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Tear Jerker / Fate/Zero

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Fate/Zero. As the prequel to Fate/stay night we automatically know that this series would not end well. Here are some of the occasions where this plays out during and after the war. Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.

  • The opening scene of the anime gives a sad, foreboding look at what’s to come. Kiritsugu is informed that Illya has been born. What should be the happiest day of his life is marred with sorrow because he doesn’t believe he deserves to hold his own child. We see he has command seals eight years before the Fourth Holy Grail War begins, indicating just how desperate he is, placing his every hope on this miracle to bring about world peace. Irisviel even says "This is what your whole life has been about." If you’ve read Fate/stay night, you already know the Holy Grail is corrupted, and everything Kiritsugu is going to suffer and all the crimes he will commit will be in vain.
    • We actually meet Irisviel, Kiritsugu’s wife and Illya’s mother, and in this opening scene, we learn she too is going to die. Kiritsugu himself admits as much, and is clearly suffering because of it.
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    • We see Illya as an innocent little baby, and next episode we see their last interaction with Kiritsugu. To see such a sweet, loving relationship between father and daughter, about to be torn apart by the Grail War is truly heart wrenching.
    • This one scene acts as a microcosm of the entirety of Fate/Zero: Most of the characters fight for a chance at something they could never otherwise achieve, placing all their hopes on a miracle, and in the end most of them die either during the war or a few years later, and their wishes would never have come true anyway.
  • Numerous occasions. Lancer's shock and grief at being betrayed, Berserker's final moments with Saber, Saber herself—there are too many to count.
    • Lancer's betrayal deserves a special mention here. In the previous episode, he'd just proven himself to be probably the most heroic Servant thus far, willingly giving up one of his Noble Phantasms and strengthening a future opponent to stop a kaiju from killing thousands of people who will never know his name. Then in this one, he is finally continuing his most desired fight with an honourable and superiour opponent (on even ground too boot), which was his only real desire in this war. And then Kayneth activates his command spell. What follows is the tragic screaming of a knight who just wanted an honorable battle, and probably the best summation of the Grail War—nothing less than hell on Earth.
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    • Kariya Matou's farewell to Sakura after having just been infested by Zouken's insects in an effort to prevent Sakura from having to take part in the Fifth War.
    "It seems I've already lost [a bit] to the bugs inside me. I guess I'm not as strong as you..."
    • Being The Stoic, distant, cruelly practical Mage that he is, you wouldn't think Kiritsugu would be able to inspire this with one sentence. However, his realization that "Ilya weighs less than that Walther [rifle]" and his reaction to this simply convey despair and depression and hopelessness far better than anything else ever could.
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    • Rider and Waver finding Caster's hideout. While not as gorey as the manga, Waver and Rider are treated firsthand to the depravity of Caster and his master, complete with a few quick shots of dead children and a pile of mutilated corpses. Rider sets fire to the place and as they leave, Waver watches as one child's shoe burns in the flames.
    • Rider's incredibly blunt and harsh speech to Saber in Episode 11, as he systematically tries to break down her ideals, ending with calling her a little girl. Saber's shaken reaction and her flashbacks to the battlefield, where we see her broken and severely wounded, is definitely a tearjerker.
      • Then The Reveal of Berserker's true identity takes place, and plunges Saber into a serious Heroic BSoD. Seeing/reading about her breaking down even as Berserker delivered a vicious No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is enough to break you down.
    • On the same topic, Saber after Kiritsugu forces her to destroy the Grail. She returns to the hill of her scene of death, even more emotionally broken and undergoing a severe Heroic BSoD at the thought of what the rest of her men experienced. She concludes that the fall of her country was all because of her, because she was chosen as the king, and starts crying and and crying and apologizing, over and over again, after deciding that the only way she can repent is to use the grail to erase all her mistakes. All the while, Lancelot speaks of how great of a king he and the other knights felt she was via an internal monologue as he dies. And the line that closes this scene is heartwrenching.
    Saber: I shouldn't have become king.
  • Kayneth willingly gives up in the Holy Grail War in order to save Sola-Ui, throwing away his pride and choosing to protect the woman he loves instead. Then they both die.
    • Hell, a lot of what happens to Kayneth in the later episodes count. He might be an extremely unpleasant Smug Snake, but it's not hard to feel bad for him. He loses the use of his magic circuits, and is told that he'll never be able to perform magic again, his wife basically betrays him because of Lancer's curse and forces him to give her the Command Seals by breaking his fingers and threatening to cut off his arm, without even caring. She's then kidnapped, and Kiritsugu shows up, gun to her head, and forces him to sign a contract so that he drops out of the war, gives up his ambition, and makes Lancer commit suicide in exchange for his wife's life and his not harming either of them ever again. And then he does one of the most cruel Kick the Dog moments in the series, having Maiya kill them unnecessarily after he signed the contract.
    • Just the look on his face as he watches Diarmud writhe in agony is really upsetting. He's far past the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Kiritsugu having to kill his mentor and adoptive mother to prevent a zombie outbreak in his backstory.
    • As the plane begins its approach to the landing site, Natalya breaks from her usually cold behavior to talk about what she saw in Kiritsugu, implying that she knows that he's going to shoot him down. Their entire conversation is basically their way of saying goodbye to each other, even if they're unable to say it out loud.
    • What makes this worse, is his reaction. All series long, you've seen this badass guy, who doesn't give a fuck because the end justifies the means. He shot his own father down as a child because he felt that he would continue research on Dead Apostles, and didn't bat an eye. He practically grew up killing people. Then as he shoots down the plane carrying said adoptive mother he completely breaks, falls to his knees, and cries his eyes out. Hearing a grown man, as badass as him, cry like a baby isn't something one can sit through very easily.
    • After the deed is done, Kiritsugu tries telling himself that it was necessary, as if to convince himself...and utterly fails, as he breaks down seconds later.
    • Depending on your timezone, the episode in question aired on Mother's Day for extra despair.
    • Remember Tokiomi's list that detailed everything Kiritsugu did to kill his targets? Do you remember that taking down an entire plane was on the list?
  • Right after Berserker kidnaps Irisviel, Kiritsugu rushes back only to find Maiya bleeding to death. She tells him not to cry over her, but to save those tears for Iri, and to not lose his resolve. He can only tell her that her work is finally done as she goes out with a smile, as Kiritsugu forces back a sob. Once again, Kiritsugu is forced to lose someone close to him in his quest to change the world.
  • Kariya's confrontation with Aoi in the church, in which Kariya is framed by Gilgamesh and Kirei as the killer of Tokiomi. Aoi sees him in this situation, assumes him to have killed her husband, and has a mental breakdown, lashing out at Kariya, no holds barred. Kariya, instead of trying to make amends, ends up tearfully strangling her while chanting a Madness Mantra, which in turn leads to Aoi's permanent disability and Kariya's mental state degrading even further than it already was, as he limps out of the church screaming in despair. Definitely not helped by seeing Gilgamesh and Kirei observing their handiwork from the gallery while casually drinking wine, though this probably classifies more as an anger-inducing moment than a tearjerker. The brilliant voicework from the voice actors of Kariya and Aoi adds immensely to this experience, which is especially impressive considering they were both voiced by fairly inexperienced actors (for the time, at least for Kariya) in Japanese.
  • The moments before and after the final battle between Archer and Rider, particularly:
    • Rider asking Waver Velvet to be his "retainer," with Waver professing his undying loyalty to Broskander.
    Waver: (Tearing up, his voice breaking even with a smile) king, sire. I will serve you, with devotion. Do me the honor of leading me. (Sobbing) Let me dream, what you dream!
    • The tense confrontation between Waver and Archer, where Waver stands up to Archer, proclaims his duty to Iskander to live, and earns Archer's respect before being left alone to break down and mourn over his fallen friend with Manly Tears. Doubles as awesome.
    • The worst part? This episode aired close to the day the real Alexander The Great died.note 
  • One of the last scenes in the fourth novel, Kiritsugu having his methods in saving people deconstructed by Angra Mainyu, which not only reveals how exactly the Grail is planning to grant his wish; it forces Kiritsugu to experience (and in some cases, re-experience) killing everyone he ever loved and cared about. The kicker, though, is when the Grail reveals what Kiritsugu's true, hidden desire is- to live a happy life with Irisviel and Ilya, a wish that he sacrificed to save the world... and then Kiritsugu proceeds to reject the Grail, which involves shooting the hallucination of Ilya in the head and strangling what's more or less an Avenger-possessed Irisviel, and "she" "dies" cursing him. His last words to her before she dies? "I will save the world". His last words to Ilya? "Daddy loves Ilya too...I swear, no matter what happens, that's true..."
    • Just look at his face as he strangles Irisviel. He begins shedding Manly Tears as he declares that he "will save the world," which suggests that he probably doesn't even believe in what he's saying anymore.
    • And the episode which adapted that scene aired on Father's Day. Another irony!
    • When Kiritsugu shoots the hallucination of Illya between the eyes and she falls over "dead," the Avenger-possessed Irisviel lets out a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking shriek of abject horror and sadness that just tears at you when you hear it. Illusion or not, the screams of a mother who has just watched her child die are nothing if not soul-crushing. Bridget Hoffman's delivery of the scene is incredibly powerful, and leaves you feeling just...just awful.
  • The 2nd OP song "to the beginning", by Kalafina. To those whose Japanese is not fluent, just read the translated lyrics & you'll know it makes DAMN well sure to remind you that the story will not end well, as much as we want it to...
  • In the penultimate episode of the anime, Kariya finally gives out from the strain of the worms and he just sort of...falls over. Alone in a dark basement, and no one really cares. It is even worse that he appears to be smiling makes it even worse. He dies dreaming of starting a new life which never comes while in reality that Sakura - the person he fought so hard to save and the only witness of his death - calls him a fool for all the did.
  • Saber realizing that Berserker is Sir Lancelot. Seeing his armor turns her unease into horror and seeing Arondight materialize makes it impossible for her to deny. Finally seeing his face breaks her spirit. And as she tries to comprehend how it could possibly happen Iskandar's words come back to haunt her. Left almost completely broken she lets Berserker brutalize her, only defending herself from fatal blows. Knowing she would develop the issues that she has in Fate/Stay Night is one thing. It's another thing entirely to see the exact moment those doubts are born.
  • Berserker better known as Lancelot, regains his sanity for a brief time after his defeat to express how sorry he was for contributing to the fall of Camelot and how much he admired Artoria. At the same time, she's sobbing for having to kill her best friend and for her failure to save him and all of Camelot.
    Lancelot: I was never able to stop myself from loving Guinevere, so I was never able to forgive myself. However, King Arthur, you never questioned me for my crimes. You never sought recompense. You simply continued to stand before us in your righteousness. But I desired judgment at your hands. Had your anger judged me, I might not have fallen onto the path of madness in my search for atonement, but I can say this much with certainty. King Arthur, you are certainly the greatest among kings. All who followed you thought such.
    • While this is only in backstory and materials, Lancelot's sad fate also shows how horrible Guinevere's life turned out. Let's see: She was just a normal girl, but due to Saber having to be the perfect King, she needed a 'wife' and Guinevere, in this verse actually just one of Artoria's good friend, had to play along with the role of The High Queen out of necessity, not love, discarding any notions that she could be ever any "woman" or "human." Only Lancelot seemed to understand her plight, and yet this tore at Guinevere because loving Lancelot back was also a betrayal to her commitment with Artoria. This continued to torture her that she cried every single day, and just like Lancelot, Artoria couldn't blame her, recognizing her greater burden. Others were not so understanding: Once their affair was found out (by Agravain), Guinevere was locked up and set for execution, setting Lancelot to the path of betrayal just to protect her. While Guinevere was saved, her reputation was forever destroyed, everyone preferred to call her insulting names like "unchaste wife" and "traitorous queen," and it went on so long that she couldn't stop crying and her beautiful face became more and more ragged in each day. Even Lancelot felt absolutely guilty that the result of their love was just making her cry forever.
  • Kiritsugu going through the wreckage of the city desperately trying to find someone - anyone! - that's alive. When Kotomine sees him, he has a broken expression on his face.
  • Kotomine Kirei begging Kiritsugu to let Angra Mainyu be born. It comes off as Kotomine's last attempt to reconcile the path he's tried to follow with his own nature, before he embraces it wholeheartedly.
    • Not quite a Tearjerker, but Kirei's brief-but-unmistakable reaction when Kiritsugu looks right through him. For someone who rarely responds to anything besides physical pain and schadenfreude, it's telling that he doesn't derive any joy from seeing Emiya Kiritsugu broken.
  • After suffering severe anguish and now plagued by self-doubt after her battle with Lancelot, the one thing Saber has going for her, the Holy Grail, is right in front of her face, with Gilgamesh being the only thing standing between her and it. Kiritsugu has just arrived and is brandishing his command spells and she's expecting a power-up to battle Gilgamesh...only to be ordered to use Excalibur to destroy the Grail. The look of horror and powerlessness on her face as Excalibur ignites against her will and fights her own arms raising it above her head is heart-wrenching. When Kiritsugu reinforces the command with another command spell all she can do is scream for him to stop...and wail in despair when he doesn't. It's just heart-wrenching.
    Kiritsugu: By my third command spell, I order you again...
    Saber: Why, Kiritsugu!? You, of all people...! Why!?
    Kiritsugu: Saber. Destroy...
    Saber: STOOOOOOP!!!
    Kiritsugu: ...the grail.
  • Aoi during the epilogue, believing that Tokiomi's still alive and Sakura's still a part of the family.
  • Tokiomi, after a heartfelt farewell in which he entrusted Kirei with, essentially, the Tohsaka's future, is murdered by Kirei, who's conspiring with Gilgamesh, and results in his wife suffering brain-damage. The anime precedes it with a Pet the Dog moment with Aoi and Rin, while the light novel has Tokiomi say:
    Tokiomi: To me, you are the best reward, Kotomine Kirei. With this, I can set forth for the final battle with no regrets.
    The Azoth dagger, which had been a proof of love and trust, slipped between two ribs to pierce Tokiomi’s heart.
  • The final conversations in the series, between Emiya Kiritsugu and Emiya Shirou, and the full conversation between Shirley and Kiritsugu from Kerry's childhood.
  • Believe it or not, the end of the Einzbern Consultation Room. It had been just Tiger Dojo-like sketches, with Irisviel as the instructor and an amnesiac Taiga as Student Number 0...and then it's revealed they're in the Grail, Taiga is dead, Irisviel was actually corrupted by the Grail all along and is lamenting Kiritsugu having betrayed her by rejecting the Grail's solution, the whole goal of the thing was to get the dead Servants to be consumed, in Lancer and Berserker's death after driving them back to hopelessness, and when Taiga brings back Irisviel's true personality and hope and finds a way to return to life...Iri lets her go with the sign of the "Einzbern Dojo" as a gift, as only Taiga could actually return to life.