Shirou Emiya

The Mage-in-training Who Inherited Kiritsugu's Will

衛宮 士郎

The main protagonist of the story, enrolled in class 2-C at Homurahara Academy. Shirou got caught in the middle of the massive fire that burned part of Fuyuki City ten years ago. He was the sole survivor of the blaze, having been saved by Kiritsugu Emiya. Kiritsugu adopted Shirou and gave him some basic training in magecraft. Shirou has been living on his own ever since Kiritsugu died five years ago, but he never feels lonely as both Taiga and Sakura come by to eat meals with him on a daily basis.

After accidentally summoning Saber, Shirou became one of the Masters in the Fifth Holy Grail War. While he was initially only armed with the most basic forms of Reinforcement magecraft, Shirou fought hard to put an end to the Holy Grail War and eventually gained a powerful Projection magecraft ability that allowed him to make copies of weapons, including Noble Phantasms.

Shirou has a serious personality and is passionate about helping people. He can be a bit dense when it comes to emotional subtleties and tends to be oblivious of any love or hatred others feel toward him. When he was a child, Shirou made a promise to always strive to become a champion of justice, but the trauma of the fire had left Shirou with a serious case of survivor's guilt. He may not save many lives through the course of the various stories, but he does indeed save the very souls of the women who came into his life. That was itself a feat worthy of a champion of justice, but Shirou fails to realize all of the good he has done because he is oblivious to such things.

Character Data 004

AffiliationHomurahara Academy class 2-C
TALENTS:Tinkering, cooking
LIKES:Home Cooking
DISLIKES:Plum kelp tea
RIVALS:Kirei Kotomine


Most of Shirou's interpersonal relationships are with friends at school and other people he knew prior to the Fifth Holy Grail War. Of all the people he knows from school, Rin is the only one with whom he developed a closer relationship as a direct result of the Holy Grail War. Shirou admired and respected Rin because she was beautiful and intelligent, but his opinions of Rin were betrayed in the end. In truth, Rin had been interested in Shirou from their middle school days, but naturally, he remained painfully unaware of this.

Shirou met his adoptive father Kiritsugu during the Fourth Holy Grail War, when Kiritsugu saved him from a fire he had gotten trapped in. By the time Kiritsugu found Shirou, the young boy was near death and the only way Kiritsugu could think of to save his life was to infuse the boy's body with Saber's treasured artifact, "The Everdistant UtopiaAvalon". Illya is Kiritsugu's daughter, and though she looks younger than Shirou, she is actually older.

Character Discussion with Kinoko Nasu & Takashi Takeuchi


NASU: Takeuchi was the one who approached me about the main character for "stay night", saying he wanted it to be a stubborn guy. We hadn't gotten around to doing the whole "fighting against yourself" theme that we planned to do with "Tsukihime", so we figured this would be a great opportunity to do that and blend it with the "hero of justice" concept we wanted to explore.

TAKEUCHI: Though Shirou's concept went through at least a couple of revisions.

NASU: Initially, Gilgamesh was the 8th servant, and he was a (gate) keeper instead of an Archer. The heirloom artifact was supposed to act as the key. Early on, we laid out a few plot twists with certain route branches leading to red herrings that made the player think Gilgamesh might be Shirou. Since the surname Emiya can be defined as the protector (keeper) of the "miya", it would have been interesting at the very least. That was going to be Shirou's link with Gilgamesh. Despite the various colorful concepts we considered for Shirou, he ended up being a pretty simplistic "hero of justice" who felt bound by fate when he survived a terrible situation.

TAKEUCHI: The character's basic concept didn't change that much from the first draft: red hair, a permanent scowl, stubborn, and a steady gaze. We were aiming for an orthodox shonen manga hero, but we knew that alone would be far too dull, so we gave him a touch of mystique by adding extra lines to his eyes. I didn't think too hard about it when I first started drawing him, but I think I did a pretty good job of designing a character with elements that compensated for the somewhat unusual foundation for his design.

NASU: He's the kind of guy who knows what his goal is and shows very little interest in anything that doesn't somehow relate to him achieving that goal. It's not that he doesn't take interest in other things, but more that he can't. I suppose you could say he's more "serious" than "stubborn". He can be quite insensitive when it comes to human happiness, but again, that is because it is his nature and not a result of him being heartless.


TAKEUCHI: Of the "stay night" characters, Shirou's probably the most difficult to draw.

NASU: Yeah, I find it's difficult to write for him too.

TAKEUCHI: I'm sure, but I'm talking specifically about drawing him. His facial expressions in particular always give me trouble. That's why I have so much respect for the people handling him for the anime.

NASU: Maybe we should have designed him to be more like an archetypical hero... Would that have made him easier to draw, in a manner of speaking?

TAKEUCHI: That's possible. His eyebrows are so unique that they're hard to work around when I'm trying to form different facial expressions. Scowling and yelling are easy enough, but the more subtle expressions prove quite tricky. We basically created a monster in terms of design. (laughs)


TAKEUCHI: I don't have any comments in particular regarding his outfits. I suppose the only direction I really had in mind was to make him look as normal as possible instead of emphasizing his unique nature.

NASU: One thing we can say is that Shirou's outfits were designed under one of Type-Moon's most constant rules, which is that the main character is never overly accessorized. When I create a main character, I usually focus on their inner aspects, so we try to leave the character's exterior as plain as possible to ensure that the player can envision him however they'd like.


TAKEUCHI: I think one of the main reasons why I find Shirou so difficult to draw is because I didn't draw him very much for "Fate." That was a result of Type-Moon's approach to "gal games" being centered around the idea that the main character shouldn't be visually represented very often. We only showed his standing pose image when we were seeing him from Rin's point of view, and there were very few event illustrations in which Shirou made an appearance.

NASU: There's the one where he's holding Sakura... and then the intimate scenes, of course. Most of the important scenes were drawn with the focus on the sword.

TAKEUCHI: He also showed up in the generic combat illustrations. I did draw him quite a bit for the PS2 game "Réalta Nua" though. Since "stay night" was technically designed to be a bishojo game, we did our best to avoid giving the main character a face. The PS2 game, on the other hand, didn't have any graphic scenes so we didn't have to worry about that as much. But when I had to draw him for the first time in a while, I experienced definite difficulties in getting him right. I had a terrible time trying to make him look like the first standing pose image I drew of him.

NASU: (laughs)

TAKEUCHI: That standing pose image is what I consider to be the epitome of everything Shirou should be, visually speaking.

NASU: I remember we debated quite a bit over Shirou's facial expression because I kept insisting that he needed to look more stubborn.

TAKEUCHI: Did we? I don't remember, but that sounds about right.

NASU: Shirou's the kind of main character who wants to save as many people as possible and make them all happy. In contrast, Shiki from "Tsukihime" is the kind of person who only cares about those closest to him and their happiness.

TAKEUCHI: Shiki was the guy I wanted to be when I grew up, back when I was in middle school and first learned about otaku culture. Shirou, on the other hand, was who I wanted to grow up to be way back when I was in elementary school and knew nothing about any of that stuff. (laughs)


NASU: In the early stages of the plot, Shirou considers Saber to be his soul mate, someone with whom he shares ideals. Rin was the classmate he admired, and Sakura was someone he felt he needed to protect. Shirou is a self-sacrificing idealist who was essentially guided through life by the things he believed in, but Sakura was an exception for him. Only when dealing with Sakura was the idealistic and profound Shirou Emiya reduced to a mere human being with more mundane thoughts and emotions. As a side note, Shirou's heart was always racing when it came to Rin.

TAKEUCHI: I never considered Shirou to be particularly dense or indecisive. He's the kind of guy who would be very careful about his choices when it comes to matters of the heart.

NASU: I definitely wouldn't say he's dense, he just has his priorities straight and doesn't try to hide it. He is, after all, a superhero... an idealistic public figure. (laughs)

TAKEUCHI: Despite all that, there is something about him that makes you feel like he deserves every bit of mortal happiness he can get. I believe Shirou discovered his "most human" self in Sakura's route, and I'd say that has a lot to do with Illya's presence.

NASU: Illya's and Sakura's circumstances are very similar, so I think it's safe to say that Illya often empathized with Sakura even though they were technically enemies.


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