Shirō is a good-hearted and honest teenager, who always enjoys helping others. He is in his second year of high school, and his hobbies include fixing a variety of broken things, from VCRs to stoves, as well as cooking and cleaning. Behind this, however, Shirō is a deeply scarred human being who was orphaned after a fire destroyed part of his hometown when he was only seven. His entire family died in front of him and Shirō lost his sense of self-worth as well as all memory of his life before the fire, including his real name, due to the trauma he suffered. His survivor's guilt is so severe that Ayako has stated that she has never seen Shirō smile, as he believes that he does not deserve to. He was saved by Kiritsugu Emiya, who adopted him and named him Shirō. He has no interest in the Holy Grail, and instead despises its use. However, he is determined to win the Holy Grail War with Saber, for he hopes his efforts will ensure that another disaster like the Fuyuki fire will never occur again. He is raised by his adoptive father, Kiritsugu Emiya, who imparted on him basic sorcery, and the ideal of protecting the innocent, as well as a willingness to kill in combat with other magi. He believes that it is possible to save everyone without harming any innocents and focuses on defeating Servants rather than Masters, believing they will be harmless once their means of causing chaos are gone. He often takes this ideal to the extreme, going as far to shield his own servant from danger or help a person who had earlier tried to kill him. The main plot of Fate/stay night focuses around his ideal and the three different ways in which he approaches it.
Shirō is unskilled in most traditional forms of sorcery, and thus focuses on two basic spells; Tracing, the power to analyze the structural composition of objects, and Reinforcement, the power to increase their structural integrity, such as the sharpness of a sword and durability of a shield. Even so, he is unskilled in using Reinforcement, and can only use Tracing competently, and his various applications of them are limited. Later on, he discovers that his true primary ability is Projection, which allows him to recreate objects from memory. The clearer the image in the user's mind, the better the final result. It is also later revealed that the reason for his sub-par performance is the fact that he is not actually using his inborn Magic Circuits, but is rather making Circuits from his nerves, a ritual Kiritsugu had taught him; once his circuits are finally opened, Shirō experiences a great boost in power and performance. Shirō finds himself to be particularly adept at Projection, able to Trace the history and special properties of the items, though they are of slightly lesser quality (they are downgraded one rank from the original) due to the Earth trying to destroy them. This spell gives Shirō the unique distinction as one of the small handful of modern humans capable of matching and even defeating Servants in direct combat. At the culmination of his abilities is his Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works, which is the source of his unusual projection magic. In order to activate it, Shirō must recite a ten-line incantation that represents his entire life and worldview. It is his inner world that is a self-contained alternate reality, within which exists all of the materials Shirō needs to recreate any bladed weapon, and manifests itself as a barren wasteland covered in all the swords Shirō has ever seen or known of with a beautiful dawn on the horizon to represent his unbreakeable hope. The fact that he has a Reality Marble makes Shirō a one-of-a-kind human, as only non-human creatures such as demons or vampires usually possess them due to their non-human perception of the world. He loses this spell permanently in Heaven's Feel due to him becoming "human" again and his perception of the world normalizing, though it is noted that he is attempting to find a way to regain it after the war. For Shirō, projection is not truly creation, but transporting the desired sword from his inner world to the outer, explaining his unusual proficiency with it. Shirō is able to control all of the swords in Unlimited Blade Works using only his mind, using them to attack his opponent without having to physically touch them and can even create his own weapons with enough concentration. His swords also suffer no degradation of strength when his Reality Marble is deployed, as his world overwrites the Earth and its laws. Backing Shirō up is his and Saber's Noble Phantasm: Avalon: The Everdistant Utopia which renders the user safe in the realm of the fairies and keeps them from dying or aging through constant regeneration. This Noble Phantasm was used by Kiritsugu to save Shirō's life and mostly lay dormant, passively healing any wound he received for the next ten years. His accidental summoning of Saber through it caused it to awaken and eventually was used by himself and Saber during their final battle with Kotomine and Gilgamesh in the Fate route.
In the Fate route, the manga, the first anime, and possibly the second anime, he develops feelings for Saber and falls in love with her the moment he sees her; he rarely allows her to fight unless necessary and is set on convincing her that her life meant something. Shirō is unable to comprehend that he is in love with her at first, as he believes he is unworthy of loving or being loved. He is also confused by the fact that her presence is making him think selfishly for the first time in his life. Shirō accepts in this route that there will be evil people that he must kill to protect others. He eventually defeats Kirei Kotomine by stabbing him with the Azoth Sword, a gift Kirei gave to Rin years ago and does the impossible by resisting Angra Mainyu's corruption, something no Servant besides Gilgamesh had ever accomplished. He then orders Saber to destroy the Holy Grail, causing her to fade away after she professes her love. The Shirō in this route embraces his ideals to the very end. In the Realta Nua version, an epilogue to Fate can be unlocked by getting every ending. Saber goes to Avalon after her death and waits several centuries to see Shirou again. Shirō, rendered immortal by Avalon, endures many hardships in his life and never stops believing that he will find Saber and spends the next fifteen-hundred years protecting the innocent and championing justice however he could. After he finally dies, Shirō and Saber are joyously reunited in Avalon after Shirō defies his very nature as a human to escape the cycle of reincarnation and become the last hero. The visual novel then ends with a zoomed out image of the two embracing and Saber tearfully welcomes Shirō "back".
In the Unlimited Blade Works route, the first movie, and the second anime, he falls in love with Rin Tōsaka and, in the Good End, Saber as well. He slowly gains the skills and techniques of Archer, and the reason for this is revealed to be Archer being Shirō from a potential future timeline. Archer comes into direct conflict with Shirō as he believes Shirō's ideals are a sham. Because he is a future version of Shirō, he seeks to kill him to cause a contradiction and hopefully end his own existence as a Counter Guardian. Shirō then goes on to defeat Archer and Gilgamesh in single combat after mastering the use of Unlimited Blade Works. In the True End, he joins Rin as her assistant to study in the Mage's Association in London and is apparently working part time as a butler at the home of Rin's rival: Luviagelita Edelfelt. In the Good End, he lives peacefully with Rin and Saber in a Ménage à trois, the latter being sustained as one of Rin's familiars, the other being Shirō himself. The Shirō in this route accepts that his ideals are borrowed, but continues to believe in them.
In the Heaven's Feel route, and second movie series, he falls in love with Sakura Matō. He later loses his left arm and Archer's left arm is grafted in its place. He slowly begins to lose his memories and mind due to Archer's arm invading his body. He later helps Rider defeat Saber Alter, cleanses Sakura using a traced version of Rule Breaker, and then engages Kirei Kotomine in a climactic fistfight at the underground site of the Great Holy Grail and comes out as the survivor, as Kirei's body gave out just as he was about to deal the final blow. In the Normal End, he loses his mind and, robotically acting upon his deeply ingrained desire to save others without regard for himself, traces Excalibur from his final remaining memory (that of Saber) and with it destroys the Great Holy Grail and kills Angra Mainyu, ending the Holy Grail Wars for good, he is then mentioned as appearing in the "afterlife" to reunite with the recently deceased Sakura. In the True End, the Great Holy Grail is closed by Ilya, precluding his tracing Excalibur. llya then uses her remaining powers to restore Shirō's soul and encase it in the form of a flower, which is retrieved at a later point in time by Rider. He then lives on peacefully with Sakura and Rider while inhabiting an artificial body made from Illya's remains and the three, along with Rin, go to watch cherry blossoms. The Shirō in this route completely abandons his ideals, choosing to save Sakura over saving innocents (though the extent to which he has forgone them has been debated).
Saber is Shirō's Servant for the Fifth Holy Grail War. Loyal, independent, and reserved, Saber acts coldly but is actually suppressing her emotions to focus on her goals. Her class is considered the "Most Outstanding", with excellent ratings in all categories. Since her Master cannot effectively provide her with Mana, she minimizes her activity to preserve her energy. Saber is frustrated by Shirō's "protective" tendencies, believing his erratic and reckless behavior will jeopardize her chances of winning the Holy Grail War. Her true name is King Arthur(アーサー王,Āsā Ō?), a former ruler of Britain, or rather Artoria (アルトリア,Arutoria?), who gives up her humanity for the sake of her country. Before her last breath, she appeals to the world; in exchange for services as a Heroic Spirit, she asks to be given an opportunity to relive her life, where someone more suitable and effective would lead Britain in her stead.
She has the ability to cancel any magic below A-rank, instinct that comes close to precognition, and high charisma, which she can use to command an army. She can use "Mana Burst", which transfers magical energy into her weapon and body, though the weapon must have strong divine protection to withstand the ability. She uses the Noble Phantasms Excalibur: Sword of Promised Victory(約束された勝利の剣（エクスカリバー）,Ekusukaribā?), a celestial sword constructed by the world from the collective wishes of mankind and fueled through a conversion of Mana into photoelectric energy, and Invisible Air: Barrier of the Wind King(風王結界（インビジブル・エア）,Inbijiburu Ea?), which compresses and gyrates the air around Saber's blade, allowing her to induce an illusion of ethereality, making it hard for opponents to judge her strikes, and release the air in the form of an intense gust. The scabbard of Excalibur, Avalon: The Everdistant Utopia(全て遠き理想郷（アヴァロン）,Avaron?), bequeaths limited immortality through regenerative stimulation, as well as preventing physical deterioration due to aging, however, Saber lost Avalon after the Fourth Grail War, and, in the Fate route, discoverd that it now lies within Shirō. She also has a fourth Noble Phantasm, Caliburn: Golden Sword of Assured Victory(勝利すべき黄金の剣（カリバーン）,Karibān?), that had broken during her lifetime after she lied for the first time, but was Traced by Shirō during the Fate route, manga and anime.
In the Heaven's Feel route of the visual novel, she was corrupted by the darkness of Angra Mainyu into Saber Alter, becoming one of Sakura's Servants. This Saber still, in a twisted way, cares for Shirō and becomes his enemy to make sure he doesn't regret the things he will have to do and because she knows that she can trust him to end her torment. She then battles and is subsequently defeated by Rider before being stabbed by Shirō, who thanks her for "saving" him before locking away all memory of her in his subconscious to escape the crushing guilt of killing her. In the bad ending 'Sparks Liner High', however, Saber Alter is defeated by Shirō in one-on-one combat, but Shirō's mind overloads before he can deal a fatal blow; despite this, Saber Alter decides the War is now pointless and, without Shirō (the "one who blessed [her]"), she has lost what little will to live she had left and is content to lie next to him and wait for the end of the world. Saber Alter has all of the capabilities of Saber, but slightly altered, and in some cases greatly enhanced. Her charisma, agility, instinct and magic resistance are all lowered, but in exchange, her straightforward attack power among all Servants is now the strongest. This loss in stats leads to her defeat, as she ended up being too slow and rigid to catch the far more agile Rider and Shirō in her respective battles with them.
Rin Tōsaka(遠坂 凛,Tōsaka Rin?, Rin Tohsaka in anime)
Rin is a model student and idol of Shirō's school. She barely talks to other students in her school and exhibits a desire to be left alone, as exemplified by her tendency to stay on the school's rooftop, away from the rest of the students. She is also secretly a Magus, and a Master in the Fifth Holy Grail War. In the beginning of the anime, she summons Archer for her Servant, although she originally wanted to summon Saber. Rin is reared as the successor to her family's magecraft, instructed by her father, Tokiomi Tōsaka, to prioritize sorcery over her own interests. When she was young, Rin was separated from her sister Sakura, who was given to the Matō for adoption. After her father is killed in the Fourth Holy Grail War, Rin continues to perfect her sorcery with some guidance from her guardian, Kirei Kotomine. Several years later, she and Sakura observed a young Shirō attempting to jump over a high bar for a fitness test, and secretly fell in love with him due to his dogged perseverance. She strives to earn the admiration of her peers to avoid drawing attention to her private life, even though she is secretly stingy, tomboyish, and a slacker. She is perceptive, resourceful and avidly competitive.
In the Fate route as well as the first anime adaptation, after the encounter with Berserker, Rin suggests a temporary truce with Shirō to deal with the servant and her master. Over the course of this, she becomes a close friend of Shirō and occasionally worries about him. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, Shirō falls in love with her. In the True end, they travel to England to study magecraft at the Clocktower after Saber destroys the Holy Grail. In the Good end, she turns Shirō and Saber into her familiars and supplies them with Prana in return for monopolizing them sexually. In the Heaven's Feel route, her relationship with her sister, Sakura is expanded upon. She battles Sakura but later allows herself to be struck while she apologizes, hugging Sakura and expressing her true sisterly love. In the True End of the route, she travels to England to stand trial at a kangaroo court for her actions in the Holy Grail War, and later comes back to visit Shirō, Sakura, and Rider after she becomes the apprentice of the Wizard Marshall Zelretch, who saved her from prosecution at the last second.
Rin specializes in the transformation of energy, which includes storage of Mana in objects. She stores all of her mana in jewels that she regularly charges to bypass her body's natural limitations on releasing energy. She can detonate her jewels on contact with an object, resulting in a release of energy equivalent to an attack rank of "A". Her most common offensive spell is Gandr, which fires concentrated mana in the form of a black orb from her finger. On contact, the spell amplifies physical conditions -- a person who is already sick, for example, becomes far sicker upon being hit, but she can imbue it with such power that it instantly knocks weaker beings out on contact. Rin is also proficient with reinforcement sorcery, which she uses on her legs to give herself more speed or strengthen her fists so as to better implement her karate. She is known to be somewhat of a prodigy in magecraft - while most magi are proficient at one, sometimes two elements, Rin possesses the very rare trait of being equally skilled in all five and is thus known as an Average One.
Archer is the partially amnesiac Servant of Rin Tōsaka. He is sarcastic and cynical, considering Shirō's mentality of "wanting to save everyone" as naïve and impossible. Archer is actually Shirō Emiya from one of the possible future worlds. He is ultimately the winner of the fifth Holy Grail War in his world and became the living incarnation of "Justice", feared by all due to his unhealthy loyalty to truth and justice which led to him killing any and all "evil" people regardless of their circumstances, even his own best friend. He was framed for starting a war by an unknown group and executed by the fearful public, an act for which he did not blame them, leaving the people confused and terrified of him even in death. Unlike the other Servants, Archer is a Counter Guardian, a being that exists outside time and space with the purpose of stopping any event that would cause the extinction of humanity by killing all people present at the site in question. This life of endless killing drove Archer mad with grief, and he sought to end his eternal existence and return to nothing. He is linked to the jewel used to save Shirō's life, which allows him to be summoned.
Archer, despite his title, is a magus before he is an archer. He has taken the basics of magecraft to their absolute maximum to make them combat ready, creating for himself a small but reliable skillset. Though Projection is normally ineffective at creating durable or powerful artifacts, Archer’s unique approach to this craft enables him to materialize enormously powerful and accurate copies of the images recorded in his mind. He is capable of instantly recording all information and properties of weapon, and he can read into the history of the weapon to use any skills associated with it, though the rank of the weapon is lowered by one. In addition, through the use of Alteration, he can modify a weapon to give it special properties, such as crafting Broken Phantasms, Noble Phantasms overloaded with magical energy that exponentially increases its attack power at the cost of destruction after use. All of his Projection abilities come from his Reality Marble, Unlimited Blade Works: Infinite Creation of Swords(無限の剣製（アンリミテッドブレードワークス）,Anrimidetto Bureido Wākusu?), which works similarly to Shirō's, but manifests itself instead as a desert littered with swords with monolithic black gears rotating in the sky above.
He is also skilled in the basis of both Alteration and Tracing: Reinforcement; the art of temporarily strengthening the construction of objects through the understanding of their nature and perfection of defects in their structure. This is done through enhancing the fundamental proprieties of the target, such as an armor’s resistance or the sharpness of a blade. Archer employs this method on himself to enhance his physical performance, particularly in his eyesight, granting him such precise vision that it approaches a limited form of clairvoyance. Archer is also in possession of a sleek black longbow that he uses in a western style, which is constructed from a synthetic compound that does not exist in the modern time period. It allows him to propel any weapon as an arrow, which would normally strain a weaker bow. Similarly, Archer's breastplate and boots are crafted from the same material, while the red cloak he wears is a holy burial cloth that shields Archer from spiritual interference in his surroundings. Archer also has a rare skill known as the "True Eye of the Mind" which allows him to guess an opponent's moves with a 1% margin of error.
In the Fate route, he is defeated by Berserker while buying time for Rin, Shirō and Saber to escape, but not before taking out five of his lives and earning the legendary hero's respect in the process. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he becomes the primary antagonist after Caster's death, seeking to kill Shirō to prevent him from becoming like himself, and ending his own existence as a Counter Guardian. He is defeated by Shirō, but survives long enough to deliver the finishing blow to Gilgamesh and save Rin and Shinji from the Grail's birth canal. Before he vanishes at the conclusion of the route, he asks Rin to never leave Shirō's side and finally lets go of his self-hatred, represented by his slicked-back hair falling forward to resemble Shirō's. In the Heaven's Feel route, Archer abandons his desire to kill Shirō when he learns of what contaminated the Grail, and because Shirō had already thrown away his life-long ideals in the interest of saving Sakura's life. Archer is mortally wounded in an engagement against True Assassin, Saber Alter, and The Shadow, but he survives long enough to have Kirei Kotomine surgically graft his left arm onto Shirō, who lost his own arm in that same battle. Shirō later uses Archer's arm in the battle against Dark Berserker, Saber Alter, and Kirei, and to trace the Jewel Sword Zelretch.
Sakura Matō(間桐 桜,Matō Sakura?, Sakura Matou in anime)
A student in her first year of high school, and the sister of Shinji Matō. After Shirō's father Kiritsugu died, Sakura often visited Shirō's home to help him with his daily chores. Though Shinji is from a family of sorcerers, he asserts that she has no knowledge of her family's craft or history. Sakura is outwardly shy and timid, but possesses great inner strength. She has a long standing and obvious crush on Shirō Emiya.
In the anime-original storyline, due to her possessing latent magic circuits, Sakura is kidnapped by Caster as a sacrifice to summon the Holy Grail. During the rescue attempt, It is revealed that Rin is her sister, and that they were separated when they were very young.
While Sakura plays a minor part in the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works routes, she plays a much larger role in the final route, Heaven's Feel. It is revealed that she had been forcibly implanted with Crest Worms for years by her grandfather in order to prime her magic. She is revealed to be a powerful magus in her own right as well as Rider's true Master, having used a command spell to give control to Shinji as she had no desire to fight. Her particular brand of magic is unique in that while she cannot command any of the five traditional elements, she can manipulate the very rare Imaginary Numbers, which are connected to demons. After the end of the previous Grail War, her grandfather, Zōken Matō implanted a piece of the Grail into Sakura in an attempt to recreate it, turning her into the Black Grail (the counterpart to the Einzbern's White Grail). This led to the eighth Servant, Angra Mainyu (also known as Avenger), a remnant of the Third Holy Grail War attempting to summon himself by controlling Sakura with an alternate persona, The Shadow. Sakura takes on the form of The Shadow at nights and kills hundreds of people in order to gain energy, at one point corrupting both Saber and Berserker into Servants under her command, in order to birth Angra Mainyu into the world and bring about its end. She is eventually stopped when Rin attempts to kill Sakura; Sakura is revealed to be Rin's biological sister, adopted into the Matō family as their heir since Shinji lacked magical circuits. Unable to kill her sister, Rin allows Sakura to stab her instead, allowing Sakura to realize that her friends had not abandoned her and still wanted to save her, and regain control of her mind long enough for Shirō to free her of the Shadow with Rule Breaker. In her route's Normal End, Sakura lives alone in the Emiya household for the rest of her life, believing Shirō will return to her; when she eventually dies, she sees Shirō waving to her in a final dream. In the True End, she lives with Shirō and Rider in peace.
Through an agreement between the Mages' Association and the Church, the Holy Grail Wars are moderated by a priest. Kirei served under the Fourth Holy Grail War's priest moderator, his father Risei Kotomine, before taking over the position despite being an acting magus. Although Kirei understood the distinction between good and evil, he could only revel in committing sins and accepted that side of himself after attempting to redeem himself. Originally the master of the Assassin of the Fourth Holy Grail War, Kirei secretly murdered Tokiomi to obtain Gilgamesh while becoming an indirect caretaker for Rin. It is also revealed in the prequel Fate/Zero that he is responsible for the fire that killed Shirō's biological parents, having indirectly wished for it with his dying breath after being shot through the heart by Kiritsugu Emiya. Ranked far lower in the Church hierarchy than Ciel (from Tsukihime), Kirei employs many of the same techniques and weapons she does, as well as a powerful martial art called "Super Bajiquan" that allows him to not only match, but also defeat low ranking servants, something the aforementioned Ciel cannot do. He can also perform the Baptismal Rite, an immensely powerful holy sacrament used to exorcise demons. He is surprisingly powerful as a Magus, having trained under Rin's father. Sometime before the start of the Fifth War, Kirei became Lancer's master with Gilgamesh acting on his own accord.
He is an antagonist in all three routes. In Fate, where he is the primary antagonist, he is defeated by Shirō Emiya, who fatally stabs him with the Azoth Sword, a gift he gave to Rin Tōsaka years ago, and disperses the built up prana inside it, blowing Kotomine's fake heart to pieces, he then falls into the grail's mud and is consumed by it. In Unlimited Blade Works, he is killed by Lancer, who stabs him from behind after having supposedly killed himself and his body is consumed by Lancer's mystic fire. In Heaven's Feel, his backstory is greatly expanded, and he initially acts as an ally to Shirō, before revealing he had been manipulating events so as to bring about the birth of Angra Mainyu, believing that by observing its birth he could finally understand just what he was born for. He dies in a fist-fight with Shirō, his artificial heart having been destroyed earlier by Dark Sakura. He dies standing after declaring Shiro the winner of the Fifth Holy Grail War, Shirō noting a faint smile as he does.
An arrogant and selfish being in ornate golden armor, Gilgamesh was originally an Archer in the Fourth Holy Grail War in the service of Tokiomi Tōsaka before arranging his death by his new partner Kotomine during the end game. Flashbacks show that Gilgamesh was not always selfish and sadistic, but became that way after the death of Enkidu, his only friend and acknowledged equal. In the aftermath of the Fuyuki fire, Gilgamesh gains a physical form through the Holy Grail and is driven partly mad by his contact with Angra Mainyu and spends the next ten years hiding and feeding off the energy of half dead orphans. Resurfacing during the Fifth Holy Grail War, Gilgamesh is shown to have an overt but unrequited love/lust for Saber and desires her for as long as she denies him. He is unique in that he possesses a very large number of Noble Phantasms, but only three are unique to him: Gate of Babylon: King's Treasure(王の財宝（ゲート・オブ・バビロン）,Gēto Obu Babiron?), a key-shaped sword that opens a portal to a mystical vault containing the Noble Phantasms. He can draw swords out individually for close combat, or fire them out of his gate like bullets. Incidentally, this method of attack made him suitable for the Archer class. He is initially known also as the Golden Archer, and he easily defeats Caster when he makes himself known to Shirō Emiya and the others in the Fate route of the visual novel. In the anime, he defeats both Caster and Kuzuki. Saber initially states that Gilgamesh defeated her as an explanation for why he is alive during the fifth Holy Grail War (Shirō also refers to him as the "eighth Servant"), but later clarifies that she and Kiritsugu Emiya had won the fourth Holy Grail War. It is later revealed during the Fate route that he was splashed with the mud of the Holy Grail back then, converting his body to one of flesh and blood and allowing him to survive without a source of prana, but also making him more destructive and impulsive. He is shown to be easily one of the strongest Servants, brushing aside Excalibur in the Fate route and anime, and ending eleven of Berserker's lives consecutively in the Unlimited Blade Works route. When consumed by Sakura in the Heaven's Feel route, Sakura commented that it felt like she was absorbing two Servants' worth of power. It is said that if he ever manages to put aside his overwhelming pride and go all-out, nobody can defeat him.
Gilgamesh is a major antagonist in all three routes. In the Fate route, he is killed at the grounds of the Ryūdōji Temple by Saber after his Enuma Elish is successfully blocked by her Avalon. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he becomes the primary antagonist after Archer's defeat, and plans to create a second Uruk by using Angra Mainyu to purge much of the world's human population, leaving those with the strength and willpower to survive as potential citizens of his new kingdom. He is utterly humiliated and defeated by Shirou (his "perfect counter") before being killed by a fired sword from Archer while attempting to use Shirō to drag himself out of the Holy Grail, falling back into it. In the Heaven's Feel route, he attempts to kill Sakura but is consumed by the Shadow in the process.
Shirō's adoptive father, a magus who was Saber's Master during the fourth Holy Grail War, the events of which are covered in Fate/Zero. During his lifetime, Kiritsugu strives to be a Hero of Justice, intending to use the Holy Grail to wish for world peace. However, at the conclusion of the fourth Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu becomes disillusioned when he caused the Fuyuki fire with the Holy Grail's power. Finding Shirō, Kiritsugu adopted him and spent his remaining years raising the child as his son before his body fails him as a result of a curse afflicted by Angra Mainyu.
She is an English teacher at Shirō's school, homeroom instructor of Shirō's class and the supervising teacher for the archery dojo. She is widely called "Tiger" (タイガー,Taigā?), a nickname she dislikes, but Shirō calls her "Fuji-nee" (older sister Fuji). After Kiritsugu passes away, Taiga becomes Shirō's guardian and has been living with him for several years. Taiga and Shirō are very close, and she regards him as a younger brother. It is shown that Taiga is consistantly one of the most important people in Shirō's life and he will become truly angry when she is threatened. She has a grandfather named Raiga.
Issei is the Student Body President of Shirō's school, and another close friend of Shirō. Issei often asks Shirō to fix broken equipment for the Student Body to save money on school expenses. Issei and Shirō often have lunch together in the Student Body office where they talk about what ever comes to mind. His father is the head priest of Ryūdōji Temple, and his brother was a classmate of Taiga and Neko-san. He dislikes Rin, thinking that she has cursed Shirō, but he seems to be unusually at ease around Saber. Issei mentions to Shirō that a mysterious but beautiful woman (Caster) has been staying in his temple. A running gag in supplementary literature is that Issei has a crush on Shirō, a joke most likely based off of Issei's misogyny and the fact that his favorite food is Shirō's cooking.
Issei is a minor character in all three routes, but is involved in one of the Bad Ends in the Unlimited Blade Works route, in which Shirō inquiring after Caster causes a spell cast on him by Caster to activate. This causes him to stab Shirō and then himself.
Shinji Matō(間桐 慎二,Matō Shinji?, Shinji Matou in anime)
Sakura Matō's older brother, and a long-time friend of Shirō until Shirō discovered Shinji beating Sakura, at which point Shirō beat Shinji within an inch of his life. Shinji is very popular as vice-captain of the archery dojo despite being chauvinistic and a narcissist. Like Rin Tōsaka, he is of a distinguished lineage of Japanese sorcerers (though his family is originally from Russia), though the Matō blood has thinned and no longer produces heirs naturally capable of sorcery. Shinji feels uncomfortable with his sister's daily visits to Shirō's home. He has an open crush on Rin, but she does not return his feelings.
In all three routes of Fate/stay night and the anime, he participates in the fifth Holy Grail War as a Master, with Rider as his Servant, although he does not have Magus abilities. He initially tries to get Shirō to ally with him against Rin, and later tries to team up with Rin, but they both decline and is eventually beaten and humiliated by Shirō, who (in an act of uncharacteristic bloodlust) almost crushes Shinji's throat for using the school as a power source. He acts as a sort of dramatic foil for Shirō: both are considered failures as magi who have powerful female servants but whereas Shirō is kind, brave, and truthful, Shinji is cruel, sadistic, and cowardly. His Command Seals are on a book that he carries around, revealed in the Heaven's Feel route to be the Book of False Attendant, a false Command Seal created by his younger sister and Rider's true master. In the Fate route and the anime, Shinji is the main antagonist of the first half of the plot. After Rider loses to Saber, his book burns up; he flees but is killed by Berserker. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he is a supporting antagonist in the latter half of the route and is implanted with the heart of Illya, the seed of the Holy Grail by Gilgamesh, but is later rescued by Rin Tōsaka and ultimately survives, realizes the horror of what he had done, and begins to seek redemption. In the Heaven's Feel route, he is killed by The Shadow while attempting to rape Sakura in a fit of jealous insanity.
Illyasviel von Einzbern(イリヤスフィール・フォン・アインツベルン,Iriyasufīru fon Aintsuberun?)
A young Teutonic aristocrat who travels to Japan to participate in the fifth Holy Grail War as the Master of Berserker. Illyasviel has an angelic appearance and an unsurpassed degree of magical power, seemingly able to control Berserker with ease. She lives in a castle on the outskirts of Fuyuki City, accompanied only by her Servant and her two maids Leysritt and Sella. Illyasviel asks those she feels comfortable around to simply call her "Illya". In the prequel, Fate/Zero, it is established that Ilya is the daughter of Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel von Einzbern and is therefore Shiro's elder stepsister, a fact which causes Shirou incredible grief when he realizes Kiritsugu sacrificed a life with her for him. She is not a human, but rather a homunculus, created to serve as the vessel of the Holy Grail. When wearing the Dress of Heaven and empowered by the deaths of at least six Servants, she is capable of performing a limited version of the Third Magic, Heaven's Feel(天の杯（ヘブンズフィール）,Hebunzu Fīru?), one of the Five types of True Magic(魔法,Mahō?) which can accomplish impossibilities beyond modern science or sorcery.
In the Fate route, she lives peacefully with Shirō after her Servant is defeated, although none of them are aware that she will soon die, her homunculus' body having been designed to survive only up to one year after the Fifth Holy Grail War's conclusion. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, she dies weeping over the dying body of Berserker, her eyes having been slashed and heart torn out by Gilgamesh and is comforted by Berserker, who created a thirteenth life for himself through sheer force of will, as they die together. She has a greatly expanded role in the Heaven's Feel route, in which her background as Kiritsugu's daughter is revealed. She eventually sacrifices herself to save Shirō and close the Great Holy Grail in the True End as she embraces her role as Shirou's "big sister" rather than the "little sister" role she played in Fate and for most of Heaven's Feel. Her ultimate fate is not revealed in the Normal End, although she is presumed to have perished due to her homunculus' design a year after the Fifth War's conclusion.
Originally Ilya was planned to be one of the heroines and possess her very own route branch in which Shirou would forgo his ideals to save her; however the idea was scrapped during development due to time and monetary constrains. IIya's route was instead combined with "Heaven's Feel", a fact which is shown to cause Ilya no small amount of frustration in the Tiger Dojo scenes in the visual novel.
Sōichirō Kuzuki(葛木 宗一郎,Kuzuki Sōichirō?, Souichirou Kuzuki in anime)
A well-built man with angular glasses and a conservative hairstyle, Kuzuki is a strict instructor in Rin's class. He primarily lectures on World History, though he holds classes in Ethics. Kuzuki is well respected among staff and students, but he is widely regarded as austere and impersonal. Unknown to most, he is actually a highly trained assassin who has no qualms about letting his servant Caster, whom he is in love with, do whatever she wants, even if the actions are considered evil. He has been staying at Issei Ryoudou's place for three years and is regarded by Issei as a brother. In the anime and the Unlimited Blade Works route of the visual novel, he has Caster enhance the power of his fists. In the latter, this proves enough to allow him to defeat Saber in hand-to-hand combat and kill Rider with ease.
Kuzuki only plays a major role in the Unlimited Blade Works route, in which he is revealed as Caster's Master. After his Master is killed by Archer's hail of swords, he is defeated in melee by Archer. His identity as a Master is not made known in the other routes and his fate is thus unknown.
Zōken is a shrewd, powerful, and ancient sorcerer who is patriarch of the Matō family and is known to be the grandfather of Shinji and Sakura. He was also one of the original three Magi to propose the Holy Grail system, being the designer of the Command Seals and was originally a Russian magus under the name Zolgen Makiri. He has amassed a large and extensive library of sorcery knowledge, yet his lessons are strict and harsh. Zōken considers Shinji to be a disgrace of a sorcerer, and believes Sakura may have more potential than her brother. He has kept himself alive through the use of Crest Worms and can only be killed if the worm he planted in Sakura's heart is destroyed.
He only appears in the Heaven's Feel route, but is the main antagonist of the route and also has an expanded role in the prequel, Fate/Zero. He originally controls Dark Sakura, but she eventually turns on him and destroys his body, reducing him to a single worm. After seeing Illya in her Dress of Heaven and remembering why he fought to survive for so long, he allows himself to die peacefully.
The first hostile Servant to appear in the story. Lancer is a fierce but balanced warrior who enjoys combating a worthy opponent. He has a playful attitude and takes a very carefree approach to life, but is quick to work himself into a frenzy during a heated battle. Lancers are hailed as the "Most Agile" of Servant classes. His Noble Phantasm is Gáe Bolg: Spear of Impaling Barbed Death(刺し穿つ死棘の槍（ゲイ・ボルク）,Gei Boruku?). It is a long, red spear which inflicts wounds that do not heal. When activated, it reverses the laws of cause and effect, meaning that the fact that the next strike will hit the opponent's heart becomes a foregone conclusion, even before the spear is thrust. This causes its next strike to become completely unavoidable and fatal, ignoring all magical and physical protection, bending at impossible angles and around obstacles. The only way to survive this technique is to be blessed with a large degree of luck in order to have the spear strike a region other than the heart, as avoiding the blow is impossible. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he also uses Gáe Bolg: Spear of Striking Death Flight(突き穿つ死翔の槍（ゲイ・ボルク）,Gei Boruku?), which maximizes Gáe Bolg's true capabilities as a thrown weapon.
In the Fate route, his death is not seen, but he is presumably defeated by Gilgamesh while buying time for Shirō Emiya and Rin Tōsaka to escape. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he collapses after being ordered to commit suicide via Command Spell, but not before killing Kirei and stabbing Shinji Matō as he attempts to rape Rin. He then sets fire to the Einzbern castle with magic before fading away. In the Heaven's Feel route, he is killed by True Assassin's Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya.
The Servant of Shinji, first seen scouting around Shirō's school. Rider is silent, sultry, and vigilant, never hesitating to shield her Master from harm. She employs covert battle tactics and takes full advantage of her surroundings. With Shinji incapable of lending Mana to her, she is forced to seek alternative means to augment her abilities such as putting magical seals all over Fuyuki High School that, when activated, drain the life out of any living creature within. This is actually one of her Noble Phantasms, Blood Fort Andromeda: Outer-Sealing Blood Temple(他者封印・鮮血神殿（ブラッドフォート・アンドロメダ）,Buraddofōdo Andoromeda?). Her weapon of choice is a pair of long iron nails fastened to opposite ends of a single chain, which she effectively thrusts from distances. Her primary offensive Noble Phantasm is Bellerophon: Bridle of Chivalry(騎兵の手綱（ベルレフォーン）,Berurefōn?), invoked while riding upon the winged horse Pegasus and is summoned when she stabs her neck. It drives the Pegasus into a killing fury, turning the Pegasus' charge into a wave of energy capable of causing mass destruction. In all three routes of Fate/stay night and the anime, she wears a blindfold, actually another Noble Phantasm, Breaker Gorgon: Self-Sealing Dark Temple(自己封印・暗黒神殿（ブレーカー・ゴルゴーン）,Burēkā Gorugōn?), which seals away her powerful Mystic Eyes that are capable of paralyzing any weaker being who looks at her. However, in Fate/hollow ataraxia, she is seen wearing glasses.
In the Fate route, she is defeated by Saber's Noble Phantasm, Excalibur, which overwhelms Bellerophon. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, she is killed by Caster's master. In the Heaven's Feel route, Rider's role is greatly expanded. Sakura is shown to be the true Master of Rider, and after Shinji's death, Rider seeks to protect her despite her murderous deeds. Shirō eventually becomes Rider's provisional Master, and their combined efforts defeat Saber Alter. Rider then flees with Rin and Sakura, and goes on to survive in the True End, living peacefully with Shirō and Sakura. Her ultimate fate in the Normal End is not known. She is revealed to have feelings for Shirō, due to him being the first male to ever treat her with kindness.
The Servant of Illya, who appears as a swarthy giant with adamantine skin and gross brawn. He wields a colossal axe-sword, and is capable of causing massive destruction with the mere backlash of his swings. As a Berserker, he is stripped of his sanity and reason, acting feral and animalistic in combat. Berserkers are praised as members of the "Strongest" class, though they are difficult to control and can turn on their Masters. However, Illya appears to have little trouble managing him. Berserker's main Noble Phantasm is God Hand: Twelve Labours(十二の試練（ゴッド・ハンド）,Goddo Hando?), which grants automatic resurrection, up to 11 resurrections - meaning Berserker needs to be killed 12 times to be eliminated, one for each of Hercules's twelve labors. A secondary effect of his Noble Phantasm is that any attack of 'B' rank or below cannot cause any harm to him. Berserker also possess a Noble Phantasm called Nine Lives: The Shooting Hundred Heads(射殺す百頭（ナインライブス）,Nain Raibuzu?), which is the legendary bow and arrow set used by Hercules to slay the nine-headed Hydra. This bow technique consists of nine consecutive shots, but can also be adapted for use on other weapons. Due to his class, however, Berserker lacks the necessary complex motor skills to successfully manipulate Nine Lives during the fifth Holy Grail War. Instead, Shirō uses it in the Heaven's Feel route, projecting Berserker's own axe-sword against Dark Berserker to remove all his remaining lives in one go in a modified technique known as Nine Lives Blade Works: The Shooting Hundred Heads(是・射殺す百頭（ナインライブズ・ブレイドワークス）,Nain Raibuzu Bureido Wākusu?).
In the anime and the Fate route of the visual novel, Archer is only able to knock down some of his lives, and Rin able to only knock down one. However, Shirō and Saber perform a joint special attack with a traced Caliburn, Saber's lost Noble Phantasm, and eliminate the rest of his lives in one stab. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, Archer takes away one of Berserker's lives from the beginning and the remaining eleven are ended by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon. In the Heaven's Feel route, Berserker is consumed by Angra Mainyu and reborn as Dark Berserker, a blind, decrepit version of his normal self. He is later killed by Shirō Emiya, using Nine Lives Blade Works.
A solitary Servant, clothed in a traditional Japanese hakama and kimono with an indigo haori. This handsome man bars entry beyond the main gate of the Ryūdōji Temple. Quiet and composed, he maintains a degree of bushido and is eager to spar with other Servants. He is of the same class, but he is not to be confused with another Servant known as True Assassin. He initially claims to be Sasaki Kojirō(佐々木小次郎,Sasaki Kojirō?), but in reality he is a nameless samurai "who forged his past and is a master swordsman only in people's memories". He was summoned by Caster as a guardian and watchman for the front gate of the Ryuudouji Temple. As an improper servant, Assassin is entirely dependent on Caster for mana and cannot move freely beyond the grounds of Ryuudou Temple. Furthermore, he lacks most of the usual parameters and abilities granted to his class. Because of his limited status, Assassin cares little for the Holy Grail, and outside of his duties to Caster, he only seeks to enjoy a decent sword fight. His special move is the Turning Swallow Strike (秘剣・燕返し,Tsubame Gaeshi?), an unblockable attack that hits from three directions simultaneously, reaching into parallel dimensions. It is a sword skill of the highest degree that requires no prana other than that needed for Assassin to move, and as such is incredibly efficient. It is a sure-kill move, although in a different sense from Gáe Bolg. Its one weakness is that it can only be executed with a level foundation and enough space to manoeuvre - otherwise, only two simultaneous strikes are possible.
In the Fate route, his ultimate fate is unknown, but Caster comments that he disappeared. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he is defeated by Saber on the last night of the Holy Grail War due to his blade being bent from their previous encounter, which leaves an opening in Tsubame Gaeshi. In the Heaven's Feel route, Assassin's flesh serves as Matō Zōken's catalyst for summoning True Assassin, with the latter bursting out from within his flesh.
She is an honored guest of the Ryūdō family, permitted to live at their temple until the preparations for her marriage have been finalized. A gorgeous and talented yet mysterious woman of high stature, her presence has attracted the attention of trainee priests and even Issei. Unlike other Servants, she does not wield a weapon for physical combat, but her rank allows her to manipulate Mana and perform magic like a wizard, something which other Servants cannot do. Her magical ability far surpasses modern Magi, due to her technique, High-Speed Divine Words(高速神言?). This allows her to cast spells which would normally take minutes to cast by uttering a single word. In the anime and the Unlimited Blade Works route of the visual novel, she easily blocks Rin's Gandr shots and can teleport herself and her Master out of harm's way. Because of her Magus ability, she has a dual role as a Servant to Kuzuki, and a Master of Assassin. Her Noble Phantasm is Rule Breaker: Destroyer of all Talismans(破戒すべき全ての符（ルールブレイカー）,Rūru Bureikā?), an otherwise weak dagger which dispels all forms of magic that it comes in contact with. Its greatest use is in severing the bond between Master and Servant. She also possesses a Noble Phantasm called Argon Coin: The Golden Fleece(金羊の皮（アルゴンコイン）,Arugon Koin?), a coat of golden fleece which is capable of summoning the original Colchis dragon that guarded it after it is thrown upon the ground. Caster does not have the knowledge or skill to summon a phantasm-beast, so it goes unused during the fifth Holy Grail War. If she did possess the proper skills necessary to summon the dragon, it would bring her up from being the weakest Servant to the middle-ranking among the Servants of the Fifth War. The dragon itself isn't strong enough to be able to make a clear difference against higher level opponents.
In the fifth Holy Grail War, shortly after her summoning, she kills her original Master within a few days, and is later taken in by Sōichirō Kuzuki at the Ryūdō Temple. Caster quickly fell in love with Souichirou, for he was the first man to show her genuine kindness, dedication and loyalty. Her primary objective shifted from obtaining the Holy Grail for herself to simply preserving their short time together. To that end, she takes the souls of other beings to sustain herself and strengthen her defensive power, as Kuzuki is incapable of providing her with Mana.
In the anime-original storyline, she kidnaps Sakura by possessing her body and stabbing Saber with Rule Breaker, but, because of Saber's A-ranked magic resistance, she was only able to take away Saber's ability to use her Noble Phantasm. She then tries to sacrifice Sakura, who has latent Magus abilities, to summon the Holy Grail directly. She is then defeated by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon in her underground city. In the Fate route, She is defeated by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon while attempting to attack the Emiya household. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, she is the primary antagonist of the first third of the route. She personally stabs Saber with Rule Breaker, turning her into her Servant for a short time, but is later betrayed and defeated by Archer, who showers her with a barrage of Noble Phantasms from Unlimited Blade Works. In the Heaven's Feel route, she is killed by Saber early on, but Matō Zōken uses one of his worm familiars to maintain her body as a puppet.
An exceptionally dangerous Servant with a limited appearance in Fate/stay night and Fate/hollow ataraxia, but an expanded role in Fate/Zero. The designation of "True" is meant to distinguish this Assassin from another Servant that has usurped his place in the current war. All True Assassins share a collective identity and have appeared in every Holy Grail War throughout history. They are infamous for an ebony and tattered costume, as well as for concealing their identity behind an ashen skeletal mask. True Assassin's identity is that of the legendary Persian "Old Man of the Mountain", Hassan-i-Sabah(ハサン・サッバーハ,Hasan Sabbāha?), the leader of al-Assasīn, but later states that the name Hassan was passed down along with the leadership of the sect through many generations and that he himself was not the original Old Man of the Mountain. His Noble Phantasm is Zabaniya: Delusional Heartbeat(妄想心音（ザバーニーヤ）,Zabānīya?), his long, demonic, three-metre long right arm, which replaces the heart of whoever it touches with a fake substitute, which can then be crushed, destroying the real heart.
He is the Servant of Zōken Matō, and only appears in the Heaven's Feel route, bursting out from within Assassin's flesh. He is defeated by Kirei Kotomine, but manages to survive, only to be destroyed by Sakura's Shadow.
These two women are Ilya's maids, but they act as her caretakers and instruct her in the secrets of sorcery. Like Ilya, they both have silky blonde hair and deep crimson eyes. Sella is rather fickle and insecure (especially regarding her body), and is very suspicious of Shirō Emiya. In contrast, Leysritt is far more casual, and carries some affection for Shirō because his presence makes Ilya happy. Leysritt is skilled in combat, particularly with halberds, and she is able to sacrifice her life to manifest The Dress of Heaven, an artifact of the Einzbern family capable of limited applications of True Magic(魔法,Mahō?), miracles that can accomplish impossibilities beyond modern science or sorcery.
A stellar athlete, and captain of the archery dojo. Ayako and Rin are actively competing to see who will be the first to snag a boyfriend. She is close friends with Shirō, despite her tomboyish attitude making him uncomfortable, and wishes to see Shirō smile, something she has never seen him do. She is victimized by Rider or Caster early in the story and later found unconscious in an alleyway. In the anime, Ayako is seen with Shinji after her disappearance, although Shinji denies it when asked by Shiro. Ayako often asks Shiro to come to the archery dojo and watch them practice. After she is attacked, Ayako is said to be recovering in hospital, but is not seen again.
Yukika is the gentle manager of the Track Team, warmly loved by the majority of her class. She is one of the few people able to see Assassin at the Ryudo Temple gate, and strikes up a conversation with him in Fate/hollow ataraxia.
Kane is one of Yukika and Kaede's friends, and a high jumper, and is also the protagonist of Fate/School Life. She is considerate and intelligent. She has feelings for Shirō. Her father is the mayor of Fuyuki City. Her hobby is painting.
Otoko is Shirō's employer, and owner of a liquor store, The Copenhagen Bar. She dislikes her given name, Otoko (phonically identical to the Japanese word for "male"), preferring to be called "Neko". She feels attached to Shirō and always addresses him by a pet name, "Emi-yan". "Neko" considers Taiga to be a bad influence on her hard-working employee.
Better known as the grandfather of Taiga, Raiga is the Oyabun (組長 family head) of a yakuza group operating in Fuyuki City. He was an old friend of Kiritsugu Emiya, and as a favor, manages Kiritsugu's estate after his death in place of Shirō. He is also Shirō's de facto guardian, due to Taiga's general incompetence, and often takes Shirō hunting or to sumo matches, paying him for his time.
Zelretch is one of five living sorcerers capable of "true magic". Zelretch's particular miracle is known as the "Kaleidoscope", which gives him dominion over alternate possibilities. Originally introduced in Tsukihime, he makes a cameo appearance in the Heaven's Feel scenario of Fate/stay night as Rin's magus teacher.
A descendant of the Edelfelt family, who participated in the 3rd Holy Grail War with twin Masters, believing it would be advantageous for them to have two Servants. Luvia is an outstanding but arrogant student at the Mage's Association and frequently gets into fights with other students, including Rin Tōsaka. Her powers are similar to Rin's. Luvia's first proper appearance is in Fate/hollow ataraxia where she is Shirō's partner and admirer. She is voiced by Shizuka Itō in the fighting spin-off game Fate/unlimited codes.
Lizleihi Justica von Einzbern (リズライヒ・ユスティーツァ・フォン・アインツベルン,Rizuraihi Yusutītsa fon Aintsuberun?)
Known as the Saint of Winter, Justica was a homunculus whose family desired the Holy Grail long before the Holy Grail Wars began. When their attempts continued to fail, the Einzbern reluctantly accepted the aid of the Tōsaka and Makiri (Matō) families and under the guidance of Zelretch, they formed the Holy Grail Wars. Justica agreed to form the core of the Holy Grail; as such, her descendants (Illyasviel von Einzbern and her mother, Irisviel) each contain within them parts of Justica's memories and personality as well as a genetic resemblance to her. She is the indirect cause of Zōken's actions in Heaven's Feel, as Zōken (back when he was still Zolgen) had decided to use the Grail to create peace as a tribute to his lost lover, but eventually forgot due to his ever-advancing age and creeping insanity.
^The English dub closing credits do not list an English dub voice credit for Sakura Matou. However, Sherry Lynn does list that she voiced Sakura on her website."Sherry Lynn - Anime Work". SherryLynnVoiceover. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
^Fate/Complete Material 3:
Q: If Caster had a skill (dragon summoning skill) that let her use the Golden Fleece, would she be able to escape the rank of being the weakest Servant? Also, will the spirit in the Golden Fleece ever see the light of day? He's cute so I wanted to see him in color.
A: She'd move up to the middle rank, I think. Oh, but, the Colchis dragon isn't that strong right...