The Alluring Cavalrywoman Who Rides on Illusions
The Heroic Spirit summoned by Sakura is of the Rider class. She possesses agility, skills, and several Noble Phantasms worthy of the Rider class and is easily among the top Servants in terms of overall ability. Since Sakura had no intention of fighting anyone, she transferred her control of Rider to her brother Shinji. As a result, Rider was technically Shinji's Servant whenever she appeared before Shirou.
Rider's main weapon is a nail attached to a chain, and she maneuvers gracefully through the air while piercing her opponent with the nail in order to reduce their mobility. Of her three Noble Phantasms, the most potent in terms of offensive capability is the Bellerophon, which allows her legendary mount Pegasus to use an extremely powerful charge. Aside from her Noble Phantasms, possesses Cybele, the Mystic Eyes of Petrification. Since Cybele's effect is constant and out of Rider's direct control, she usually wears Mystic Eye Killers in order to seal Cybele's effect.
Though usually stoic and aloof, Rider is not thoughtless or without feelings. If anything, she tends to overthink things. When Rider sees how Sakura lives her life oppressed by others, the Servant cannot help but compare Sakura's suffering to the way she herself had suffered at the hands of the Gods. This empathy Rider feels for Sakura means she is very serious when it comes to her concerns regarding Sakura's well-being. Rider's bewitching presence and flawless proportions are two more characteristics she shares in common with Sakura, as Sakura also has an enviable body even if she tends to hide it.
Character Data 006
|Affiliation||Sakura Matou's Servant|
|TALENTS:||Using machinery, riding, acrobatics, stalking|
|LIKES:||Alcohol, reading, snakes|
|DISLIKES:||Mirrors, body measurements|
|RIVALS:||Saber, Kojiro, Souichirou Kuzuki|
Sakura is the one who actually summoned Rider, and is therefore Rider's true Master. Even after Shinji was granted control over Rider, the Servant viewed Sakura as her one and only Master. Though Rider did not think for a moment that Shinji was in any way a positive presence in Sakura's life, the Servant dutifully obeyed Shinji because the transfer of control was done through the use of Command Spells - and because such was Sakura's wish. Rider's absolute obedience quickly inflated Shinji's ego, but Rider had absolutely no interest in him and couldn't care less about his state of mind.
Certain story choices can lead to Rider sucking Ayako Mitsuzuri's blood, after which the Servant seems to take a liking to her.
Character Discussion with Kinoko Nasu & Takashi Takeuchi
THE CATALYST FOR RIDER'S BIRTH
TAKEUCHI: Rider's one of the rare cases where the design changed quite a bit between the early drafts and the final design.
NASU: The early drafts actually lived on to become Ayako... and I don't want to hear anything about her eyebrows being thick! I saw a movie called "Vidocq", and I was totally charmed by the mirror-masked killer in it. I just really liked the way he moved and hid using his black cloak. I wanted to reproduce that feeling in the game, so I figured we could have a Rider with disheveled hair wearing a long robe. But then Takeuchi drew up the base design for the current Rider just on a lark, and even I had to admit it was the better design. That illustration of Rider where her face is angled down and to the side... that's the one that captured my heart.
TAKEUCHI: So how did we decide on Medusa as an identity for Rider again? Was it because we were talking about the lack of a "sexy" type character?
NASU: Yes, that's right. Rider was originally a male character, but we realized we didn't have enough female characters for a bishojo game. The original concept for Rider was a masterless "stray" Servant whose true name was Perseus, from Greek mythology. By the time he made his first appearance, his Master was long dead. The concept took two or three different turns before it finally settled into the current Rider.
TAKEUCHI: When we reviewed the Servants in search of one that could be changed into a female, Berserker was out of the question and Assassin's identity as Kojiro was basically the punch line for his character, so that left Rider.
NASU: But there weren't any legendary heroines with ties to Pegasus, so we selected Medusa, who gave birth to Pegasus, as Rider's new identity.
TAKEUCHI: We originally had no intention of releasing any information about Rider prior to the game's launch, but when the launch was delayed by about a month, we suddenly found ourselves in need of more material to fill the gap. We reluctantly unveiled Medusa, but we didn't reveal the details of her character, like the fact that she was a Servant.
NASU: We imagined most people would assume she was Assassin, and we were quite pleased to let them think that.
TAKEUCHI: Indeed, we were quite successful on that front. I mean, after seeing that nail...
NASU: No one would guess it was Rider!
TAKEUCHI: The best part was that the magazine [Rider was revealed in] added the tagline "Sexy Fighting Lady". How great is that!?
NASU: I love it. (laughs)
REGARDING RIDER'S CHARACTER DESIGN
TAKEUCHI: The main thing I was conscious of with Rider's design was the fact that I didn't want her outfit to turn out looking obscene. I leaned more toward a snug-fitting bodysuit rather than a sexually charged leather suit.
NASU: I do recall that when I asked you if her outfit was leather, you said "no" with quite a bit of fervor.
TAKEUCHI: I may not have wanted the suit itself to be leather, but I did imagine the bindings to be leather. I thought those little accents being made of leather might add a touch of elegance without making her look like a dominatrix. range
NASU: I see. As a side note, Rider was initially supposed to have a height somewhere in the of 175~180cm, but we were worried that PC gamers might not find such a tall woman particularly appealing, so we compromised at 172cm.
TAKEUCHI: I imagine she wouldn't have such a wide appeal if we set her height in the 180cm range.
NASU: But you know, I did get some feedback suggesting that more than a few of our players were surprised that she was "so short" since I had emphasized her height in the original "stay night" material.
TAKEUCHI: Personally, I think somewhere around 170cm was just the right height to make her self-conscious about her height without making her a giant.
NASU: You're right. I suppose any girl over 170cm in height is plenty tall. I think tall women are cool, but I do wonder if I should have eased up on that a bit.
TAKEUCHI: I think it's fine. Rider's height is what makes her unique, and it was precisely her height that made that awesome pose at Ryuudouji Temple during Sakura's route possible.
NASU: That was one of the rare cases where I, as the writer, made a specific request about the visual aspect. I asked them to give her "an arachnid pose".
RIDER'S FEELINGS ABOUT HER MASTER
NASU: I saw Rider as a Doberman, fierce and scary but beautiful and loyal. Rider considered Sakura to be her true Master, so when Sakura wanted Rider to obey Shinji instead, Rider did so dutifully despite her personal feelings. But even Rider had her limits in dealing with a jerk like Shinji... (laughs)
TAKEUCHI: She does come off as a very loyal individual.
NASU: Rider initially had a military theme, so she's definitely not the kind of person who interacts with others based on sentiment... she views it more as a duty.
THE MESSAGE RIDER CARRIES AS A CHARACTER
NASU: An outlaw with super long hair and the Mystic Eyes of Petrification... a winning trifecta!
TAKEUCHI: Speaking of the Mystic Eyes, the mark on Rider's forehead was designed to look like a snake and was originally going to be a third eye.
NASU: Yeah, the idea was to make her third eye the Mystic Eye, but we dumped that idea because it was too obvious and boring.
TAKEUCHI: So the mark on her forehead that was originally there to indicate a sealed Mystic Eye ended up being little more than a cool tattoo.
NASU: I still think we made the right decision about the third eye.
TAKEUCHI: Now that I think about it... if we had given her a third eye, we probably wouldn't have had her wearing glasses...
NASU: Even in the old "Fate", we had drilled it into our fans that Noble Phantasms were swords. So I can only imagine their reactions when Rider activated her reins of all things, which then immediately evaporated. (laughs) In a manner of speaking, Rider's true name was essentially the punch line of her character, much like with Kojiro. That's why I mostly kept her quiet throughout the main "stay night".
TAKEUCHI: For the longest time, I thought Pegasus was her Noble Phantasm, so I assumed the reins were like a Noble Phantasm Rider used to control her Noble Phantasm... but then Nasu told me that Pegasus wasn't a Noble Phantasm, and my mind was blown.
NASU: At the school and on the roof, Rider only summoned Pegasus. After summoning Pegasus, Rider uses her reins as kind of a power-up item, and that is the recipe behind Bellerophon.