|“||Is it greedy for me to wish for an outcome in this life where everyone is saved and shares their happiness with others?||„|
|~ Shirou Emiya|
Shirou Emiya is the main protagonist of the visual novel and anime series Fate/stay night. He is a young teenager who becomes the Master of Saber during the Fifth Holy Grail War. He is an unorthodox magus who makes use of a very specialised version of Projection magecraft. He has made it his goal to become an Ally of Justice who will save everyone regardless of what happens to his own life. He is also the adopted son of Kiritsugu Emiya.
He is voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama in the Japanese version of the anime and Sam Riegel in the English version, the former of whom also voices Uryū Ishida. In the English version of the Unlimited Blade Works anime and the Heaven's Feel movie trilogy, he is voiced by Bryce Papenbrook.
Ten years before the start of Fate/stay night, Shirou was an ordinary boy living with his parents in Shinto. The great fire caused by the wish of Kotomine at the end of Fourth Holy Grail War killed both his parents and left him mortally wounded within the blaze. He was found by Kiritsugu Emiya, who was dejected after the events of the war, and wishing to atone for all of his actions, he saved Shirou's life by embedding Avalon in his body. He then later asked the recovering Shirou if he would like to become his adopted son, fully disclosing his identity as a magus. Shirou agreed and spent the next two years persistently asking Kiritsugu to teach him Magecraft. Kiritsugu eventually complied, and though he disapproved of Shirou's desire to learn his craft, he advised applying it in secret, where it could only benefit people and not attract confusion or suspicion. The knowledge he imparted on Shirou was very basic and incomplete, leading him down a dangerous path with little results. Furthermore, and perhaps inadvertently, Kiritsugu passed on his philosophy of wishing to be an Ally of Justice capable of saving anyone to Shirou.
Five years prior to the fifth Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu suddenly died due to a delayed effect from coming in contact with the contaminated grail, which left Shirou frustrated, depressed, and alone. He was subsequently watched over by Taiga Fujimura, Shirou's longtime neighbour and his English teacher, and his living expenses were managed by her grandfather, Raiga Fujimura. He later went to a middle school where he encountered Shinji Matou around October of his second year when he had to remake the signboard of the culture festival according to the design of third year students in a single evening. Shinji, who oversaw that throughout the evening, said “Hmm… you’re an idiot but actually does a pretty good job.” and started to laugh.
After starting in Homurahara School, he met Issei Ryuudou and became known as someone who would readily do anything to help others, such as fixing the school equipment. He later joined the Archery Club, which led to an estranged relationship with Shinji. He missed the target only once during the period that he was enrolled, but even then he said that he saw that “it will miss” before even shooting it. He withdrew during the summer of his first year due to a bone fracture in his right shoulder he received during his part-time job, which left a burn mark over the skin. The wound itself was nothing major, but Shinji pointed out that it was unsightly for someone with a burn mark to do a formal shooting, so he left the club as it was also a period when he was busy with his part-time job. Their relationship eventually smoothen out, but some tension still remained, especially in regard to Shinji's poor treatment of Sakura. Shirou also got closer to Sakura, as she started to visit his household frequently during the period while he was injured in order to help him cook and clean up the house. Even after he was healed, she continued to come as a member of his makeshift family.
Shirou possesses an extraordinary talent for housework. Despite having Taiga as his caretaker, he generally provides for all of her meals and does almost all of the housework, whereas she generally does nothing. Home cooking is his forte, and he especially prides himself in Japanese cuisine. He is not a cheapskate when it comes to ingredients to make a delicious meal, and he will spend a great deal of time in order to make something extravagant. He teaches Sakura how to cook, and as she improves, they eventually start to compete over the quality of their meals. Shirou equally enjoys Japanese tea, black tea, and coffee, but he is better with Japanese tea, and he dislikes plum kelp tea. There are times when he receives liquor from Copenhagen, but he merely tastes it as he is not good with alcohol. Among the characters of Fate, he is one of the heaviest eaters, losing only to Saber, Berserker, and Lancer. According to him “one who does not have the stomach to digest breakfast is a failure as a martial artist.” Despite having his household finances taken care of by Taiga, Shirou doesn't wish to feel like a freeloader, so he has been taking up part time jobs since middle school in order to pay for his own expenses.
Shirou does not feel good in the atmosphere of a Game Center. He is weak against blind dates, even though he likes them. He has never gone to the dentist. His English is poor and his intended major is initially in the field of law and politics. He likes repairing electronics to help practice his Magecraft, and he can become immersed for hours at a time while fixing appliances. Due to the fact that he almost never denies requests to repair appliances or work, such as cleaning the school's swimming pool before its opening, he has many nicknames such as “fake school janitor”, “in charge of mending”, “vacuum cleaner of the Archery Club” and “Homurahara’s brownie”. He likes to meditate within the dojo in his household, often to relax before or after practicing Magecraft.
While at school, he aims to be the greatest at the “who will give up first” type of contest. He once participated in sepak takraw along with Ryuudou Issei and Matou Shinji during a school festival. They advanced to the finals, but when they competed with the team formed by Kane Himuro, Ayaka Sajyou and Ayako Mitsuzuri, Issei caused a quarrel after being harassed with concentrated attacks and made both teams be disqualified.
Due to the trauma suffered during the great fire, Shirou has a constant emptiness in his personality. He feels that as the only survivor that it is unfair to the deceased to prioritize his own needs before those of others. He has a distorted sense of values where he finds self-worth from helping people without any compensation, feeling that the very act “helping people” is its own reward. When it comes down to receiving an injury or even giving up his life to help someone, he will do it without a second thought. The people who see this side of him are often very worried and attempt to correct his behavior, though they are unable to change his viewpoints. Kiritsugu often talked about how he used strive to protect the innocent from the world's many perils, even at the cost of his own humanity, and how he was saddened by the reality that whenever he was able to spare one life, another person was fated to die. Although Kiritsugu was tormented by his inability to save everyone, Shirou always admired his efforts. Right before Kiritsugu's death, Shirou pledged to be an "Ally of Justice" in Kiritsugu's place and strive to protect everyone at the cost of his own life.
Shirou takes his ideals to the limit during the Fate scenario, where he constantly attempts to protect Saber from harm and keep her from fighting other Servants, despite the fact that she is many times more powerful than he. This is because he cannot stand the idea of someone else being harmed for his sake. He never gives up his ideals during the route and injures himself numerous times to uphold it. During the Unlimited Blade Works route, Shirou, through constant arguing with Archer, begins to see the hypocrisy in his ideals. Though he refuses to give them up entirely, he works his way towards a middle ground where he will strive towards fulfilling ideals, despite knowing they are impossible to achieve. He faces his largest dilemma during Heaven's Feel, where he is forced to choose between sticking to his ideals and saving the life of Sakura. He eventually gives them up, with the exception of the "Mind of Steel" ending, where he becomes as resolute as Kiritsugu in his prime, allowing Sakura to die. He strives only to protect Sakura, though he is presented with conflict a number of times.
Shirou is extremely stubborn once he sets out to accomplish something, such as spending hours attempting to perform a high jump that is nearly impossible for him. This action, as watched by Rin and Sakura, is one of the initial factors that causes them both to develop feelings for Shirou. He will stubbornly defend his own viewpoints, no matter how wrong they may seem to others, even to the point of causing them great mental anguish. Though he does his best to help others, if he feels that a person brought about their own ruin, he will simply watch instead of helping. Nasu has stated that Shirou and Shiki Tohno would definitely get along badly.
At the first glance, Shirou is a rather untalented Magus whose only skill is basic Tracing and Reinforcement magic, which allows him to analyze the physical make-up of an object and then strengthen it. His dream is to become a "Hero of Justice", someone who can selflessly protect the lives of everyone from disaster. He inherited this dream from his adoptive father Kiritsugu Emiya, who had given up on it. He is not really sure what it takes to reach that ideal.
At the beginning of the story, he possesses a healing factor that makes him practically immortal, though the source of this is unknown and he did not have it before. Shirou is also an accomplished archer as a side effect of his mage training and, following some training from Saber, is mildly proficient in swordplay.
He is Saber's Master.
Shirou is initially completely inept as a magus, only able to use Reinforcement and Projection Magecraft with a low level of success. Reinforcement allows him to analyze the structural composition of an object, and increase its effectiveness, such as making it more durable or its shape more practical, or return it to its original state. He can also use it to improve upon the physical capabilities of his own body, such as his eyesight, allowing him to see as far as four kilometers away. Shirou is also very skilled in Structural Grasp Magecraft, which allows him to understand the structure and design of objects as if he were viewing a blueprint. Projection, while a high level skill, is generally considered useless compared to Reinforcement due to the higher prana cost, and anything that Shirou initially projects is useless and hollow. Though the objects merely imitate the shape, there are only a few who can identify them as fakes in a first glance. Any practitioner that analyzes composition wouldn't be able to see through them, and even one that works through spiritual mediums would only notice a sense of incongruence. Since only objects with history ever go into the Department of Spiritual Invocation of Clock Tower, there is a low probability of them being discovered.
Shirou is later capable of using Tracing, a higher level version of Projection that completely copies everything regarding the creation and existence of the object. During the Fate scenario, he slowly learns of it on his own by training with Rin and following Archer's advice: "If you can't defeat it, then imagine what can", while in the Unlimited Blade Works scenario, he learns of it through extensive contact with Archer. He is only effectively able to reproduce swords, other weapons, and armor, but this specialty allows him to faithfully reproduce even legendary weapons. He is capable of reproducing any sword that he has seen, though Noble Phantasms are always one rank below their original strength and armor costs three times the amount of prana, and he is capable of employing its entire history, allowing him to wield any weapon with the same proficiency of its original owner. He has to see the weapons with his own eyes to reproduce them, as even the blueprint of Zelretch is not enough to reproduce it, but by seeing it and Caliburn through shared memories of Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern and Saber, he becomes able to fully trace them afterward. If the weapon is not made of materials that exist in the world, such as Ea, he cannot analyze or reproduce it, though he can tell its basic nature. He is also quite capable of creating his own original kinds of weapons, should he put his mind to it.
Shirou's basic training in Magecraft was extremely lacking, so he was left with the idea that he needs to create a new Magic Circuit with each use of Magecraft. He goes through extremely dangerous training, which he describes as the feeling of inserting a hot iron rod into his spine, where he constantly faces the risk of death in order to develop a new Circuit. Though his body has twenty-seven natural Magic Circuits, they had been abandoned for his nerves, which he made into makeshift Magic Circuits due to his wrong method of training. Once his real Circuits are awakened, he goes through extreme pain and suffering as his nervous system gets used to the new intake of energy. His newly opened Magic Circuits can barely handle ten units of prana each. Shirou will never leave the level of a magus apprentice, compared to Rin classified as a "100", Shirou would be a "10", but as a specialist spellcaster, he would be received as someone on par with Kiritsugu’s evaluation as a “Magus Killer”, where he would be classified as a "40" compared to Rin's "100."
Shirou has Avalon implanted within his body, which saved his life during the great fire. This gives him an extremely potent regenerative ability while Saber is summoned due to Excalibur, though it does seem to sustain him even without it as he was able to temporarily survive a fatal blow dealt by Lancer. This allows him to survive numerous fatal wounds though it works against him in bad endings where he is able to be tortured and mutilated without succumbing to his injuries for a long duration of time. Unlimited Blade Works also seems to protect Shirou by creating blades within his body to reinforce it. He is able to survive a blow to the chest from Rider's dagger, which is repelled as if it is hitting metal, a kick that would have gouged his stomach only knocks him away, and he manages to keep from having his entire body destroyed from an attack by Gilgamesh. The ability seems to go out of control during a bad ending where numerous swords sprout from his dying body, and while his body is fully breaking down in the Heaven's Feel scenario, they are constantly being created and protruding from his skin.
During Fate, Shirou only learns the basics of his abilities, leading him to only trace Caliburn and Avalon. He practices basic swordfighting with Saber, though it amounts to little in actual offensive capabilities. He gains a much greater understanding in Unlimited Blade Works, as extensive contact with Archer, who is essentially the same person, allows for Archer's combat and Magecraft techniques to flow into Shirou. He develops an affinity for using Kanshou & Bakuya and Archer's fighting style, which Saber notes while they are training. He lacks proper training so even the most basic projections cause him pain and the majority of the swords generated shatter upon impact due to their low quality. He forms a contract with Rin to have her provide the necessary prana to form his Reality Marble and he manages to project a number of weapons from the Gate of Babylon in order to defeat Gilgamesh.
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