The characters of the visual novel Fate/stay Night as seen in the second anime series: Saber (top left), Rin Tōsaka (top right), Gilgamesh (middle right), Caster and Assassin (bottom right), Shirō Emiya (middle bottom), Archer (center), Illya (bottom left), Berserker and Lancer (middle left).
Shirō is a good-hearted and honest teenager, who always enjoys helping others. However, Shirō is a deeply scarred human being who was orphaned after a fire destroyed part of his hometown when he was seven and caused him to lose all memory of the first seven years of his life. He was saved by Kiritsugu Emiya, who adopted him and named him Shirō after discovering that the boy could not recall his real name. He has no interest in the Holy Grail, and instead despises its use, but eventually admits that, deep down, he desires a nemesis to defeat to truly become a hero. 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. The main plot of Fate/stay night focuses around his ideal and the three different ways in which he approaches it.
Saber is both the heroine and servant protagonist of the Fate route. Saber is Shirō's Servant for the Fifth Holy Grail War. Saber acts coldly but is actually suppressing her emotions to focus on her goals. Saber is frustrated by Shirō's "protective" tendencies, believing his erratic and reckless behavior will jeopardize their 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 Altria (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.
Rin is a model student and idol of Shirō's school. Described as a tsundere, 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. 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 Rin is the heroine of the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night.
Archer is the servant protagonist and secondary antagonist of the Unlimited Blade Works route. 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 discarded his humanity to become the living incarnation of "Justice", feared by all due to his unhealthy obsession with justice which led to him killing any and all "evil" people regardless of their circumstances or what may result from their deaths. He also never asked for rewards when helping others, causing widespread distrust as the people he saved began to think he had some sort of ulterior motive. He was eventually framed for starting a war by an unknown group and was executed by the fearful public, an act for which he did not blame them. 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 involved. This life of endless killing drove Archer mad with grief, and he sought to end his eternal existence and return to nothingness. The jewel he owns is the actual catalyst used for his summoning rather than the one that Rin still has at the time of his summoning. Archer is instead a case where he holds a catalyst with a connection to his summoner.
Archer 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）,Anrimiteddo 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 smog filled 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 properties 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 allowing him to accurately shoot high speed moving targets up to 4 kilometers away.
In the Fate route, he is defeated by Berserker while buying time for Rin, Shirō and Saber to escape, but not before taking out 6 of his lives (5 in the anime) 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. 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.
Sakura is a first-year high school student and the sister of Shinji Matō. After Shirō's father Kiritsugu died, Sakura often visits 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. Sakura plays a minor part in the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works route, being nothing more than a dutiful kouhai (junior student) that always there to help Shirō in both routes. However, in the Heaven's Feel route, she serves as the story's lead heroine and her backstory is vastly expanded on. In the anime-original storyline, Sakura is kidnapped by Caster as a sacrifice to summon the Holy Grail due to her possessing latent magic circuits. During the rescue attempt, she and Rin are confirmed to be sisters who were separated when they were very young.
Rider is the servant protagonist of the Heaven's Feel route. The Servant of Shinji, first seen scouting around Shirō's school. Her true identity is Medusa, the gorgon-witch of legend who was remembered as one of its infamous monsters. 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, Cybele (キュベレイ,Kyuberei), the Mystic Eyes of Petrification (石化の魔眼,Sekika no Magan) that are capable of paralyzing any weaker being who looks at her, instantly turning any being with mana ranked below B to stone, with B ranked mana more slowly and in the case of a being with A-ranked Mana such as Saber, reducing the rank of all parameters by one. However, in Fate/hollow ataraxia and the True End of Heaven's Feel, she is seen wearing glasses that supplant her blindfold as a seal for her eyes.
Rider as the initial antagonist alongside Shinji and is ultimately defeated by Saber. In the manga adaptation of Fate/Stay night, Rider survives due to Sakura expending her final Command Spell, ordering Rider to save Shinji from death and giving Rider just enough strength to fulfill her Master's request and living long enough to give a final goodbye to the Matō siblings before succumbing to her injuries and fading away. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, Rider's role is much more brief as she only engages Shirō once before she is later killed by Caster's master.
However, in the Heaven's Feel route, Rider's role is greatly expanded having been made the main servant of the route and her true identity revealed. Sakura is shown to be the true Master of Rider, and after Shinji's loss of control over her and his eventual death, Rider seeks to protect Sakura despite her murderous deeds due to sharing a kinship with her, both having become inadvertent monsters due to the circumstances their lives forced on them. Under Sakura, her stats and overall combat ability improve, similar to Saber under a different Master than Shirō. After Shirō breaks his alliance with Rin in order to protect Sakura's life, Rider effectively replaces his lost Servant Saber as the guardian of the Emiya household, later saving Rin and Shirō from the Shadow along with Illya after Archer is mortally wounded defending them from it. In the endgame, Shirō eventually becomes Rider's provisional Master, and their combined efforts defeat Saber Alter - the corrupted form of Shirō's original Servant and friend, Saber - and allow Shirō to save Sakura. Rider then carries an unconscious Sakura and a gravely-injured Rin to safety while Shirō ensures the Holy Grail's destruction. While her ultimate fate in the Normal End is not known, the True End depicts Rider surviving the war and being able to remain in the world without the Grail due to Sakura's massive mana-stores, living peacefully with Shirō and Sakura. Rider is also revealed to have latent feelings for Shirō, due to him being the first male to ever treat her with kindness.
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 Illya is the daughter of Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel von Einzbern and is therefore Shirō's elder stepsister, a fact which causes Shirō incredible grief when he realizes Kiritsugu sacrificed a life with her for him - and likewise is initially a source of immense resentment for Illya as she blames Shirō as the cause for why her father never returned to be with her, leaving her alone in the world. It is finally revealed in Fate/Zero that after the end of the Fourth Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu tried several times to return to Illya as promised. However, because he did not return with the Holy Grail, Jubstacheit von Einzbern refused to open the forest's bounded barrier for him and Illya was then raised to believe her father abandoned her, not knowing that he actually wanted to save her from the Grail's fate. Thus, he never saw or spoke to his daughter again before his death.
Illya's desire to learn more about the person Kiritsugu raised in his final years instead of her prompts Illya to observe Shirō in some cases or try to take him like a possession in others, only to start warming up to him after getting to know him when he treats her kindly in spite of her prior attempts to kill him. She is not a human, but rather a homunculus like her mother, 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 serves as the antagonist for the second part of the arc with her servant Berserker as she takes Shirō hostage, torn between wanting to take revenge on him in place of Kiritsugu for her years alone or trying to convince him into being a willing possession of hers to care for. This leads to a final showdown in which she has Berserker kill Archer - albeit after the latter takes away five of Berserker's twelve lives - and then, as a result of her own overconfidence in Berserker's strength, is left despondent when Berserker is defeated by Saber and Shirō working together. When Shirō takes her in after this, she is finally convinced that his concern for her is genuine, and she lives peacefully with Shirō after her Servant is defeated. However, 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, though a Tiger Dojo hints that Illya ended up living a full, natural lifespan somehow.
In the Unlimited Blade Works route she is a minor antagonist, she anticipates meeting with Rin and Shirō as they seek her out for an alliance against Caster when the Servant captures Saber, but Illya's own desire to toy with them and stall their approach for her own amusement backfires as it leaves her with only Berserker to defend her when Gilgamesh comes after her. After a brutal battle in which Gilgamesh defeats her servant, Illya ultimately dies weeping over the dying body of Berserker, her eyes having been slashed, lungs punctured, and her 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.
Illya has a greatly expanded role in the Heaven's Feel route it can even be said that Illya is the secondary heroine of the route, in which her background as Kiritsugu's daughter is revealed and she takes a much more active sisterly role for Shirō early on, helping him through the war and in turn being saved from the Shadow twice over by Shirō. She eventually sacrifices herself to save Shirō and close the Great Holy Grail in the True End as she embraces her role as Shirō'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 Holy Grail War's conclusion. In the True End, her body is used to serve as the container for Shirō's restored soul.
Originally, Illya was planned to be one of the heroines and possess her very own route branch, in which Shirō would forgo his ideals to save her. However, the idea was scrapped during development due to time and monetary constraints. Illya's route was instead combined with Heaven's Feel, a fact which is shown to cause Illya no small consternation in the Tiger Dojo scenes in the visual novel.
A priest who acts as the supposedly impartial overseer of the Holy Grail War pursuant to an agreement between the Mages' Association and the Holy Church. He served under the previous Holy Grail War's priest moderator, his father Risei Kotomine, before taking over the position. Due to his experience as an elite assassin for the Church, Kirei is an expert practitioner in Chinese martial arts whose lethalness is magnified by his monstrous physical strength and numerous Command Spells. As the mastermind of the Fifth Holy Grail War which serves as the series' nexus of conflict, Kirei Kotomine is a primary antagonist in all three routes.
Despite possessing a strong moral compass, Kirei discovered early in his youth that he could only experience joy through others’ suffering. While initially consumed with despair by this revelation, Kirei ultimately embraced his repressed urges to become a man who lives only for chaos and misery. Originally the master of the Assassin of the Fourth Holy Grail War, Kirei secretly murdered his mentor, Tokiomi Tōsaka, 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. After his revival, he organizes the Fifth Holy Grail War to supply the Grail's cursed contents with enough energy to be unleashed on humanity.
In Fate, Kirei serves as the story's main antagonist but does not take center stage until the final act. After kidnapping Ilya to use her as a vessel for the Grail's cursed contents, he partakes in a climactic battle with Shirō who ultimately kills him by destroying his heart with the Azoth Sword. In Unlimited Blade Works, he plays a significantly smaller role given that Lancer kills him well before the climax. In the final route, Heaven's Feel, he serves as both a protagonist and one of the story's primary antagonists by prolonging Sakura Matō's life  while simultaneously facilitating her growth as the Black Grail. As a result of manipulating Rin into judging Sakura to be an existential threat beyond saving, Kirei significantly exacerbates the latter's resentment towards her older sister thereby playing a key role in insuring her corruption by Angra Mainyu. However, his plans are foiled when Shiro and Rin manage to convince her she is truly loved thereby giving her the resolve to break free of the entity's hold. As the fully developed Angra Mainyu prepares to enter the world, a mortally wounded Kirei surfaces to prevent Shirou from getting in its way. Subsequently, the two engage in a brutal fight to the death which abruptly ends after Kirei's heart gives out before he can deliver a finishing blow. Accepting defeat, he dies standing upon declaring Shirō the winner of the Fifth Holy Grail War.
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. In the aftermath of the Fuyuki fire, Gilgamesh gains a physical form through the Holy Grail and 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 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: the first is 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, the second is Enkidu: Chains of Heaven (天の鎖エルキドゥ,Ten no Kusari Erukidu), a set of nigh-unbreakable binding chains that strengthen and tighten the more divine heritage their target has, and the last is Ea: Sword of Rupture (乖離剣・エア,Kairi Ken Ea), a gold-lined sword with a cylindrical drill-like black blade consisting of three rotating cylinders that can generate an attack known as Enuma Elish: The Star of Creation that Split Heaven and Earth (天地乖離す開闢の星（エヌマエリシュ）,Enuma Erishu) that splits the fabric of space and time, capable of overwhelming even Saber's Excalibur with ease.He can also draw any of the weapons or swords he possesses within the gate out individually for close combat, or fire them out of his gate's portals like bullets. This method of attack made him suitable for the Archer class. He easily defeats Caster when he makes himself known to Shirō Emiya and the others in the Fate route of the visual novel. Saber initially states that Gilgamesh defeated her as an explanation for why he is alive during the fifth Holy Grail War, 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 mana, but also making him more destructive and impulsive.
Gilgamesh serves as a primary antagonist in the first two routes while playing only a minor role in the third. In Fate, he is killed at the grounds of the Ryūdō Temple by Saber. In Unlimited Blade Works, he plans to create a second Uruk by using Angra Mainyu to purge most of the world's human population, leaving only those with the strength and willpower to survive as potential citizens of his new kingdom. His arrogance leads him to be defeated by Shirō (who becomes the first person since Enkidu that Gilgamesh is ever forced to acknowledge as being strong), after which he is dragged into the dying Holy Grail just as Shirō is about to deal a fatal blow. He is then killed by a dagger fired by Archer as he is attempting to use Shirō to drag himself out of the Holy Grail, falling back into it and being dissolved. In Heaven's Feel, he attempts to kill Sakura but is destroyed 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, after realizing that the Holy Grail was corrupted and cursed, and that the wish it grants only causes destruction, he strives to destroy the Holy Grail. He got his servant Saber to destroy the Grail, but unwittingly triggers the Grail to burst energy that causes a huge fire and destroy Shinto, a region of Fuyuki city where the grail was summoned. 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. She is also a skilled swordswoman, wielding a shinai known as the Tora-Shinai that was jokingly said to have absorbed so much bloodlust that it has become a high-level cursed object. 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 Ryūdō 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.
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.
He is an antagonist in all three routes of Fate/stay night. He participates in the Fifth Holy Grail War as a Master, with Rider as his Servant, although he does not have Magus abilities. He is beaten and humiliated by Shirō, who almost crushes Shinji's throat for using the school as a power source. 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, who is Rider's true Master. In the Fate 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 ousted as a false Master as Rider returns to her true Master, Sakura. It is revealed that he had been raping Sakura for many years and when attempting to once again rape Sakura in a fit of jealous insanity, he threatens to tell Shirō of this and is subsequently murdered by her in a fit of fright, which would become the direct trigger for her transformation into Dark Sakura.
Kuzuki is a strict instructor in Rin's class. 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, whom she made a contract with after killing her original Master (known in the anime as Atram Galiast). After his Servant is killed by Archer's hail of swords, he is defeated in melee by Archer. In the Heaven's Feel route, Kuzuki is never seen but is described as having been killed by unknown means during the Shadow's attack on the temple, with Saber and Shirō arriving soon after to find Caster standing over his dead body in shock. Caster is shown as having gone mad with grief over his death and denoting that she might as well have killed him with her own hands if this outcome was the end result of him being her Master, ultimately being killed by Saber in the ensuing fight. Kuzuki's identity as a Master is not made known in the Fate though the anime adaptation depicts him dying at Gilgamesh's hands.
Zōken is a powerful, ancient magus and the patriarch of the Matō family. Despite being centuries old, Shinji and Sakura refer to him as their grandfather. Hailing from Russia, his original name is Zolgen Makiri. He is ultimately revealed to be one of the original three Magi who created the Holy Grail system as well as the designer of the Command Seals. During the course of his long lifetime, Zōken has amassed an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience in magecraft. However, his training is indistinguishable from physical and psychological torture (a fact only exacerbated by Zōken's sadism). Zōken considers his grandson, Shinji, to be a disgrace of a sorcerer, and believes his adopted granddaughter, Sakura, to 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 is able to stop clinging to life and die in peace.
The first hostile Servant to appear in the story. His true identity is Cú Chulainn, the "child of light" from Ireland and one of its most famed heroes. 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. 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). 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, betraying Kirei after having become fed up with the Priest's actions. His death is portrayed in Studio Deen's anime adaptation of the Fate route as being the result of Gilgamesh spearing him through the heart with Caladbolg. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he offers to temporarily become allies with Shirō and Rin after Caster steals Saber and Archer betrays Rin to join her, becoming the pair's subsidiary Servant. Lancer discovers Kirei's hand in the mess when the Priest explains he'd manipulated the events to his advantage, intending to use Rin as the vessel for the Holy Grail. He refuses Kirei's order to kill Rin and then collapses from a fatal wound after being ordered to commit suicide via Command Spell, but not before killing Kirei and stabbing Shinji Matō. He then sets fire to the Einzbern castle with magic before fading away. In the Heaven's Feel route, Lancer's role is drastically reduced as he dies early on, being killed by True Assassin's Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya: Delusional Heartbeat, while distracted by the appearance of the Shadow, the latter devouring his corpse while True Assassin eat's Lancer's heart to absorb some of his skills and increase his own mental awareness.
The Servant of Illya, who appears as a giant with adamantine skin and gross brawn. His true identity is Heracles, a legendary hero and demigod of Greece and the son of the Ruler of the Gods, Zeus. He wields a colossal axe-sword, and is capable of causing massive destruction with the mere backlash of his swings. Berserkers are praised as members of the "Strongest" class, though they are difficult to control and can turn on their Masters. 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. 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. 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's skills are only able to knock down close to half of his lives with not even the former's massive collection of weapons being able to defeat the giant, and Rin's strongest and single-use attack is 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 and Saber take away one of Berserker's lives from the beginning in an initial fight with the Servant, and the remaining eleven are ended by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon when the Golden Archer binds the Servant down with his divine chains and pelts him with weapons, though the giant breaks free in one last act of pure willpower before finally being killed. In the "Heaven's Feel" route, Berserker is defeated by Saber Alter - the corrupted form of Saber - and is then consumed by Angra Mainyu and reborn as the decrepit Dark Berserker. He is later killed by Shirō Emiya.
A solitary Servant, clothed in a traditional Japanese hakama and kimono with an indigo haori. He initially claims to be Sasaki Kojirō (佐々木小次郎), 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 Ryūdō Temple. As an improper servant, Assassin is entirely dependent on Caster for mana and cannot move freely beyond the grounds of Ryūdō Temple. Furthermore, he lacks most of the usual parameters and abilities granted to his class. Because of his limited status, Assassin 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 mana 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 maneuver - otherwise, only two simultaneous strikes are possible. In Fate/Hollow ataraxia, he is described as having been killed by Gilgamesh. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he faces Saber once after letting Shirō and Archer pass in order to let them cause inconvenience for Caster, later letting Saber leave with her Master after Shirō is wounded by Archer as a sign of respect for her abilities and desire to defend her comrade. He is defeated by Saber on the last night of the Holy Grail War. In the Heaven's Feel route, Assassin's flesh serves as Zōken Matō'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. Her true identity is Medea, the disgraced princess of Colchis who was branded a witch as a result of actions outside her control. 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. However, 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 in terms of frontal combat ability. 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 Atram Galiast within a few days, and is later taken in by her current Master Sōichirō Kuzuki at the Ryūdō Temple. Caster quickly fell in love with Sōichirō, 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 after losing Assassin and Kuzuki in an attack by the Shadow, but Zōken Matō uses one of his worm familiars to maintain her body as a puppet for a brief period of time before it is slain for good by Saber.
True Assassin is an antagonist of the Heaven's Feel route. An exceptionally dangerous Servant due to his ability to attack outside battle, though he is significantly weaker than most Servants in a frontal encounter. He has a limited appearance in Fate/stay night and Fate/hollow ataraxia. True Assassin's identity is that of the legendary Persian "Old Man of the Mountain", Hassan-i Sabbah, the leader of al-Assasīn, but he 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, nor was he likely the last. His Noble Phantasm is Zabaniya: Delusional Heartbeat (妄想心音（ザバーニーヤ）,Zabānīya), a long, satanic, 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. This arm once belonged to a demon that True Assassin made a pact with, sacrificing his own arm in exchange for the demon’s, and with it the technique that finally gave him the right to claim the title of Old Man of the Mountain. He is the Servant of Zōken Matō, and only appears in the Heaven's Feel route, bursting out from within Assassin's flesh when Zōken uses the dying Servant's body as the catalyst to summon him. It is devoured by the Shadow and corrupted into Saber Alter. He attempts to kill Shirō immediately after but is defeated by Rider, who comes to Shirō's defense at the behest of her true master - revealed later to be Sakura Matō. He later fights and is defeated by Kirei Kotomine when trying to capture Illyasviel, but manages to survive the loss, only to be destroyed by Sakura's Shadow when Sakura turns on Zōken as revenge for his years of tormenting her.
Voiced by: Miho Miyagawa (Leysritt) and Haruhi Nanao (Sella) (Japanese); Brianna Knickerbocker (Leysritt) and Rachael McCabe (Sella) (UBW TV) (English)
These two women are Illya's maids, but they act as her caretakers and instruct her in the secrets of sorcery. Like Illya, they both have silky white 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 Illya 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 outgoing and extroverted 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 Shirō. Ayako often asks Shirō 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 Ryūdō 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 Hotaruzuka (蛍塚音子,Hotaruzuka Otoko)
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.
Raiga Fujimura (藤村雷画,Fujimura Raiga)
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 Third Holy Grail War with twin Masters, believing it would be advantageous for them to have two Servants as well as due to their Crest being split in half, though the family has not participated since. Luvia is an outstanding but arrogant student at the Mage's Association and frequently gets into fights with other students, including Rin Tōsaka, her cousin. She is notably famous in the non-magical world due to her job as a professional wrestler, where she is known as the "Forklift Lady" due to her immense strength. 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, working with him to investigate mysterious magical incidents on behalf of the Mage's Association. She was later seen in the final episode of the anime series adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works, once again as a fellow student to Rin and Shirō with her affections for the latter and rivalry with the former intact.
She is a main character in the spin-off series Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, where she and Rin come to Japan from the Clock Tower to retrieve the seven Class Cards of Fuyuki, and are subsequently aided by Illyasviel von Einzbern and Miyu Edelfelt, a girl she takes under her wing. Her magical wand, the Kaleidostick Sapphire, alongside her sister wand Ruby, aids the 4 characters in their adventures.
Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern (ユスティーツァ・リズライヒ・フォン・アインツベルン,Yusutītsa Rizuraihi fon Aintsuberun)
Known as the Saint of Winter, Justeaze 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. Justeaze 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 Justeaze's memories and personality as well as a genetic resemblance to her. She also indirectly assists her adoptive descendant Shirō, as it is through her memories that he is able to create a copy of the Jeweled Sword Zelretch near the climax of Heaven's Feel. She is also the 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 world peace as a tribute to his lost lover, but eventually forgot due to his ever-advancing age and creeping insanity.
The former Master of Caster who was originally mentioned in the visual novel, until his actual appearance in the second anime adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works in which his role was explained. Atrum initially summoned Caster with the intent of taking advantage of her ability to summon the original dragon of Colchis. However, once Caster stated that while she indeed had the knowledge to summon said dragon but not on how to control it, Atrum dismisses Caster as useless.
Some time after Caster's summoning, Atrum shows her his workshop, but she shows him how its advanced functions pale in comparison to her mastery of magecraft. She suggests that he close it down, commenting that throwing lives away in such manner is unwise when the workshop is only generating a loss of resources. Taking it as affront, he uses his Command Spell to make it so she will not use her Rule Breaker, on him in fear of being stabbed in the back. He later meets with Kirei Kotomine, hoping to work out a means of procuring another Servant from the two that have yet to be summoned. Kirei tells him that he will do his best, and he gives Kirei a message for Lancer's Master as a contract selling the right to eliminate Caster to keep from having to use a Command Spell to accomplish the task.
Upon returning to his workshop, he finds that Caster has destroyed it and let the captives go free. She suggests that she will bring him to Ryūdō Temple, the heart of the ritual where the Greater Grail resides. He rejects her proposal and attempts to have her commit suicide. When the first command fails, he uses his last Command Spell to reinforce the command, but Caster reveals that she had broken the contract by using Rule Breaker on herself and avoiding the command from the first Command Spell. She shows him an illusion of a labyrinth with murals depicting her legend, where he desperately runs while lamenting that he will die before even fighting a single battle. She berates him, saying it is a fitting death for one who sought results before even starting, and then immolates him.
^ abcdefghijklmnop"Two Magi (Part Two)". Fate/stay night (DVD). Episode 6. Sentai Filmworks. 2013. Event occurs at 24:14. Following the Japanese credits of this episode, the closing credits are presented in English with: English Vocal Cast, Japanese Vocal Cast.
^The English dub closing credits do not list an English dub voice credit for Sakura Matō. However, Sherry Lynn does list that she voiced Sakura on her website."Sherry Lynn - Anime Work". www.sherrylynnvoiceover.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
^Fate/complete material II: Character Material –– Characters: Kirei Kotomine, p.066-069. Nasu Kinoko & Takeuchi Takashi-Character Discussion. Takeuchi: Speaking of strength, who is stronger, Ciel or Kotomine? Nasu: Ciel is overwhelmingly strong, due to her circuits, constitution and immortality. The strength of Kotomine at the time of Zero was due to his abnormally large number of Command Spells and his tenacity towards Kiritsugu. It was truly the brightest moment of his life. The Kotomine at that time could even win against Ciel.
^Type-Moon."Set position / Rain". Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel. Day 9 - RAIN. Rin Tōsaka. " So, how's Sakura? You did that much so—–" Kirei Kotomine: "She escaped death, but it is just temporary. I was able to remove most of the crest worm, but some parts were buried too deeply to be removed. Some of it has eaten into the nerves. I can extract it all if I remove her heart, but that will kill Sakura as well. All I could do was to remove the crest worm that did not metabolize with her nerves, decreasing her pain and the pressure from Zouken. Her life should have ended tonight, but I prolonged it on a whim...."
^Type-Moon."What is hidden in the Holy Grail". Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel. Day 14 - servant eater.
^Type-Moon. "interlude 15-4: Death of a saint". Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel. Day 15 - limited. Kirei Kotomine: "What are you talking about? You don't need to hide it Matō Sakura..." Sakura Matō: "W–—What do you mean?" Kirei: "I said there's no need to hide it. You are not another personality.
You were swallowed by the mud and have become addicted to violence, but you are still Matō Sakura. You don't need to prepare another personality to excuse yourself..." Sakura: "What are you saying!? You're the one who made me like this!..." Kirei: "I won't deny it. I kept you alive so that you would remain its Master. You measured up to my expectations, and you are about to give birth to Avenger. You have easily accomplished what I could not."
^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...