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Assassin (Fate/stay night)

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Nasuverse character
Assassin
Sasaki sprite
Japanese name: アサシン
Also known as: Nameless Samurai
Franchise: Fate
Appears in: Fate/stay night
Fate/hollow ataraxia
Fate/tiger colosseum
Fate/Unlimited Codes
Carnival Phantasm
Japanese VA: Shinichirō Miki
English VA: David Vincent
Character type: Servant (Master: Caster)
Affiliation: Caster's Servant[2]
Servant classes: Assassin, Saber (F/AR)
Gender: Male[2]
Height: 176 cm[2]
Weight: 63 kg[2]
Place of Origin: Japan[2]
Armament: Katana[1]
Likes: Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon[2]
Dislikes: None in particular[2]
Talents: Sword[2]
Natural enemy: Zouken Matou, Sakura Matou[2]
Image Color: Cobalt blue[2]

Assassin (アサシン, ?) is the Assassin-class Servant of Caster in the Fifth Holy Grail War of Fate/stay night. He is an irregular Servant that shouldn't exist according to the rules of the Holy Grail War, but Caster's unique nature as a Servant summoning a Servant twists the process. The true Servant, one of the Hassan-i-Sabbah, is summoned as True Assassin in the Heaven's Feel route.

ProfileEdit

IdentityEdit

Assassin's supposed identity is that of the mythical Japanese swordsman, Kojirou Sasaki (佐々木 小次郎, Sasaki Kojirō?) whose real name was speculated to be Tsuda (津田, ?).[3] His true name was unknown, and to be more specific, he never had a true name.[4] Kojirou is known as a master swordsman whose existence is doubted even though his name remains recorded in history. He did not actually exist, so it would be impossible to summon the real thing as a Servant. The person summoned in his place is not a Heroic Spirit, but an existence closer to that of wraiths. If there was to be a database for all of humanity, he is the piece of data that best matches the parameters of Sasaki, so his personality would become Kojirou's personality and his monumental feats would become that of Kojirou rather than his own.[5]

He was a nameless martial artist with some relation to the Ryuudou Temple, but there is no way to know his true identity.[1] He died lacking a name, never even fortunate enough to be given one, and the ability to read or write. He utilizes a long Japanese katana and discovered the ultimate technique, “Tsubame Gaeshi”, being absolutely all he possesses. The reason he is summoned is simply because he can execute that legendary technique. He spent much of his life simply trying to figure out the best method to cut down a swallow, and although he realized the method was impossible for a human, he had nothing else to do and kept on practicing. While determination is normally the key to success, he simply noticed that it had succeeded.

The legendary Kojirou is known as cool and elegant, so Assassin's pursuit of sword technique, sophistication, and finding joy in dueling with strong foes is reminiscent of that character. Differing from the legend, his katana is longer, 1.5 meters compared to 90 centimeters and engraved with Bitchu Aoe (備中青江, bichuu aoe?, Blue River of Bitchu).[1] With any great deed performed by Assassin, the reward will go to "Sasaki Kojirou", as he is nothing and all his actions are meaningless. He is a disposable swordsman meant only to act out the role of Sasaki Kojirou, a fictional swordsman created from a fictional story.

LegendEdit

While the Kojirou in the modern era is an invention, a blend of details from the lives of many nameless and forgotten historical swordsmen, he is said to have been born in the Eiroku era in the Echizen countryside according to records. He studied under the originator of the Chujoryu kodachi style, Toda Seigen, favoring a long sword. He defeated the master's younger brother, and named his own style "Ganryu." He was known as a handsome swordsman wielding the 3-shaku-long, approximately 90 centimeters to one meter, nodachi, “Bizen Osahune Nagamitsu”, that was also called the “Monohoshi Zao."He traveled around the country as a master swordsman, and it is said that he developed his secret sword technique, Tsubame Gaeshi, able to kill even a flying swallow, around the Nishiki River in the Suou region.

He terrified swordsman around the country after that period, and eventually battled Miyamoto Musashi at Funajima Island to maintain the reputation of the domain he served, dying in the process. He was unable to fight while holding onto the sheath of his sword due to its length, so he threw it away in front of Musashi. Musashi is quoted to have said the famous lines "Kojirou, you lose. If you're were planning to win, why did you throw away your sheath?" and “Kojirou has been defeated!" after seeing that event. The finale was of the battle was Kojirou's death after having his forehead crushed by an oar.

Musashi was one of Japan's best swordsmen, and Kojirou is known as Musashi's worthy rival. It is claimed that he gained fame around the period from the 10th to 17th year of the Keichou era, but his real figure is hazy like the moon on water. Any truth of this era is a mystery due to all books noting him being inconsistent in terms of years. His duel is legendary, and although he was said to be the disciple of Seigen, there are numerous conflicting documentations and legends, which still shroud his true identity even now.[1] The only one who should know of the existence of such a swordsman would have to be the supposed rival who defeated him, Musashi, but he is not mentioned at all in the book Musashi wrote, "Gorin No Shou."

Kojirou was a Japanese man without any real identity, his birth is unknown, and his story was only told through world of mouth. His past was falsely forged as a convenient foe to a famed swordsman. The records are too vague, but it was likely there existed man named Sasaki Kojirou and a man who wielded a sword called the Monohoshi Zao. They would not have been the same person, so the swordsman with the name Sasaki Kojirou was simply a fictional character created to be his enemy's foil. Even if there was a person like him, it can be said that his figure passed down to the present is a fictional swordsman nor an overstatement to say that he has never existed.

AppearanceEdit

Assassin's appearance is that of a samurai swordsman with long indigo hair tied into ponytail and indigo eyes. He wears a traditional light purple umanori hakama and kimono, light purple tabi and black geta with purple haori and tekkou and carries his sword, Monohoshi Zao on his back.

PersonalityEdit

Assassin is quiet and composed, and while his general tone has a mocking nature to it, he takes it to another level with Caster. He is honorable in battle, always maintaining a degree of bushido, and he is not the type who would attack defenseless women and children. He willingly keeps Saber from exposing her name without any ulterior motives, and he prematurely stops their fight to keep an opponent from spying on her Noble Phantasm and possibly going after the weakened winner of the battle. He has no actual goal in participating in the Holy Grail War. He is not a Heroic Spirit, so there is no advantage to winning for him. He reveals his "true name" without regard, and seems disinterested in Caster's promised reward of making him into a real Sasaki. He only guards the gate while eagerly awaiting Servants to battle.

He greatly dislikes Caster, seeking to kill her if possible. Not wishing to be ordered around by a woman, her first Command Spell was to force him into obedience. During hollow ataraxia, he is very carefree and casual with her, freely insulting her and mocking her orders as he wishes. She attempts to have him do menial work, but he uses logic like that it would take more prana to take form to sweep than if she herself were to do it. True to her nature as a magus, the logic is impenetrable because she would never utilize prana frivolously. He mentions that he enjoys watching her interactions with Kuzuki due to him not giving her any recognition. It was one of his few sources of amusement, but eventually began to tire of it.

He befriends Yukika Saegusa, taking to her innocence that is like that of a puppy. He does his best to avoid the topic of his strange clothing and nature as a Servant. He always admired the beauty of nature, especially that of the moon.

RoleEdit

Fate/Stay nightEdit

Fsn Assasin (anime)

Assasin in the Fate/Stay night anime.

Caster borrowing the power of the Greater Grail was able to obtain fake Command Spells and she managed to summon a fake servant.[6] He was summoned as a guardian and watchman for the front gate of the Ryuudou Temple. As an improper servant, Assassin is entirely dependent on Caster for mana and cannot move freely beyond the grounds of Ryuudou Temple. Furthermore, he lacks most of the usual parameters and abilities granted to his class. Because of his limited status, Assassin cares little for the Holy Grail, and outside of his duties to Caster, he only seeks to enjoy a decent sword duel.

FateEdit

In the Fate scenario, Assassin drives back Saber during her first assault on the Ryuudou Temple. During their second meeting (anime only), he allows Emiya Shirou and Tohsaka Rin to pass in order to engage Saber in a duel in which he is defeated. In the Visual Novel he is never seen after his initial confrontation with Saber. He is defeated at some point in the story but it is only mentioned and not shown leaving the identity of his killer unknown.

Unlimited Blade WorksEdit

In Unlimited Blade Works on the last night of the Holy Grail War , Saber went to the front gate of the Ryuudou Temple to fight against Gilgamesh however Assassin still exists and wanted to duel against Saber. He is defeated by Saber due to his blade being bent from their previous encounter, which leaves an opening in his Tsubame Gaeshi.

Heaven's FeelEdit

In the Heaven's Feel scenario, Assassin is killed by the entity known as the shadow and his flesh serves as Matou Zouken's catalyst for summoning the True Assassin.

Fate/hollow ataraxiaEdit

Fate Hollow Ataraxia assassin souichirou

Souichirou and Assassin fighting against the dog-shadows

In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Assassin remains bound to the Ryuudou Temple, and continues to watch over its front portal even though peace has settled over Fuyuki City. He converses with whoever is kind enough to climb up the steps to see him. Incidentally, he takes upon the pseudonym Kojirou Tsuda (津田小次郎, Tsuda Kojirō?).

When Avenger makes his move, Assassin fights the dog-shadows right beside his Master, Caster and Souichirou Kuzuki.

Fate/Unlimited CodesEdit

AssassinUCopening

Opening

In Fate/Unlimited Codes, he is known as Nameless Samurai (無名の侍士, ?). Assassin's story follow as he was summoned by Caster, he notices that the environment to be familiar to Ryuudou Temple. Caster corrects Assassin that it has been many years since he last saw Ryuudou Temple and calls him as Sasaki Kojirou. While Assassin seems confused with his name, Caster claims it is a name that people of the modern age calls him. Caster explains to Assassin that she summoned him to serve her and refers him as Assassin. Caster orders Assassin to guard the mountain gate whether they are Magus or Servants, however Assassin refuse to take order from Caster. He claims that he has no problem offering his life to a cause but drawing his sword on a command of a woman doesn't suit him. Caster forces Assassin to submit to her orders when she used her Command Spells. Although Assassin follows her command, Assassin mocks Caster whether she can still control him by the end of the Holy Grail War.

His clash with Saber is interrupted when Assassin says that a third party member is observing their fight and the possibility of them to attack when they witness their secret technique or taking advantage on the injured winner. Assassin suggested Saber to retreat as he already figured out Saber's techniques and along with the possibility that the third party member will attack Shirou Emiya who is on his way to collect Saber. Caster appears and orders Assassin to finish Saber as she is both tired and exhausted. Assassin tells Caster not to interfere and told her he has no desire to settle things in a vulgar manner. Caster used her second command spell, she orders Assassin to finish off Shirou while Caster has an interest in Saber. As he wins, he feels Saber shame in surviving the duel and wonders what to do with Caster who has gone too far to interfere.

AssassinUCending

Ending

His final opponent is Berserker who has passed through the mountain gates and in to the inner grounds of the temple, Assassin can sense Berserker immense vigor. Berserker strikes Assassin with one blow, Caster in disbelief was convinced that Assassin had no chance in defeating Berserker. Caster used her final command spell to fight Berserker to the very end, Assassin used this opportunity to cut down Caster. He planned to have the final command spell to be used and in doing so, his reserved energy was activated. It appears that he has many energy left due to defeating his enemies without a single loss. Shortly after Caster death, Assassin will be gone shortly but he is glad to have a worthy opponent in his final moments. Although he doesn't know Berserker identity but he knows he is an exceptional warrior and that he has to use his full force to win. After his victory, he never believed that he would face against a tough opponent and was satisfied with his time spent in the Holy Grail War. He compliments the beauty of the Moon and fades away.

Fate/tiger colosseum seriesEdit

AssassinTCending

Assassin Ending


Fate/PrototypeEdit

Assassin retains his identity from the original novel version of Fate/stay night, but he doesn't appear within the Fate/Prototype animated special.

Carnival PhantasmEdit

Assassin has minor appearances in Carnival Phantasm. The fact that he cannot go outside the temple is comically exaggerated, to the point of being replaced with a cardboard cutout in multiple scenes.

He is shown to be very attached to his gate, to the point he even talks to it, and apparently hears it talk back.

AbilitiesEdit

Assassin is an irregular Servant that should not actually belong to the Assassin class, and he is considered to be strange compared to most other Servants by Saber. Out of all the other Servants she has seen, he seems incomprehensible to her, but not out of having fearful aspects or a fearful weapon. Her unease comes from not being able to sense any magical energy or even a Noble Phantasm, that it should be easy enough for her to end the match in one blow. Nothing special can be felt from his sword, so it should be easy for her to repel it. While she wishes to rush in and be done with it, her honed instincts can sense his ability to seize a sure kill, so she remains cautious of him.

He is very untypical as an Assassin. Servants in the Assassin class are normally the weakest ones in direct confrontation, and they defeat enemy Servants through covert actions or by killing their Masters to cut off their prana supply. Assassin does not employ assassination techniques such as ambush, and due to excelling in swordsmanship, he frequently chooses to fight face-to-face directly with other Servants. He does not gain the class ability of Presence Concealment due to not being a true Servant Assassin, but he does have the ability on his own. It is his intrinsic ability as a martial artist to “cut off his presence”.[1]

Caster is unable to act as his anchor to the world due to also being a Servant, so he is instead bound to the land. The mountain itself acts as a host from the current age to keep him in the world. While that means that he cannot leave the mountain, it also means that he will not disappear even if his summoner dies. He can only appear on the mountain, and he will continue to exist as long as the mountain exists. He is not receiving constant magical upkeep, so he was only given twenty days worth of energy. He manages to go slightly longer than that limit in order to fight Saber, it is mostly luck that allowed that to happen. He begins to turn transparent, and will not last until dawn of that day.

CombatEdit

Assassinhighground

Assassin's advantageous position.

He is an oddity that fights under different battle conditions from other Servants, a "Saber-class defender", making him defensive compared to others being offensive. Fighting on the temple stairs gives him a higher position than his opponent, and due to the area being a Servant-killing battlefield and having Caster's anti-sorcery defensive barrier, the power of both magecraft and Noble Phantasms are decreased significantly. If the Noble Phantasm being used isn't powerful, he will not take a fatal wound.[7] He does not have any defense against curses, so he will likely instantly lose against such Noble Phantasms. This allows him to repel the other five Servants without losing any ground, though he required both the terrain advantage and Caster's help in weighing down Berserker's body to repel him. Assassin has no actual way of hurting him and they have extremely bad compatibility in a fight, so the fact that Berserker was even pushed back is enough to say "whoah, Kojirou's amazing."[8]

While he would fall to other Servants in an all out death match, he reigns supreme on the stairs of the temple due to most battles having to come down to swordsmanship. The attacker is constantly at a disadvantage because they have to ascend the stairs to reach him, while he does not have to move if he does not wish. He has no need to chase a retreating enemy in a battle of defense, so he has no reason to forsake his advantage of higher ground. His excellent skill and the disadvantageous ground keep the opponent from being able to dodge his fatal strikes as they wish. His strikes that aim for the head means that they must retreat instead of press forward, but the terrain of fighting on the stairs leaves them unable to dodge to the side. They are left retreating to the same spot, all the while he has no need to move from his position unless he wishes to unleash his ultimate technique.

Even without Battle Continuation, he will be able to last longer with more serious wounds due to having a strong spirit alignment. Like Lancer, he will have some fighting power left even if his heart is destroyed, allowing him to close the gap between an opponent after receiving a fatal wound, such as True Assassin using Zabaniya to kill him, and use Tsubame Gaeshi to leave both of them dead.[9] Caster placed a curse into his body upon summoning, allowing her to have his chest explode from within at her leisure. Even though his ribs are protruding from his chest, he is still able to act without fading away and later heal.

While his Presence Concealment is not a match for the Presence Concealment of True Assassin due to not being a skill trained for assassination, it allows the martial artist to merge with his surroundings. It is not a skill meant to hide someone, but a technique of the mind that allows him to cut off his presence enough that he is hard to detect even for a Servant. It is very difficult to perceive him during the first encounter, but his activity being limited to the range of the Temple Gate makes detecting him rather easy for those who know of his existence. The ability is rarely used for its intended purpose, as is personality makes it so that battles are usually only commenced only after the parties have presented and introduced themselves.[1]

SwordsmanshipEdit

MonohoshiZao

Assassin's blade

Assassin wields the Monohoshi Zao (物干し竿, ? The Laundry-Drying Pole), an over five shaku long, 150 centimeter, Bitchu Aoe blade. The length defies common sense, the name being a derogatory nickname rather than a formal title, meaning “That blade is way too damn long to use!” It cannot be called "useful" despite its large range, as almost nobody except Assassin, having a mastery of the sword exceeding the realm of humans, could even wield it.[10] He is noted as the greatest in terms of pure swordsmanship among the Servants of the Fifth Holy Grail War, and not even Gilgamesh would want to face him in a battle of swordsmanship.[4][11] Lancer comments that he wouldn't like fighting him one on one and would prefer to kill him off from a distance.

He calls his sword a heresy, and says it will slice the head of one of average skill. He has no actual stances, meaning any seeming opening cannot be trusted, and the ability to use a sword of such length means that he has to be able to swing it from any position, even delivering slashes even while standing idly. The katana is a longsword not suited to direct competitions of power. It will break fighting off a sword like Excalibur, so he cannot lock blades or compete in strength. He can only parry blows and push the opponent back by attacking their body because the blade is meant to cut with speed and technique unlike western swords that cut with weight and power, making fighting styles between the two mismatched.

His swordplay is fast enough that even Saber has trouble following it. He works his sword like a hurricane, using elastic tracks to parry blows from opponents stronger and faster than himself, all while flowing toward the opponent's neck to decapitate the them with certainty should he detect an opening. Each of his attacks is fatal, meant to take the opponent's life by decapitation, so it is not possible to employ a strategy like taking a strike to then overpower him during the aftermath. He strikes with a curved path, a graceful arc that does not take the shortest route to the opponent like Saber's western sword. It would normally be that he should not be able to match a sword moving in a straight line and the length of the sword should make it easy to go inside his range after it is parried, but his sword techniques and Eye of the Mind, or simply dodging, allow him to counters the opponent’s attack and reduce the difference in distance to zero.

It is not possible to get used to his fighting style no matter how many times he utilizes the same technique on a single foe due to his Knowledge of Respect and Harmony skill. It is the ability to “render one’s attacks unreadable to the enemy”, so even Saber's high Instinct cannot adapt to his fighting style after crossing blades many times. Its effect vastly improved with his unique “head-shot” techniques, so the opponent will not be able to see through his techniques even after retreating and challenging him again numerous times, always forced back to square one and fought as if it is the first encounter again.[1]

He cannot be emotionally overwhelmed in battle due to his Vitrification skill, a mental state called a “heart of clear water” that was acquired after reaching the pinnacle of arduous training. He is able to maintain a cool and collected heart, regardless the situation. Facing his own death will not cause him to waver, so it is a very useful ability for a gate guardian. Mental interference from charms and fear magecraft activated by the opponent are completely negated. He watches the gate in silence with a heart of clear water, like the many trees surrounding the temple and an unwavering guardian.[1]

The perception of his eyes is the best among Servants, allowing him to see through the weapon and style of his opponent after crossing blades only a few times. He initially has trouble with Invisible Air because its distance cannot be gauged, making it too dangerous to close in and not allow him to follow through with his strikes. He eventually becomes able to judge its exact measurements without using magecraft or even exchanging actual blows with the sword. He is an unorthodox sword-user who is only able to improve on such techniques, so he mentions that figuring out the shape is "just a street performance." It stems from his Eye of the Mind (False), a sixth sense that very different from Archer's danger avoidance that originates from “predictions augmented by experience”. Assassin's ability can be called a natural talent to sense danger. It also allows him to see that Saber is unable to use her Noble Phantasm attack due to a lack of energy.[1]

While Saber believes that he will lose any advantage by relinquishing his advantage of being overhead, she is misunderstanding his skill. From such a close distance, an opponent should be able to easily outmaneuver his longsword to get inside his range, but such logic does not apply to him. His secret technique, Tsubame Gaeshi, is three simultaneous sword slashes in mutually exclusive directions that can only be performed on flat ground. It is not a Noble Phantasm, but it has reached a similar level out of pure godlike skill. It should be unavoidable as long as there are no errors in its execution, making it a deadly technique. It makes him, who should be a "mere human", equal to Heroic Spirits armed with Noble Phantasms.

While he holds out the thought that his sword may be able to block a few strikes from Excalibur, it is bent only after one clash. While it is a good sword able to cut steel, something made by a human cannot compare to something not made by men. He utilizes the method to force Saber onto flat ground to utilize Tsubame Gaeshi, but it proves to be his undoing due to the bend in the sword allowing for a gap for Saber to escape from the technique.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9
  3. 4.0 4.1
  4. Nasu: If a Master wished to summon Kojiro Sasaki, he would be unable to because Kojiro Sasaki did not exist. Like the story stated, if there were a database for humanity, then Assassin was the piece of data that matched the parameters of Kojiro Sasaki. As a result, Assassin's personality would become Kojiro's personality, and Assassin's monumental feats would become that of Kojiro's rather than his.

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