One of the things that has confounded me for years now, ever since I first watched Fate/Stay Night and now revived during Fate/Zero, was why there’s so much love for Saber. Is it the moe factor?
Now to be fair, I don’t know much about the Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night VN universe. I know it’s pretty intense and labyrinth. I’ve also heard it’s much darker. So it’s possible a lot of the love for Saber comes from her VN character which could be more dynamic, nuanced and interesting than what we’ve seen from anime Saber. But having only experienced Saber through anime, the first couple words that come to mind when I think of her are: stoic and martyr. I suppose there’s a bit of a role reversal thing going on, because those are typically characteristics you’d see in male characters. But unfortunately, what’s missing is: interestingness. There’s nothing about Saber that’s particularly interesting to me. She’s single-minded. There’s no dynamicism to her, nor any sense of personality or attitude. She seems to be the one heroic spirit that exists simply to achieve the grail. Every spirit has something else going for them. Rider and his father-like wisdom. Gilgamesh’s arrogance and disdain for anyone else around him. Berserker’s torment. Lancer’s philandering past demons. Caster’s psychoticness. Meanwhile, Saber seems like a blank slate, simply doing her master’s bidding. Is that why she’s so popular? Because she’s tough yet submissive to some degree? I don’t know, but I would love to know.
Although I know who wins this grail war, here’s who I’d like to see win (of the remaining) [SPOILERS BELOW]:
- Rider – honestly, you could probably call the 2nd season of Fate/Zero the Kiritsugu and Rider show, because I think we’ve learned most about these two characters. What’s not to like about him? Having been king, he’s arrogant, but not condescending. Loyal and likeable. I’ve completely forgotten what Waver’s motivation for winning the Grail was, but there’s no one else I’d rather see win than Rider. Plus, his Noble Phantasm is probably the most epic of Phantasms.
- Gilgamesh – sure his winning would mean a horrendous future for the human world, not to mention, literal backstabber Kotomine Kirei is the least likeable of all the remaining masters, but Gilgamesh’s immense arrogance is just too entertaining. His Noble Phantasm is pretty rad too.
- Berserker – it would’ve been nice to learn more about him, but I suppose the mystery factor works to his advantage. Somehow I was spoiled of his true identity, so because of that I’d really love to know how winning the Grail would impact him. Too bad is Phantasm is fairly blasé.
- Saber – Kiritsugu’s motives are probably the best among the remaining masters, but Saber is boring. Plus, when you’re the key character of the sequel, there’s something not very entertaining about having to sit through the inevitability of her victory. Plus, if she doesn’t win, they can rewrite Fate/Stay Night, and we don’t have to put up with Emiya.