|Japanese name:||間桐 慎二|
|Appears in:|| Fate/stay night|
All Around Type-Moon
|Voice actor:||Hiroshi Kamiya, Doug Erholtz|
|Character type:||Human, Master|
|Natural enemy:||Rin Tohsaka, Ayako Mitsuduri|
|Image Color:||Cobalt blue|
Shinji Matou (間桐 慎二, Matō Shinji?) is the acting Master of Rider in the Fifth Holy Grail War of Fate/stay night. He is merely using the Servant of his adopted younger sister, Sakura Matou due to his inability to use magecraft. He is very popular as the vice-captain of the Archery Dojo despite his personality, and he has been a friend of Shirou Emiya for a number of years. He has an open crush on Rin Tohsaka, but she does not return his interest, much to his frustration.
Much like his father, Byakuya, he has curly blue hair and gray blue eyes. During school, he wears the standard Homurahara uniform. His casual clothing consists of a white and black jacket, a black shirt and blue jeans.
His clothing as a younger boy varies in the manga and in the non-canon Carnival Phantasm. In the latter, his clothing consists on a white shirt with a red bow tie, a gray waistcoat and black shorts. His hair was also messier at that time.
Due to the thinning of their bloodline, the Matou are no longer capable of producing heirs naturally capable of sorcery. This led Byakuya, the eldest son of Zouken Matou, to marry a woman with an "inheritor" sorcery trait, who later gave birth to his son, Shinji. Unfortunately, Shinji was incapable of sorcery.
The manga adaptation, Character Material and the Heaven's Feel scenario reveals more details about his past. A young Shinji concluded by himself that he had the right to be the heir, despite fully knowing that he had no powers at all. This did little to disuade Shinji's determination to become the successor, the boy instead convincing himself that he was special. Shortly after, Sakura Tohsaka was adopted into the Matou family and introduced to Shinji as his new sister. At first he was against this because he didn't want 'outsiders' coming into his family but later grew to like and accept her, though due to his selfish, arrogant nature, he refused to show it and picked on her. This ended abruptly when he accidentally entered by the room where Sakura was infested by Zouken's worms, causing Byakuya (who had been hiding the truth from him all along) to become distant with him. From that point onwards, his attitude with Sakura became harsher, and he started treating her like an object to do with as he pleased.
Sakura, in a mixture of pity and guilt, silently accepted Shinji's abuse, which he mistook for her submitting to him. Some time later Byakuya died and Shinji realized he was alone because Zouken only focused on training Sakura and she kept pitying and apologizing to Shinji. All of this caused him to have a breakdown and later lead to Shinji brutally raping Sakura of his own volition, believing he had the right to do it after being treated with contempt recently. During middle school he met Shirou Emiya, starting an estranged friendship with him. A year before the events of Fate/stay night, after Shirou was injured in an accident, Sakura started getting close to him. Shinji disapproved of this, fearing that Sakura will start turning against him. When the 5th Holy Grail War started, he was resigned to his situation, but after noticing that Sakura, who had just summoned Rider, did not want to fight, he persuaded Zouken into letting him enter the war by controlling Rider, all in an attempt to prove to Zouken that he was not useless and that he could be Matou Family heir instead of Sakura. His wish was to acquire the ability to utilize magecraft.
Shinji is haughty and known for having a nasty temper. He is also violent, controlling, and manipulative, as illustrated by his relationship with his younger sister, though this spawns from a sense of inferiority towards her. He does not take any sort of rejection well. As noted by Shirou, he is an ironic yet honest person.
Character Material reveals that he is not as haughty as he looks like in the visual novel. After becoming a Master he felt more lenient and more full of himself, so he becomes more violent during the Grail War. If he survives the war, he returns to his old self, as show in the Unlimited Blade Works route, where he starts getting along with Sakura again like when they were young, No fundamental changes in his personality after his near death experience but since a great burden was lifted off his back especially his obsession with sorcery, he'll be able to enjoy life as a fussy, loudmouthed, smarter-than-average, troublesome person.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, where he is still abrasive, though to a lesser degree, and he becomes delusional, who often sulks about everything. He truly appreciates Shirou, but due to his arrogant attitude, he refuses to show it.
It can be cited that Shinji gets his haughty personality from his father. Like Byakuya, he is a jerk with a nasty temper, though he is a coward on the inside. Also, Shinji is considered, alongside Byakuya, as a disgrace to the Matou family due to not having any Magic Circuits. Ironically, Shinji loathes Sakura much in the same degree Byakuya hated Kariya.
Since Sakura eats at Emiya home, he rather eat at some Italian restaurant and flirting with girls rather than eating in his own home.
He does not appear in the Fate/Zero scenario, because Byakuya sent him to study abroad. Because of that he does not know that his uncle Kariya participated and died during the 4th Holy Grail War, probably because Byakuya (who despised Kariya) chose to hide this fact from him.
Shinji is the temporary master of Rider. He is initially depicted as an evil and deceptive character, but as the story moves along his character begins to show cowardly and even pathetic qualities. He tries to partner with Shirou, but he declines the offer. Shinji later finds out that Shirou has already partnered with Tohsaka and gets angered, trying in vain to turn Shirou and Rin against one another.
He later tricks Shirou into coming to school, to trap him there as he forces Rider to activate her Bloodfort Andromeda. Shirou is able to hold on and tries to reason with Shinji, but he does not listen and orders Rider to kill him. Rider's blade is unable to deal Shirou a killing blow, so she kicks him out of the window. Shirou calls out Saber and the two servants fight. While Shirou defeats Shinji, forcing him to call off Bloodfort. Shirou and Saber travel through town trying to find Shinji and Rider but are unsuccessful at first. After finding them, Rider and Saber start fighting and in the end Saber is forced to unleash her Noble Phantasm, Excalibur, to defeat Rider. After losing Rider and his Book of False Attendent is burned, Shinji escapes the building, only to be murdered by Illya and Berserker.
Unlimited Blade WorksEdit
In Unlimited Blade Works route, he is defeated by Saber and Shirou and loses Rider. His failure and loss of Rider results in him approaching Kirei Kotomine, who lends him Gilgamesh as a Servant. Some details of his past are revealed, like the fact he hates his father, Byakuya for hiding the truth about the real heir of the Matou family and that he hates his own mother (whose corpse is revealed to be at the worms storage) for giving birth to him without Magic Circuits. Gilgamesh quickly notices that Shinji has no idea about the Grail and realizes that he thinks it is just a game. He takes advantage of it and manipulates Shinji into killing Illya.
After Lancer kills Kirei, Shinji tries to rape Rin (in the visual novel, he also tries to make her partner with him, despite Rin's warnings that he is just being used by Gilgamesh) only to be stabbed in the arm by Lancer. He escapes and has a mental breakdown in which he imagines himself ripping the arms of everyone. Gilgamesh appears and ignoring Shinji's protests, implants Illya's heart inside of him in order to use him as a new vessel for the Holy Grail. It results in him being forced to endure a mass of flesh growing from his body. He is rescued by Rin and is eventually hospitalized. According to Shirou, Shinji returns to his old self, thus getting along with Sakura again.
In Heaven's Feel his past and his torn relationship with Sakura is expanded. After losing Rider, Zouken comments that Shinji is much more worthless and pathetic than Byakuya. This infuriates him and in an attempt to show Zouken that he can be the heir instead of Sakura, he becomes more manipulative, frustrated and violent towards Sakura.
He later tries to take Sakura back home by force only to be stopped by Shirou. The next day, the ill Sakura wants to walk to school with Shirou, but he declines. Shinji takes adventage of this and kidnaps Sakura with the help of Rider, because he has another new Book of False Attendent. He orders Shirou to go to school without Saber if he wants Sakura back. When Shirou arrives to school, he is forced to reinforce himself in order to fight Rider alone. Rider is fairly weakened and starts disobeying Shinji's orders. After Shinji orders Rider to kill Shirou, the hostage Sakura screams and Shinji's Book of False Attendent is burned again. At that moment, Rider becomes more powerful and it is revealed that Sakura is the principal Master of Rider, who was summoned several days prior to the start of the 5th Holy Grail War. However, under pressure from Shinji and the desire not to fight either Shirou or Rin, Sakura yielded her Master's right to him, although Sakura retains her original Command Mantra.
With Shinji losing two of Sakura's Command Spells and without his Book of False Attendent, he has no control over Rider. Shinji has a breakdown and orders Sakura to help him kill Shirou and Rin, which Sakura declines.
After remembering his distorted past, with his father and Sakura hiding him the truth about the heir of the Matou family for seven years until he found it out by himself, which resulted in his father becoming harsh with him and Shinji hating Sakura; he has an ultimate breakdown and blames Shirou and Sakura over his disgraces, deciding that he will break Sakura by his own. When Sakura arrives to the Matou house in order to find Zouken and to force him into ending her life, Shinji appears and tries to rape Sakura again, blackmailing her into staying with him by telling Shirou about her history of being raped by him for the last three years, which ultimately causes Sakura to kill him. After killing him, she realizes she is the is "the shadow" and becomes Dark Sakura.
It is eventually revealed that Shinji's actions in the whole route were orchestrated by Zouken in order to further his schemes for Sakura and he was being manipulated the whole time.
Fate/stay night MangaEdit
In the manga version of Fate/stay night (which follows the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works scenarios), Shinji seems to openly show liking to Shirou and though he is still abusive towards Sakura, he never rapes her. He tries to make Shirou partner with him, but gets angry after discovering that Shirou has already allied with Tohsaka. He also becomes more paranoid believing everyone is trying to hide facts from him (which becomes justified after his past is revealed). After Ayako warns him that he is on the verge of being expelled from the club, he has a breakdown and orders Rider to attack Ayako and to use Bloodfort Andromeda to kill everyone at school.
Shinji is stopped by Shirou and the two fight, where Shinji reveals openly that he is jealous of him. After being defeated by Saber and Shirou, Shinji falls from a building, despite Shirou's attempts to save him. However Sakura, who was watching the whole fight from afar, uses her last Command Spell to make Rider save his life. Shinji is surprised by her action, because he always believed that she hated him for abusing her for the last three years and that she just saved him for being Shirou's friend. However, Sakura shows that she still cares about him and both walk home together. He is later hospitalized and meets Ayako, who was also hospitalized. After a short talk, Ayako tells him that she really wasn't planning on expelling him in the first place. When he tries to say that he was the one who almost killed her, she doesn't believe him and forgives him instead. However, Shinji feels that he doesn't deserves to be forgiven so easily after all he has done. When he returns to his room he sees Sakura bringing some flowers and Shinji apologizes for everything to her. Like in the visual novel, after those events, he returns to his old self. He is currently in the hospital being taken care of by Sakura and has not appeared since.
His background is a bit different because Byakuya went as far as trying to hide Shinji about the magical background of the family to no avail and he is portrayed a more sympathetically because Zouken does not appear. Also, Kirei was the one who convinced him to enter the Holy Grail War.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shinji is alive alongside Zouken. It is eventually revealed that Sakura assumed control of the Matou household, and both Shinji and Zouken are terrified of her. He retains his haughty attitude, but because the 5th Holy Grail War had already ended, he is disillusioned about being the head of the family and has finally realized that being a Magus is not worth it. He is also nicer to Shirou now, as he doesn't consider him a rival anymore.
In a strange scene, he complained to Shirou in a scene that Sakura had more scenes than him and compared himself to Zouken, Byakuya and Kariya, commenting that they all sulked about their lives because they all were Matous. His appearances are mostly for comic relief
Rider describes Perseus, the slayer of Medusa, as a Shinji who succeeded.
Like in Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shinji's appearances are for comic relief and he has been reduced to a gag character. Also, Sakura and Rider now mistreat him and he has become terrified of them.
In Shinji's end, after he obtains the Grail, he wishes for all the girls to fall in love with him (which was a parody of his end route in the Hanafuda game in Fate/hollow ataraxia). After some minutes, the spell vanishes and Sakura and Rider, realizing what he did, glare at him.
He makes small appearances in the first episodes, but he has a major appearance in Episode 6, called Type-Moon Serial TV Novel Sakura.
Shinji has been reduced to a gag character, often bullied by the cast, with the exception of Sakura. He also can be from nice to violent towards Sakura, going from complimenting her cooking to beating and even trying to rape her.
Shinji, like Shirou, is unskilled in magic, but unlike the latter, Shinji doesn't have any particular abilities. His mother had a Carrier Sorcery Trait like the Fraga family, but the pathogen is nothing special like the Fraga's ability to use a Noble Phantasm. According to Zouken, she was just the daughter of "a random third-rate magus." Because Shinji is not Rider's true Master, he must use an item created from the command spells of Rider's true Master known as the Book of False Attendent. The book, which acts as a provisionary command spell, allows Shinji to control Rider and, due to Shinji's incompetence, was made twice by Rider's original Master. Because it is not a true command spell, it burns if it is used beyond its limits or if Rider is destroyed. In the Fate scenario and the anime, while the book seemingly allowed for Shinji to use a form of magecraft that fired shadows at his opponents, the shadows were weak, and even an incompetent Shirou using a reinforced broom was able to cut them away.
- ↑ Fate/complete material III - World material:
Q: In your original manuscript, does Shinji become a better person after he survives Rin’s route? And does have the potential to find happiness...?
A: No fundamental changes, but since a great burden was lifted off his back (his obsession with sorcery), he'll probably be able to enjoy life as a fussy, loudmouthed, smarter-than-average, troublesome person.
- ↑ Fate/complete material III - World material:
Q: Since Sakura often eats at the Emiya home, does that mean Shinji is eating all by himself during those times? Or is he taking his meals with Zouken?
A: Eating alone, hmm? He’s at some Italian restaurant flirting with girls!
- ↑ Fate/complete material III - World material:
Q: In Sakura’s route, Shinji’s death was obviously a homicide (though, whether the M.O. can be classified as such by modern forensic science is another matter) so I thought the police would have started an investigation, but there’s no sign of that in the ending. Was his death covered up by the Magic Association or the Holy Church?
A: The Church filed it as “a casualty of the Holy Grail War.”
- ↑ Fate/complete material vol. III World material -
Q: Shinji's mother is a "Carrier", what kind of pathogen is she carrying? Is she a "God's Holder"?
A: No, nothing special of that sort. According to Zouken, she is the daughter of "a random third-rate magus".