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Shirou Emiya

Voiced by: Noriaki Sugiyama (JP), Junko Noda (JP, young), Sam Riegel (EN, 2006 Anime, 2010 Movie), Bryce Papenbrook (EN, 2015 Anime, 2018 Movie)

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

"I don't want to regret anything. I want to make all the tragedies that happened into meaningful things by believing that my path is right."
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The protagonist of the series, Shirou is a rather untalented Magus whose only skill is basic Tracing and Reinforcement magic, which allows him to analyze the physical make-up of an object and then strengthen it. His dream is to become a "Hero of Justice", someone who can selflessly protect the lives of everyone from disaster. He inherited this dream from his adoptive father Kiritsugu Emiya, who had given up on it. He is not really sure what it takes to reach that ideal.

At the beginning of the story, he possesses a Healing Factor that makes him practically immortal, though the source of this is unknown and he did not have it before. Shirou is also an accomplished archer as a side effect of his mage training and, following some training from Saber, is mildly proficient in swordplay.

He is Saber's Master.

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    # - D 
  • Accidental Pervert: In Fate, he enters the bathroom while Saber is taking a bath twice. While she thinks nothing of it the first time, the second time she feels embarrassed and asks him to leave.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Since the anime adaptations don't adapt most of Shirou's Inner Monologues from the visual novel that explain and justify his actions, his behavior in the anime often comes off as stupid and borderline suicidal to those who are not familiar with the source material. For example, in the Fate route, his seemingly sexist attitude about Saber fighting is because he is trying to find a way to stop her fighting, as he has already fallen for her but hates the fact she is protecting him due to his Survivor's Guilt. In the anime adaptation, since this can't be projected from his thoughts effectively, it makes Shirou look more idiotic, and sexist than he really is. Perhaps the most blatant example of this is in Episode 12 of Unlimited Blade Works when Shirou goes out on a date with Rin. While in the visual novel, this was an important character defining moment since his inner monologue showcased the full extent of his psychological problems, in the anime, this comes off more as a Breather Episode that has next to no relevance to the plot.
  • Almighty Janitor: In the True End of Unlimited Blade Works, he becomes this. Shirou decides to tag along with Rin to London so that he can learn magic from the Magician's Association. Although enrolling as Rin's disciple means that he's exempt from tuition fees, it effectively puts him at the lowest point on the totem pole. However, this is justified as considering how most magi act, he'd end up on a dissection table if he ever let the secret of his Reality Marble out. Extra points for actually fighting an army of familiars with a powered up broom.
  • Always Save the Girl:
    • In Heaven's Feel, he decides that saving Sakura is what he wants most, even though he understands the dangers she might pose for the city.
    • Defied in Fate, as he does briefly consider using the Grail to save Saber, be damned to anyone else or the consequences, but ultimately decides doing so would spit in the face of the ideals they shared together and Saber wouldn't want to be saved in such a manner.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Gives a pretty epic one to Saber in Fate after Gilgamesh beats down Saber and practically cuts him in half. Shirou gets up and prepares for another pathetic attempt while Saber pleads for him to save himself.
    Saber: What are you doing?! It is impossible! Please stop! I do not need you to save me! Why... Why do you not understand that? No, if you die because of something like this, I—
    Shirou: SHUT UP! …just… be quiet for a second… you can rely on others… rely on…
    Saber: You're wrong. You're more important than me, your life is more important, so you should take care—"
    Shirou: I want you more than anything else! There's not one thing that can replace you. Sorry, I... I like you the most out of everything. So I'm not going to let a guy like him take you!
  • Anti-Hero: Idealistic as his goal is, it can actually push him in this direction. In Heaven's Feel he ends up here for entirely different reasons.
    • He's also a Classical Anti-Hero for a good part of the stories, considering how weak he is compared to other members of the cast until near the end of the routes.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He realizes the problems of his ideals in UBW, and reconciles them by saying that even if his actions may not be perfect and can be ultimately meaningless, he'll still try his best.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses his left arm while protecting Illya from the Shadow, although it's quickly replaced with Archer's arm.
  • Audience Surrogate: Most notably when it comes to asking questions the audience would. Him knowing little about magic and nothing about the Grail War is reason for much of the game's exposition.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Structural Analysis only allows Shirou to scan objects and see their inner workings. However, this plays a BIG part of Unlimited Blade Works. UBW is basically a glorified recording device which keeps all the weapons Shirou has seen. Using Projection, he can call upon ANY of these weapons. More traditionally, the battles he partakes in start out shoddily at first, but by Heaven's Feel he calculates movements and plans down to the second.
  • Badass Normal: When compared to every combat-capable character, Shirou skirts the line. Remember that: 1) As he was adopted by Kiritsugu, he has no way of inheriting the Emiya Magic Crest, and he also lacks the innate talent produced through generations of magi striving to develop the best Magic Circuits. 2) His training was very informal, as his old man had no desire to teach him, and aside from sparse knowledge, Kiritsugu taught him absolutely nothing of conventional magecraft that would have been helpful in the war. 3) Though his body has 27 natural Magic Circuits, they pretty much have been abandoned for his nerves, which he made into makeshift circuits due to his misguided training methods, and once his real circuits are opened, they can barely handle ten units of magical energy each, meaning he will inevitably hurt himself. Nobody else in the story has these kind of problems. That said, he's still Made of Iron even after losing his Healing Factor and is a Determinator of the highest order, and eventually starts tapping into his potential as a specialist spellcaster who projects copies of legendary weapons to fight metahumans and demigods.
  • Badass Transplant: Archer's left arm in Heaven's Feel ends up being more a weapon than an actual arm, to the point that it's specifically referred to as an "Artificial Phantasm" in a scene's title. Due to being surgically bonded to Shirou's shoulder stump while Archer was still in the corporeal world, it is a part of a Heroic Spirit that has been connected to Shirou's Magic Circuits, and stays in a physical form using his own spiritual energy. It has two practical uses: While unconcious, the arm grants him knowledge on the basis of Projection, as well as Archer's battle experience and battle information. Passively, the abilities of the arm allow him to run fifty kilometers per hour through the uneven terrain of the Einzbern Forest, and when fully activated, it basically acts like an overdose of strength-enhancing drugs, letting Shirou demonstrate both magical and physical abilities beyond his limits... albeit at the cost of the ultimate price.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Shirou's a little too far on the idealistic side for even Saber, so while his allies appreciate him somewhat, they also know he'll do something stupidly reckless if it's the "right" thing to do. Tohsaka at the very end of the last route realizes she has no right to criticize him because she isn't as ruthless as she thinks she is.
  • BFS: Berserker's sword traced in Heaven's Feel definitely counts, bonus points for wielding it with a single hand.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Illya.
  • Big Little Brother: Illya's actually older than Shirou, so she's his older adoptive sister despite her childlike appearance and her calling him "onii-chan".
  • Blessed with Suck: Shirou's often-forgotten semi-unknown instinctual internal reinforcement works by protecting vital organs and holding normally-severed limbs together using his own magical energy, which happens to have a "sword" affinity, which means it manifests as thousands of ephemeral blades keeping him stitched together. The downside being that it works by creating a bunch of blades inside his body. The power's track record is a mixed bag:
    • In Fate: It lets him survive Rider's attacks, a dagger to the chest is repelled as if it is hitting metal and a kick that would've gouged his stomach only knocks him away, but also causes him to accidentally stab himself to death when he tries to use reinforcement to survive a three story fall immediately afterwards. However, it also saves him in the same route when it, along with Avalon's Healing Factor, sutures him back together after he has been cleaved in half by Gilgamesh's Merodach.
    • In Heaven's Feel: While his body is fully breaking down, overloading on mana from Archer's arm causes the blades to manifest permanently, slowly skewering him from the inside, but the protruding blades also end up giving him an edge in his last fight against Kotomine. Of course, the magical energy coming from the arm into Shirou's body is similar to pouring 100 units of fuel into a container that can only hold 10, so Shirou is likely only gaining from less than a tenth of the utter agony he has to endure, as Archer's own Unlimited Blade Works disrupts his memories and leaves him with a large blank space after using Projection.
  • Body Backup Drive: In the True End of Heaven's Feel courtesy of Touko Aozaki.
  • Body Horror: In Heaven's Feel he undoes the Shroud of Martin used to seal Archer's arm. As a consequence, first his brain begins to burn out and later this trope comes into play when the physical reinforcement of his Reality Marble causes swords to burst from his body in an attempt to hold him together.
  • Broken Ace: On paper, Shirou should have made it. Considered the star of the archery club months after having left, technologically savvy, an awesome chef, good-looking, hardworking and thoughtful, lives in a giant Japanese-style mansion with an increasing number of beautiful women who all have a thing for him, and practically created a miracle with his own peasant blood. At the same time, he's got some horrible self-worth issues, his beliefs are outdated and unpractical, and he's such a pitiable mess on the inside that his unscrupulously cynical future self comes to show him exactly what kind of person he will grow into if he doesn't drop it - and then intends to murder him.
  • Broken Hero: Even called that in-series a few times. Much of Unlimited Blade Works is devoted to exploring it.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Heaven's Feel Bad End #38, drawing on Archer's arm in order to use his super move against Saber Alter leaves Shirou a vegetable. To be sure, he's cut her in two, but she could fully regenerate in 10 minutes. And to think that he could have taken her out with him had he managed to destroy her head or heart...
  • Bully Hunter: As a child, he adopted Kiritsugu's basic ideal of trying to help people, but unlike Kiritsugu, he picked sides. Therefore, he decided he would protect the weak. Upon meeting Tohsaka, he thinks to himself that she's exactly the sort of person he would have fought as a kid, though they clearly hadn't really met.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Refusing to join the Holy Grail War results in Illya ruthlessly attacking and dismembering Shirou while he's on his way home. When he pleads that he isn't a Master, she promptly replies that it doesn't matter, because she never wanted to kill him, just enslave him.
  • The Champion: In Heaven's Feel, Shirou gives up his Chronic Hero Syndrome and decides to become a hero of justice for Sakura and Sakura alone.
  • Character Development: All three routes take Shirou's character in different directions. In Fate he maintains his ideals and strives to become a hero of justice, while at the same time learning the importance of trusting his allies even when he'd rather protect them from conflict; in Unlimited Blade Works he faces the shortcomings of his ideals but decides they're worth upholding even if they aren't perfect; and in Heaven's Feel he reevaluates his ideals in order to protect the people he cares about.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: The fact that he was in the archery club foreshadowing one of his possible futures and his mastery of Projection Magic.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Shirou's ability to use magic to create fake objects becomes his main combat ability.
    • He's a former member of his school's Archery Club. This foreshadows his class as a Servant.
  • Chick Magnet: He starts the story with at least four named female characters crushing at or potentially interested in him to some degree or other; Sakura being the most obvious, plus Rin and Ayako. He's none the wiser. In Fate, Saber falls in love with him and she ends up living with him and Rin in the Good Ending of UBW, and in both Fate and Heaven's Feel, Illya is very clingy and possessive of him.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shirou's inability to turn people down when they ask for help worries his friends and colleagues. He also tends to jump headfirst into any situation whenever he feels it's the 'right' thing to do.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Shirou's projection magecraft works with this; his tracings break down and vanish if he acknowledges even for an instant that they are but illusions.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Shirou honestly doesn't understand why ordering his male best friend to take off his clothes would be at all strange.
  • Covert Pervert: The anime and subsequent franchise materials gloss over his propensity for extremely lewd and bizarre mental tangents when presented with erotic scenarios.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: He can only use Reinforcement and Structural Analysis in the beginning. This is justified, as he misunderstood his father's teachings on magic. When he adds projection to that list, that's justified as well, as since his element and origin are both Sword, he is literally made for no other magic.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: His own brand of Projection magic. Just using it once causes him a night of pain, and the next morning the entire left side of his body is numb from the forced opening of neglected, but otherwise natural magical circuits. Once he learns the true use of it, he lacks proper training so even the most basic projections cause him horrible pain and the majority of the swords generated shatter easily due to their low quality. He eventually projects both Archer's sword technique and his reproduction ability, but it's also flawed because he doesn't understand that they actually originate from his Reality Marble. Unlimited Blade Works cannot be used without that realization, and even after coming to that conclusion, he does not have the necessary energy to utilize it on his own.
  • David vs. Goliath: How do you stop a sociopath Church Militant with superhuman abilities, a mad witch of profane practices, a centuries-old immortal bug-man, two Demi-Gods straight out of myth, and the manifestation of All The World's Evil? Well, there's this high school boy with subpar magical ability and an overwhelming lack of self-knowledge...
  • Deadly Upgrade: Archer's left arm. While Shirou and Archer are practically the same person with compatible magic circuits, the power of an Heroic Spirit is not something a human can handle. It is wrapped in a special cloth that seals its power, but even if left like this, it would kill Shirou from power overload within ten years unless he cut it off or became an expert mage to seal it himself. Just loosening the cloth causes excruciating pain and even gradual memory loss; taking it off completely is a guaranteed death sentence, with rapid destruction of mind and body on top of that with every use, due to Archer's arm forcing Unlimited Blade Works on him when he's no longer compatible, causing the body reinforcement to go out of control and begin forcing swords out of his body. He still manages to overcome Berserker, Saber Alter, Kotomine, and (in the 'Normal Ending") the corrupted Grail before dying.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He tends to snark a lot in his internal monologues, but not that often out loud, except maybe around Taiga and Rin. You can think of Archer as what Shirou would sound like if he didn't hold his tongue more often.
  • Death Seeker: Maybe. While it's initially not clear at first, and doesn't become completely confirmed until midway through Unlimited Blade Works, Shirou is a very disturbed individual. His brazen lack of self-preservation is definitely not a heroic or admirable trait, and many characters discuss how outright disturbing his suicidal pursuits are. It's possible that as a survivor of the fire, he has a lot of Survivor Guilt, or is perhaps suffering from a form of PTSD.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the noble, self-sacrificing hero who wants happiness for all, even at his own expense. The VN takes a lot of steps to show how twisted those ideals are, and how mentally screwed up you'd have to be to be willing to follow them. His single minded pursuit to sacrifice himself for others is usually viewed somewhere between stupid and horrifically broken.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: It's just what Shirou does, but most notably:
    • He takes down Berserker on his own with the use of Archer's arm in Heaven's Feel.
    • Nearly bulldozing Gilgamesh in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • Defusing The Tykebomb: He tries to do this for Illya, and in Heaven's Feel, Sakura.
  • Determinator: Shirou has shades of this in all three routes, but Heaven's Feel deserves a special mention: After having lost his servant, and discovering that the woman he loves is possessed by the avatar of all evil, Shirou decides that he's going to save Sakura, and he means it. He is supposed to drop dead after using Archer's Arm to project three times. He projects six times. He also fights both Dark Berserker and Saber Alter, both of whom are many times stronger than usual due to Sakura's increased prana, and wins. Oh, and his whole body is slowly being skewered by swords growing inside of him due to overuse of projection, he still keeps going. Then after all that, he still has a fist fight with Kotomine. In the normal ending, with only a shred of his consciousness remaining, Shirou with his final thought projects Excalibur, and pops Angra Mainyu like a zit. Shirou should have been dead five times up this point, and he STILL. KEPT. GOING.
    Shirou: I pour determination into my dying body.
    • This is actually an important part of Rin and Sakura falling in love with him. Before the game began, they once saw a boy who endlessly tried to leap over a high jump that he wasn't good enough to jump, and something about that captivated the girl who easily did everything and the girl who had no hope to try anything. This boy, of course, was Shirou.
  • Determined Defeatist: Even when he's fighting opponents he couldn't possibly hope to match like Lancer, Rider, Berserker or Gilgamesh, Shirou never thinks about giving up for even a second. Even if Saber doesn't come to pull him out, he usually finds a clever way out of the situation. This extends to his actions in the later half of Heaven's Feel, where he's repeatedly told that protecting Sakura is tantamount to betraying his prior ideals and that he'll never find peace even in the best-case scenario. He proves them all wrong in the True End of the route.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Repeatedly fights and wins against people he should have absolutely no chance against. Played straight in the Normal End of Heaven's Feel where he destroys Angra Mainyu, the nearly manifested Zoroastrian god representing ALL evils of the world, using Excalibur.
  • Died Standing Up: Normal End of Heaven's Feel, and unleashing Excalibur on the Great Grail after he died.
  • Distressed Dude: In Fate and the anime, Shirou is kidnapped by Illyasviel and tied to a chair, in an attempt to make him her servant. He is then rescued by Saber, Rin and Archer.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": He tells Saber not to call him "Master", and she complies unless she's angry with him.
  • Dual Wielding: In Unlimited Blade Works and in Heaven's Feel, he begins fighting with Kanshou and Bakuya while copying some of Archer's technique.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Helping people is one thing. Helping little girls out is even better. Helping little girls who were just stabbed in the chest by what is damn near a physical god, at least compared to YOU, is not an advisable course of action. And you HAVE to do it or you get a bad end.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Shirou has a tendency to risk his life for people he just met or barely even knows. Saber is a good example early in Fate and in Unlimited Blade Works after he pulls this with Illya, Tohsaka confronts him about his recklessness especially since it was obvious that there was no way he could save Illya.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • In the "Sparks Liner High" Bad End, he takes on and wins against Saber Alter by utilizing multiple copies of Kanshou and Byakuya to perform a chain of simultaneous and ultimately unavoidable attacks, he then dies having earned Saber's respect and acknowledgment and having been able to give her one last goodbye.
    • In the Heaven's Feel Normal End, Shirou survives the fight against Saber Alter (as Rider was there to help), and goes on to face Kotomine alone. Shirou's mind and body is steadily being corrupted by his 'own' power given from Archer, turning him physically and mentally into a sword, which causes metal creaking sounds inside his own body. The two fight fist to fist, both running on borrowed time. Kotomine finally expires before Shirou, who, having saved Sakura and done everything he set out to, just stops... but not before tracing Excalibur and destroying the Great Grail. By the time he swings Excalibur, he was already dead, but his attacks still goes through and destroys the Grail.

    E - H 
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • Particularly in Heaven's Feel, where he goes through things that would break a hundred lesser men. It is so worth it all.
    • The perfect ending to Realta Nua where he does the IMPOSSIBLE to get reunited with Saber in Avalon.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • In Fate, absolutely everyone can see the Saber/Shirou attraction. Even Issei.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, it's the same for Shirou and Rin as the route continues.
  • Expy: Shirou shares a character model with Tomoe Enjou. The two have similar issues regarding what is fake and what is real, as well. Also, Shirou becomes an Artificial Human like Tomoe in the True End of the Heaven's Feel route.
  • Extreme Doormat: Because of his obsession with helping others, he does whatever task his classmates ask him to do. Some even warn him that he's being taken advantage of, but he still does it.
  • Famous Ancestor: Possibly. In Fate/Grand Order, the legendary Japanese swordsmith Sengou Muramasa briefly wonders if Shirou is his descendant and believes that if Shirou were to meet people Muramasa knew in life, they would confuse Shirou for him. But so far these are only Muramasa's musings, and not confirmed.
  • Fate Worse than Death: There are a few bad ends like this, mostly involving Caster or Illya. Caster is intrigued by his Projection ability while Illya just wants her onii-chan... Well, his head anyway. Which she can keep alive with magic.
  • Fearful Symmetry: In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he fights Gilgamesh by copying every single one of his weapons before they can strike, whether they be delivered through a Storm of Blades or through melee. However, rather than create a stalemate, he instead gains the advantage, because his Reality Marble allows him to call on his swords faster than Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon can.
  • The Fettered: Shirou's ideal of wanting to save everybody forces him to make numerous highly questionable decisions, such as flinging himself in front of Berserker's attack on Saber in Fate or offering his arm to Caster to save Taiga in Unlimtied Blade Works.
  • Field of Blades: Can summon one in Unlimited Blade Works, and it's not just for show.
  • First-Person Smartass: Not very obvious. Then the realization hits that his narration is just as sarcastic as Rin's and boggling occurs. He is more of a snarker than people give him credit for, especially around Rin. Archer is basically what he would be like if he wasn't so polite all the time; is it any wonder why he and Rin have such great chemistry?
  • For Happiness: Shirou wants everyone to be happy. Deconstructed in Unlimited Blade Works. To clarify, unlike normal people who can somewhat create their own happiness, Shirou, thanks to his lack of any concept or sense of self preservation always places the need of others before his own and is completely unable to create his own happiness and has to live through others.
    Rin: Shirou. Your way of life is really distorted.
  • Full-Contact Magic: An inversion of this trope as the only way he could initially use his magic is to reinforce his martial-arts abilities, not the other way round as this trope usually would. This is because his misunderstood his dad's teachings on magic and thus causes himself great pain just with simple spells. After finding out how magic works, particularly how HIS magic works, this changes greatly.
  • Future Badass: In the final bonus epilogue of the Realta Nua port (effectively the distant finale to Fate-route), you will learn that Shirou takes the same path that Archer did, minus the regrets and eternal loneliness. As Saber says, he no longer needs her to be his sword and shield, he is more than capable of taking care of himself now.
  • Future Me Scares Me: He is not happy with how Archer openly spits on the ideals he holds above everything.
  • Generation Xerox: Shirou's primary motivation for being a hero of justice is to honor his adoptive father's own dream, and the "Mind of Steel" Bad End sees Shirou go down the exact same route as his foster father and willingly damn himself for his ideals. Kotomine, who knew his father, even points this out.
  • Good Feels Good: Not necessarily a good thing, because he only feels happy when he is helping others, and can't find any satisfaction in anything else.
  • Groin Attack: When using Nine Lives Blade Works against Berserker, Shirou's points of attack are Berserker's upper arm, collarbone, windpipe, temple, diaphragm, ribs, thighs... and testicles. That last one certainly counted as two lives, ouch.
  • Happily Adopted: He was taken in and raised by Kiritsugu until his death.
  • Hate at First Sight: Twice, and for fairly similar reasons both times. Namely that he sees too much of himself in the other person.
    • He and Archer are instantly in opposition because Shirou recognizes that Archer embodies his ideals as a hero of justice, but absolutely despises his methods. Archer, in turn, views Shirou as a naive fool whose insistence on fair play, honor and trying to help everyone will just get even more people killed and will lead him to being crushed by his ideals like Archer himself, who is Shirou's future self.
    • He's also instantly hostile to Kotomine Kirei, though in this case Shirou doesn't really try to think about it too much and just calls him a fake priest. In truth, he doesn't really dislike Kotomine, but feels he must oppose him because like Archer he is someone that is just different enough to merit his instant hostilities. He actually likes Kotomine since they're so similar.
  • Healing Factor: Shirou being Shirou, he wouldn't survive without it. It's caused by Avalon, Excalibur's holy scabbard, and had been implanted into his body by Kiritsugu when Shirou was dying from the 4th Grail War's aftereffects. He can't use it fully without his connection to Saber, so before the story it was barely noticeable, he was just a little more resistant. Notably, all three paths see him lose it. The exception being the UBW anime where Archer notes that Avalon isn't just a summoned noble phantasm that came with Saber but the actual, genuine article. It causes Avalon to remain active simply because it's in Saber and Excalibur's presence.
  • The Hero: The overall protagonist of the VN and unambiguously heroic.
  • The Hero Dies: The Normal End of Heaven's Feel features Shirou destroying the Grail and dying due to using Archer's arm too many times.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Hell, even his affinity (and Origin) is "Sword".
  • Heroic BSoD: At a certain point in Heaven's Feel, after finding out that not only is Sakura in lethal danger but may also be a serious threat to everyone around her, Shirou nearly gives up on everything, simply too emotionally crushed to go on and on the verge of crying. Illya gives him new hope and cheers him on, giving him the will to not give in and try to save her, though in the "Mind of Steel" bad ending, he actually rejects her words and decides to let Sakura die for the greater good.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • There are a few bad ends where Shirou pulls one of these, but since they're bad ends that means they weren't necessary.
    • In the Normal End of Heaven's Feel Shirou burns himself out completely to save Sakura, who spends the rest of her life waiting for him.
  • Heroic Spirit: Shirou pretty much lives and breathes this concept, especially in "Fate" where the levels in badass he takes still aren't enough to close the gap between his Servant foes. No matter how badly he's outmatched, he'll steel himself and push through with everything he has even as his body and soul threaten to give out on him.
  • Heroic Willpower: In Fate, he's actually able to resist being hit by Angra Mainyu's corrupted mud and subsequent curses through sheer mental will before escaping, though it's noted that without Avalon he would have stood little chance of repeating the experience.
  • Hidden Depths: Shirou frequently shows he's much more knowledgeable than he looks with his knowledge of heroes summoned in the Grail War.
  • Honor Before Reason: For better or worse.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Justified because of his incredible Healing Factor, but his beating at the hands of Rider in Heaven's Feel, where his Healing Factor no longer works, is a prime example of Shirou's incredible willpower.
    • Taken Up to Eleven later in the same route where his body and mind are breaking from overusing his magic, yet even though he's practically a walking vegetable the only thing that actually kills him, bad endings notwithstanding, is the destruction of the Holy Grail... And he can even survive THAT with a little help from Illya.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, his fight against Archer is this. It's an uphill battle from the start as Archer being a future Shirou is so much stronger than him that even at 1/10 of his strength, Shirou can't land a hit. Near the end of the battle, Archer makes it clear that Shirou is just a dead man walking but he just keeps on getting up.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Unlimited Blade Works, unique in that it not only stores weapons, but weapon techniques for Shirou to use. Also allows him to change the battlefield to a hill of swords ready for all of his weapons to be used immediately.
  • Hypocrite: Really shown in the Fate and UBW routes in regards to his ideals. He objects to Saber putting herself in any danger but he'll happily jump into danger even though she's much stronger and thus able to protect herself better than he can. Archer really rips into him for this during their fight when he reveals that their desire to be a hero wasn't out of gratitude or even guilt at first. They simply saw how happy Kiritsugu was he saved them and wanted to be like him so they could be happy too. Revealing they simply desire to be a hero because that's the only way they can be happy.

    I - R 
  • Image Song: "Kogane no Hikari".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: With a twist towards the end of Heaven's Feel Shirou gets skewered from the inside out by swords slowly growing out of his body.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: As a former member of archery club, he is said to miss his target only once- when he wanted to do so.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Fake School Janitor", "In charge of mending", "Vacuum Cleaner of the Archery Club" and "Homurahara's Brownie" among others, due to his self-sacrificial nature, which includes voluntarily doing cleaning work and fixing the school's electrical appliances.
  • Invocation:
    • "Trace... ON!" - Spoken when using his reinforcement and projection magic.
    • Unlimited Blade Works: I am the bone of my sword. Steel is my body, and fire is my blood. I have created over a thousand blades. Unaware of loss, nor aware of gain. Withstood pain to create many weapons, waiting for one's arrival. I have no regrets. This is the only path. My whole life was Unlimited Blade Works.
    • Heaven's Feel Bad End #38: Divine skill, flawless and firm. Strength moves mountains. Blade cuts water. Life approaches the Imperial Villa. Two great men, shared life!
  • I Will Find You: Shirou's reaction to Saber's disappearance in Fate; in Fate's Distant Finale in Realta Nua, he spends the rest of his life searching for her. They're reunited in Avalon.
  • Keystone Superpower: Emiya Shirou can only use a single projection magecraft properly. But thanks to this, he can copy the Noble Phantasm of every hero he encounters, granting him their skills alongside it.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: His role in the Fate route.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: What he becomes in the Unlimited Blade Works route. Hanging out with your cynical future self will do this to you. Essentially seeing Archer's fate makes him realize how self-contradictory his ideals are and even the hypocritical reasons why he believes in them. But decides even if they are flawed and unrealistic, he still thinks they're beautiful and decides to try to best to follow them to the end.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Gets subject to this in Bad End #16, where he's unable to escape Rin's attack on him at the school. As a result, he loses his memories of the war and goes back to his normal life none the wiser. This is the only ending in the Visual Novel where Shirou can survive the Holy Grail War without seeing it through to the end, and the Tiger Dojo segment even pokes fun at this fact by initially claiming that you've reached the True End of the route.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Sakura. Her love for both Shirou and Rin are a great part of what makes her keep her sanity for so long after unwittingly awakening as a Holy Grail.
    • He was also one to Kiritsugu in the past.
  • Loss of Identity: Goes through it during the last half of Heaven's Feel as a side effect of using Archer's artificially attached arm.
  • Love at First Sight: In Fate, Shirou claims he fell in love with Saber upon first seeing. However, this is an interesting case since he doesn't comes to understand his feelings for her until two weeks later and in the other routes he never does.
  • Made of Iron: Even without his Healing Factor, Shirou is superhumanly tough and repeatedly takes injuries that would kill another man 3 times over.
  • Magikarp Power: The only kind of spellcraft Shirou is consistently skilled at is largely considered to be mostly useless, that is, until it turns out he's got a twist to it that allows him to materialize and use legendary weapons relatively at will.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Has a streak of this over all three routes, from taking one of Rider's nails straight through the hand and then asking Rin, whom he took it for, whether or not she's ok to losing an arm to The Shadow while protecting Illya.
    Shirou: I panicked too much. All I lost was my left arm.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: In Fate.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Has a bit of this dynamic with Saber. Saber spent her entire life playing the role of a man, has excellent swordsmanship skills, and is uncomfortable around her emotions, while Shirou has little combat ability compared to her, is much more emotional and excels at domestic tasks such as cooking.
  • Meaningful Name: Shirou Emiya means, loosely, "Second Son Guards Palace".
  • Mental World: His Reality Marble replaces the outer world with his own mental world.
  • Motive Decay: In-universe. In Heaven's Feel, he ditches his ideal to become a hero of justice since he can't do that and protect the people he loves (i.e. Sakura) at the same time, in contrast to what happens in the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works routes. And just so the narrative can make sure of that, repetitive use of Archer's arm results in his brain getting damaged — at one point, it causes him to forget the night Kiritsugu died and he vowed to him to become a hero.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's pretty ripped for a highschooler, and definitely not sore on the eyes. In case you needed more proof. And then of course, there's his future self as Tall, Dark, and Snarky Archer.
  • Muscle Angst: A one-off example in Unlimited Blade Works where he complains that he's a bit short and scrawny looking at 5'6'' (though his musculature and height are perfectly average for a Japanese high-school student). The Ufotable adaptation gives him chiseled six-pack abs, making this even less believable. The revelation of Shirou's future self as Archer means that he's becoming a 6'2'' muscle hunk somewhere down the line.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Works to his advantage. Shirou ends up siphoning skill and knowledge of fighting from his future self due to the time paradox that brought them together.
  • Nice Guy: Shirou is considerate, thoughtful, industrious, and easily a textbook example of this.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Inflicts on Shinji in Fate.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Shirou is apparently not allowed to do anything awesome without first being reduced to a near-dead cripple. Ever.
  • Not So Different: Shirou spends all of Fate and Unlimited Blade Works hating Kotomine's guts, though he is never able to figure out why. Then during their final confrontation in Heaven's Feel Shirou finally realizes it: he was trying to ignore the fact that the two of them are actually incredibly similar: both felt guilty over the past, and sought to follow paths of atonement knowing they could never actually be satisfied.
    • He says as much to Gilgamesh during Unlimited Blade Works, citing that they're both mediocre warriors who despite trying to embody heroic ideals, wind up having to use underhanded tactics to win against legitimately talented and honorable fighters.
  • Not So Weak: His classmates, Shinji in particular, look at him like he's an idiot for his willingness to do all their work. The Servants and Tohsaka look at him like an idiot for being, well, an idiot. He has no real self identity, dreams or goals of his own and as such really views himself as worthless compared to saving anyone and everyone else that he can.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Shirou seems to be trying not to notice how Sakura feels about him, though a fair measure of genuine obliviousness also appears to be mixed in.
    • In Fate, he's surprisingly slow to catch on to the changes in Saber.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, he doesn't notice the obvious hints of Rin constantly wanting to make him happy, or the lengths she goes to to keep him as an "ally", as opposed to an enemy. She goes full tsundere on him quite a bit throughout the story too, long before he admits his feelings for her.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Shirou instinctively can't get along with Archer, even long before he knows his identity.
  • Parental Abandonment: Twice yet. Once when he was orphaned in the Fuyuki Fire, and a second time when Kiritsugu passed away.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Saber, when she's not a Love Interest.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Played With. When he duplicates weapons, Shirou also duplicates the skill of the weapon's wielder. Like with the weapon itself, it's not as good as the original, but it works. It even allows him to semi-replicate Berserker's offensive Noble Phantasm in Heaven's Feel. It doesn't mean he has the muscle memory for it.
  • Principles Zealot: He can be this in the Heaven's Feel route, should you choose. It's not a good idea.
  • Properly Paranoid: In the Fate route, he, Saber, and Rin discuss leaving Illya in the care of Kirei, which Shirou rejects. At this point in time, Illya has just joined and the trio don't have much reason to trust her and Kirei hasn't done anything undeniably suspicious. In hindsight, Shirou's decision probably saved Illya's life.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In Heaven's Feel, choosing to persist in being a superhero instead of protecting Sakura results in Shirou allowing her to die, and subsequently winning the Holy Grail War at the cost of personally killing many of his former friends and acquaintances. The Bad End has Shirou simply recount his victory in a brief monologue.
  • Raging Stiffie: Morning Wood variety. Shirou has a bad streak of waking up with an erection, particularly when a girl is also in the room. However given the nature of futons, he always manages to hide it.
  • Reality Warper: Shirou was born with the inherent ability to deploy a Reality Marble. Avalon turned it into Unlimited Blade Works. Too bad his circuits are few and bad and he can't use it without help.
  • Real Men Cook: Quite the accomplished chef.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Shirou loves and is quite skilled at cooking, and owns a cute pink apron.

    S - Z 
  • Say My Name:
    • KOTOMINE KIREI!
    • SABEEEER!!!
  • Second Year Protagonist: Shirou is stated to be in his second year, meaning he doesn't have the worries of a first year or a third year. This also means Sakura is younger and can go to the same school while there's another year ahead of Tohsaka Unlimited Blade Works endings.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • Trying hard not to notice anything in regards to how Sakura feels or how he himself is starting to feel about her since he feels it's inappropriate to be attracted to his friend's sister
    • It's implied (and stated by Shirou himself, even) that he knew who Archer was all alongnote , but couldn't possibly accept the idea.
  • Sempai/Kohai: With Sakura.
  • Shoot the Dog:
    • He's forced to kill Saber Alter in Heaven's Feel. Not doing so leads to a catastrophic Bad Ending.
    • And again in one memorable Bad End of the same path, where he lets Rin kill Sakura for the sake of his ideals.
  • Simultaneous Blade Spam: In Heaven's Feel, Shirou analyzes and projects Berserker's axe-sword, copying his skill with the weapon, Super Strength and Super Speed to perform a variation of Heracles' most powerful attack, renaming it "Nine Lives Blade Works". He proceeds to attack the corrupted Berserker with a pummeling series of eight multidirectional strikes, targeting and slashing the mad warrior's upper arm, collarbone, windpipe, temple, diaphragm, ribs, testicles and thighs all at the same time, pretty much destroying 80% of Berserker's body in an instant.
  • Spectral Weapon Copy: The ability Unlimited Blade Works allows Shirou to copy any weapon he sees and instantly understand his structure. It then allows him to project it at next to no mana cost, with the projections eventually disappearing.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Shirou, or Shirō, depending on the source.
  • Spider-Sense: Has a superhuman sense of danger, which repeatedly saves him and others from otherwise certain death. This tranlates into having the Eye of the Mind (True) skill as Archer. Aside from that, he has a small ability of smelling magic.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • During the Fate route, Shirou is worried about Saber getting hurt and constantly tells her that girls shouldn't fight. This is mainly because she was badly injured in her first fight with Berserker and spends the first half of the story recovering from it, but it's also because Saber insists on fighting to protect him specifically, which triggers Shirou's Survivor Guilt.
    • When Ayako is attacked by a molester and nothing serious comes of it, Shirou says that it will teach her to be more feminine and views it as a good thing. When Rin promptly calls him out on it and threatens to tell Ayako, he tries to backtrack and begs her not to.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In Fate. The route is more about Saber than him.
  • Supreme Chef:
    • He, Rin and Sakura have a bit of a competition going on with this and each has their own specialty that they refuse to let the others match them in (specifically, his specialty is Japanese food).
    • Saber quickly gets hooked on his cooking despite the fact Servants don't even need to eat. The player can have Shirou tell her they're skipping lunch on Day 12 of the Fate route, and boy, she doesn't take that one well at all.
    • It's easy to miss, but Shirou is also Famed in Story for his cooking skills. A couple of optional scenes shows that his classmates are very well aware of how good his handmade lunches are, particularly the girls. It gets so bad that he knows from experience that he will end up giving or exchanging half of his food away if he opens his lunchbox in their classroom, so he usually buys cafeteria fare except on the days he can be sure of having lunch in the student council office with Issei.
  • Survivor Guilt: He has a massive case of this, shown during both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, and present but barely and far more subtle in Heaven's Feel. Zig-Zagged a bit later, as Unlimited Blade Works is where he shows this the most, but it's also when it's revealed that it doesn't apply as much as it initially seemed to. While he does feel guilty about being the only survivor, his actual actions are mostly based on trying to find meaning through saving others.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: Reinforcement. Want a weapon? Reinforce anything from a paper poster to a Noble Phantasm, and they'll get stronger. Run fast? Reinforce your legs. Super Strength? Reinforce your muscles or your hands. Sniper Sight? Reinforce your eyes.
    • Later on, his perfected tracing. The sheer number of weapons he has allows him a weapon for literally any situation.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In Heaven's Feel, Shirou realizes that the reason he was always hostile to Kotomine is because he actually likes him. Unlike Kiritsugu, Kotomine and Shirou are in fact very similar people. This doesn't stop Shirou from doing what must be done, but it does show that Shirou feels sort of bad about it.
  • Taking the Bullet: You could make a Drinking Game counting how many times Shirou jumps in front of an attack meant for someone else.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: His moments of asskickery are usually signaled by "Emiya" starting up in the background.
  • They Would Cut You Up: He has to keep his Unlimited Blade Works ability secret because it's an extremely rare ability that appears at random—it cannot be learned or passed down through blood. People with abilities like this get Sealing Designations from the Mage's Association. They call it the "greatest honor" a mage can get, but what it really amounts to is being incarcerated and frozen in time so their ability can be studied.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Lapses into this a couple of times in the anime adaptation of UBW, to showcase how mentally broken and disturbed he actually is on the inside.
  • Together in Death: Reunites with Saber in Avalon in the epilogue to the Realta Nua version of the Fate route.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Less out of idiocy, more out of valuing his life far below that of others. Everybody calls him out on it. Visual Novel-wise, there are 40 main Tiger Dojos and an awful lot of them call him out, especially 11, 24, and 36 which are Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"! Player Punches. Most of these however, come from the player making choices that would go against his character.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Considering how relatively incompetent he is at fighting compared to almost every other major character in the series at the start, Shirou makes amazing progress.
    • In Fate he begins to pick up Projection magic for real, though for the most part he has to rely on Saber.
    • Unlimited Blade Works: Two moments cement this: when using Projection for the first time at a level superior to what he accomplished in Fate as well as learning some decent sword technique and the second when he uses the actual Reality Marble itself against Gilgamesh.
    • Heaven's Feel: He gets Archer's arm attached and gains a mastery of Projection on par with Archer's... but it slowly kills him. At the same time, though, it's turning his body into swords and speeds up the process, but still useful in the middle of hand to hand combat.
  • Tragic Dream: His dream is to realize Kiritsugu's dream and become a superhero who can save everyone. He is continuously confronted with the fruitlessness of his endeavour and the disastrous effect it has on his own happiness, to the point where he chooses to abandon his ideals in Heaven's Feel.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Taiga is threatened, Shirou speaks in a completely flat tone that belies his anger.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia:
    • Shirou lost all his memories prior to the fire ten years before from which Kiritsugu saved him.
    • After stabbing Saber Alter in Heaven's Feel he erases all his memories of Saber over his crushing guilt at killing her.
  • The Unfettered: In the "Mind of Steel" Bad End, Shirou puts down Sakura for the sake of his ideals and has to kill off Rin and Illya as well to keep them from abusing the Grail. He basically becomes like his father.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: His specialized Projection magecraft. It's completely unique to him, stemming from his Reality Marble Unlimited Blade Works, and it plays a large role in the story, varying by the route.
    • In Fate, it allows him to trace Caliburn and Avalon, allowing Saber to defeat Berserker and Gilgamesh respectively.
    • In Unlimited Blade Works, it allows him and Rin to fight after they lose their Servants. Later, it allows him to defeat Gilgamesh.
    • In Heaven's Feel, his Projection gets a Deadly Upgrade from Archer's arm, allowing him to kill Berserker and stall Saber. In the normal ending, he traces a sword uses it to destroy the Holy Grail. In the Sparks Liner High ending, he defeats Saber at the cost of his life, giving Rin a chance to stop Sakura on her own.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Of the kinked type. They're one of the few things he has in common visually with Archer.
  • The Watson: Since he's an amateur mage with very little knowledge about magecraft, it's his role to ask the questions about the rules of the Functional Magic in the Fate universe so that other characters can give an explanation to the audience.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Unusually, Shirou falls under both this trope and Unskilled, but Strong in regard to his magical ability:
    • On one hand, he was born with almost zero talent as a mage. He was born into a family without a Magical Crest (which would make spells much easier to cast) and has received virtually no education whatsoever. Nevertheless, Shirou made up for his lack of knowledge through relentless practice: by the time of the Fifth Grail War, he was sufficiently skilled with reinforcement to allow a rolled up poster to withstand blows from Servants, if only momentarily. His relative lack of proficiency in magecraft is further compensated for by his basic training in archery and swordplay, which is sufficient to allow him to fight off Caster's puppets in the Fate route. And no matter what the route, Shirou ALWAYS has Awesomeness by Analysis and (depending on the player) excellent split-second tactical decision making.
    • On the other hand, Shirou possesses his own Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works, which very few magic users have access to. Essentially a Pocket Dimension which is capable of storing and reproducing any bladed weapon that Shirou analyzes in exact detail, it can be expanded into normal space for a short while, though doing so requires an enormous amount of power (more than he can normally access) because it essentially amounts to imposing the reality represented by the marble into the world. However, this ability is what enables Shirou to create successful projections of Noble Phantasms without expending too much energy, as he is actually projecting a copy of the weapon existing within his Reality Marble.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: One of his defining traits. Eventually, heavily Deconstructed in both the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes. Only gets Reconstructed in UBW.
  • With This Herring: Before he really unlocks projection, this happens often. His first real fight is him against Lancer, who is wielding the legendary Gae Bolg. Shirou is using a reinforced poster. It manages to survive several hits.
  • You Killed My Father: In Fate, Shirou finds out that Kotomine killed Kiritsugu, and his original parents by causing the fire. He doesn't take that well. He finds out the former in Heaven's Feel as well, but at that point it makes no difference to him.
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