Archer is the servant of Rin Tohsaka due to an slightly incomplete summoning process, Archer says he has no memories of who he really is. He tends to be very cynical, sarcastic, and a bit arrogant about his power/abilities.
Archer is an older Shiro Emiya coming from an alternate timeline. In it, he was able to win the Holy Grail War and became a freelance magus in order to become a "Hero of Justice". He stubbornly trained himself to accomplish his goal, yet came to realize with time that his skills were inadequate for his large ambitions. In his thirties, he would come to face a calamity that forced him to make a contract with the world to gain the necessary power to save a hundred lives and save more beyond his death. This event would come to haunt him later on as he was branded as the mastermind of a war that he fought to end and was killed by his traitorous allies. Because of the oath he made to the planet, Emiya was made into a Counter Guardian, a spirit tasked by Gaia to destroy parts of humanity to prevent their complete destruction.
Against his will, Emiya found himself having to slay enemy lives in order to save others despite not wanting to kill anyone. After repeatedly seeing more of humanity's dark side and having to trample over his own ideals, he became a broken man who denied himself and his original ideals. To break free from his role as a Counter Guardian, Emiya sought to kill off his younger self in the past in the hopes that a powerful enough paradox would be triggered as such to erase himself from existence.
Archer was created for the Fate/Stay Night visual novel game created by Type-Moon. There is no information known about his character during the game's development phase. Archer has appeared in an anime and manga adaptation of Fate/ Stay Night, a TV and film adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route and Carnival Phantasm. His Japanese voice actor is Junichi Suwabe, and his English actor is Liam O' Brien.
Archer stands at 187 centimeters tall (about '6'1"). Unlike his younger self, Archer has white hair, black eyes and tanned skin color due to the overuse of Projection magic leading to an rebound effect. He is normally dressed in black body armor while wearing a red overcoat that is actually a holy shroud.
Archer has a rather contradicting personality. While he claims not to know of anything from his past due to Rin improperly summoning him, Archer was actually able to recall her the moment he laid eyes on her and still remembered moments from his past such as being rescued by Kiritsugu. Despite his rather cynical and shred personality, he is devoted to protecting others. He can be nice and means well when offering advice, but hides this behind a wall of sarcasm. Regardless of his complicated personality, Archer is hostile towards Shiro for following his ideals and the Servant awaits an opportunity to kill his younger self when the opportunity arises.
Rin unknowingly was able to summon Archer through the jewel pendant that she would later use to save Shiro's life, as her Servant still carried the pendant on him while still alive in his timeline. Upon being summoned and leaving one of the rooms of her mansion in ruin, Archer's sarcastic barbs anger Rin enough to force him under her submission using a Command Spell. While patrolling Fuyuki, Archer would get into a battle with Lancer that ends abruptly when Shiro is spotted and attacked. Archer was ordered to track Lancer down to no avail while Rin tended to Shiro. He would later return to the scene of the incident to retrieve Rin's pendant under the assumption that Rin had dropped it unknowingly.
In this route, Archer would sacrifice himself to stalling Berserker while he bought time for Rin, Shiro and Saber to escape. He was able to kill five of Berserker's lives before being killed in battle.
Here, Archer is developed is an antagonistic character as he made plans against many of the characters to fulfill his goal of killing Shiro. He would betray Rin to ally with Caster under the ruse that she offered him the best chance of winning the Grail War. He later betrays her and kills both Caster and her Master as the ruse was part of his plan to break free from Rin's control to kill Shiro. However, Rin gains control of Saber and the event forces him into a battle with Shiro that he loses only due to not attacking because of being stabbed through the chest.
He remains hidden for the remainder of the Grail War until he saves Rin from a building destroyed by a dying Lancer's rune magic and slays Gilgamesh when the King of Heroes attempted to drag Shiro into the Grail with him using Enkidu. As he is about to vanish from the Grail's destruction, Archer acknowledges his trust in Rin to ensure that Shiro will follow a path where his ideals won't lead him to ruin.
Archer abandons his wish to kill Shiro in this route as he instead focuses on fulfilling his role as a Counter Guardian to deal with the Shadow and hearing of Shiro choosing to no longer follow his ideal path of being a Hero of Justice. Being gravely wounded while battling Saber Alter, True Assassin and the Shadow, Archer had Kirei transplant his arm onto Shiro's in order to save the boy's life before vanishing. Archer's arm would grant Shiro all of the Servant's knowledge of using projection magic at the cost of his body and mind breaking down from the arm damaging him with prolonged use.
Archer's existence in the Grail War as a Servant is an oddity as he was created as a Counter Guardian within a future timeline and was not among the Throne of Heroes within the present timeline that the fifth Holy Grail War took place. This made him a confusing presence for other Masters and Servants competing in the Grail War as he couldn't be properly identified by his attire, tactics or weaponry.
Since he isn't a proper Heroic Spirit with a Noble Phantasm, Archer's attributes are lower than normal for his class and he lacks the immense skill of use in one specialized weapon that other Servants have. He makes up for this with his exceptional tactical and strategical skills that he picked up from battling for years within his future timeline as he is skilled in engaging in both melee and ranged combat due to his ability to project weapons to adapt on the fly in such situations. His use of the Eye of the Mind (True) ability allows him to remain calm during heated situations to devise tactics and strategies to ensure him victory in most battle scenarios.
In ranged combat, Archer's proficiency with firing them is as such where he can fire projectiles from up to four kilometers away through his use of clairvoyance and can fire a small barrage of them in quick succession. Archer normally makes use of regular arrows for quick preparation and to conserve on his mana reserves. However, he can also fire projected Noble Phantasms at his foe where he overloads the weapon with prana to make them into Broken Phantasms, a weapon whose rank goes up by one and will deliver explosive damage upon connecting with its target. Under normal means, the destruction of a Servant's Noble Phantasm in this way would greatly weaken them as their weapon is permanently destroyed. But since the ones used by Archer are formed via Projection magic, he is capable of reusing the same weapons many times where necessary.
Archer also possesses the Magic Resistance and Independent Action abilities typical of his class. His resistance to magic is weak as such where he can only resist up to one bar chanted for a spell. The Independent Action ability allows Archer to act independently without being near his Master for regular replenishment of mana. Without a Master, he is able to survive up to two days without support and can even live for prolonged periods of time through fatal injuries.
Unlimited Blade Works is Archer's Reality Marble utilized through the many years he continually improved upon the only two types of magic he could properly utilize: Reinforcement and Projection. The Reality Marble acts as a repository of knowledge that Archer acquired on all the weapons he came across throughout his lifetime. He uses Projection to recreate the structure and properties of the weapon he wishes to form, while using Reinforcement to strengthen the quality of the weapon as it is used to attack or fend off blows from enemy attack. Archer can continually reform weapons he has memorized when they are destroyed in battle, utilizing them for either melee combat or ranged combat via Broken Phantasms or firing a volley of weapons at his foes in a style similar to Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon. Because of how quickly Archer can project weapons with Unlimited Blade Works, his Reality Marble is a perfect counter to Gate of Babylon.
Projecting weapons is easier for Archer as they require little mana for him to create. While Archer can project shields, they require larger amounts of mana to be formed and are draining on Archer's mana reserves. Due to the projections being inferior copies of the Noble Phantasms that Archer came across, they are downgraded by one rank in terms of their effectiveness in battle. Also, Archer can only recreate weapons that were made from material from this world thus he would be incapable of perfectly recreating Gilgamesh's Ea and Saber's Excalibur due to their divine origins. It would be possible for him to recreate inferior versions of such weapons, but the massive amount of mana required to use them for an attack would completely drain his reserves and cause him to vanish.
Archer can project Unlimited Blade Works onto reality as it forms into a land of countless swords sticking out of the ground with flames and giant gears bellowing in the sky. While active, Archer's weapons are fully ready for use as they don't require any time to be prepared via Projection and Reinforcement magic, allowing them to be used quicker than the firing rate of weapon volleys fired through Gate of Babylon. Archer is able to activate his Reality Marble through the following incantation:
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
Have withstood pain to create many weapons
Yet, those hands will never hold anything
So as I pray, unlimited blade works.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
An alternate retelling of Fate/Stay Night based off of the original visual novel's scenario by the same name. It primarily focuses on Shirou, Archer, and ...