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"...I am the Bone of my Sword."

I am the bone of my sword
Steel is my body and fire is my blood
I have created over a thousand blades
Unaware of loss, nor aware of gain
Withstood pain to create weapons, waiting for one's arrival
I have no regrets. This is the only path
My whole life, was unlimited blade works.

Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] is a 2014-2015 adaptation of the visual novel Fate/stay night, produced by studio ufotable. The anime adapts the second route of that game, named "Unlimited Blade Works", while incorporating a number of references to Fate/stay night's prequel, Fate/Zero, which was also adapted by ufotable in 2011-2012. The first season premiered in October 2014 and the second in April 2015.

At the end of the fourth Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu Emiya rescued a young boy, Shirou, whose memories and sense of self were lost in the fire that followed the destruction of the Corrupted Grail. Seeking redemption, Kiritsugu adopts the boy, but passes away five short years later, leaving the boy with only his old dream of becoming a Hero of Justice to follow, and an incomplete knowledge of magecraft to fulfill it.

Ten years after the fourth war, a new Holy Grail War begins. Tokiomi Tohsaka's daughter, Rin, has prepared to enter it for most of her life, but runs into a last-minute problem. Despite aiming for getting a Servant of the Saber class, she ends up summoning one of the Archer class due to an oversight. However, this Servant claims to not know his own identity due to an amnesia caused by Rin's clumsy summoning.

When Shirou witnesses Rin and Archer battle another Servant, he is killed by Rin's opponent in order to preserve The Masquerade. Feeling guilty, Rin uses the magic pendant that her father left her to revive Shirou, only to see him dragged into the war as a Master himself on the very same night. His Servant? Saber — the very same one that was summoned by his adoptive father ten years ago.

The story of this arc focuses more on Shirou's character growth and his relationship with Rin than do other arcs. Most importantly, however, it centers on his dream of fulfilling Kiritsugu's ideal of becoming a "Hero of Justice" capable of saving everyone, which clashes directly with Archer's more cynical and pessimistic view on heroism—a clash that is the key of the identity of the mysterious Servant.

The anime can be streamed legally in several countries via Crunchyroll and the first season can be found on Netflix. The second season was briefly available on Netflix, but removed in late 2015 before being re-added in 2016. The 2015 Blu-Ray release included extended scenes as well as the light novel Garden of Avalon as bonus content. The American Blu-Ray was announced in July 2015 for an August 2015 release.

Not to be confused with the Studio DEEN movie adaptation from 2010 of the same name.

This page assumes that you watched the Fate/Zero anime, so there'll be unmarked spoilers.

The anime provides examples of:

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     Tropes A - D 
  • Adaptation Expansion: Aside from the references to Fate/Zero, there are scenes exclusive to the anime that never ocurred in the original visual novel. As the visual novel assumes you have already read the Fate route, it often doesn't bother to retread unnecessary ground regarding characterization and exposition in the later routes, making some of these additions necessary for this anime to be an effective standalone story.
    • Rin tries to battle Illya early on while Berserker duels with Saber.
    • Illya discusses her motives with Sella and Leysritt, as well as Berserker's reset of his Noble Phantasm.
    • We see Rin's and Saber's first confrontation with Caster, which the VN skips.
    • Most of Episode 12 is this, between expanding on how Caster steals Saber, Caster's talk with Assassin, and her assault on the church.
    • There is also a very subtle hint as to what might have happened to Zouken in this route, when Shinji and Gilgamesh discuss events in the Matou basement... Gilgamesh crushing worms under his heel, when one remembers Kirei cordially hates Zouken, has some very interesting implications.
    • Caster's original Master was only mentioned in passing during the original VN as someone who was jealous that his Servant was a better magus, completely worthless and eventually Caster gave up on trying to help him. In the anime, he's a murderous snob who, despite protests to the contrary, falls into the same trap as Kayneth of not understanding his Servant's backstory. He also betrays her because of his jealousy, something she predicted and prepared for. The same episode shows Illya's reaction to Tohsaka and Shirou coming to meet her. She's shown to be willing to at least listen to them, as Shirou figured she would be. Unfortunately, Gilgamesh and Shinji show up between them announcing their presence through the alarm and actually arriving, swiftly killing Illya's two homunculus servants.
    • Episode 15 expands on much of Illya's backstory before entering the Holy Grail War, as well as showing that she had other reasons to fight besides vengeance.
    • Episode 20 expands on the fight between Shirou and Archer, with the former having an internal monologue where he finally remembers that his wish to save others was something of his own from the beginning. He also manages to use Avalon to heal himself. All of this is represented by him pulling out a random sword on a hill (Pre-UBW) representing him coming to terms with his flaws. Archer also uses Unlimited Blade Works to transport Shirou and Saber into his Reality Marble for this battle, which didn't happen in the VN: the fight stayed in the Einzbern mansion there.
    • Episode 21 gives us an inner monologue from Saber as she witnesses Shirou and Archer's conflict, realizing just how similar she is to them. Later, Gilgamesh lays out some rather lengthy exposition on the nature of the Holy Grail War and what the Grail actually is, which is quite a change from the VN—as mentioned above, this is covered in Fate, so the UBW route didn't bother.
    • In Episode 23, the Holy Grail starts going out of control after Rin extracts Shinji from it, and it sends a giant hand toward Gilgamesh to devour him as a replacement core. This forces Gilgamesh to bring out Ea to temporarily repel the Grail.
    • In Episode 24, Angra Mainyu partially manifests as a massive humanoid torso before being obliterated by Saber's Excalibur.
    • Episode 25 is the epilogue to the story, but goes to great lengths to expand upon the original, mainly showing Rin and Shirou living together, Shirou meeting Waver and having a brief discussion, and allowing Archer to continue his Counter-Guardian job, finally at peace.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • The anime doesn't explain how the damage caused to the school by Rin and Shirou's Wizard Duel in Episode 5 gets fixed. In the VN, she uses the same spell she uses to fix Shirou's window to undo the damage. This also happens in the anime, but only in a deleted scene in the Blu-ray boxset.
    • The visual novel's explanation of why Rin can't free herself when she gets kidnapped by Archer is nowhere to be found in the anime, which makes it look a lot like a case of Idiot Ball.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Gilgamesh. Due to Nasu having heavily expanded on his more heroic and wise side since the release of the original visual novel, much of his dialogue for the Ufotable anime has been rewritten, making him come off as much more of a Genius Bruiser and generally a more respecting and respectable person overall, while still keeping some of his characteristic vitriol. While he still has moments of evil antics, those moments are treated as being consistent with his new direction, such as how he talks to Berserker and Illya during his fight with them. This in contrast with the original visual novel where he was a borderline Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Saber lacking sufficient mana to fight at full power seems to be much less of an issue than it is in the VN, with her combat abilities being close to what she had in Fate/Zero. Notably, where Saber already performed much better in her first fight against Berserker in the Unlimited Blade Works route than in Fate, in the anime she manages to (temporarily) kill him.
    • Illya never personally fights in the original Visual Novel, but the anime gives a fight against Rin, which she wins.
    • Even Berserker. In the VN, he is described as having no real technique due to his madness, but in the anime it's stated he still has the skills he had in life despite being insane, much like his predecessor Lancelot, which is explained as them being ingrained in him as battle instincts. His madness still stops him from using his other Noble Phantasms, though. This is mostly likely a pragmatic decision: It's hard to show Berserker overpowering Saber with sheer speed and power given how fast-paced the fight scenes already are. His death scene is also changed from the original VN, as instead of breaking free from the Chain of Heaven only to slump over and drag himself over to Illya, he instead breaks free with a mighty roar and catches Gilgamesh off-guard, coming a literal inch away from crushing his head like a grape.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Inverted; many characters have more comical scenes in the VN that are cut in the anime.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the VN, Caster betrayed her original Master because he treated her like crap and because he was a coward who didn't want to put any effort into the war. In the anime, he's much more active, but also a good deal crueler. He betrays her instead of the other way around, but she had already prepared for it. In the process, she freed a bunch of human sacrifices that he had prepared, considering his use of them to be crass, inefficient and presumably, you know, evil. The VN states that she isn't as cruel as she seems but never shows it.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Archer. he even factors her victory in the Grail War into his plan to kill Shirou, wanting to manipulate events so that after Shirou is slain and Archer fades away due to the paradox, Rin and Saber would make a contract with each other and ride to victory as an unstoppable team. This plan is Adapted Out in the anime, with Archer's line mentioning how it factored into his primary goal not being present.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Archer and Lancer's second battle. While the outcome is still the same, in the VN Archer surprises Lancer by how he's able to hold his own despite the fact that Lancer's spear is too fast for him to even see; this is because of Archer's Mind's Eye skill, which allows him to create a perfect countermeasure for Lancer's fighting style because he's witnessed it once before. In the anime, no such thing happens.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Rin starts getting really mad when she sees just how self-sacrificing Shirou is, as she grows to care for him.
  • Animal Eyes: Lancer has red eyes with slitted pupils to enhance his animal motif (he's said to have "beast-like agility," as well). Also, just as in Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh still has red eyes with snake-like slitted pupils.
  • Anyone Can Die: Like Fate/Zero, the first season is mostly death-free for the major characters (with the exception of Rider), but the second season starts killing them off as the war gets intense.
  • Ascended Extra: A number of Homurahara students receive extra focus from their original appearance as well as Sella and Leysritt (partly drawn from their characterization in Fate/hollow ataraxia), pushing them from background characters into Mauve Shirt territory.
  • Aside Glance: Lancer gives one while teasing Rin in Episode 16.
  • Assimilation Backfire: In Episode 24, Angra Mainyu attempts to use Gilgamesh as a host after the avatar it created using Shinji was destroyed. Instead, it ends up dragging Gilgamesh into the Grail and ultimately consumes him.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • In the expanded DVD version of episode 13, Caster uses her magic to sexually torture Artoria in an attempt to break her and starts to feel her up, but is stopped from going further by the arrival of Kuzuki.
    • In episode 19, Shinji attempts to molest Rin, but is stopped from doing anything other than touching her leg by Lancer.
  • Baddie Flattery: Illya compliments Archer and his abilities against Berserker.
  • Battle Ballgown: Saber's combat outfit.
  • Battle Couple: Kuzuki and Caster complement each other, the former as the front-line fighter and the latter as the ranged support. As of episode 12 Shirou and Rin follow their example.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Shirou and Rin bicker and fuss over each other many times throughout the story, but their attraction and affection towards each other is very obvious to everyone around them.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rin comments that she should have been Saber's master instead of Shirou because she doesn't believe he's fit to be her master. Later in the series she eventually does become Saber's master, but only thanks to Archer's betrayal.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Rin gets very angry when Shirou mentions how his father never passed his Magic Crest down, which is made worse by Shirou's attitude. A more comical one is pressed when Shirou, misunderstanding one of her statements, indirectly calls her fat.
    • Caster's are implying that she's manipulating her master Kuzuki and being called a witch.
    • Lancer can't tolerate smug traitors.
  • The Berserker: Berserker. Illya even explains that Heracles is such a reknowned hero that he could have been summoned in any class but he was specifically summoned as Berserker because the Madness Enhancement makes him stupidly strong, if harder to control.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • Assassin's ultimate attack bends reality. It's impossible because it's from pure sword skill, no magecraft involved.
    • Berserker coming back to life separate from his Noble Phantasm and breaking Enkidu to get to Gilgamesh. His opponent's reaction makes it clear how insane this is.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Rin saves Shirou in Episode 5, just when Rider was going to take out his eye.
    • Archer gets a turn saving Shirou when Caster was going to steal his Command Spells. Later, he saves Rin, Taiga and an injured Shirou in Episode 12.
    • Shirou finally returns the favor in Episode 13 and comes to Rin's aid after Archer had betrayed her. In Episode 15, he desperately tries to save Illya, not caring if he'll get killed in the process, but Rin won't have any of it and stops him.
    • Shirou is caught by Gilgamesh's chain and is about to be sucked with him into the black hole when Archer, whom everyone thought was dead, tells him to move to the right, allowing him to snipe Gilgamesh right between the eyes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shirou and Rin both survive the Holy Grail War, with Shirou even managing to defeat Gilgamesh and save the world. Saber makes peace with her failures and passes on. Archer temporarily survives the war with his Independent Action, later fading away like the other Servants. Despite all this, life goes on for the surviving characters and they find peace with their lives...except Shirou still feels the urge to be a 'hero', so he gives up on living at the Clock Tower and travels the world with Rin, with the after-credits scene implying he is going to continue to be a hero like Archer, but unlike him, he both knows the ending and will never regret it like Archer did--because he has Rin.
  • Blood Knight: Lancer enjoys a good fight.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 11 serves as one, being a short respite after the confrontation with Archer at Einzbern Castle before leading into the final climax.
  • Bridal Carry: Rin has Archer carry her this way in cases of emergency.
  • Body Horror: Shirou's dream in episode 8 where swords emerge from his body.
  • Break Them by Talking: Archer in episode 20 while fighting against Shirou inside of Unlimited Blade Works, he also does this indirectly to Saber.
  • Broken Hero: It's shown multiple times that Shirou is very messed up in the head from the fire ten years ago.
  • Call-Back: Episode 15 is filled with many towards Fate/Zero from the last vision Kiritsugu has before rejecting the Grail to the voice of Irisviel speaking to Illya and the corruption of the former by Angra Mainyu.
  • Casting Gag:
    • In the English dub, Melissa Fahn voices Rider, a purple-haired badass with occult sensibilities and a dislike of most people. This should sound a little familiar.
    • Lex Lang played Issei Ryuudou in the first Fate series and went on to play as Souchiro Kuzuki in this version. Both Ryuudou and Kuzuki have close ties to each other as they both work at Ryuudou Temple.
  • Cat Smile: Taiga sports one of these in Episode 11.
  • Changing of the Guard: Half of the participants in the fifth Holy Grail War are the children of those who battled in the fourth.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Rin is a master of these. Lancer gives a beautiful one in Episode 16.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome:
    • Shirou, to the point that it concerns just about everyone around him. Rin's convinced that he's Too Dumb to Live considering that his future self did in fact die doing the selfless hero thing.
    • Taiga states that Kiritsugu had this as well.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Sakura. She is not happy to see Saber at all, though she eventually works to subvert this.
    • Saber in a non-romantic way. She gets annoyed at Shirou emulating Archer's fighting style instead of hers.
    • Rin does not take Luvia's advances on Shirou well
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the final battle, when Shirou and Gilgamesh are each launching a Storm of Blades at the other, Shirou's swords leave behind blue streaks in the air whereas Gilgamesh's swords leave yellow streaks.
  • Combat Breakdown: The final battle between Shirou and Gilgamesh peaks as they both launch countless blades at one another in a truly spectacular display... but after Gilgamesh loses an arm, Shirou runs out of mana, and Angra Mainyu attempts to consume Gilgamesh as a final act of desperation, they end up just struggling in a match of tug-of-war using Gilgamesh's chain.
  • Combat Pragmatism: Archer is willing to do anything to win, including killing Saber and Shirou.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Whereas Rin is shocked by the sight of her schoolmates slowly dying of mana deprivation, Shirou calmly checks them over and confirms without emotion that there should be time to save them. His lack of reaction to death is a sign there is something wrong with him.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Not the actual show, but the previews are photo-realistic chess pieces indicating Servants and Masters featuring in the next episode, as well as voiceovers.
  • Continuity Nod: Many towards the Fate/Zero anime.
    • As described above, the next-episode previews are done in the exact same style as Fate/Zero.
    • Rin was supposed to use the same relic her father used in the Servant invocation, but it has broken apart.
    • Illya uses birdlike familiars similar to her mother's.
    • The hand-holding motif of the second opening of Fate/Zero returns in the opening.
    • After Shirou tells Saber who he is, Saber looks surprised to hear the name Emiya, before looking back at the shed in mild surprise.
    • Remember the magic circle Irisviel drew in that shed? It's the same one Shirou unwittingly uses to summon Saber.
    • Even the way scenes are directed are very deliberate call backs to Fate/Zero, just look at this!
    • Saber looks away and shifts uncomfortably when Illyasviel, the spitting image of Irisviel, first introduces herself.
    • During Saber's fight with Lancer, Lancer uses Gae Bolg and hits her. As she recovers, Saber questions if the attack was a curse before instead realizing what it really is, a clever nod to what happened to her when she fought the Lancer in the fouth Grail War.
    • During his fight against Caster, Archer recognizes one of her spells as a form of Innate Time Control, Kiritsugu's signature magecraft.
    • In the second opening, Lancer is in the same building that Kayneth and Diarmund used as their last hideout.
    • When debating to allow Shirou and Rin entrance to the Einzbern's manor, Illya briefly recalls the last day she saw Kiritsugu.
    • The place where Shinji and Gilgamesh appear at the Einzbern's villa is the same courtyard where the meeting between the three kings occurred.
    • A series of flashbacks show that sludge from the corrupted Grail took on Irisviel's form (the body it was last in) and fed Illya lies about Kiritsugu to make her hate him.
    • Episode 19 briefly flashes back to Rin's last moments with her father and the moment of Kirei giving her the Azoth dagger, both from Fate/Zero.
    • Episode 20 shows us again Shirou struggling and walking forward to survive the hellfire at the end of the Fourth Grail War, as well as Kiritsugu finding him and giving him Avalon to survive.
    • Again in that same episode: at the end, Archer hurls his swords at Shirou and the camera spins 360 degrees as it follows their flight path, an exact copy of the camera work in Episode 24 of Fate/Zero when Kotomine throws his Black Keys at Kiritsugu.
    • Episode 21 flashes back to another scene from Fate/Zero, the moment when Saber destroys the Grail with Excalibur, causing the corrupted mana within it to spill all over Gilgamesh and burn down part of Fuyuki City.
    • Episode 22 shows the epilogue of Fate/Zero from Rin's perspective and a scene that features in Heaven's Feel, her memories of seeing Shirou jumping a high bar until sunset. It also has a Tohsaka walking around in circles during an explanation.
    • Episode 23 has Gilgamesh summon his sword Ea using the same key and unlocking mechanism from Episode 23 of Fate/Zero.
    • In that same episode, Shirou's first move when countering the full might of the Gate of Babylon is to pivot and grab a sword in the exact same way that Lancelot did when fighting Gilgamesh for the first time.
    • In the final episode, Shirou has a brief conversation with Lord El-Melloi II a.k.a. Waver Velvet about the Holy Grail War and his ideals.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: In Episode 16, a flashback shows that Angra Mainyu had a hand in corrupting Illyasviel from the adorable, cheerful girl she was in Fate/Zero to the cold and cruel girl she was at the beginning of Fate/Stay Night by impersonating Irisviel and feeding her lies about Kiritsugu.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Downplayed, but Shirou shows some of this when he accepts the alliance offer from Lancer on the condition that the latter stop flirting with Rin.
  • Creepy Child: Illyasviel von Einzbern when she's introduced, between her Creepy Monotone and her talk of murder. Especially jarring is when she sways like a kid playing or listening to music while she tells her Servant to go kill Shirou and Rin. However, by the time Shirou and Rin come to see her at her castle she is a cute, happy girl, and the episode goes to great lengths to make her a sympathetic character.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • When fighting Caster within her own territory, Archer deliberately misses with all of his attacks yet still beats her within an inch of her life.
    • Episode 10 gives us one of these, courtesy of Caster's Master, Kuzuki, who uses assassination techniques reinforced with Caster's magecraft to utterly destroy Saber and Rin.
    • It is also implied this is how Caster's master killed Rider.
    • Gilgamesh completely trounces Seyla and Leysritt offscreen, and by the time we get back to him, he's already about to behead Seyla.
    • It's hard to call the battle between Berserker and Gilgamesh anything other than one of these. Berserker never stood a chance, though it's implied he could have won if he weren't protecting his Master above all else.
    • Archer shows how helpless Kuzuki is to the power of a Servant when he doesn't have Caster's magecraft. When compared to Archer's extended fight with Lancer, there is no CGI, no music, just effortless slaughter.
    • The fight between Shirou and Archer. By the end of the series, even if he is able to stand by his own, Shirou is still no match against Archer. This changes as the fight goes on.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Gilgamesh effortlessly defeats Berserker, restraining him with the Chain of Heaven and taking his last life with a spear to the heart. He then goes on to mutilate Illya, preparing to execute her... only for Berserker to suddenly break free of the Anti-Divine chains holding him back and coming a literal inch close to crushing Gilgamesh's head like a grape. Gilgamesh doesn't suffer any harm from this last attack, avoiding certain death at the last possible moment and finishing off Berserker for good, but the look on his face shows how much real danger he was in during that very moment.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Sakura's hair and eyes are the same shade of purple, Taiga's are the same shade of brown, and Shinji's are the same shade of blue (or at least very close).
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Projection for Shirou, at first. Just using it once causes a night of pain, and the next morning the entire left side of his body is numb.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of Season 1 concludes with one of these: Shirou has lost Saber to Caster, he's been injured badly and can't heal (due to not having the contract with Saber), and Rin, the only friend he had left, basically tells him to fuck off, or he'll die. Things don't exactly get better at the start of Season 2, as Archer then betrays Rin, joining the side of Caster. At least Shirou manages to regain Rin as a friend and ally.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode 14 shows quite a bit of Caster's backstory as to how she killed her evil first Master and met Kuzuki.
    • Episode 15 is all about Illya and Berserker.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: As it did with Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero, Angra Mainyu takes the form of Irisviel when appearing before Illya.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Archer. Nearly every line he says is snark.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Though the VN route goes into more depth on the matter (due to including the anime-omitted inner monologues that characters often have), it's obvious that Shirou serves as a deconstruction of a "perfect hero" who wants to save everyone and is completely selfless. UBW shows that Shirou cares so much for others because he barely has a personality due to the trauma of the fire and must live vicariously through others, and that the reason he has no self-worth is because he literally has no concept of his own life, seeing that it could be easily traded away for another person's. Archer even states that his dream of becoming a superhero isn't even his, it's Kiritsugu's. This behavior is extremely disturbing to everyone around Shirou, and many of the faces he makes towards the middle of the series are fairly disturbing. This is then reconstructed around episode 20, where Shirou learns that the ideal of wanting to save everyone really was his own, and that Kiritsugu only gave him the push he needed. Shirou goes on to state that although he does need to place more effort in protecting himself, he will still willingly sacrifice himself for others if it's the right thing to do.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Particularly to those who see Fate/Zero first. The first episode is focused on Rin, a minor character from Zero, and ends with the appearance of Saber, one of Zero's Main Characters. The real main character is Shirou Emiya, who is at first given only as much attention as every other student Rin speaks to.
  • Determinator: Berserker; nothing will stop him from protecting Illya. He even breaks an unbreakable chain and comes back to life outside of his Noble Phantasm to that end.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sakura, at least in contrast to the Fate route adaptation which hints at her connection to Rider following Rider's demise and Heaven's Feel. It's okay, though; she has the movies.
  • Deuteragonist: Rin, which is justified since the anime adapts her focus route.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Gilgamesh's strategy when fighting Berserker is pretty straightforward: keep your distance, whale on him from afar, and use your anti-divinity unbreakable chains if he gets too close. Berserker putting up a good fight? Expected. Berserker nearly landing a blow? Expected. Berserker coming back from the dead outside his Noble Phantasm, breaking Enkidu, and almost killing Gilgamesh? Not expected. It marks one of the few times in the entire Nasuverse that Gilgamesh is surprised by something.
      • Particularly notable as he wasn't even phased by that in the original VN.
    • Kirei didn't expect Lancer to get back up after being stabbed in the heart. The look on Kirei's face when Lancer nails him to a wall with Gae Bolg is priceless.
    • For the Final Battle Shirou and Rin plan to use Saber to fight Gilgamesh head on while they try to save Shinji from the Holy Grail and use Unlimited Blade Works to trap and destroy Gilgamesh. Unfortunately they were completely blindsided by the fact that Assassin was still alive even after Caster was killed, and he is more interested in having one last battle with Saber then the potential end of the world happening, meaning that Gilgamesh is free to attack Rin and Shirou forcing them to alter their plan.
  • Distant Finale: The last scene in the final episode takes place years after the series, showing Shirou continuing his goal to become a hero of justice in a desert heavily implied to be the Middle East.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Shirou is actually doing pretty well fending off Rider until he comments that she isn't very impressive compared to the other Servants. It turns out that she was just toying with him.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Caster's former Master decided her story showed she was a treacherous witch who betrayed everyone rather than a much abused toy of the gods and "great heroes" like Jason. He treats her like crap accordingly, loudly announcing his disdain and distrust for her. When he tells Kotomine that he can't trust a witch like her after having read her story, Kotomine laughs briefly at him taking away exactly the wrong message from the story. Unsurprisingly, Medea is prepared for his obvious betrayal when he gets back to his workshop, but she still gives him one last chance. He doesn't take it and dies a karmic death.
  • Dual Wielding: Archer usually fights with two swords. Shirou does the same in Episode 10 onward.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Shirou shows these during a flashback of the huge fire 10 years ago.
  • DVD Bonus Content: The Blu-ray edition contains numerous edits and extended scenes, most prominently showing Caster molesting Saber after capturing her.
     Tropes E - H 
  • Enemy Mine: In Episode 5, Rin offers to team up with Shirou until they get rid of the other Master at their school.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • Kuzuki, using his own martial arts and magically enhanced speed and strength, is able to take down Saber.
    • Rin is able to take down Caster using magecraft-enhanced martial arts taught to her by Kirei.
    • Last but not the least, Shirou takes advantage of Rin's Mana Transfer and reconciling his ideals versus Archer's cynicism to counter the full might of Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon using his own version of Unlimited Blade Works, and he wins.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Servants are almost exclusively referred to by their Servant class, since revealing their true name can put them at a tactical disadvantage.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Caster, canonically Neutral Evil, was quite unimpressed with her Master, considering his use of liquified children to power his magecraft wasteful and pointlessly cruel. Before killing him later, she destroys his workshop and lets all his captives go.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Shirou is so nice that Issei, a monk in training, thinks he's overdoing it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Caster in Episode 12 completely misunderstands both Kiritsugu's and Shirou's nobler motivations. She thinks Kiritsugu adopted Shirou to force him to train for the next Grail War rather than out of a desire for redemption and love. She also thinks Shirou is bitter towards the world and desires the Grail when in actuality he's a Martyr Without a Cause.
  • Exponential Plot Delay: A point often brought up by the detractors of the series is that the pacing seems to get slower as the series progresses. The story moves briskly in the first season, but the second will have entire episodes of only moving the pieces into place for an upcoming battle and singular yet extensive plot developments. Archer spends an episode monologuing about his motivations before his fight with Shirou, and the battle itelf lasts for an episode and a half. Episode 23 consists of the Main Characters sitting around a table discussing strategies to defeat the Big Bad before the not-sex-scene between Rin and Shirou.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Rider tries to pluck out one of Shirou's eyes in Episode 5.
    • In the second season Gilgamesh slices Illya's eyes.
  • Fantastic Nuke:
    • Lancer's Gae Bolg's true ability is classified as an anti-army Noble Phantasm when thrown, and creates a localized explosion that dwarves the Fuyuki Church when clashing with Archer's Rho Aias. Fortunately, it dissipates quickly to avoid collateral damage.
    • Archer's Caladbolg basically IS a nuke, considering the size of the explosion it makes when it hits Berserker in Episode 3.
    • Gilgamesh unleashes a small burst of Ea's power to destroy an appendage of the Grail that was attempting to grab him, completely shattering the surrounding buildings in the process.
  • Field of Blades: Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Fisher King:
    • As Shirou begins to gain the advantage in his fight, forcing Archer to realize that their ideal isn't a mistake, Unlimited Blade Works's sky slowly transforms from a dreadful, cloudy one with gears in the air to a beautiful, clear one. When Archer completely concedes, the Reality Marble completely takes on this sky.
      • When Archer starts really doubting, the gears in the sky come to a stop with an audible CLANG.
    • The opposite process is also shown at the beginning of season 2 when Rin dreams of Archer's past. As her narration mentions betrayal, the beautiful clear sky turns to a clouded one with lightning and gears appearing as she finishes uttering, "In the end, even after his death, he kept being betrayed by his ideals." The narration combined with the visual and the soundtrack makes for a very sobering moment where one shudders at imagining what Archer went through.
  • Flash Back:
    • Episode 5 has a flashback of Shirou getting his dream from Kiritsugu and Rin training after Tokiomi died.
    • Episode 16 gives Illya's backstory through the ten years since the events of Fate/Zero.
  • Fly Or Die: Shirou generally seems to be able to use his magecraft more effectively when his life is in danger. It's especially seen when he projects the first time against Kuzuki.
  • Foil:
    • Shirou and Rin. Shirou is a rookie magus that can only use Reinforcement magecraft and (widely considered useless) Projection and Rin is a very skilled and versatile magus with a famous family legacy. Whereas Shirou was literally forced into the Holy Grail War, Rin spent ten years preparing for it. They are both people that hold their ideals high and got said ideals from their fathers. Said ideals are opposites, as well: Shirou wants to be an Ideal Hero, a dream of complete selflessness, whereas Rin wants to be an ideal magus, a dream of complete selfishness. They also both lack a wish despite being in the war.
    • Shirou and Archer, as Caster points out. They both want to save people but have different ways of achieving that goal.
  • Food Porn: The anime gives a lot of shots of gorgeous-looking food, especially in Episode 4.
  • For Want of a Nail: In the beginning of the Fate route, Saber severely wounds Archer during their first confrontation outside Shirou's home, which puts him out of commission for much of that route. UBW splits from that path by having Shirou use a Command Seal to stop Saber before she injures Archer, which in turn allows Archer to take a far more proactive role in the events of the Holy Grail War.
  • Forced into Evil: Assassin and Saber are this. Assassin and Saber, being Caster's servants, can't refuse her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Episode 0, we get a close up of Archer's lips when he fights Lancer. He says Trace on.
      • Also in Episode 0, when Archer first sees Rin after being summoned, he looks mildly surprised before his expression changes to his usual aloof one, implying he recognized and remembered her from his human life.
    • The next-episode previews use the appearance and placement of the chess pieces to hint at plot points that will be revealed in the next episode.
    • All of the Shirou and Archer parallel scenes.
    • Also, in Episode 0 Archer is very familiar with the mechanics of Reality Marbles and is knowledgeable about them to the point Rin is surprised. Given that Archer and Shirou possess Unlimited Blade Works, also a Reality Marble, this knowledge is to be expected.
    • Rin having martial arts training that comes in handy in her duel with Caster. In season 1, she puts Shirou into a wrist lock, and shifts into a fighting stance right after he drops the line "I like people like you", and also shows skills with grabs.
    • In Episode 11, Shirou is in pain and one side of his body is numb. Archer diagnoses that it's because he's using his atrophied natural magic circuits for the first time and heals him. Saber comments on his knowledge of the problem and he says he went through something similar when he was Shirou's age, hinting he is Shirou's future self.
    • Rin showing concern for Sakura (such as helping her pick up her books after bumping into her or following her late at night when something seems wrong) foreshadows what will be revealed in the Heaven's Feel route.
    • Gilgamesh talking to Sakura about something unrevealed while Rin and Archer eavesdrop on them is something revealed in the Heaven's Feel route.
  • The Gadfly:
    • Rin. She happily teases Shirou in Episodes 2 and 12.
    • Lancer. He admits to messing with Rin simply because she has fun reactions.
  • Gemstone Assault: Rin often makes use of mana-infused gemstones for her more impressive magical feats.
  • Generation Xerox: Shirou and Rin not only carry similar dreams to their fathers, but also enter the Holy Grail War with a Saber and an Archer. Shirou's Saber is the very same one his father summoned, whereas both Rin and Tokiomi's Archers barely bother with a bow and prefer swords instead.
  • Genki Girl: A grown up version (kind of) in Fujimura Taiga, Shirou's older sister-figure and one of his and Rin's teachers.
  • Ghost Memory: As usual Masters can Servants can see one another's dreams. There's another, more special example in the case of Archer and Shirou. As they are the same soul they both end up seeing pieces of each other's memories. There's also the fact that exposure to Archer causes Shirou to slowly inherit his future self's skill in projection. Once Shirou snaps out of his Heroic BSoD at the last fourth of their fight Archer even acknowledges that he's is right on the edge of catching up to him.
  • Good Parents: Rin at least thinks Kiritsugu was one, focusing on being a parent instead of a mage.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal:
    • Berserker's God Hand ability appears to makes him immune to all but the most powerful legendary weapons was relatively downplayed, presumably so that the anime can show off his Resurrective Immortality powers, Gilgamesh however quickly realises his ability and immediately draws his most powerful Noble Phantasms against him.
    • A lot of attention is paid to Shirou's ability to heal very quickly, because he keeps getting gravely injured and healing by the next day.
  • Gratuitous German: Rin often uses it when casting more complicated spells.
  • Grave-Marking Scene:
    • In Episode 12, a new scene shows Taiga visiting Kiritsugu's grave right before Caster takes her hostage.
    • In Episode 17, one scene shows Shirou and Rin talking in front of Illya's grave that they just dug.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In episode 14 when Gilgamesh beheads Sella.
  • Guilt Complex: Shirou's Martyr Without a Cause tendencies are partly due to the guilt of being the only survivor of the huge fire ten years ago and actively ignoring others to survive.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold:
    • Saber plays it straight...
    • ... but Gilgamesh is an aversion.
  • Heroic BSoD: Shirou gets one when he sees just how powerful Berserker is. He gets over it quickly, though.
  • Heroic Resolve: A primary characteristic of Shirou, whose refusal to give up in even dire situations leads to his summoning of Saber.
    • In Episode 10, Shirou endures a blow from Kuzuki, who just defeated Rin and Saber, to project for the first time to save Rin's life.
    • Episode 20 reveals that this, together with his wish to save others, is a trait that he didn't lose in the hellfire.
    • Saber herself also shows this despite being under Caster's control she is constantly fighting against her new Masters orders despite Caster possessing Shriou's Command Seals. It gets to the point where Caster has to put Saber under a protracted spell to slowly break her will and make her submit. Saber never does.
  • Heroic RRoD: After using Projection for the first time, Shirou is in horrible pain and the next day the entire left side of his body is numb. This is even visually shown as Shirou's magic circuits glowing red instead of the usual green.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Shirou's battle against Archer is this. Shirou can't hope to match Archer, even at 1/10th of his strength. Shirou spends much of the battle on the defensive and even after finding his resolve again, Archer makes the point that Shirou is just a dead man walking. But Shirou keeps getting up again and again and again.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: 8'4" (253 cm) Berserker and 4'4" (133 cm) Illya.
  • Humiliation Conga: Gilgamesh's downfall and death in episode 24. Once Shirou activates Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh gets outpaced and overpowered despite using the Gate of Babylon's full power, and his hesitancy to recognize Shirou as an equal and use Ea leads him to lose an arm and nearly get cut in half. He does manage to escape Unlimited Blade Works since Shirou runs out of mana, but he's forced to admit he survived on a fluke and that Shirou was the one who won their fight. And after that, the spirit of Avenger attempts to use Gilgamesh as a vessel, sucking him into a void and forcing him to try and crawl out by using Shirou as an anchor. Finally, he gets killed when Archer swoops in and strikes him in the forehead - not with a Broken Phantasm, but by a single, ordinary sword-arrow. Compared to the Fate route, where he was defeated unleashing Ea's full power and died with a satisfied smile, this route's Gilgamesh most certainly had an undignified and humiliating demise (and considering his Villainous Breakdown throughout, he definitely knew it).
     Tropes I - L 
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Rin busts out hand-to-hand combat skills reinforced by magecraft after being cornered by Caster.
  • I Hate Past Me: Archer's reason for wanting to kill Shirou. Archer is a future version of Shirou who tried to live as a "Hero of Justice", only to be betrayed and killed for it. So, he'd rather see a past version of him dead than repeat the same mistakes.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Archer offers this explanation for saving Shirou from Caster to hide his true motive. Archer wants to keep Shirou alive until he can kill him himself, hoping that the resulting paradox would erase himself from existence.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Illya said this when she's dying.
  • Ideal Hero: Shirou's dream. He wishes for an ending where no one dies.
    • Deconstructed by Archer, a future version of Shirou, who has seen the futility and impossiblity of this dream first hand. Also, if one looks at Fate/Zero, Shirou could be seen as being forced to confront the issues that made Kiritsugu, his adopted father, give up on trying to be an Ideal Hero, though Kiritsugu's wish to be that quickly turned him into a The Needs of the Many-styled Anti-Hero.
  • Identity Amnesia: Archer claims this, attributing it to Rin's imperfect summoning.
  • Idiot Hero: Also Shirou. Gets lifted into the air by Archer from an exploding battlefield and what does he do? "Put me down!"
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This is how Berserker meets his end against Gilgamesh, as well as how Gilgamesh in turn meets his end against Archer, with a sword fired right into his face. The bastard certainly deserved it, after all he did.
  • Improvised Weapon: Shirou tends to make use of Reinforced wall posters and desk chairs in lieu of a proper weapon.
  • In-Series Nickname: Goldie for Gilgamesh.
  • Instant Expert: During their fight, the spiritual resonance between them causes Shirou to rapidly approach Archer's level of skill in swordfighting.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • The scene where Rin transfers her magic crest to Shirou plays very much like a sex scene. Of course, in the original visual novel it was a sex scene.
    • Gets a reference in the "Sunny Days" alternate end. In order to have enough mana to maintain a pact with Saber, Rin tells Shirou that she'll need him to boost her mana. When he asks how, she blushes and dodges the question, saying there are several options. Again from the visual novel, we know that one of the simplest and most efficient ways is for them to just have sex.
  • Knockback Slide: Most of the fights feature at least one instance of a character's feet sliding across the ground as he or she blocks a blow from an opponent.
  • Jerkass:
    • Shinji, like always.
    • Caster's first Master, who not only mistreats Caster, but also uses slave children as sacrifices to obtain mana crystals without baiting an eye.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: Rin tries to be more ruthless than she actually is. She claims to be willing to kill anyone, but obviously doesn't want to kill Shirou, having saved his life multiple times by Episode 5.
  • Lack of Empathy: In Episode 10, when Shirou confronts Caster's master, Kuzuki, about her actions, the latter simply states he doesn't care about the lives of strangers.
  • Laughably Evil: Shinji is so over-the-top as a Giggling Villain with an Annoying Laugh, it's hilarious. It was probably intentional.
  • The Leader: Rin is usually the one with the plan of what she and Shirou does when they are in an alliance. Especially when they both lose their servants.
  • Leitmotif: The main theme of Fate/Zero makes its return as part of the OST.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size and power, Berserker is no less agile than Saber or the other Servants.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Rin and Shirou have a moment like this. In the second season, they start arguing over what to do when Lancer is in front of them and in the end forget all about Lancer and start arguing about their personalities.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Downplayed compared to the VN. Shirou has added a black and white jersey to his iconic cloth change, Rin has her school uniform along with a thick red coat in addition to her iconic Zettai Ryouiki outfit and a red jacket and yellow scarf when going in the cold, and Saber has about three different outfits: her battle dress, a casual blouse and skirt from Rin, and a jacket and blue scarf when going outside in the snow.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Both Rin and Shirou got their ideals and training from their fathers (adopted father in Shirou's case).
  • Love Confession: Shirou gives one to Rin in the first episode of the second season.
  • Luminescent Blush: Rin usually has one thanks to Shirou.
     Tropes M - P 
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Sakura and Shinji have purple and blue hair, respectively. Sakura's was caused by being implanted with magical familiars of Zouken in hopes of increasing her abilities, whereas Shinji has it as a natural trait of the Matou Family, specifically inherited from his father.
  • Marry Them All: In the Sunny Day ending Shirou lives with and is implied to be in a relationship with both Saber and Rin.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Shirou will pretty much find any excuse to put himself in the line of fire and doesn't really understand why anyone would have a problem with this.
    Shirou: If I die for nothing, what business is it of yours?
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: Gilgamesh is the perfect example of the first variant of this trope. He is so arrogant, and his Noble Phantasm so powerful, that he will stay put with a smug look, as if everyone was beneath him, while a near infinite supply of legendary weapons strike his enemies down at his beck and call.
    • Both Archer and Shirou also are shown to be capable of doing this. Thanks mainly to their ability of copying any weapon they see.
  • Meaningful Echo: Episode 20 has one in the clash of ideals of Shirou and Archer, and one after Shirou finds his will to fight on.
    Hey, that's hell you're walking into.
    My body is made of blades.
    • Another one happens in the finale thanks to the Adaptation Expansion in the final episode of the first season. In episode 12, Shirou is willing to allow Caster to take his arm in order to save Taiga without thinking of another, less-harming alternative, showing his lack of self-preservation. In episode 24, Shirou shouts that he would rather cut of his arm than allow Gilgamesh to get out of the hole of the grail; this time, however, it's clear that doing so is the only way to save himself from being swallowed by the vortex too, which means he finally has some sense of self-value. And, in both cases, Archer is the one to bail out Shirou.
  • Meaningful Name: or, meaningful abbreviation, at least. 'Unlimited Blade Works' usually abbreviated as UBW, which could be loosely interpreted as 'ubau' or 'ubawareru' (lit. 'steal' or 'got stolen'), lampshading Shirou's ability to steal other's technique (well, okay, not exactly steal, but make it work anyway! 'Steal' knowledge about someone's power?)
  • Montage Out: Happens at the end of the first season, which shows all of the major surviving characters and their Servants to the tune of THIS ILLUSION.
  • Ms. Fanservice: We get a good look at Rider's cleavage in Episode 5, and a nice closeup of her rear in episode 8 (though the latter isn't really her but merely a phantom projected by Caster). Also, Rin, in all her zettai ryouiki glory. Also Saber, in Caster's control.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • What's the first thing Rin uses her newly summoned Servant for? Cleaning her living room. On top of that, she also uses her magecraft to repair Shirou's broken window in the second episode.
    • Shirou generally used his magecraft to fix faulty electronics before the Holy Grail War started.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The massive halberd Leysritt has in Episode 15 is the same weapon she uses in Fate/unlimited codes.
    • One that carries over from the original VN; in Episode 16, Lancer mentions he and Gilgamesh wouldn't get along. In the route that came prior to UBW, Fate, Lancer and Gilgamesh were told to fight together by Kirei but they turned on each other almost immediately, with Lancer being killed. Also in that same episode, the place Shirou and Rin walk to after leaving the Einzbern Castle is the same house that is used as a refuge in the Fate route.
    • The beginning of Episode 19 shows Shirou making his pact with the world and becoming Counter-Guardian EMIYA. The area it takes place is the cooling area of a nuclear reactor about to blow up, which matches with his backstory as according to Fate/EXTRA.
    • In episode 19, Mordred makes an appearance during Saber's flashback wearing the armor and wielding her Noble Phantasm, the sword Clarent, from Fate/Apocrypha.
      • In the second ending if you pay close enough attention you can see that the corpse Saber is crying over is Mordred.
    • In episode 20, after Shirou recovers the will to fight, we see an scene of him pulling out a sword on a hill (Just like Saber with Caliburn), he even uses Avalon afterwards.
    • In Episode 21, the vision Saber sees in her mind contrasting the innocent girl she once was versus the blood-stained knight she became has her innocent self wearing the same dress that she has in the "Last Episode" epilogue in the Fate/Stay Night: Realta Nua PS2 / PS Vita remake of the original visual novel.
      • More flashbacks of Archer's past in that same episode show him being friendly with children in a Middle Eastern country, harkening back to a CG image from Fate/EXTRA.
    • Shirou has a nightmare where blades erupt from his body, killing him, in a reference to one of the bad endings of "Heaven's Feel" and "Fate" (when he gets thrown from the third floor).
    • As with the original anime adaptation of "Unlimited Blade Works", the mana transfer scene between Shirou and Rin is censored, complete with magical blue dolphins.
    • When trying to save Rin, Saber would have stepped in Angra Mainyu's black ooze, the same substance that turned her into Saber Alter in "Heaven's Feel".
    • Like in the Fate route of the VN, Gilgamesh uses Merodach against Shirou in melee combat. Unlike in the Fate route, Shirou doesn't use the weaker derivative Caliburn but instead uses his own Merodach, allowing him to overpower and disarm Gilgamesh this time around.
    • Gilgamesh's dome attack, where he surrounds his opponent with Gate of Babylon portals and then fires weapons at them from every direction, is taken directly from his fight against True Archer in Fate/strange fake. And just like True Archer, Shirou is able to No-Sell it.
    • Rin's personality in the epilogue is similar to that of an AU counterpart of herself that Shirou accidentally calls in the Mimic Rin scene from Fate/hollow ataraxia.
  • Never My Fault: Shinji never admits to his weakness or failings, always blaming others for their "weaknesses" and making himself look bad.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the season 1 finale Shirou uses one of his Command Seals to stop Saber from attacking Caster since she has Taiga hostage and he is afraid she will kill her. Doing this stops Saber from moving long enough for Caster to stab her with Rule Breaker, removing Shirou's rights as a master, and turning Saber into Casters Servant.
  • No-Sell:
    • Caster attempts to attack Saber in Episode 10 and fails due to the latter's high Magic Resistance.
    • Everything Archer and Rin throw at Berserker in Episode 3 can't even budge him a centimeter. Even Saber's best attack only forces him to use his Noble Phantasm to survive.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Archer is more inclined to use swords than bows, a fact which Lancer lampshades.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Caster finds Shirou and Archer to be quite similar to one another, much to their mutual horror.
    • While watching his fight with Archer, Saber realizes she and Shirou are very similar in their ideals. She uses the fight in front of her as an opportunity to sort out her own feelings about her ideals and goals.
  • Not So Stoic: Kotomine, when talking of Kiritsugu, squeezes his arm in anger.
  • Off with His Head!: Gilgamesh executes Sella by beheading her after he's done riddling her and Leysritt with weapons.
  • Official Couple: Shirou and Rin. Episode 25 more or less proved it.
    • Official Triad: Shirou, Rin and Saber. By Alternate Sunny Day ending.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Gilgamesh is a smug bastard, and although he respects Berserker's abilities, the latter isn't a match for him. He is certain his victory is assured after killing Berserker for the 12th time and impaling his Master. Then, Berserker ressurects himself by sheer will alone for the 13th time, and breaks the chains holding him that are specifically meant to hold deities. Cue Gilgamesh being actually surprised, only able to survive by summoning a few weapons to hold him in the nick of time.
    • The look on Lancer's face when Kirei orders him to kill himself. Unlike in the original UBW movie, where it happens in one swift movement, you can see him watching his weapon as it spins, and struggling to stop it for a moment, fully aware of what he's about to do. Kirei ends up having his own seconds later when Lancer gets back up and impales him.
    • The look on Gilgamesh's face when Shirou hacks his arm off mere seconds before he can use Ea on him is a combination of this and paralyzing disbelief.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: This happens when the audience sees Ea through Shirou's point of view. It represents Shirou's inability to comprehend the makeup of Ea, which is because it comes from a time before reality existed. Staring at it for too long would eventually break his mind.
  • Papa Wolf: Berseker to Illya. He'll do anything to protect her,
  • Parental Abandonment: The fourth Grail War didn't leave a lot of surviving parents. In particular: Shirou, Rin, and Illya lost theirs due to the war (both biological and adoptive in Shirou's case).
  • Passing the Torch: Both Shirou and Rin took on the ideals of their fathers; Shirou's desire is to be a hero and Rin's is to be a respectable magus.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Taiga's Genki Girl personality makes every scene she is in (minus the one at Kiritsugu's grave) much less serious.
  • Polyamory: The series ends with the True Ending, where Saber's role is described as more "mother/guardian-like figure" and she eventually steps aside to Shirou and Rin's happiness and fades away after she fulfills her duty as their Servant and finds peace. However, there is also the Blu-ray exclusive Good Ending, where Saber stays with Shirou and Rin as the latter's familiar, and all three continue living together — implicitly as mutual lovers..
  • Posthumous Character: Kiritsugu, who died five years before the start of the series.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Caster's former Master had an elaborate workshop designed to kill slave children and absorb power from their bodies into special crystals. Caster is disgusted because she can create better versions of those same crystals on her own.
  • Power Floats: Caster cannot be bothered to walk anywhere: she floats.
  • Power Glows: When Rin uses her Magic Crest, it glows.
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Archer gives one when he snipes Berserker and hopes to get Shirou in the process.
    • Illya gives one when talking to Rin in Episode 3.
    • Caster gives one when Kuzuki lets her go wild.
     Tropes R - U 
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shirou delivers one to Gilgamesh in their battle, and a poignant one at that: for being the most powerful, all that power is wasted on Gilgamesh, because all he does is float there and spam Gate of Babylon to solve all his problems, whereas the other Servants all mastered their weapon or combat of choice — "a king, not a warrior". The logical conclusion of this, the moment someone with a counter to Gate of Babylon like Shirou comes along and has actual skill in single combat, Gilgamesh is in some serious danger.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: So far the only characters with red eyes are Lancer, Illya, Berserker, and Gilgamesh, and all four are VERY dangerous.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rin and Saber.
  • The Reveal: Archer is an alternate-universe copy of Shirou, who, after the events of the War, become a Counter-Guardian to defend Earth from itself. He feels his life is a waste, and that by murdering Shirou, can make it so that he never existed in the first place.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Seeing as Illya can't do anything to Kiritsugu because he's been dead for years, she decides to make Shirou suffer in his place.
  • Reverse Grip: Archer sometimes holds his swords like this.
  • Retcon: When the anime shows Saber performing the action she regrets the most she's wearing a dress. In the original visual novel she was wearing trousers.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Episode 19 shows a number of scenes where Archer had to "clean up" a lot of humanity's messes. One of these involves a lot of dead guys who look just like Islamic militants. The same day the episode aired, the United States announced they had taken out a senior Islamic State commander via an ultra-top secret commando mission into Syria. This is an anime-exclusive scene, so you know ufotable had to be referencing current events.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The hand-holding motif that appears in the first opening and the end of episode 25, which is a Continuity Nod to the second opening of Fate/Zero, as in the passing of the ideals of Kiritsugu and Shirou's connection with the people he loves or loved; another one, less notorious, is the jersey that Shirou uses, meant to highlight him as the opposite of Gilgamesh.
  • Sensei-chan: Taiga is more or less a child despite being 24.
  • Sequel Hook: In Episode 25, Rin encounters a major character from Fate/hollow ataraxia.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shirou, after the hellfire that appeared ten years ago.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Rin and Shirou, although it's downplayed compared to the visual novel because we don't really hear a lot of Internal Monologue from Shirou. It starts getting really thick in the second season, when Shirou confesses in the first episode.
    • There's also, quite a bit between Shirou and Saber when one notices the many affectionate looks they share as well as the After-Action Patch-Up she gives him in episode 7. The Good End "Sunny Day" shows how hard he loses his composure upon seeing her and the gentle caresses she gives his face.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Taiga for Shirou and Rin by episode 12.
    • Rin teases Archer with Saber in episode 12.
    • Lancer for Shirou and Rin in a snarky way in the second season.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Shirou gets a couple.
    • So does Issei in Episode 9.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Rin and Issei. Rin never passes up a chance to mess with him and he considers her a vixen.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Played With. Although the Matous were famous and powerful in the past, their bloodline has already degraded by the present, but Shinji still acts like he's the best of the best.
  • Smug Smiler: Rin, Caster and Lancer epitomize this.
  • Smug Super: Gilgamesh, who outright declares that he considers himself defeated if he takes Shirou seriously during their fight. He means it too. He admits Shirou has beaten him after their battle, even though Shirou is out of mana and Gilgamesh is about to kill him.
  • The Social Darwinist: Gilgamesh wants to use the Holy Grail to slaughter as many people as possible, leaving only the strong to remain for him to rule. Unlike most examples of this trope, he has a proof of concept that his plan will work: Shirou.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist:
    • Caster always talks in a calm, albeit smug voice when torturing Saber.
    • Rider does the same when torturing Shirou.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shirou. Mitsuzuri points it out when she notices he never really laughs.
  • The Stinger: Episode 7 has an after-credits scene.
    • The final episode shows Shirou in the Middle East, fighting to become a hero.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Gilgamesh, or more specifically Ea. Using it to attack an entirely different enemy, one not even in the same direction, sends his current foe flying away.
  • Stupid Evil: Caster's first master, who not only uses methods that are uselessly cruel and denigrate his Servant, but also never truly realizes what kind of person Medea is even after reading her legend.
  • Supreme Chef: Shirou and Sakura are very good chefs, Shirou due to the fact he had to take care of himself from an early age.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Shirou and Rin have this dynamic. Kuzuki and Caster are a villainous example.
  • Taking You with Me: Subverted at the end of Episode 24: as the Holy Grail starts swallowing up Gilgamesh, he lashes his chain onto Shirou seemingly to take him down as well. But then he shouts at Shirou to stay right where he is, so Gilgamesh can pull himself out of the portal. Archer puts a stop to that.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Shirou and Archer really don't like each other but are working together while Shirou has an alliance with Rin.
  • The Coats Are Off: Shirou gets rid of his new jacket in Episode 20 returning to his classic look.
  • The Last Dance: Assassin is revealed to still be alive during the Final Battle however, due to Caster having been killed and his status as an incomplete Servant, he only has until dawn before he completely runs out of mana and disappears. Therefore he decides to have one final duel with Saber before he completely disappears.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Episode 20: Shirou finds the answer to reject Archer's beliefs and continue to make his ideals a reality to the triumphant tune of Aimer's "Last Stardust."
  • This Cannot Be!: Implied by the look on Gilgamesh's face after Shirou cuts off his right arm.
  • Time Skip: The majority of Episode 25 takes place 2 years after the end of the Holy Grail War
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Rin is convinced that Shirou is this, especially after he sticks around after school without Saber.
      Rin: A Master strolling around without a Servant may as well be holding a sign that reads, "Please kill me!" Emiya-kun, do you have any idea how big of an idiot you are?
      • Which is especially ironic, considering how many near-death experiences Rin gets into by not keeping Archer with her.
    • Caster's first master should have known better than to actually try to betray someone whose very legend revolves around treachery.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shirou in Episode 10, using projection for the first time and stopping Kuzuki from killing Rin.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Archer is perfectly willing to make some lethal sacrifices—the entire city of Fuyuki, for example—for the greater good.
  • Tragic Villain: Illyasviel, who was fed lies and experimented on by the Einzberns over the last ten years and wants to take it out on Shirou in place of her father, Kiritsugu, whom she was told abandoned her.
  • Transformation Horror: Shirou has a nightmare where blades erupt out of his left arm before exploding out of his body, a reference to one of the bad endings of Heaven's Feel.
  • Tron Lines: Magic Circuits and Strengthening magecraft are depicted using neon-green lines.
  • Tsundere:
    • Rin obviously.
    • Rather hilariously, Shirou towards Rin later on. He sometimes is even more of one towards her than she is to him. Yes, he out-Tsunderes one of the codifiers of the trope.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Sella and Leysritt would gladly give their lives in order to protect Illya.
    • An almost literal case with Berserker to Illya. He wants to protect her so badly that he breaks an unbreakable chain after being killed by Gilgamesh in an attempt to protect Illya. It doesn't work, but it does make Gilgamesh freak out, something no one else has been able to do in the entire franchise.
  • Unexpected Character: Luviagelita Edelfelt showing up in the epilogue was to be expected, as she did so in the original epilogue of visual novel. But Waver Velvet, too? Now that was new.
  • Uniqueness Decay: This is subtly invoked at the end of episode 10. Gilgamesh tells a story to Shinji about how, long ago, he selected ten slaves and was to kill one of them as a demonstration, but he found he could not do it because their lives were too precious in the old world. Then, he seemingly goes off on another tangent, talking about how "too much of anything is sickening," referring to the fact that there are so many humans in the 21st century and that an individual's life is worth far less than it once was. It's why Gilgamesh wants to release the power that destroyed Fuyuki City on a global scale in order to purge the supposed "superfluous" humans and rule over the remaining ones strong enough to survive.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Gilgamesh has an armory of Noble Phantasms, but never learned how to use any of them. Shirou is a Non-Action Guy compared to most characters in the series, but he gains access to Unlimited Blade Works due to being Archer's past self. Deconstructed in that Shirou correctly guesses that this is why, of all servants, Gil's the only one that Shirou can actually take down in a fight. Despite Gil being practically a Physical God, and the most powerful servant in the war, being a king first made Gil even less combat-skilled than even Shirou is. Thus, with Unlimited Blade Works's unlimited blades cancelling out Gil's armory, Shirou's slight skill advantage ends up snagging him a win against Gilgamesh.
     Tropes V - Z 
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Invoked. Shirou explains to Rin that Kiritsugu chose not to pass down his Magic Crest to him before he died. As Rin is from a relatively prominent magus family, she is appalled by this, as it's considered a duty for a magus to pass their abilities and knowledge down to their children. In contrast, Shirou isn't bothered by it at all due to his desire to instead take up Kiritsugu's dream of being a hero. The only issue he takes is Rin calling Kiritsugu a fake mage.
    • Invoked with Caster as well. Her original Master said that she lacked the values of the modern world, and that she didn't see human lives as having any worth. Indeed, her own mana farming technique, though much less dangerous to the subjects, will eventually cause them to die, especially since she continuously does it.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, Rin warns Shirou to keep the fact that he has a Reality Marble a secret from the Mages Association, since they would happily perform all sorts of unethical experiments on him to study it without asking for his permission, under the belief that he should feel honored to give his life to the study of magic. Shirou is appalled by this.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Berserker only wears his skirt.
  • Wingding Eyes: Saber gets these eyes in Episode 12 when she sees the lunch Rin made.
  • Wizard Duel: Rin and Illya engage in one while Saber's busy with Berserker in the third episode.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Assassin demonstrates this. Though Saber outranks him in nearly every physical parameter, he still manages to outfight her and even break the laws of physics through sheer skill with the sword.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 12, "The Final Decision." Caster forces Saber into being her Servant, leaving Shirou without a Servant for the war and Caster with two Servants, Saber and Assassin.
    • Episode 13, "Time Of Departure." Archer betrays Rin and joins Caster, leaving both Shirou and Rin without a Servant to fight Caster, Archer, Assassin and Saber.
    • Episode 15, "A Mythical Showdown." Shirou and Rin go to see Illya and Berserker for help dealing with Caster but Gilgamesh and Shinji have already gotten to them. Gilgamesh kills Berserker and Illya.
  • Wham Line:
    • From Episode 17 When Archer betrays Caster.
      Archer: Trace On.
    • And from Episode 24.
      Archer: I refuse to listen to such pathetic whining.
    • Also from that same episode, which doubles as Foreshadowing for a major plot reveal in Heaven's Feel:
      Gilgamesh: Doesn't it know it cannot use a fellow Servant as its core?!
  • Wolverine Publicity: Not as strong as with the original visual novel, but although Shirou is The Protagonist, Rin, Saber and Archer are often more prominent in the promotional material. It's to the point where it's Rin and Archer sharing the spotlight in the Netflix cover (though technically Shirou's there too, since he IS Archer in another life).
  • The Worf Barrage: In the final battle, Gilgamesh traps a charging Shirou in a cage of Gate of Babylon portals and then proceeds to attack him with dozens of weapons from all directions, creating an explosion powerful enough to tear apart the ground below Shirou. Shirou still manages to deflect that.
    Shirou: Rho Aias.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Saber considers Berserker this when they fight.
    • Saber and Assassin definitely think of each other this way in Episode 7.
    • Gilgamesh admits that Berserker could perhaps defeat him if he didn't put Illya's safety above fighting, he eventually acknowledges him as one after Berserker manages to come back to life beyond his Noble Phantasm, breaks the chain Enkidu and almost kills him.
    • He also acknowledges Shirou is a powerful opponent, though he's clearly bitter about it.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Caster's original master would sacrifice orphans to create mana.
    • Gilgamesh easily cuts Illya's eyes and stabs her.
    • Episode 19 shows that Archer's duty made no distinction between adults or children.


Video Example(s):


Unlimited Blade Works

Archer's Reality Marble is a desolate wasteland filled with replicas of every sword he's ever seen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / FieldOfBlades

Media sources: