Shirou is the main male protagonist of Fate/stay Night. Idealistic and stubborn, Shirou dreams about becoming a true superhero. He accidentally summons Saber and finds himself in the middle of the Holy Grail War.
Not much is known of his original family. Shirou was the sole survivor of a cataclysmic event at the previous Holy Grail War. A massive fire rose and burned everything to the ground after someone make a wrong wish to the Holy Grail. Shirou had saw helplessly as his family and everyone around him died a gruesome death. Shirou himself just barely survived and was at the verge of dying. Kiritsugu Emiya found him just in time to save the young boy's life. That was Shirou's first time to see a mage. He spent days in the hospital and when he finally was out, Kiritsugu adopted the orphaned boy.
Shirou became Kiritsugu's adoptive son and took up the Emiya name. They lived happily like a real family. Shirou looked up to his adoptive father a lot. He even became his role model. While in the anime he was oblivious, Shirou in the original Visual Novel was well aware that the kind father figure and ideal he's admiring is responsible(even if just partially) for Shirou's tragedy. He asked Kiritsugu to teach him in magic, which his father only accepted reluctantly. Kiritsugu's health worsened as the time went on and died in 5 years. On his deathbed Kiritsugu showed his regret how he failed to become a real superhero, his dream since childhood. Shirou swore to fulfill Kiritsugu's dream and his father passed on with a smile.
He's sophomore student of the Homurabara High School in Fuyuki city. Seemingly he's a normal or even dull person. Actually he's a Magus, even if just a beginner. He joins the Grail War unwittingly by chance and summons Saber. Hearing the dangers of the War, he decides to continue the war to protect Fuyuki and put every evil Master to stop.
Shirou Emiya is the protagonist of Fate/Stay Night. He is created by Urobuchi Gen, and there is no information regarding any inspiration on Shirou's creation. He first appears in Fate Stay Night volume 1, episode 1, and for movies, Unlimited Blade Works. His Japanese voice actor is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Sam Riegel.
(to Saber): "People die when they are killed."
(to Gilgamesh): "Do you have enough swords, King of Heroes?"
At first glance Shirou Emiya appears to be a kind but a little dull person. He's extremely selfless and gladly offers his help to anyone. Seemingly he doesn't mind being used by others. Shirou has a rather low self-esteem. Although Shirou has a very strong sense of justice and does not fear to stand up for anyone whom he wishes to protect. He's very stubborn and once he set an objective in his mind, he would complete it.
Shirou's day starts like the usual. Nothing really out of the ordinary until he accidentally oversees the battle of two Servants. Lancer spots him and Shirou must take it for the run. But his chaser easily catches up and stabs Shirou in the heart. Thankfully, Rin finds him in time. By sacrificing her powerful family heirloom she saves him. Shirou wakes up alone later and while surprised he calmly walks home. Lancer ambushes him again and while fighting for his life, Shirou escapes to the shred. Here he accidentally summons Saber who forces Lancer to retreat. From there on the story branches off to various routes.
Shirou is mesmerized by Saber's beauty and falls in love with her on first sight. Saber spots new intruders strikes down Archer, seriously injuring him. She's about to kill Rin when Shirou orders her to stop. As a gratitude Rin offers her assistance and explains him the Grail War. She also offers Shirou to team up since she's essentially defenseless without Archer. For further information they visit the church to ask Kotomine. Shirou was against killing and had the intention of giving up his right as a master. After hearing the priest's explanation though he changes his mind. In order to avoid a catastrophe like he experienced, Shirou participates in the War. On the way back they encounter Berserker and his master. Shirou ends up saving Saber, but takes a serious hit. Berserker suddenly retreats for an unknown reason. Rin takes care of him and notes with an astonishment that his injuries are gone mysteriously. Saber asks Shirou of his reckless behavior but Shirou simply answers by "women shouldn't fight", ignoring that Saber is the best fighter amongst the three of them by far. That upsets Saber but without options she offers to train Shirou in combat. Next day they investigate a strange and dangerous magic field around the school. Soon Shinji reveals himself to be also a master and his Servant is behind the magic field.Shinji offers Shirou to team up but he refuses. Following that Shinji activates the barrier and they have to fight. Shirou lets Saber to take care of Rider while he runs to get Shinji. Shirou quickly defeats Shinji and threatens him to dispel the field. He complies and deactivates the barrier but Shinji manages to escape just in time. Later Saber and Rider fight atop a skyscraper. Rider reveals his Noble Phantasm and Saber is forced to do the same. her Excalibur kills Rider and exposes Saber's identity as "King Arthur"(Arthuria). Shinji is left defenseless and Shirou shows mercy by letting him run.
After defeating Rider, Saber is extremely weakened from using his Noble Phantasm. Shirou wanders alone when Illya shows up once again. She kidnaps Shirou and the rest of the team must save him. They find him but only to realize it was a trap. Berserker and Illya show up. The freshly recuperated Archer offers to hold up Berserker for a while for Shirou and the rest to escape. They have a whole night of time. Rin quickly comes up with an idea to restore Saber's magic a little. Morning Berserker catches up on them and they are forced to fight. Saber is still weak and can't use her Noble Phantasm. Shirou traces Calibum and lends it to Saber. With one swing Calibum manages to defeat Berserker. Since she's now powerless Shirou accepts Illya's plea to stay with them. Saber and Shirou is getting closer day by day and the former too starts to develop romantic feelings. Soon Caster shows up and nearly manages to capture Saber. In the anime Caster goes on a different route and plans to summon the Grail prematurely. Either way before she could succeed, Gilgamesh shows up and defeats her with ease. He claims that Saber is her woman and promptly leaves.
The mysterious eight Servants shakes up Shirou's team. They can't come up with a good solution though. Rin advices Shirou to go with Saber on a date to clear of his mind. The next day Saber and Shirou enjoy their time together until Shirou brings up his worries of Saber. He fears that after the Grail War Saber would disappear as every other Servant. Saber feels upset and they end up in an argument. Later when Shirou comes back to apologize suddenly Gilgamesh shows up again. He came to take away Saber and does not take no for an answer. In the battle Gilgamesh easily overpowers both Shirou and Saber. They were only saved by Shirou surprisingly tracing Avalon. While Saber recuperates Shirou went to the church to ask about the mysterious Servant. As he finds out no one else but Kotomine is the master of both Gilgamesh and Lancer. Sensing the danger,Saber comes to aid but she can't hope to match Gilgamesh.The sudden betrayal of Lancer though lets them escape the trap. They return only to find Rin in critical state. She tells them that Kotomine took Illya and plans to summon the Grail. Saber and Shirou must face them alone. Shirou returns Avalon to Saber. Shirou borrows teh Azzoth Dagger of Rin and they set of for the final battle. Gilgamesh faces off Saber while Shirou fights Kotomine. Kotomine tells Shirou that technically he was the one to kill Kiritsugu through the Grail's curse. That enrages Shirou but he can't get close to Kotomine. Eventually Kotomine covers Shirou in the corrupted mud of the Grail that bears the curse of all evils. Before the feeling would overcome him though Shirou traces Avalon and dispels the mud. He charges the surprised Kotomine and finishes him off with the Azzoth Dagger. At the same time Saber killed Gilgamesh. After a little hesitation Shirou uses his last command spell to make Saber to destroy the Grail. She then disappears but not until she confesses his love. Though bitter, Sirou continues his life on a positive note.
Magic: Shirou possesses 27 Magic Circuits(slightly better than average). Though he has little to no skill in classic magic. It's partially due to Kiritsugu's reluctance to train him. Later he gets better but never close to the level of Rin's. As described, no matter how would he try Shirou can only become a second-rate mage. As a specialist though Shirou is peerless in his area of expertise.
The first magic Shirou has shown to use. Reinforcement as its name implies, improves the the property of the reinforced object. It works by applying magic energy to fill up the weak spots. For example Shirou can reinforce a wooden table to be bulletproof or make an aluminium poster as hard as steel. Before reinforcing Shirou must scan and properly analyze the structure of the object he wants to enhance. This method works precisely and can be used to spot broken parts and errors needed to repair.
In the beginning he often failed to reinforce items but later he could do that with ease. He can even reinforce himself, gaining superhuman strength, endurance and speed. To note reinforcing people is very difficult though Shirou manages it with the same effort. Also despite being reinforced, Shirou still can't really match Servants in serious combat.
Gradation Air or Projection Magic is a rarely used skill. With projection one can create various objects, given enough materials. It's downside that Projection require lots of energy and the end result is just temporally. For that reason Kiritsugu told Shirou to never use Projection since it's impractical and useless. Later Shirou finds out that his "Projection" is quite different. Unlike classic Projection though Shirou has a better ability,Tracing. Tracing is much more accurate and does not require any materials to use. The effect is long-lasting though still not permanent. Shirou is especially attuned to weapons. With a single glance he can identify any weapon, even a Noble Phantasm. To add tracing does not only imitate the weapon's structure but even replicates its "soul". Tracing has the following steps:
Shirou's traced items are almost the exact replicas of the original. That's why they are extremely stable compared to regular Projection. By replicating the weapon's "soul" Shirou can partially borrow the experiences, skill or even the strength of the original wielder. Since Noble Phantasms are owned by Servants, this is a huge leap. Instead of Shirou moving the weapons, his weapons telling him how to move. Shirou often relies on Tracing to compete with Servants. One weakness of his tracing is that the weapons are only as strong as he believes them to be. As Archer pointed out: "Your worst enemy is none other than yourself.". Unless Shirou believes his imitations are strong and can withstand the attack, they could easily break. On the other hand if he's resolve is firm, Shirou's swords can evenly match the original Noble Phantasms. His state of mind is essential in Tracing.
Shirou's Reality Marble and the true origin of his powers. The Reality Marble is the ability for one to materialize their inner world. This is a very rare ability and It essentially allows the user to break down the laws of the world. Although every Reality Marble is very specialized and as such it only has a limited use. Still, with a Reality Marble the possibilities are unbelievable. Shirou's internal world is a dry field full of countless blades. His Reality Marble has limitless materials and allows Shirou to Trace weapons out of the thin air. Unlimited Blade Works(UBW) hold essentially inexhaustible stock of every weapon Shirou has ever saw.
In only the titular Unlimited Blade Works route(and the recent movie) would Shirou learn how to materialize his own Reality Marble in the real world. Unlimited Blade Works comes out as a separate and seemingly limitless space. The reality changes to the appearance of Shirou's inner word. Anyone caught inside his Reality Marble appears as if they were disappeared from the world. Shirou uses a special modidifed version of Archer's chant to call up his Reality Marble:
"I am the bone of my sword.
Steel is my body and fire is my blood.
I have created over thousand blades.
Unaware of loss, Nor aware of gain.
Withstood pain to create many weapons,
Waiting for one's arrival.
I have no regrets, this is the only path.
My whole life was 'Unlimited Blade Works"
It's basically a poem about himself. Inside Unlimited Blade Works his opponents are at severe disadvantage. Shirou can control and send as many weapons at his opponents as he wishes. His supplies are limitless and he can call up any Noble Phantasm he knew before he called his Reality Marble. Shirou can surround and attack from every direction and corner his enemy. The technique has two weaknesses though. First, copying weapons after the Reality Marble's activation consume much energy(essentially it's impossible). Second, he can't maintain Unlimited Blade Works for long. Maintaining it, consume huge sum of magic. Shirou can't do it safely without having to rely on Rin's magic supply alongside his own. That two weakness means once inside Unlimited Blade Works, Shirou must finish his opponents off quickly.
Unknowingly at first, Shirou has Avalon - Saber's lost Noble Pahantasm - inside him(while dissolved in small parts). Avalon has the passive power to regenerate Shirou from grievious injuries. As long as he survives, Avalon can heal him in time. Especially in the Fate route(and the anime) Shirou often relies on the power of Avalon to survive otherwise fatal injuries. Shirou got Avalon from Kiritsugu. His adoptive father used the sheathe to save Shirou from his inevitable death. Avalon was inactive as long as Shirou didn't summon Saber. The power of Avalon is closely linked to Shirou's connection to Saber. If he loses his status as Saber's master, Avalon is rendered ineffective.
In the last route, Heaven's Feel Shirou never learns Tracing on his own. Instead he has Archer's arm grafted on his left. He loses an arm and the dying Archer agreed on transpanting his to save Shirou. He has the Shroud, a red burial cloth over the whole arm. Archer is a Servant(a being of higher power) and the cloth serves as a safety measure. Removing the Shroud lets Archer's power flow inside Shirou but with deadly results. The instant he loosens the Shroud, Archer's power and memories flow inside him. He nearly passes out at the first use. With Archer's arm Shirou gets the Servant's experience and skill at Tracing as well as a considerable power boost. The downside is though that both his body and mind is slowly breaking down and he can only use Tracing for a few times before dying. The cost is severe as well as the gain and Shirou pulls through by pure determination and willpower.
Nine Lives Blade Works: In Heaven's Feel, Shirou manages to project Berserker's "weapon", Nine Lives. He replicates the rough-looking Ax-sword of the insane Servant. He also manages to mimic Berserker's strength to wield the giant weapon with ease. With Nine Lives Shirou does 9 extremely quick slashes, each to a different part of the body. Shirou manages only 8 hits on Dark Berserker and fails to deliver the finisher in time. Thanks to Illya's quick distraction of the giant, Shirou still manages to get the last strike in, killing Dark Berserker of the total of 9 times. It has to be noted that Nine Lives is a technique, not a specific weapon. Theoretically he shouldn't be able to replicate it since it's not the ability of the weapon. For that reason it's probably unique to the Shirou of Heaven's Feel.
While Shirou can trace about any weapon he saw(with the sole exception of Ea) there are a few that earns special mention.
Archer's favorite swords. Shirou replicated them and seems to be one of the few weapons he has real skill with. The swords grant some resistance to magic and can deflect magic projectiles just fine. The swords also have a magnetism-like property that they can't be separated for long. It's essentially the basics of the Crane Wing technique where Shirou mass-traces numerous Kanshous and Byakuyas to swarm his opponent. The swords swirl and come back like boomerangs, surrounding his enemy from all directions. The same time Shirou lunges forward for a direct attack. Crane Wing was originally Archer's technique as a whole but Shirou managed to imitate it.
The sword from the stone what made Arthur the king. Calibum is weaker than Excalibur but consumes less energy. When activated a light surrounds the blade, similar to Excalibur. Unlike the later though Calibum is a melee attack with concentrated power. The sword is more powerful at the hands of Saber, the original owner. That way Calibum managed to kill Berserker 6 times with a single strike.
The ultimate shield against projectiles. Rho Aias generates shield of seven rose petals, each with the strength of a fortress. Actually though Rho Aias is not a shield but a boundary field that prevents any projectile weapon to pass. Only the most powerful Noble Phantasms can break through its barrier. Shirou copied it from Archer, though the original possessor was Telmoran Aiax, Greek hero from the Illiad. Shirou though seemed to be unable to summon all 7 rose petals. Probably due to his lack of skill or weak magic power.
Caster's Noble Phantasm. This carved blunt dagger has little use in combat. On the other hand Rule Breaker has the ability to destroy any magical contract with a touch. In skilled hands, this dagger is a serious threat to any magical creature bound by contracts.
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 ...