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Berserker (Fate/Zero)

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Nasuverse character
Berserker
Armor | Suit
Zero berserker
Japanese name: バーサーカー
Also known as: Black Knight
Knight of the Lake
Mad Dog
Franchise: Fate
Appears in: Fate/Zero
Japanese VA: Okiayu Ryotaro
English VA: Kyle Hebert
Character type: Servant (Master: Kariya Matou)
Servant classes: Berserker, Lancer (F/AR), Saber (F/AR), Rider (F/AR)
Gender: Male[1]
Birthday: Unknown[2]
Height: 191 cm[1][2][3]
Weight: 81 kg[1][2][3]
Blood type: Unknown[2]
Place of Birth: France[3]
Hair color: Purple
Eye color: Grey
Likes: Ettiquette and tradition[2]
Dislikes: Talking about his true intentions[2]
Talents: Martial Arts; Horseback Riding[2]
Natural enemy: Iskander[2]
Image Color: Dark blue[2]

Berserker (バーサーカー, Bāsākā?) is the Berserker-class Servant of Kariya Matou during the Fourth Holy Grail War of Fate/Zero.

ProfileEdit

IdentityEdit

  • Bedivere (left), Gawain (behind) and Lancelot (right) serving Altria
  • Lancelot, when he is still a true knight.
  • Anime version of Lancelot's illustration in Alfred Tennyson's poetic circle, Idylls of the King.

Berserker's real identity is Lancelot of the Lake, known as the Knight of the Lake, the person serving as a negative symbol of the Arthurian legend.[4] In reality he had been loyal to Altria as a Knight of the Round Table. He was one of the few individuals that Altria viewed as a friend, and as such was privy to the secret of her true gender, as well as the nature and properties of her sword.

Lancelot's downfall began when he fell in love with Altria's queen, Guinevere.[5] Though the king was actually a woman, she had married in order to maintain the pretense that she was a man and the image of a stable royal family. Guinevere, in turn, willingly sacrificed her own life as a woman in order to preserve this ideal government.

When Lancelot and the queen began their affair, the Knight of the Lake considered fleeing Camelot with her, but his loyalty to Altria and his sense of duty prevented him from doing so. When political enemies of the king exposed the affair, the queen was ordered to be executed. Left with no other choice, Lancelot attempted to save her, killing several of his fellow knights including Gawain's brothers, Gareth and Gaheris, in the process.

Lancelot, who was considered the perfect knight, Guinevere, the queen who had made her beloved betray his duty, and Altria, the king who blamed herself for her loyal knight's despair, all suffered from the resulting fallout.

Although Altria forgave Lancelot's actions, Gawain still bore great hatred towards Lancelot for his betrayal and the death of his brothers.

His disloyalty had fractured the balance within the Knights of the Round Table. This incident eventually became the trigger of civil war and carnage, and the country shattered to pieces in the flames of war.[4]

Lancelot, even after being excommunicated, wanted to participate the Battle of Camlann to serve his King but Gawain hostilely rejected him which resulted in the downfall of his King and country.

When Lancelot heard the news of his King, Lancelot sank in despair and escape through madness thus, when he became a Heroic Spirit, he was summoned as the insane Berserker.

AppearanceEdit

Berserker is a robust man fully clad in pitch-black armor and a rustic helmet with a thinly carved slit displaying the ghastly glow of his eyes. The armor is the work of the delicate and nuanced workmanship of its smith's utmost effort, succeeding in granting it an air of formidability and a fine construction. It is a perfect armor that can be called neither exquisite nor crude, and it instead perfectly melds magnificence and functionality. It is carved with countless marks and scratches, the highlights of his various military exploits etched into it to add a touch of valor. It is an ideal battle outfit that all knights could not help but envy.[6]

MadEnhancement
The difference between the living Lancelot and Berserker.
EGGSAdded by EGGS

During life, he was an ideal incarnation embodying the true face of a "knight." Having lost his distinguished dignity of the past, he has been thoroughly changed by his descent into madness. Mad Enhancement and his anger have corroded him into his pitch-black form. He has a blackened face, the visage of a living dead man who has lost everything to a curse. He had a beautiful visage capable of drawing the admiration of many women, but his hatred has made him gaunt and pallid like a phantom. The only part of him filled with light is his eyes that are filled with hatred.[6] He retains his normal appearance while not under the effects of Mad Enhancement.

Due to For Someone's Glory, the identifying marks of his armor are hidden, only revealing the fact that he is fully clad in armor without any opening. It shows no ornaments or polished luster like that of Saber or Gilgamesh. Blurring the characteristic features and clues on the lineage of the maker, it makes him look like a "shadow", a bottomless black darkness like Hell. Once the ability is removed, the armor is easily identified as that of Lancelot. He lacks the radiance of Heroic Spirits, the "shine" that is the expression of their pride. There is no sign of the honor of his legend, the essential element of Noble Phantasms. This makes him closer to Assassin in nature, holding a "negative surge" like a vengeful spirit rather than a Heroic Spirit.[7]

PersonalityEdit

"I am the alienated, the ridiculed, the despised. No need to praise my name. No need to envy my body. I am the shadow under the radiance of heroic spirits. Birthed of the darkness of glorious legend. And so, I hate, I resent. Nourished by the sighs of the people precipitated within the darkness, people that curse the light. This is my disgrace. Because of her unsullied glory, I must forever be belittled. You are, the sacrifice. Good, give me more, your blood and flesh, your life. Let them ignite my hatred—!!"
—Berserker to Kariya

In his lifetime, Lancelot was a chivalrous knight who shared the same ideals as his King to save their country from foreign invasion. However, when he had an affair with Guinevere, he and Guinevere blamed themselves for betraying their most important person.

Lancelot is shown to have extreme loyalty to his King, but his guilt was, ironically, compounded by Saber's refusal to actually blame or reprimand him for his actions. He would later admit that this made him feel it impossible to atone for his sins. In his despair, Lancelot sought escape through descent into madness to seek atonement.

As Berserker, his mind is under the effects of Mad Enhancement, limiting his rationality and ability to think. He gives off nothing but murderous intent and the thirst for blood, his deep hatred radiating out from him enough that he can easily be sensed even when he is hidden. He is able to battle with finesse due to his martial prowess, and he shows the ability to recognize that Lancer has been ordered to help him and take him as an ally for a short time.

He still recognizes his King, instantly becoming hostile towards her and forgoing any orders in order to fight her.[5] He growls parts of her name, a moan full of malice hardly resembling human speech. His hatred stems from his inability to save Guinevere and Saber's legend, for he has to live in her shadow as a prideless traitor.

DevelopmentEdit

Protozeroberserker
One of the early designs of Berserker.
EGGSAdded by EGGS

Berserker's armor was designed by Hirokazu Koyama. He was told to give Berserker the appearance of a dark hero with a "bucket with a slit in it" for the helmet. He gave him a massive outer appearance, and utilized various parts similar to Saber's armor to assemble it. Only the slit in the helmet remained from the original design order, and just from the outline of the head, it is a rather simple silhouette that still manages to carry the impression of the armor. Within the discarded designs, there was a period where the slit featured a more eye-like design.

His original feel for the character was one of a great gap between his thin, weak looking appearance and amazing power and speed. The design of the back of the armor was added on afterwards, but fit in unexpectedly well. Takashi Takeuchi was surprised Koyama made such a complex design from the simple instruction of a "Bucket Helmet", and thought "This sort of design must be pretty valuable." Gen Urobuchi also wondered how such a design would end up looking good, imagining a "slit-like eyepiece" like what was used in the final design.

Takeuchi designed Lancelot's face easily, thinking "This guy is so unlucky!" while drawing him. The difference in his facial features between his living form and that under Mad Enhancement is like the difference between an ibis and an amoeba. The expression Lancelot makes next to Bedivere, like that of someone being punished for doing something wrong, makes Takeuchi tear up when looking at it. Urobuchi feels Lancelot is more beautiful as a handsome man with a shady past rather than an unrestrained playboy.[2]

The scene with Berserker fighting Gilgamesh with a fighter jet was planned from the start, so Urobuchi worked towards making it. He especially wanted an "Itano Circus", a unwieldy and unnecessarily large amount of missiles that will not even hit properly based on Ichiro Itano's work in Macross, from Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon.[8]

The anime version has heavily revised the Berserker's flashback scenes. Gen Urobuchi explains that the sudden change from the battle to a flashback would make the audience lose tension from the inconsistent timeline.[9]

Atsushi Ikariya was in charge of the character design for the anime version. Masato Takizawa was the 3DCG Supervisor. He explains that he had to tweak parts like warping and altering the scale so Berserker's movements wouldn't look like stiff CG animation.[5]

RoleEdit

Fate/ZeroEdit

Berserker is summoned by Kariya Matou in the 4th Holy Grail War. Zouken Matou, deciding that Kariya was too lacking as a Mage, compensated by forcing him to obtain a Servant from the most powerful of the seven classes - namely the Servant of Mad Enhancement, Berserker. Until his identity was revealed, he was known simply as the Black Knight.

During the War's first battle between the Servants, Lancer strikes Saber with Gáe Buidhe and attempts to finish her off, but their fight is interrupted by Iskander. In the ensuing chaos, both Archer and Berserker arrive and engage one another in battle. They are evenly matched, with weapons of Archer's Gate of Babylon being caught and effectively wielded by Berserker to deflect any other weapons thrown at him.

Archer is forced by his Master to retreat, but Kariya, unable to control his Servant any longer, is unable to order Berserker to do the same. As a result, Berserker turns his attention to the injured Saber, but is stalled by Lancer's interference. However, Lancer's Master, Lord Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi, decides that Saber is the greater threat, and uses a Command Spell to coerce his Servant into aiding Berserker. This order is quickly retracted when Iskander interferes again, attacking Berserker from behind and threatening to team up with Saber. Both Berserker and Lancer retreat soon after.

During the battle against Caster, Berserker takes control of an F-15 jet to use as his Noble Phantasm, and engages Archer in aerial combat at his Master's behest. Their fight is left unresolved when Berserker catches sight of Saber, and ignores Archer in favour of attacking the female Servant. He is defeated when Archer strikes him from behind with a barrage of Noble Phantasms. His Master, Kariya, is likewise defeated when he engages Tohsaka Tokiomi in combat.

Berserker is next sent out to kidnap Irisviel von Einzbern, in order to fulfill Kariya's end of a bargain with Kirei Kotomine. He uses his abilities to assume Rider's form, effectively fooling Saber and her Master into pursuing the wrong Servant. Saber engages the true Rider in battle, allowing Berserker to safely deliver Irisviel to his Master.

Twisted Lancelot
Lancelot under the Mad Enchantment
NikonuAdded by Nikonu

On the final day of the 4th Holy Grail War, Berserker engages Saber using submachine guns as his Noble Phantasm. (The anime depicts him with a Sniper Rifle and a Submachine Gun.) She manages to disarm him and damage his armour, but her killing blow is stopped short when Berserker deftly catches her blade between his hands. Saber realises that Berserker possesses knowledge of Excalibur's shape and length despite its invisibility, and deduces that he had known her when still alive. She demands that he reveal his true identity, to which Berserker responds by drawing his own sword, Arondight. His helmet finally shatters, revealing him to be Saber's old friend and greatest knight - Lancelot of the Lake.

Overcome by guilt of how she had contributed to his downfall in life, Saber loses her will to fight, and is brutally battered by Lancelot. She blocks one final blow from Berserker, expecting the next to be a killing strike, only to have him completely cease all movement. At the instant of his last blow, Berserker's Master, Kariya, had been completely drained of magical energy, effectively cutting off Berserker's source of power.

Berseker gets killed by Saber
Berseker gets killed by Saber

Taking advantage of the situation, Saber drives Excalibur into the frozen Berserker, dealing him a mortal wound. She tearfully tells him that she had wished to win the Holy Grail to atone for her past mistakes, including her part in Lancelot's death.

Having regained his sanity, Berserker admits that he wished Saber had condemned him for his crimes, and demanded penance of him. Instead, her willingness to forgive him made it impossible for him to forgive himself. Berserker collapses into Saber's arms, sighing that, in the end, he would die in the bosom of his king, like a loyal and just knight. Unable to sustain his physical form any longer, Lancelot fades away but he commented to Saber:

"You were the greatest amongst the kings. All who served you... believed thus."
—Lancelot

Lancelot was the fifth servant to perish in the Fourth Grail War.

Einzbern Consultation RoomEdit

Lancelot appears in Einzbern Consultation Room, a metafiction segment analyzing the story, taking place after his death. He appears as his normal self rather than under Mad Enhancement, shocking Irisviel and Student No.0's expectations of the Berserker-class Servant. He is humble and well-mannered, ashamedly standing outside hesitating to enter due to the deeds committed. Throughout the episode, he makes several remarks about his past and the Grail War, as well as more personal opinions (the most notable of which being that he prefers Saber over Guinievere). He also reveals that, upon his summoning, he came into contact with the Great Grail's corruption and thus he became familiar with the nature of the Grail.

Due to wishing for the Servants to be corrupted as a vessel for Angra Mainyu, Irisviel places a pot on his head to have him remember the darkness and slowly revert back to Berserker. He tries to warn Student No.0 about Irisviel's true nature, but ends up reverting to Berserker and leaves in madness, only to be absorbed by the Grail.

AbilitiesEdit

Lancelot was noted to be the strongest amongst the Knights of the Round Table.[4]

Berserker is constantly under the effects of Mad Enhancement, so he is difficult to control in battle. While he will follow Kariya's general orders, he will easily ignore them if he has another target he wishes to attack. Due to his connection with Saber, he immediately attacks her at any available point, and the only way to completely stop him is with a Command Spell. He uses a great deal of prana every time he acts, and combined with Kariya's fragile state of health, he brings his Master closer to death with each battle.

While his armor has many defining marks that easily show his identity, he remains unidentified due to the Noble Phantasm For Someone's Glory, a black fog that engulfs him to prevent others from discerning his identity by obscuring his figure and keeping enemy Masters from reading his abilities. The anime renders him in CG while under its effects to show the alien nature of his appearance, and he is drawn normally after it is dispelled. The true nature of the ability would allow him to disguise himself as other Heroic Spirits, but the only way to use it as Berserker is to force him with a Command Spell.

He is boosted by Mad Enhancement, giving him one rank in all stats besides Luck and Magical Energy. He loses the ability to speak and think complicatedly in exchange for the power, but still displays his great battle prowess. He has low Magic Resistance granted by a ring amulet, but his madness drops the ability a rank. It can only somewhat reduce damage from magecraft instead of nullifying it. Protection of the Fairies grants him a blessing from the Elementals. the ability to call over luck in critical situations. Its activation is only limited to battlefields where is is possible to perform feats of arms.

CombatEdit

Berserker shows incredibly adept technical skills in battle despite his madness due to Eternal Arms Mastership, allowing him to put to use all of his skills in weaponry despite not being capable of fully rational thought. His mastery of the combat arts is at the level where he was unrivaled within his era. Due to the complete unification of mind, body, and technique, he displays flawless fighting skill even under the influence of any sort of mental hindrance. Though he attacks ferociously like a beast, befitting his class, all his attacks are accurate and precise enough to push even the strongest Servants back, and he can perform seemingly impossible maneuvers normally requiring complex thought purely on instinct, surprising onlookers due to his nature as a mad warrior.

He mainly utilizes Knight of Honor in battle against other Servants for the duration of the Holy Grail War. He can make use of anything he classifies as a weapon, from telephone poles to the Noble Phantasms of others, as his own Noble Phantasm. He displays subtle and flawless technique, showing grandeur in using unfamiliar Noble Phantasms in repeated offensive and defensive maneuvers. Noble Phantasm are meant to be weapons for the exclusive usage of their owners, so another Heroic Spirit taking hold of one should not be able to wield it correctly. Knight of Honor allows him to easily wield Gilgamesh's weapons from the Gate of Babylon, and with his abilities being boosted by Mad Enhancement, it allows him to even put up a good fight against Gilgamesh while remaining unscathed.[10] He is able to advance against his opponent without being forced back a single step or being damaged in any way.

He is used to the full extent of Saber's abilities, so he is able to utilize accurate and prudent battle tactics. He hunts her by continually giving chase without allowing her to retaliate so as to slowly strangle her. He remembers her sword, allowing him to predict the path of it even while it is sheathed in Invisible Air. He knows every detail from its shape to its length like the back of his hand. He draws his main Noble Phantasm, Arondight, a sister sword of Excalibur, upon facing her. It allows him to unleash his true ability, showing skill with the sword completely incomparable to his previous level. Even Saber being able to fight against him normally may not be able to withstand the strong momentum behind his strikes.

It does not have a large scale attack, but instead boosts his parameters, can take any attack without suffering any damage, increases the success rate of saving throws, and provides an advantage against dragons due to its legend. Due to Saber's mental state and his prowess being many times greater than her own, he easily pushes her back. It multiplies his prana upkeep many times, finally reaching the limit of Kariya's Crest Worms and taking several hours worth of backup prana in ten seconds from his last charge.

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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fate/Zero Anime Visual Guide II - Berserker: Lancelot entry, p.032
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fate/Zero Volume 4 - -03:59:48
  7. Fate/Zero Volume 1 - -153:53:08

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