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Rider (Fate/stay night)

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Nasuverse character
Rider
Servant | Swimsuit | Child
Rider
Japanese name: ライダー
Also known as: Bewitching Black Serpent
Franchise: Fate
Appears in: Fate/stay night
Fate/hollow ataraxia
Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA
Carnival Phantasm
All Around Type-Moon
Japanese VA: Yu Asakawa
English VA: Karen Strassman[1]
Character type: Servant (Master: Shinji Matou)

Servant (Master: Sakura Matou)

Affiliation: Sakura Matou's Servant[3]
Servant classes: Rider, Archer (F/AR), Berserker (F/AR), Caster (F/AR)
Gender: Female[2][3]
Height: 172 cm[2][3]
Weight: 57 kg[2][3]
Three sizes: B88/W56/H84[3]
Place of Origin: Greece[3]
Armament: Dagger[2]
Likes: Alcohol, reading, snakes[3]
Dislikes: Mirrors, measuring height[3]
Talents: Horse riding, acrobats, stalker[3]
Natural enemy: Saber, Kojirou Sasaki, Souichirou Kuzuki[3]
Image Color: Black[3]
Bloodline: N/A

Rider (ライダー, Raidā?) is the Rider-class Servant of Sakura Matou in the Fifth Holy Grail War of Fate/stay night. Due to Sakura's unwillingness to participate as a Master, Shinji Matou is instead given control over Rider. She only truly acts as Sakura's Servant when their connection is revealed in the Heaven's Feel route.

ProfileEdit

IdentityEdit

Rider's identity is Medusa (メドゥーサ, ?), the Gorgon from Greek mythology. Rather than being a regular Heroic Spirit, she is an existence closer to a Divine Spirit, but her actions have made it better to categorize her as an "anti-hero closer to a monster."[4] With her older sisters Stheno and Euryale, they made up the three Gorgon Sisters who inhabited the Shapeless Isle. She was known as the "woman who dominates", an anti-hero who became as such due to the dark thoughts of humans.[5] Differing from someone like Hassan-i-Sabbah who was a hero who actual existed, she is said to be one of legends born by the gathering of belief.[6]

The legend of Medusa is different than her actual life. She was said to be a half-human, half-god female beast often portrayed with the form of a snake. Originally she was an Earth Goddess (大地の女神, ?).[7] While all originally beautiful women, she and her sisters were hated by Poseidon's wife because of his love for them. Athena, jealous of their beautiful hair, transformed them into demons. Secluding themselves in a lightless temple on the Shapeless Isle, they only attacked humans with a reason. Eventually, as a victim of the gods' unreasonable actions, she was to have her head cut off on their whim. Defeated by Perseus by reflecting her petrification back at her with his mirror-like shield, Pegasus, the son of Poseidon, was said to have sprung from the blood of her headless neck.

LifeEdit

Medusa and her sisters were born from the wishes of mankind for ideal idols, the embodiment of the yearning hearts of men. As "perfect goddesses", their "divine essence" was to remain the same from the moment of their creation to their destruction. Medusa was an exception who was a failure from birth, growing older over time. Though they should have all been copies, or even as close as clones, resulting from the deification of the same phenomenon, a mistake in her birth or something of deeper significance caused her to be copied imperfectly. While she did not embody "forever young and immortal", she gained abilities in compensation compared to her sisters' inability to even care for themselves. With divine powers, her Mystic Eyes, indispensable in protecting her sisters who could not live in the world on their own, this caused the previously united sisters to become three separate individuals. Although Medusa was different from the start, even the other two showed irregularities, their sadistic nature, from interacting with her.

She was originally considered to be a princess loved by humans, but Athena, jealous of their beauty, cursed Medusa alone, taking away her "faith from each and every person" and exiling her to the Shapeless Isle. Their love for her turned to hatred, and she was banished by those who had adored her. The island had nothing to offer compared to her days of luxury, and she prayed that none of the humans that now frightened her with their unwarranted resentment would tread on the island. Weeping in loneliness, she had no idea as to her sin that forced her to be exiled. Although her sisters were not affected and still greatly loved, they too accompanied her there out of caring for their younger sister. She was happy even on the barren island due to their company, and only had to fear the coming humans.

While they became rumored as monsters, her sisters were still revered by nearby men, while she was feared as a monster. Humans sought to kill that which had been branded as a monster and take away the goddesses, and after they began to also target her sisters, she decided to protect them while taking her revenge on the humans. Although littered with statues that had been warriors, they were harmonious for a time on the island, at one point receiving her Pegasus from Poseidon. Though bullied by her sisters daily, she simply moved about the island on days humans did not appear, hoping for the peace to continue. Repaying them in the same manner as the treated her, she killed many humans, simply hoping to be left alone on the only place she could exist with the company of her sisters.

Though she was protecting them from the foolish humans who sought their own deaths, her sisters warned her not to take pleasure in killing them. Using her eyes that were only a deterrent to sow terror in humans, she began to experiment in ways of killing them more quickly. Deciding to become a trap against those who would take her sisters, even they who had always been full of joy began to fear her after she started drinking their blood instead of simply petrifying them. The humans continued to journey the island no matter the infamy surrounding her, and she eventually became too ashamed of her slowly disfiguring self to appear before her sisters. Leaving them, she once again found herself alone, hungering for new sacrifices to replace her sadness and loneliness.

She grew into the Gorgon each day as her body, heart, and very being decayed, all backed by the thought of becoming stronger for the sake of protecting her sisters. Even that reached a point where her sisters instead became nuisances who were intruding upon her lair. They appeared before her after her full descent into a monster, lamenting that they had not asked for her protection and were just letting her enjoy what had seemed fun to her. Saddened by her state, they sacrificed themselves to the Gorgon because the sister who protected them was no longer there. Consumed by countless snakes without any trace of joy or sadness, they were ground into pulp and absorbed into the beast while still alive. Without leaving a trace, they became its flesh and blood, and it continued to thrive as the Gorgon sisters became monsters of nightmares and legends.

Gorgon

Medusa in her Gorgon form facing Perseus.

The Gorgon's notoriety continued until Perseus decided to bring back its head for his own fame. Granted five Noble Phantasms, he boldly traveled to the Shapeless Isle without any hesitation, only realizing his folly upon seeing the state of the island. He despaired upon encountering it, having decided that there is no victory to be found against the demon god, with his Noble Phantasms only acting as lifesaving equipment in the best scenario. Avoiding her gaze by focusing on his Mirror shield, he desperately fought to survive. Tired of toying with him, it used Breaker Gorgon, and he used the only possible method of defeating it, using Kibisis to have it encage itself.

Reversing the nightmare of the Bounded Field upon it, it suffered as Medusa as the nightmare reflected upon it instead of Perseus. While it was a "nightmare beyond nightmares", it was not an evil vision that caused excruciating pain, but a pleasant dream of her sisters, paralyzing her with the joy of seeing those she thought she would never again meet. Despairing upon the reflection of itself from when it was still self-aware, this allowed Perseus to have his single counterattack, severing its head with Harpe. The monster, out of its own will, became Medusa again and let itself be struck down. Perseus used Kibisis to hold its head, later going on to become a successful hero.

AppearanceEdit

  • Casual
  • Casual with Apron
  • Maid costume

She has a complex about her own height and the way she gets embarrassed when people see her Mystic Eyes, she might actually be pretty lady-like. Because of her outward appearance and primary weapon, a lot of people thought she was going to be an Assassin class Servant.[8]

In her causal attire, she wears a black polo neck top and blue jeans. She wears Touko Aozaki's "Mystic Eye Killer" to disable her Mystic Eyes.[9]

PersonalityEdit

Rider is silent, sultry, and vigilant, never hesitating to shield her Master from harm. She is always faithful to her Master, even with Shinji acting in that role most of the time. She is not openly talkative, and she prefers to analyze people and their actions. She is very protective of Sakura and willing to sacrifice herself for Sakura's happiness. She is very logical and she doesn't act out of anger or instinct.

DevelopmentEdit

In Rider's earlier design, Takashi Takeuchi intial drawing shows her appearance similar to Ayako Mitsuduri.

Kinoko Nasu really wanted to have a scene in the Sakura route where she and Saber bickered with each other as they fought toward a common goal, but unfortunately the story didn't develop in that direction and Nasu had to discard the idea.[8]

RoleEdit

Fate/stay nightEdit

Fsn rider

Rider in the Fate/stay night anime

Rider's initial Master was Sakura Matou; however, she became the Servant of Shinji when Sakura, pressured by Shinji, yielded her Master's right to him. Rider holds no love for Shinji, seeing him as vile and predatory, but obeys his commands as a dutiful Servant. Because of their similar backgrounds, she is empathetic of Sakura, and seeks to protect her whenever possible. Like many of the Servants who participated in the 5th Holy Grail War, Rider has no motivation for seeking the Holy Grail.

Although regarded as one of the more powerful Servants of the 5th Holy Grail War, Rider is eliminated in almost every scenario. She is obliterated by Saber's Excalibur in Fate, and killed early on in Unlimited Blade Works by Caster's master, Souichirou Kuzuki.

Heaven's FeelEdit

However, during Heaven's Feel, Rider is liberated from her indenture to Shinji, and assists Shirou Emiya in his battle against Saber Alter and Angra Mainyu.

Fate/hollow ataraxiaEdit

Fate.stay.night.full.1088265

Sakura and Rider fighting against the shadows

During Fate/hollow ataraxia, Rider is often found in Shirou's home, always engaging in her passion for reading. She aids the other Servants in holding back the invasion of Shadow Wolf Beasts during the Fuyuki eclipse.

In the eclipse story The backside of Kibisis Rider and Sakura seem to work together to seduce Shirou and engage in a threesome with him. Actually this is all Rider's doing, trying to get Shirou to pursue Sakura more aggressively. Yet in the middle Shirou realizes the truth and reverses her spell on her, in the end revealing that Rider herself has deep feelings for Shirou. Sakura appearing in this episode is only a conjecture by Rider's spell, a representation of Rider's true intentions of her actions.

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA Edit

Rider (Anime)

Rider (anime)

When manifested, Rider's appearance is altered in a number of ways. Her dress, armwear, and leggings have a tattered appearance, and they leave a number of small patterns on her skin. Breaker Gorgon is greatly changed, showing a pattern with an eye in the middle. She fights straightforwardly with her dagger, overpowering her opponent. Rin and Ilya are unable to do any lasting damage due to Ilya's inexperience. Before Rider can use Bellerophon, Miyu arrives and uses Gae Bolg to slay her and obtain the Class Card.

Carnival PhantasmEdit

She has several appearance in Carnival Phantasm, her major role is in a segment called Type-Moon Serial TV Novel Sakura, a parody of a soap opera.

Other AppearanceEdit

Rider doesn't appear in the EXTRA universe but Violet is composed of several goddesses including Medusa.

AbilitiesEdit

  • Rider's dagger

Rider fights with a low-risk and high-return type of warfare that isn't fixated on the methods used to win.[10] She fights mainly with a Nameless Dagger (無銘·短剣, ?) in close combat that is more likely to be called a "nail" rather than a "dagger." It is attached to a long chain that can restrain and immobilize targets that she pierces. It is not suited to short-range battles, instead best utilized as a thrown weapon from a distance.[11] It is not a Noble Phantasm, and while its origin is unknown, it is thought to be a weapon that reflects her inner character. She boasts outstanding speed, moving like a bullet and racing around the battlefield. She is faster than Lancer in terms of average speed, but he will surpass her in immediate maximum output. Due to her nature as a Gorgon, she has a monster alignment that may make fighting battles against monster exterminators, such as against an expert like Lancer, tough for her.[12] While she is normally blindfolded, she perceives the world through hearing, touch, smell, and magic-detection to have an even more precise outlook than with sight.[13]

She is a unique Heroic Spirit who displays a great variety of skills and Noble Phantasms that are particularly high numbered even amongst other Servants, all of which are traces left from her time as a goddess. Due to her contract being passed to Shinji, her abilities are lowered, and she must seek out alternative means of prana. While she takes blood for the most part, she is not a Dead Apostle, but rather a bloodsucker whose most efficient manner of gaining energy is through drinking blood.[8] Her main offensive Noble Phantasm is Bellerophon, which allows the Pegasus to use an extremely powerful charge that resembles an arrow of light. She also has use of Blood Fort Andromeda, a Bounded Field designed to collect life energy from whoever is inside. Once it is set and activated, it can instantly liquify any normal humans inside and convert them into energy. Breaker Gorgon is another Bounded Field that seals the target inside the user's mind. She mainly uses it on herself in the form of a visor to seal her Mystic Eyes.

CybeleEdit

Cybele

Rider's Mystic Eyes being activated after Breaker Gorgon is canceled.

Cybele (キュベレイ, Kyuberei?), the Mystic Eyes of Petrification (石化の魔眼 , Sekika no Magan?, Mystic Eyes of Stone Transformation), are Rider's Mystic Eyes, said to be a "curse of the gods sealed by the powers of shrines." Though petrification sorcery is no strange thing for modern Thaumaturgy, even if its users are rare and few in numbers, Mystic Eyes capable of petrifying others are something that nobody, human or not, possesses in the present era. They are designated as Jewel under the Noble Colors system, which surpasses the Gold-ranked Eyes of the Dead Apostles and are exclusively possessed by Holy Spirits and Magical Beasts from the Age of Gods. Their nature is strong enough a mystery that Shirou mistakes the identity of Breaker Gorgon as the eyes themselves.

The eyes, almost too abnormal to be called eyeballs, are gray with an appearance similar to crystals. Despite their abnormality, Shirou believes that they are too beautiful for any human to possess, and could either be art the gods admired or a nature they cursed. The corneas do not take in light, and the pupils see the world through a square. The irises are solidified, not allowing the eyes to close, and the millions of cells that make up the retinas are composed of the Sixth Imaginary Element. It affects all targets within the owner’s field of vision, regardless of whether said targets are looking at the Eyes physically, or if they have their eyes closed but continue to view her with their mind's eye, as it is a curse to look upon her in any way. The only way Perseus was able to avoid her gaze was by utilizing his mirror shield to find her location without looking upon her at all.

Those who possess Rank C or lower in Mana will be immediately petrified, while those with Rank B may or may not be affected depending of the conditions. Those with Rank A or higher won’t be petrified, but will sustain "pressure" from the Eyes and receive a one rank-down to all parameters. The entire body of the target will be affected, including clothing and weaponry, "killing them while alive" as they are turned to stone. The ability is viable in petrifying a group of enemies, but it would not be useful against an infinite number like the horde of shades spawned by Avenger Avenger. The amount of energy it uses is comparable to also fighting them off with her Noble Phantasms, so it would quickly drain her faster than simply fighting them off in melee combat.

When Archer, with Rank B Mana, is affected at close range, he instantly feels the effects. He is immediately is frozen in place, unable to close his eyes or cover them with his arms even if he wanted to do so due to being unable to move either in the slightest. He tries to charge at her afterward, but his legs are already petrified up to his knees at that point. He is petrified up to his waist only a moment later before the effect is canceled. Shirou and Rin feel the effects instantly when targeted further away, barely or unable to move as their blood starts thickening. It starts solidifying the flow of his body and ceasing his senses. If he tries to run at her, his body is instantly turned to stone, and his mind swiftly follows. He is only saved when Sakura acting up causes Rider to cease her activity.

She is unable to control them in any manner on her own, requiring the use of Mystic Eye Killers like Breaker Gorgon or the glasses and contacts she later replaces it with after the Holy Grail War ends. Knowledge of the eyes render further attacks less potent, but it not enough to allow Rider to go without Breaker Gorgon in their presence. Repeating the initial surprise effect would be impossible, making it possible to act without going completely numb and causing the effect of the petrification to go at a slower rate. The effect will be magnified again should the person's guard be let down.[14] It is possible to cancel the effect if it has not reached a certain point by closing her eyes. In the case of a lessened effect like when Shirou accidentally walks on her bathing, it starts to spread up his legs and is too far gone to simply close her eyes, but she is able to cancel the effect by sealing them with Breaker Gorgon. It takes some time for the petrification to recede, and she mentions that it would have been bad had it affected his heart.

RidingEdit

  • Rider on Pegasus
  • Rider's ritual to summon the Pegasus

With her Riding skills, she can ride on animals and vehicles, allowing her to mount creatures on the level of Phantasmal Beasts and Divine Beasts. She uses an unlisted, innate ability to bring forth the Pegasus given to her by Poseidon, initially thought by Shirou to be her main Noble Phantasm. It actually lacks any sort of name, and it is treated much in the same manner as her dagger. Having remained since the Age of Gods, its abilities are far beyond those of a normal Pegasus that would only be limited to the strength of a several hundred years old Monstrous Beast had it been one of the few remaining Phantasmal Species from the current age. Increasing in strength as it has lived, it has the strength of a Phantasmal Beast far beyond something like Invisible Air that could defeat a normal Pegasus.[15] If left without the ability to readily use a strong Noble Phantasm, it easily overwhelms Saber and leaves her in a position to only bide her time and wait for a mistake on Rider's handling.

Its strength is nearing that of the level of dragons, the strongest of the Phantasmal Species, and its defense has already reached that level. It is made of enough energy to have come from several hundred magi, and constantly emits it while it flies. It is a divine mystery with magical protection even greater than that of Saber, who displays the strongest resistance of the Holy Grail War, allowing it to easily brush past all thaumaturgy without issue. Not needing to halt its charge against anything, it is much like a giant castle wall crashing down on the opponent and leaving them no method of dodging or defending. Too powerful to defend against, even the trail of its charge is enough to damage a Servant. It destroys its surroundings just by moving, scorching the area around it. The buffets from its wings are capable of generating massive shock waves, which raze infrastructures and lacerate the bodies of living beings.

Despite displaying this overwhelming ability, it is a docile being unfit for combat. For it to truly attack, she must use Bellerophon to compel it. It is brought forth by slashing her neck with her dagger, allowing the blood to spray out and stop in the air to form a magic circle. The circle, which displays a creature-like figure, swells with a large amount of magical energy that makes up the Pegasus, far surpassing Blood Fort Andromeda. Pegasus then emerges from a giant eye bound by blood, and she can either immediately mount it to use Bellerophon right out of the summoning circle or have it fight for a time before strategically using it. Once in the air, she can constantly attack the enemy and move from their range without coming close to the ground to leave them bereft of any method of counterattack or form of pursuit, but its speed would make it impossible to catch even with a method to follow it. Preparing her final strike, she can use Bellerophon at any time to cut all of the its limiters.

Rider likes the recreational use of bicycles, but suffers from the fact that she endlessly accelerates to the point of breaking them. Even for a "granny bike" like the one used for shopping at the Emiya household, she could easily ride it at 100 km/h when it is only meant to peak at 20 km/h. She yearns for a racing bike like that belonging to Shirou that can allow her to reach even higher speeds with its gear system, wishing she could use Prana Burst to help with its control. If utilizing a motorcycle, she can match up against Grand Prix motorcycle former champion, Wayne Gardner.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Fate/stay night (TV) ANN page
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10
  4. 8.0 8.1 8.2
  5. Heaven's Feel route Day 10 - No / Future plans

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