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Berserker (Fate/Zero)

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Nasuverse character
Berserker
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: Capsule Servant
Chibichuki!
Fate/Ace Royal
Fate/Zero
Koha-Ace
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 Origin: 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

Berserker's real identity is Sir Lancelot (サー・ランスロット, Sā・Ransurotto?), also known as the Knight of the Lake (湖の騎士, Mizūmi no kishi?), the person serving as a negative symbol of the Arthurian legend.[4] He was extremely loyal to King Arthur as one of the Knights of the Round Table. He had many famous exploits, including once hiding his name and disguising himself to enter a horse race for the sake of a friend’s honor. Even after falling into a trap and being forced to face the enemy's blades with only his bare hands, he had proved victorious with his skilled fighting prowess using only an elm branch.

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

Lancelot's downfall began when he fell in love with Artoria's queen, Guinevere.[5] The tragic love story of Diarmuid Ua Duibhne and Grainne later became the story model of Guinevere and Lancelot.[6] 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 Artoria 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 Artoria, the king who blamed herself for her loyal knight's despair, all suffered from the resulting fallout. Although Artoria 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

  • The difference between the living Lancelot and Berserker.
  • His suit costume in Einzbern Consultation Room.

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.[7]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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

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.

Lancelot was known to have extreme loyalty to his King during life as one of the people she considered to be a friend. She believes, even after their armies had clashed, that their hearts should still be the same, as a subject upholding the way of the knight and a king upholding the way of the knight. Saber is shocked in his ability to manifest as Berserker, that he who was the subject of people’s admiration could be reduced to that state. She cannot help but think their eternal partnership was nothing but a naive fantasy onto which she had clung upon seeing him in that state.

In one sense, he can be said to be a victim of Saber's righteousness.[9] Saber believes the root of it to stem from her hiding her gender. Seeking punishment for his actions, he was forgiven by the one person who he desired it from the most. The wretchedness he felt from that simple act was overwhelming for him. His guilt weighed down on him the more he adored his king, so his only salvation became to personally bring about her downfall. The atrocities he committed were of an insane and irritable young man, but ultimately driven by his overwhelming love for his king. He hated that she could remain an ideal king even after learning about the affair, and lamented how his king sacrificed herself for the sake of her country.

RoleEdit

Fate/ZeroEdit

Fz Berserker (anime)

Berserker in the Fate/Zero anime

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.

Fz Berserker using F-15 as Noble Phantasm

Berserker controlling F-15 to use as his Noble Phantasm.

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

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

"You were the greatest amongst the kings. All who served you... believed thus."
—Lancelot last comments to Saber:

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 he 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.

Capsule ServantEdit

MasterSaberfamily

Artoria's family in Capsule Servant.

There are two Lancelot in the game, Berserker is one of the Servant. While Lancelot in the world of Capsule Servant is the son of Gawain and the brother of Master Artoria, Kay and Bedivere.


Other AppearancesEdit

In Type-Moon's April Fools Day 2009, moon.cinemas.jp is a fake movie theater site listing a number of parody films. He was featured in Tank Man (戦車男, Sensha Otoko?), a parody film of Densha Otoko. Berserker plays the role of Sensha Otoko's Eirei Throne Channel internet friend with the nickname U to O (ウtuオ, U tu o?). He's a surprisingly nice guy but he is a man with a phobia of face to face and he uses his sketchbook to write his speech and thoughts. His role is expanded in TYPE-MOON 10th Anniversary Phantasm where he lives in the Matou family with Kariya and Sakura Matou. He and the other Eirei Throne Channel suggested Sensha Otoko to buy a Saber figure for El-Melloi Girl. When Kariya was stalking Aoi Tohsaka, Berserker calls him delusional and Kariya retaliate by throwing objects at Berserker. Kariya accidentally thrown an apple at Berserker's Saber Lily figure to which Berserker dived and saved it from falling. Berserker started to damage Kariya with his ability and they started to fight.

In Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 3rei!!, Sakura installs Berserker Class Card. She was able to use Knight of Honor to steal Shirou's projected Noble Phantasm.

AbilitiesEdit

Berserker was born with numerous abilities and aptitudes that brought him to be famed as the strongest of the Knights of the Round Table. Rather than simply being "high-spec", he could be called "completely overpowered", displaying fighting prowess many times greater than even King Arthur and the ability to match Gawain until slaying him at nightfall. Due to his having often fell into madness in the incidents involving Guinevere, he has a great comparability with the Berserker class.[4] 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 an extremely high rate of prana consumption as a Berserker, so it places great strain on Kariya to provide upkeep. While being of a normal class would have been better for Kariya, his increased parameters from being maddened are the only reason he is able to fight Gilgamesh as well as he manages.[10]

Constantly under the effects of Mad Enhancement, he is difficult to control in battle. While he will follow Kariya's general orders of targeting Gilgamesh, 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. 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 it is possible to perform feats of arms.

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 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.

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 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. While Saber is easily pushed back due to her having become unable to fight properly, even her being able to fight against him normally may not be able to withstand the strong momentum behind his strikes. 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.

DevelopmentEdit

King

Lancelot first appearance in Fate/stay night [Realta Nua] soundtrack.

Lancelot first appearance in the illustration cover of Fate/stay night [Realta Nua] soundtrack.

The scene with Berserker fighting Gilgamesh with a fighter jet was planned from the start, so Gen 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.[11]

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.[12]

Tomonori Sudo (Supervising Key Animation Director) explains that they had the plan of "there's a black haze" with Berserker. He wanted to clearly show the haze that was hiding Berserker's real body. Naturally they thought of animating Berserker and then pasting the haze on top, but then the haze wouldn't look three dimensional. In the end, pictures are flat, so even if you paste the haze on top, it wouldn't have any depth. That being the case, he figured that if they applied the haze to the 3DCG, maybe they could get that sense of depth. So first they animated Berserker, then swapped out for 3DCG, and applied the haze to that. It was a fairly tedious process, but he thought it would be best to show Berserker.[13] Masato Takizawa (Berserker 3DCG Supervisor) explains that he had to tweak parts like warping and altering the scale so Berserker's movements wouldn't look like stiff CG animation. Although there were a ton of difficult areas over the course of the series, he believe that all the hard work really can be seen on the screen and made for better visuals. He think that shows like this that are so beloved by the audience comes around once in a blue moon, so it's a real honor for him to be given the opportunity to take part in it.[5]

In episode 23 "The Sea at the End of the World", Berserker's movements are first drawn with keyframe animation, and then a 3DCG Berserker is animated to match, and finally, black mist is added over the top of that. After the mist clears, Berserker is fully animated using keyframe animation. Just like Kariya, the animation staff worked so hard they coughed up blood when they animated Berserker. Kei Tsunematsu was in charge of the storyboard for this episode. [5]

Creation and ConceptEdit

Protozeroberserker

One of the early designs of Berserker.

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]

Atsuhi Ikariya was in charge of the character design for the anime version. He drew Berserker like a mecha, so he used lots of shadows and lines and tried to give a sense of the metal of the armour.[5]

Okiayu Ryotaro (Voice actor of Berserker) talks how it was surprisingly hard to pick out lines in the scripts as his lines were mostly just screaming "Aaaah!". When he was recording "Sound Drama," he was told that the "Aaaah!" howl was him trying to shout "Arthur", but his hatred is so strong that he can't get the word out. He thinks it's hard to pick up on that when he first appears, but he made a point of going "Aaaah!" after they started the second season. He was really happy that he got to deliver some proper lines in the last two episodes.[5]

ReceptionEdit

Okiayu said from a visual standpoint, the staff of Ufotable has really pulled out all stops on Berserker. When he heard that they could only finish only finish a handful of cuts in a day, he was shocked at the craftsmanship. Since the visuals weren't done when he was recording, he only did growls and howls for timing. Okiayu said that a lot of people didn't know that he was playing Berserker in the first season because he's always howling.[5]

Shingaki Tarusuke (Voice actor of Kariya Matou) stated that every scene featured Berserker is a classic scene.[5]

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 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7
  6. 7.0 7.1 Fate/Zero Volume 4 - -03:59:48
  7. Fate/Zero Volume 1 - -153:53:08
  8. Einzbern Consultation Room - Episode 6
  9. Fate/Zero Blu-ray Disc Box I, p.016

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