He is the Servant of one of the series' main heroines, Rin Tōsaka. Due to an incomplete summon, he apparently has no memory of his previous life or identity. Archer is sarcastic and cynical - but under his hardened exterior lies a complex and dark personality that unfolds throughout the story. Though skilled with ranged weapons, he can hold his own in mêlée combat. Archer considers Shirō Emiya's idealism to be weak and delusional, recognizing Shirō's mentality of "wanting to save everyone" as naïve and impossible.
|Alignment:||True Neutral||Height:||187 cm||Talents:||Tinkering, stewardship|
|Noble Phantasm:||N/A||Weight:||78 kg||Likes:||Chores, flattery|
|Endurance:||C||Independent Action:||B||Nemesis:||Rin Tōsaka, Sakura Matō, Illyasviel von Einzbern, Gilgamesh, Lancer|
|Luck:||E||Eye of the Mind (True):||B|
Though Archer himself does not seem to have any special mastery of magecraft beyond his specialty, he possesses extensive knowledge of a conventional, if unusual, branch of sorcery. He is a Faker, an individual skilled at creating imitations of objects through the use of tracing and projection of mental images to form tangible objects. Though Projection is normally ineffective at creating durable or powerful artifacts, Archer’s unique approach to this craft enables him to materialize enormously powerful and accurate copies of the images recorded in his mind.
By drawing upon the nature of his Reality Marble without the need to deploy it, Archer is capable of recording all information regarding physical constitution, supernatural proprieties and even history of any manner of ancient weapon merely by glancing upon them, and then materialize an astonishingly precise copy. The copies not only possess the same magical and conceptual traits as the originals, but they also retain the memories of the weapons, enabling Archer to read into these records and download any skills or techniques these armaments might have been employed for. His method is not without limitations though, as weapons traced are lowered in power by one rank, and it is not possible to replicate artifacts composed of substances not existent in this world.
In addition, through the use of Alteration, Archer can modify the traced copies to infuse them with new special proprieties. The most effective use of this skill is the crafting of Broken Phantasms, Noble Phantasms overloaded with magical energy which, at the cost of being destroyed after use, exponentially increase their attack power. Whereas most Servants would be reluctant to sacrifice their weapons in such a manner, Archer’s unlimited arsenal allows him to employ this method at will, his particular style consisting of modifying swords to be fired as arrows.
He is also skilled in the basis of both Alteration and Tracing: Reinforcement; the art of temporarily strengthening the construction of objects through the understanding of their nature and perfection of defects in their structure through projection, enhancing the fundamental proprieties of the target, such as an armor’s resistance or the sharpness of a blade. One of the most difficult employments of this craft is the reinforcement of living beings, as insertion of magic energy in other live organisms is a complex process and any mistake in the procedure is perceived as an invasion and subsequently rejected. Archer employs this method on himself to enhance his physical performance, particularly in his eyesight, granting him such precise vision that it approaches a limited form of clairvoyance.
Archer is also in possession of a sleek black longbow, which is constructed from a synthetic, metallic yet flexible compound that does not exist in the modern time period. This bow has been designed to withstand the strain of mounting weapons, such as Noble Phantasms, and propel them as if they were mere arrows. Similarly, Archer's breastplate and boots are crafted from the same material, while the red cloak he wears is a holy burial cloth that shields Archer from spiritual interference in his surroundings.
As a Counter Guardian, a spirit that serves the planet and protects it from disaster, Archer is weaker than heroic spirits in terms of strength, stamina, speed, etc. However, he uses his projection ability to make up for the difference. For example, during his fight with Lancer, his daggers kept getting knocked out of his hand but he just projected new ones immediately and, using different noble phantasms that he copied, he was able to kill Berserker six times (five in the anime version).
Archer's Reality Marble is known as "Unlimited Blade Works", which manifests as an open, barren field, littered with countless Noble Phantasms anchored in the ground like grave markers. Monolithic black gears gyrate in the distance, and illumination from the sun is obstructed by thick haze obscuring the horizon. Whisps of black smog float on light zephyr throughout this world, and sparks from iron forging rise from the ground like bubbles from water.
Within Unlimited Blade Works exist all the raw materials and sorcery required to facilitate Tracing, allowing Archer to reconstruct any bladed weapon merely by seeing it. Furthermore, his tracing allows him to inherit the combat skills of those who previously used his weapon, granting him instant proficiency with whatever he traces. However, human imagination cannot fully conceptualise the existences of an object through only one sense, so the quality of enchantment on each traced weapon will be degraded by one rank, never equaling the original. Swords, spears, and halberds are favored, but shields are also replicable at a substantially greater Mana cost (Up to three times the amount). Archer is also able to levitate weapons within his Reality Marble, arcing blades into the sky and then raining them down on opponents. Most of the Noble Phantasms in Unlimited Blade Works are copies of legendary weapons archived inside Gate of Babylon, although several others (listed below) were traced by Archer later during his lifetime.
The following chant are the words to Archer's Reality Marble. They are somewhat different from Shirō's chant:
His history differs from the Shirō in any particular storyline, although he is most similar to the version who progressed through the Fate scenario. Archer was formerly Master of Saber. He cares deeply for Illyasviel von Einzbern, and his inability to prevent her death one year after the war's end is his greatest regret. At one point in his future life, Archer finds himself incapable of saving the lives of several hundred people; to change the course of their destinies, he forges a pact with the world, whereby in exchange for a miracle he is obligated to posthumously and indefinitely serve humanity as a Counter Guardian, a spirit that protects the world from disasters. Later, one of those hundred people that he saved uses him as a political scapegoat, executing Archer under the accusations of war crimes for wanton violence and destruction.
Throughout his heroic career, Archer struggles with the same doubt his father, Kiritsugu, acknowledged many years before; when the life of one person is saved, another person must be left to die. After fighting in many future battles, he is horrified to discover himself needlessly slaughtering countless numbers of the nefarious and innocent alike. In time, the once idealistic Shirō comes to the pessimistic conclusion that attempting to preserve all human life is futile, for the few must be sacrificed for the survival of the many. Accepting this concept frustrates Archer, for it betrays his life's conviction and renders his selfless dedication to defending mankind worthless.
Through his deal with the world, he was turned into a Counter Guardian of the world, he still had hoped to serve mankind somehow in afterlife. However, as a Counter Guardian, he is only summoned to prevent the impending doom of the world by eliminating the cause, which usually means killing people who are responsible for bringing the disaster. This is not what Archer had hoped to do, but he is forever doomed to serve as a Counter Guardian by the deal he made with the world, and will have to continue to kill dozens to save hundreds, and thousands to save millions. In the end, he was betrayed even by his own ideal.
Broken, bitter, and angry, Archer gambles on the small hope of being summoned as a Servant back in the 5th Holy Grail War. His rationale is to kill his younger self and cause a time paradox, which Archer hopes will spare Shirō the anguish of realizing his ideals are a sham and free himself from the eternal servitude as a Counter Guardian, even at a cost of ripping the fabric of reality asunder.
Throughout the 5th War, Archer acts brusque, pessimistic and apathetic to everyone he interacts with, including his Master, Rin. At times, he is also a rebellious Servant, and early in the 5th Holy Grail War Rin had to use a Command Mantra to force him to listen to her; this powerful sorcery makes it difficult for Archer to act against the wishes of his Master. While he holds no love for his younger self, and in spite of his bellicose attitude and independent demeanor, Archer cares deeply for the people he knew in life, especially Illya, Rin, and Saber. In the anime adaptation, Archer, due to Rin's incomplete summoning of her Servant, may not recall his true identity at first, though he remains dismissive of Shirō and seems to care about Rin, Sabre and Ilya. He uses the name 'Ilya' near the end, implying he remembers her.
In Fate, Archer is disabled early on in the war from a near-fatal injury inflicted by Saber, and he remains inactive until he is called upon by Rin to stall Berserker so that she, Shirō and Saber can escape from the brutish Servant. Although still injured, Archer is capable of competently fighting and kills Berserker six times before being killed himself. In the anime adaptation, Fate Project rewrote Archer and Berserker's battle by portraying Archer as having activated his Reality Marble although he kills Berserker only five times using Unlimited Blade Works.
In the Unlimited Blade Works scenario, Archer's role is greatly expanded as he takes center stage as the primary antagonist. This opportunity to kill Shirō arises due to two incidents: Saber fails to injure him when he and Rin approach Shirō's home after her summoning, which was a disability in Fate, and Rider is killed early in the war by Caster and her Master. These two events eliminate the circumstances that forced Saber to exhaust her Mana supply through use of Excalibur, prompting Rin to abandon Archer to a solo fight with Berserker.
Saber is nearly killed by Berserker; however, Archer takes over the battle, but unwilling to risk harming Ilya, avoids combating Berserker directly. When the opportunity arises, Archer creates a large conflagration as a diversion to allow everyone to escape. After Taiga and Saber are captured by Caster, Archer betrays Rin and allies with Caster; while Shirō and Rin invade Kirei's church where Caster settled, Archer is stalled by Lancer. He betrays and ambushes Caster and her Master shortly after, killing them both. He then catches Saber, Shirō, and Rin within the confines of Unlimited Blade Works; under the threat of tracing Excalibur, Saber is forced into a stalemate. The situation results Shirō to battle Archer in person, where Archer dominates the battle but eventually yields the match after being reminded of his own dedication to his ideal from watching Shirō's determination. Archer then disappears after shielding Shiro from Gilgamesh's surprise attack. He later appears briefly at the end of the scenario to save Rin from the confines of the Holy Grail, and to finish off Gilgamesh, weakened and cornered by Shirō. After an insightful and poignant dialogue with Rin, Archer fades away with a smile on his face, confident and content with the path his life had taken.
Finally, during Heaven's Feel, Archer abandons his desire to kill Shirō when he learns of what contaminated the Grail. Also, Shirō has already thrown away his life-long ideals in the interest of saving Sakura's life. Archer is mortally wounded in an engagement against True Assassin, Black Saber, and "The Shadow", but he survives long enough to surgically graft his left arm onto Shirō, who lost his own arm in that same battle. Shirō later uses Archer's arm in the battle against Black Berserker, Black Saber, and Kirei, and to trace the Jewel Sword Zelretch.
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