Kanshou and Bakuya

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Kanshou and Bakuya: Gan Jiang and Mo Ye (干将かんしょう莫耶ばくや, Kanshō - Bakuya?) are "married" twin swords representing yin and yang encountered by Archer at some point during his lifetime and added to the numerous weapons recorded and stored in Unlimited Blade Works. They are his favored weapons to project, having become his symbols after wielding them all his life. He and Shirou Emiya find the craftsmanship of the blades, rather than what they represent, to be extremely captivating and beautiful, and the swords suit their natural style of fighting. Despite not having a wielder in the legends, they are still Noble Phantasms crafted by the blacksmith Gān Jiàng, Kanshou, of Wu during the Spring and Autumn Period of China. They were crafted more for the sake of crafting, as if questioning the meaning of the swordsmith, than for any real idea behind their creation. They were created without vanity, and lack a sense of purpose found in other swords. They contain no fighting spirit to defeat others or competitive spirit to beat other weapons, and they contain neither the desire to be famous nor the faith to accomplish great deeds.

Upon receiving orders from King of Wu to forge the imperial sword, Kanshou could not think of ways to forge swords that fit such orders. While he was extremely frustrated and desperate, his wife Mò Yé, Bakuya, upon seeing this situation, decided to gamble her own life. The sacrificing of human lives is absolutely necessary in order to forge items reaching the realm of Gods, so Bakuya hurled herself into the furnace in front of the husband she loved and used her own life to help the Essence of Five Mountains and the Metal of Six Heroes meld. Kanshou forged the two swords in grief.[1] He kept the Yang sword, named "Ganjiang", and he only handed over the Yin Sword, "Moye", to the king when it came time to present them. The king was furious upon discovering the deception, and the king had him killed.[2]

Their quality and ability as swords is high due to being made with the best materials and a human sacrifice, and they have shamanistic and ritual aspects as enchanted weapons. The quality of the grips is more important in the practical use of the swords than the ornamental value, and they are noted as being quite big and heavy.[3] They are identical in shape with the only difference being their color. Kanshou, the black Yang sword, is covered in a hexagonal pattern, and Bakuya, the white Yin sword, has less of the shine of a polished metal in its ore than it has the haze of a cloud. Though the story of their creation has survived into the modern day, there is no mention of the kind of swords they were or their shape, and it is only an assumption that they were cast swords common to the time period. The only known description was that Kanshou had a black tortoise shell pattern and Bakuya had a white wave pattern.[4]

They are rather low ranking compared to other Noble Phantasms, but the dual-wielding style, their experience, and their tracing time make them very reliable. The main ability of the swords is their strong bond with each other, which not only allows them to attract each other, but it is also said they will return their owner even if events cause them to be lost. If one is thrown while the other is held, the thrown sword will return to the wielder much like a boomerang. This works well with projection, allowing an already projected sword to identify a new projection as its partner sword. When both are wielded, magic resistance and physical resistance improve, and their rank as both weapons and Noble Phantasms increases. The original versions of the swords that reached the realm of the Gods due to human sacrifice, rather than the imperfect projected versions, also have a strong affinity against monsters, allowing them to easily cut down creatures like the Gorgon form of Medusa and the extradimensional evil god summoned by Caster in a single strike.[5]

Triple-Linked Crane WingsEdit

Spirit and technique, flawless and firm
Our strength rips the mountains
Our swords split the water
Our names reach the imperial villa
The two of us cannot hold the heavens together.

 Shingi, muketsu ni shite banjaku
 Chikara, yama wo nuki
 Tsurugi, mizu wo wakatsu
 Seimei, rikyuu ni todoki
 Warera, tomo ni ten wo idakazu


Crane wings (Spirit and technique), without opening (flawless and firm)
Spirit and technique (Strength), reaching the mountain (pierce the mountain)
Spirit and technique (Sword), crossing the Yellow River (split the water)
Name (Fame), ending in a different heaven (reaching the imperial villa)
Two rivals / Two great men (We), sharing a life (cannot embrace heavens together)


Words that seem like spells of warding carved onto the blades have been added by Archer, and it is unknown why he chose to carve them all over the swords. The true meaning behind the words has nothing to do with the ideology behind the creation of the swords, but rather the foundations of his swordsmanship. It also represents Triple-Linked Crane Wings (鶴翼三連, Kakuyoku Sanren?), a strategy that is the culmination of Archer's use of the swords, the true meaning behind them, using three consecutive pairs traced ahead of time and the pair of swords' attraction to each other to deliver a fatal attack by projecting them when necessary. The main usage of the attacks is three consecutive X-shaped strikes as shown by Archer use of it in Fate/unlimited codes, though the version used by Shirou after obtaining information from Archer's arm in Heaven's Feel is different.

In Archer's version, the first pair is thrown at the enemy with the purpose of being deflected, while the second is prepared for close range combat. While the enemy is off guard, he slashes with the second pair, and the thrown pair returns and hits the enemy from behind. Finally, the third pair is modified through reinforcement, called Kanshou and Bakuya Overedge (干将·莫耶オーバーエッジ, Kanshō-Bakuya Ōbāejji?), which makes them into longswords that are twice the size and covers the blade from the ridge to the edge with feather-like splinters, and he performs the final strike with them. The design for Overedge comes from the animated version of the fight between Archer and Berserker, and was created by the art director of the anime, Koyama Toshihisa. Nasu Kinoko fell in love with the dangerous look of the swords, and applied them to Archer's version of the attack in reference material.[6] Archer utilized them at some point during the battle with Berserker in the visual novel.[4]

Shirou's version used to defeat Saber Alter begins with a thrown pair aimed at the neck, coinciding with the first line of the chant, that is deflected by the enemy, and then closes in for close combat with a second pair. The thrown Bakuya returns from behind to attack the enemy and he immediately strikes with the Kanshou in his hand. Directly afterward, the thrown Kanshou returns and he uses the Bakuya in his hands to attack as well, coinciding with the second and third lines. Saber managed to block all four attacks, but the result left her defenses completely open. He then projects the final pair without any reinforcement to slash the enemy's open defense in a downward X-motion, coinciding with the final two lines. It is essentially a methodical strategy at rendering the opponent defenseless.


  1. 4.0 4.1
  2. Character Material encyclopedia entry, page 53

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