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This is a page about the Heroic Spirits appearing in the Visual Novel turned Anime Fate/stay night. Contains a LOT of spoilers.


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    General 
  • All Myths Are True: Almost all myths are true, albeit with various historical and mythological liberties being taken. The Grail system is set up so that heroes who were ordinary humans in-life are bestowed superhuman abilities based on their myths and Servant class; mythological figures who may not have actually existed in-universe — like Heracles and Medusa — can still be manifested as Servants; and in the case of beings that are genuinely fictitious, the Grail summons the Heroic Spirit that best qualifies, as seen with Sasaki Kojirō and Aŋra Mainiiu.
  • Army of the Ages: The Heroic Spirits can be summoned from any time period, even the future, as long as someone has an appropriate catalyst. It's worth noting that most tend to predate the "modern" world, however, and any actual ones from the future, especially powerful ones, would be rare and special. Archer is an example of the sort of circumstances a modern person has to go through to become a Heroic Spirit, or an existence similar to one.
  • Artistic License: Word of God establishes that not everything that recorded history and mythology say about the Heroic Spirits' backgrounds is (completely) true, and some parts of their legends may have even been lost to time, forgotten by future generations. That's why Cú Chulainn has blue hair and red eyes, Heracles is a nine-foot-tall monster, and many other liberties are taken with the legends of mythological heroes. There's also the fact that the Nasuverse is different from our own, so history is fair game.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When a Servant uses what's usually their most powerful weapon or distinctive skill - their "Noble Phantasm" - they shout its name. All Noble Phantasms must be called out to be used. This is explained as being required to unlock their power in the Holy Grail War system.
  • Character Alignment: Canonical alignments in the status pages. These tend to be points of contention among the fandom, particularly Gilgamesh's. It's worth noting, though, that they're from the perspective of their respective time period of their legends, so Values Dissonance is in full play here.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: All Mythological Heroes Are Real... if their legend is popular enough. The more well-known heroes are in the time they are summoned, the more powerful they are. Though there are exceptions, as Gilgamesh is the greatest Heroic Spirit despite being relatively obscure. Furthermore, historical aspects of a Heroic Spirit — provided they previously existed as mortals — can be overwritten by their legends, granting them access to abilities they never possessed in-life.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The typical result of a human fighting one, as even the weakest Servant is more than a match for the strongest human on a physical level. That's not to say a human can't win, however.
  • Effective Knockoff: The Servants seen in story actually a mix between this and Shoddy Knockoff Product. Even with an artifact as powerful as the Holy Grail, only the World has the Authority and power to summon the actual Heroic Spirits (in forms like the Grand Servants or Counter Guardians) who are much more powerful than the ones seen in story because they are summoned by the World itself. The Fuyuki Holy Grail summoning system is a vastly inferior version of the one the World uses to summon the seven Grand Servants which summons a copy of the Heroic Spirit and shoves them into a much smaller non-Grand Class vessel that constrains their abilities. What keeps them from being a full blown Shoddy Knockoff Product is that even weakened as they are, they're still much more powerful than humans and they aren't meant to fight at all.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Justified. The Servants are usually only addressed by their Class. Knowing a Servant's real name may give a clue to their weaknesses, so their names are kept secret where possible. Also, out of formality, most Servants refer to their masters simply as "Master," but Archer and Saber go against common practice and refer to their Masters by first name.
  • Fighting a Shadow: With the exceptions of Saber and Archer, Servants are mere copies of the Heroic Spirits contained in the Throne of Heroes. This means that even if a Servant is slain, they can be summoned again in a subsequent Grail War. Due to only being copies of the original Heroic Spirit, however, they will not retain memories of prior summonings.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Averted. Even though Servants came from various ages, when summoned they will automatically gain general knowledge about the era they are summoned in.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Servants aren't just resurrected spirits, they're copies of "heroes" with such famous accomplishments that they were imprinted upon humanity's collective subconscious and were removed from the normal cycle of death and rebirth ("heroes" is in quotes because several only qualify for the title in horrifying, obtuse ways, as seen with Aŋra Mainiiu). It is stated over and over again throughout the visual novel that they are existences beyond what a human is capable of equaling or understanding. This can be best seen in the Heaven's Feel route when Shirou gets Archer's arm transplanted onto his body. Not only does he only survive due to the constant presence of a holy shroud protecting him, but it converts his living flesh into thousands of overlapping swords, and accessing its memories threatens to destroy his mind. In some Bad Ends, it outright kills him.
  • Human Resources: Servants can recover magical energy by draining the prana of humans. Depending on how much they drain, the process is either highly draining or outright fatal to the human in question. Most Servants who lack Masters capable of granting them magical energy do this often.
  • Human Sacrifice: This is their real purpose. The Greater Grail was designed to open a gate to the Root by using the souls of all seven Heroic Spirits collected by the Lesser Grail as fuel. Ideally, all the Masters were to use their Command Seals to compel their Servants into suicide upon summoning and then begin the ritual. However, only the Three Founding Families and their overseer Zelretch know the truth in order to maximize their own chances of reaching the Root. The Holy Grail War was the guise of a wish-granting ritual cooked up as an excuse to draw in potential Masters to summon the sacrifices, trick the Heroic Spirits into letting themselves be summoned, and to hide the Three Families' true goals from other mages who would likely steal the Grail away if they knew the truth. In Fate/Apocrypha, the truth does get out and the Grail is subsequently stolen away, ending the Three Families' ambitions.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Servants can have their Noble Phantasm appear out of thin air. Justified by the Holy Grail War system.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All Servants possess senses, strength, speed, and durability vastly outstripping what normal humans are capable of. Servants can be fought and defeated by Magi or magically-augmented weapons, but in general it takes another Servant to defeat a Servant.
  • Mons: The Servants are a humanoid version. A Master can order his Servant around, can make a contract with more than one, and a Servant can continue in the Grail War if they make another contract with a new Master.
  • Mundane Utility: The Throne of Heroes is a collective of powerful historical and mythological champions who are meant to be used as agents or familiars in service of protecting mankind. Here, the architects of the Fuyuki Holy Grail War intended for them to be used as little more than supercharged human sacrifices.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Servants, even in material form, can't be harmed by weapons without spiritual or conceptual enchantments. Some have more defenses in addition to this.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Averted: Servants cease to exist if they stop getting mana from, or lose their contract with, their Masters. However, disappearing generally takes a few hours. In that few-hour window if the Servant can save themselves if they can find a Magus to form a new contract. There are Servants with Independent Action (mostly a class skill of the Archer class, though Rider has it as a non-class one), who can survive longer; Archer 2 with a Rank A+ can last for a whole week (indefinitely due to Kirei keeping him alive), Archer, with Rank B, can last for three days without a contract, while Rider, with Rank C, can last for one day.
  • Older Is Better: The closer the hero lived to the beginning of history, the more mystery is built around them, making them more powerful. This makes characters like Archer 2 and Fate/Apocrypha's Karna freakishly overpowered. People from those times are specifically stated to be far, far stronger than anyone from the modern age, and very few who are alive today can do anything resembling upsetting that.
  • One-Man Army: Any Servant with the appropriately named Anti-Army Noble Phantasms, or above, is a Person of Mass Destruction capable of wiping out entire armies in a single attack. Even Servants with lower classifications are still more than a match for regular humans.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: In the Nasuverse, most Heroic Spirits are the souls of heroes who achieved great renown in life and were sublimated into the Throne of Heroes upon death, cut off from space and time. Servants are copies of these entities created by the Holy Grail, and can switch from material and immaterial forms at will. However, Saber can't enter immaterial form due to Shirou's improper summoning. Although this turns out to be untrue, this is because the Holy Grail regards Artoria as a human rather than a spirit.
  • Popularity Power: A Servant's power is often influenced by their popularity and impact on history. This is how Vlad III and Nikola Tesla became powerful Servants, despite their relatively recent conception.
  • Psychic Link: Servants and Masters have the ability to see parts of each others' lives when they sleep, especially when they have a strong connection.
  • Public Domain Character: Servants are heroes from myths and legends, making it possible for Nasu to take certain liberties with their stories and portrayals.
  • Pure Magic Being: Despite their appearances, Servants are spiritual beings and true incarnation is outside of their abilities. This makes them collectible by the Lesser Grail who breaks them down into component mana as fuel for the wish granting process or the Greater Grail's true purpose.
  • Random Power Ranking: All Servant abilities such as Strength or their Noble Phantasm get a score ranging from E to A to EX, but the actual bearing on how effective they are in this area is rather vague and occasionally seem to contradict what we are shown, even varying based on what Class they're summoned into and who their Master is.
  • Rank Inflation: We've got A...and A+...and A++...and then A+++...also EX... It's explained that the E through A ranks are where a skill or stat rates as a quantifiable amount, with EX meaning "unquantifiable for various reasons, sometimes due to power", and plus marks indicating situational increases in rank. Rarely, minus marks on a rank are seen, and though those haven't been explicitly explained, it stands to reason that they're the opposite of plus marks. Which means that the rank can decrease in certain situations.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: The Servants all have stats such as endurance, strength, magic resistance, special abilities and Character Alignment, despite the fact that the visual novel is text-based and you can only make story choices.
  • Vampiric Draining: One of the ways a Servant can obtain power and restore their prana is by draining people's life forces.
  • You Don't Look Like You: A minor plot point is that Servants like Altria and Iskander don't look like what history says they did, though some Servants' appearances can also be altered by their myths and Class.

    Saber 

    Archer 

Voiced by: Jun'ichi Suwabe (JP), Liam O' Brien (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie), Kaiji Tang (EN 2015 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2018 Heaven's Feel Movie)

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

"Do not think about other things, there is only one thing you can do. So master that one thing. Do not forget. What you must imagine is always that you, yourself, are the strongest. You do not need outside enemies. For you, the one you have to fight is none other than your own image."

Archer is the Servant of Rin. Sarcastic but well intentioned, he tends to look down on Shirou's ideals and usually dispenses either cryptic advice or razor-sharp putdowns. He is obedient to Rin, although to what extent nobody really knows; Though he does as she asks, he seems to enjoy pissing her off to the extent that she wasted one of her three Command Seals giving an order she knew would have little effect.

His summoning was botched and as a result of this he claims not to remember his Noble Phantasm or true name. Instead, he fights primarily with dual short swords known as Kanshou and Bakuya despite supposedly being an Archer.

Archer has a big impact in all three routes, but Unlimited Blade Works is the route in which he takes center stage. Archer's true identity is unknown for a large portion of the story, due to claiming to have amnesia.


  • Abnormal Ammo: Bows aren't normally supposed to launch swords turned into corkscrews.
  • Alternate Self: His true identity is an alternate future counterpart of Shirou.
  • Anti-Hero: He generally fits into the Pragmatic Hero niche and it's occasionally noted that in life he did some pretty brutal things. Just like dear old Dad.
  • Archer Archetype: He's stoic, analytical and always has a few tricks up his sleeve. Oddly enough, he doesn't think of himself as being an archer and most of the time he uses swords instead of a bow.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Delivers a lot of them to both Saber and Shirou in all three routes.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: His "Eye of the Mind" skill compensates for him having the worst Luck rank possible and relatively mediocre physical attributes. During his battle with Lancer in Unlimited Blade Works, Lancer is moving and attacking at speeds so inhumanly fast that even other Servants couldn't keep up with him; Archer manages to hold him off by deliberately making holes in his defense and then parrying every time his foe attacks those holes in order to prevent himself from simply being whittled down.
  • Badass Baritone: Most famous is Jun'ichi Suwabe, but Liam O'Brien and Kaiji Tang gave him relatively deep voices in the English dubs.
  • BFS: The Overedge forms of Kanshou and Bakuya. They actually originated from the DEEN Anime version of his final fight against Berserker, but Nasu was reportedy impressed by the designs of these swords that he incorporated it into canon.
  • Big Damn Heroes: For the finale of Unlimited Blade Works he is thought to have been killed by Gilgamesh in the Einzbern castle, but appears to help Rin escape from within the Grail and to finish Gilgamesh with one last sword in the head.
  • The Blacksmith: Also known as "The Blacksmith Heroic Spirit." His version of Unlimited Blade Works has steam and gears in the background, resembling that of a workshop. He likes to make weapons, LOTS and LOTS of weapons; it defines his very existence.
  • Blade Spam: Can shoot a rain of swords if he so chooses. Taken Up to Eleven with Unlimited Blade Works, an entire WORLD of swords.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: He can make use of any weapon, so he sometimes uses his bow to fire even swords.
  • Breaking Speech: In Unlimited Blade Works he gives a brutal one as he tries to break Shirou's idealism and turn him into a nihilist like him in their final battle. He fails.
  • Breakout Character: He's barely touched upon in Fate and Heaven's Feel and is primarily an antagonist in Unlimited Blade Works, but is nevertheless one of the most popular characters of any Type-Moon work, appearing in almost every Fate spin-off to date.
  • Brutal Honesty: He is quite willing to call Rin out on her bad habits and personal shortcomings. This annoys her quite a bit.
  • Cast as a Mask: Appears to be a straight example. At one point Shirou calls Rin on the phone without introducing himself and she assumes she's talking to Archer, so in universe they do have similar voices. Granted, considering Archer seemed to undergo a massive growth spurt in comparison to Shirou, it's possible that Archer's voice simply deepened as he got older, as implied he was at least an adult by the time he died as a human.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Archer speaks to everyone with the same bored indifference, even if they are much stronger and on the verge of attacking him. The craziest example was when he, near the end of his route, calmly threatened Gilgamesh with death at 1/10 of his original strength.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Archer was an ordinary person with average physical and subpar magical aptitude but through rigorous training he became able to hold his own against Servants and armies.
  • The Chessmaster: In Unlimited Blade Works, he set things up so that Rin would be able to win if his plan succeeded. He sided with Caster to break Rin's Command Seal preventing him from killing Shirou in order to erase himself from existence, but made sure that Rin would be able to contract with Saber and still win the Grail War. It failed thanks to two factors: Lancer getting involved, and failing to kill Shirou before Rin could make a contract with Saber.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In Unlimited Blade Works, Archer doesn't have allies; he has goals. Even when there's a definite person he wants to have win (Rin), he switches sides just like he switches weapons.
  • Cold Sniper: He can be pretty cold sometimes, and he can shoot an arrow from miles away.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Due to his stats being low, Archer relies on tactics and plans more then anything.
    • One of the best examples is when Saber and him fight Berserker in the Unlimited Blade Works path. When it becomes clear he's going to be in danger, he retreats back, firing a powerful arrow that creates an explosion that's aimed to hit Berserker, Saber and Shirou at the same time.
    • Also displayed in Hollow Ataraxia, where he fires shots that put Shirou in danger so as to force Saber into limiting her range of motion to defend her vulnerable Master.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Part of the reason he's so tricky to nail down by other characters. He's an Archer, but he has the swordsmanship of a Saber, but his dual knives invoke an Assassin more than anything, but his crafting and creation skills suggest a Caster, but he also sometimes throws out a giant shield or a Reality Marble. Rin reacts with outright sarcastic surprise when he displays an actual Archer skill.
  • Consummate Liar: Part of what makes him such a competent chessmaster is his ability to lie with a straight face. In the his prologue fight against Lancer, he admits Lancer would have destroyed him despite his cocky attitude.
  • Confusion Fu: Archer depends heavily on the fact that none of the other heroes can identify him, which usually leads to them underestimating his abilities.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His fight with Shirou has him holding the upper hand the entire fight and the only reason he hadn't killed him was because he trying to break Shirou's idealism. He only loses because, after being defeated in the emotional battle, he essentially gives up and concedes the fight to Shirou's stronger will.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's revealed that Archer was able to become the hero he wanted and was able to bring peace through destruction but due to his quiet nature, he was thought as the cause of the wars he ended and was executed. While that's bad enough, Archer made a pact with Gaia to become a Counter Guardian, thinking he could save more lives that way but instead he realizes all he does is kill over and over again. In the end it's the realization that his own ideal made him a hitman for all of time that finally broke him.
  • Dark Messiah: In life, Archer brought peace through heavy but controlled destruction, exactly like his father. Kill one to save ten, kill ten for a hundred, a hundred for a thousand and up. Even after death, he follows this way of life.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: His skin tanned and his hair bleached as a result of his constant overuse of his magic. It helps to hide the fact that he is a future version of Shirou.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He snarks quite often, even with Rin, who is good at teasing herself.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: His existence is basically a challenge to the idea that trying to save everybody is practical, efficient, or even meaningful when compared to more direct methods.
  • Deflector Shields: Rho Aias can block even the attacks of Trojan War heroes. However, it only barely blocks Lancer's Gae Bolg when thrown, and at the cost of his right arm and almost all of his mana.
  • Driven to Suicide: This is essentially his goal, sick of being used as a tool to prevent humanities' destruction time and time again, he wants to erase his existence.
  • Dual Wielding: He wields twin yin-yang swords, Kanshou and Bakuya. They always return to his hands.
  • Dying Alone: In his back-story, he died because of the betrayal of an ally, though he was satisfied in the end. Then he had to face the consequences of selling out his existence to the World after death, thereby never having any peace of mind ever again.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Taken to its logical extreme in all three routes;
    • In the Fate route, he kills Heracles six times over without using his Reality Marble and with a broken arm.
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he kills Gilgamesh with one last arrow after having survived multiple impalement wounds and prana starvation for days on end - and he still hangs on just long enough to say one last goodbye to Rin.
    • In Heaven's Feel, he saves Rin from the Shadow at the cost of being impaled through the heart, but still manages to last long enough to have Kotomine replace Shirou's missing left arm with his own.
  • Effective Knockoff: His Noble Phantasm, Unlimited Blade Works, is about creating copies of other Heroes' Noble Phantasms. While they can not reach the same level as the original, they're a close second when confronting those who don't bring said Noble Phantasms to their fullest potential. Somewhat subverted, as he is able to use Reinforcement to enhance a Phantasm to help it match the original, or use it as a Broken Phantasm and exceed the original's power.
  • Enigmatic Minion: In Fate and most of Unlimited Blade Works, he may help the heroes, but his goals, methods and identity are not something he's going to reveal willingly.
  • Fallen Hero: He still pursues his ideals and desire to be a hero, but his methods repulse Shirou and to a lesser extent Saber.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: He responds with this to Rin's early attempts at asserting authority over him.
  • Field of Blades: 'Unlimited Blade Works', his Noble Phantasm, summons a Reality Marble filled with swords of his own creation.
  • Finishing Move: Crane Wing Three Realm, which throws out three pairs of Kanshou and Bakuya to trap the opponent, then finish with a final fourth slash.
  • First-Name Basis: With Rin. In Heaven's Feel and the ending of Unlimited Blade Works however, just before he dies, he calls her "Tohsaka" like in the old days.
  • Foil: To various characters which become clear in the Unlimited Blade Works route.
    • Shirou Emiya: Caster even points this out, they both don't enjoy unnecessary murder and consider themselves pacifists. Shirou is idealistic to a fault, refusing to kill anyone even his enemies compared to Archer who is instead far more pragmatic even willing to let innocent civilians die for the greater good. As the route goes one Shirou and Archer's similarities continue to increase leading to the reveal Archer is a future Shirou who continued on his ideals till it broken him.
    • Archer 2. They are both Archers summoned by a Tohsaka in their respective Grail War that don't fit the usual convention of an Archer, Archer 2 firing swords from portals while Archer mainly fights up close with twin swords but that's where their similarities end. Parallels are drawn further when one realizes that their backstories and skillsets are also complete opposites. Archer is very much an underdog Servant who has to play his cards just right to even make the cut compared to Archer 2's combination of being a Born Winner and The Ace who spends most of his time holding back and is still leagues stronger than the other servants in the war. Gilgamesh is an ancient king who collected all of the world's treasures and is the first hero. His very existence proved that heroes exist in the eyes of mankind and celebrated by his people and the future people. Archer or Shirou Emiya in life was a regular person that traveled the world to solve various problems without leaving his name, leaving him unknown to the public and in the end due to his own morally gray actions and public unease about him, he was executed for a crime he didn't commit and only became a Heroic Spirit through a deal he made with Gaia. While Gilgamesh is the oldest Heroic Spirit, EMIYA is one of the youngest ones. While Gilgamesh fights with his treasures that he collected in life, EMIYA fights by copying and imitating the treasures and weapons of others, something that infuriates Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh and EMIYA are jerks, EMIYA is ultimately well-meaning and still heroic despite his cynical and bitter attitude while Gilgamesh is a hedonist who hates modern humanity and desires to cull humanity and rule over the survivors.
  • Future Badass: It turns out that he is a future self of Shirou, the guy who could barely activate his Magic Circuit, turned into a mighty spirit that can project thousands of blades.
  • The Gadfly: Archer continually tests Shirou's, Saber's, and Rin's ideals and personalities with jokes and barbs and is at the same time capable of claiming with a straight face that he would use the Grail for "World Peace".
  • Game-Breaking Injury: In Fate and Heaven's Feel, Saber nearly tears him in half on the 3rd day of the war, making his plans to kill Shirou impossible. When he recovers, he is killed shortly after by Berserker and The Shadow respectively.
  • Generation Xerox: In the end he was just like his father Kiritsugu Emiya. He started out idealistic and trying to save everyone, but in the end realized being a Pragmatic Hero is more effective.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In Unlimited Blade Works he finally disappears satisfied that his life wasn't a waste.
  • Gratuitous English: The activation speech for his Noble Phantasm is in fairly mangled Engrish. The Japanese version clarifies its meaning.
  • Guile Hero: In Unlimited Blade Works, at the very least, he displays profound manipulative skill.
  • The Heavy: In Unlimited Blade Works, his conflict with Shirou serves as the plot's primary focus until he and the other Servants are revealed to be pawns in the Kotomine-Gilgamesh duo's plans.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In Unlimited Blade Works, he works only and only for himself... And Rin's sake, even if she would end up hating his actions.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In Fate, Rin leaves him to stall Berserker with the expectation that he'll die. Archer kills Berserker six times over and refuses to retreat before falling. What makes this even more amazing is that according to Word of God he didn't use Unlimited Blade Works to do it.
    • In Heaven's Feel, realizing that he'd die soon anyway and Shirou had decided to reject his ideals for Sakura's sake, he gives his arm to Shirou.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In life, his actions didn't make sense to anyone since he didn't seem to have any easily understood reasons for his behavior, which eventually led to his death by betrayal.
  • Hunk: While not hulking like Berserker, Archer is still very muscular and broad shouldered, which is especially prominent once his cloak comes off to use Hrunting. Which makes it all the more hilarious when Shirou, despite being fairly muscular himself, complains about how scrawny he is.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: He is able to pull his short swords back out no matter how many times he loses them.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed:
    • Thanks to Archer's relatively unknown abilities, many of his fights are won because he is able to pull out another badass trick that he'd been holding back until just the right moment. He's a lot stronger than he initially seems, being able to cut Heracles' stock of lives in half while handicapped in the Fate route, but he's aware that playing his hand too early will cause him to draw unwanted attention from the other Servants which could potentially interfere with his plans, so he prefers to keep his abilities unknown and stay under the radar until the right moment.
    • In the Prologue, he does figurative (and in the anime a literal) version of the trope during his first clash against Lancer. Initially he starts by wielding only Kanshou in his left hand, but after Lancer's increasing intensity forces him to summon Bakuya alongside it he then switches to a right-handed stance. The entire fight pisses Lancer off because an Archer is engaging him in close-combat.
  • Icy Gray Eyes: Strong willed, gray-eyed cold and, if you ask him, with an ideal above peoples' mindset.
  • Identity Amnesia: Rin is frustrated when he informs her he can't remember his past or abilities due to her botched summoning. Unlimited Blade Works reveals he was lying about his memory, and is actually a Future Badass Shirou seeking to kill his past self. He did forget Rin though, his memory came back when she gave him her name.
  • I Got Bigger: Compared to his present-day self, Shirou, Archer is eight inches taller and far more muscular to boot.
  • I Hate Past Me: To say the very least. Shirou's idealism has driven him to despair, to the point he despises him and is trying to kill him to escape his fate. When Saber points out the flaws in his plan, EMIYA admits he already knows how unlikely it is but even if he does fail at least Shirou is dead.
  • I Let You Win: In a manner of speaking. The game makes clear that his battle with Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works ended at a point where Archer could still have killed Shirou. But once Archer realizes there's no way he could make Shirou give up his ideal in the process and has 'lost' the battle on the ideological level, he gives up. The anime even shows that as Shirou charges for his last attack, Archer could have easily and quickly murdered Shirou right there and then but stops as he remembers Kiritsugu.
  • Image Song: "Rise".
  • Ironic Hell:
    Rin: [narrating] The boy who stated that he just doesn't want to see anyone cry... could only see crying humans forever.
  • Irony: Aside from some of the other ironies he finds himself in due to his situation, there's one in particular that can be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in Heaven's Feel that he himself dryly notes: he's been summoned as a Servant, rather than a Counter Guardian, but he's still facing off against the sort of supernatural horror that the World sometimes manifests Counter Guardians against and which he's apparently had to face before; in this case, the Shadow.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: When rescuing Shirou from Caster.
    "I just happened to drop by. Don't worry about it."
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: He's cynical and disillusioned with heroism. He wasn't always like this, but continued failures and betrayal brought him to this point.
  • Jerkass: Badassery aside, Archer can be a real dick sometimes. Even before going through the Heel–Face Revolving Door. Unlimited Blade Works shows that he used to be nicer, but he's very bitter, pragmatic and sarcastic now.
  • Keystone Superpower: He is an alternate version of Emiya Shirou from a different timeline and can only use a single projection magecraft properly. But thanks to this, he can copy the Noble Phantasm and skill of every hero he encounters.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Saber, and to a lesser extent Lancer, recognize him as a knight, but both are rather appalled at his manipulative nature, cynicism and Shoot the Dog attitude.
  • Leitmotif:
  • The Load: In Rin's route in Unlimited Codes, he refuses to help Rin, forcing her to win the Grail War on her own. He gets his comeuppance when Rin chibifies him as her wish.
  • Locked into Strangeness: His dark skin, white hair and gray eyes are the result of his constant overuse of his magic. Justified, since it's a side effect of using Projection beyond his body limits, thus damaging skin and hair cells.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Rho Aias, the shield used by Aias/Ajax. The shield is seven-layered and each as strong as a castle wall, making it able to resist even the spear throws of Hector of Troy. That said:
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulation is his game. He pretends to join Caster's cause and has her and Kuzuki exhaust their energy against Shirou and Rin. This benefits him in four ways: Caster initiates him in by first using Rule Breaker to remove his tie to Rin's command seal, which means he's no longer weakened when disobeying Rin. He gets an almost effortless shot to bring down Caster whom had been notoriously difficult to actually stop for the entire route. It leaves Shirou defenseless. And Saber is available to make a contract with Rin in his place.
  • Master Forger: Where most Heroic Servants use legendary weapons they were known to carry in life, Archer instead uses projection magecraft to "Trace" near-perfect copies of other heroes' weapons and wield them with similar skill. Gilgamesh, who has the highest claim to every legendary weapon, even those that became more famous in someone else's hands, derisively calls him "Faker" because of this.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When asked if he could follow his ideal to the end without regrets he evades the question by saying it's meaningless: He already met his end. The answer is both yes and no. He can meet his end without regrets, but after the end he sees the inevitable conclusion, which leaves him lashing out in ways he doesn't even fully understand.
  • Metaphorically True: He often employs this, leaning especially heavily on Exact Words and Mathematician's Answer, to avoid giving straight answers to Rin and others' questions when doing so would be inconvenient for him.
  • Mental World: The Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works is a separate boundary field within Archer's consciousness where he can use his ultimate power.
  • Morality Pet: He could have killed Illya during his fight with Berserker, but chose not to. Considering his past life as Shirou, Illya is likely one of the few people he still holds dear. In the 2006 anime, he even addresses her by her nickname in his final moments.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • As the supplemental materials reveal, Archer's backstory had him saving Ilya just like Shirou did in Fate, only to see her waste away and die a year after the end of the Fifth Grail War due to her Homunculus body. It's one of the first real dents in his idealism, and the main reason why Archer never considers attacking Ilya directly as an option, even if he could have very easily slain her in Fate to indirectly kill Berserker and survive their fight.
    • Another great failure that he blames himself for is not being able to save Saber from her fate in his time.
  • Mystical White Hair: Archer's hair is white due to the form of magic he utilizes.
  • Narrator All Along: The very first scene in the Visual Novel is actually told specifically from Archer's point of view when he was Shirou. Word of God hinted at that in hollow ataraxia and later stated in his blog that he was surprised how no one figured it out.
  • Nerves of Steel: Archer's strongest combat ability, Eye of The Mind (True), allows him to plan out strategies while trading blows and work out the most effective path to victory.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • He willingly gave both his life and his afterlife for the sake of other people and it never brought him anything but pain and betrayal.
    • Occurs in Unlimited Blade Works when he plans to kill Shirou and help Rin at the same time. The latter part of his plan is part of why the former part fails since ignoring Rin and Saber instead of killing them when he had the chance leads to Rin forming a contract with Saber, making her too powerful for him. That was his plan, though, only the order was mixed up.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite being called "Archer" since this is his Servant class, he uses swords far more. He does use a bow from time to time, but he shoots SWORDS with it instead. He can also fire swords Gate of Babylon style when using Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Original Generation: He is the only Servant in the original game who doesn't hail from a myth, legend, or from Real Life in at least a small aspect. Later games in the franchise have examples like Arcueid's Berserker appearance in Fate/EXTRA and the Fate/Grand Order playable Servant appearances of Ryougi Shiki, Kiritsugu, Irisviel, (Prisma) Illya and Chloe, and the lot of them are basically crossover bonus characters who can only Servant-ize for Grand Order's specific circumstances.
  • Pet the Dog: As he lays dying in Heaven's Feel after the Shadow nearly tears him apart in a giant explosion and having given his left arm to Shirou, he pats the unconscious Tohsaka on the head, before Going Out With A Smile.
  • The Plan: Depends a lot upon these. The entirety of Unlimited Blade Works is Archer playing a one-man round of Xanatos Speed Chess against everybody at the same time and basically winning. Even if he gives up on his primary objective, he's basically one step ahead of everyone else for the entirety of the route. This is actually one of his skills: Eye of the Mind (True), which means the user can see every possible option for victory and take the best one, turning a near-zero percent chance of winning into a sure-win.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Untwisted, as he is stated to be a maker, not wielder, yet functions as Gilgamesh's natural enemy due to the latter's inability to wield his weapons to their full potential. Somewhat justified, as he copies not only weapons but also experience accumulated in them.
  • Pragmatic Hero: A good example of his attitude can be seen with Caster. Shirou wants to kill her immediately for the damage she causes, but Archer says he can kill her at any time but can't beat Berserker, so he'll just let her do that for him. He justifies this by saying that Ilya and Caster can't be trusted with the Grail so it's best to get them both.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Kanshou and Bakuya, his twin swords. As long as Archer holds one, the other will always return to his hands. This is their special abilities as Noble Phantasms, along with their Anti-Monster powers and Anti-Magic wards.
  • Reality Warper: That's what his Noble Phantasm basically does, letting him create weapons from thin air.
  • Rules Lawyer: When Rin asks him about his identity after using her first command spell, he tells her that he doesn't know his name and origin. Both of these statements are Metaphorically True. Thanks to the fire at the end of the 4th war, he doesn't remember his name or origins before he took the name Shirou Emiya when he was adopted by Kiritsugu.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: To Rin. Eventually subverted in Unlimited Blade Works as he ends up betraying her to fulfill his own objective.
  • The Scapegoat: Archer was blamed for a war he had tried to stop, by one of the people he had personally saved no less. This ultimately led to his death.
  • Self-Made Man: Unlike the majority of Servants who are mostly Born Winners with tremendous talents and block-destroying magical weaponry, Archer went from a normal human with nearly no magic talent to one of the single most dangerous Servants one could ever summon.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog:
    • Archer's goal turns out to be this, as he desires to kill Shirou in the hopes of erasing himself from existance. However, as Saber points out in Unlimited Blade Works, he is already a Defender-type Heroic Spirit and thus exists outside the boundaries of space-time and causality, so killing Shirou would do nothing. He admits this but he's just that desperate.
    • Archer, in some way, receives his salvation from his cynicism in each route. However, he'll never remember any of the events of his time in the Grail War, so it's only a brief respite. Though later works, such as Fate/Grand Order, go out of their way to subvert this not only is EMIYA shown to remember his role in Stay Night, but his Character Development sticks, thus making this a case of Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: "Drown in your ideals and die!"
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In Heaven's Feel, he dies rather early and without having accomplished much, but without his arm that he gives to Shirou in his final moments, the good guys would've been screwed several times later in the story.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: OH BOY. Archer on a good day is snarky and abrasive but deep down he has major issues due to realizing how his ideals essentially turned him to a hitman that is forced to murder others for all of time. He only gets over it in the UBW route when he realizes that following his ideals were worth it despite his fate.
  • Sour Supporter: To Shirou, whenever they're forced to work together. He's not very fond of him, making it difficult to escape Caster's temple.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: In the prologue, Rin is impressed with him seemingly pulling a new pair of swords every time Lancer destroys them, as a Servant's weapon is supposed to be unique. It's easy for him to create weapons out of thin air.
  • Storm of Blades: While it's not his trademark, Archer is fully capable of this by invoking his Reality Marble.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • In Heaven's Feel he takes one of the Shadow's tentacles through the midriff in Rin's place, which makes it impossible for him to save both him and Tohsaka in time, opting to protect her instead of himself.
    • Does this for Shirou after losing their fight in Unlimited Blade Works, taking several weapons aimed at him by Gilgamesh. For unexplained reasons he survived.
  • Thanatos Gambit: EMIYA's plan is revealed to be to erase himself from existence by killing Shirou, though he only gets to enact it in Unlimited Blade Works. He tries to set things up so that Rin can still win the Holy Grail War by contracting with Saber, but things ultimately don't pan out as he'd intended and it's questioned whether the plan would have worked to begin with — Servants are removed from the time-space continuum, so EMIYA would continue to exist even if he killed his past self. EMIYA himself admits this but he's just that desperate and states if he does fail at least someone like himself won't exist in this timeline.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: He can fire infinite exploding arrows and Kanshou and Bakuya have a magical connection so that when thrown to the sides of an opponent they will loop in and chop them in half.
  • Tragic Hero: This is a guy whose original desire was to save everyone and is now forced to murder everyone in front of him forever.
    Archer: Conflicts come into my view as long as I'm alive. It was endless. I didn't dream of a world without conflicts. I just wanted the people I saw to not cry.
  • Trick Arrow: He uses various legendary swords (that EXPLODE) as arrows.
  • True Neutral: In-Universe alignment, a reflection of his good goals and bad methods and of his nature as a servant of Alaya, whose sole purpose is to keep humanity in a stable state.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Of the kinked type. He and Shirou are the only characters drawn with such eyebrows, which is actually a rather subtle hint of his true identity.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He wasn't always so sarcastic and harsh but instead rather straightforward and honest. And then the Shirou he used to be got into some real shit.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Calling him a evil a stretch, but he's the main antagonist of Unlimited Blade Works along with Gilgamesh and Caster. That said, Shirou's refusal to let Archer break him starts to make that that stoic mask shatter.
  • Walking Spoiler: His identity and motivations are the central focus of the Unlimited Blade Works route.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Archer had none of the superhuman abilities that heroes like Saber or Lancer possessed in-life, leaving him with mediocre strength, average speed, and no outstanding abilities relative to the other Servants. On the other hand, he's quite analytical and good enough that he can at least hold up temporarily against Lancer or Assassin, though his physical weakness compared to other Servants means he typically loses in a direct fight. It's also balanced out by the fact that he was summoned by Rin, buffing him much more than he should have.
  • Wham Line:
    • To Shirou: "I see. Good thing you don't like me." This is when Archer suddenly lets out his killing intent and attacks Shirou from behind.
    • To Shirou: "Farewell. Drown in your ideals and die." In the same scene. This line reveals to the audience how much he actually hates Shirou.
    • "Trace on." Everyone by then figures out who Archer is and he takes the center stage of the route at this point.
    • To Illya in the 2006 anime: "You're still so merciless, Illya." Prior to this, Archer only addresses her as Illyasviel. While not touched upon in this route, this sense of familiarity with Illya foreshadows that Archer is actually a future incarnation of Shirou.
  • When He Smiles: At the end of Unlimited Blade Works, he gives Rin a genuine smile before fading away, finally coming in terms with Shirou's ideology and confidant that the Shirou of now will not end up like him in the future.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: His white hair and cynical Anti-Hero nature qualify him for this trope. Further, his actions and intent, in the Unlimited Blade Works arc grant him Anti-Villain status.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Specifically why he doesn't just kill Shirou. In order to be completely sure of a plan he doesn't even know will really work (erasing himself via Time Paradox) Archer can't just kill him. He has to break him, make him reject his ideals and never become a hero, and THEN kill him.
    • In all the routes, but especially Fate, he could easily end the threat of Berserker by just shooting Illya dead, but he never does even as he's fighting a delaying/losing battle against Berserker on his own, which comes off as quite strange given his usual Combat Pragmatist nature. That's because the fact he failed to save his Illya from dying still haunts him and she's very likely the one person he could never bring himself to directly kill.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Archer switches to Caster's side in Unlimited Blade Works in order to get out from under Rin's Command Seal. The moment Caster's guard against him is down, he impales her.

    Lancer 

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

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

"It should be natural for you to drink until dawn with someone you get along with, even if he may be your enemy."

Lancer is a carefree, laidback Servant always eager to get into a good fight, and will never back down unless commanded. When not being an enemy, he shows a playful attitude and loves to tease. He is most often seen fighting Archer throughout the whole story. Although easy to dismiss as being a mediocre Servant, he is in fact extremely fast and skilled in the use of the lance.

His identity is revealed early on as one of the greater heroes of Irish Mythology, Cu Chulainn. Thus, his Noble Phantasm is easily guessable: The Gae Bolg, which kills its target instantly by automatically piercing the victim's heart and then reversing cause-and-effect to create a reason for it.


  • Adaptational Badass: In the original visual novel's Heaven's Feel route, Lancer is killed by True Assassin in a matter of seconds while trying to escape the Shadow, while in the movie adaption, he is given an extended action scene where he chases True Assassin across the city, lands a few blows on him, and even manages to get his Gae Bolg off before finally being killed when True Assassin lures him to the shadow. It's made clear that had he either been given a second longer to activate Gae Bolg, or been fighting away from the Shadow, he would have easily killed Assassin.
  • Almighty Janitor: In a sense. Despite being part of one of the top 3 classes, Lancer is required by his master to hold back in all of his first fights. Even with this handicap, Lancer is still one of the strongest servants in the series. He even held Gilgamesh at bay for half-a-day. The same Gilgamesh who utterly decimated Rider in Zero.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Both techniques of the Noble Phantasm Gae Bolg are this, with the single-target version twisting the laws of cause and effect to always strike the heart while the Anti-Army version moves with such a speed and covers such a wide area (by multiplying into dozens of spearheads, as seen in Fate/EXTRA, CCC and Fate/Extella when used against multiple enemies) that it is practically impossible to avoid it without teleporting. The former can be avoided with extremely good luck, however.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Not in the visual novel (unless you count Gae Bolg), but in spinoff material. In Fate/unlimited codes, he calls Diarmuid beautiful, more or less due to some Deliberate Values Dissonance but he's always shown interest in women either way.
  • Animal Motif: Dogs, as per his legend. He hates being compared to a dog, and in an anime-exclusive scene from the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel, he's represented by a toy dog in Sakura's dream.
  • Anti-Villain: He's merely following orders from his mysterious Master and seems disgusted or annoyed at the more unpleasant things he has to do. In two routes he gets fed up with it and turns on Kotomine.
  • Berserk Button: Comparing him to a dog is a bad idea and he also hates traitors and liars.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He saves Tohsaka several times in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Bishōnen: Surprisingly for the Fate franchise, it's mythologically accurate. When he wasn't in the middle of one of his infamous berserker rages, Cu Chulainn was described as being slim, wiry, fine-boned, and more beautiful than handsome despite his fearsome reputation and monstrous strength.
  • Blade on a Stick: His weapon is a really powerful lance, the legendary Gae Bolg.
  • Blood Knight: He actually doesn't care about getting the Grail at all since he just wants to fight. Hence his frustration that he's never allowed to do so. This trait is also the only thing that keeps Archer alive when Lancer is finally allowed to go all-out against him during their rematch in Unlimited Blade Works, as Archer is able to continuously bait Lancer's strikes by intentionally creating gaps in his defenses only to block them at the last second. Lancer is having too much fun to take the hint despite surpassing Archer in every way in close combat.
  • Body Paint: His full-body spandex is based on D's from Vampire Hunter D, but fans often prefer to consider it a nod toward the popular perception of Celtic warriors fighting in the nude in blue body paint.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Especially in Unlimited Blade Works, whereas he's shown to love teasing both Rin and Saber, and he fights for the fight itself.
  • Boring, but Practical: Despite being not very flashy and useless against multiple foes or fortifications, the normal use of Gae Bolg can easily One-Hit Kill Servants and uses extremely little mana. Saber states he could probably use it six or seven times for the same amount of mana that an equally decisive blow from an "A"-rank Noble Phantasm would consume, and likens it to a man who can use a single arrow to win a battle most Servants could only win with an artillery barrage.
  • Born Unlucky: Luck stat E, the worst possible. It shows in-game too, considering all the messes he ends up in.
  • Breakout Character: Not as much as Saber or Archer, but he proved popular enough to appear in Fate/EXTRA, get Promoted to Playable in Fate/Extella, show up in Fate/Grand Order with three extra variations (his playstyle also helped boost his popularity), and appear as a major ally the First Order anime.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In Heaven's Feel, he has his heart ripped out by True Assassin and is then eaten alive by the Shadow.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His second fight with Archer in Unlimited Blade Works. Fighting to his full capabilities, Archer can only barely keep up with him and only survives since he was familiar with Lancer's style from their first fight, and even then Lancer has Archer on the defensive for most of the fight and quickly ends it with the thrown version of Gae Bolg. After Archer's Rho Aias gets destroyed as a result of barely diverting the lance, he only survives because Lancer figures out his plan and chooses not to kill him afterwards.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: His attitude towards killing and being a Friendly Enemy somewhat alienates the others, who are antagonistic towards him for it. In Unlimited Blade Works, he spends a lot of time messing with Tohsaka due to these values.
  • Determinator: He is rarely hit so he doesn't get to show this often but his A-ranked Battle Continuation means he can fight for very long periods of time. His legend involved him fighting against an army through a series of duels. Which he fought until he starts dying. Then he proceeds to tie himself to a post so he can stand up to continue fighting. He continued fighting and killing people until his last breath, including killing his killer, post-mortem. His enemies didn't even believe he was dead until a bird landed on him. This trait isn't shown in two of three routes since he was One Hit Killed by his own Gae Bolg in Unlimited Blade Works and the Shadow in Heaven's Feel but it shows in the Fate route, where he fights Gilgamesh for twelve hours before being defeated. For reference, even Berserker only lasted a few minutes, and Gilgamesh had to use everything in his arsenal to keep Lancer from entering close combat, lest he be in actual trouble.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After being forced to follow orders he considers disgusting throughout the Grail War, near the end of Unlimited Blade Works he finally gets fed up when ordered to kill Tohsaka after protecting her for a day or two and refuses to do it. Kotomine forces him to stab himself in the heart, after which he gets back up and kills Kotomine, saves Tohsaka and lights the castle on fire before dying.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: He's killed by True Assassin and the Shadow in Heaven's Feel after their battle to establish True Assassin as a threat and give some mystery to the Shadow.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: How he died in his legend. He basically dies after single-handedly holding off an entire army. And he also does this in the VN, in Fate, he holds off against Gilgamesh for twelve hours to save the heroes and in Unlimited Blade Works a mostly dead Lancer kills Kotomine, stabs Shinji, frees Tohsaka and burns the castle where they are in.
  • Enemy Mine: Teams up with Shirou and Rin in Unlimited Blade Works to defeat Caster.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While technically a villain, he's disgusted by Kirei and Gilgamesh and betrays them in Fate and Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Fighting Irish: He's one of Ireland's better known heroes, and he enjoys nothing more than fighting.
  • Foreshadowing: Looking at all the other master and servant pairs, it doesn't look like he has much in common with Kirei. There's a reason for that.
  • Fragile Speedster: In Fate/unlimited codes. Also has one of the longest reaches in the game.
  • Friendly Enemy: He actually prefers this kind of relationship and finds it odd when people feel they have to be antagonistic towards people they might end up killing. On the flipside is the fact that this does not get in the way of the fact that anyone who is an enemy is to be killed.
  • The Gadfly: Only really apparent in Unlimited Blade Works, but Lancer is shown to get a great deal of amusement from teasing girls he finds interesting. "Even Rin?", you ask? Especially Rin.
  • Game Face: Usually quite easy on the eyes, but his features can be unsettingly animalistic and feral sometimes. Which is probably a Call-Back to his legendary Warp Spasm.
  • Geas: It's mentioned on the weapons page that he is under a geas to lose to a man from Ulster wielding Caladbolg. It never comes up. With reason, mind you, since neither Archer nor Gilgamesh—the former having a copy and the latter having the prototypical Caladbolg—hail from Ulster, meaning Lancer has no reason to lose to them should they use it. However, this didn't stop Gilgamesh from chaining Lancer down with the Chains of Heaven and executing him with Caladbolg in the Studio DEEN anime adaptation, seemingly using that weapon out of a sense of irony on the King of Heroes' part.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lancer starts off trying to kill Rin and mortally-wounding Shirou. Later in Fate he ultimately turns against Kotomine after learning about the existence of Gilgamesh and being disgusted by the King of Heroes himself, ultimately sacrificing his life to buy Shirou and Saber time to get away and regroup. In Unlimited Blade Works, he shows up to help Shirou and Rin defeat Caster, obstinately on orders from his Master. He admits he enjoyed working with them, saves Rin from being raped by Shinji, and is so outraged when Kotomine orders him to kill her that he turns on him.
  • Honor Before Reason: Fate/hollow ataraxia explains something that was only implied here. Namely, he made a vow that he would follow the orders of anyone he had sworn his allegiance to without question. Kind of regrets that one considering who he's working for.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: Lancer's true name (Cu Chulainn) is pronounced "coo coo-lawn" in stay night and "coo hoo-lawn" in Unlimited Blade Works. However, the name is traditionally pronounced as "coo hull-en".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Comes off as a bit of a dick at first, but genuinely praises Shirou for surviving against him with nothing but a poster and is actually a pretty good guy.
  • Lawful Neutral: In-Universe alignment.
  • Lightning Bruiser: At his fullest, Lancer is the fastest Servant in the war, strong enough to throw his lance with enough force to dispel Archer's Rho Aias and break his arm, and is arguably even more difficult to kill than Berserker, given that he lasts exponentially longer against Gilgamesh compared to him.
  • Nice Guy: Is probably the kindest and most amicable servant besides Saber.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Not nearly as bad as his predecessor in the 4th war but still applies. The voice actors pronounce it "Koo Hullen". Repeat after me.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Lancer has the "Battle Continuation" ability, which allows him to fight effectively even when mortally wounded. He uses it to his advantage in Unlimited Blade Works, allowing him to live for a few minutes after having had his heart pierced by his own spear.
  • Older Is Better: Compared to the 4th War's Lancer (who came from the 3rd Century-based Fenian Cycle of Irish Mythology), Cú Chulainn is a figure from the 1st Century-based Ulster Cycle, which is a good two centuries older. Also, based on performance and durability throughout their tenure in battle, Cú Chulainn does seem to be the superior warrior—especially when you consider that Cú Chulainn survives a spear to the heart long enough to kill the one responsible (albeit only thanks to his Battle Continuation), while Diarmuid goes out in a very undignified fashion.
  • One-Hit Kill: The entire point of Gae Bolg's activated ability. There is no way for it to miss the target's heart unless their Luck stat is high enough, some form of attack nullification (Heracles's God Hand which nullifies attacks of A-Rank and below, though Word of God states Lancer can get around this by using his Runes to temporarily boost his Noble Phantasm rank) or special conceptual defensive Noble Phantasms, such as Archer's Rho Aias, though Gae Bolg manages to completely destroy it.
  • Out of Focus: Ends up as this in the Heaven's Feel route, being among the first Servants to die.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Poor Lancer gets this hard. He's one of the most impressive Servants you'll ever see in the Lancer class, but thanks to his Master's Command Seal, he is not allowed to go all out and has to retreat his first battle with any Servant if they even remotely have the skill to oppose him. Even his normally used Gae Bolg technique is much less flashier and less effective than many other Noble Phantasms since it is affected by Luck.
  • Rasputinian Death: In life he was so notoriously hard to kill that his enemies had to resort to Loophole Abuse to get it done, so it's no surprise that his death in Unlimited Blade Works not only takes a while but gets him the last laugh over Kirei.
  • Red Baron: "Cú Chulainn" means "Culann's hound". In-game, he's also referred to as "Ireland's Child of Light" on top of this.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ultimately subverted, though at first he looks like he's playing it straight. He may have quite a bit of bloodlust, and tries to kill Shirou but he's actually not a bad guy.
  • Red Herring: He first appears in the prologue near the boundary field set up at the school and while he denies any connection to it and he says nothing to imply his Master didn't set it up and he was just guarding it. In all paths in it's revealed he had no nothing to do with it.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After helping the protagonists out against Caster and hearing that Archer kidnapped Rin, he volunteers to help Shirou get her back, despite it going against Kotomine's orders.
  • Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank B, being the son of Lugh. It's what allows him to be immobilized by Enkidu.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Rin/Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works, in a sense. Despite his flirting with her, he respects Shirou's protectiveness of Rin. When she states that they aren't a couple, he tells her that they already act like one.
  • Short Hair with Tail: He has short hair on top with a rattail going down to the middle of his back.
  • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: He uses Gae Bolg for both thrusting and occasionally slashing.
  • Spam Attack: He has a penchant for rapid-fire spear thrusts.
  • Super Speed: The fastest Servant of the war bar Rider with his acceleration being rivaled only by Saber with her Prana Burst. Its depiction is taken to the extreme in the 2014 Anime, where he is practically teleporting from Archer's perspective once he's allowed to go all out.
  • Taking You with Me: He kills Kirei after being ordered to kill himself for refusing to rip out Rin's heart in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Snarking around his opponents seems to be one of his hobbies.
  • The Tease: He flirts a lot with Tohsaka in Unlimited Blade Works even though he knows Tohsaka isn't really interested.
  • Weapon Twirling: He does an awful lot of this in the 2014 Anime, sometimes as an attack but other times just to demonstrate his skill with a spear. It's also convenient way of getting into the proper stance to use his Noble Phantasm.
  • The Worf Barrage: For all its reputation as a One-Hit Kill weapon, Gae Bolg has a really poor track record at actually doing this. The primary reason for this is because everyone he uses it on happens to have some way to survive it. Saber has a high Luck stat and basically wins the coin toss and Archer just happens to bring out a shield specifically made to counter missiles at the exact time that Lancer tries to use the thrown version of the attack. Basically, Lancer has really bad luck with his targets.
  • Worf Had the Flu: He's actually a high-class Servant on par with Saber or Berserker in ability, but is hindered by his lack of fame in Japan. Even with that, he still manages to trash almost anyone he faces in any route, and even fight Gilgamesh for half a day in Fate route. In fact, he's held back only by his master's Command Seal in almost every single one of his fights, preventing him from using his full potential. When he does have the freedom to fight without restraint, he casually is able to speed blitz Archer in Unlimited Blade Works in their second fight, and easily could have beaten him at that point.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Wounds caused by Gae Bolg do not heal naturally. Prana-based healing like magic or Servants' Healing Factor works, but a normal human struck by it is doomed. The curse can be lifted if Gae Bolg is destroyed or if Cú himself dies. Being struck in the heart with it is also fatal and even Servants cannot survive this.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: He has blue hair, as did his predecessor in the Fourth Grail War. Like most Nasuverse characters, his unnatural hair seems to be a hint that he's not fully human - rather, he's a demigod, which helps in deducing his identity.

    Rider 

Voiced by: Yuu Asakawa (JP), Karen Strassman (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie), Melissa Fahn (EN 2015 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2018 Heaven's Feel Movie)

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

"You appear to be a brave person, unlike my master. I shall kill you kindly."

Rider is a tall, dark, silent and gorgeous Servant controlled by Shinji Matou. Rider is always seen with a blindfold and very long hair. Unlike Shinji, she is a little amiable; in fact, she dislikes him and considers him to be a coward. She wields a very long chain in battle with spikes on the ends. These chains make sounds like slithering snakes. However, because Shinji is not a magus, he greatly holds back her true potential, making her one of the weakest Servants.

Because she is so quiet and her Master is so difficult to deal with, she remains quite mysterious until the third route when she begins receiving more focus.


  • Actually Not a Vampire: While Rider is of questionable humanity and both enjoys and is empowered by sucking blood, vampires are actually something different.
  • Adorkable: Surprisingly so as, in contrast to her Dominatrix appearance and her "silent killer" and "dutiful servant" demeanour in Unlimited Blade Works and Fate respectively, Rider's inexperience with social interaction beyond her siblings leaves her unsure of how to communicate with others. Heaven's Feel shows this off especially as it reveals that Rider is very self-conscious about her height, anxious about having people serve her instead of the other way around and seems to fret rather noticeably when trying to correctly pronounce Shirou's name out of fear of insulting him. Shirou even lampshades this in the latter of these interactions, hypothesizing that Rider is secretly a klutz in her private life.
  • Animal Motifs: Rider gets motifs for both horses for her ability to summon Pegasus and snakes as befits her real identity of Medusa.
  • Anti-Magic: Rider has innate magic resistance as part of her class, although it's not quite Saber's level. Caster gets around this by having Kuzuki kill her in the route the two come to blows.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Shirou thinks her voice is incredibly beautiful.
  • The Beastmaster: As the mother of the original Pegasus, she can summon it into battle by slashing her neck open as part of her Noble Phantasm, Bellerophon: The Bridle of Chivalry. It is far beyond the level of an ordinary pegasus thanks to its legend, approaching the level of a Dragon in terms of sheer power. It can lacerate people and warp buildings by simply flapping its wings. It also has the highest Magic Resistance in the entire war, able to brush off a blackened and overcharged Excalibur when combined with Shirou's Rho Aias.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why she eventually warms up to and develops respect for Shirou; for being the first man, if not the first person besides Sakura, to ever show her unconditional kindness and treat her as another human being rather than a monster.
  • Berserk Button: Command Spells and those who use them. In one bad end, she immediately drops her usual behavior and finishes Shirou off when he tries to summon Saber.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Her blindfold is stated in the Status sheets to seal all properties of her eyes, including vision, so she relies on her other senses for everything. It works well enough that her blindness isn't noticeable at all.
  • Blood Magic: She can use her blood as a material component in a Noble Phantasm called Blood Fort Andromeda, which dissolves its victim into a slurry that Rider can then absorb as Mana. Likewise, the blood spilled by stabbing herself in the neck is the summoning vector for her Pegasus, her most powerful asset besides (and arguably above) her mystic eyes.
  • Boobs of Steel: She has the largest bust of any female Servant and is physically the strongest female Servant, even if she can't match Saber in close combat.
  • Broken Bird: Her backstory. She was teased by her sisters for being mortal unlike them, and because Athena sent her followers to attack them, she turned into a man-eating monster that devoured them. At the time of her death, she reminisced that they did actually love one another and accepted she misses her time with them. One of the reasons she is so sympathetic to Sakura is because she is so broken too.
  • Cain and Abel: In her backstory, she was constantly bullied by her sisters and devoured them after she turned into a monster. As she died, Rider realized that not only she did love them but that they'd actually let her eat them out of guilt for her condition being a result of trying to protect them, and would later consider their time together as her fondest memories.
  • Chain Pain: Her standard weapon is a nail attached to a long chain.
  • Chaotic Good: In-Universe alignment, which is most likely a holdover from her Fate/Prototype basis.
  • Collared by Fashion: Wears a leather collar on her neck as part of her standard battle costume.
  • Commonality Connection: Rider shares many similarities with her true Master, Sakura, which is why the two of them get along and are compatible.
  • Dark Action Girl: She embraces this image. She wears a black outfit, can be rather ruthless and being a chosen hero means she's more than competent in fighting. The only thing preventing her from showing how badass she is was Shinji's uselessness as a master.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Her appearance and abilities based in blood and darkness just scream dark creature and is not helped by her vampiric traits, but once you get to know her, she's really not that bad.
  • Deadly Gaze: Cybele, the Mystic Eyes of Petrification, which will leave you Taken for Granite.
  • Dream Walker: Her blindfold, Breaker Gorgon, also allows her to enter dreams. In Heaven's Feel, she enters Shirou's dream disguised as Rin to seduce him and steal his energy.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: Rider wears a black leotard dress with matching high legging boots and gloves. Her Weapon of Choice are two spike chains that she can wrap her opponents in. She also wears a eye mask. Though, that last bit is justified since she's actually Medusa and needs to cover her eyes. Fate/hollow ataraxia reveals the look is actually coincidental with this trope.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: In Unlimited Blade Works Rider dies anticlimactically off-screen against Caster and her Master.
  • Facial Markings: She has some sort of rune on her forehead.
  • Friendly Enemy: The only times she is hostile is when Shinji orders her to be. When she escorted Shirou out of the Matou Household in Fate she was surprisingly friendly. In the beginning of Unlimited Blade Works she compliments Shirou on his bravery in contrast to the cowardly Shinji.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When she takes the blinders off, her eyes have a strange glowing quality. Shirou describes them as too beautiful for any human to possess, and could either be art the gods admired or a nature they cursed.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Her true identity is that of Medusa, the infamous gorgon of Greek myth. The original myths describe Medusa as looking hideous with snakes as her hair, but contrary to that, Rider has beautiful flowing hair and is even described as gorgeous in the game. Her backstory explains that her history is somewhat more complicated than the more abbreviated versions of her legend make it appear.
    • This is clarified in Fate/Grand Order, where she explicitly states that the body she has now is either the same body she had before being cursed by Athena, or is at least incredibly similar. So, this is apparently the same beauty that attracted Poseidon.
    Rin: To be blunt, she's really gorgeous. When a woman calls another woman gorgeous, you know it's true.
    • Her human appearance here may also be for the same reason Archer of Black whose real identity is Chiron, the famous centaur who acted as a teacher to many Greek heroes appeared as a human in Fate/Apocrypha - both Servants have true appearances that could never be mistaken for human and are so iconic as to make hiding their identity all but impossible. By having them manifest in human form, it makes it a great deal harder for their enemies to figure out who they are prior to their Noble Phantasms being unleashed. However, unlike Archer of Black, it's implied Rider's human form was her original one and that her monstrous form was a mutation born from a combination of being cursed, mentally breaking down over time and losing control of her power.
    • Two other forms of her appear in Fate/Grand Order, under the classes of Lancer and "Avenger". Her Lancer form is a cute, young girl and the form she had at the start of her career in defending the Shapeless Isle, while the latter is flat out named Gorgon instead of her actual name and appears as a winged, scaled woman with hair that turns into snakes. A third, blackened version appears in the Grand Order anime as a Lancer; this form is basically Rider with no physical changes and wearing an adult-sized version of her Lancer outfit and weapon, and the Evil alignment and disposition one would expect of a blackened Servant.
  • Hellish Pupils: Rider has unusual, square-shaped pupils that are used to identify her Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: In Heaven's Feel, she's revealed as being self-conscious of her height.
  • Image Song: "Shunji no Uzu" ("Instant Vortex")
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: In one Bad End, she outright tells Shirou that she'll have an orgasm if she doesn't kill him off soon, because of his screams.
  • I Shall Taunt You: In a blink-and-you-missed Passive-Aggressive Kombat moment during her exchange of words with Saber Alter before their final fight, Rider asks the Blackened Servant if the wording of her orders means that she won't attack Shirou unless he tries to attack her or get pass her. Saber Alter confirms this, but she adds that Shirou will advance even though he knows he can't defeat her because that's just who he is. Rider then breaks into her rarely seen smile and says "I see. You served him before me, after all. It's natural that you know his personality." This gets Saber Alter to narrow her eyes and wordlessly ready her sword. This hints that Rider figured out Saber still cares about Shirou at some deeply buried level and knew that she wouldn't take Rider calling herself his Servant too kindly. The taunt seems to work as it gets Saber Alter to prioritize defeating Rider, which helps Shirou's battle plan a lot.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: She does this because of Shinji's inability to provide her with mana. One Bad End in Unlimited Blade Works has her sucking the blood on Shirou's neck.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Not as strong as Berserker or Saber, but trades power for sheer speed as the fastest Servant of the war while still able to snap spines as if they were twigs. Taken Up to Eleven once she summons Pegasus, with the highest Magical Resistance of the war (far surpassing Saber's), speed surpassing almost any other Servant, and force equivalent to a fortress wall crashing into someone.
  • Magic Skirt: Extremely agile, jumping from wall to wall and across buildings with her skirt apparently glued to her thighs, never seeming to show anything no matter how many flips and jumps she does.
  • Male Gaze: The Studio DEEN adaptation of Fate has a close-up of her butt during her fight with Caster, though of course it doesn't actually show anything.
  • Mama Bear: She cares very much for her true Master, and from the instant she rejoins Sakura’s side her only objective is keeping her safe at all costs.
  • Meganekko: In her casual clothes. The glasses are a more casual, everyday-living-friendly substitute for Breaker Gorgon and help keep her eyes under control without rousing suspicion from those not aware of her nature as a Servant.
  • Mercy Kill: In one certain Dead End, instead of letting Shirou suffer and melt under her blood fort, she drains him of his blood and quickly kills him.
  • Mind Rape: Played with, in a disturbingly literal sense; when Shirou has an... er, "dream" about Rin in Heaven's Feel, it's heavily implied to actually be Rider using Rin's image to seduce him and steal mana from him to help recover. This is due to "Rin" in the dream having Rider's same inhuman eyes and, in one of the remastered variants, drinking Shirou's blood via neck-bite in the same manner Rider had with other students. It's even more literal in the original release with her actually flat-out having Shirou bend her over a desk and then mounting him immediately after he's done. Even more disturbing is that, while heavily implied to be the former of these twonote , it's never explicitly confirmed in the novel whether this was all an illusion Rider created in Shirou's head or if she actually did brainwash him into having sex with her.note .
  • Mini Dress Of Power: She wears a very short one-piece dress that doesn't restrict her from doing all kinds of crazy acrobatic stunts.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The most scantily clad Rapunzel Hair Statuesque Stunner lady in the visual novel.
  • Noble Demon: She describes herself in rather monstrous terms, can back it up easily and can take a sadistic pleasure in killing enemies, but she's disgusted by the likes of Shinji and isn't pointlessly cruel to anyone she has no grudge against.
  • No Body Left Behind: Is vaporized by Saber's Excalibur in the Fate route. In the manga adaptation, she survives it if only because Sakura used her last Command Seal to command her to save Shinji from falling to his death, after which she fades away.
  • No Eye in Magic: Played With. When her Mystic Eyes are activated, just not looking into them isn't enough, as they're powerful enough she can petrify people regardless. However, Rider does need to see the enemy herself to actually use them.
  • Not So Different: To Saber, as Shirou notes in Heaven's Feel when he mistakes her voice for Saber's despite the latter being "dead". Both started out as cold, unapproachable and devoted to their respective causes, not to mention having both sacrificed their humanity - metaphorically for Saber, literally for Rider - to protect what was close to them, only to get royally screwed by fate and lose everything they ever cared about anyway. They also both have surprisingly feminine sides, Saber getting embarrassed by her large appetite in an optional part of Fate while Rider in Heaven's Feel is revealed to have a complex about her height. They are also the only Servants who have the potential to survive past the Holy Grail War; Saber lives with Rin and Shirou in the "Sunny Day" Good End of Unlimited Blade Works, while Rider lives with Sakura and Shirou in the True End of Heaven's Feel. It's also revealed that they both developed affections for Shirou for much the same reason; he was the first boy who not only treated them kindly, but he treated them as just another person as opposed to a monster or mythic figure. Finally, they both have contrasting "evil" alter-egos who are stronger than themselves - Rider's is her monstrous Gorgon form which she can shift into if she overuses her supernatural strength, whereas Saber's is the Grail-corrupted and black-armored Saber Alter.
  • Panty Shot: The Manga version of Heaven's Feel reveals that Rider does in fact wear something under that skirt, in matching black to her outfit no less.
  • Pegasus: She summons and rides it for her Noble Phantasm, Bellerophon.
  • Poisonous Friend: While more or less a good person, Sakura, her true Master, is by far her top priority. In general she's quite willing to do essentially anything for Sakura whether she wants her to or not. Drink blood, kill Shirou, put up with Shinji...
  • Power Limiter: Her blindfold, the Breaker Gorgon Noble Phantasm, which prevents her from using her Glowing Eyes of Doom. Later on, she gets a pair of glasses similar to Shiki's, the same ones fashioned by Touko Aozaki, so she can have a more public appearance.
  • The Quiet One: She keeps quiet around Shinji, but some awkward situations in her more casual moments during Heaven's Feel suggest she generally doesn't talk much.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Of the greatest level. It easily goes down to her ankles, yet does nothing to limit her fighting abilities. In other forms, it is, of course, capable of turning into snakes and sometimes chains, though as Rider Medusa notably never demonstrates this ability.
  • Restraining Bolt: Shinji would have died a long time ago if it hadn't been for his possession of the Book of False Attendant, which Sakura gave him to allow him to command Rider.
  • Sadist: Sometimes displays a decidedly lascivious response toward her enemies upon defeating them. This is best exemplified in one bad end in Unlimited Blade Works where Shirou tries to summon Saber; Rider will cut off one arm and leave him strung up to a tree by his remaining one to bleed out, her parting words being that the only reason she won't stay and gouge his eyes out is because doing so would make her orgasm.
  • Secret Test of Character: Appears to subject Shirou to this in Unlimited Blade Works; in the bad end of their encounter, Rider will reveal she was deliberately toying with him to try and force him into using a Command Seal so as to test if he sees Servants as a tool to fall back on. If he gives in and tries to call out Saber, she'll sever his arm and leave him strung up to bleed out, but if he perseveres she'll continue dragging things out until Rin intervenes and forces her to retreat.
  • Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank E-; she originally had a higher rank, but having been turned into a demonic beast, Rider's divinity was reduced to E-.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: In her backstory. Because she and her sisters were born out of mankind's wishes for perfect gods, their beauty earned them the ire of Athena, who sent her followers to attack them. She ended up becoming a monster out of her resentment for what humans did to them.
  • Square Race, Round Class:
    • Not quite "race", but it briefly comes up in the VN itself and sequels, adaptations and the like expand on the idea that this is another factor preventing her from performing as well as some of the other Servants. Many Heroic Spirits qualify for multiple Class containers, and while the Heroic Spirit who is Rider in this story qualifies as Rider, has the Noble Phantasms for it and is summoned as such, it isn't necessarily the class this Heroic Spirit is strongest in; if some of her Noble Phantasms seem kludgy and awkward, that's because in this form, they are. Grand Order, in particular, suggests that she's far stronger as either Lancer (surprisingly)... or as "Avenger", a non-standard container that is not typically utilized in the Fuyuki summoning system. Avenger manifests her in the full, terrible glory of her Gorgon form permanently, further empowered by Grail corruption, giving her full access to the powers one more typically associates with Medusa the Gorgon, including a vastly more effective Bloodfort and the ability to utilize her Mystic Eyes in a way almost like a Wave-Motion Gun. Meanwhile, while a blackened version briefly shows up in the First Order OVA as a very similar Servant to the one seen here, her proper Lancer version in GO manifests as Medusa at the start of her career as guardian of the Shapeless Isle, when she was much closer to her sisters and her Divinity. In this form, she's a lot more like F/SN's Lancer, simply using the sheer power of her Goddess Essence, far higher Magic Resistance and pure determination to protect those she loves to overwhelm enemies and empower everything she does. As Rider, Medusa has access to neither of these advantages (having lost virtually all of her Goddess Essence/Divinity leaving it unable to empower her body and Cybele Mystic Eyes, but also being unable or unwilling to embrace the full monstrosity of her Gorgon form) and simply has to make do with a limited form of Bloodfort Andromeda, weaker Mystic Eyes and her awkward relationship to the Pegasus.
    • Interestingly, when he shows up in humanoid form in Grand Order, Aŋra mentions that he could tell even early on that Medusa had the potential to be an Avenger within her and was a bit taken aback; during Heaven's Feel, you can notice that The Shadow is somewhat less eager to engage Medusa. While this is also likely due to Sakura not wanting to hurt Medusa, in retrospect it comes across as Aŋra not wanting to risk Medusa overusing Monstrous Strength and calling upon the full breadth of her Gorgon form.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Quite literally considering her powers. By far the tallest female in the game and described as beautiful.
  • The Stoic: Rider's facial expression rarely changes even in the face of danger or Shinji's threats.
  • Stripperiffic: A short black dress with cutoff black and magenta armour on the legs. The total amount of raw flesh exposed is actually fairly low, but clearly designed more with fanservice in mind than combat.
  • Stronger with Age: When she summons Pegasus, she explains that Pegasus had never died, he survived all the way to the modern era. Since he's lived for so long, he's now as powerful as a dragon.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She's both a loyal and kind person but she does not look it. The first impression Shirou has of her is that she reeks of blood, but not necessarily in a bad way.
  • Super Speed: The highest top speed of the war and incredibly agile, able to run straight up and across walls with ease. This also applies to anything she rides, allowing her to keep up with motorcycles on a granny bike!
  • Super Strength: She typically doesn't use it, though, favouring her agility. The reason for this is that she might revert into a monster if she overdoes it.
  • Taken for Granite: As Medusa, anyone she looks at will be turned to stone. One bad end has Shirou charge at her with his eyes closed, but he still turns to stone.
  • Think Nothing of It: An anti-hero example, but Rider - at least initially - does not ask for nor want for anything more than the safety and happiness of her Master, Sakura. To that end, she'll do anything and everything without question - even put up with the likes of Shinji - and regard any credit as having simply been her properly following orders. It's to the point that in Heaven's Feel, even having Shirou and Sakura volunteer to cook her a meal leaves her awkwardly fumbling just on how to react, much less respond.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After two first routes getting touted as the weakest Servant due to Shinji and always being the first to be eliminated, Heaven's Feel shows the extent of her power if not being held back by Shinji and lets her survive the whole storyline, Epilogue included.
  • Tragic Monster: Her backstory, as per Greek mythology. Cursed by the gods for being raped. Although the rape part doesn't appear to be canon in Fate universe, and instead Athena cursed Medusa, and her sisters simply because she was jealous of their beauty. Nonetheless Medusa's backstory is still rather tragic, with her wanting nothing more than to protect her sisters(Who bullied her constantly, but actually loved her in their own way), only to end up turning into Gorgon and devouring her sisters herself.
  • Wall Crawl: She can crawl along walls and ceilings like Spider-Man, and even casually walk on walls.
  • Weapon of Choice: A pair of giant nails chained together and wielded like daggers. They can also become invisible, allowing Rider to trap people with the chain.
  • When She Smiles: Rider's smiling sprite is very rarely used. Out of combat, it appears exactly once in the whole visual novel at the end of an optional scene if Shirou looks for her around the house on the morning of the 11th day of the Heaven's Feel route.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, she is weakened by Shinji's inability to provide her a reliable source of Prana. In Heaven's Feel where she is Sakura's servant, she becomes far more powerful and is able to defeat True Assassin, go toe-to-toe with Archer, and briefly hold back Saber Alter.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Like most Nasuverse characters with odd hair colours it's a good indication that she's not exactly human.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: In her battle getup, her boots reach very high on her thighs. Casual attire is usually jeans.

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    Berserker 

Voiced by: Tadahisa Saizen (JP), Michael McConnohie (EN)

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

"▂▂▃▃▄▄▅▅!"

A very huge and very un-Gentle Giant: The mad Servant Berserker. This is the Servant of Ilyasviel von Einzbern, who immediately invoked the "Mad Enhancement" skill exclusive to Berserkers to strip him of his sanity and speaking ability in exchange for extreme boosts to all his stats. Despite his bouts of insanity and the Berserker class' reputation of killing their own Masters, Berserker is entirely loyal to his Master.

His identity, immediately told by Ilya, was in fact Greek Mythology's World's Strongest Man and all around badass: Heracles. Due to his wide range of talents, Heracles could fulfill the role of any of the seven Classes except Caster. Unfortunately, he was summoned as a Berserker and is unable to use his Noble Phantasm Nine Lives or the Bow of the Hydra. Despite this, his sheer speed, strength and resilience make him the most outwardly powerful Servant summoned to fight in the Fifth Holy Grail War.


  • The Ace: He can fulfill the role of any of the seven Classes except Caster. Despite the Berserker class being arguably his weakest class, he's still a Nigh Invulnerable Lightning Bruiser who's better at dealing with the effects of his mad state than most heroes would be. Again, he's friggin Heracles.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Once again, courtesy of the the UBW anime, he's much less Gonk, looking more like a extremely wild-haired Barbarian Hero than the "Borderline rock man" from the original. This look is fine-tuned even further in the Heaven's Feel movie, where he looks like a monster straight out of Berserk, this is probably a deliberate difference between portrayals as the UBW anime also explored the more humane side of Berserker through Ilya's memories.
  • Adaptational Badass: Twice, in different manners.
    • In the Anime adaptation of Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Berserker is shown as keeping his finesse in swordmanship and even close quarter combat in spite of his insanity, much like the Black Knight did in Fate/Zero.
    • On the other hand, he is absolutely untouchable in the first Heaven's Feel movie, where he throws Saber around like a volleyball and uses the momentum from her only proper counterattack to blow her away with a single punch.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Yet again in the same anime, he's shown to be much less Nigh Invulnerable, and both his strength, speed and sheer endurance even ignoring his Noble Phantasm have been decreased to the point where Saber, who in the Visual Novel can't last more than a minute or two against him, can take him head-on. Although that's more a result of Saber being multiple levels more badass than Berserker being less so. Averted, however, in the Heaven's Feel Movie, where he thoroughly trounces Saber with minimal effort. In Lost Butterfly, he initially seems to have completely wimped out, easily losing to Saber Alter and the Grail Mud, only to break out of said Mud and throw her around like a ragdoll before getting put down by several point-blank Excalibur Morgans.
  • Adaptive Ability: God Hand renders Berserker immune to any attack that has killed him before, as long as he's got a life left to use for a regeneration. It's more of an Informed Ability than anything since nobody ever tries to use the same attack on him twice on-screen. At least until the second Heaven's Feel movie, Lost Butterfly. After Saber Alter kills him by stabbing and blasting him with Excalibur Morgan, she notices her attacks now have no effect. She simply increases her attacks' power every time she uses them until they can kill him again.
  • Animal Motifs: His mane-like hair, slitted pupils, and roaring makes him seem almost lion-esque.
  • Anti-Villain: He's only an antagonist in that he follows Illya's orders without question, but he has no actual malice towards anyone except Saber Alter, The Shadow and Gilgamesh who he instinctively perceives as dangerous to his Master. In the two scenes where he is lucid, he shows that he is both level-headed and has a remarkable amount of insight, giving due respect to the opponents he had just been trying to massacre.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Even though he was incredibly skilled with every weapon during his life, the Berserker class has made his mind give into madness so he can only swing the giant sword around. It works disgustingly well, and his natural instinct in the form of his Eye of the Mind still functions through the cloud of madness in his mind.
  • Back from the Dead: God Hand grants him twelve extra lives, though powerful-enough attacks can take more than one life at once.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Naturally. He's the inventor of Pankration, and as such is a supreme martial artist that is said to be the greatest Servant of all in hand-to-hand combat when sane. While he can still use a bit of it as seen in the UBW anime, he doesn't make more of it due to him becoming a Berserker.
  • Berserk Button: Daring to attack Illya. So much so that Gilgamesh stabbing her causes him to come back to life.
  • The Berserker: Completely devoid of rational thought because he was summoned in this class.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • In life, he developed the technique Nine Lives, which turns an arrow into a Rain of Arrows, and when used with a melee weapon, allows him to perform nine simultaneous strikes. Basically, three of Assassin's Tsubame Gaeshi.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, he utterly shocks Gilgamesh by coming back to life even though Gilgamesh had already killed him twelve times and by breaking the unbreakable to divine beings chain Enkidu.
    • In Heaven's Feel, he tears his way out of the Shadow by force and rips off his own skin just so he won't have God Hand after being eaten by the Shadow. In Lost Butterfly this is changed to Him initially going into the Mud with little resistance only to easily tear out and beat Saber Alter's ass when Illya calls out for him.
  • BFS: His weapon is referred to in-game as an axe-sword, and for good reason.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: He has black sclera and red irises when under the influence of Mad Enhancement. When Illya restrains him, his sclera are white and his irises are the same color as his skin — though they're also sometimes drawn as being yellow.
  • Blade Spam: Nine Lives is Berserker's second Noble Phantasm and can't be used in-story because his class ability Mad Enhancement won't let him. The actual Noble Phantasm itself, derived from Herakles's feat of defeating the many-headed, nigh-immortal Hydra with his bow and arrows, was never used by Berserker himself in Fate/stay night. However, when Shirou in the Heaven's Feel route used his Projection magic to adapt the Noble Phantasm for his own use, the resulting "Nine Lives Blade Works" was composed of eight simultaneous slashes from different directions in one instant, followed by a stab to the center, all done with Super Speed. Fate/unlimited codes resorted to depicting Nine Lives as butchering an enemy by hitting them one hundred times in a short span of time.
  • Blessed with Suck: Sure, when Mad Enhancement is active he's faster and stronger, but on the other hand it strips him of rationality and prevents him from using any of his Noble Phantasms apart from God Hand, which is passive. Thus, Berserker is actually one of his worst classes.
  • Boring, but Practical: Since he's insane, he can't access his large arsenal the way Cu can use his runes while being a Lancer, and simply destroys everything through overwhelming violence and power. He's a pure warrior who is so physically superior to his competition that he doesn't even need the techniques he once had.
  • Breaking the Bonds: In Unlimited Blade Works, he manages to break Enkidu, which actually manages to shock Gilgamesh, since the chain is designed to trap gods.
    • In Heaven's Feel, He's able to break out of the Shadow by pure brute force and Heroic Willpower, despite the fact that the Grail, and by extension the Shadow, should be something he as a Servant cannot resist.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Not that he gets to display it much, but he's extremely protective of his Master, who he identifies as an abused child who needs a guardian like him more than anything else. Illya bemoans that she never got him to pick her up and hold her tight like a father would as she is dying in Unlimited Blade Works, showing that she clearly recognized and loved this side of Berserker.
  • Character Alignment: In-Universe alignment is Chaotic Insane, which probably pegs him under Chaotic Neutral. He lacks the rationality to make moral judgments, but apparently under normal circumstances he would be Chaotic Good.
  • Cool Sword: Amusingly Played With. His weapon is not actually one of his many weapons from his life, but a piece of rock from one of the temples dedicated to him shaped into a sword by the Einzberns to be used as the catalyst for his summoning. This only makes him clashing it against the other legendary weapons in the Holy Grail War all the more impressive; He's taking on things such as Excalibur and the Gate of Babylon with nothing more than a normal piece of stone.
  • Counter-Attack: Used to beautiful effect against Saber in the Heaven's Feel movie. She strikes his sword to parry him with all her might, blowing it back and in theory leaving him open to attack... Only for Berserker to use the backwards momentum to dig his heels in and punch her so hard he almost knocks her out cold.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His first fight with Saber in Fate and Heaven's Feel. His sheer speed and strength completely overwhelm her leaving unable to mount any real resistance. She does better in Unlimited Blade Works as the fight occurs in a different place and she's able to lure him to area where the terrain favored her.
  • Death Is Cheap: He dies a number of times in his fight against Archer, yet goes on to face Saber. This is because his Noble Phantasm possesses eleven layers of automatic revival magic, meaning he needs to get killed twelve times to die.
  • Defiant to the End: If Berserker senses any harm coming Illya's way, he will never back down until whatever displeases her is in bloody pieces or she is out of harm's way. Despite being at a complete disadvantage against Gilgamesh, he refuses to stop charging at him in a straight line because any other form of attack would risk Illya being hit by the Storm of Blades flying their way. Even when he's swallowed up and brainwashed by the six billion curses of the Grail Mud, he instictively ceases his otherwise lethal attack on Shirou when Illya comes out of hiding.
  • Determinator: In the 2014 anime, Archer 2 states Berserker is the shining example of human perseverance. Considering he comes back to life and breaks a chain that is supposed to be unbreakable on a servant of his divinity through sheer willpower, Gilgamesh wasn't exaggerating.
  • Died Standing Up: He never falls during his death. He always disappears standing, possibly because he's too huge to topple over.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In Fate, he is introduced early on as the biggest threat among the known Servants. He is defeated in a truly desperate and climactic battle, and no other Servant was thought to be on his level. That's when the bigger villains show...
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He's barefoot. Given his Archer counterpart in Fate/strange fake wears shoes, this is likely because his insanity stops him from caring about such things.
  • The Dreaded: He's by no small margin the strongest of the seven Servants summoned and leaves Shirou and Rin with a very strong impression of his incredible power on the first night of the War. Even Gilgamesh has a brief cold-sweat when Berserker comes back to life from sheer willpower to try and tear him a new one for stabbing Illya.
    • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot in Lost Butterfly, even Saber Alter visibly hesitates to bring her sword to bear against him for a moment towards the end of the fight. Yes, Berserker made someone far stronger than him who's mind is consumed by hatred and rage feel fear, if even briefly.
  • Dying as Yourself: In Fate, he regains his sanity when Shirou and Saber defeat him for the final time. He uses his last moments to congratulate them on their victory and marvel on the power of Caliburn.
  • Famed in Story: Heracles is one of the most famous characters in literature both in and out-of-universe. This works to his advantage in the story, as he can be summoned near the peak of his strength no matter where the Holy Grail War takes place, but he would get a noticeable boost in Europe and an especially sharp boost in Greece.
  • Faster Than They Look: One would think that the movements of a veritable hulk of a man like Heracles would be an antithesis of speed and agility, and yet that couldn't be farther from the truth. He is a Lightning Bruiser through and through, moving with such inhuman speed in spite of his sheer massiveness that Shirou initially goes into denial at the sight.
  • Gentle Giant: Towards Ilya. Even though he should be stark raving mad and kill anything in sight, he protects her and carries her around almost like a father.
  • Glad He's on Our Side: In Lost Butterfly, this seems to be the expression on Shirou and Rin's faces as they observe his titanic clash with Saber Alter.
  • Gonk: The Berserker class's Mad Enhancement has some effect on his physique, notable after things like his head explodes, re-grows, and looks somewhat normal for a moment. Nasu clarifies that he would indeed maintain the same size under other classes, but his muscles would be a bit softer, he wouldn't have his elbow spikes, and his face would look less bestial.
  • Graceful Loser: Compliments Saber and Shirou on beating him in his final moments, where he has regained his sanity.
  • Hellish Pupils: Some of his artwork in spinoff games and a closeup of his eyes in Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel II. lost butterfly shows that he has vertically-slitted pupils — at least while under the influence of Mad Enhancement, though it's seemingly a common trait for demigods.
  • Hero Antagonist: He very briefly becomes one in Heaven's Feel, where he fights against the far more sinister Zouken, True Assassin, and Saber Alter.
  • Heroic Willpower: He's explicitly able to No-Sell Command Spells if he does not want to obey the order given to him, even through his madness. In the anime, he outright survives death 12 times trying to defend Illya from Gilgamesh and revived one last time to take him down with him, despite God Hand only giving Berserker 11 extra lives. In Lost Butterfly, he initially looks to have been completely absorbed by the Shadow after Saber Alter strikes him only to reform his body through sheer will, break out of the mud and send Saber flying, completely unaffected by the Shadow.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Extreme height difference between him and his Master, Ilya. Berserker towers one-point-two meters over Ilya, and is about 5 times as broad.
    • For those of you who don't use metric here's some math; Berserker's height is listed at 253cm (8ft 3in), Illya's is 133cm (4ft 4in). Weight wise, Berserker is 311kg (685lb 10.203oz), Illya is 34kg (74lb 15.315oz). Yes, he is about four feet taller than his master and nine times heavier than her.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Ilya has been holding back the boost he would be getting from his Mad Enhancement, meaning that his curbstomps until his final battle in Fate had been the same even if he wasn't a Berserker. Retconned in later Realta Nua edition. Instead of negating actual stat buff, Ilya simply controlled him to the extent, and only during last battle, which conveniently happens in uninhabited forest, she finally allows him to cut loose. This actually makes much more sense, since Berserker's boosted statistics is clearly visible through Master's Stat-O-Vision even on their very first encounter.
  • Implacable Man: He's Nigh Invulnerable and even if you could kill him he'll just get back up again. Twelve times.
  • Irony: Word of God has stated that Heracles could make the most effective use of his Noble Phantasms if he was in the Archer class, but he was designated to the hand-to-hand, in-your-face Berserker class.
  • It Can Think: Averted. He can only project simple surface thoughts that Illya can understand, and he has lost his swordsmanship that could rival even Assassin's. However, the game makes repeated statements that with enough strength and agility, one can replicate things that would require incredible skill unintentionally, and combined with his still-remaining combat instincts, he can truly come across as still possessing his martial skill.
  • It Only Works Once: If an attack does manage to harm him, he will gain a resistance to it after healing. This means that not only does whoever is unlucky enough to face him will have to use powerful attacks, they will also need to think of twelve different ways to kill him in order to put him down for good.
  • Killing Intent: Radiates one so intense that it completely freezes Shirou and Rin in place the first time they see him. This is while Berserker is calm, mind you.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Berserker is completely immune to all attacks beneath "A"-rank and consequently never bothers to go on the defensive except in the most extreme cases. He also normally has the ability to sense harm through sheer instinct, but can't use it because of his insanity.
  • Leitmotif: The second Heaven's Feel movie gives him one in He Comes Back Again and Again, an opera-esque that plays as Heracles makes his desperate and valiant Last Stand against Saber Alter to protect Illya with every fiber of his being.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his hulking size that towers a good meter above all other characters, he completely avoids the Mighty Glacier trope and displays both speed, strength and toughness greatly superior to any other Servant. Shirou outright refuses to believe that Berserker is able to move so fast at first after describing him as looking like he's made out of rock.
  • Made of Iron: Even without God Hand, he's incredibly tough, as Shirou tearing him to bits with Nine Lives Blade Works doesn't even slow down his assault.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: His roars are so intense that they produce hurricane winds, blowing up dust and debris whenever he gets vocal.
  • Master of All: He'd be this even more if he was sane, but even when batshit crazy he's this when it comes to a melee. He's strong enough that his blows can cave in buildings around the person he's attacking, murderously fast for his size, and easily the most durable Servant in the war, in no small part because of his Noble Phantasm. Best displayed in Lost Butterfly where even if Saber Alter is ultimately victorious against him, she's completely overwhelmed by him for the majority of their fight, only making it out on top thanks to her literally bottomless Mana source augmenting her defenses to a ludicrous degree and letting her spam her Noble Phantasm without restraint.
  • Mighty Glacier: In Fate/unlimited codes, he's this instead of full blown Lightning Bruiser for balance purposes.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Only the best weapons/attacks can hurt him at all and he gains incredible resistance to anything that has already hurt him.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Like Lancer, Berserker has "Battle Continuation". Like Lancer, he gets to showcase it in Unlimited Blade Works where it allows him to stand up to Gilgamesh long enough for Ilya to die in peace.
  • No-Sell: God Hand works by denying the very concept of an attack below 'A' rank being able to harm Berserker, meaning that as long as an attack isn't high enough rank Berserker won't even register it no matter how much power is behind it or how much collateral damage it does.
    • Also hilariously no sells an attempted Excalibur by Saber in one Bad End where he just casually blocks it even as it incinerates the ground around him and kills her instantly.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: His "sword" is more like a massive chunk of rock with a hilt, but being huge and insanely strong makes it easy for him to swing it around as if it's nothing. His hands are also simply too large to have both of them on the handle.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The closest thing he has to a weakness. Sufficiently powerful Noble Phantasms (like Caliburn) are capable of killing him multiple times with a single, fatal blow, reducing his number available lives quite quickly. Though its implied that Noble Phantasms capable of doing this are few and far between.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: In Lost Butterfly, he is the Quality to Saber Alter's Quantity: He's shown to be the far superior fighter, smashing Saber Alter around like a ragdoll, landing multiple hits that would've been utterly fatal to her normally, which Alter withstands due to her infinite mana source letting her use her Prana Burst defensively to a truly absurd degree. Any fatalities she manages on him he simply shrugs off with his God Hand, but he ultimately cannot bridge the gap against a Servant that is normally limited by her Mana having an unending supply of it, and is unfortunately defeated by one point-blank Excalibur Morgan too many.
  • Papa Wolf: Fiercely protective of Ilya far beyond what even a Servant would usually be. He protects her with his own body from Gilgamesh's Storm of Blades. This may have something to do with how Hera made him kill his own children in life.
  • Passing the Torch: In the manga, his final words are "Young me...I entrust this girl to you!" to Shirou, on Ilya.
  • Power Born of Madness: The "Mad Enhancement" ability of the Berserker class increases all their stats in return for taking away their sanity and making them uncontrollable. Being that Berserker is Heracles, it's noted that the stat gains are likely minimal in comparison to the loss of at least one Noble Phantasm and the inability to fight tactically.
  • Power of the God Hand: His Noble Phantasm (Well, the only one he can use anyway, due to his madness). More "God," less "hand" than most examples.
  • Protectorate: Do NOT mess with Illya.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: He has black skin and hair and red irises, and is an antagonistic Servant. After being Blackened by Aŋra Mainiiu in Heaven's Feel, he is blood-red with black vein-like markings.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: He has red irises and is one of the most powerful Servants.
  • Restraining Bolt: Ilya herself acts as this for him, which says a lot about how powerful she must be in order to keep freaking Heracles on a short leash.
  • Resurrective Immortality: His Noble Phantasm, God Hand, grants him twelve lives, requiring him to be killed twelve times. Once a day, he can regain a lost life until he has twelve again. However, extremely powerful attacks like Caliburn can destroy multiple lives.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Mad Enhancement increases his already enormous strength, but strips him of his considerable tactical acumen and his formidable hand-to-hand skills (he invented Pankration, and defeated Death with it) and mastery over weapons (his swordsmanship allows him to strike nine times from nine different directions at the same time. With his bow, he can shoot a single arrow and hit you one hundred times).
  • Screaming Warrior: His attempts at vocalizing are completely incoherent and sound more like animal roars than something a human could produce.
  • Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank A, the highest normally achievable rank, being the son of Zeus and having ascended to the Olympic pantheon. Comes back to bite him back in Unlimited Blade Works where it allows Gilgamesh to restrain him with Enkidu and impale him with Gate of Babylon.
  • The Speechless: While insane he only roars and the visual novel makes a point of emphasizing the wordlessness of his roars by always denoting them with "▂▂▃▃▄▄▅▅!". No "GRAAHH", no "RRAAARR", no any of the usual "stock" SFX for screaming/yelling/roaring. Just blank rectangles. He only speaks twice in the entire visual novel, when Saber kills him in the Fate route, and only for the half minute he has before his body completely vanishes and when he tells Illya to "Run" away from Dark Sakura in Heaven's Feel.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Though most people use the more common Roman spelling of "Hercules", Berserker's name is pronounced in the Visual Novel like the original Greek name "Herakles".
  • Square Race, Round Class: Ridiculously powerful though he might be, Berserker is probably the worst class he could have been summoned in. It magnifies his physical abilities, but he was already unmatched in strength, and Sanity Has Advantages: the actual Heracles was an omnidisciplinary Genius Bruiser with a downright ludicrous range of talents and incredibly powerful weaponry, but as a Berserker, he's just ungodly tough and hits things really hard. A flashback shows that after Saber and Kiritsugu betrayed the Einzberns' purposes for the Holy Grail in the 4th War, they stopped taking chances and instead summoned a mad pawn that couldn't turn on them.
  • Stealthy Colossus: He's eligible to be summoned as Assassin, despite being roughly twice the height and 3 times the width of anyone else (though there is some implication that the Berserker class is, in addition to everything else, making him "hulk out" much more literally). However, his extremely clever use of trickery and ability to be stealthy when required to in his original legend makes this more than justified.
  • Strong and Skilled: In the Ufotable adaptations, Berserker, while still an unthinking brute, retains his instinctual skill at combat and atleast some degree of strategy beyond Attack! Attack! Attack!.
  • Superpowered Evil Side:
    • The Mad Enhancement of the Berserker class augments Heracles' physical parameters, but physically warps him into a monstrous form and robs him of his sanity. It's the least-effective class for him to be summoned under, as his stats are already sky-high and he'd be a Genius Bruiser if sane; The class he'd excel the most in would be Archer. In the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel anime adaptations he retains his combat skills despite not possessing Eternal Arms Mastership like his precursor from Fate/Zero.
    • Averted in Heaven's Feel, which sees Berserker taken by The Shadow like Saber, but Blackened Berserker is blind, lacks his Noble Phantasm, and his skin. He is also slower and weaker than regular Berserker. He's also not under control of the Shadow/Sakura but simply assumes Shirou is his enemy and is thus not considered a distinct character like Saber Alter.
  • Super Strength: In terms of raw physical strength, he's easily one of, if not the strongest Servant summonable in a normal Holy Grail War. The narration says his blows can flatten mountains, and in one Bad End he's able to easily swat down a poorly charged Excalibur. Virtually all of his fights have his opponents getting tossed around like ragdolls from taking the brunt of his hits and Saber is completely overwhelmed by him in every route. The narration calls him an equal to even Saber Alter, but he can't fight her, The Shadow and keep True Assassin out of Illya's hair at the same time.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: An adaptational case. In the visual novel, his fight against Saber Alter is downright pitiful, and he barely gets to put up token resistance despite his already established incredible power. Lost Butterfly gives him much more of a chance to shine even though he meets the same fate.
  • Undying Loyalty: Utterly protective of Illya even though she initially hated him, and is called a Servant completely satisfied with his Master by Archer. Even when prompted by Gilgamesh and told by him that he only stands a chance if he stops protecting Illya, Berserker stands his ground and defends her to the end, even managing to break out of Enkidu in the process despite it being seemingly impossible.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Being incapable of any strategy more complicated than Attack! Attack! Attack! usually doesn't matter when you can shatter entire buildings with a single blow and move faster than the human eye can follow. Interestingly, he is said to have completely inhuman levels of skill with all weapons if he was sane, far surpassing even Saber, but naturally, this is never shown.
    • Invoked, in a character profile that identifies this trait in-universe.
      "Although he lacks technique, his abilities are so beyond normal standards in power and speed that there is no room for the idea in the first place. 'Technique' in battle is something invented by humans to compensate for their natural weaknesses, so such is unnecessary for he who possesses no such weakness."
  • Unstoppable Rage: The only thing he really feels is rage.
  • The Worf Effect: He's a monstrously powerful Servant that takes a combined effort from Archer, Rin, Saber, and Shirou to defeat in the Fate route. In the other routes he falls to prove how dangerous Gilgamesh and the Shadow/Saber Alter are.
    • Amazingly subverted in Heavens Feel 2: Lost Butterfly where he is initially easily beaten by Saber Alter only to burst out of the Grail Mud and give her an amazingly tough fight even if he ends up ultimately losing
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • In a very brief moment of lucidity during the Fate route while recovering from Archer wiping out six of his lives he wordlessly laments that the battle with him deserved better and that were he not Berserker he would have been delighted to exchange sword techniques to their hearts' content.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, Gilgamesh seems to acknowledge him as one after killing him, saying Heracles surpassed his own legend.
  • Your Head Asplode: In Fate, Rin makes a gamble and lets him grab her so she can unload a bunch of jewels into his face all at once, which successfully blows the top half of his head off and leaves his lower jaw barely connected to his neck, taking one of his six remaining lives. Illya even admits that if Rin used maybe five times the amount of jewels, she could have taken all his remaining lives in that one strike.

    Caster 

Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka (JP), Tara Platt (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie), Megan Hollingshead (EN 2015 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2018 Heaven's Feel Movie)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/caster_takashi_takeuchi_character_select.png
Caster with hood
Click here to see Caster without her hood 

"If the Holy Grail has infinite wealth, it should not run out no matter how much we split it. Then can you not share the Holy Grail with those you trust?"

A mysterious wizard operating out of the local temple. Caster is a heretic who has made a personal enemy out of Tohsaka due to her draining the townsfolk of mana and nearly killing them in the process. She is ruthless, talented and determined. Assassin guards the gate of her base of operations and is her Servant. Despite this, she shows a level of interest in all of the protagonists and desires to take Saber for her own.

Caster is one of the physically-weakest Servants and relies mostly on her powerful anti-Army magic, her Territory Creation skill and her skeletal golems when fighting her opponents. She does less well in single combat.


  • Accidental Murder: Her first attempts to siphon the energy from Fuyuki's people accidentally end up fatal for her first victims, as she never used this spell before and she couldn't control it at first. Later on, she only takes enough to not kill them, although in her anger, she poisons several men with hemlock, making them impotent.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Her identity is subjected to one. Although it varies with the record of the myth, Medea in Greek Mythology was typically an evil and cruel witch who did whatever she wanted for power, to the point where most of the bad things that happened to her were all her own fault. Even the fairly-sympathetic portrayal Euripides famously gave her still had her murdering her children to spite her faithless husband. The Fate version however was forced to obediently follow Jason as a result of Aphrodite forcing her to love Jason against her will, and was never as cruel as she was of her own will, even omitting the child-murder entirely. Her reasoning for staying with Jason after she is free from the spell is more because she's lost and has no where to go to.
    • In the UBW anime she's shown to have a compassionate side as she destroyed the facility of her former master due to him using slave kids as sacrifices in a rather crass manner to generate mana gems without remorse, and paints the deaths and near-deaths she causes by leeching mana from the inhabitants of Fuyuki as accidental and something she regrets. This is meant to bring her more in line with Medea's depictions in works that followed F/SN, like Hollow Ataraxia and even Carnival Phantasm, which softened her character significantly.
  • And I Must Scream: Let's just say, agreeing to Caster's proposals is a very bad idea. Getting trapped into a glass jar as her puppet is par for the course.
  • Anti-Magic: Her Noble Phantasm, Rule Breaker. It can nullify every magical contract, including Master-Servant binding.
  • Arc Villain: Of the first half of Unlimited Blade Works. Her defeat spells the point where Archer and Gilgamesh's own plans come to the forefront.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Rule Breaker. You have a Noble Phantasm that can null any and all contracts, but it's a dagger meaning she has to get close to her opponent to use it when she has the physical defense of a wet paper bag.
    • The Golden Fleece. She could use it to summon the dragon that originally guarded the Fleece, which would make her mid-tier amongst the Fifth Grail War Servants, and not the weakest, along with Assassin. Unfortunately, while she knows the spell necessary to summon the dragon, she doesn't know the one that would let her control it, meaning it would be useless save as an attack animal on a powerful enemy like Berserker.
  • Battle Couple: She does the high speed spellcasting, her Master handles close-range physical combat and shields her.
  • Beam Spam: In fights she simply spams instant A rank spells.
  • Berserk Button: Calling her a witch is an amazingly easy way to piss her off.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: She's practically the Shinji Matou amongst the Servants, albeit with actual abilities. All her schemes to win the Grail come undone in all the routes, with Fate having Gilgamesh just nuke her with his Storm of Blades when she tries to claim Saber (after he apparently attacked the Temple himself to kill Kuzuki and Assassin) and Heaven's Feel having her, Kuzuki and Assassin be killed by True Assassin as the first casualties. Unlimited Blade Works has her last the longest and get the furthest along in her goals only for her to become the Unwitting Pawn in Archer's own plans.
  • Brains and Bondage: Being a Squishy Wizard, her attacks focus more on the mental than the physical, but that certainly doesn't stop her from enjoying seeing Saber tied up and tortured.
  • Broken Bird: Her life as a mortal has left her fairly twisted. Her real identity is that of Medea, and people cursed her as a witch who would go so far as to kill her own brother to get what she wants. But that's not why she's half killing townspeople. She never did that in life.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Mocks Archer by claiming that she's impossible for him to hit. She's eventually Impaled with Extreme Prejudice after he out-gambits her.
  • Cape Wings: She can extend her cape to turn it into a giant pair of wings, which she mainly does when using her Rain of Light spell.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Seeing as she's one of the two weakest Servant classes, Caster is not above fighting dirty. She takes hostages, turns allies against each other, sends minions to distract people while she fulfills her goals and engages in some good old fashioned torture.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her hair and eyes share the same color.
  • Death from Above: One of her favorite tactics is to Beam Spam anti-army class spells from overhead.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Caster manages to prove both aspects of the trope in one scene, as she gets aroused by magically torturing Saber into obedience (having put her in a revealing white dress) and contemplates exactly how far she can get Saber to be a slave to her lust. The DVD version of the Unlimited Blade Works anime shows her groping Saber before Kuzuki stops her from going any further. Nasu mentions in Fate/side material that a hypothetical "Caster" route would have had Caster seducing Rider before setting up a trap to stab her in the back.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In Unlimited Blade Works, she controls the game by taking over a number of Servants, but in the end she is defeated and Archer 2-Kotomine duo take center stage.
  • Does Not Like Men: She detests men by default thanks to her experiences with Jason in her past life as Medea, but she seems to have some measure of respect for Shirou's honesty. She's also motivated by her genuine love for her Master, Kuzuki.
  • Driven to Madness:
    • In Fate, she abruptly attacks Shirou's house, intending to take Saber and kill everyone. Whatever happened with Kuzuki and Assassin is not known, except that the latter disappeared. hollow ataraxia actually reveals what happened. While Caster was away, Gilgamesh decided to visit the Ryuudou Temple and bombarded it with Gate of Babylon, killing both Assassin and Kuzuki. Kuzuki's death drives her mad and she intends to take as many Servants with her before she disappears.
    • In Heaven's Feel, Saber finds her with a bloody Rule Breaker in her hands and Kuzuki's dead body right next to her. When Caster regains consciousness again, after seeing that she just killed the man she loves, she laughs and attacks Saber, very likely intending to die.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Is abruptly killed early into the Heavens Feel route by True Assassin, making her the second Servant to die in that route.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Truly loves Kuzuki and her goal is to be able to remain in the world with him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While her character is aligned to Neutral Evil, using children as cattle to create prana gems is something she would never lower herself to do, unlike her first master.
  • The Faceless: When shown without her hood, she is only shown from behind, until she dies.
  • Familiar: She herself is technically a familiar, but this is referring to the dragon tooth golems she uses. She also turns Shirou into a familiar in a bad end or two and has some Servants herself in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Flight: One of her spells and a central part of her skill in running away.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Averted. Caster's sex life with her Master Kuzuki is a genuine love based relationship, though it's on rocky ground due to difficulty in communicating.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: With the captured Saber. She really seems to enjoy dressing her up. Fate/hollow ataraxia and Carnival Phantasm have a lot of fun with this one.
  • Hot Witch: Without her hood, she is a beautiful spellcaster. Her true identity is Medea, the beautiful sorceress from Greek myth.
  • Image Song: "Sasoi" ("Temptation").
  • Instant Runes: She can make 'em, easy. Her high-speed divine language skill means her spells take effect immediately, and no magus can replicate it as the language of the gods is lost in the present day.
  • In the Hood: She keeps her face hidden within her hood 95% of the time, even when she's getting the crap kicked outta her.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Beautiful and merciless, she creates skeletal-like golems and has a thing for torturing people though her magic.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In the anime, her elaborate temple turns out to have No Ontological Inertia. Saber and Tohsaka also agree that she'd totally blow up her base if beaten while in it.
  • Loophole Abuse: Her first Master's Command Spell was used so she couldn't use Rule Breaker on him to escape their contract, so she used it on herself.
  • Love Makes You Evil: All the atrocities she committed were just a desperate attempt to prolong her time with her Master.
  • Love Redeems: Subverted. While her love for her Master, Kuzuki, let her find a kind of happiness and peace she never enjoyed in life, it also made her desperate to prolong it, to the point of striking out against the protagonists and endangering the lives of innocent civilians in the city. Love made her more selfish, not less.
  • Neutral Evil: In-Universe alignment.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Archer.
  • Pointed Ears: Without her hood, her ears are shown to be pointed and elf-like.
  • Power Floats: She floats while in the temple as she receives special power within her lair.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Her hair is very long, especially shown in the second Blade Works Opening.
  • Rescue Romance: With her Master Kuzuki. Caster was originally summoned by a magus from the Mage's Association, but she killed him with Rule Breaker. On the verge of her spiritual body dissipating, she stumbled upon Souichirou Kuzuki at the foot of the Ryuudou Temple. He then brought Caster into the temple and attended to her recovery. While initially planning to use him as a puppet, she instead quickly fell in love.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Archer notes she is particularly skilled in running away.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She fell in love with Kuzuki because he was the first man to show her genuine kindness, dedication and loyalty.
  • Smug Snake: Subverted. While she acts like a Smug Snake, she knows what she is doing is wrong and doubts that it will actually work out. Her one interlude even reveals that the forbidden magic she's using is something she would normally never use if she wasn't so desperate to stay with Kuzuki.
  • Squishy Wizard: Gloriously proven during Rin's counterattack in Unlimited Blade Works. For all her magical prowess, she cannot handle a physical smackdown.
  • Tragic Villain: Despite being an antagonist in every route, all she really wants is to be with the man she loves.
  • Unholy Matrimony: She genuinely loves her Master and together they form an evil duo. Judging by his actions and "Ataraxia", her feelings are reciprocated.
  • Vancian Magic: While she can mostly avoid this thanks to being a true sorcerer from the age of the gods, she does have to verbally invoke her strongest spells. It's just that the language she uses to incant them (which is rendered in Ancient Greek) makes it take nowhere near as long as it would for a modern day magi to do so.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Caster class is usually considered the weakest of the seven Servant classes due to their overreliance on magic and the fact that out of the six remaining classes, four have natural magic resistance. Nonetheless, Caster still manages to be a very dangerous antagonist thanks to her cunning and resourcefulness, as well as having some of the most powerful magical skills and attacks due to being a Servant summoned from the Age of Gods. If serious, she can give Touko or even Aoko Aozaki a very difficult fight. Fate/Grand Order later states that Medea is one of the top five most skilled magi to have ever lived.
  • We Can Rule Together: She tries to recruit Shirou and Archer to her side during "Unlimited Blade Works. For Shirou, agreeing is not a good idea. Archer declines after concluding it's not necessary for him to win. He later takes the offer, but he only does this so the Command Spell from Rin which prevents him from attacking Shirou can be nullified.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The whole "killing her kids to spite her unfaithful husband" thing didn't happen in this universe, and every other evil thing she did was the result of having been driven mad with a love forced upon her by Aphrodite. In the modern day when presented with her original master's means of producing powerful magic gemstones, she calmly gives him an alternative that requires no killing. When he doesn't listen, she destroys the entire sacrificial chamber and kills the staff, but lets the would-be human sacrifices go unharmed.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her hair color is best described as periwinkle.

    Assassin 

Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki (JP), David Vincent (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie), Todd Haberkorn (EN 2015 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2018 Heaven's Feel Movie)

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

"My role is to guard this gate. I won't let you through alive, nor shall I let you out alive."

A Servant summoned by Caster to guard the gate of the Ryuudou Temple. Assassin is a solemn character who delights nothing more than having a good fight. He is, however, an incomplete Servant, thus he is linked with the gate and cannot travel further than the areas in the vicinity of the gate.

Assassin freely identifies himself to any opponent as the legendary swordsman Sasaki Kojiro. He is very different from normal Servants, and as such doesn't really have a Noble Phantasm. The closest thing that could be called his Noble Phantasm is Monohoshi Zao (lit. The Laundry-Drying Pole, a derogatory nickname that almost literally means "Really damn long sword"), a simple nodachi, and his ultimate technique, Hiken Tsubame Gaeshi (lit. Swallow Reversal Technique), a sword technique that allows him to strike multiple points at the same moment.


  • Affably Evil: Even if he's somewhat snarky, he's always polite and has respect for his opponent. This is taken almost to extremes when he openly introduces himself to Saber (revealing your identity often lets opponents gain an advantage just by knowing what your history was) and when Saber realizes she's forced to reply due to knightly honor he stops her from doing so affirming that he only did it as a courtesy, not as a way to influence the fight.

    The reason he is listed as evil is actually due to his own beliefs that anyone who takes a life is evil, and so as someone who had done so, he can only see himself as evil. He is closer to Lawful Neutral in actual practice, fulfilling his duty as he can and holds his honor and values close to his heart, though as seen below, he is still very willing to stab someone in the back if they offend him or his sensibilities.
  • Anti-Villain: He's a villain because he works for Caster. That's about it.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He was able to tell exactly how long Saber's invisible sword was just by observing how she was holding it and feeling the wind from her sword swings.
  • Badass Normal: Stated to be a nameless samurai who is similar to the Sasaki Kojiro of legend, he developed an ultimate technique on par with an anti-personnel Noble Phantasm simply by practicing. And with his lack of Noble Phantasm, he nearly manages to defeat Saber in a sword fight twice. He also somehow managed to fend off all the other Servants as well offscreen. Even Berserker somehow.
  • Beyond the Impossible: His Tsubame Gaeshi technique is just absurd in-universe as it is outside of it. In the Nasuverse, the Second Magic is able to traverse the dimensional barrier. Assassin does this by swinging his sword three times in one swing from three different angles, defying all logic, as he has absolutely zero magical prowess.
  • BFS: His Monohoshizao is 170 cm long.
  • Bishōnen: Probably embodies the aesthetic most out of all the characters in the visual novel. Slim, long hair, feminine face...
  • Blood Knight: Assassin has no wish and probably could not get one even if he tried. All he has is the satisfaction he gets from fighting a Worthy Opponent.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Tsubame Gaeshi. While acknowledging that cutting a swallow out of the air would be impossible, he just kept practicing and eventually, he got it to work. The final version of the technique somehow intruded into the territory of not magecraft but actual dimensional distortion magic.
  • Composite Character: Assassin is the person closest to the being known as Sasaki Kojiro. This makes him a combination of three people: he's a samurai who could perform Tsubame Gaeshi, he has that name, and finally he wields Monoshizao. In the Nasuverse, these were attributes of three different people.
  • Determinator: In his past life, he kept swinging his sword to hit a swallow, even though it was supposedly futile, until he actually managed to do it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In Heaven's Feel Assassin dies almost instantly with no impact on the storyline as True Assassin is summoned. As an improperly-summoned Servant to start with and a being closer to a Phantom than a Heroic Spirit, he didn't have even a ghost of a chance against True Assassin, who simply emerged from his body.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Invoked in the form of his personal skill, Vitrification. It is a mental state acquired after reaching the pinnacle of arduous training. With this ability, Kojiro is able to maintain a cool and collected heart, regardless the situation as such he will never be overwhelmed by his emotion. This skill also gives him immunity to all sorts of magic and effects that target his mind. In simpler terms, he is immune to Mind Rape.
  • Exact Words: Pulls this twice on Archer in rapid succession during UBW. First, Assassin tells him that since he told Saber and Shirou to leave, he won't let Archer stop them from doing so. Second, he reminds Archer that as the protector of the gate, he won't let anyone enter or exit, attacking him.
  • Extreme Doormat: Beyond his desire to duel Saber, he has practically no drives or desires of his own. He allows his master to walk over him and tear him apart for making fun of her, and seems to treat his life as expendable.
  • Face Death with Dignity: A big-time believer in this trope. He may disappear, but he will have an honorable duel with the ultimate swordsman first.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Quite literally. Assassin, unlike the other Servants, is physically incapable of winning the Holy Grail War: Even if all the other Servants killed each other off he'd be unable to move from his summoning spot and reach the location of the Grail — nevermind that it wouldn't respond to him without his Master.
  • Flynning: Averted. Just like real-life Japanese swords, his sword chips and breaks much easier than Western swords, especially magic ones like Excalibur. This ultimately leads to his defeat in Unlimited Blade Works when he chooses to block an attack instead of parrying, as his opponent had other things she needed to be doing. Since he didn't have much time to live he didn't care if he won or lost.
  • Friendly Enemy: Mainly towards Saber. He respects her and wishes nothing more than to duel her, bearing no malice. He even warns her that somebody is watching their duel and helps her get away with Shirou when Archer is trying to kill her Master.
  • The Gadfly: Only around Caster. He likes teasing her with snarky remarks since he isn't very fond of her manipulation and backhanded tricks. It really pisses her off.
  • Glass Cannon: His defining sword technique is an instant kill attack if all three blows land. On the defensive side he has no armor, an "E" rating in toughness, and dies more or less instantly if struck even once.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • He does so in Unlimited Blade Works, having fulfilled his wish of having a climactic battle with Saber.
    • In Heaven's Feel it happens again, though less because he's actually happy and more because he's being devoured from the inside and smiling is his way of showing contempt for his killer and going out with dignity.
  • Graceful Loser: In Unlimited Blade Works. He got his wish of having a fight Saber, the outcome didn't matter to him.
  • Handsome Lech: To the point of flirting while battling, even tough he does admit that he isn't very lucky with the ladies.
  • Home Field Advantage: While Assassin is in pure strength weaker than most Servants, he can keep up with them since not only are all Servants slightly weakened while inside Caster's territory, he is blocking the only possible entrance to the Ryuudou Temple and can use the fact that he is standing above his opponents to his advantage. The only problem is that the steps do not allow him to perfectly execute his instant-kill technique, but since he only has to drive off the enemy, he is a very frustrating opponent to deal with.
  • I Let You Win: In a sense in his second fight with Saber in Unlimited Blade Works. He intentionally makes a bad move where he blocks on her strikes instead of parrying it which costs him the fight. He knew she needed to reach Rin and Shirou, so he made a move to insure the fight would end sooner. He didn't have much time to live so he didn't care if he won or lost.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Even more so than Saber by performing abstract combinations of attacks with a sword taller than most of the characters in the game. Taken to absurd levels with the previously mentioned Tsubame Gaeshi, where he breaks the laws of physics by attacking from three different angles in a single swing.
  • Killed Offscreen: In Fate, he is no longer seen after his initial encounter with Saber. During Caster's ambush, she mentions that Assassin is already dead. hollow ataraxia reveals that it was Gilgamesh who destroyed the Ryuudou Temple, killing Assassin and Kuzuki in the process and driving Caster mad.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen:
    • In Fate, he calls off his fight with Saber, because he does not wish for outsiders to observe his fight with her to learn her identity. The observer is Rider, who was sent by Shinji to kill or at least lead Shirou to Caster so she can kill him, which does happen in a Bad End.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, he calls off his first fight against Saber, due to a wounded Shirou being pursued by Archer stumbling into the middle of their fight.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He has very long blue hair, and is almost effeminate in appearance.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: He still manages to snark at Caster even as his ribcage was ripped open by her when she was annoyed one too many times.
  • Master Swordsman: He can fight on par with Saber, who is supposedly the strongest of the Saber class.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: During their first duel, Saber comments that he is surprisingly strong for such a skinny guy.
  • Nested Ownership: He was summoned by another Servant.
  • Neutral Evil: In-universe alignment.
  • Never Learned to Read: His backstory says that since in life he was a simple Japanese farmer turned swordsman, he never learned to read and write.
  • Noble Demon: He seems to be okay with his evil image, but when he makes a deal he sticks to it and even defends apparent enemies against those who would interfere with the deal.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: According to the Character Materials he fought Berserker to a standstill. The same Berserker he's physically incapable of hurting, which according to Nasu is proof that "Whoa, Assassin's amazing."
  • Samurai: Supposed to be the archenemy to Miyamoto Musashi, complete with the samurai robe, katana and samurai hair.
  • Samurai Ponytail: Assassin has very polite speech patterns, if a bit flirty. Similarly, his long hair matches his samurai outlook emphasizing grace.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Assassin doesn't particularly like his Master and makes no attempt at hiding this.
  • Simultaneous Blade Spam: Before he became Servant Assassin, he created Tsubame Gaeshi, a sword technique that twists dimensions so that he can strike from three directions at the same time. He did this by... swinging his sword. A lot. And kept doing with utter determination until reality essentially gave up and granted him what he wanted, via partial access to "multi-dimension refraction phenomenon", known also as the Second Sorcery.
  • Spirited Competitor: Assassin seems to relish the act of competing with Saber more than he does the actual act of battle itself. Dueling people he doesn't consider worthy competitors, like Archer, offers him no enjoyment even if they're quite good.
  • Square Race, Round Class: If you actually look at his tactics and legend, he seems a lot more like a Saber than an Assassin; standing guard at a gate and fighting a powerful opponent head-to-head in the open isn't a very Assassin-like strategy. He should probably be a Saber, but there was kind of already one around.
  • The Starscream: Don't let his calm demeanor and Extreme Doormat status fool you, given the right situation, he would try (and at one time succeed) to kill Caster, not because he wants to usurp her, but because he dislikes her. It seems that his Neutral Evil alignment is not wrong after all. Unlimited Blade Works shows that he used his duel with Saber as an excuse to let Archer into the Ryuudou Temple, so that Archer can give that 'vixen' a scare.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: For some reason, his eyebrows fork.
  • Villainous Rescue: In Unlimited Blade Works holds off Archer to give Saber a chance to escape the Ryuudou Temple with Shirou.
  • Weak, but Skilled: He still has far above human strength or agility, but all that actually makes him a threat is his inhuman skill.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Blocking Saber's sword causes his sword to slightly bend, which creates a blind spot in his Tsubame Gaeshi technique that allows Saber to dodge it and strike him down.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Having been summoned into the world without a Master granting him mana and only a limited supply by Caster, Assassin is slowly wasting away and fully aware of it.

    Archer 2 (spoilers) 

Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (JP), Grant George (EN 2006 Anime, 2010 Unlimited Blade Works Movie), David Vincent (EN Fate/Zero, 2015 Unlimited Blade Works Anime, 2018 Heaven's Feel Movie)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c8665d7f_ef84_4b0c_b9cd_51f25e9ae03f.png

"'All the evils in the world'? Bring at least thrice as much if you want to stain me!"

An Archer-class Servant from the previous Holy Grail War who immediately reveals himself as Gilgamesh, the famous Babylonian King said to possess all of the treasures of the world. Overconfident and full of himself, he believes the world rests in the palm of his hand and is his to rule as he pleases. At the conclusion of the Fourth Holy Grail War he was drenched by the pollution within the Holy Grail, which is supposed to give a Servant a true flesh-and-bone body at the cost of their mind and sanity. However, his ego was too strong to be corrupted, and with a physical body he could continue existing in the world. He has a strong desire to dominate and possess Saber, seeing her as just another treasure to be taken at his whim.

His Noble Phantasm is the Gate of Babylon, a key-shaped sword that opens the way to the treasury containing the thousands upon thousands of Noble Phantasms he collected during his lifetime. As Noble Phantasms are the armaments of Heroes, and Gilgamesh is said to be the Original Hero, therefore the originals of all Noble Phantasms must have belonged to him at some point even if it would create a temporal paradox. Lacking the proficiency or will to actually wield most of them, he mainly just shoots them at people, hence his Archer class. However, he has a few personal favourites such as the Anti-World drill-sword Ea.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Towards Saber, though there's less emphasis on the "Admirer" part, as he is more interested in raping her because he is the king and it's thus his right.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Archers are usually expected to use some kind of projectile weapon like a bow, crossbow or even a sling. He uses his infinite treasury of Noble Phantasms as projectiles, all of which are fired with force enough to rip people in half and level buildings.
  • The Ace: Both in life and as a Servant, there's really nothing that he can't achieve: the greatest Heroic Spirit with extraordinary richness, charisma, and power to singlehandedly lead his country, collect all the treasures in the world, and fully capable of winning the Grail War alone if he is not hindered by his arrogance. Then there's his surprising intellect, capable of reading spells mages are constructing in their heads, and very functional grasp of human psychology. The title of King of Heroes is richly deserved.
  • Adaptational Heroism: 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.
  • Admiring the Abomination: He expresses admiration towards Aŋra Mainiiu, wanting to unleash it so that it will purge the world of those unworthy of his reign.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Gate of Babylon is basically this, since the numerous weapons are all Noble Phantasms in their own right, albeit this is more like "ALL Powers combined" due to possessing the prototypes for almost all Noble Phantasms. He also has a fondness for taking out his version of the weapon someone uses when possible and showing that his is even better.
  • Anime Hair: Interestingly, his hair gets spiky and stands up whenever he puts on his armor for no explicable reason and lets itself down when he takes it off.
  • Anti-Magic: Although his natural Magic Resistance is only rank E, he possesses so many anti-magic wards, charms, and amulets that he's effectively immune to it anyway.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: More evident in Japanese. For a relatively simple example, he refers to himself with the extremely archaic "Ware" in text, but pronounces it with the gruff "Ore". His extremely archaic way of speech makes his lines awkward to read even to native speakers.
  • Arch-Enemy: It varies based on the route.
    • In the Fate route, he becomes this to Saber being one of her opponents from the previous Grail War and an Abhorrent Admirer towards her on top of that.
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works route he becomes this to Shirou for various reasons with his fight with Shirou being the climax of the route.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted in the Fate route, where his first fight with Saber has him simply standing there and shrugging off blows with his armor. The anime chooses to go with the Rule of Cool and instead has him summon swords directly from his vault to block incoming strikes without lifting a finger. Failure to equip his armor gets him beaten by Shirou in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The only thing that visibly damages his armor in the entire game is a point-blank Excalibur, and even that leaves him alive for several minutes. CCC reveals that the armor possesses Magic Resistance equal or superior to that of Saber's and makes him immune to petrification, which the Humbaba he battled in life utilized.
  • Attack Reflector: Character Materials reveal that he has a mirror-shaped Noble Phantasm in the Gate of Babylon that causes magic to bounce off of him like jello. Ilya did not see that coming.
  • Attempted Rape: Even if he never actually succeeds, it's made very, very clear that he intends to have his way with Saber. One of the verbs he uses in Japanese even means both "to trap" and "to rape", and his description of what he's going to do with Saber once he beats her is pretty sickening.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The greatest king and the greatest Heroic Spirit. Well, the first part is debatable.
  • Ax-Crazy: A matter of perspective. He is entirely sane, but he treats humans of the modern era as more worthless than dirt and enjoys violence a great deal.
  • Badass Armfold: Natch.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Delivers a surprisingly direct one, considering his ego, when Saber and Shirou figure out his name.
      Archer: Indeed. I am the strongest Heroic Spirit. You shall be no match.
    • Delivers an even more badass one late in the route while discussing the Holy Grail.
      Archer: All the evils of the world? Heh, bring at least thrice as much if you want to stain me. See, Saber. A hero is someone who carries with them everything they see. I am already carrying everything in this world.
  • Badass Cape: His golden armor incorporates a fabulous red half-cape that reaches from his hips to just above the ground.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Abused to copious effect in Unlimited Blade Works, where every barrage of weapons from him is signaled with one of these.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He's always on the lookout for challenges in any of the routes. Shirou ultimately gives him a "fair" one at the end of Unlimited Blade Works and Gilgamesh spends the whole fight thoroughly miserable.
  • Berserk Button: He gets extremely angry when he believes anyone has taken something that belongs to him. Fourth Berserker's use of items from Gate of Babylon, Archer and Shirou's copying his weapons and Shirou daring to try to 'take' Saber from him. Slights to his pride also appear to upset him, though this does not come up as much.
  • BFS: Considering it's a one-handed sword, Ea is absolutely huge. He later uses a sword the size of Rider trying to kill a Shadow-possessed Sakura.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: In Fate and in Unlimited Blade Works with Kirei Kotomine. From the very beginning of the Grail War, they conspire to use the ritual and its participants to release All the World's Evil upon humanity. While technically Archer 2's Master, Kirei has little control over his "Servant" due to the latter's ungovernable ego and ability to survive without mana. Consequently, despite his interest in realizing Kirei's goals for his own sadistic amusement, Archer 2 has no qualms disobeying his Master whenever he feels so inclined (even when doing so results in significant alterations to the latter's overall strategy). However, the extent to which he independently pursues his own agenda depends on the route.
    • While occasionally deviating from Kirei's plans in Fate to insure his claim on Saber remains unchallenged, Archer 2's actions otherwise dovetail with his Master's ultimate endgame.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, he assumes a much more active role than his Master during the Grail War. Ultimately, after Kirei's demise, he takes center-stage as the story's undisputed Big Bad by turning Shinji into a curse-spewing Grail that will kill all those "unworthy" of his reign.
  • Bishōnen: Sakura notes that he "looks like a model".
  • Bling of War: His golden armor, which includes giant circular shoulder pads, ornate blue details, giant golden earrings and a beautiful red cape.
  • Blood Knight: He greatly enjoys combat, but because everyone else is far weaker than him, he often ends up either angry or disappointed that his opponent doesn't prove more of a challenge. In addition, he doesn't like being beaten by trickery. Contrast him grinning like a madman when he's leaping around and firing at Berserker with him just being annoyed with Shirou.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A horrific and selfish example. His views of right and wrong are based around how things affect him and the things he owns. As far as he's concerned, the entire world belongs to him, and his will is absolute law. If things entertain him, he will allow them to come to pass no matter how atrocious a normal person might see them. If you try to claim something that belongs to him as your own, you will be deemed a mongrel that needs to be put in their place (read: killed).
  • Boom, Headshot!: He doesn't die because of it, but in the Unlimited Blade Works Route he dies when Archer puts an arrow through his head to distract him long enough to be consumed by the Grail as he tried to pull himself out of it using Shirou as a counterweight.
  • Born Winner: He's the richest king and the strongest Heroic Spirit, leaving everyone else, human or Servant, really far below him.
  • Breakout Character: Having first featured in Fate/stay night as an antagonist with a rather minor role in two of the routes, he has since appeared as a major antagonist in Fate/Zero, as one of the four playable Servants in Fate/Extra CCC, and as one of the Servants in Fate/strange fake, as well as other minor features.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Or rather, brilliant but arrogant. He has the potential to win any Holy Grail War he's summoned into in a blink of an eye (not to mention crush any individual opponent, or combination of them, for that matter), but is just so absurdly proud and lazy that he always ends up dooming himself by not using as much power as he could, or as efficiently, when he needs to.
  • The Caligula: Violent, arrogant and greedy, he isn't exactly the ideal King to live under. The status screen mentions that people even prayed to the Gods to mend his ways because they suffered under him.
  • Catchphrase Insult:
    • Zasshu. ("Mongrels!"). Always said with a slow and emphasized enunciation.
    • He's also fond of saying onore (bastard) when backed into a corner, most notably when Shirou starts to stalemate him in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Chain Pain: Enkidu, a chain that restrains the target the more divine they are. Not even a Command Spell or True Magic can undo their grasp on something.
  • Chaotic Good: In-universe alignment. Nasu clarifies that he is the kind of hero who does immeasurable amounts of good, but also does a lesser amount of evil and the good is only exercised on his terms. He explains in CCC that his behavior is influenced by the era he is summoned in, and claims the modern world would frustrate him greatly because of their defilement of his "garden".
  • Characterization Marches On: In the Final Battle of Unlimited Blade Works, he pulls out Ea against Shirou for fun just to show off his greatest treasure. This greatly clashes with later portrayals of him, which show him as being reluctant to do just that against anyone who isn't a Worthy Opponent; indeed, when that scene was shown in the 2014 anime, Gilgamesh instead has to use Ea when an arm of the Holy Grail moves to absorb him. And again, this time out of sheer desperation, when Shirou is has a clean swing at him with Kanshou and Bakuya during their final battle but Shirou manages to hack his arm off the second he grabs it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He shows up in the prologue around Sakura as Rin and Archer are scouting around the city. His next appearance is at the end of Fate, and the reason he was with Sakura is only revealed in Heaven's Feel.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He fights fair when it suits him and he's not above ambushing his enemies. Conversely, he has a dim view on those that do the same and Shirou pointing this trait out during their climactic battle causes him to snap.
  • Conflict Killer: In the Fate route. Caster has just made her first attack and seemingly has the heroes at her mercy. How are they going to get out of this one? Answer: They're not; Gilgamesh is going to drop by and kill Caster deader than dead.
  • Confusion Fu: Due to the myriad weaponry he has in the Gate of Babylon, Saber notes that it's foolish to straight-on block any of them, because she has no idea what effects they have.
  • Create Your Own Hero: His role in the fire that killed Shirou's parents and his arrogant displays of power against him with the Gate of Babylon inspired the young man to form the basis of Unlimited Blade Works and the EMIYA persona who would go on to become Gilgamesh's most persistent rival in the franchise.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Normally, the sheer amount of weapons he possesses is enough to overwhelm any opponent, but if anyone is actually capable of countering the Gate of Babylon then he goes from the most powerful servant possible to a giant punching bag.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Always on the giving end of it. He dominates Saber and Shirou when they encounter him in Fate and only loses the second time because of Avalon. In Unlimited Blade Works he kills Berserker in a matter of minutes by restraining him with Enkidu. The only reasons literally every encounter he participates in isn't this is because he never goes all-out.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Attaining a physical body from Aŋra Mainiiu comes back to bite him when it attempts to use him as a host in Unlimited Blade Works, destroying them both.
    • His main goal is to unleash the Holy Grail upon the world under the rationale that worthy humans will survive. In Unlimited Blade Works, his point is ironically proven when the survivor of the last Grail incident becomes badass enough to contribute to his death.
    • See the above quote? In Heaven's Feel, he is defeated and consumed by Sakura's Superpowered Evil Side, which is powered by "all the evils in the world", Aŋra Mainiiu, when he attempts to defend his territory from the Shadow. Granted, Sakura quickly dissolved him into mana before he could rampage inside her, exactly because she couldn't darken him.
  • Death Glare: If looks could kill, his angry eyes would be a nuclear weapon.
  • Determinator: After losing an arm to Shirou and being sucked into a black hole courtesy of the Grail, Gil seems at most mildly fazed before he begins to simply pull himself out with Shirou as an anchor, and even the following knife to the head from Archer did little more than distract him long enough to get consumed entirely.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: He's nominally Kirei's Servant, and technically agreed to work for Shinji at one point, but he's far more powerful than both of them put together. He deftly manipulates Shinji and throws him under the bus when Shinji is no longer of use, and becomes the sole main villain by the end of UBW.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Due to the sheer gap in power between him and everyone else, his own ego acts as sort of Power Limiter so that he doesn't go overboard against opponents so far out of his league. He's a Howitzer in a battle of handguns and he knows it, so he dials it back a bit so that he might actually get some entertainment out of the Holy Grail War.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone who encounters him, including Shirou and Saber, are scared out of their wits of his incredible power. Even Aŋra Mainiiu in the form of the Shadow is scared shitless of him, and runs away on sight.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In stark contrast to Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, he's never fought by the protagonists nor does Saber ever realize he's even around in Heaven's Feel - instead he gets eaten alive by Sakura halfway through the route when she manifests the Shadow to protect herself from him.
  • Dual Wielding: When he actually fights in melee combat, he always uses two weapons. This may be a Shout-Out to the original myth, where Gilgamesh dual-wielded a sword and an axe. That said, he's nowhere near the level of someone like Saber due to his usual strategy and the fact that even if he trained with a specific weapon from the Gate, the minute he switches to a new one his skill would drop back to its original level, and Shirou is able to put him on the defensive when they actually clash in melee.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • He's seen talking to Sakura by Rin in the prologue of the visual novel.
    • He and Saber fighting in the burning Fuyuki City in the prologue of the first episode of the anime.
  • Entitled to Have You: He believes Saber to be his by right, and he won't take no for an answer. All treasures are his, after all.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In Unlimited Blade Works, he very briefly turns somber when Shinji tells him Kirei Kotomine is dead.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Although he's taken a liking to Saber, in Unlimited Codes Archer 2 is outright hostile to Saber Alter because she's corrupted and abandoned her ideals. He also finds himself somewhat regretting corrupting Saber himself with the Grail in his ending, as he likes her best when she's both idealistic and resisting him.
    • He attempts to kill Sakura as the Shadow in Heaven's Feel because someone else is taking his stuff, namely the townspeople. Not exactly the best reason, but hey, it's Gilgamesh.
    • He was confirmed by Word of God to have killed off Zouken in at least one route, implying this.
  • Everything but the Girl: He's supposed to possess literally everything, but Saber keeps refusing him. Since he's a villainous version he doesn't give up his powers to win her over.
  • Evil Laugh: He likes taunting his opponents with this as he has very little to fear. Especially in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Evil Plan: Revealed in Unlimited Blade Works; Gil wants to use the heart of Illya, the core of the Holy Grail's vessel, and fuse it with another human to complete an incomplete Grail that cannot grant wishes, but can still unleash Aŋra Mainiiu upon the world. He believes that a humanity that would get destroyed by its own sins and evils is worthless, and that those who can overcome them are worthy of becoming his subjects, and he will rule over them as the king of the world, just like he was in the distant past.
  • Fatal Flaw: His continental sized ego. If he wasn't so arrogant nothing less than the combined forces of every other servant could hope to beat him, but because he constantly holds back out of pride, the heroes have an actual chance of beating him.
  • Fiction 500: His trademark ability is based on the premise that he owned everything in the world at one point. One of his secondary abilities, Golden Rule, specifically measures a character's ability to attract wealth to himself. His is "A"-rank, meaning money basically falls into his lap with little to no effort from him.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: He is damn proud of himself, as is pretty evident in the contempt he shows to his opponents.
  • Flechette Storm: This is how his primary mode of attack operates... even if the Flechette's involved are in reality 3 foot to 6 foot long swords and spears...
  • Fountain of Youth: Archer 2 has access to an indefinite amount of the Herb of Immortality from his legend, which he sometimes used during the ten-year time-span between the two Grail Wars to stay under the radar by transforming into his absurdly adorable child form.
  • Genius Bruiser: Shows an extremely high level of intellect when he doesn't feel the need to rub his giant ego all over people's faces. in Fate/EXTRA he demonstrates this by annihilating an inhumanly smart Homunculus in a game of chess, and repeatedly seeing through others' character and flaws with simple observations.
  • Glass Cannon: Compared to his utterly overwhelming offense, his defenses are mostly just marked by his golden armor that he doesn't even wear a lot of the time. In both Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel, the fight is essentially over once he takes an actual hit.
  • The Good King: If he was in life anything like the legend he's based on, he certainly wasn't always that way, but after he met Enkidu, he was a fair and just king who generally ruled over everyone by being more awesome than everyone else. Fits his character, really. Fate/Grand Order eventually expands this side of him greatly through his Caster self who is still haughty yet wise king that is loved by his people.
  • Go Out with a Smile: His death at the hands of Saber has him smiling, possibly because she's one of the few people he considers worthy.
    Archer 2: King of Knights, it was... truly fun.
  • Graceful Loser: Played with in Fate. He tries to act like he doesn't mind losing and maybe to an extent he doesn't, but the narration tells us he sounds rather sulky about it. He also admits defeat to Shiro in Unlimited Blade Works anime adaptation, and prepares to finish him off before being consumed by Aŋra Mainiiu (the visual novel has Aŋra Mainiiu consume him before Shirou can strike a decisive blow).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He can go from at least tolerable and talkative to extremely angry at the drop of a hat. Word of God is that his time spent living among the humans of the modern age has made him more irritable.
  • The Hedonist: He's a big believer in pleasure of whatever kind. He urges Kotomine to give into his desires to see people suffer and that is the very reason they're still partners. He also promised Saber she would have any pleasure if she married him. She wasn't amused.
  • Hellish Pupils: In addition to his red irises, his eyes have vertically-slitted pupils that are an immediate clue-in to his inhuman nature and status as an antagonist.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Rebelled against the rule of the gods during his life, due to their arrogance, pettiness and short-sighted rule over humanity. He's become all these things and more by modern times.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a lot smarter than he appears, and understands a surprising amount about magic and human nature. The parts where he reveals his intellect are overshadowed by the parts where he's being an arrogant jerk.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Averted in Heaven's Feel. He almost succeeds at taking over The Shadow from the inside out after it devours him, but he is broken down into mana a few seconds before he succeeds.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Gilgamesh, hero of the oldest surviving epic, is the arrogant, selfish jerk that he started off as in the epic. Fate/Grand Order suggests this is a consequence of being summoned as an Archer, as his Caster incarnation has the noble and regal persona that he developed following the end of his adventures.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Unlimited Blade Works Route Gilgamesh's adamant refusal to actually go all out against Shirou is what actually does him in.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The Shadow is terrified of him. If he had gone full out he would have stopped it, and when it tried to consume him, was nearly consumed itself.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Aside from him generally being a brilliant observant, he also, for some reason, knows after only one look in the Fate route that Saber is no longer a virgin, and in the same route, can also tell when exactly Shirou figures out his identity. Fate/Grand Order suggests it is his Noble Phantasm Sha Nagba Imuru, which grants him top-tier Clairvoyance and allows him to see the future, although normally he keeps inactive unless he has a good reason to use it.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: His Noble Phantasm, Gates of Babylon, is an extra-dimensional storage space. He can use it to fire super-powerful Noble Phantasms like bullets from a machine gun.
  • Hypocrite: His hatred of Archer for being a "faker" is quite ironic given the fact that Archer 2 has cheated the rules in order to take part in the Fifth Holy Grail War.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Archer 2 tends to use an overpowering level of force, but still far below what he's capable of doing when going all out. His ordinary firepower is compared to that of five Servants, so whenever this happens not to be enough to utterly decimate anything in his way, he can be caught off guard.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Ignoring the plethora of weapons in the Gate of Babylon, Ea definitely fits the bill.
  • Infinite Supplies:
    • His soul has energy equivalent to several hundred thousand normal magi or three normal Servants, according to Dark Sakura, and he can call his shot Noble Phantasms back into the Gate of Babylon, making sure he always has every one of them at his disposal.
    • He also has a near unlimited supply of mana for his attacks, thanks to Kotomine hooking him up to a bunch of orphans who serve as a Living Battery. The mana was meant to replace the Grail's supply of mana for keeping him anchored to the World after it deactivated since Kotomine can't supply all that by himself, but since Gilgamesh was properly incarnated and doesn't need it anymore, he can use it for his attacks instead.
    • Ilya also notes in HF that after only Saber, Caster, Lancer and Berserker were defeated, Sakura would already have consumed enough souls, despite the fact that Ilya took in Archer and that Rider and Assassin are still around, meaning his soul is worth multiple times the mana of a normal Servant.
  • Informed Ability: Gilgamesh is stated to be as powerful as numerous other Servants combined, but because of his ego we never actually see him going all out and thus his limits are unclear. He is also said to be almost as physically strong as Saber as Rin's Servant and Fourth Berserker, but this trait goes under the radar, likely due to the fact that while he's as strong as them, he's nowhere near as skilled.
  • Insanity Immunity: His arrogance and ego are so great that they make him immune to Aŋra Mainiiu's Hate Plague.
  • In-Series Nickname: Ea does not have a true name and the name is simply a pet name that Archer 2 gave the sword. This comes from that Ea never went on to become a named weapon of legend like all the artifacts he collected from across the earth long ago, and was therefore never given a true name by history.
  • It's All About Me: His defining trait. The possibility that the world might not be about him escapes him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He derides his fellow Archer as a "faker", but it soon transpires that EMIYA did take an obscene amount of inspiration from Gilgamesh's fighting style during his youth.
  • Keystone Superpower: Gilgamesh has the Gate of Babylon, one of his three Noble Phantasm that grants him access to a Hyperspace Arsenal. This place contains "the origin of human wisdom" and thus anything that can be created with human wisdom is contained within including "Mystic Codes". Being the first hero, it also contains every prototype of all Noble Phantasm.
  • Karmic Death: In Unlimited Blade Works. After having gone through the whole route Sword Spamming people to death, he's killed when a Not Quite Dead Archer nails him right between the eyes with a duplicate of one of his own swords.
  • Kill All Humans: Archer 2's plan invokes this. He wants to unleash Aŋra Mainiiu so that it will exterminate all but the strongest humans, who he will reign over. He doesn't have a problem if none survive, since that would mean humanity as a whole was unworthy of his glorious rule.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Due to arrogance, yet again, he finds himself on the losing end of Eviler Than Thou in Heaven's Feel when Sakura's Super-Powered Evil Side, the embodiment of "All the Evils in the World" Aŋra Mainiiu, eats him.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Any time that he appears in a route, it's a sign that things are about to take a turn for the worse.
  • Lack of Empathy: He takes this trope and runs with it, with everything that comes with it. Shirou even comments that it's more like he's staring through himself rather than Gilgamesh looking at him, as if he's not even recognizing him as a human being.
  • Large Ham: In an "always mounted on his big horse" sort of way.
  • Leitmotif: Dark Glow, a sinister and foreboding melody with a clear Middle Eastern-ish flavor, in the anime adaptation of UBW.
  • Logical Weakness:
    • Archer 2 is not a Servant who knows how to use the weapons he's owned in life, instead using them as essentially arrows. In Unlimited Blade Works he loses to Shirou because while Shirou is not even remotely able to fight a Servant, his ability to use the knowledge of the weapons combined with his speed thanks to Unlimited Blade Works, cancels out Gilgamesh's Storm of Blades by countering it.
    • Ea is one of the most powerful Noble Phantasms in existence. However, unlike the other weapons stored in the Gate of Babylon, it can only be used if it is wielded like a traditional weapon rather than fired out of a portal.
  • Magic Knight: Fate Grand Order revealed that he has the qualifications for the Caster Class, perhaps finally explaining how he knows such an enormous amount about magic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Around Shinji, Gilgamesh easily manipulates him into acting how he wishes while still maintaining the facade of being his Servant. Granted, this is more a testament to Shinji's gullibility than Gilgamesh's skill.
  • Master of None: Despite his insane power, he is this in relation to his weapons: he may have the originals, but having something isn't the same as knowing how to use it, so his mastery of individual Noble Phantasms is nowhere near that of the Servants who have been wielding them their whole lives.
  • Mundane Utility: In addition to all the weapons and other Noble Phantasms in the Gate of Babylon, Archer 2 also has several other items from his former life including wine brewed by the gods, the Herb of Immortality, a youth potion and an item of unknown description that can detect poison, which he used for all his food and drink.
  • Narcissist: Passes up on killing the protagonists in Unlimited Blade Works because the ashes from the fire in the Einzbern castle were dirtying his clothes.
  • Nerves of Steel: He shows emotions frequently and without reserve, but he's never actually controlled by them. As shown in Fate, when he immediately curbs his anger when it begins to hamper his judgment. In the novel version of Unlimited Blade Works, he continues to think clearly even while being melted by the Holy Grail, to the point that Shirou comments that he still sounds as arrogant as ever.
  • No-Sell: Rin tries to blast him to smithereens with one of her special-prepared gems, each of which contain spells powerful enough to heavily damage a Servant, for attacking Archer while he's reconciling with Shirou. It doesn't even dirty his clothes.
  • Oddly Shaped Sword: Ea looks less like a sword and more like a rotating cylinder or a drill. This is because it predates the concept of a sword.
  • Older Is Better: No weapon is older than Ea, and the very concept of a "Hero" was born with Gilgamesh. Even his "lesser" treasures are the oldest and most powerful form of every other wonder from every single Hero's adventures.
  • Older Than Dirt: Gilgamesh is the hero of the oldest surviving piece of literature. Ea is Older Than LIFE.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He does this with all of humanity. He states quite plainly in the Heaven's Feel route that he does not like it when people are killed by someone besides him.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The weapons from the Gate of Babylon are shot with enough force to level buildings. On top of that he is in possession of the planet buster-level Ea.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted. He owns all the world's treasures, but he isn't particularly skilled with using any of them in melee, so he just uses them in a storm of blades.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Archer 2 stockpiles prana drawn from the consumed souls of the orphans of the Fuyuki fire that Kirei rounded up afterwards and sacrificed to him. It's far more than he actually needs and is mainly just there to let him spam Ea.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: While not physically weak by any means, he fights almost entirely by firing weapons from the Gate of Babylon. It's rare to see him even touch somebody else when fighting.
  • Power Tattoo: When he accesses his full power, his top explodes off of him, seemingly by awesomeness, and several tattoos similar in appearance to the writing on Ea appear on his body.
  • Pride: His Fatal Flaw. He could easily defeat anyone in the series if he wasn't too busy considering them unworthy mongrels.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Only on a very few occasions does Archer 2 change his expression from this, usually to a Slasher Smile.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Let us reiterate: Archer 2 got the concentrated form of all humanity's evils and sins combined poured onto him. He didn't even flinch.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: This is actually part of his backstory. Before meeting Enkidu, he apparently liked to abuse his "right" as a king to a bride's virginity; which was not cool with anyone and earned him a good deal of ire from his people. During the Grail War, it's extremely clear that he wants Saber and only seems to be more drawn to her as she continues to refuse him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Saber in Fate, explaining that her country had turned on her because she lacked the power to control and protect her country.
  • Red Baron: He's known as the "King of Heroes" due to his status as the oldest and most powerful hero in existence.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His eyes are the first sign he is in fact bad news.
  • Semi-Divine: Divinity Rank B, originally Rank A+ since he's two-thirds god, but his divinity suffers a rank-down since he himself hates the gods.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: One of his greatest strengths his lack of need for mana. Most top tier Servants like Karna and Achilles require a ridiculous amount of mana just to fight, let alone activate their special abilities and Noble Phantasms, so they're more likely to kill their own Masters before the enemy. This guy? Not a problem. The only notable mana expenditure is activating Gate of Babylon. After that, he can fire off his treasures with incredible force at the cost of little mana, making him extremely efficient. This means anyone can serve as his Master regardless of their Magic Circuit quality, including the mediocre Kotomine.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Ea is classified as an "Anti-World" Noble Phantasm, but due to Archer 2's immense pride, he does not use it at its full potential. Even during the Beam-O-War he has with Saber's Excalibur, he only uses a fraction of Ea's strength, which is still enough to overpower Excalibur. Additionally, when he uses it on Shirou, he only receives some bruises. Full power usage breaks reality to the point a rift is created that shows the world before it was even created.
  • Slasher Smile: At the end of the original anime, which is mainly based off the "Fate" route, when he duels Saber he has a maniacal grin, accentuated by Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises.
  • Smarter Than You Look: His ego may make it seem like he is an idiot armed with a machinegun that shoots Noble Phantasms but as his Hidden Depths reveal he is actually really intelligent, which usually is overshadowed by his extreme self-confidence.
  • Smug Super: His colossal strength and power could transform him into a much more successful villain. However, his ego manages to be even more powerful and domineering than either of those combined, leading to his downfall in all three routes.
  • Social Darwinist: Archer 2 is contemptuous towards humanity of the modern day, griping that in his age even the life of a slave was too precious to take. To this end, he plans to unleash Aŋra Mainiiu, stating that only the humans who survive it are worthy of his rule.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Archer 2's willpower and ego is so great that he could resist having all of the Grail's contents, containing all evils of the world, poured onto him without going insane or dying on the spot, something that would be impossible for anyone else.
    Archer 2: See, Saber, a hero is something who carries with them everything they see. I am already carrying everything in this world.
  • Storm of Blades: "Gate of Babylon" is his personal treasury and he can supposedly have any Noble Phantasm rain on his opponents.
  • Story-Breaker Power: No matter who he's fighting, he's almost guaranteed to have at least a dozen weapons specifically designed to exploit their weaknesses, and as a fallback he always has Ea, which is so unstoppably powerful that even Excalibur is completely overpowered by it even when Gilgamesh is simply playing around. Were it not for his colossal ego ensuring that he never takes advantage of this, there is really no reason he should ever be defeated by anyone.
  • Superpower Lottery: For an Archer, he has surprisingly high stats, but doesn't seem able to use them efficiently. However, his mana reserves and the power of his Noble Phantasms are off the charts, in one case literally. The first Noble Phantasm contains a prototype of all Noble Phantasms and items that have been comprehended by mankind and the latter has a power ranking attached to it indicating it literally cannot be defined. Word of God indicates he is as strong as five normal Servants when he's kidding around.
  • Super Prototype: His Gate of Babylon holds the "perfect prototype" of every Heroic Spirit's Noble Phantasm. By Nasuverse rules (i.e. Older Is Better), this makes all of them better than their later models due to their greater mystery and thus magical power.
  • Telepathy: Hinted at. When Shirou deciphers his identity in his thoughts, Gilgamesh instantly turns to him and says aloud that Shirou knows of his identity. He can also tell Saber is no longer a virgin despite her being fully clothed and that Heracles is a demigod and therefore able to be restrained by Enkidu.
  • Theme Deck: Aside from random unnamed weapons fired out from Gate of Babylon, he uses about four or five Noble Phantasms in the Fourth and Fifth Holy Grail Wars, despite possessing all of them. This is his weakness, as it turns out; he's too lazy to actually utilize the full potential of the Gate.
  • This Is a Drill: Ea, a drill-sword. Complete with spinning segments.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: His Famous Last Words in the anime movie adaption of Unlimited Blade Works, announcing that Archer must pay for killing him before being sucked into the vortex completely.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Shadow is terrified of Gilgamesh and even after devouring himself breaks him down into his component mana as quickly as possible for fear of him taking it over from the inside. This is why you never see a Black Gilgamesh like you do Saber and Berserker.
  • Tranquil Fury: Briefly at the end of Fate. It is arguably where he is the most terrifying.
  • Übermensch: For starters, he is well aware of his status as the one of the most powerful Servants, rejects all authority and laws save his own, considers himself to be infinitely superior to everyone else, and is a Social Darwinist whose end goal is to purge the earth of those he deems unworthy so that he can rule over it again. His ego is even such that he is immune to Aŋra Mainiiu's mental corruption.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Due to his powerful armor, possessing infinite weapons he can launch like missiles, a chain that can bind gods, and a sword that can literally turn the world into a scorched rock, Gilgamesh is the most powerful person in the VN by a considerable margin. He could easily defeat anything he encounters during the Fifth War just by blasting it into oblivion with his full strength right off the bat. But of course, nobody he meets is worthy of seeing his full power, and inevitably he gets killed by underestimating his opponent. He does have some skill in swordplay and a high knowledge of magecraft, but not enough to really match up to specialists.
  • Ur-Example: In the Nasuverse, Older Is Better, and Gilgamesh is the first hero ever, who possessed all the treasures of the world—meaning that, not only is he older than every other hero, he possessed the archetypes from which every of Servant's Noble Phantasms originate. There's a reason he's called the King of Heroes.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Gilgamesh as a child was the embodiment of The Good King, loved by both gods and mortals in his time who ruled over all of the world, and was adorably cute. Then things went to shit...
  • Variable-Length Chain: Enkidu is as long as he needs it to be, basically. In side material he takes out the full chain and it's only a few meters long, yet he can restrain Berserker with it from dozens of angles at once and in life he used it to restrain The Bull of Heaven, which was absolutely huge.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In Unlimited Blade Works. Over the course of his final fight with Shirou, he gradually loses his temper, repeatedly screaming at Shirou WhyWontYouDie, up to the point of losing an arm and suddenly getting sucked into a black hole to his own surprise. He then tries to pull himself out with Enkidu using Shirou as leverage and would've succeeded if it weren't for Archer killing him with one last attack and causing him to suffer his Karmic Death. Most tellingly, Gilgamesh actually gets so angry he pulls out Ea, and gets an arm hacked off before he can use it. This is only in the animated version. In the Visual Novel, he's quite a bit calmer (though still angry at the situation).
  • Villainous Friendship: Is implied to have with Kotomine. The two of them get along surprisingly well, contrasting with how Gilgamesh acts with everyone else, and he's visibly hurt by Kotomine's death in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Villain Respect:
    • In Unlimited Blade Works after he kills Sella and Leysritt he briefly eulogizes them because they insisted on defending their master even though they didn't stand a chance against him.
    • Later in the route: he very, very grudgingly admits defeat against Shirou. It's clear he still hates Shirou with everything he has, but nonetheless says "I will give you this much: in this moment, you are strong. Victory is yours."
  • Walking Spoiler: While the Fate/Zero, Unlimited Blade Works and Carnival Phantasm animes and various video-game adaptations make no secret of his true identity at all, and the names of his Noble Phantasms are dead giveaways to who he is, the original visual novel doesn't reveal his identity until late in the Fate route, and his existence ends up leading to most of the important revelations in that route.
  • Wave Motion Sword: Ea, "The Star of Creation that Splits Apart Heaven and Earth". Enuma Elish is in fact the activation phrase, but many people get it confused because of the way most Noble Phantasms are activated. Also, let's face it: Enuma Elish just sounds cooler.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Leaning really far on the extreme part of the trope, but From a Certain Point of View he can be seen as this; Gilgamesh loves humanity as a whole, but he hates individuals. He is disgusted by how lazy and weak humans have become since the age where he ruled and how they escape reality through ignorance. To create a new kingdom worthy of him in the modern age, Gil wants to subject humanity to Aŋra Mainiiu, the embodiment of all human sins in the form of six billion curses, and will then rule over the survivors, as they are "worthy" of his kingship.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Simply because he has no need to lie.
  • World's Strongest Man: He's stated by Word of God to be the most powerful Heroic Spirit that can possibly be summoned and it shows. Were he actually to fight at full force, every other combatant in the war combined wouldn't even be a match for him. Very few Servants ever would stand a chance of facing him head on and for him to be defeated in two of the three paths the Heroes have to really pull out all the stops to win.
  • Yandere: His obsessive infatuation with Saber is carried over from the Fourth Grail War, and while it's secondary to his primary goal he still makes it clear he intends to have his way with her regardless of her hatred for him.
  • You Got Spunk: All treasures are meant to be his. This makes Saber's indifference towards him very appealing and causes him to pursue her even more. He views her strength and therefore Saber herself, as just something for him to conquer.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: With Sakura as a viable and more easily corruptible host, Aŋra Mainiiu decides to dissolve his already flaky alliance with Gilgamesh. First, by trying to assimilate him, and when that doesn't work, just killing him.
  • Younger and Hipper: Fate/Grand Order essentially makes Archer Gilgamesh this retroactively. With this Gilgamesh as his more arrogant and amoral self at the start of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

    True Assassin 

Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (JP), Patrick Seitz (EN)

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

"It looks like your weapon is a projectile weapon as well. Would you like to try a match?"

An Assassin-class Servant who was meant to be summoned for the Fuyuki Holy Grail War, but was denied because Caster broke the rules and called in her own Assassin. He is only summoned in Heaven's Feel by Shinji and Sakura's grandfather Zouken Matou in order to take the Holy Grail for themselves and grant their shared desire for eternal life.

Like all Assassins, he is a master of moving about undetected and prefers to fight using thrown knives. His Noble Phantasm is a curse known as Zabaniya: Delusional Heartbeat.


  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl L Able: Only at first, when he was still unstable. After devouring Lancer he begins talking normally.
  • Affably Evil: While he looks Obviously Evil, he's not that bad.
  • Badass Longrobe: He wears a tattered black one on a few scenes.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: His Noble Phantasm works by cursing the enemy's heart, allowing True Assassin to make a perfect replica in his cursed right arm. He can then crush the fake heart, destroying the enemy's real heart; though this can be resisted with enough magic resistance. However, his cursed arm can bypass this by extending to great lengths in order to touch the enemy's body and replace the real heart with the fake, allowing him to devour the enemy's heart to boost his intelligence.
  • The Blank: When Dark Sakura decides to kill him, she removes his mask to see what his face looks like. He had no face at all. That said, his debut appearance in Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel shows him eating by removing his mask, which exhibits that he at least has sunken cheeks, a really narrow jawline, plus rotting teeth and gums like the Mouth of Sauron.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: He becomes stronger and increases his intelligence by eating other Servants' hearts.
  • Chest Burster: When Zouken summons him in Heaven's Feel, he materializes inside Assassin's body and gruesomely tears his way out of his chest, killing him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Due to his relatively low parameters, he does whatever he can to win. Best exemplified in the animated adaptations that feature him shamelessly fighting alongside the Shadow to neutralise Lancer and Saber.
  • Dark Is Evil: Downplayed, as he's not so bad, but he is a pitch black being that is an Assassin.
  • Determinator: All things considered, True Assassin (having been once the leader of men who live in the harsh deserts) respects someone with an unbreakable will to survive. If any, his distaste for Zouken's methods is balanced by his respect for the old geezer's endurance and determination.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't really approve of some of his Master's crueller actions, but he also knows his place.
  • Evil Duo: He and Zouken team up because they both want some form of immortality.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Increases his intelligence by eating other Servants.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted. Assassin has to manually create new Dirks and only carries around forty at a time.
  • Invisibility: His Presence Concealment skill does exactly what it says, allowing him to go near-totally undetected by others. That includes passing through the boundary field around Shirou's house.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Dark Sakura kills him for attacking Shirou twice. In her head, she's the only one that gets to harm him.
  • Knife Nut: He uses a special kind of throwing knife called a Dirk to throw at his with the speed and power of a low-caliber bullet.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Assassin has a high rank in "Protection from Wind", an enchantment he got in life to counteract sandstorms and Jinns. This gives him immunity to Saber's Invisible Air.
  • Lawful Evil: In-universe alignment. He's a contract killer, but he's not some Psycho for Hire sadist.
  • Legacy Immortality: According to True Assassin's back-story, anyone who becomes leader of the Hashashin takes on the name and persona of Hassan-i-Sabbah. Thus, the True Assassin Heroic Spirit is a compound being made up from the deeds of all the Hassan-i-Sabbahs. Fate/Grand Order expands upon this idea, and the backstory of this particular Hassan considerably, but between his odd summoning and GO technically being a different facet of the Kaleidoscope, it's unclear how much of it is meant to be directly back-ported to F/SN, if any.
  • Mercy Kill: In one of the last Bad ends, True Assassin kills Shirou after he catches him trying to infiltrate the Einzbern Castle, stating that it's far better to die by his hand than at Dark Sakura's. If you have encountered any of those bad endings so far, you'll agree.
  • One-Hit Kill: His Noble Phantasm destroys the opponent's heart, killing them instantly. Doesn't work well against targets with high magic resistance.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: His knife-tossing skills are impressive, but many of his opponents have either the "Protection from Arrows" skill or powerful battle instincts that let them foresee the projectile's path and block. His stealth is potent enough to fool magical barriers, but Saber's Instinct passively overrides it. And his trump card flops because he has the bad luck to run up against foes that have the magic resistance or weird constitution to No-Sell it. Frankly, even Lancer should've been able to no-sell Zabaniya for a bit thanks to Battle Continuation, but he had the bad fortune of landing right in the tentacles of The Shadow while recovering from the shock. It's a testament to his lethality that he comes across as menacing as he does considering the sheer bad luck he has in his matchups all game.
  • Red Right Hand: He has jet-black skin, is skeletally thin, and has a skull mask sewn to his face. He also has a very-literal one under those wrappings. They come off when he uses his Finishing Move.
  • The Speechless: During the few hours after he is summoned, he speaks essentially in screeches.
  • Stealth Expert: The whole point of "Presence Concealment" ability, which allows the Assassin class to remain undetected when spying or preparing an ambush. True Assassin is particularly skilled in this accord, being even capable to sneak into Shirou's house without alerting any of its other occupants or triggering the bounded field that serves as a perimeter alarm.
  • Tragic Villain: Only expanded upon in Fate/Grand Order: He gave up a happy life with his family to become a Hassan, defacing himself and cutting off one of his own arm's to attach a Demon's instead, and... became another anonymous leader of a cult of assassins whose name did not ring throughout the annals of history more than any of the ones before or after him. No fame, no glory, no fortune, at the cost of all he ever held dear.
  • Weak, but Skilled: His stats on paper mark him as one of the weakest Servants in the Grail War; the only thing that puts him above Caster is his powerful Noble Phantasm. In fact, Lancer would easily kill him in a fair fight, but Assassin takes advantage of every dirty advantage possible until he can go for the kill with his Phantasm.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: He asks Zouken this exact question when the latter is amusing himself by watching Shirou and Rin's futile attempts to find a solution to the predicament involving the "Shadow" consuming people left and right. Zouken replies that it would be more fun to let Sakura's Super-Powered Evil Side do the job for them. Although Zouken is lying, he actually needs Shirou and Rin to break Sakura completely.

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    The Shadow 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/black_shadow_6.png

IT IS NOT ENOUGH

The Shadow is a horrifying pseudo-Servant of sorts that appears in Heaven's Feel. It devours anything that it can, though its source and origins are enigmatic. It does not seem to be a truly sapient being and is instead ruled by its hunger. It is associated with Zouken Matou, but is not truly under his control.

The Shadow is a particularly spoilery entry in the story, so beware.


  • Adaptational Wimp: While still a threat the Heaven's Feel movies make it noticeably weaker by having Saber, Berserker, and Archer be able resist being corrupted by it, with the former two needed to be forced into it by True Assassin and Saber Alter respectively for them to actually be corrupted by it and the latter being effectively immune to it do to being a Counter Guardian.
  • Animal Motif: It is likened to some sort of deep sea creature by Shirou, most likely a squid. Even invoked somewhat when Lancer discovers it hiding in the lake of Ryoudou Temple and is eaten by it after being wounded by True Assassin.
  • Anti-Magic: Mana Drain variety: The Shadow absorbs all mana in anything it comes into contact with, which makes Servants completely useless against it. The drain is so powerful that it ate through Lancer's runic barrier, a spell on level with Caster-class Noble Phantasms, in about 4 seconds.
  • Archenemy: For reasons unknown, this thing absolutely hates Rin. Just seeing her sends it into a frenzy, and it'll drop everything it's doing just to kill her. It's actually an expression of Sakura's resentment towards her sister corrupted by Aŋra Mainiiu's hatred for humanity.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Is nearly devoured itself when it attacks Gilgamesh in Heaven's Feel. This is why you don't see him corrupted: The Shadow had to break him down quickly instead of corrupting him.
  • The Assimilator: Can devour Servants and instead of breaking them down turn them into its own defenders.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Shadow is directed by a combination of Sakura's subconscious and Aŋra Mainiiu's eternal hatred and is thus on a rampage with no way to reason with it.
  • Captured Super-Entity: While it is an almost mindless monster, Zouken is able to direct it to some extent, but only somewhat. It is an imperfect manifestation of Aŋra Mainiiu, which he manipulates a little by using the Crest Worm in Sakura, but it nearly kills him early on.
  • Casting a Shadow: It blankets the ground in shadows and black ooze that attempt to devour anything they touch.
  • Confusion Fu: Part of what makes fighting it so dangerous is its unpredictable, alien fighting style makes it impossible to predict what it's going to do next.
  • The Corruption: It corrupts the already fragile psyche and emotions of its host. Said host is Sakura, ultimately causing her to consciously accept the corruption after killing her brother in self-defence, turning her into Dark Sakura and gaining conscious control of its immense power at the cost of her sanity.
  • Dark Is Evil: Is a darkness based Eldritch Abomination.
  • Demonic Possession: It is the result of Aŋra Mainiiu possessing Sakura Matou through the shards of the Grail in her body, initially taking over her while she sleeps and gaining increasing amounts of influence over her. Consciously accepting All the World's Evil causes her to transform into Dark Sakura.
  • The Dreaded: It becomes this in Heaven's Feel, as it quickly becomes obvious that it is a threat far beyond the actual Grail War. Any encounter with it also comes with bone-deep terror for our heroes, as it soon becomes obvious it's far too alien for them to fight and difficult to even escape from. Later materials would reveal that entities like the Shadow are either fought with seven "Grand Servants", Servants which are Heroic Spirits meticulously summoned into empowered vessels of their absolute best Class, similar to seven World-manifested Counter Guardians. Team Shirou consists of some scared, confused teenagers and a handful of bog-standard Servants that weren't summoned particularly well, and so they largely don't have a prayer of fighting it in this form.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It is an incomplete manifestation of Aŋra Mainiiu, who was once summoned as the evil Heroic Spirit Avenger but has since become the embodiment of All the World's Evil and is the being corrupting the Greater Grail, using Sakura Matou's body as a medium. Later sequels, such as Grand Order, would expound further on entities like Aŋra, but for F/SN's purposes it's enough to know that most individual Servants are virtually helpless against an entity like the Shadow, and only someone on Gilgamesh's level even has a prayer alone (and a mere moment of carelessness is all the Shadow needs to defeat even him).
  • Eviler Than Thou: Kills off Gilgamesh when he let his guard down while trying to kill Sakura, who is subconsciously giving it a way into the world.
  • Fantastic Nuke: In an attempt to kill Rin, it sucks up an enormous amount of mana from its surroundings and lets it all out in an explosion so powerful that it powers through Archer's Rho Aias and leaves a massive crater in the forest.
  • Fetus Terrible: The Shadow, given a chance to grow and merge with Sakura, eventually becomes the "embryo" of Aŋra Mainiiu, the source of the Grail's corruption itself. It has no mind yet and, therefore, no sense of morality, but its birth will cause devastation.
  • Hero Killer: The Shadow is more of a force of nature than an antagonist, so it's pointless to try to fight it.
  • Horror Hunger: The Shadow feels as though it is constantly starving and begins absorbing hundreds of townspeople and several Servants in an attempt to sate itself.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It happily eats people by breaking them down into their component mana and hoovering it up. During Heaven's Feel, it ends up depopulating entire blocks of Fuyuki.
  • Invincible Villain: The Shadow is impossible to fight due to it melting and devouring anything that comes close. Gilgamesh nearly destroys it by attacking the host directly, but lets his guard down in the last second and gets eaten for his trouble. Sakura is still a mangled mess afterward, saved only by the near-instant regenerative properties Aŋra possesses as a (former) Servant with access to vast quantities of prana.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When the Shadow appears, the story takes a definite turn for the darker, especially when it eats Saber herself.
  • Living Shadow: It can manifest itself from its host's shadow.
  • Made of Evil: It is a manifestation of All The World's Evil.
  • Mind Rape: Coming into contact with The Shadow causes the unfortunate soul's mind to be flooded with pure, concentrated madness and hatred before being eaten alive. Not even Servants are immune. Shirou only avoids death because the Shadow is powered by Sakura's subconscious.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: By mortally injuring Archer and tearing Shirou's left arm off, it inadvertently gives Shirou the means, namely Archer's arm, to defeat Berserker, Saber and ultimately sever its contact with Sakura.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone's reaction when it appears. The Shadow itself reacts like this upon encountering Gilgamesh and is almost slain before managing to take advantage of his carelessness.
  • Pre-Explosion Buildup: It takes it a few seconds for it to collect enough mana in one spot, which then explodes in all directions, killing anything it touches.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: It's a solid, inky black mess with red stripes.
  • Run or Die: There is no fighting The Shadow. There is only escaping from it, intact or otherwise.
  • Silent Antagonist: It doesn't speak. It just shows up and both confuses and terrifies everyone. The monologues it does spout are the result of it corrupting Sakura.
  • Space Master: It can access Imaginary Number Space to redirect attacks like it does with Caster's fireball or store the Blackened Servants Saber Alter and Berserker when they're not needed because that's Sakura's Elemental Affinity.
  • Vader Breath: Combined with a female thirsty-sounding rasp the few times it does talk.
  • You Remind Me of X: Shirou is reminded of the Great Fuyuki Fire when he sees it, particularly a large tower-like thing seemingly looming over the fire. This gives you a hint that it is actually the embryotic state of the Grail's contents, Aŋra Mainiiu/Avenger, and the tower is the fully manifested Greater Grail, corrupted by Aŋra Mainiiu.

    Aŋra Mainiiu (SPOILERS) 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/angra_mainiyu_composit_smaller.png
Clockwise from top left: Aŋra Mainiiu's form as All the World's Evil, Avenger's shadow form as a Servant, the Grail partially incarnated in the Unlimited Blade Works anime, the effect of the Grail's black mud

Aŋra Mainiiu is the Eighth Servant, belonging to the Avenger class, and a holdover from the Third Holy Grail War. It was once a man living in the 6th century Middle East, chosen to be persecuted and tortured by his people as the incarnation of "All the World's Evil". His peoples' veneration of him as such enabled his soul to become a pseudo-Heroic Spirit upon death. During the Third Holy Grail War, the Einzberns summoned him as a Servant while trying to summon the Zoroastrian God of Evil Aŋra Mainiiu, who they mistook him for. Avenger was slain due to his abysmal weakness, but when his soul was taken into the Greater Grail, it granted the wish of the people who had sacrificed the man and transformed his soul into the incarnation of All the World's Evil. Contained within and corrupting the Greater Grail, Aŋra Mainiiu waits to be reborn so that it can fulfill its own desires: the destruction of humanity.

While it appears in all three routes in the form of a corruptive black ooze, Aŋra Mainiiu's role in Fate/Stay Night is greatest in "Heaven's Feel", where it forms a Master-Servant pact with Sakura Matou, manifests through her as the Shadow, corrupts Saber and Berserker, and ultimately blackens Sakura into Dark Sakura.


  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The ooze its curse of hatred manifests as is described as being black, but Fate/Zero and the UBW anime depict it as a very dark red for the purposes of visual distinction. Even in the game, it does possess notable red highlights.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Aŋra Mainiiu's role in the Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] anime is expanded, with it manipulating Illya via hallucinations of her mother, and partially manifesting using Shinji as a host.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, it's noted that Aŋra Mainiiu's All the World's Evil — the cursed mud that digests people and blackens Servants — is extremely similar to Tiamat's Sea of Life, positing a connection between Avenger's Eldritch Abomination state and the Beasts.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Similarly to Assassin, the man who became Avenger formed the basis of the evil deity called Aŋra Mainiiu, which does not actually exist in the Nasuverse, and thus when the Einzberns tried to summon the latter they wound up with the former.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Aŋra Mainiiu can be seen as embodying this. The ancient Zoroastrians wished for him to become the embodiment of All The World's Evil, and with the help of the Greater Grail that wish came true.
  • The Corruption: The black sludge it produces — a lesser version of Tiamat's Sea of Life, according to Fate/Grand Order — contaminates the souls of anything it touches, giving Servants a physical body and limitless supply of prana but turning them evil, a process referred to as "blackening". It's how Saber is transformed into Saber Alter and Berserker into Dark Berserker in "Heaven's Feel". Gilgamesh resists being blackened in Fate/Zero, attaining a physical body but not being driven insane due to his ego.
  • Curse: Its hatred is so powerful it manifests as a cursed black ooze that corrupts and destroys everything it comes into contact with.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In the 2013 Fate/Zero anime and the 2014 Unlimited Blade Works anime, it appears to Kiritsugu and Illyasviel as a hallucination in the form of Irisviel.
  • Demonic Possession: In Heaven's Feel, it forms a Master-Servant pact with Sakura Matou and takes over her while she sleeps, manifesting as the Shadow. When she accepts her bond with it, Aŋra Mainiiu fully corrupts her into its avatar, Dark Sakura.
  • Devour the Dragon: In Unlimited Blade Works, it attempts to use Gilgamesh as a host. This attempt backfires and it ends up eating him instead. It also devours him at Sakura's behest when manifested as the Shadow in "Heaven's Feel", though Gilgamesh almost manages to destroy it from the inside through his unshakeable willpower.
  • Effective Knockoff: Revelations in Fate/Grand Order retrocatively imply that Aŋra Mainiiu after it was transformed into "All the World's Evils" was one of these of the true Gods Of Evil in the Nasuverse, the seven Beasts. Considering that the Fuyuki Holy Grail summoned Servants using a bastardized version of the system that summoned Grand Servants who themselves were based on the Beasts, it can be inferred that the Holy Grail took in the embodiment of the wish for a God of Evil and granted it using the knowledge it was based on as well as the protocols it was programmed with to transform Avenger into an inferior derivative. Of course, being a weaker copy of incredibly powerful world destroyers means Aŋra Mainiiu is still a dangerous threat in its own right.
  • Eldritch Abomination: While it Was Once a Man, once Avenger was slain the Fuyuki Grail attempted to grant the ancient Zoroastrians' wishes that Aŋra Mainiiu become the incarnation of "All the World's Evil". The result of this "black miracle" was the weakest Servant in the Third Grail War taking over the Greater Grail and corrupting it to be reborn as an immeasurably powerful supernatural entity that desires nothing less than to destroy humanity, and which either corrupts or destroys everything it comes into contact with. In the 2014 Unlimited Blade Works anime it uses Shinji as a host to manifest a massive humanoid torso with two glowing red slit-shaped openings, one in its chest and one in its head; and in the Heaven's Feel route it partially manifests as the Shadow using Sakura as a host, and when it is almost completely reborn it takes the form of a massive multi-eyed creature with tentacles. The Counter Force considered Aŋra Mainiiu a great enough threat that it would have taken direct action had Avenger successfully been incarnated.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Its original name was completely erased from the annals of history, and even "Aŋra Mainiiu" isn't its real name. Most simply refer to it as the Greater Grail.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Its most iconic manifestation is as an organic black tower with jagged prongs at the top and a black hole floating overhead, vomiting out its black ooze.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Despite partially manifesting in all three routes, Aŋra Mainiiu remains inside the Greater Grail until Fate/hollow ataraxia, where it is expelled and reverted back to being Avenger.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In the distant past, it had no supernatural powers at all. The reason being that it was an ordinary man chosen to be scapegoat for every evil in the world and brutally tortured for the rest of his natural life until died of old age. Naturally, the process drove him insane with hatred and enabled him to be summoned in the Third Grail War as Avenger. However, he wasn't a true Heroic Spirit and had no Noble Phantasm, meaning he was immediately and easily slain. It wasn't until his soul was taken into the Greater Grail that his people's wish for him to become the embodiment of All the World's Evil was granted and he was transfigured into an Eldritch Abomination.
  • God of Evil: Supposedly. Turns out he's actually some random schmuck who had the dubious honor of being branded Aŋra Mainiiu, and eventually came to be the incarnation of the wish for a god to embody all the world's evils, but it wasn't until Avenger was placed in the wish granting Holy Grail that he could live up to his name.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: This thing's the evil that corrupts the Holy Grail, and is responsible for antiheroes and villains being summonable as Heroic Spirits.
  • Hate Plague: It enflames the negative emotions of those who are connected to it or inundates them with its own hatred, corrupting them.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: While the Greater Grail itself technically had no will of its own, Aŋra Mainiiu took over and corrupted it.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Its black ichor can set things on fire. It's what caused the Fuyuki Fire, granting Kirei's vengeful dying wish.
  • Jerkass Genie: One of the walking spoilers is that Aŋra Mainiiu has taken over the Greater Grail. While the Grail system is still capable of granting the wishes of whoever touches it, it only does so in a way that ensures mass destruction and death.
  • Joke Character: As noted above, Aŋra Mainiiu was slain rather quickly in the Third Holy Grail War due to how weak he was — not even possessing a Noble Phantasm until his revival in Fate/hollow ataraxia. This is reflected in Fate/Grand Order, which has him have some of the lowest stats in the game (originally, it was going to be that the entire Avenger class was incredibly weak; however, it was instead decided to make them a Glass Cannon class and just have Aŋra Mainiiu be incredibly weak instead).
  • Kill All Humans: It's third behind Primate Murder and Type-Mercury in the "Entity best suited for wiping out humanity" contest, as they can kill humans at much faster rates. Furthermore, any wish it grants is twisted to result in death and destruction.
  • Made of Evil: It is literally the incarnation of All the World's Evil, the embodiment of several billion peoples' worth of curses and hatred.
  • Mind Rape: Those who are blackened by its ooze are overwhelmed and corrupted by its raw hatred and turned evil.
  • Muck Monster: Its primary manifestation is as a cursed black sludge variously called "All the World's Evils" or ""All The Evils of The World", which corrupts or destroys whatever it touches.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Only three of the characters - namely Kirei, Gilgamesh, and Zouken - know of its existence at first, and summoning it is the driving force behind their actions. It doesn't become directly involved in the Fifth Grail War itself until the end of all three routes. On the larger scheme of things, the whole mess started because when Aŋra Mainiiu was drawn into the Greater Grail after his defeat in the Third Holy Grail War. As he was so weak, the system didn't recognize him as a Servant, who are supposed to be broken down for the Grail's prana. Instead, it thought it was a human, and thus, the winner of the Holy Grail War. The corruption of the Grail started when it attempted to grant the wish that was the origin of Aŋra Mainiiu - namely, the wish to have a singular entity be responsible for All The World's Evils.
  • The Power of Hate: This thing thrives off of it, and when you've been tortured for a lifetime over superstitious cruelty, you won't be a happy camper either.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Its cursed ooze is described as black, but in the Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works animes is colored as being black with pulsing patches of red, or just as dark red.
  • Red Baron: It is referred to as Aŋra Mainiiu, Angra Mainyu, All the World's Evil, or All the Evils of the World. Its manifestation in Heaven's Feel is called the Shadow. Those who don't know what it truly is refer to it as the object which it has taken over and corrupted, the Greater Grail.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Its essence is sealed away, and it seeks to be reborn to destroy humanity. Said can is the Greater Grail, which it has corrupted and taken over.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: After the manifestation it created using Shinji Matou as a host is destroyed by Saber, Avenger tries to steal a wounded Gilgamesh's body to manifest in the real world during the finale of Unlimited Blade Works. In vain, Gilgamesh tries to remind him that he can't use another Servant as a host, but he's too desperate to listen and winds up consuming Gilgamesh instead, with the portal to the Grail closing.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": While most fan- and official English translations prior to 2018 render his name with the modern spelling "Angra Mainyu", the English translation of Fate/Grand Order officially romanizes his name "Aŋra Mainiiu", which more accurately represents the original Avestan spelling.
  • Super Empowering: Servants that come into contact with its black ooze are blackened, granting them physical bodies, mostly-augmented abilities, and limitless mana as long as they remain connected to the sludge, but turning them evil.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Before becoming what it is now, it was human who was designated as the embodiment of evil by his people and was subsequently subjected to hideous torture. After he died, he decided that he might as well become what he was perceived to be, and thus Aŋra Mainiiu was born.
  • Tragic Villain: All it was before being corrupted into a Made of Evil Eldritch Abomination was a man, who had the rather unfortunate fate of being scapegoated as the source of all things evil in the world and as a result lived a life of torture and misery. No wonder it acts the way it does.
  • Walking Spoiler: Due to its nature as the entire saga's Greater-Scope Villain and Outside-Context Problem.
  • Was Once a Man: One of the most shocking revelations about it is that it used to be human. Specifically, it used to be a literally nameless man living in the 5th Century who was scapegoated as the incarnation of all the evils in the world and tortured until he went insane with hatred. After he died he became an evil Heroic Spirit and was summoned as Avenger during the Third Holy Grail War, but upon his defeat his soul took over the Greater Grail and was transfigured into the embodiment of All the World's Evil.


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