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Saber

Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (JP), Kate Higgins (EN 2006 Anime), Michelle Ruff (EN 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie, Fate/Apocrypha Anime), Kari Wahlgren (EN Fate/Zero, 2014 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2017 Heaven's Feel Movie)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/saber_takashi_takeuchi_character_select.png

"There are no regrets. If one can be proud of one's life, one should not wish for another chance."
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Saber is the focus and Love Interest of the Fate route, as well as playing a major role in Unlimited Blade Works. Saber is the Servant summoned by The Hero, Shirou Emiya. Being a Saber class, she excels in many areas of fighting and has a very high magic resistance. Sabers are widely considered the best Servant class, but due to Shirou's shortcomings as a Master, she cannot reach her full potential. She has a hard time getting along with Shirou and clashes over his desire to protect her life over his own, but shares his dedication towards honorable and just ways of fighting.

Her Noble Phantasm is a Wave Motion Sword that she makes invisible with the barrier magic Invisible Air as a means of concealing her true identity.


    Saber 
  • The Ace: Many Masters refer to the Saber class as being this, more-so then any other class. Saber herself shows many signs of this and is heralded by many Masters and Servants as being a amazing fighter, were she not weakened by Shirou's lack of mana and her improper summoning. It's Deconstructed once her backstory is revealed.
  • Action Girl: Is a highly skilled swordswoman, despite being weakened by Shirou's mediocre magical abilities.
  • A-Cup Angst: Saber has a bust of 73 cm and was originally drawn as almost being flat-chested, though anxieties do not play up until she actually falls in love with Shirou. When he accidentally finds her in the bathroom, she comments she doesn't want him to see her naked because she doesn't have a very... feminine physique. In several of the later works like Fate/Grand Order and animated adaptations like Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel, she's given Adaptational Curves.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Although undoubtedly competent in the original VN, Saber finds herself overpowered against Berserker; while she was able to gain an edge against him in the Unlimited Blade Works route she did so by using the terrain to her advantage. The 2014 anime has her take on Berserker almost head-on and mortally wound him (though his Noble Phantasm instantly revives him).
    • Also occurs in her final duel with Assassin. When he calls her out on not giving it her all, she apologizes for not showing him that respect, promptly reveals her sword's true form, and stomps him with one blow.
    • In the Heavens Feel route she's unable to resist being overtaken by the Shadow and consumed. The movie has resisting its corruptive effects thanks to her Magic Resistance and will and actually looks like she might overpower it before True Assassin interrupts her again.
  • The Ageless: Two mystical artefacts she possessed in life stopped her from physically aging past her mid-teens. Drawing Caliburn from the stone stopped her physical aging, while Avalon's healing powers are also stated to have contributed to her eternal youth.
  • Almost Dead Guy: She returns to the point of her death whether or not she obtains the Holy Grail, since King Arthur's story states he did obtain the Holy Grail and this is treated as Artoria's requirement to become a Heroic Spirit in the first place. She has a line like "This form is me, just before dying." in the game.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Saber is often given a lion motif due to their associations with power, bravery, leadership and royalty, as well as being a national symbol of Britain. Said motif includes lion plushies.
    • During her lifetime as King Arthur, she was also associated with dragons. The anime, manga, and Realta Nua versions takes advantage of this by featuring a dragon as the manifestation of her magic circuits.
  • Anti-Magic: An innate ability of the Saber class is to resist magic and this Saber's is near immunity.
  • Badass Adorable: While more beautiful and dignified than actually cute, Saber's sincere and honest personality is very endearing; along with that, she also has many Adorkable moments in the Visual Novel.
  • Badass in Distress: In Unlimited Blade Works she is captured by Servant Caster, who wants to use her power.
  • Bad Liar: She's not used to being embarrassed, so when she lies about something embarrassing it's really obvious. For example, saying that she was trying to take Shirou's pulse to cover up a handshake.
  • Battle Ballgown: She wears a puffy dress underneath her armour. Flashbacks in the visual novel reveal she wore pants as a king, though the anime adaptations and spinoffs ignore this and show her wearing her dress all the time.
  • Berserk Button: Do not deny Saber lunch or feed her bad food. It does not end well.
  • Big Eater: She eats vast quantities of food as shorthand for her obsession with good cuisine. Naturally, she adores Shirou's cooking.
  • Blade on a Stick: Supplementary materials reveal she has a divine spear-type Noble Phantasm and can therefore be summoned as a Lancer-class Servant; Fate/Grand Order in particular explores the nature and power of this weapon. Due to said spear, Rhongomyniad, currently being in the possession of her purported distant descendant Gray, and due to her being summoned as a Saber-class Servant, she never uses it nor is it mentioned in any of the routes in Fate/stay night proper. However, it briefly appears in a flashback to where she kills Mordred and the Garden of Avalon novel reveals she used it to slay her uncle, the evil king-turned-dragon Vortigern.
  • Blow You Away: In addition to making her sword invisible, Invisible Air also lets her make wind attacks.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Her dress is blue and many of her casual outfits incorporate blue in them, and she's probably the closest to the definition of an Ideal Hero of all the Servants in the war.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Despite taking her Master's safety seriously in all other scenes, in one of the bad endingsnote  Saber kills Shirou when she was promised the Holy Grail for doing so. It took both Shirou and Saber herself completely by surprise. This is AFTER he had already bedded her, romanced her, and their emotional development, making it pretty awkward that someone like Saber would do that. Though it does require missing just about every single 'affection' tag, so...
  • Bodyguard Crush: In Fate, she gradually falls in love with the Master she's sworn to protect.
  • Breakout Character: The most popular character in the visual novel. While she hasn't appeared in as many spinoffs as Archer, her design and characterization have been reused multiple times throughout the franchise. If Saber isn't in a piece of Fate media, a character with signs of her influence will be.
  • Broken Ace: She's beautiful, graceful, powerful and one of the most well-known mythological figures in the story. She also has deep feelings of guilt over the destruction of her realm and inadequacy as a King who never understood the hearts of her people.
  • Broken Bird: Her behavior in the Fourth and Fifth Grail Wars is not actually what King Arthur was like in universe. Rather, on her death bed, her long suppressed normal personality wished to save her country while the perfect King Arthur was satisfied with the job done. Thus, Artoria is sort of flailing about trying to fix things that can not and should not be fixed.
  • Cain and Abel: In Saber's backstory, her sister was responsible for her downfall because she was jealous of her. She appears to have been a magus and created Mordred as a homunculus that eventually brought about Saber's downfall.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Saber is a Shameless Fanservice Girl who doesn't care about being seen naked, but when she develops feelings for Shirou, she starts to act embarrassed about him seeing her naked and quickly asks him to leave the bathroom the second time when he runs into her taking a bath.
  • Captain Obvious: She has her moments.
    Saber: Shirou. The plate is broken.
  • Celibate Heroine: Doesn't want to bother with romance and stuff since it gets in the way. In Fate she thaws out of this and falls in love with Shirou.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being the King while hiding her true gender was already hard enough, but that coupled with having to make hard decisions in order to protect her kingdom made Saber's life really hard. It didn't help that her subjects resented her efforts to be the perfect ruler.
  • Chaste Heroine: She is completely impervious to sexual or even romantic innuendo unless it's pointed out to her.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Not nearly as often as Rin, she does occasionally hide her anger behind a seemingly innocent smile, the most notable being the Fission Mailed spar while wearing armor.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Shows shades of this after Ilya moves in with Shirou, clearly disliking Ilya's clinginess.
  • Closet Key: For Rin, who outright admits that she didn't know she was into girls until she had to arouse Saber.
  • Combat Precognition: Her Instinct is so great that it affords her a mild form of precognition in battle, enabling her to sense "the best personal course of action". This makes it all-but impossible to hit her with ranged attacks, though it's not infallible.
  • The Comically Serious: She retains her dignified and regal attitude for the vast majority of her appearances, though in instances like Carnival Phantasm she's often shoved into various instances where that just makes the entire attitude more hilarious, such as being a waitress in a maid cafe.
  • Confusion Fu: Her In-Universe justification for the Invisible Air, so that her opponents don't know what her weapon is, as a whole load of people, especially from anything remotely like her time, would recognize it instantly, putting her at a disadvantage.
  • Cool Sword: Her Noble Phantasm is an extremely powerful divine sword capable of firing nuke-level beams of holy light, though she uses wind magic to hide it. Expanded material like Fate/Extella and Fate/Extella Link state that the sword is more than 14,000 years old and was forged from the core of the Planet for express purpose of protecting the World. This sword's name is Excalibur, and it was given to her by the Lady of the Lake.
  • Covert Pervert: During the H-scenes she utters some raunchy lines, and despite having to pretend to be a man for most of her life she can give a fairly competent blow job. According to Nasu her experience comes from the time she was gender-bent.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: In Unlimited Blade Works, she starts off getting her butt kicked by Archer due to lacking a Master and being dangerously low on mana. Once she makes a pact with Rin, the tables turn until Archer uses Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Cuteness Proximity: She has a notable soft spot for stuffed animals, especially lions. Lion plushies in particular show that she has a soft spot for lions in general, since she once looked after a lion cub, and the time she spent with it was most likely one of the few happy moments she had during her lifetime.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Due to her limited mana supply using Excalibur to defeat Rider's Noble Phantasm leaves her powerless and on the verge of disappearing.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She starts off detached and aloof, but slowly opens up to Shirou.
  • Distress Ball: Much to her consternation in Unlimited Blade Works. Getting captured by Caster and requiring rescue isn't exactly her thing. Though technically it was Shirou's fault, but she doesn't seem to hold a grudge.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In Fate, Shirou does things for her such as going out on a date to get her to give up seeking the Grail, and admits that this is because he feels she needs to live in the present, not the past. This does not have the intended effect.
  • Dragon Ancestry: Has dragon's blood thanks to the tampering of Merlin. While she doesn't have any dragonic features, this does give her a massive mana reserve. It also gives her a weakness against anti-dragon weapons.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: With a proper Master to empower her, she's one of the best Servants around, matched only by the likes of Heracles and outshone only by the likes of Archer 2. However, with Shirou as her Master she has to struggle in every fight. Needless to say, once she makes a pact with Rin in UBW, the gloves come off and we get a picture of what she's really capable of.
  • Emotionless Girl: When she was alive, she felt that it was her duty to totally suppress her human emotions. This resulted in several of her allies abandoning her, her people losing faith in her, and ultimately her downfall. When she is first summoned, she is cold and driven to win the Grail War at all costs, though she slowly defrosts.
  • Failure Knight: Thinks this of herself, having failed to save the country she lived to serve, and perhaps even led to the civil war which tore it apart.
  • Fanservice Pack: In the original Fate/stay night visual novel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, and Fate/Extella, Saber is depicted as being petite to the point of almost being flat-chested — facilitating her ability to disguise herself as a boy. In other later works such as Fate/Grand Order, Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], and the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel trilogy, she is depicted as being significantly bustier, taller, and curvier than she was originally.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Surprisingly realistic example, despite sporting a Battle Ballgown: her left-hand gauntlet is far more heavily armored than her right, fitting for armor on one's off-hand.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her selflessness was her downfall in life. As King Arthur, she chose to become her ideal of the perfect regent, ruling without surrendering to her emotions and taking every action possible for the good and safety of her kingdom. However her perfectly just rule and emotional distance from the people led to many feeling she was in some way inhuman. This in turn led to civil war started by Mordred, the "son" created by Morgan le Fay whose love she rejected and subsequently allowed to turn to hate, and her death.
  • The Fettered: Believes in traditional knightly values and will not do anything she considers dishonourable even if her existence is in danger. She warns Shirou that if he would have her attack humans for energy, he would have to use a Command Spell for stepping on her pride.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: She does not quite get modern conventions and everyday modern habits. Especially evident when Shirou asks her out on a date, but she doesn't know what a date is.
  • Forged by the Gods: Her Noble Phantasm is a divine sword created by the Planet, rivalled only by the most-powerful of demonic weapons. According to Extella and Extella Link, it was forged from the core of a star and a previous wielder used it to foil an alien invasion.
  • Gender Bender: In her backstory, she was turned into a pseudo-male so she could get married. According to Nasu, this is where she got her sexual experience. It also contributed to her downfall, since Morgan stole some of her semen and used it to make Mordred.
  • Genre Blindness: When Gilgamesh is nonchalantly telling her to just go ahead and use her Noble Phantasm against him in a condescending tone, Saber does not at all get the clue that he may just have a countermeasure.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Occasionally dabbles in this, such as when Lancer asks if the invisible weapon she's wielding is a sword.
    Saber: Who knows? Maybe it's a battle axe. Or perhaps it's a spear. It might even be a bow, Lancer.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Blue, poofy sleeves under her armour.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Lion plushies are irresistible to Saber, since they remind her of a lion cub she once took care of.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: After Caster captures her, she naturally decides to stick Saber in a sexy dress while she's tied up with magic and being tortured.
  • Hair Decorations: Her blue ribbon, which presumably keeps her Prim and Proper Bun in place. As Saber Alter, she wears a black ribbon.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Beautiful, kind and feminine (despite what she thinks of her own physique), with golden hair in a small bun.
  • Healing Factor: All Servants have this going for them, but Saber Alter's is a couple steps above that. Moreover, if she's actually reunited with her second Noble Phantasm, Avalon, she gains a healing factor so swift and complete it makes her functionally invincible and able to tank the likes of Gilgamesh's Enuma Elish.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Traditionally heroic and knightly, she uses a sword.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: She believes she failed as a ruler and her wish is to undo her rule. Unlike most examples of the trope, Saber tends to avoid her self-esteem issues unless people specifically push the issue. She also assumes she's not a very well known hero but of course she would have no way of knowing, unlike the other Servants.
  • Historical Gender Flip: Her true identity is that of King Arthur, but in the Nasuverse he was really a girl named Artoria Pendragon.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Assassin introduces himself and instantly reveals his name, she deems it necessary to reveal her own identity, otherwise it would not be a fair and honourable duel. Assassin, however, says it's not needed.
  • I Am Not Pretty: She has serious problems comprehending that anyone could be attracted to her and when finally it gets through to her that Shirou is really interested in her she develops a inferiority complex. The second time Shirou comes in on her when she's bathing, she clearly has Muscle Angst. After Rin compliments her appearance we get this gem:
    Saber: I have never thought of myself as a woman, and I have never been treated as one. It cannot be true that I am gorgeous.
  • I Can Still Fight!: When attempting to rescue Shirou despite her non-existent mana supply during one scene in Fate. She can't even walk. Also against Gilgamesh when he ambushes them on their date.
  • Identical Stranger: Supplementary material and subsequent entries in the Fate series reveal that Saber is nigh-identical in appearance to a number of other female warriorsnote , many of whom became Heroic Spirits. This list includes alternate versions of herself, Saber of Red (Mordred)note , Moon Cell Red Saber (Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus)note , Sakura Saber (Okita Souji), Ruler (Jeanne d'Arc)note , and Greynote .
  • Idiot Hair: Downplayed, as Saber is no idiot. But for fun, Memetic mutation turns it into such things as a third hand, an oven timer, and the infamous Ahogecopter. Plus, if by poor luck you pull it off, out comes Saber Alter, since she loses the ahoge in that state. There's even a picture of her eating using said ahoge!
  • Image Song: "Tooi Yume" ("Distant Dream").
  • Informed Ability: In-universe example. She's supposedly the strongest among the already elite Saber class, but regularly struggles against the other servants, even Caster, whose spells should have zero effect on her. This is due to Shiro being too weak of a mage to meet her prana needs, forcing her to limit her abilites. She's also missing her Healing Factor item.
  • Informed Flaw: Saber has a weakness to anti-dragon weaponry due to her artificially having Dragon Blood as a result of Merlin's experiments, but she never gets to fight anyone who could take advantage of that, like Siegfried or St. George.
  • Intimate Healing: Because she wasn't properly summoned and because Shirou's prana control is spectacularly mediocre, the only way Saber is able to replenish her prana supplies in the Fate route of the original visual novel is by having sex with him.note  Their first intimate encounter doubles as Mate or Die since she had all-but expended her prana and they were being hunted by Illyasviel and Berserker.
  • Iron Lady: She dealt with The Chains of Commanding in a very stoic way, but still cared for her country, subjects, subordinates, and master. Unfortunately her stoic demeanor led to an uprising, since it made her people think she didn't care for them as much as she really did.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": She pronounces Shirou's name "SHIro", while a strong emphasis on the Shi and a short o instead of a long one. When Rider pronounces it the same way in Heaven's Feel, Shirou actually thinks Saber is back for an instant.
  • I Will Wait for You: In Realta Nua's Last Episode. Her soul waits forever for Shirou until they are finally reunited.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Only if her Master is Shirou. On her character sheet, all her attributes except for her Noble Phantasm are "B"- or "C"-rank. The other servants are much less balanced. Other Masters tend to grant her superior stats, making her more of a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: She's unexpectedly a very straight example. She is an expert swordswoman, was born humble, but became the leader of her people, pretended to be male, and was eventually betrayed by her people. It's often the first guess as to her true identity, including in-story.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: She mows down other Servants in an ankle-length dress and magical suit of armour.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Of the archetypical style. Loyalty, honour and courage mean everything to Saber.
  • Lack of Empathy: As highlighted under Fatal Flaw, Saber adhered to the belief that a perfect king must feel no emotion, allowing them to be impartial and perfectly just. While this allowed her to rule effectively it also alienated her people and contributed to the kingdom's collapse, making them feel that she doesn't care about them in comparison to being an effective ruler. Granted, she can feel empathy, but she "discarded her own humanity" in order to become the "perfect king". When she actually reconnects with her humanity, she doesn't take it well. The fact that her reign ended so tragically made her come to the conclusion that she simply was not meant to be king, and someone else should've taken her place.
  • Lady of War: Graceful, demure and an elegant master of the sword. In life, she was even dreaded as a god of war.
  • Lawful Good: In-Universe alignment, being a chivalrous Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Leitmotif: "Sword of Promised Victory".
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Although Saber's hair is normally in its trademark bun, there are rare occasions where we see her hair down: in the Studio DEEN anime during her last moments with Shirou, and when she's crying and welcoming Shirou to Avalon during Fate's epilogue in Realta Nua.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As Rin Tohsaka's Servant she's faster, stronger and has much larger mana capacity than she did as Shirou's Servant. Gilgamesh himself regards her with heavy concern after this, since Saber now has the skills to pose a threat to him.
  • Lonely at the Top: Saber was the king of ancient Britain, but she believed she had to throw away all human bonds in order to rule effectively.
  • Love Interest: To Shirou in the Fate route.
  • Magical Girlfriend: She can be seen as one in Fate. But for all her great traits, her insecurities reveal themselves over time.
  • Magic Enhancement: Saber is even more frail than Shirou Emiya without using her Mana Burst ability, so she relies on it heavily to bolster her strength, speed, and durability in combat.
  • Magic Knight: She wreaths her sword in wind magic to make it invisible, can break the laws of physics, and fire a massive Sword Beam.
  • The Magic Touch: She can channel her mana into objects she is using - like weapons and vehicles - to increase their power. However, objects without strong divine protection will be destroyed in a single blow.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Has a bit of this dynamic with Shirou. Saber spent her entire life playing the role of a man, has excellent swordsmanship skills, and is uncomfortable around her emotions, while Shirou has little combat ability compared to her, is much more emotional and excels at domestic tasks such as cooking.
  • Master Swordswoman: Played with. She's very skilled and generally does quite well in a straight fight, but Assassin is on a whole different level when it comes to swordsmanship and Archer 2 outgambits her with a combination of weird Noble Phantasms that quickly put her on the defensive.
  • Messianic Archetype: As King Arthur, she was this to her people, at least initially. The trope is played with however, as it shows how lonely and mentally messed up a "perfect single ruler" who only does what is best for the country while completely neglecting their own desires, interests and even emotions would be.
  • Muscle Angst: She thinks her body is too muscular. Readers may raise an eyebrow at this considering that her figure is that of a twig.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: 95% of Saber's amazing feats in life, down to her supposedly hereditary Dragon Blood, can be traced back to Merlin. Without the "Dragon Generator" being implanted into her body by him, Saber would little more than the weak, fragile-as-a-bundle-of-twigs girl that remained after she uses Excalibur on Rider. However Saber is physically fragile because Caliburn stopped her aging in her mid-teens before she could fully mature, Saber deserves credit for still doing things as best as she could.
  • Nice Girl: Well not initially at the beginning of the VN and the anime as she was introduced as calm and stoic but as Shirou and Rin especially in Unlimited Blade Works route spends time with her, they eventually understands that behind her cold facade, she's a kind and warm girl who wants to help everyone as her defining act of selflessness.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Her lost Noble Phantasm, Avalon: The Everdistant Utopia (Excalibur's scabbard), can grant this, although she only had it as the 11th-Hour Superpower during the first route, while she never get it back in other routes due to her contract with Shirou getting severed before either of them noticed that Shirou had it all along. When it is just worn but not activated, it stops her from aging and gives her an incredibly powerful Healing Factor. When it is activated, she is just inches away from Complete Immortality (if not one outright, so long as she has enough prana to maintain it active). She wouldn't have fallen in battle if she hadn't lost the thing, which is precisely why some unnamed traitor stole it from her before the Battle of Camlann.
  • Obsessed with Food: Food is very important to her. At one point, remembering the highly inadequate skills of the chefs of her era (Ironically Fate/Extra revealed it was Gawain who cooked her meals) has her briefly let off a killing aura. However, except for in the anime, the volume of food she eats is not that great.
  • Older Than She Looks: Saber was around 25 when she died, but is physically 15 due to the fact that she stopped aging once she drew Caliburn; after Caliburn was destroyed her eternal youth was preserved when she obtained Avalon.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: She once looked after a lion cub.
  • Physical God: In life, she was so powerful — courtsy of her arsenal of divine weapons — that she was revered and feared as a dragon in human form and an invincible god of war, having relinquished her humanity to become the perfect king.
  • Power Limiter: Shirou's mediocre mana supply greatly limits her combat effectiveness. Word of God is that she is at her most powerful when she becomes Rin's Servant in Unlimited Blade Works, though she doesn't have access to Avalon in that route.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: The bun befits her Lady of War image and status as a respected royal.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: In her civilian outfit, she wears a skirt and tights given to her by Rin. Her "proper" ladylike appearance contrasts Rin's miniskirt-Zettai Ryouiki combo.
  • Rags to Royalty: A Snow White type in her backstory. Due to being born into a time of chaos and war and her being a girl, Artoria's birth was made a secret and was raised as the child of a mere knight until she pulled the sword from the stone.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Saber says that in her backstory she was raised as a man and never thought of herself as a woman.
  • Red Baron: "King of Knights".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Saber is the Blue to Rin's Red, being calm in most circumstances in contrast to Rin's quick temper.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: Let's see, fair hair and skin, not completely human even when she was alive, and an emotionally cold demeanor that comes to defrost thanks to the protagonist's efforts.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In her backstory. However, Saber herself feels that she failed to be this, so much so that she wants to use her wish on the Grail to retcon her legend out of existence by having someone else become king in her stead.
  • Selective Obliviousness: She refuses to think of herself as a woman or acknowledge her emotions.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Downplayed, since while she's perfectly willing to wear clothing most of the time she simply doesn't care if anyone sees her naked. After she falls for Shirou, however, she becomes bashful about him seeing her body.
  • She Is the King: The Once and Future King. King Arthur is thought of as male in universe, and the only ones aware of her gender at the time were the Knights of the Round, her "wife" Guinevere, and Merlin.
  • Shower of Awkward: In Fate, Shirou enters the bathroom while she's bathing twice. She doesn't mind the first time, but the second time she does.
  • Situational Sexuality: In life she married a woman, but only out of duty to her kingdom. Merlin turned her into a psudo-male so that she would be able to produce an heir - which backfired horribly, leading to Mordred's creation. As such, Artoria personally supported Guinevere's affair with Lancelot, but was forced to punish them out of obligation as king.
  • Skirt over Slacks: When wearing her Battle Ballgown, as shown here.
  • Sobriquet Sex Switch: Saber was born with the name Artoria, but when she pretended to be a male in order to conform with the expectations of the throne she gained, she adopted the far more familiar name "King Arthur".
  • Sore Loser: Implied and Played for Laughs in Unlimited Blade Works, when Rin takes her and Shirou; to a batting center.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Fate/complete material, the Japanese website of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, and Fate/Grand Order give the official romanization for her name アルトリア (Arutoria) as Altria. Other official works, like Fate/Complete Material III and the English version of Fate/Extella and its sequel, romanize it as Artoria, while mirror-moon's fan-translation gives it as Arturia. When discussing the localization of Fate/Grand Order at Aniplex USA, Type-Moon stated that the official English translation of her name is Altria, not Artoria, though they themselves point out that Type-Moon has not exactly been consistent with that even on their end.
  • The Stoic: Saber considers it impossible for her to have emotions and stays calm most of the time. Her composure shatters at some points.
  • Story-Breaker Power: One of the mystical objects she possessed in life makes her invulnerable, though she only gets it in one of the routes: Avalon, when she gets in back in Fate. Activating it pulls her out of reality and prevents any attack from touching her. For story purposes it makes her invulnerable. Gilgamesh using Ea had no effect on her on her and allowed her to defeat him despite being handicapped by having Shirou as a Master.
  • Super Strength: While Saber appears to be a scrawny teenage girl, her strength stat is between B and A-ranked depending on who her Master is, largely due to her Mana Burst ability allowing her to channel magical energy through her body to augment herself. When she's running low on mana, however, she's no stronger than she outwardly appears to be.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She's calm and aloof most of the time, but Saber is actually an emotionally conflicted girl who has a very caring and warm side. She has trouble accepting she has feelings for Shirou besides her duty, but towards the end of the Fate route, she finally acknowledges there's more to her than just being King Arthur.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In her backstory she lived as a man, and was even temporarily turned into one by Merlin's magic, so she could rule as the king. Very few people knew of her actual gender, despite her wearing a dress as part of her combat ensemble.
  • Sword Beam: The power of her Noble Phantasm is to fire a blast of golden light from the blade of her sword. Caliburn possesses a similar ability, but on a lesser scale.
  • Tears of Joy: In Réalta Nua, she finally lets them fall when Shirou reunites with her in Avalon.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever "The Sword of Promised Victory" plays, something is going down.
  • They Call Him "Sword": Unlike many other Servants, she prefers being called Saber even when her true identity is revealed. Given how when she did reveal her identity in the past she was both belittled and taken advantage of, it makes sense.
  • Time Travel Escape: An unusual example, due to her pact with the Planet making her unique as far as Servants go. It works like this: As per the legend of King Arthur, Saber is destined to either die after the battle of Camlann or go to Avalon. It has already happened from a modern standpoint, but it just hasn't happened to her yet. Assuming that as a Servant she's still capable of aging, she could grow old and die and she would still end up at the battlefield immediately after that, where she would really die. However, Unlimited Blade Works' Good End gets around this by the Saber staying and living a full life in the present. Additionally, should she obtain the Holy Grail she will fulfill her contract with the World, die, and become a true Heroic Spirit; but should she give up the Holy Grail - as in Fate - she forfeits her contract with the World and is taken to Avalon.
  • Together in Death: In Réalta Nua, in what Nasu called the "true end" to the Fate route, Saber and Shirou are reunited in Avalon.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Although Saber does have Lady of War elegance, she still acts very tomboyish. She contrasts with Rin's girlishness. She even laments not being as girlish or shapely as Rin later on in Fate, though this only happens as she starts to realize her feelings for Shirou.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She might say that she doesn't view herself as a woman, but Saber always wears rather feminine outfits and has a huge soft spot for stuffed animals, especially lions.
  • Town Girls: The Butch to Rin's Neither and Sakura's Femme.
  • Tranquil Fury: Played for Laughs. You know that Shirou has managed to piss her off if she shows up to their daily sparring sessions smiling, happy... and wearing her armor. Cue ass-kicking.
  • True Blue Femininity: Blue dress for the traditionally fair lady.
  • Tsurime Eyes: The aesthetic symbolizes she's strong-willed, proud, and fits with her badass image.
  • Verbal Tic: "ga…" In Japanese she seems to punctuate a lot of her sentences with a suspensive particle, especially when talking with Shirou.
  • Waif-Fu: Played With, depending on how you look at it. Without buffing herself with magic, she has the physical strength of someone befitting her size; she is quite a bit weaker than Shirou and Rin but has still exceptionally good sword skills and tactical mind. However, she's almost always buffing herself with magic.
  • Wave Motion Sword: Her Noble Phantasm, "Excalibur: The Sword of Promised Victory creates giant waves of magical energy and is ranked A++. She also once possessed another sword, Caliburn, which had a similar but lesser effect. However, that sword was broken.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Due to being weakened by Shirou's lack of mana, Saber is much weaker then she usually is. However, her fighting skills are still as top-notch as they were in life, allowing her to hold her own against Servants far stronger than her.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Saber's eyes are lovingly described often in both Shirou and Rin's narration/internal monologue.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Since Saber has spent her entire life suppressing her emotions, her feelings for Shirou leave her confused and angry. She realizes that he's important to her, but it takes a while for her to figure out why.
  • When She Smiles: There are certain CGs towards the end of Fate where she truly gives a loving smile.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Aided by a Gender Bender illusion cast by Merlin, Saber was the ruler of her people and buried all her emotions and true desires to be the perfect monarch. Unfortunately, it worked too well, and a rebellion rose up against Saber because some saw her as an inhuman demon that doesn't care for her people.
  • Worf Had the Flu: She's lauded as the most powerful Saber-class Servant but never gets a full showing of her abilities, with a combination of being summoned by Masters that don't mesh with her personality, incompetent Masters that can't provide her with Prana, Masters who she's simply incompatible with, shock at the true identity of her opponent, not having her most powerful Noble Phantasm, as well as injuries that don't heal nigh-constantly impeding her. Doesn't mean she can't kick plenty of ass anyway. It's only in Unlimited Blade Works, with Rin as her Master, that she's able to attain the power she possessed at her prime.
  • Worthy Opponent: Assassin considers her to be this. If not for the fact that she is a woman, Archer 2 also seems to treat her as one at first, but it turns out he doesn't really care what she thinks and considers her far beneath him. Just not as far beneath him as some of the other mongrels.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: One of the bad endings has Saber immediately kill Shirou when told she can have the Holy Grail if she does so, and requires the player to have a rock-bottom relationship score with her.
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Saber Alter

Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (JP), Kari Wahlgren (EN)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/saber_alter_takashi_takeuchi_character_select.png

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

Saber Alter is the corrupted version of Saber, who becomes a minor antagonist in the "Heaven's Feel" route. She is exposed to "All The Evils of The World" through contact with the Shadow, stripping her of her free will and transforming her into an apathetic puppet of Aŋra Mainiiu. Her stats are greatly boosted in this form, leading some to call her "the strongest Servant".

She has returned in the sequels and spinoffs like Fate/hollow ataraxia, Fate/unlimited codes, and Fate/Grand Order.


    Saber Alter 
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • It's worth noting that it was sequels and spin-offs (particularly hollow ataraxia and unlimited codes) that coined the term "Saber Alter"; the original F/SN itself simply refers to her as Saber, or occasionally "Blackened Saber".
    • Similarly, later works would call the Noble Phantasm she uses "Excalibur Morgan", to differentiate it from the Excalibur that normal Saber uses. While its variant appearance was established here (and the connection to Morgan(a) is noted in Alter's profile), in stay night it is still simply called Excalibur, even in its blackened state.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Minor example in the first Heaven's Feel movie. When she's introduced, she's sporting a smug smile and condescending attitude similar to Gilgamesh, before reverting to her usual stern persona in the second movie.
  • Animal Battle Aura: In Fate/unlimited codes she can shape her prana into the form of a dragon's head to bite opponents.
  • Anti-Hero: Nasu and Gen Urobuchi refute the notion that Saber Alter is an outright villain, instead calling her a dark hero. In stay night, this is questionable at best, but sequels, adaptations and the like make this aspect more obvious.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Once Shirou corners her and is on the verge of delivering the coup de grace, she says his name in a daze and you get the choice to salvage and save her. It doesn't end well if you take that option.
  • Battle Aura: Saber Alter is constantly wreathed in an aura of black and purple mana.
  • Black Swords Are Better: Her Excalibur becomes black with a red pattern on it, and while lore-wise it's the same strength as the original version, Saber Alter's greater offensive power results in Shirou and Rider only barely blocking its Sword Beam by putting Shirou's Rho Aias in front of Rider's Bellerophon.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: She's just as fond of this as Gilgamesh. She has the protagonists dead to rights several times throughout the story (at one point she even has her sword at Shirou's throat so all she needs to do is just lean forward to kill him), but always walks off instead of just taking a few extra seconds to finish the job.
  • Breakout Villain: Saber Alter started out as a secondary antagonist in the Heaven's Feel route, but has reappeared in Fate/unlimited codes, Fate/hollow ataraxia, Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, and other spinoffs - Fate/Grand Order gives her a particular spotlight in places, and makes her into a character very, very distinct from the "normal" Saber.
  • Casting a Shadow: In addition to her dark prana, she can teleport using shadows or Aŋra Mainiiu's black ooze.
  • Cool Mask: She has a mask that covers the upper half of her face, and armor in the shape of fangs that covers her chin and jawline.
  • The Corruption: She is swallowed up by the Shadow and blackened by Aŋra Mainiiu, becoming Dark Sakura's Servant.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: She effortlessly defeats everyone she fights, until she faces Shirou — who is able to fight on par with her due to having EMIYA's arm.
  • Dark Reprise: Saber Alter's leitmotif is a sinister reprise of Saber's own, called "Sword of Promised Victory (ver. Alter)".
  • Death Glare: Her expression is constantly fixed in a stern scowl.
  • Death Seeker: Saber Alter is implied to be one in the last Bad End, when she curses Shirou for not landing the final blow, though this may also be because of her philosophy that heroes are obliged to cut down their opponents without hesitation or restraint.
  • Depending on the Writer: In most spinoffs, she is merely Saber's Superpowered Evil Side, while Grand Order makes her an alternate entity to the normal Saber with her own unique storyline. Unlimited Codes strikes a compromise by making her Saber's Enemy Without.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In her story mode in Fate/unlimited codes, realizing that the Grail is an object of evil after being swallowed by Aŋra Mainiiu led her to embrace despair and hatred.
  • Dragon Ancestry: Her corruption activated the dragon blood within her, turning her irises yellow and giving her a dragon-shaped Animal Battle Aura.
  • Dying as Yourself: In one of Heaven's Feel's Bad Ends. Shirou manages to beat Saber Alter by himself at the cost of Death of Personality, she compliments him on his strength in a warm way.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Her civilian clothes are a black and white gothic dress. In the Heaven's Feel movies, she's briefly seen in her dress from her 3rd Ascension in Fate/Grand Order.
  • Emotionless Girl: Saber Alter is callous and apathetic, only caring about upholding her duty to follow Dark Sakura's orders.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Saber Alter's armor, dress, and sword are black and red; her irises turn yellow, her hair becomes much lighter without her Idiot Hair, and her skin becomes like that of a corpse.
  • Evil Makeover: Her clothes, armor, and sword turn black and red; her eyes turn yellow; her skin and hair become deathly pale; and her prana turns black, purple, and red.
  • Evil Overlord: While her kingdom is long gone, she is described as being the "Dark-Tainted Tyrant". She takes her duties as a ruler seriously out of obligation to those whose lives were lost because of her, but is nihilistic and believes her past self was a naive, idealistic fool.
  • Fanservice Pack: As with the original Saber, Alter is significantly bustier in Fate/Grand Order and the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel trilogy than she was in the original Fate/stay night visual novel and Fate/hollow ataraxia.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Saber Alter's comments to Shirou during their final battle imply that some remnant of her past self wants him to put her out of her misery and save Sakura. Fate/Unlimited Codes runs with this and has the original Saber manifest as Saber Alter's Enemy Without for her final battle.
  • Gate Guardian: At the end of "Heaven's Feel", Saber Alter serves this role. Dark Sakura and Zouken task her with guarding the cave where Aŋra Mainiiu's resurrection is taking place. She lets Rin pass to confront her sister because that's what Sakura wants to, but challenges Shirou to a duel to the death.
  • Healing Factor: Due to her limitless supply of prana from Dark Sakura, she can recover from almost anything, even mortal wounds.
  • Infinite Supplies: The secret behind her power. Normally, Saber is limited in that her Mana Burst is very energy-inefficient, as she has to balance between using up all her Mana to secure a win or play it low and slow and wait for an oppurtunity. Because Alter is hooked up to an almost literally bottomless source of Mana, she can expend more energy than her normal self has in total on every single attack, rendering her reduced agility and dulled instincts and skills moot because she can just throw enough mana at the problem until it goes away.
  • I Hate Past Me: Saber Alter views her uncorrupted self as a naive, idealistic fool, and says as much to her before their fight in Fate/Unlimited Codes.
  • Instant Armor: She can summon her armor just like her regular self, though it's only seen in the movies.
  • Invincible Villain: Saber Alter is practically immortal, strong enough to nearly send Archer flying from a successful parry, and her Excalibur Morgan completely shames the un-tainted version of the same Noble Phantasm. Even Berserker doesn't stand a chance against her despite the fact that he is normally stronger than her uncorrupted self. Shirou is only able to beat her by himself at the cost of using so much power he turns himself into a vegetable (and she's still alive at the end, just slowly regenerating), and even with Rider's help he barely edges out the win against her.
  • Irony: Saber Alter's ruthlessness and almost-omnipotence would be what Kiritsugu Emiya and Archer in Unlimited Blade Works would probably hail to high heavens, something which she detests very much during the Fourth Holy Grail War.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: After being corrupted by Aŋra Mainiiu's hatred and rage, Saber Alter comes to consider her past self to be a naive, idealistic fool; and believes a hero's duty is to be feared and hated, killing anyone who opposes them without mercy or restraint.
  • Lawful Evil: Her In-Universe alignment, following Aŋra Mainiiu's corruption. She takes her duties as a king seriously out of obligation to her fallen servants, but considers a hero's duty to be hated and ostracized, cutting down their opponents without mercy and with the full extent of their power.
  • Mighty Glacier: In comparison to her normal self. After being blackened she has a greater physical presence, making her slower and vastly stronger, and she's sacrificed some of her ancillary skills such as charisma and instinct due to having to suppress the bloodlust foisted on her by her corruption. Despite her handicaps she's more dangerous than her original self due to not holding back in combat, as well as the nigh-limitless prana supply and intense healing factor courtesy of her connection to Sakura & Aŋra Mainiiu.
  • Noble Demon:
    • The "Sparks Liner High" Bad End shows that Saber Alter still cares about Shirou to some extent — even if they had to fight on opposing sides.
    • Another bad end involved her defeating Shirou by cutting off his arm. Even though she knows Dark Sakura wants him taken alive, she wasn't actually ordered to bring him in. Knowing that sparing him would be Cruel Mercy and lead to a Fate Worse than Death, she offers him, on her own volition, to kill him if he's inclined to take her offer. It's subtle, but telling, that despite supposedly having no emotions left other than hate, she tries to help Shirou in the only way she can.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: The series of incredible attacks Berserker pulls off on her after breaking out of the Grail Mud would've killed the normal Saber ten times over, but because she can infuse her armor and otherwise protect herself with her absolutely stupid amount of mana, she's barely scratched.
  • Paint It Black: Her armor turns black and red as a result of her blackening.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Saber Alter's expression is a constant disapproving scowl. Only rarely does she actually break out into a smile, usually more of a smirk than anything, with the one true exception being when Shirou is about to kill her and she gives him one last, warm smile.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Unlike the regular Saber who uses a more refined fighting style, Saber Alter opts to spam the hell out of Vortigern: Hammer of the Vile King, sending an endless barrage of explosive beams to blow up whatever happens to be standing in front of her along with her surroundings.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Saber Alter's personality actually isn't that different from the first time Shirou meets her: cold, merciless and fully dedicated to her mission. She just happens to have Aŋra Mainiiu and Dark Sakura as her Master.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her prana is purple, red, and black.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her clothes, armor, prana, and sword are black and red.
  • Smug Smiler: In Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel, Saber Alter smirks as the tells her uncorrupted self she should know who she is at a glance.
  • Social Darwinist: Saber Alter detests weakness, considering it the duty of a hero to cut down their foes without holding back. She's also condescending towards her idealistic past self.
  • So Proud of You: In her final fight against Shirou, she says that he's become a Worthy Opponent.
    Saber Alter: You have grown strong, Shirou. ...No, that is wrong. You were strong from the start.
  • Spell Blade: She can cover Excalibur in dark prana without firing it, greatly augmenting her slashes' range and power. Fate/unlimited codes refers to this attack as Vortigern: Hammer of the Vile King. She uses this as a Spam Attack in her battle with Berserker to eat through his stock of lives at a near record pace.
  • Split Personality: In Fate/hollow ataraxia and Carnival Phantasm, she appears as a split personality that manifests if Saber's Idiot Hair is removed, though this is more for humor than anything. More generally serious works, such as Fate/Grand Order and Fate/unlimited codes, treat her as a distinct, often separately-summonable entity.
  • Status Buff: The Blackening process provides Saber Alter with a limitless supply of dark prana, which grossly increases her offensive abilities. However, this comes at the cost of her agility and several of her ancillary abilities.
  • The Stoic: Saber Alter is aloof and callous in her mannerisms and speech.
  • Summon to Hand: She can call Excalibur Morgan to her hand this way, which appears in a burst of darkness.
  • Super Strength: As with the normal Saber, she's got below-average strength even for someone of her build and physical age. Factor in her limitless Mana Burst, however, and she can dwarf even Berserker's incredible strength in spurts.
  • Super Toughness: She herself is not any tougher than normal, but because she has ludicrous amounts of mana to work with, she can use her Mana Burst defensively infinitely better and more intensely than her normal self. This allows her to withstand attacks from Berserker that would've absolutely massacred her otherwise with minimal damage.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Saber Alter's eyes turn gold instead of their normal green, due to her Dragon Blood awakening as a result of the violent nature forced upon her by The Shadow.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: After being eaten by the Shadow, Saber is Blackened by Aŋra Mainiiu's curse into the Lawful Evil and overall more-powerful Saber Alter.
  • Sword Beam: In addition to her Noble Phantasm's normal ability, which is immensely amplified, in spinoffs like Fate/unlimited codes and Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA she can fire waves of dark prana just by swinging her sword.
  • Tin Tyrant: Saber Alter is both a Black Knight and a king. Her moniker is even the "Dark-Tainted Tyrant".
  • Tragic Monster: Shirou can't help Saber Alter, even if the real Saber does seem to be in there somewhere. If he tries, you get the worst bad end in the game.
  • Tranquil Fury: Saber Alter is filled to the brim with Aŋra Mainiiu's murderous rage and hatred, masked behind stern, callous apathy. However, suppressing this bloodlust decreases her Charisma.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: Saber Alter's version of Excalibur - Excalibur Morgan - is corrupted by the Shadow, turning it black and red.
  • Walking Spoiler: Saber is corrupted half-way through the final route, making Saber Alter a spoilery antagonist. She's treated as a Late-Arrival Spoiler by the ''Heaven's Feel'' movie trilogy, which prominently features her on the official poster.
  • Worthy Opponent: She ultimately comes to view Shirou as this during their final battle, especially if he actually wins it.
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