A huge fan favourite, the Fate Stay Night series of visual novels originally penned by Kinoko Nasu, who also founded Type Moon, coupled with Fate/Zero written by Gen Urobuchi, slowly gained traction in the anime community with the first famed adaptation of Fate Stay Night (TV Series). Spawning many movies, TV series in the form of Fate Zero and the Unlimited Blade Works route, this is surely not just another generic tale of dark fantasy steeped in life-changing consequences.
Part of the Fate series’ attraction lies in the how different character motivations can be despite harbouring arguable ‘good’ intentions. One prime example comes in the form of Emiya Shirou, the protagonist in Fate Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works whose ideals detract largely from his adopted father, Kiritsugu. Both intended to benefit the world and, to save as many people as possible, yet the way they set about carrying out this mission which is of utter importance to them reveals a fundamental difference in their moral beliefs and value judgments.
This is especially seen in Unlimited Blade Works, where the dialogue-heavy exposition and verbal sparring between Shirou and characters like Archer, Rin Tohsaka and Gilgamesh exposes the weaknesses in Shirou’s beliefs and how impractical and fruitless his blind pursuit in those ideals are. Yet, Shirou’s beliefs – by argument of how the series ends – seem to be promoted as the main takeaway and portrayed in a positive light.
Are the arguments put forth by Archer and Gilgamesh not valid? Are Rin’s concerns for Shirou’s well-being unfounded? Can Shirou’s values stand on their own? This article attempts an exposition of the various arguments propounded by the above-mentioned characters based on the material covered in Unlimited Blade Works, and seeks to examine whether Shirou’s principles are really as admirable as they seem to be.