Executor career at the age of ten.
Artistic License: Abused so hard that it's almost a meme in its own right. Gilgamesh is a blonde, fair-skinned red-eyed Bishōnen, King Arthur is a woman who looks about 14 and Alexander the Great is about 3 foot taller than he was known to be.
In case of history this trope is rather played with. First thing you learn of history on academic level is that all we "know" is just our guessing based on sources left from the past. Those sources might be true or completely wrong. Some of them might even be one great forgery done by people living in the past for no reason other than fun. This is even explored when Iskander is confronted with facts from the history book Waver found at the store.
"I only joined this war to avoid spilling rivers of blood. Fight for the Holy Grail, no meaningless bloodshed, minimize sacrifices, one person taking up the mission of fate instead of armies of men and competing here… this is what we Servants should do."
Saber is the Servant of Kiritsugu and normally goes around accompanied by Irisviel, who acts as a decoy. Furthermore, she and Kiritsugu are unable to work together directly. Her true identity is Arthur, the King of Knights, who in the Nasuverse turns out to have been female. She was summoned using the sheath Avalon as a catalyst after it was excavated by the Einzberns. Because she is not satisfied with the job she did in life, she has agreed to participate in the Grail War in the hopes that it will grant her wish to allow her to redo her rule.Saber is a strong believer in honorable forms of combat and leadership, which allows her to get along well with Diarmuid and earn some measure of recognition from Rider, though both he and Gilgamesh also look down on her. She and Kiritsugu are entirely opposed and do not even speak to each other. Finally, both Caster and Berserker have an odd obsession with her.Her Noble Phantasms are Excalibur, her signature weapon which she can use to launch a Sword Beam, disguising it with the windy barrier "Invisible Air", and Avalon, Excalibur's sheath, which grants the holder Nigh-Invulnerability.
Anti-Magic: An innate ability of the Saber class is a boost to magic resistance. Since Saber's natural resistance is already quite high, this makes her nearly immune.
Armor Is Useless: Played with and used against her by Lancer. Since Saber's armor is generated by her prana, Gáe Dearg goes right through it. Once Saber realizes this, she invokes this trope and sheds her armor, only to learn the hard way that it would have been able to protect her from Lancer's other spear.
Back-to-Back Badasses: She fights with Lancer against Caster's summoned creatures after he comes to her aid.
Call Forward: Just like in the 5th Grail War, she also fights a Lancer for her first fight and is wounded.
Chekhov's Skill: The class ability of Riding was mentioned but went unused in Fate/Stay Night but was first used to allow her to flawlessly drive a car. Later, she hijacks a motorcycle and rides it superbly to catch up to Rider and destroy his chariot.
Cleavage Window: Her dress has opening in the chest area when she doesn't have her armor on.
Combat Compliment: Exchanges a couple of these with Lancer during their first battle.
The Fettered: At the very least, she believes her strong code of honor in battle gives her strength.
Foil: She and Kiritsugu are very deeply idealistic people who throw away all their humanity and any semblance of a normal, proper human life to fulfill their ideals, and share a lot of their ideals at the core and endure a lot of trauma from being betrayed to their devotion to them. They also contrast in their methods: Saber wants to make war as clean and honorable as possible while Kiritsugu wants for wars not to be fought it in the first place. This leads to them being utterly incompatible.
Narrowly-averted after seeing Rider's Badass Army and having her beliefs on kingship shaken to the very core. A talk with Irisviel renews her confidence and her wish - something she would carry until the climaxes of both Fate and UBW routes. However, being talked out of it is actually not really to her benefit.
She goes through a genuine one upon seeing Berserker revealed before her eyes as Lancelot, and nearly gets killed as a result.
Honor Before Reason: Much more knightly and chivalrous than in the fifth war. While she retained her knightly attitude in the fifth war, she was nontheless a little more ruthless and more intent on winning rather than proving a point. So you could say that in the fourth war, the "knight" aspect of her personality took precedence to the "king" aspect, while it became the inverse in Fate/stay night. Considering the crap she goes through here, especially the disappointment in Kiritsugu, it's likely that she became a bit more cynical, whether she likes it or not. A case could also be made for Kiritsugu's own ruthlessness and pragmatic attitude towards winning the war rubbing off on her by the fifth.
I Did What I Had to Do: Her own justification to herself for declaring war on Lancelot and starting a civil war. She personally wanted nothing more but for Guinevere and Lancelot to be happy, but as a king, had to declare war and bring them to justice.
Informed Ability: Saber is held to be the strongest of her class and her class is believed to be the most powerful, but she is far inferior to Gilgamesh, and would have lost her first fight with Lancer. She only has a single 1v1 win during the entire war, and that win came from outside circumstances. It's not so bad that's she's incompetent, but she just can't catch a break and live up to her reputation.
Jeanne d'Archétype: In fact, Joan of Arc was one of the first guesses as to her identity both in-story and by audiences. Caster mistakes her for Jeanne d'Arc herself and spends the rest of the series convinced that she is her.
Let Them Die Happy: To Lancelot as he's dying in her arms. She wanted so badly to reassure him that he's always been a loyal and just knight, and that he has nothing to atone for. However, she chose not to say anything, because she knew that by doing so, it would torment him even more.
Oh Crap: After provoking Berserker into revealing his true identity, her instincts cause her to react like this. They are absolutely right, as the revealed Lancelot proceeds to completely overwhelm her.
"The words that would have summoned to her the worst possible curse had long since been spoken through her own lips."
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 14/15.
Sugar and Ice Personality: She hides behind an emotionless facade in order to make pragmatic decisions more easily. Rider claims that the way she is doing it now indicates that she is not a true king, but merely a little girl crying for her lost country.
Sword Beam: Excalibur, which is powerful enough to level a city block.
What the Hell, Hero?: When Kiritsugu callously tramples on Lancer's honor and then kills his defeated opponents through a loophole Saber states that she refuses to believe he can be anything but the basest of villains. Kiritsugu angrily snaps back (though not directly) that she is the true villain because heroes like her have glorified war and made it more acceptable for humans to keep killing each other.
"You can't look at me. Worms can only look at the ground when they die, like the worms they are."
Archer's true identity is Gilgamesh, the famous Babylonian king and he has the title of King of Heroes. He is the oldest and most venerable Heroic Spirit participating in the Fourth Holy Grail War. He was summoned using the fossil of "the first snake to shed its skin" as a catalyst, relating to Gilgamesh's quest for immortality. Gilgamesh has no true wish but merely believes that the Grail should be returned to him because everything belongs to him.He accepts his Master Tokiomi as a subordinate and will occasionally listen to his requests, but overall he finds his kowtowing to be boring and occasionally insulting. He is much more interested in Tokiomi's assistant, Kirei Kotomine, and he similarly finds Saber to be intriguing.His main Noble Phantasm is the Gate of Babylon, a portal leading to a storage of all the Noble Phantasms he acquired during his reign, not to mention an ancient spaceship from Indian Mythologyand his wine cellar. Lacking the proficiency to use most of the Noble Phantasms, he mainly just shoots them at people. His most powerful is the demonic sword Ea, an Anti-World Noble Phantasm that is only used on the few he deems worthy.
Above Good and Evil: How he defines himself. He is absolute. As a true king, justice is unnecessary to him. An interesting case as it is not necessarily considered an evil point of view, though Saber is disgusted. It might even be taken literally as even all the world's evil is unable to corrupt such an "absolute existence."
Armor of Invincibility: His golden armor is extremely sturdy. After Berserker blows his Vimana out of the sky Gilgamesh appears unharmed, but just like in Fate Stay Night it's clear that his armor does have it's limits; Rider notices that like himself, Gilgamesh is not entirely unharmed.
Badass Boast: He has several over the course of the story but most notably when he drops an epic speech against Rider when he's about blast him 8 ways to Sunday with Ea:
"To unite dreams under a banner of conquest. For that I praise your efforts. But did you not understand, warriors?" Gilgamesh pulls out a key-shaped sword "That all dreams must disappear when the dreamer awakens. Every last one of them." a giant wall of magical energy unfolds and returns into Gilgamesh's sword, which becomes the Gate of Babylon, from which he pulls out Ea. "Therefore, it was inevitable that i would stand in your way. King of Conquerors, I will show you the end of your endless dream. I shall show you harsh reality!" "NOW, AWAKEN EA. A WORTHY STAGE HAS BEEN SET FOR YOU. LOOK UP AND BEHOLD, ENUMA ELISH!"
Badass Bystander: Tokiomi forces him to stay out of the action for the most part despite his completely overwhelming power.
Badass Cape: His armor incorporates a fabulous red half-cape.
Berserk Button: When Berserker uses his weapons against him, he is pissed.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Ea is classified as an Anti-World Noble Phantasm, though the closest it comes to destroying a world is tearing apart Rider's Reality Marble, which is essentially a pocket dimension. This speaks even higher of it's actual firepower, as a Reality Marble is infinitely large.
Evil Mentor: He has a great deal of fun showing Kotomine why he should embrace his inner sadist.
Faux Affably Evil: During Episode 11 and his talks with Kirei and Rider he is actually quite reasonable and understanding, to the point where he's even nice or polite for a few moments. At that point, everyone had already seen how much of a douchenozzle he can be however.
The Fighting Narcissist: Refuses to truly assist against Caster's monster because he finds it too disgusting to use his abilities on. When he makes a token attack on it, he even refuses to retrieve the weapons he used.
Hidden Depths: Both his dialogues with Kirei and his battle with Iskander manage to imply quite a lot about his character with few words, especially if one is familiar with the original epic. He also seems incredibly knowledgeable on the matter of human psychology (probably something he picked up on while ruling 1/4th of the world for 125 years) and actually comes off as a very intellegent man when his galaxy-sized ego doesn't need to be polished.
Historical Villain Upgrade: Gilgamesh from the myths was kind of a jerk at times, but it's unlikely he would have approved of what his counterpart here does.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Gate of Babylon is actually a key shaped sword that Gilgamesh uses to open a path to his vault, which contains all he possessed in life.
Infinity+1 Sword: His Noble Phantasm, Ea, is the most powerful weapon seen to date in the Nasuverse, shaming even Excalibur at a minimum of it's full power.
Informed Ability: According to Word of God, Gil is almost as physically strong and fast as Saber and Berserker, but as he has what amounts to a gatling gun with infinite, overpowered ammunition, he has no need to exploit this trait and as such his physical abilities go unshown.
I Have the High Ground: One way his obsession with properly expressing just how much better he is than everyone else involves perching in high places. When Berserker cuts down the light pole Gilgamesh was standing on, the guy flips out at having to stand on the same ground with a rabid mongrel.
It's All About Me: Need any help carrying that ego, Gil? It looks like it'll squish you if it gets any bigger. Amusingly enough, this makes him the only one who could answer Angra Mainyu's question: "Who will bear the responsibility for all evils of the world?".
The King will acknowledge it; the King will permit it. The King will bear the burden of the entire world.
He uses the archaic ware (pronounced as ''ore'') when referring to himself, which symbolizes how he's from a time far, far in the past even compared to other servants, who use modern pronouns like ore or watashi.
He refers to everyone else using kisama, or less frequently, omae, in keeping with his character. The only exception, both in this and the 5th war, being shortly after defeating Iskander and telling him that he's welcome for a rematch anytime, when he uses the more formal and relatively-more respectful form sonata.
Jack of All Stats: His actual stats are suprisingly high for an Archer, but not quite as high as say Berserker or Saber, however his skills are all very highly ranked (A Independent Action, A+ Charisma, B(A+) Divinity and A Golden Rule). His true power comes from his overpowered Noble Phantasms.
Jerkass: Arrogant, haughty and insulting to everyone save a handful of people, Gilgamesh isn't exactly the nicest person to be around. At times it's so bad that his bragging and insulting is so copious that it becomes outright comical.
Jerkass Has a Point: He claims that "an omnipotent wish-granting device" like the Grail is completely implausible. As it turns out, he's right on so many levels.
Kick the Dog: While he is portrayed much less antagonistically than in Fate/Stay Night, some of his actions such helping orchestrate the situation that led to Kariya's strangling of Aoi, only to complain that he found the end result "underwhelming", serve as a chilling reminder that he's still far from noble.
Light Is Not Good: He's the golden king, but is basically without morals or ethics as a normal person would understand them.
Lonely at the Top: How Iskander describes him in the last novel of Fate/Zero. However, it turns out to be untrue. He does miss Enkidu, however.
Manipulative Bastard: He is responsible for leading Kirei into realizing that he can only be happy by killing people and messing with their minds. He did so very slowly and with much glee. He also was the one who had Berserker fight Saber simply because he thought it would be amusing to have that "mad dog" as he puts it fight her and this is after he finds out about Berserker true identity.
Mundane Utility: In addition to all the weapons and cool tools that he keeps in the Gate of Babylon, Gilgamesh also apparently has a first rate wine cellar.
Older Is Better: Gilgamesh's Hyperspace Arsenal is filled with Noble Phantasms 1 rank more powerful than their later versions. He is also a great example himself, being the hero of the first fictional story and by far the most powerful Heroic Spirit summonable.
Only Friend: Gilgamesh turns down Iskander's offer of ruling together because of this trope. Anyone who's familiar with the epic can probably guess who he's talking about.
Gilgamesh: "It is unfortunate, but I do not require a second friend. Past and future, my companion will only be one—and there need not be two kingly ones."
Orgasmically Delicious: The wine from the Gate of Babylon was brewed by the gods and transcends any wine in history. Rider is outright howling after first tasting it.
Person of Mass Destruction: Gilgamesh makes the levels of destruction that Saber's Noble Phantasm can cause look like child's play. Indeed, Kotomine notes that the best way to deal with him is to treat him as a natural disaster—by planning around his actions, rather than trying to control him.
Pet the Dog: He honors Iskander's last command to Waver to live on by sparing the latter's life after Iskander dies.
Earlier he knocks Berserker out of the sky when he was about to go ham with a gatling gun so Saber could go on and blast Caster's monster.
Pride: Gilgamesh's pride is his only exploitable weakness. The consequences are not that bad in Fate/Zero however.
Readings Are Off the Scale: Both of his Noble Phantasms are considered EX-ranked, meaning they are simply too powerful to be given an accurate rating.
Shameless Fanservice Guy: When Angra Mainyu gives him a flesh-and-blood body, it also leaves him naked.◊ Gilgamesh takes absolutely no issue with staying that way and spends the rest of the scene shamelessly walking around in the nude. In the midst of a huge fire, at that.
Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank B; being two-thirds god should make him Rank A+, but since he dislikes the gods, his divinity is reduced by one rank.
Smarter Than He Looks: Gilgamesh is a lot smarter than he looks or behaves and has an uncanny ability to notice what's going on at all times. He is able to discern the true horror of the Grail at a glance and is able to turn Kirei into embracing evil after only a couple of talks with him.
Smug Snake: He really is powerful and intelligent, but his arrogance often keeps him from performing at his peak.
Smug Super: He will never lose an occasion to tell you how much better than you he is.
Spotting the Thread: He asks Kirei (who had expressed his lack of desires from the Grail) why he doesn't simply wish for worldy pleasures. Kirei replies that he'd never wish for something so "sinful and corrupt". The realization that the notions of "pleasure" and "sin" overlap in Kirei's mind is Gil's first hint that something is off about the man.
Staring Down Cthulhu: Near the end, Gilgamesh is left as a formless spirit in Angra Mainyu's vortex of All Evils in the World. Ultimately, Gilgamesh's willpower and ego allow him to shoulder the blame for all of mankind's sins while retaining his sense of self, thus overcoming the vortex.
Storm of Blades: He uses Gate of Babylon to rain weaponry upon his opponent rather than actually using them properly.
Story Breaker Power: Gilgamesh is so unstoppably powerful that the rest of the combatants in the war combined would stand about the same chance as a child with a wooden sword against his full power. Fortunately his pride prevents him from abusing this.
Übermensch: Though mixed in with a dose of For the Evulz, Gilgamesh in his core appears to have elements of this idea. He is an entity so far beyond good and evil that it becomes a form of greatness in itself, hence it could not be corrupted by the Grail. Also, in his conversations with Kirei, he essentially tells him to stop letting society define morals for him and to find his own goals instead. These just so happen to be a desire for pain and tragedy, but still.
Unskilled, but Strong: While Gilgamesh is still a good swordsman, the only weapon he used when he was alive was Ea. He is not used to the rest of the weapons in his possession, and instead just bombards people with them at Mach speeds, which is usually more than enough for him to win.
Warrior Therapist: When he's not out fighting, he's goading Kirei towards what he truly desires: Evil, the only thing he can take pleasure in.
Wine Is Classy: He loves high-quality wine, which highlights his status as the King of Heroes, and fittingly has an infinite supply of wine described as being too good to have been made by human hands.
Worthy Opponent: With Rider. Iskandar is the only other person Gilgamesh accepts as a king and the only person in the war worthy of using Ea against, the only instance of him respecting someone enough to try from the start of a fight in the entire Nasuverse. And this is after the two have become what amounts to Kingly Drinking Buddies.
"It wouldn't suit my reputation to murder a woman weakened by my face alone. I am glad my first opponent has such backbone."
The servant summoned by Kayneth El-Melloi, Lancer's true identity is Diarmuid of the Love Spot, a hero from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. Originally, Kayneth had wanted to summon the powerful Iskander, but the catalyst was stolen by Waver Velvet and he had to make do with Diarmuid. Diarmuid agreed to serve him because he wished to faithfully serve a lord once more rather than because he had a wish to make on the Grail.Due to his mastery of arms and his nobility, he is respected by both Iskander and Arturia. His loyalty to his Master is a source of great pride for him, but Kayneth is uneasy at Diarmuid's apparent lack of motive for assisting him. This matter is not helped by the clear infatuation Kayneth's fiancee holds for the chivalrous Servant.His Noble Phantasms are Gae Dearg, a spear that neutralizes mana, and Gae Buidhe, a cursed lance that creates a Wound That Will Not Heal so long as he is alive and his spear intact.
Anti-Magic: Gae Dearg, the Crimson Rose of Exorcism, renders prana-infused weapons ineffective.
Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome: At first, his cursed Mystic Face doesn't sound so bad, but it turns out he originally died because his lord's wife fell in love with him, ending up in him being betrayed. Then his Master's fiancee also falls in love with him, causing strife and hardships with said Master.
Born Unlucky: He has E rank luck. The world also seems to hate him and keep him from being able to fulfill his only goal of faithfully serving a lord who trusts him in return.
Call Forward: Like Cu Chulainn in the 5th Grail War, Diarmuid is also forced to kill himself.
Chick Magnet: His "Mystic Face" causes women without magical resistance to fall in love with him.
Combat Pragmatist: He doesn't actually display this, but according to Word of God it would have been possible to convince him to act in this way (most important would have been to keep him away from a Saber class). If he was willing to fight dirty he would have instead gone for hit-and-run attacks with Gae Buidhe to slowly cripple his enemies over time, or manipulate Berserker to do his dirty work for him.
Deadpan Snarker: He's an understated example, but he still has his moments. For instance, when Berserker appeared in Episode 5, Lancer asks Iskandar, "So, King of Conquerors, are you planning to ask him to join too?"
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Forgot almost everything concerning his death and Sola at the beginning of Einzbern Consulation Room specials. He also has Fake Memories as he believes things happened differently.
Nice Guy: Outside of his last few moments, he's probably the straightest example of this in the war, disliking unfair combat and sparing Kiritsugu's life despite the fact that he just blew out his Master's magic circuits.
No Pronunciation Guide: He's Celtic, after all. In-series, it's pronounced something like "Deer-mood" or "Dee-are-mood" O'Deena".
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: As he wounded Saber in their first battle, weakening her and rendering her left thumb worthless so that she cannot effectively wield Excalibur, his honor dictates that he's the only one who should properly fight her. His Master is not amused.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: He has an actual curse that seduces women. This is not responsible for Sola-Ui, however, meaning it's actually twice as bad as normal.
Tragic Dream: All he wanted was to serve his lord faithfully and to live—and die, if necessary—with honor. He ends up hated by that lord and is forced to kill himself without having a chance to fulfill his dream.
Weak, but Skilled: He has less-than-impressive stats (other than his Agility which is A-rank), but he makes up for this with his "Eye of the Mind (True)" skill which allows him to exploit all possible openings in battle, which also compensates for his terrible luck in battle.
Wound That Will Not Heal: Gae Buidhe, the Golden Rose of Mortality, causes a wound to act as though it does not even exist, making it immune to even healing magic.
"The King - lives to the fullest!! He needs to live more fully than anyone else! He is a figure of admiration to his people!!"
Rider is the third of the kings of Fate Zero, the King of Conquerors, Iskander. He was summoned using the catalyst stolen by Waver Velvet, which is his ancient mantle. He has little direct interest in the Grail and merely wants a more permanent body so that he can conquer the world again. However, he does not use violence as his primary method; "victory without elimination, ruling without humiliation, that is true conquest". An impulsive and overbearing man who lives according to his emotions and lets history take its own course. To this end, he attempts to enlist the other Heroic Spirits into his army with a We Can Rule Together speech.He has a level of respect for Saber's honor and chivalry and definitely her ability, but disapproves of her motivation. He is also able to get along with the notoriously arrogant Gilgamesh.He possesses the Gordius Wheel, a chariot led by two divine bulls, which he uses for his trampling attack "Via Expugnatio". He also has the Reality Marble "Ionioi Hetairoi/Aionion Hetairoi", which summons the Badass Army that he controlled in his life. He also has a sword called "Sparda" which he uses to summon the Gordius Wheel.
Almighty Mom: Every Heroic Spirit has a Natural Enemy, the person most suited to defeating them—for example, Medusa's would be Perseus, and Gilgamesh's is Archer. All In The Manual gives Rider's as his mother.
Iskander: "First, we will go half way around the world. West, straight west and conquer all the countries we pass. And thus upon my victorious return to Macedonia, I will make the people of my land celebrate my rebirth!"
Defeat Means Friendship: His entire ideology, based around conquering without humiliation. Waver occasionally catches glimpses of Iskander's life whilst sleeping and marvels at how those he conquered became swept up in his goal to conquer the world.
Determinator: In Volume 4, after losing his army to Gilgamesh, Iskander simply charges forward, right through all the Noble Phantasms fired from the Gate of Babylon, keeps going even after his horse has been shot out from under him and has been skewered multiple times and came within inches of actually landing a blow on Gilgamesh, who finally had to resort to Enkidu to restrain him before finally being finished off.
False assumptions example. When fighting Saber (who thinks he abducted Irisviel), he develops a plan to defeat her. He had seen her use Excalibur the first time on Caster, and believes that when Saber begins to charge her attack, he will have enough time before she fires it off that he can run her over with his chariot and win. As it turns out, either Saber had charged it beforehand or the charge time wasn't as long as he had believed, causing him to lose his chariot and only escape with his life because Saber had other things to worry about.
Also Unknown Unknowns example. In his fight with Gilgamesh, Rider was expecting to be pit his army against the Gate of Babylon, but certainly didn't (or rather couldn't) account for Gilgamesh being able to pull out a sword that can literally destroy the world in a single blow.
Foregone Conclusion: Iskander will never be able to convince Saber to give up her wish and regrets, seeing that it is what underlies the conflict of viewpoints between her and Shirou in the Fate route.
Friendly Enemy: He casually suggests that he and Saber have a drinking game and invited Gligamesh to join them when he happened to run across the guy. Until Kirei's Assassins show up, the three of them are sitting around a table, talking about their dreams, kingship and even comparing the quality of wine.
Go-Karting with Bowser: He holds Gilgamesh to his promise of the two of them finishing off the remaining wine before facing off in a deathmatch. The two were quite cordial and even clicked their goblets before draining them. Waver was surprised that the two got along quite well.
Historical Hero Upgrade: Rider is the King of Conquerors because the people he conquered would join him willingly, forging a bond between his army so strong that not even death could dissolve it.
Honor Before Reason: While Rider doesn't have the chivalry disease nearly as bad as Saber or Lancer, there are certain values he will stick to even if they put him at a disadvantage. For example, breaking into a fight to introduce himself by name in a war where that's a closely guarded secret or choosing to fight Saber at a disadvantage because he believes it is his duty as a heroic spirit to make her realize the folly of her ideals before they crush her. This costs him his chariot, his only easily used powerful weapon.
Large and in Charge: Much to Waver's surprise, Rider is a giant. He says that Rider was recorded in history as being too short to fit Darius' throne, but this turns out to be because Darius was even bigger.
Neutral Good: In-universe alignment. Interestingly, this just adds to the contrast he already has with the other two kings, as Arturia, who is Lawful Good, only tries to selflessly save people, while Gilgamesh, who is supposedly Chaotic Good, is only interested in control and selfish amusement. Iskander's way, meanwhile, appears to be a pragmatic "save people from themselves, then make them yours" attitude.
Odd Friendship: While initially Waver is first annoyed with his Servant and then feels unworthy, eventually he decides to be proud in himself as Rider's subordinate.
The Power of Friendship: The reason his Reality Marble, Ionian Hetairoi, exists is the bond between him and his men, who are so devoted to him that even death cannot erase them. At the same time, Iskander considers them to be his greatest treasure. All of this is why even though Iskander himself is not a magus, he, along with all of his men are able to bring out the Reality Marble that recreates the land that they once marched over. The name itself is intended to be Greek for 'Eternal Companions.'
Take Over the World: His goal is to personally conquer the world. Due to his methods, this is not presented as being a necessarily bad things, though his values are clearly outdated.
Too Dumb to Live: Subverted. It is explicitly pointed out that even though a lot of his decisions might seem to be foolish, he is simply so badass that it always ends up as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for him.
Those who mocked the King of Conquerors’s wish as a boring wish are the foolish ones who merely dragged their bodies along from day to day, and spend their life away on nothing.
To Win Without Fighting: Though he never gets to do any of it, his conversations make it clear that he respects this sort of victory greatly as well. He would much prefer having the other Servants join him and go off to do his own thing rather than stick to the 'thou musts' of the Grail War and kill everyone else.
Tragic Dream: Subverted. Iskander wished to reach Oceanus and only thought he'd succeeded, but in the end he does not truly regret it. He wishes for more people to seek out similarly impossible dreams.
We Can Rule Together: Iskander suggests this to Gilgamesh before their last battle when he tells him that if his Ionion Hetairoi was equipped with Gate of Babylon that they would be pretty much be unstoppable.
Worthy Opponent: Rider has a way of viewing everyone strong as one of these by default, though he reconsiders after seeing Caster and Assassin. Especially worthy of note are that he offers to basically work as equals with Gilgamesh and is extremely determined to recruit Saber into his army and not just because she's so powerful. That said, he doesn't exactly respect the current Saber for being unsatisfied with how well 'King Arthur' did.
Gilles de Rais / Bluebeard (Caster)
Voiced by: Satoshi Tsuruoka (Japanese), Dan Woren (English)
"My only wish was that the holy maiden Jeanne d'Arc would be resurrected, and now this wish had already been fulfilled! Without even the need to compete with anyone, my wish had already become reality!"
Caster is the Servant of Ryuunosuke Uryuu and, just like his Master, a serial killer. His true identity is Gilles de Rais, also known as Bluebeard. He was one of the commanders led by Jeanne d'Arc. Though he is of the Caster class, he is not really a magus. Rather, he has a spellbook that was given to him by Francesco Prelati that allows him to summon Eldritch Abominations. He is fond of using these and more mundane methods to kill victims with a particular fondness for granting the victim a Hope Spot before butchering them or using them for 'artistic' purposes.Originally, he intended to use the Grail to revive Jeanne, but upon seeing Saber he decided that she had already been revived by the Grail and instead revised his motivation to making her accept her 'true' identity.His Noble Phantasm is Prelati's Spellbook, a living grimoire with a cover made of human skin that generates its own prana and allows him to summon Eldritch Abominations.
Combat Pragmatist: His stats are very poor, so he relies on a combination of summoned monsters, trickery, ambushes and a complete disregard for human life to get by. His other options are fairly limited though Saber opines otherwise and explicitly referred to him as a 'coward' in the aftermath of their first battle.
Depraved Bisexual: Caster's official profile in Fate Zero Material states that he likes tomboyish girls like Jeanne and feminine boys such as possibly Ryuunosuke. The 'depraved' part requires no explanation.
Evil Is Hammy: As evidenced by his interactions with the other characters and Ryuunosuke.
Evil Is Not Well Lit: The lair he and Ryuunosuke use as their base of operations is all but shrouded in complete darkness.
Evil Makes You Ugly: He was quite a handsome man before his descent into madness. During the Einzbern Consulation Specials where he's still ugly despite having seen the light until Iri convinces him that Jeanne is a idol, which has his face becomes much less ugly. Even his eyes become normal.
Eye Poke: Jeanne used to do this to him according to the Einzbern Consulation Room specials.
Fallen Hero: He used to be an ally of Jeanne d'Arc. Upon seeing the light of Excalibur he realizes how far he has fallen.
Faux Affably Evil: He's charming and friendly, but he's also completely insane and has no real value for life.
Fish Eyes: Appropriately enough, for a character with so many references to H. P. Lovecraft. An obvious reference to the "Innsmouth Look".
Lean and Mean: He's really just skin and bones under those bulky robes of his. Especially apparent in the ED.
Love Makes You Evil: He was once a heroic knight: valiant, handsome, basking in the glory to fight alongside Joan of Arc. He turned against God after she was burned at the stake. And from there it got worse
Luminescent Blush: Displays a very luminescent blush, complete with a sparkly pink background, while thinking about Ryuunosuke in an episode of Please! Einzbern Consultation Room.
Mad Artist: Oh, the Squick. Also comes into play with his skill "Eye for Art", which allows him a chance to identify Noble Phantasms with an artistic quality to them.
The Minion Master: Caster summons real, proper, Lovecraftian affronts to all sanity and nature that regenerate their flesh and always keep coming.
Mook Maker: His main use of Prelati's Spellbook is to summon abominations.
My God, What Have I Done?: His final line is him realizing how far he has strayed from the noble man he was long, long ago. And then he gets hit by Excalibur.
Obviously Evil: Bulging eyes, bone-white skin, you know this guy is evil from the get-go.
One-Winged Angel: The most powerful spell Caster uses with Prelati's Spellbook summons a massive Eldritch Abomination, but because he lacks the ability to control such a monster he merely forms its core while it rampages around devouring souls. It heals instantly from any wound, requiring a massive blast of instantaneous power like Excalibur to defeat it.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: Due to it being a central part of Blue Beard's legend and Ryuunosuke summoning him as under the Caster class this was a foregone conclusion. By the time he's finished though its more like a forsaken pre-school.
Psycho for Hire: He spends most of the war murdering children for shits and giggles.
Rage Against the Heavens: His core motivation: most of the atrocities he commited were actually to spite God (whom he blame for Jeanne's death) and to refute the idea of divine punishment.
Self-Serving Memory: The way he tells the story of his death, you'd think it was entirely due to political rivals wanting to plunder his estates and had nothing to do with his murdering children as part of his demonology studies. According to history, he didn't have much of an estate for said rivals to plunder at the time of his death - between commissioning a massive theatrical tribute to Joan of Arc, his occult research, and his love of high living, he was pretty much bankrupt. The only reason he still had lands at the time of his death was because the King of France refused to let him sell any more of them to fend off his creditors.
The Sociopath: Even worse than his master Ryuunosuke as he savors psychological pain from despair rather than torture.
Squishy Wizard: An odd case in that, because he was in life a knight, his physical attributes are greater than a human (he can crush skulls with his bare hands) while hasn't memorized any spells, so he has to keep consulting the book whenever he wants to use one in it. However, compared to other Servants he's still quite weak and his spellbook gives him a separate source of power for spells, meaning while he doesn't quite fit the archetype he functions as if he did.
Stalker with a Crush: He's convinced that Saber is Jeanne d'Arc and follows her around trying to make her realize it.
Villainous Friendship: An odd case that the most batshit Master-Servant pair would be the one who gets along the best. He is also genuinely saddened by Ryuunosuke's death.
Would Hurt a Child: At first it seems as though he is going to rescue the children Ryuunosuke has captured, but then it turns out he was merely giving them a Hope Spot and kills them even more brutally. It only gets worse from there.
"I am the shadow under the radiance of heroic spirits — Birthed of the darkness of glorious legend..."
Berserker is the only Servant whose identity is not given outright very early in the story. He is the Servant of Kariya and underwent Mad Enhancement of his own free will, rendering himself feral and nearly impossible to control. However, due to some special abilities, unlike most Berserkers he keeps his skill with weaponry and a level of tactical ability. In fact, he is able to adapt objects into his own pseudo Noble Phantasms, turning them into effective anti Servant weaponry. With these advantages, he appears to be unmatched in close range combat.Berserker has next to no interest in anything other than seeking out Saber and fighting her for reasons she is unable to understand.The Black Knight has three Noble Phantasms: First, he is able to disguise himself using the black fog "For Someone's Glory" which obscures most of his combat data; second is "Knight of Honor", which turns anything he can construe as a weapon into his own D-Rank Noble Phantasm the moment he touches it including the Noble Phantasms of other Servants should they be foolish enough to let him grab them. His final Noble Phantasm is not seen until very late in the war and is the one that is indicative of his true identity.
All There in the Manual: Einzbern Consultation Room Episode 6 greatly expands upon his character and backstory, revealing information not shown in neither the novel nor the anime.
The Ace: His stats are god-like despite his Master being the weakest of the seven, he auto-masters anything that is conceptually recognized as a weapon that he picks up, any weapon he picks up becomes a Noble Phantasm and is capable of killing a Servant and this is all before he uses his real Noble Phantasm and gains a significant power boost. He's pretty much custom-tailored to annihilate Servants in single combat. Berserker was also The Ace in life and contributes to his skills For Someone's Glory and Eternal Arms Mastery.
The Atoner: As Lancelot, he was driven to madness by the fact that his king, Arthur, never blamed him or demanded penance from him because she wanted him to be happy with Guinevere, leaving him feeling that redemption was impossible. He now seeks to die by Saber's hand in order to repent for his sins.
Awesome but Impractical: Berserker is the most effective hand to hand fighter in the Fourth War by a fairly wide margin and has the ability to stand up to Gilgamesh, but his prana consumption rate is through the roof and eventually contributes heavily to Kariya's death and his own loss.
Badass: He is the end-all be-all source of Crazy Awesome feats in the story, from curbstombing Saber with the beam of a street light to playing baseball with the Gate of Babylon (being the first character it is partially ineffective against) to hijacking a jet-fighter to dogfight Gilgamesh in his Vimana and winning.
Barehanded Blade Block: He grabs Excalibur, despite it still being sheathed in Invisible Air. This convinces Saber that he had to be someone who knew her in life, to know Excalibur's shape so well. Naturally, she's right.
Berserk Button: Unintentional pun notwitstanding, he gets more enraged than usual when he lays his eyes on Saber. There are two seperate instances in the story where spotting her makes him ignore the opponent he is engaging at the time in favor of attacking her. This is actually foreshadowing in regards to his identity.
Curb-Stomp Battle: He has 2 fights over the series with Saber. He was milliseconds from killing her the first time and only lost the second time because he ran of out prana in the last few seconds.
Cursed with Awesome: A Berserker class Servant is supposed to trade away their skill, sanity and Noble Phantasms for a boost to power. However, Berserker's Eternal Arms Mastery counteracts the skill and sanity loss and only one of his Noble Phantasms requires him to be capable of thinking properly and can be circumvented with Command Seals.
Death Equals Redemption: Eventually achieves this after deliberately seeking it out, right down to the person he wanted to be killed by.
Death Seeker: Just as he dies, his Mad Enhancement wears off and he tells Arturia that he "wanted to die by her sword" to atone for his sins.
Dual Wielding: When Gil is shooting Noble Phantasms at him, he grabs some out of the air and begins dual wielding them, occasionally tossing one aside to grab another if he sees something he likes more.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: He's referred to as the "Black Knight" for the majority of the War because unlike the other Servants, his true identity is only revealed towards the end of the series.
The Faceless: His helmet hides his face until the final day of the 4th Grail War.
It's shown in the Einzbern Consultation Room that putting anything that covers his entire head, such as a pot, turns his Mad Enhancement back on.
Fallen Hero: Berserker went mad near the end of his life, but before that was a heroic man.
Foreshadowing: The anime's first ending is a series of stills depicting the Servants in scenes based on paintings or sculptures based on their historical or mythological counterparts. His image shows a knight standing in a lake since he's Lancelot, "The Knight of the Lake".
Guns Akimbo: During his final fight, he briefly fights with a pair of submachine guns that he has turned into his Noble Phantasms.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: His entire wish is to die at Saber's hands, as she never punished him for his love affair with Guinevere, which he saw as treason. He then was unable to reach the Battle of Camlann and therefore unable to aid his king in the battle which she died.
I Am Not Left-Handed: He's powerful enough already, but when he takes out his true sword all of his already extremely high stats go up yet another rank.
Implausible Fencing Powers: The very first thing we see him do in battle is catching a rocketing sword flying straight at him and swinging it immediately to deflect a second rocketing polearm that was coming right behind it. It happened so fast that only the Servants themselves could actually make out what happened. He continues to survive the barrage in this manner for another sixteen projectiles or so, and actually switches out the weapons he uses when a stronger one comes along. He even throws Gilgamesh's own weapons back at him. Everyone watching is understandably shocked, since he's supposed to not be sane enough to even think about such complicated maneuvers, let alone actually do them.
Improbable Weapon User: Due to his ability to turn anything he touches into a Noble Phantasm, he can end up here on occasion. During his first fight, he even wield street lamp poles effectively.
Instant Expert: Due to the skill Eternal Arms Mastership, which is derived from him being unmatched in combat, he can use any weapon as though he had trained with it his entire life, even if it isn't even a weapon he should be able to even understand. Because he recognizes a fighter jet as a weapon, he can first turn it into his Noble Phantasm and then wield it far better than any human pilot could.
Knight in Shining Armor: Back when he was still alive and before his downfall, Berserker was considered to be the "Perfect Knight", and was a role model for all knights in his era. His true identity is in fact Sir Lancelot, the archetypal Knight in Shining Armor.
Lightning Bruiser: Strength? A; Agility? A+; Endurance? A. Using Arondight and getting a stat boost? Come on, quit hogging all the badass.
The Man Makes the Weapon: Due to a combination of Eternal Arms Mastership and Knight of Honor, even something as mundane as a street lamp pole becomes capable of dealing out serious pain to a Servant.
Master of Illusion: For Someone's Glory lets him distort and alter his appearance. The full extent of this power is revealed in Volume 4 when he convincingly disguises himself as Iskander. If not for Mad Enhancement, he could have spent the entire War pretending to be other Servants.
Master Swordsman: Eternal Arms Mastery allows him to fight with all the skill he had in life and he has the ability to utilize any form of combat. Not surprisingly, Saber considers him to be the strongest sword-wielding Heroic Spirit.
Oh Crap: He gets this reaction from Saber and Lancer, who are visibly sweating after seeing him deflect 2 shots from the Gate of Babylon
Power Limiter: Being a Berserker limits the Black Knight's access to one of his Noble Phantasms, For Someone's Glory. While insane, it merely obscures his identity and abilities. With full rationality, it could make him appear to be other people entirely.
Red Baron: "The Black Knight". Back when he was alive, he was also known as "The Knight of the Lake".
"We are all acting as one Servant, and each individual is only a shadow of the whole."
Assassin is the Servant summoned by Kirei Kotomine and unlike the other Servants is not a true Heroic Spirit. Rather, he is a similar but lesser type of being that lacks a true identity. In life, he had dozens of unique personalities that each had their own skillsets, making him a master spy and assassin. As a Servant, each one is granted its own body. One body is sacrificed early on without its knowledge to give the impression that Assassin has been defeated, after which the remaining ones are free to move about without suspicion as a scouting team.Assassin's multiple bodies are in fact his Noble Phantasm, Zabinaya. In life, Assassin could merely alter his body to suit his skill set and personality, but now he possesses the ability to manifest them all separately. Each one has to be killed in order to kill him for real.
Assassin Outclassin': Kotomine orders it to assassinate Tokiomi, but the attempt is abruptly cut short by Gilgamesh. Actually a subversion, the whole thing was staged in order to fool other Masters into thinking Assassin had already been eliminated.
Butt Monkey: The first assassin killed, generally called Zayd, in the Einzbern Consultation Room Specials. Also Assassins in general in the specials like when they show off Lancers Noble Phantasms by having stab multiple assassins.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Invoked by his Noble Phantasm, as every time Assassin splits off into a separate body, his already unimpressive stats are redistributed accordingly. This makes him an exceedingly weak Servant, especially since the Assassin class is pretty weak to start out with, but makes him a first rate Servant for gathering intelligence.
Death Is Cheap: His Noble Phantasm allows his soul to be split into eighty separate entities, all of which have to be killed before Assassin is counted as Killed Off for Real. One fragment of Assassin is sacrificed without its knowledge to fool the other Masters into thinking Assassin has been defeated. Later, he ended up fighting the guy who has a giant ARMY as a special ability. Should have kept a body at home.
Faking the Dead: The whole purpose of the staged assassination attempt on Tokiomi.
Large Ham: Zayd in the Einzbern Consulation Room specials.
Split Personality: In life, he could take on any conceivable role perfectly due to this, which manifested as his Noble Phantasm as a Servant.
Zerg Rush: How his Noble Phantasm is ultimately put to use by Kirei. Kirei uses his Command Spell to order all of Assassin's bodies to attack Waver and Iskander who happen to be with Gilgamesh and Saber at the time. While a poor use of a stealth based Servant like Assassin, the idea was that they could figure out Rider's true power.
"You don't need to grieve over me. I am already part of you. Enduring only the pain of your own sundering is enough."
Irisviel is a homunculus created by the Einzbern family as a vessel to activate the Great Grail. She is Kiritsugu's wife and the mother of Ilya. Having lived her whole life inside the Einzbern castle in Europe, she is bright and cheerful, and follows Kiritsugu on pure faith and trust. During the War, she is partnered with Arturia as a decoy so the other Masters will assume that Irisviel is a Master.She has absolute loyalty and faith in Kiritsugu's goals, though she doesn't appear to entirely understand them.
Demonic Possession: Towards the end of the Grail War, she is killed by Kotomine. A corrupt copy of Irisviel is created and operated like the Grail's puppet, though it appears to truly be Irisviel in a sense.
Irisviel: *Nailing sharp turns at high speed on a clifftop road* "See? See? I told you so! This car takes the turns really fast!" Saber: *sweating* "Well... that's because you're a... surprisingly good driver." Irisviel: *grinning like a maniac as the car jumps over a speed-bump* "I know. You may not believe it, but I practice all the time. Of all the toys Kiritsugu has brought me over the years, this is my absolute favourite!" Saber: "Th-this is... a toy?" Irisviel: "At the castle, I was only allowed to drive around the courtyard, so this is great!" Saber: "Shouldn't we have hired a professional driver?" Irisviel: "No, that would be boring! I mean, that would be really dangerous! What if the enemy were to suddenly launch an attack against us?"
Dying Curse: Already possessed by Angra Mainyu, "Irisviel" dies cursing Kiritsugu after he rejects the Holy Grail.
Evil Makeover: As her personality is finally overcome by the evil of the Grail, she appears one last time in black vestments.
The Glomp: Cuddly in canon, this gets turned up to eleven in the Einzbern Consultation Room Specials.
Nice Girl: Irisviel is the only openly friendly female member of the cast.
Our Homunculi Are Different: A homunculus is a being created in the shape of a human with the internal structure of the phantasmal races, allowing them to freely use magic just as naturally as a normal human breaths. However, they generally do not have souls, though a naturally conceived homunculus like her daughter may be an exception.
Plucky Girl: Even when outmatched, Irisviel is pretty determined.
Sheltered Aristocrat: She lived her whole life inside Einzbern grounds and this is her first time in the outside world. She has also admitted she doesn't understand the hardships of the world Kiritsugu wants to fix. She fits the plucky-type with child-like innocence and kindness.
“Even if I were to give up this life of mine, I would protect you till the end. Therefore, for Emiya Kiritsugu, please don’t die. For the fulfillment of that man’s dream.”
Maiya is Kiritsugu's gunslinging partner and other woman of sorts. She was found as an orphan on the battlefield and saved by Kiritsugu and dedicated her life to assisting him. She is most satisfied when Kiritsugu is most businesslike and willing to Shoot the Dog. She either assists Kiritsugu move about behind the scenes or helps guards Irisviel.
Foil: To Irisviel. Both love Kiritsugu and both are mothers, but while Irisviel is a puppet who acquired human emotions, Maiya is a human who willingly shut down her emotions and became a puppet. She is also the woman in Kiritsugu's life who knows his Magus Killer personality, unlike Iri who only knows Kiritsugu's human loving side.
It Meant Something to Me: It's explicitly stated that there's no real emotion involved on Kiritsugu's part in their Friends with Benefits relationship. Kiritsugu does it as a form of masochistic self-punishment, and as a "rehearsal" for how he'll eventually have to betray Irisviel, though Maiya still treasures it.
Sola-Ui is Kayneth's very reluctant fiancee through an Arranged Marriage and the daughter of the head of the Department of Euryphis at the Clock Tower. Kayneth bent the rules of the War by removing the burden of Prana supply to her, allowing him to keep the rights of the Master and still be an effective combatant. Sola-Ui views herself as a mere pawn in magus politics, thus she has buried her emotions completely - and for worse, when they do arise, it's because she has fallen for her fiancé's Servant Lancer, and doesn't hide her feelings for him.
An Arm and a Leg: Maiya cuts off her right arm in order to remove the Command Spells.
Bodyguard Crush: To Diarmuid, and incredibly so, though he's technically not her bodyguard to start with.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Disenchanted and already aware that she was little more than a pawn in magus politics, Sola became indifferent and cold towards Kayneth early on. Lancer's chivalry and bravery melted Sola with incredible speed. She doesn't bother hiding it from Kayneth.
Irony: Threatened to cut Kayneth's arm off if he didn't surrender his Command Seals to her after his defeat. Guess what happened to her in the end?
Love Makes You Crazy: She seems like a typical high-class Ice Queen until she falls for Lancer, after which she begins torturing Kayneth for the rights to the Command Seals.
Mad Love: Lancer makes it obvious that all he wants to do is serve his lord faithfully and that he isn't romantically interested in her. However, this just makes her even more infatuated. She snaps off one of Kayneth's fingers as he lies paralyzed and threatens to continue unless he hands over the Command Seals to control Lancer.
More Than Mind Control: A magus of Sola-Ui's caliber would be able to resist Lancer's C-Rank "Mystic Face," meaning she willingly gave in to the power of the Love Spot. That, or she did resist and in the end couldn't hack it. Or she just fell for the guy and the spot had nothing to do with it.
Stalker with a Crush: Diarmuid has to force her to stay away out of combat after she takes over, pointing out that she doesn't have Kayneth's training; Sola only gives in because she doesn't want Lancer to think she lacks confidence in him, not out of any concession to her own safety.
Yandere: In her panic after her arm with the Command Spells is cut off, Sola-ui claims she was going to use the remaining Command Spells to make Diarmuid love her.
"I was prepared for something like that when I decided to marry into the Tohsaka family, when I decided to become the wife of a magus. When you enter the bloodline of a magus, it is a mistake to seek for the normal happiness of a family."
Aoi is Tokiomi's wife, the mother of his daughters and the childhood friend of Kariya Matou, who has always loved her. Despite knowing exactly what was meant by marrying a magus (ie. being used to produce a capable heir) she accepted and was happy with her life. Devoted and unquestioning, who supports all of her husband's decisions and makes no objections; the ideal 'traditional wife'.
Extreme Doormat: Extremely submissive, never challenges the decision to marry Tokiomi and once married never questions him, following him devotedly and obediently no matter what, even when he decides to give her youngest daughter to the Matou family. It's even more evident in the bonus Drama CDs.
"I am obliged. My debt toward the Holy Church and both generations of the Kotomine family will be carved as a family precept."
Risei is the Church appointed overseer for the Grail War and the the father of one of the participants, Kirei. He secretly supports the Tohsaka family due to a close friendship with Tokiomi and faith in his goals. While he is proud of his son, he does not understand what torments his son and only sees an ideal and talented son.
Badass Grandpa: Kirei didn't learn his martial arts as an Executor, Risei taught him that. His badassery is gone as of the time of the story, or at least we do not see it.
Badass Pacifist: Unlike his son, he uses Baji Quan as a mediation method and for pacifying opponents, whereas his son uses it to kill.
Couldn't Find a Pen: Before dying, Risei leaves the letters "jn424" transcribed in blood, so he can transfer the Command Spells to Kirei.
Voiced by: Masane Tsukayama (Japanese), William Frederick Knight (English)
"There were terrible cries for the first three days, but by the fourth day, she was silent. Today, she was thrown at dawn in the worm storage to test how well she would last, but, ho ho, she endured it for half a day and is still breathing. What do you know, the Tōsaka material isn't defective."
Zouken is the head of the Matou/Makiri family, grandfather to Shinji Matou and uncle to Kariya Matou. Before the beginning of the story, Tokiomi decides that the Matou family would make a good home for his younger daughter as mage families are not supposed to have multiple children. Thus, Zouken becomes her adoptive grandfather. Unfortunately for Sakura, Tokiomi is a terrible judge of character and Zouken is, in fact, extremely cruel and manipulative. He has no plans of giving Sakura real training and instead introduces her to the Matou parasitic worm pit. Upon learning what has happened, a horrified Kariya makes a deal with Zouken that if he obtains the Grail for him, Sakura will be returned to her true family.Zouken desires to use the Grail to become immortal. While he is already two hundred years old thanks to his use of the worms, his body is starting to fail him. Because he doubts Kariya's ability to win the Grail by his own merit, he infests him with worms that temporarily boost his abilities in exchange for causing him agony and a death sentence.
For the Evulz: He sends Kariya into the 4th War although he considers Kariya's victory improbable from the very start, just because he wants to torture Kariya for betraying his expectations and leaving from the Matou clan.
Genre Savvy: When the demonic Caster was summoned, he immediately deduced that the Holy Grail system had erred, which caused the Grail's corruption and dismisses any chance of winning it, something Tokiomi and the Einzberns never realize through the whole war. He also discerns Kirei's true nature upon meeting him, and is very much aware of the stealth activities Kirei has been doing without Tokiomi's knowledge.
Rin is the elder daughter of Tokiomi and Aoi. She is energetic, outspoken and shows great promise as a magus. Her father Tokiomi is responsible for training her.
Adaptational Badass: In the anime, she manages to stand against Ryunosuke Uryu and free a bunch of children he had captured. And keep in mind she was only 8 years old at the time. There was no such segment in the light novel, however, where she was attacked by a monster and saved by Kariya before she could enter the enemy's lair.
Sakura is the younger daughter of Tokiomi and Aoi. She was given away to the Matou family because the laws of the magus world prevented Tokiomi from training more than one of his daughters to carry on his family's tradition, and Tokiomi didn't want Sakura's potential to go to waste. However, Zouken is not really training her as a magus but instead putting her through hell. Kariya made a deal with Zouken to win the Holy Grail in exchange for Sakura's freedom to return to the Tohsaka family.
Body Horror: Her body has been infested with parasitic worms.
Broken Bird: At the start of the story she's more or less normal, though depressed. By the end, she has no hope and no will to stand up to Zouken.
Creepy Child: In full effect in her final appearance in the anime, when she witnesses Kariya's corpse being eaten by the worms and she stares with a cold expression.
Older Than She Looks: As opposed to her mother. Due to being a homunculus that was born instead of created, she doesn't have a 'set' age from the beginning nor does she grow like a normal human would. Kiritsugu guesses (correctly) that she'll never have secondary sexual characteristics.
Our Homunculi Are Different: Ilya is a naturally conceived homunculus. This has warped her growth patterns so that despite being around eight years old she is absolutely tiny, only weighing about twenty pounds.
Shirou is a boy Kiritsugu finds while wandering through the destroyed city after the War. Finding a survivor gives Kiritsugu some measure of satisfaction that he was not entirely wrong. Ten years down the line, he becomes the protagonist of Fate/stay night.
Empty Shell: Partially. Whoever this kid was before the fire is gone completely. Not complete as he is able to develop a new personality for himself afterwards.
"Kerry, what kind of adult do you want to be when you grow up?"
Shirley is a young Filipino woman whom Kiritsugu was friends with in his childhood. She admired the work of Kiritsugu's father and acted as his assistant. Unfortunately, her curiosity got the better of her and without Norikata's approval she tested a potion he was making on herself, causing her to undergo a vampiric transformation.
Norikata was Kiritsugu's father and a magus researching manipulation of time who took up residence in the rustic, out-of-the-way Alimango island. While his experiments proved successful for plants, they were not suitable for use on humans.
Destroy the Evidence: He attempts to destroy the evidence he can't take with him of his experiments that ended up destroying the island.
Natalia was a freelance mercenary who sold information concerning Noritaka and his research on vampires. She rescued a young Kiritsugu from Arimago Island and took him as her apprentice. Over time, she became a mother figure to him.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: She let her guard down after killing the vampire Odd Vorak and ended up releasing all the bees he was hiding within his body, turning the entire plane cabin into a bloodbath.
Byakuya Matou is the father of Shinji, brother of Kariya and eldest nephew of Zouken Matou. He was passed over as heir to the family due to possessing very few, if any, magic circuits.He died three years prior to Fate/stay night and he only is mentioned in flashbacks.
Cain and Abel: Byakuya hates Kariya and believes that because of Kariya leaving he had to endure the cursed destiny of the family much in the same way Shinji hates Sakura in the original. When Kariya returns, Byakuya believes it's for a selfish reason.
Claudia Ortensia was Kirei Kotomine's wife, who died three years prior to the 4th Grail War. She was nearing death and wanted to prove to her husband that he truly had compassion in his heart, so she committed suicide to remind him of this. However, her actions only brought him into deeper despair when she failed.
Driven to Suicide: Due to being married to a man who was unable to love her in a conventional way. Her suicide was also an attempt to make Kirei actually care about her (or at least her death), but it didn't work.