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Zandy Zhao, Union County Vocational-Technical School       

          He was there, the day the grail scorched Fuyuki City. Shirou Emiya was only a child, no

older than 7 when he lost everything. The great fire burned everything in its path, not only

costing him his parents but even himself. The unimaginable trauma left Shirou an empty husk,

tarnished by hell, yet he was saved by a magus named Kiritsugu Emiya. Kiritsugu was a

righteous man, full of ambition and ideals, who would do anything to save as many people as

possible, yet it does not matter whether the ends justify the means when you utterly fail.

Kiritsugu failed to completely destroy the corrupted grail, leading to a devastating fire that

destroyed large portions of the city. He was powerless to stop this disaster, and as he stumbled through the hellish landscape he caused, he found a young boy, still alive, yet so close to death. He could still save someone. He could make sure everything he's done hasn't been for nothing. He implanted a magical healing artifact, Avalon, into the young boy, keeping him alive. He later adopted the boy he saved, Shirou Emiya. Shirou would remember that night for the rest of his life, though he can hardly remember his life before the fire. When Kiritsugu saved him, Shirou was met with a genuine smile, he saw true happiness even in hell. Even if it began as admiration, Shirou became obsessed with Kiritsugu's ideals. With nothing left in his shattered world, Shirou clung onto this ideal, that maybe one day he can feel just as happy by saving someone, even if the world was falling apart. Maybe one day he could save everyone. Kiritsugu passed on his ideals before he died because of the consequences of the grail war. Even if Shirou had something to believe in, these were not his beliefs, it was a hollow dream, stolen from the man who raised him. He neglected his own personal needs, to Shirou, nothing could be more important than his fraudulent ideals. Though Kiritsugu recognized something Shirou did not, that one cannot save everyone. If you save one person, you fail to save another. You cannot simply save two people on opposing sides. Embodying such an impossible ideal will only lead to destruction of the self. Shirou holds his ideals above his life, recklessly trying to sacrifice himself for little reason. But what happens when a hollow being is stripped of its shell? What happens when he is forced to abandon his ideals, his self, for the one person he truly loves? By throwing away his ideals, he breaks free from his hero complex and unending need to die for others, yet now all he has left is Sakura. All he has left to cling on

to is bringing Sakura happiness. His infinite desire to save others, is at its core, purely selfish. Even if he wants to save everyone, even if he wants to save the one he loves from hell itself, all Shirou ever wanted was to be happy. Since the day he lost everything, even his identity, Shirou only longed to feel the profound joy upon his adoptive fathers face as he saved him. Shirou thought being a hero of justice would fill his empty soul, going through such lengths and holding his own life with such little regard, because he truly was naught but an automaton, wound up with a key of survivors guilt and sent to fall on his sword of fraudulent ideals.

          Kieri is a man who has no concept of the idea of love. He can’t feel any sort of emotion,

and tried unsuccessfully during his childhood to feel something through fasting, religion, and

mental pain. As a young man, he realized that he could never be as beautiful as his father had

wanted, and worked all throughout his teenage years to try to rectful the wrong he believed he

committed. Despite all his attempts, he could not reach the ideal he so desperately sought.

Becoming a priest as he got older, he married a woman who left him abruptly, leaving him a

broken man with nothing to fight for except discourse.

          Emiya and Kieri are mirror images of each other because while both have different motivations, deep down, they share the same goals and methods of execution.

An analysis of novel and anime series Fate/Zero, written by Gen Urobuchi

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