The Red Archer Who Has Mastered Countless Blades


Archer is the Heroic Spirit who becomes Rin Tohsaka's Servant. Rin had intended to summon the more promising Saber as her Servant, but she got Archer instead because she and Archer share a very deep bond whether they knew it at the time or not. Since being summoned by Rin, Archer had hidden his true name from her by claiming that his memories were muddled, even as he fought his way through the Holy Grail War. He is a cynical realist, but also has a stubborn and childish side that makes it hard to hate him.

Archer's identity is "Emiya"... that is, he is Shirou. In the future, Shirou wished for a miracle to save 100 humans, and in exchange for this wish he was transformed into a Heroic Spirit. Despite being an unknown hero, Shirou is able to stand on equal footing in battle against other Heroic Spirits thanks to his mastery of his unique ability, "Unlimited Blade Works: Infinite Creation of Swords".

As a Heroic Spirit, Archer's role as a "Guardian" occasionally requires him to kill humans in order to avoid the extinction of the entire human race. After repeatedly having to kill humans and seeing for himself the depravity of which they are capable, Archer began to question his own ideals. As a result, Archer's only goal became killing Shirou Emiya in the hopes that doing so would end his own existence. Despite his wishes, however, every route inevitably leads to Archer fighting in order to protect others. It has been suggested that his nature did not change even after death.

Character Data 005

AffiliationRin Tohsaka's Servant
TALENTS:Tinkering, domestic chores
LIKES:Domestic chores (though he denies it)
DISLIKES:Heroes of justice
RIVALS:Rin Tohsaka, Sakura Matou, Illya


Archer's most notable relationship is the one between him and his Master, Rin Tohsaka. His true name, Emiya, revealed that he and Rin shared a bond that transcended the usual connection between a Master and Servant. Back when Archer was still human, Rin used a special pendant to save Shirou's life when he was mortally wounded by Lancer. This pendant acted as the catalyst when Rin summoned a Heroic Spirit, and that is why Archer was summoned.

In the UBW route, Archer betrayed Rin and allied himself with Caster. Archer chose this alliance because he believed it would lead to an opportunity to kill Shirou Emiya. Meanwhile, in the HF route, Archer chose to transplant his own left arm, complete with the associated magic and experience, onto Shirou's body when Shirou lost his left arm.

Character Discussion with Kinoko Nasu & Takashi Takeuchi


NASU: Archer has to be one of the most obvious and transparent characters possible.

TAKEUCHI: He earned some serious popularity among the fans; enough to get him third place in a popularity contest. The top three positions are usually reserved for the heroines.

NASU: That really was hard to believe.

TAKEUCHI: None of the characters in old "Fate" really held the same position as Archer, so it's safe to say he truly is a "stay night" original.

NASU: I guess you could say his personality and behavior were transplanted from the male Saber in the original "Fate". Archer's theme is pretty stereotypical, and I think we used him to supplement some of the nihilism that was lacking in "stay night" as a result of male Saber's exclusion. It was also great to have Archer and Rin together. That particular pairing was really easy to write.


TAKEUCHI: I knew from the beginning that Archer and Shirou were technically the same person, so I just aimed to design a character of ambiguous nationality but with a distinct Japanese style.

NASU: I asked Takeuchi to make sure Archer's true identity wasn't obvious, but to also avoid making him look totally different. We gave him white hair and a slightly darker skin tone, but their personalities have similarities... and their eyebrows are exactly the same.

TAKEUCHI: Koyama commented on the eyebrows, but it was quite a while after the game was released. I was like, "It took you this long to notice!?" (laughs)

NASU: It's one of those details that tends to escape notice until someone points it out.

TAKEUCHI: I don't know how anyone can miss such weird-looking eyebrows... but I guess if even the development staff didn't notice it right away, It means I did a good job. Good job, me!

NASU: Yes, yes... You did a good job with that subtlety. Here, have a gold star. I think the red coat was another detail that I specifically requested?

TAKEUCHI: Yeah, that's right. But it's not really a coat, is it? As I recall, we decided to use the term "overcoat" because we couldn't very well call it a red waistcloth.

NASU: So this is what passes for an overcoat in the future? (laughs)

TAKEUCHI: The future is an awesome place! I wonder if the swords were the secret to Archer's popularity. I feel like the Kanshou and Bakuya designs turned out really well.

NASU: Somehow, Archer looks more natural holding Kanshou and Bakuya than he does wielding a bow.

TAKEUCHI: I think going with a Chinese-style weapon was the right choice. I feel like Archer might not have turned out as well if we had chosen a Western sword or Japanese katana for him. Kanshou and Bakuya offer such a subtle. balance. Koyama deserves all the credit for that one. I also think they strike a good balance between a realistic and manga style.


NASU: I feel like I said everything I wanted to say with Archer in the main game storyline.

TAKEUCHI: Maybe that explains his popularity. Honestly, I sometimes wonder why and how he got so popular.

NASU: Hmm... sex appeal...?

TAKEUCHI: But he's popular with the male playerbase as well.

NASU: Ha! It's easy to gain a male following if you're all cool and nihilistic like Archer. Curse people who find fulfillment in their lives!

TAKEUCHI: Uh... I don't think Archer necessarily found fulfillment in his life... but I guess his words and actions did carry a certain weight with them, and I imagine that made him very easy to like.

NASU: He took on the much-needed role of admonishing our troublesome main character, so it was inevitable that he would eventually become a hated character or an obstacle that would have to be overcome. It's one of those conflicts from which only one will walk away. I think this role made him very attractive as well.

TAKEUCHI: I guess.

NASU: I heard that some of our more intuitive players figured out Archer's true identity in Saber's route.

TAKEUCHI: Seriously!?

NASU: I was surprised too, when I heard. I mean, it's true that we did have two or three well- hidden clues tucked away in there, so it doesn't seem entirely infeasible. Of course, we had put those clues there so that the player might recall them during Rin's route and slowly figure it out from there... I don't think any of us expected players to figure it out during Saber's route.

TAKEUCHI: I think Archer earned some serious points through his battle against Berserker. He really secured his place as a character who can "speak volumes with his back turned". We only incorporated that scene because it was necessary with regard to the storyline, but looking back at it now, I realize what a great scene that really was. I don't think anyone expected that dialogue in that moment... it was all so perfect. Archer really is a great character.

NASU: He's technically a pretty oblivious character who is really awkward at life, but his nihilistic side was powerfully emphasized in the main storyline of "Fate". I suppose you could say he has a leg up on Shirou out of sheer life experience.


NASU: I'd like to leave that particular point up to the player's imagination, so I won't discuss it in detail here. Something I can talk about is how we managed to incorporate two things into "Fate" that we didn't get around to doing in "Tsukihime". The first was a route that was played from the victim's point of view, and the other was to portray a duel against the ideal version of oneself. The thing about battling an "ideal version of oneself" is that this concept itself is open to interpretation. The "ideal self" could be a rival, someone totally different like Kotomine, or literally oneself. After much deliberation, we decided we'd go with the "vs. self" concept for "Fate". Gil was the Archer in old "Fate", but we chose to promote Gil to a boss role and put future Shirou in the Archer position this time. In this way, we were able to facilitate Shirou's "battle vs. himself". The "victim's route" was established by Satsuki's route, and we also supplemented that theme with Sakura's route.


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