|“||I've waited for this time to come, even though I thought it was impossible. So...||„|
Archer is one of the main protagonists of the visual novel and anime series Fate/Stay Night. He is the Servant of Rin Tohsaka during the Fifth Holy Grail War, though his true identity is unknown even to him.
He is voiced by Junichi Sawabe in the Japanese version of the anime and Liam O'Brien in the English version, the former of whom also voices Takashi Komuro. In the English version of the Unlimited Blade Works anime and the Heaven's Feel movies, he is voiced by Kaiji Tang.
|“||Well well... it appears I've been summoned by a strange little girl.||„|
|~ Archer, after being summoned by Rin|
Archer is not a proper Heroic Spirit in the sense of other heroes. His true identity is that of Shirou Emiya of an alternate timeline from that of Fate/stay night who made a contract with the world and became the Heroic Spirit EMIYA. He acts as a Counter Guardian for the world as payment for the contract. He is summoned because he still has the jewel pendant that Rin used to save his life after Lancer stabbed his heart. 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. After the end of each of the three routes in Fate/stay night, the possibility for Shirou to become Archer still exists, but the chance is it happening is close to zero.
After winning the fifth Holy Grail War along with his Servant Saber, Emiya Shirou was all the more inspired to pursue his dream of becoming a superhero. To this end, he stubbornly trained himself to his peak and began working as a freelance magus similar to his father. It was during this time when he received his signature red overcoat as a gift from Ciel of the Burial Agency. In order to save the lives of a hundred of people dying before him in a calamity, for the sake of saving the lives that his eyes could see and for the sake of saving even more lives as a Heroic Spirit after his death, he made a contract with the world and became a hero. Although he desperately fought to end a war, he was in turn branded as the mastermind behind that war and subsequently executed. His belief that he would continue to save many people as a Heroic Spirit did not happen, but rather he was made to clean up after human actions and forced to take many lives to save humanity as a whole instead. After seeing human self-destruction and forced to oppose his own ideals countless times, he began to deny himself and his ideal. Even knowing that the Throne of Heroes was isolated from time and space, Archer desperately came to believe that his only hope of release was to have himself summoned into an era where Emiya Shirou exists and kill his past self, hoping that the double paradox created by Emiya Shirou being killed before having a chance to make the contract with Alaya and that the killing was done by an Emiya Shirou which successfully made the contract with the world would create a time paradox great enough in magnitude that could potentially erase his existence as a Counter Guardian.
On the night of the second day, his statement that his memories were vague and he didn’t know his identity due the imperfect summoning was halfway true and halfway false. He no longer possesses Shirou’s memory, although he can still remember some key events such as being saved by Kiritsugu Emiya and meeting Saber. While Rin slept, he reasoned out his situation and realized that he may have the opportunity to achieve his goal. This was affirmed when the girl who summoned him introduced herself as Rin Tohsaka the following morning.
His personality is thoroughly cynical, but at the same time, devoted, and even a little childish to the point that it makes him hard to hate. He doesn't lie, but he does keep secrets. He is sarcastic, but it is how he gives advice. He cannot approve of Emiya Shirou’s ideal of “hero of justice”, but at the same time he cannot deny it.
In Fate, Archer is a nameless hero who gives up his life in order to let his master, Rin, escape along with Saber and Shirou. Before facing off with Berserker, Archer advises Shirou to 'imagine something that can defeat it' when presented with an enemy he cannot defeat. He is subsequently killed in combat against Berserker, but not before killing Berserker six times (five in the anime) and reducing his stock of lives from God Hand.
Unlimited Blade Works
In Unlimited Blade Works, Archer is developed as an antagonistic character. Archer betrays Rin, aligning with Caster because, he claimed, she had the highest chance of acquiring the Holy Grail.
He then betrays Caster and her master and kills them both, revealing his true intentions. Archer needed to be free from Rin's command seal in order to accomplish his goal of killing Shirou. Archer then kidnaps Rin after she forms a contract with Saber, forcing a situation where Shirou faces off one on one against Archer.
Archer loses the fight, but only because he does not attack Shirou as he is stabbed through the chest. However, he survived the blow thanks to Independent Action, and remains hidden until the final battle where he saves Rin from the Holy Grail and eliminates a cornered and near-defeated Gilgamesh.
He then disappears for good with a smile on his face, confident that Rin will stop Shirou from taking a path that he will regret.
In Heaven's Feel, Archer abandons his wish to kill Shirou, opting instead to fulfill his duties as a Counter Guardian to eliminate 'the shadow'.
During a battle with Black Saber, Assassin and 'the shadow', Archer's core is critically damaged and he is mortally wounded. Since Shirou has discarded his heroic ideals to save Sakura, Archer chooses to have Kotomine graft his left arm onto Shirou, who lost his arm protecting Ilya (following the way of the Counter Guardians, sacrificing one life to save another rather than losing both). Much of Archer's knowledge was subsequently transferred to Shirou, though the foreign arm began to invade his body as well.
Archer's final appearance in Heaven's Feel is a motivational image for Shirou, who is struggling with taking off the Shroud of Martin.
The Fate/stay night manga follows parts of both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works. He remains loyal to Rin instead of joining Caster of his own free will, and he displays the same antagonistic attitude towards Shirou. He is forced to join Caster once Kuzuki captures and holds Rin hostage. After freeing himself from her control, he proceeds with his plan to kill Shirou. He is stopped by Rin, who begs him not to kill his younger self and erase his existence as a Heroic Spirit, as she has respect for both Shirou and Archer. Eventually, Archer decides not to kill Shirou and continues his role as Rin's Servant.
|“||I am the bone of my sword. Steel is my body, and fire is my blood. I have created over a thousand blades, unknown to death, nor known to life, withstood pain to create many weapons, and yet these hands shall never hold anything. So as I pray... Unlimited Blade Works!||„|
|~ Archer's chanting of Unlimited Blade Works|
His strength does not come from talent, but from single-mindedly refining the little he had. Other than Reinforcement and Projection, the Magecraft which he excels at are 'unlocking' and 'restoration', both of which are derived from grasping the internal structure of things. He can also use magic detection and magic resistance, which are considered the basics of the basic, but not offensive Magecraft that work around the lines of nature interference. His dark skin, white hair, and gray eyes are a side effect of extensively using Projection Magecraft.
He does not possess a proper Noble Phantasm, but one could say that his Reality Marble is his Noble Phantasm. Replicated Noble Phantasms can be used as Broken Phantasms and fired as arrows. Incidentally, even if he replicates a holy sword on the level of Excalibur, he does not have the magical energy necessary to bring out its full potential.
The overcoat around his waist is a first rate conceptual armament made from the holy shroud of a saint; which opposes not enemies, but the external environment. His armor and bow are made from a special material that has yet to be discovered by mankind, and the latter was constructed to be resistant enough to fire Noble Phantasms.