Proud King of Knights of the Round Table
TRUE NAME: ARTORIA
Saber is the Heroic Spirit who was summoned by Shirou Emiya and belongs to the Saber class of Servants, which is considered the most outstanding class of them all. She was also summoned during the Fourth Holy Grail War by Shirou's adoptive father Kiritsugu Emiya. Her true identity is Artoria, better known as King Arthur Pendragon, the legendary hero of Britain. Artoria had drawn the famous sword from the stone as a young girl, and she hid her gender in order to live as the idealized identity of
King Arthur. When her lands were reduced to ruin by civil unrest, Artoria came to believe that she was not worthy of being a king. Her hope is that the Holy Grail will select a new and more worthy king to lead her kingdom. Despite possessing powers that live up to the legend, Shirou's terrible aptitude obstructed Saber's Magical Paths, resulting in less mana for Saber and thus a veritable handicap in battle. In terms of personality, Saber is very prideful ond extremely straight-laced. She does not tend
to think of herself as a feminine figure, and this outlook often led to bickering with Shirou when they first met. Through her experiences with Shirou, Saber was able to reaffirm the validity Of her life, which eventually guided hec to the conclusion thot the Holy Grail embodied all of the world's evil und must therefore be destroyed. Regardless of his flaws, Shirou was essentially the mirror that allowed Saber to take a good look at herself, and it can be said that she was extremely lucky to have him as a Master.
|Shirou Emiya's Servant
Having previously been summoned for the Fourth Holy Grail War, Saber's relationships with the various characters span two generations. Shirou's adoptive father Kiritsugu was Saber's Master during the Fourth Holy Grail War. Saber fought Gilgamesh during the Fourth Holy Grail War, and he has been helplessly smitten with her ever since. Saber developed relationships with Shirou, Rin, and Sakura during the Fifth Holy Grail War. When Saber was unable to take on her Spirit form, she led a very ordinary life at the Emiya home and
strengthened her bonds with these three during that time. Shirou had the heirloom "The Everdistant Utopia" (Avalon) embedded in his body, and it was the power of this artifact that allowed him to summon Saber. Avalon had previously been used by Kiritsugu to summon Saber, and it was Kiritsugu who embedded it in Shirou's body.
Character Discussion with Kinoko Nasu & Takeuchi Takeshi
THE CATALYST FOR SABER'S BIRTH
Saber's character is rooted in the specific desire to draw a petite, blonde female knight. As we developed her character concept, we decided to aim for something that was fresh and stimukating. I guess the best analogy to illustrate what I mean is to say if the archetyptipical characters in bisho games are like juice, we wanted Saber to be like pure spring water.
CHANGES THAT WERE DEVELOPRED OVERTIME
NASU: It's pretty commonly known that Saber was a male character in the original work, so the only maior change we made to the character on the concept side of things is the gender. In terms of the character's design aspect, we really didn't change much.
TAKEUCHI: I don't know if this would really count as a change, but I did propose putting the Pendragon crest on Saber's loincloth. The idea was rejected, though.
NASU: You're right, she did look a bit more extravagant during the early stages.
TAKEUCHI: In all honesty, I still believe the very first sketch I drew of Saber was the best one. It's something I sketched while I was working for another company prior to this one. (Said while looking at "Fate/side material")
NASU: I remember... you gave her this distinctly supple firmness. Now that I think about it, you were drawing Sion for "Melty Blood" at the time, and she had the same look to her. According to Takeuchi, Sion was made up of the parts that were left over after he designed Saber.
TAKEUCHI: More specifically, the leftover parts from designing Saber, Rin, and Sakura. One thing I can say about designing Saber is that I never really had a specific image in mindt but I did have ideals that guided me. I simply did my best to give those ideals a physical form. I didnlt really like female characters who had their hair up, but I had to admit that Saber just wasn't as appealing with her hair down. I think exposing the nape of her neck was a key element in conveying that "purity" concept I mentioned earlier. The little stray bits of hair that look like antennae were also an important part of illustrating her character. I even had those stray hairs in my original sketch.
NASU: Oh look, YOU did! (laughs)
TAKEUCHI: It's a bit off-topic, but I do believe that the devil is in the details when it comes to character design. YOU can give a character a totally different vibe just by adding one strand of extra long hair to an otherwise bland or common hairstyle.
NASU: I see...
TAKEUCHI: I swear Saber looks like an ordinary girl without those little stray strands, but once you add those strands she magically becomes Saber. I recall someone referring to such stray strands of hair as "evidence of the king", and I think they were really on to something. The horns on Gundam characters are another excellent example of how the smallest details can be the epitome of characterization.
DESIGNING SABER'S OUTFITS AND ARMAMENTS
TAKEUCHI: I basically infused every part of Saber's design with my own personal tastes and preferences. Her overall design is quite simple and decidedly rudimentary.
NASU: If you think about it though, Saber is a rather rare design... in fact, you could say it's really quite daring! I mean, when was the last time you saw a main heroine in a game like this who wasn't showing any skin!?
TAKEUCHI: Exposing skin may be a reliable way to go in terms of design, but I guess I thought emphasizing the knighthood aspect of her design made her appealing enough. If Saber shines as a character to an unusual degree, I would say it is because of the game's excellent writing, which really brought out the best in every character.
NASU: When the character was brought to life visually, it really reaffirmed for me the beauty of Saber as a concept and I fell in love all over again.
TAKEUCHI: It was only ofterword that I realized just how much of an impression this character design made. Oh, ond I wag delighted when
told me you thought she looked great without her armor too.
STANDING POSE VARIATIONS FOR THE GAME
NASU: It's great to have a wide variety of standing poses for the game, of course, but as a writer that very same variety can be a cause for distress. I feel so much pressure to make the best Use of every pose and facial expression in terms of the text I provide for the game, which leads to hours of staring at these images in hopes of some inspiration. I had plenty of experience with this dilemma from the days of working on "Tsukihime'l, so at least I was prepared this time. I don't think there's anything wrong with games that only use about six different standing poses and leave the rest UP to the player's imagination, but the driving concept behind "Fate" was to further evolve the methods we had refined with "Tsukihime", so it was important that we have as many facial expressions as possible to best match a wide variety of dialogue. Even the most basic human emotion like "happiness" can be expressed through multiple facial expressions, and working with those subtle differences can be quite taxing, but in the end it is precisely those details that really bring the characters to life. I know I may be repeating myself at this point, but as a writer, the multitude of poses and facial
expressions is both a blessing and a curse. (laughs)
TAKEUCHI: One thing I learned was that people adapt very quickly to any luxury provided, and the more you offer, the more it emphasizes the specific things you are not offering. I suppose the lesson here is that moderation is key in all things. (laughs)
NASU: That's true, For example, when the player sees that we created an exclusive facial expression for a certain event, they might turn around and ask why we didnlt provide one for this other event...
TAKEUCHI: Something I will say is that I wish we had given Saber a little more variety in terms of her costumes.
THE MESSAGE SABER CARRIES AS A CHARACTER
TAKEUCHI: Blondes are hot!
NASU: Hahaha yeah, totally... ...Seriously, this guy needs help...
TAKEUCHI: There's definitely something hot about golden locks, but I think the true allure of blond hair is in the way it also carries a sense of style and nobility.
NASU: Now that I think about it, both Arcueid and Saber are blondes... I'm starting to worry that you intend on drawing even more blondes in the future.
TAKEUCHI: Is there anything else we can say about Saber?
NASU: I shouldn't have made her such a glutton. I mean, I didn't intend to make her that way, but the results speak for themselves. (laughs) I iust wanted to convey how bountiful our food supply is now compared to what people had to endure in the past, like what Artoria would have seen for herself in her original life.
TAKEUCHI: You know, this one time I was pondering Saber's popularity and I came to the conclusion that it's her beam weapon that draws
the fans. Graceful, young female knights are not all that rare, but you really don't see many who carry a powerful beam weapon!
NASU: Well, there is a certain "white devil"...
TAKEUCHI: Of course that "white devil" is popular! She has a beam weapon too! You see what I mean? Blonde + beam weapon = victory!!
NASU: That's a pretty specific victory...
TAKEUCHI: In the final battle of "Hollow", I got goosebumps from the overwhelming trust I felt upon seeing Saber stand before the beast horde. I am convinced that this powerful emotion is rooted in our generation's reverence of beam weapons!
NASU: I see... It all makes sense now. It's no wonder I'm such a huge fan of "Hato no Oyomesan" (Hatoyome)!
TAKEUCHI: Hato Beam!
NASU: Exactly! Though the Hato Beam hasn't been featured much lately...
Character Discussion with Kinoko Nasu & Takeuchi Takeshi
THE CATALYST FOR SABER ALTER'S BIRTH
NASU: Our motivations for creating Saber Alter were pretty simple. We were looking for a way to surprise the players who had played through both Sober's and Rin's routes. Also, Takeuchi said he wanted to transform the heroine into an antagonist/ saying, "l want a dark Saber."
TAKEUCHI: While working on old "Fate", which is the source work for "stay night", Nasu told me about the plot twist where an enemy gains Master status over Saber and turns her into an enemy character. I thought it was a really fun idea, and I wanted to explore it in "stay night".
NASU: There was a plot twist in old "Fate" where all of your friends get taken to the enemy side one by one, leading the situation to degrade into the worst possible scenario. I thought this storyline would work for the route where Sakura is the heroine, so I jumped on the idea when Takeuchi suggested it. But even I had to admit that seemed like the most obvious way to go, so I asked Takeuchi to create a dark version of Saber.