In case you were wondering...
Fate/Stay Night is a series that has a sort of 'multiple route' system, where each route effects Shirou, his interactions with certain characters, and so on. These three routes are known as the 'Fate' Route, the 'Unlimited Blade Works (UBW)' Route, and the 'Heaven's Feel' Route. Each route gives him certain abilities and weapons, so I will be glossing over all three. With that said...
First Appearance: Fate/Stay Night.
Height: 167 cm.
Weight: 58 kg.
Occupation: Student, Magus, Master.
Alias: Faker (Mock name from Gilgamesh).
-Easily defeated Shinji Matou in his first battle.
-Killed Berserker/Heracles with Saber's help.
-Resisted the Black Mud of the Grail.
-Defeated Kirei Kotomine.
UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS ROUTE:
-Withstood the Holy Grail's corruption.
-Defeated Archer, his own future self.
-Learned how to use Archer's, and by extension, his, Reality Marble.
HEAVEN’S FEEL ROUTE:
-Killed Berserker/Heracles multiple times in the same fight (that’s how he works).
-With Rider/Medusa's help, defeated Saber Alter.
-Killed Dark Berserker.
-Defeated an army created by the corrupted Grail.
-Destroyed the Holy Grail.
Time for a small crash-course: In the Fate universe (or the ‘Nasuverse,’ as many have chosen to dub), There exists this thing called the Holy Grail War. The idea is that seven Mages summon Servants, which are basically magical incarnations of historical and sometimes mythological figures like King Arthur or Hercules. These Mages master their Servants to fight each other, and the last one standing wins. The winner receives the Holy Grail, which will grant them one wish. However, there was one thing that the competitors of the Fourth Holy Grail War didn’t account for:
The Holy Grail… Is a dick.
I can’t really recall everything, but basically one of the Masters, Kiritsugu Emiya, realized that the Holy Grail could be something terrible, and tried to destroy it. The result? The Grail destroyed the town they were in. This killed damn near everyone in the town, and Kiritsugu went Kiri-coo-coo (I’m not sorry). He wanted to be a hero, and he got… well…
Waaaaaaaaaaaaay past strike three there, Emiya.
So ain’t that a bitch?
Though in the chaos of it all, somehow one kid managed to survive: Subject of today’s irritation, now known as Shirou Emiya! Kiritsugu managed to find him and save his life, and eventually he adopted Shirou as his son. Inspired by his adoptive father’s ideals to be a ‘hero of justice,’ in tandem with the whole… y’know… getting-my-home-town-burned-to-ashes-by-a-giant-golden-chalice-of-death thing, Shirou dreamed of being a hero himself. He dreamed of creating a world where no one would have to cry, and where everyone could be saved. That would be his ideal throughout the series, and which route he takes depends on how strongly he stays true to it.
Funny enough, prior to the events of Fate/Stay Night, there is at least one timeline where he sort of gets that wish.
… You can ask Archer how that goes.
In any case, Shirou would continue living his life trying to help others, seemingly not caring much about himself. That was until he came across a match between two Servants - which in the case of civilians is a big no-no. If a civilian sees the Holy Grail War and isn't a part of it, they have to die. Plain and simple.
Luckily for Shirou, due to some interference from Rin Tohsaka, he survived his encounter with Lancer. This led him to a series of events involvng another encounter with the Servant which caused hm to accidentally summon the Saber Class Servant. At this point, Shirou was part of the Holy Grail War. He would fight, and attempt to achieve his goal in becoming a Hero of Justice.
Okay, magic. In the Nasuverse, it's a bit different than standard. It's defined as "an ability to reproduce what can be scientifically realized regardless of time and funds." Which is already odd. Anywhere else magic would be the opposite of that. Anyways, it's basically manipulation of the natural world, What affinity that may be depends on your origin. For some it's elemental spells like fire, wind, the works. Shirou's 'origin' is sword, meaning that he has a particular affinity with sword based magic. This is due to his connection to Avalon (which I will get to later). Aside from that, a miscellanious ability of his is to sense nearby magic by smelling it. Yep. He can smell magic.
But here's the thing. Shirou, as a mage, well... sucks. His problem was that, for a time, he didn't have any real magical affinity. He was never good at any brand of magic... Except one. It can be divided into three categories.
Reinforcement: Reinforcement magecraft is basically upgrading a material. Enchancing an object with magical power, Shirou can improve the toughness, sharpness, etc. of an object. It doesn't just work with weaponry either, just increasing somethings properties in general. He can use reinforcement to, say, increase how brightly a lightbulb shines or how fresh food is. He can even use reinforcement to create a bow from a tree branch, repair a soccer ball, or block a spear with a rolled up piece of paper. Hell, he can actually use Reinforcement on himself to enhance his physical capabilities. This could also include enhancing his eyesight.
It does have a drawback, though. There's no clear limit to how much an object can be enhanced. It's the same as adding to something that is already complete, which in the case of failure causes the target to recieve the magic as poison. To successfully pull of Reinforcement requires a good grasp of an objects inner structure to fill in weak opening with magic power.
Luckily for Shirou, Tracing (see below) allows him to see that structure. He has an ability called Structural Analysis. Touch a thing, wait a few seconds, know a thing, basically. Spot mechanical flaws, structural weaknesses, etc.
Projection: Alternatively known as Gradation Air, Projection is use to, well, project objects. Shirou can materialize whatever he imagines out of thin air. Before you already look at this like it's OP, it's actually not very useful on its own. The created objects are always hollow inside and slowly fade away upon materialization. As such, it's normally not good for much outside of basic use. Shirou is unique in two ways, however. One he has incredible insight into the structure of most materials, so he can get around this limitation. Second... is because of this:
Tracing:? This right here is Shirou's bread and butter. Tracing is a unique form of Projection that puts both of the previous two abilities to the test. His mind records any weapon he sees, allowing him to create a high quality copy of it. Though the copies are slightly inferior to the original, particularly if we're talking a Servant's Noble Phantasm (basically a special weapon or skill). But here's the thing: It not only copies the shape and structure weapon, but the soul and properties of said weapon and its wielder. Meaning two things: a). If a weapon has any special properties, he can copy it off of a traces weapon. b). When he traces a weapon he copies the strength, speed, reflexes, experiences and abilities proportionate to the original wielder. This is why he's able to go toe-to-toe with... everyone in the series! He goes full-on Mega Man on their asses!
It does have a limit, though. Whenever he copies a Servant's Noble Phantasm, it suffers a downgrade in rank. We'll get to this later. Bouncing off of that, though, the only clear limitation to what he can't copy is divine constructs like Gilgamesh's Ea or Saber's Excalibur. When he does, it drains all of his prana and can kill him. Other than that, recall that he has an affinity for sword related magic, meaning that he has more difficulty constructing ranged armaments, shields, and what have you (though he is more than capable).
So just to summarize everything I just said: Shirou is capable of recording any weapon he sees into his mind, summon a near perfect replica of the weapon, take not only any powers the weapon itself may hold but also the strength, speed, reflexes, experiences and abilities of its original wielder, and even reinforce his construct to make it stronger. This is only limited by divine constructs and any Noble Phantasn he summons will be weaker.
Here we go... With that last segment done with, you might see where this is going. Strap in, folks. This is gonna get extensive.
Bow: This is what you think it is. Fashioned after Archer's bow, he made this out of a freaking tree branch, and created arrows in a similar manner. Of course, due to Tracing, Shirou is a master archer. Now obviously he can shoot arrows with it, but that's hardly the only projectile. He can use it to fire these things called Broken Phantasms. Broken Phantasms are Noble Phantasms that Shirou has filled with prana, causing them to explode on contact. He has two of these.
The one on the left is Caladbolg II. It's a demonic spiral sword originally wielded by Irish hero Fergus mac Roich. And yes, he fires a sword. I assume it can be used as an actual sword, but he usually modifies it into an arrow and fires it as a Broken Phantasm, this creating a pretty big explosion. 'Cause, y'know, why would you ever shoot arrows when you could shoot bombs?
The one on the right is Hrunting. Looks a bit more like an acual aroow, don't it? Well... okay, not really, to be honest. It was actually a sword originally used by Beowolf. But hey, rule of Broken Phantasm says it's an arrow, so arrow it shall be. The thing that makes this one interesting is that it's a homing shot. When it's fired, it will pursue its target even when intercepted or parried.
Kanshou and Bakuya: A pair of swords representing Yin and Yang, these are the primary weapons of Archer, and they seem to be Shirou's prefered go-to weapons as well (makes sense. Future self). These weapons are a bit easy to break, at least when compared to some other ridiculous stuff in Fate. As a trade-off, they require very little energy to recreate, making them ideal for Tracing. And of course, he can also reinforce the weapons, though these deserve special mention in that they become a pair of longswords called Kanshou and Bakuya Overedge.
One interesting thing to note is that these weapons behave like boomerang blades. If one sword is thrown, but the other is being held, the thrwon blade will return to him like a boomerang. He uses this to his advantage to pull off Triple-Linked Crane Wings (shown above), a special deadly technique used with the blades.
Gae Bolg: A cursed lance and primary weapon of Lancer Cu Chulainn (that smug asshat above). The projection itself can't copy the curse of Gae Bolg, but Shirou can harness its potent magical power as an explosive projectile.
Rule Breaker: Caster/Medea's primary weapon. This weapon does what its name suggests. This dagger can dispel any type of magic, even if bound to your soul. Caster was able to use it to resist a Command Seal, which is a required command given by a Servant's master! And when I say 'required,' I mean by rule of the Holy Grail War! It can even sever the connection between Servant and Master! With this in mind, Rule Breaker is one of the more hax weapons in Shirou's arsenal.
Rho Aias: The shield of Aias. Shaped like a seven-petaled flower, it is indeed a shield with seven layers to it. The more petals it has, the stronger the shield is. At its strongest, it's able to block the full force of a city busting attack.
Flint Sword: Primary weapon of Berserker/Hercules. Alright, now we're getting into the good shit! Two things to mention here. First, remember when I said that Tracing allowed him to copy the strength, speed, reflexes, experiences and abilities proportionate to the original wielder? Well, with this, he copies said statistics of freakin' Berserker! Keep in mind the Berserker we're talking about is able to destroy buildings with his swings, held up the sky in his original myth, is faster than Saber (who's speed rivals that of a fighter jet), and deflected an Excalibur blast (which is this powerful)!
But the real meat of the bones is the attack that comes with it. Copying the Flint Sword allows him to create a variation of Berserker's Nine Lives Noble Phantasm. This attacki s lacced Nine Lives Blade Works: The Shooting Hundred Heads. It's a series of nine consecutive, overlapping slashes that move faster than the speed of sound (calc as to specifically how fast). With this attack he was able to get in eight slashes on Berserker before the Servant could even bring his sword down (getting in the final ninth blow due to interference from Illya). He targets and slashes the upper arm, collarbone, windpipe, temple, diaphragm, rib, testicles, and thighs before performing a lance like thrust to the heart. You'd have to have pretty insane durability/healing factor to survive that.
Azoth Sword: This is classified as a "Mystic Code," an assist weapon used by a magus to support their own magical abilities. It's more of a ceramonial blade, and while it can obviously be used for killing shit, as a weapon it's not very effective. What it's really used for is amplifying the user's magic, assisting with and strengthening spells. Storing magic into it allows it to be used as a magic wand of sorts to form magic circles and affect physical divine mysteries. Using it to kill something like a Servant can cause it to crumble instantly after its use.
When magical energy is stored into it, shouting the word "läßt" will cause all the stored energy to be released. In the Fate Route, Shirou used it to kill Kirei Kotomine by stabbing it through his chest, filling his fist with prana, and punching the dagger into him whilst uttering the word of command. In the Heaven's Feel Route, he used it to deal the finishing blow to Saber Alter.
Caliburn II: Copy of Saber/Arturia's favored weapon. It's inferior to the original, of course, but it's effective. Not too much to talk about here, but the weapon can fire a short ranged burst of holy light as an attack.
Excalibur II: Inferior copy of Saber/Arturia's primary weapon. As mentioned before, even as an inferior copy, projection of this weapon is considered an absolute last resort. Trying to project it will drain Shirou of all his prana and potentially kill him. Even so, it's an immensily powerful blade, capable of blasting a massive ray of holy light (calcs for which have already been linked to you above).
So that's all the weapons at Shirou's disposal due to Tracing. So we're done now, right? Well... no. We already brought up Excalibur, so there's one more piece of equipment to talk about...
If you're familiar with the myth of Excalibur, you may recall tht, while the blade is legendary, the real item of value is its scabbard. Well, here it is. Avalon was actually placed inside Shirou's body by Kiritsugu Emiya, thus giving him his affinity to sword related magic and a connection to Saber. What does it do? Healing factor fer daiz! With this, Shirou can heal from any manner of fatal wounds without much difficulty. Hell, one time he was stabbed through the heart.
So there you have it. Shirou Emiya. Capable of Mage Man-ing the shit out of whomever he fights, making his copied weapons better, having several weapons that give him boomerang blades, explosive spears, bows that fire magic bomb swords, magic nullification, massive swords that are sure to mutilate your body, magic wand daggers that can make you implode when stabbed swords that fire light lasers of death, and to top everything off he has an impressive healing factor. I think we are now done with him.
Is the punchline as funny when you do it a second time?
Perhaps I could've talked about this earlier. Command Seals are something given to every Master to signify their connection with a Servant. Unles it's a special case, each Master is given three of them. Most commonly, they are located on the back one's right hand. Command Seals are their own source of prana, and Shirou can draw from their power when he needs to, even if he himself is low on prana. Attacks that may drain Shirou of his magical power do not affect them, either.
As their name implies, the primary function a Command Seal serves is to give an order to a Servant. The orders given by a Command Seal cannot be disobeyed (unless they have something like Rule Breaker), and can include performing an action, using up a Command Seal to activate a Noble Phantasm, summoning a Servant to your location, etc. And if that last one caught your eye, don't bother. I'm not including Saber in this bio. 1). She counts as outside help. 2). She's her own fighter. She honestly deserves her own analysis blog.
In the Heaven's Feel Route, in the first conflict in the Einzbern Forest, Shirou tried to protect Illya, and in the process lost an arm. The wound is critical, so Archer - having also suffered a critical wound - suggests to transplant his left arm onto Shirou. While the arm would have disappeared had Archer faded away while the surgery was in progress, it is now anchored to Shirou and can be called his own limb. Normally the process to connect the arm to Shirou may have killed him, but Shirou and Archer - being the same person - have such a strong connection that they are an exception to the normal rejection. Thus they were suited for the process.
With the arm attached, Shirou gained the experiences and knowledge of his future self. It gives him physical and magical power comparable to that of a Servant. While the arm is active, it wll also feed him the memories, knowledge and powers of Archer, greatly increasing his abilities with magecraft and granting him his battle experience. It also passively flows Archer's battle experience and physical abilities into Shirou even while inactive. Though due to such a difference in Shirou himself in the Heaven's Feel Route, the arm itself doesn't him the ability to use Unlimited Blade Works in this route (give me a minute with that).
Unfortunately, there's a drawback. A big one. Y'see that red thing covering his arm? That's the Shroud of Martin, and while it's on, Archer's arm is inactive and his magic circuits do not connect to Shirou's. And there's a reason for it being there. Shirou's body can't handle that kind of Servant power, due to it being so physically and spiritually inferior to the arm itself. While the arm is active, his body and mind will eventually break down until he dies. When he removes the Shroud, he has to work fast or it's the end of him.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I saved the best for last.
Unlimited Blade Works: Infinite Creation of Swords
Arguably Shirou's ultimate ability, and my personal favorite. Okay, first, Reality Marbles. No they're not actually marbles. They're basically like pocket dimensions; an analogy for a user's ability to project their own mental world upon reality. This is the source of Shirou's power, where all of his experiences - and the experiences and weapons of others - accumulate in this wearhouse of the soul.
In the Unlimited Blade Works Route (ah, doy), Shirou had one final clash with his future self Archer/EMIYA. During the fight, he gained control of Archer's same Reality Marble. However, he still did not have the energy to conjure it on his own. By forming a contract with Rin Tohsaka, she transfered some of her magic circuits into him, providing him with enough energy to use the ability and further increasing his skill with Projection magecraft.
Now with origins out of the way, onto Unlimited Blade Works itself. By citing the following poem as incantation...
"I am the bone of my sword. Steel is my body, and fire is my blood. I have created over a thousand blades. Unaware of loss. Nor aware of gain. Withstood pain to create weapons, waiting for one’s arrival. I have no regrets. This is the only path. My whole life is Unlimited Blade Works!”
... Shirou summons his Reality Marble into, well, reality, replacing the physical world around him and trapping both him and anyone in his general vicinity inside his pocket dimension. Remember Tracing? Well, when his mind records a weapon, it is stored into this Reality Marble. Unfortunately, any new weapon he sees and is then recorded requires some prana as payment. The Reality Marble creates an infinite number of resources for any weapon he sees. So all those weapons listed above, along with any other weapon he may have seen or will see? Yeah. This Reality Marble spawns and infinite number of them! Plus, while in this world, Shirou can actually summon and fire the swords in the Reality Marble as projectile weapons. There have been people who tell me that they move at massively hypersonic speeds, though I'm not so sure.
Another thing that it does is mix with his healing factor. Forming swords from Shirou's body, he can knit his wounds together using these blades. The swords covering his body increase his durability, and they can hurt opponents that try to physically attack him.
-Enhanced by Tracing.
-Easily broke Shinji's arm.
-Lifts and swings Hercules' massive sword without much difficulty.
-Stopped a giant sword shot at him by Archer with Kanshou.
-With Nine Lives Blade Works, his strength is boosted to levels similar to Hercules.
-Enhanced by Tracing.
-Dodged attacks from Lancer.
-Can travel twenty meters in an instant.
-With Caliburn, can keep up with Berserker.
-When a barrage of swords was shot at him by Archer, deflected most of them with Kanshou and Bakuya.
-Can keep up with Archer and Gilgamesh.
-Even without Tracing, can survive being sent flying into a wall twenty meters away.
-Regeneration makes him harder to kill.
-Can survive blows from Rider that would be strong enough to gouge through a person's stomach.
-Takes attacks from Berserker.
-Even when grievously injured, can still move and fight.
Many of his weaknesses have been covered at this point. His magical power has a limit, and using too much up at once, can be life threatening. Plus summoning extremely powerful weapons/divine constructs like Excalibur could kill him. Shirou himself is a rather intelligent and adaptable fighter, but he is stubborn and headstrong, preferring to rush into battle and overpower his opponents without thinking things through. And of course, using Archer's arm for too long will kill him.
Two other things to mention. One, without his connection to Saber, Avalon is useless to him. Two, remember the whole 'UBW enhances his healing factor' thing? Well, Unlimited Blade Works, can't be spammed. Not only does it tax his mind and body when in use, but overuse of it will cause swords to form inside his body, killing him. No biggie, right?
First Appearance: Fate/Stay Night.
Height: 167 cm.
Weight: 58 kg.
Occupation: Student, Magus, Master.
Alias: Faker (Mock name from Gilgamesh).
Strength: Varies due to Tracing. City level via Tracing Caliburn. City level+ via Nine Lives Blade Works. May get higher with additional Tracing + Reinforcement.
Speed/Reflexes: Superhuman at base. Varies due to Tracing. Hypersonic+ via Tracing Caliburn and various other Servant weapons. Massively Hypersonic when performing Nine Lives Blade Works. May get higher with additional Tracing + Reinforcement.
Endurance/Durability: Superhuman at base. Healing factor makes him hard to put down. City level+ via Rho Aias.
Skills: Master of all kinds of weapons via Tracing. Adaptable fighter. Chick magnet.
Weaknesses: Stubborn and headstrong. Limitations to Projection magecraft. Can't trace divine constructs. Limited prana supply. Overuse of Archer's arm or Unlimited Blade Works will kill him.
Titlecard by JeffersonAirship
Yu Narukami(Persona 4): They fight with their spiritual servants, have all the luck, and get all the bitches!
Titlecard by grinderkiller1
Jotaro Kujo(Jojo's Bizarre Adventure): The path of a young hero is a treacherous and hard path indeed, every hero needs a little bit of assistance wether it comes from the people they meet and free from the antagonist's control or the very soul that manifests into they're guardian or protector.
Titlecard by FEVG620
Yoh Asakura (Shaman King): Wielding powerful swords and partnering themselves with the spirit of a great warrior, these two young heroes have fought through magical tournaments who grant their winners unbelievable power.
JeffersonAirship and YellowFlash1234 of DeviantArt for the info their bio's provided.