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Souichirou Kuzuki

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Nasuverse character
Souichirou Kuzuki
Souichiroumugshot
Japanese name: 葛木 宗一郎
Franchise: Fate
Appears in: All Around Type-Moon
Carnival Phantasm
Fate/hollow ataraxia
Fate/school life
Fate/stay night
Fate/tiger colosseum / Upper
Fate/Unlimited Codes
Japanese VA: Kazuhiro Nakata [Note 1]
Unshō Ishizuka [Note 2]
Masaki Terasoma [Note 3]
English VA: Patrick Seitz [Note 4]
Lex Lang [Note 5]
Character type: Human, Master
Affiliation: Homurahara Academy, Social studies teacher[1]
Gender: Male[1]
Height: 180cm[1]
Weight: 70kg[1]
Place of Origin: Unknown[1]
Likes: None in particular [1]
Dislikes: None in particular [1]
Talents: Combat sports[1]
Natural enemy: Caster[1]
Image Color: Colourless[1]

Souichirou Kuzuki (葛木 宗一郎, Kuzuki Sōichirō?) is the acting Master of Caster in the Fifth Holy Grail War of Fate/stay night. He is known as the strict homeroom instructor of Rin's class, who is not a magus, but simply happened upon Caster while she was fading away and agreed to become her Master.

ProfileEdit

BackgroundEdit

Young Kuzuki

A young Kuzuki

Before he came to Fuyuki City, Souichirou had been raised from childhood by an organization that trained young children to become professional assassins. The children were raised while isolated from the rest of society in places like forests. They were taught skills required for killers and were treated as if they were tools. Teaching knowledge on living as normal humans was minimal to ensure the skills of the potential assassins in their care would remain adequate and efficient.

He left the organization and appeared in Fuyuki City, two years before the Fifth Holy Grail War. He chose to become a school teacher, which was to serve as a cover for his job as an assassin. He primarily lectures on World History, though he also holds classes in Ethics. Kuzuki is well respected among staff and students. He was well-liked by the chief priest at the Ryuudou Temple and was granted residency in the temple.[2]

AppearanceEdit

Soichirou Kuzuki is a tall, slender, handsome man. He is usually seen wearing a green suit and he also wears glasses. He is rather stoic and expressionless.

PersonalityEdit

Souichirou is widely regarded as a strict, austere and impersonal man. He is serious, sometimes emotionless and does whatever Caster says in battle even though he does not care about the Holy Grail. He often displays a blank expression.

Souichirou found that when he accomplished his first and only mission, he felt only emptiness rather than any other emotion. Hoping to find meaning in his life, he left the organization and became a school teacher. He found no meaning and found that he could acknowledge only his own existence. He described himself as a "decayed killer" (朽ち果てた殺人鬼, Kuchihateta satsujinki?).[2]

When he met Caster, he felt something move within him. While he had no interest in the coming Holy Grail War, Souichirou helped her just because she asked for it. His motive to fight is similar to Shirou Emiya.[2]

According to Fate/hollow ataraxia, he finally realizes that he regretted his whole life and how he killed others, knowing and understanding that what he was doing was wrong yet still continuing that kind of life. Uncertain of how to make expiation for his guilt, he suffered during his whole life yet managed to find some peace with Caster.

RoleEdit

Fate/stay nightEdit

Souichirou is not a mage, but a highly trained assassin. After Caster killed her previous master and summoned the servant Assassin, she chose Souichirou to be her new master. He has no interest in the Holy Grail war and acts mainly according to the will of Caster. It seemed that the two have a strong love interest in each other. It's implied that he sleeps with her on at least one occasion to restore her mana, as Shirou Emiya had done with Saber.

His identity as a Master is not made known in the Fate route and his fate there is thus unknown. He dies after Caster does in the Studio Deen anime adaptation and the Unlimited Blade Works movie. In the anime, he tells Caster that he is fine after she sacrifices herself to save him and dies. Little does she know, he dies moments after her, having lied to her so that Caster could die feeling relieved.

Kuzuki only plays a major role in the Unlimited Blade Works route, in which he is revealed as Caster's Master. After Caster is killed by Archer's hail of swords, he is defeated in melee by Archer.

In the Heaven's Feel route, he is only mentioned in passing, when Saber confronts Caster at the temple. Shirou and Saber find her covered in blood with Rule Breaker out and coated as well, a man Shirou recognizes and believes to have been Caster's master, stabbed fatally and in a pool of blood on the floor, already a corpse. Caster does not seem to know she killed him, however.

Fate/hollow ataraxiaEdit

  • Kuzuki Death
  • Souichirou and Assassin fighting against the dog-shadows

In Fate/hollow Ataraxia, he lives with Caster and Assassin, with Caster attempting to fill the role of a loving housewife to him.

In one of the loops, he fought and died against Gilgamesh.

When Shirou/Avenger makes his final move to stop the world loop that he caused and release Bazett Fraga McRemitz, Souichirou fights the dog-shadows right beside his Caster and Assassin.

Fate/Unlimited CodesEdit

  • Caster Opening
  • Caster Ending


Fate/tiger colosseum seriesEdit

  • Kuzuki Ending
  • Caster Ending


Hana no MiyakoEdit

In the world of Hana no Miyako, he is the father of Ami. He is seen over protective with her daughter and tells her to disguise herself in school. He is glad to see Ami made a friend with Arima Miyako.

AbilitiesEdit

Kuzukibattle

Kuzuki in battle

Kuzuki is the Master of Caster, but he is not a magus nor does he have Magic Circuits or Command Spells. He only acts as her anchor to the world, while she must subside off of the magical energy taken from the leylines and the town in order to upkeep her existence. His sperm was still capable of stabilizing her enough to establish their contract after she was brought within Ryuudou Temple’s Barrier.[3][4] Due to his martial prowess and Caster's reinforcement, he is a rare Master capable of only fighting opponents directly rather than acting from a support role.[5]

PhysiqueEdit

Kuzuki is a master martial artist whose strength is above that of regular humans, able to deliver blows to a man's temple with enough force to crush their skull.[6][7][8] In his pursuit of mastering his martial art in his daily training, he has come upon the ideal form of breathing and walking techniques for a human that not even the talented Saber could attain through training. While not in the realm of those who naturally possess the ability to replicate potent thaumaturgy, his training has "affected him in the perfect way", bringing about a natural and controlled way of breathing and steps that produce no wasted movement. Saber admires and praises him as the greatest she has seen in that one respect.[9]

Despite his strength, he, as a regular human, cannot fight Servants on his own, showing an inability do more than slightly budge the head of one with a strike.[8] Caster uses Reinforcement magecraft to strengthen his fists and body to ten times that of a normal human, making him even more fearsome when combined with his already superhuman base strength. Even with that, he is still a human at his core, so fighting and overwhelming a Servant barehanded is an unthinkable feat that even leaves all those around him, even including Caster, in pause.[5][7][10] His fists become "iron clubs" to crush opponents and physically strike Servants.[5][6] He is able to physically repel threats on the same level as Assassin, so he is referred to as a "front-line Saber-class defender" who can help support Caster even against a threat like Berserker.[11] The strengthening requires Caster's upkeep, so his strength immediately drops upon her death.

His fists are strengthened to the point where they can be called steel. He is able to destroy Rin's head with a single blow, removing everything above her neck, and he is able to create a hole through Shirou's chest with a single strike. He can shatter Shirou's wooden sword, reinforced to where its can be considered a metal rod, with his fist. He can strike and deflect Shirou's projected Noble Phantasms, and attack with enough force to damage Shirou's arms just from defending against his attacks. While his fists do not have enough strength to destroy a Noble Phantasm, he is able to destroy Shirou's imperfect replications with pure force. He can catch a full powered slash from Invisible Air between his elbow and knee without suffering any damage, and he can strike Saber's armor directly with no effect to his hands.

While enhanced by Caster, he is still only a human with no magic resistance, so a magus able to attack from a distance is more of a threat to him than a Servant. He fights on the front line while Caster is to support him and deal with enemy projectile attacks.[5] Caster must protect him from effects such as the drain from Blood Fort Andromeda and the effects of her own magecraft while in her temple.[7][12] Despite the weakness, he displays quick judgement in being able to easily close the distance to Rin before she can even realize it, strike the center of her body to render her unable to breath or use magecraft, and then decapitate her in an instant.[13] Against Caster in a serious fight, it would be a "conditional battle" where the winner is decided by whoever gets the first strike, Kuzuki with a quick, unseen strike or Caster with her overwhelming magecraft.[14]

AssassinationEdit

Kuzuki was tempered by his origination to become a "lethal weapon", acting as a "tool" for their usage and trained in his one primary "function", murder, until they needed to utilize him. Normally kept from regular human knowledge due to it being excess "extra functions", it was necessary to allow him to become a "pseudo-human" to fulfill his primary "function." Those handling him felt that such common knowledge would make him inconsistent, acting as dead weight to slow down his primary function of finding the target without being detected, killing the victim before they are even aware of it, and then killing himself. He is able to use a social position as a teacher granted by the organization to blend in with the area, and even after leaving his duties, finds himself able to master the basic knowledge and skills to keep up with the job without difficulty.[3]

He is extremely unassuming in his daily life, appearing to be completely ordinary at first sight. The insightful Saber notices him to be "no ordinary man" at first glance, but cannot help feel "the more I look at him the more ordinary he feels" as she confidently declares that Kuzuki is not a Master. She only notices that his breathing is too natural and too controlled for a regular person. This trait is not enough to make her suspect anything "special" about him other than praising him for the extraordinary ability. She ranks him as physically being on par with Shirou, and not knowing of his fighting style, feels that he would do as well in battle as any regular human.[9]

He uses his normal appearance to gain an advantage over opponents who underestimate him, quickly moving to strike to kill the opponent before he is even noticed.[14][15] When ready to fight, he does not radiate any enmity or bloodlust, and simply enters his battle posture while giving off a clear murderous intent that hides his scariness. He is called more like an assassin than Assassin due to this. Kuzuki is able to surprise Caster by appearing before her without making the sound of footsteps or showing any sense of his presence. He is the only one to notice Shirou observing them at the church, and as he does not have any emotion towards enemies, he is able to quickly attack without hesitation. He is unable to notice Archer before he kills Caster because he cannot detect magical energy.

SnakeEdit

Snakestrikes

Various curving strikes.

Snake

Kuzuki's striking the back of Saber's head.

Kuzuki uses a fighting style called Snake (, ?) that was the basis for his means of assassination, keeping him without a weapon so as to allow him an easier chance at getting close to his target. He is an extremely fast learner, having mastered the art years before he was set to fulfill his "function", all while still keeping up his daily routine to perfect it over twenty years. Despite such aptitude, he was not taught any new techniques due to only being "created" to be a "snake tool."[3] It is a fighting style that aims at vital weak points like the forehead, throat, heart and spine, each strike launched with extreme precision and quick speed to the point where he can deliver three fatal strikes in a single breath. He has a policy of always attempting to deliver deathblows to the opponent, so those like Shades that can move even without heed of things like destroyed heads or spines require him to change his tactics to disabling their limbs.[6]

The crux of the fighting style is to keep his arms flexible like whips while quickly moving at unexpected right angles in order to keep it from having a concrete shape. He keeps his arms and stance steady like a rock while waiting to strike, and he is able quickly close in without revealing any hints as to how he advanced. His arms quickly extend, and his forearms move even more quickly from that point to strike with his "mountain-like fingers." The strikes come from the outside to the inside, the swinging arms changing direction using the elbow as the fulcrum to strike from impossible directions. He can easily strike the back of the head from a very close distance completely unbeknownst to the target. Even if that strike is seen through, he can easily alter the circular orbit of the path into a straight line directed from above to smash down on their head. He can quickly reach through an opponent's guard to strike them with the "serpent's fangs", and then use the "body of the snake", an elbow, to deal an additional blow.

Each is accurately aimed at the target's vital points and weak spots, and under Caster's reinforcement, they can damage Saber bluntly through her armor to directly target the core of her body. They are heavy and rapid in their intensity, rendering them almost invisible to an unexpecting fighter, but they are not an instant kill to someone like Saber. They are dull and sharp, and contain a poison that will lead to death, allowing him to go for the kill if the opponent even drops their guard for a second. Dodging the attacks does little, as his fists are "live snakes" capable of changing path to come back to the target. Saber is damaged badly because she has the reflexes to dodge the strikes, thus she got repeatedly "bitten", differing from Shirou who cannot see the fists and does not posses the reflexes to dodge them. He can only desperately parry and receive glazing blows. Kuzuki can also use the style in defense, making him able to react to a perfect surprise attack, in charging speed, footwork, timing, and the attack itself, from Saber and catch an invisible sword horizontally slashing at him with only his elbow and knee. While techniques to stop an enemy's blade with bare hands are practiced by experts in the present, the idea of a human doing such to a Servant is unbelievable to Saber.

KuzukiSaber

Kuzuki lifting Saber.

All of the strikes up until that point are performed with only his left hand, as he does not use his right hand until the final strike. Unlike previous attacks that follow an arcing line, he executes the attack as a point and thrusts his fist like a lance directly at his target. Using precise accuracy, the attack can pierce through a throat, break bones, and smash a head to pieces. The attack managed to slay Rider, ripping her neck apart in one blow as if someone used a jack to rip off the meat and bone by crushing it, and it is capable of destroying Shirou's Kanshou and Bakuya guarding his chest and still blow him five meters away into a wall from the impact. Even if the strike is dodged, he can instead dig his fingers into the target's neck, as they can easily forget that a hand is originally something used to grab rather than punch. He can lift Saber with just his hand from this position and throw her at a speed of two hundred kilometers per hour due to his enhanced strength, knocking her out of the fight for a time after she collides into a wall. He mentions that he underestimated her, and that should have applied one more attack afterward.

He is able to accurately adapt his attacks in order to defeat opponents. He focuses his attacks on Saber's body and arms due to her protective armor, all while waiting to launch a fatal strike at the head. He does not attempt to follow her while she retreats, but instead uses various blows to keep her from escaping his range to keep his advantage over the reach of her sword in close quarters. The blows are not too heavy even though she cannot avoid them, but the pain from each blow numbs her mind. She becomes unable to counterattack from the heavy rain of attacks, and even her Instinct eventually fails her during the final moments of the battle. Kuzuki recognizes that Shirou relies on his Noble Phantasm to defend, so he makes it his goal to destroy the Projections in order to land a fatal blow.

The main idea of the style is to confuse the opponent and slay them before they can understand the mechanics of it, and it is further backed by his normal appearance that does not give away the idea of him being a trained killer. As an assassination technique only meant to be used once before the assassin kills themselves, it is something that must be fatal on the first strike. While the blows are strong, they are too odd and easily seen through if the opponent is not confused, showing the difference between a "technique" that is trained to an art and an "action" that is trained to the utmost limits. Catching Saber's blade and striking her in the back of the head unsettles her greatly due to her belief that he is just a normal human and her inability to understand the nature of such techniques. Due to experiencing the strange attacks for the first time, she is not able to understand the fighting style with her eyes, leading to her taking most of the attacks, and must rely on her honed Instinct simply to avoid the decisive blows.

While easier to comprehend on subsequent battles, it is still strong enough of a style that Shirou is barely able to hold him off for a minute at most even with Noble Phantasms and Archer's fighting style on his third battle with Kuzuki, as he cannot even begin to comprehend how to fight against the style. It would not work on Saber twice, so he retreats from her with haste once she is ready to fight again. While Shirou could never cope with it no matter how many strikes her receives, Saber is already used to them after their one exchange. Rin believes Archer would have no trouble with him due to having knowledge of it. Servants are more emphasized by their talent than their hand-to-hand prowess, so Bazett Fraga McRemitz, an expert at hand-to-hand combat thought of and developed by human beings, may be able to adapt to the style more quickly. He would likely win their first fight, very easily if Bazett underestimates him for a normal person, but she would be able to completely win against him in a second engagement. Out of himself, Bazett, and Kirei Kotomine, he would win as long as it is limited to one fight and he starts with a surprise attack.[15][16]

Even with repeated sparring matches against the skilled judo practitioner Reikan Ryuudou while Reikan goes all out against him, Kuzuki, who holds back on connecting with his strikes, can easily defeat him without being hit a single time. Otoko Hotaruzuka is amazed that someone Reikan cannot even hit exists, while Reikan comments that he needs another decade of training before he is worthy of being Kuzuki's opponent. Kuzuki comments that they are overstating his ability because he is only a "master of one art" and that if they were fighting with judo holds being accepted that Reikan would likely defeat him without issue.[10]

DevelopmentEdit

Kinoko Nasu claims that Kuzuki was listed as number one amongst the characters to be further explore in the Fate/hollow ataraxia sequel.[2]

Kazuhiro Nakata first voiced Souichirou in the Studio Deen version of Fate/stay night, Fate/tiger colosseum series and Carnival Phantasm. Unshō Ishizuka voiced Souichirou in Fate/Unlimited Codes. Masaki Terasoma is the latest voice actor who voiced Souichirou in the Ufotable adaption of Fate/stay night and in the PS Vita version of Fate/hollow ataraxia.

ReceptionEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fate/hollow ataraxia - Dream of a distant utopia
  4. Unlimited Blade Works - Day 13 - Princess
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Unlimited Blade Works - Day 9 - Poisonous snake / Saber defeated
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Fate/hollow ataraxia - Broad bridge
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2
  8. 8.0 8.1 Unlimited Blade Works - Day 14 - Ideal
  9. 9.0 9.1 Unlimited Blade Works - Day 4 - Breathing
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fate/hollow ataraxia - A cat, a priest, and a stubborn teacher.
  11. Unlimited Blade Works - Day 14 - Rin's clever attack
  12. Unlimited Blade Works - Day 9 - Killer
  13. 14.0 14.1
  14. 15.0 15.1

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