The Fate series has come far ever since its humble beginnings with Fate Stay/Night, first released back in 2004 as a Visual Novel for the computer. And ever since then, it's grown into quite a global franchise, with many of its characters still extremely popular.
This article will take a look at the original cast of Fate Stay/Night. Since there is an anime that covers the Saber Route, Visual Novel, Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel, this article will be drawn from all four sources to gauge who was the most popular.
Now, as stated, this list is for the characters for Fate Stay/Night only, so if they make their first appearance in other Type Moon series like Fate/Extra or Fate/Grand Order, they will not be included.
[This article contains spoilers for the Fate Stay/Night anime and manga, and reflects the writer’s personal views. Some of the embeds contain depictions of canon-typical violence. Discretion is advised.]
10 most popular characters in Fate Stay/Night include Kirei Kotomine, Lancer, Gilgamesh, and more
10) Kirei Kotomine
If there’s one thing that can be said about this priest, it's that he's tenacious. Kirei is the moderator of the 5th Holy Grail War, and in Zero, was the master of the Assassin of that war. Despite being a man of God, Kirei has a dark side. He feels nothing aside from his sadistic urges, and partnership with Gilgamesh brought those to bare during the 4th Holy Grail War.
In the Fate route, he serves as the series’ first big bad guy, in UBW, he’s killed off a little earlier the main climax, but where he truly shines is in Heaven’s Feel.
Kirei manages to earn a high spot in many a polls due to his casual, frank attitude to just about everything, even if that thing is the devil himself. Plus, he holds his knives inbetbetween his knuckles.
The Caster of the 5th Holy Grail War may not have had much of an impact on the plot in Heaven's Feel, but Medea of Colchis is no pushover. Famed for her part in Jason and the Argonauts, in which she helped the titular character steal the Golden Fleece, there’s something about this Greek Witch that draws people in.
Maybe it's her cunning and power, or maybe it’s because she’s gorgeous when she lowers the hood.
One way or another, Caster's ability to plan and strategize has more than a few effects on The 5th Holy Grail war as a whole. Not to mention, she is a valuable unit in Grand Order, and her antics in Fate/Stay Night made her well liked among the fanbase.
The Child of Light, Irish Hercules, is one spectacular spear wielder with a lust for battle, and a cheeky grin to go along with it. Lancer, real name Cu Chulainn, is adored by fans for his cocky smile and down-to-earth nature.
Lancer becomes the Servant of Kirei, due to his original master being murdered by Kirei, and having her Command Seals seized.
His slick spear, Gae Bulg/Bolg, dashing looks and charming smile made fans everywhere love him. While his appearances may end with him losing on every route, he goes out like a champ everytime.
7) Kiritsugu Emiya
He first appeared in Fate Stay/Night so this counts! Kiritsugu Emiya is the adopted father of Shirou Emiya, and back in his heyday, he was known as the Magus Killer.
He is man capable enough to kill almost any magical threat he encounters through tricky and deception (plus a lot of explosives). Adding to his cool, sleek look is his signature long coat and Thompson Contender.
His ideals resonated with fans, not to mention a tragic backstory that made the audience engrossed with his character. There’s a reason Kitusurgi often appears high in the popularity polls.
Gilgamesh is the King of Heroes, Mankind’s First King, and the series’ first golden boy. Gilgamesh is Uruk's king from its heyday, and the titular character from the Epic of Gilgamesh.
With a smug, arrogant attitude plus an armory of legendary weapons and armor, Gil had a sizeable hatedom at the time of his first appearance. Mostly due to his prickly personality and lack of any redeeming qualites.
But, thankfully for Gil, he managed to earn some love with later appearances in Fate/Extra. He also let the audience see his silly side come out with Fate Grand Order.
5) Sakura Matou
The third of Fate Stay/Night’s heroines, Sakurai Matou is well known for her kind, sweet personality that hides a massively traumatic past.
Plus, her own route, Heaven's Feel, managed to completely change the scope of the series with the revalation that she was Rin's sister. It promptly became one of the most intense endings in Fate Stay/Night.
While she is the least popular of the three heroines, Sakura does have her own fan base, plus she has her own avatars in Fate/Extra, many of which the fans love as aspects of Sakura.
Another servant from Anicent Greece, Rider is the famous Gorgon Medusa, or just Medusa. Aside from being gorgeous, she can turn anyone to stone with just a gaze.
Rider is the Servant of Shinji, or, as revealed in Heaven's Feel, Sakura's. Rider’s fan base came from her actions during Heaven’s Feel. They showcased much more of her power and showed that the previous routes were down to just bad luck, and having a worthless Master, Shinji.
Her later appearances in other works only helped add to her fan base, as fans came to enjoy her snarky, sweater-wearing persona, and being teased by her sisters.
3) Rin Toshaka
Rin is one of the first Tsunderes in anime, and the one to help popularize the archtype. Rin Toshaka is the poster girl for Zettai Ryouiki, and it goes without saying the Red Devil is extremely, stupidly popular in the anime community.
Rin is the Master of Archer, heir to the Toshaka bloodline, and older sister to Sakura. Rin has made appearances in every Fate story, or at the very least, earned a mention in some way. That’s how amazingly popular she is.
2) Archer (Emiya)
This is the man whom the fan term GAR was coined, and this cynical anti-hero is at the top of many a fan’s husbando list. From his awesome powers, stylish design, and amazing theme, to the twist that he is actually the future version of protagonist Shirou Emiya.
Archer is pretty much going to rank high in any popularity poll in any anime contest, ever. He was introduced in Stay/Night as a bitter reflection of the man Shirou Emiya could become.
But in literally every other appearance, Archer Emiya is pretty much the Mom of the group, capable of cooking with the gods, and offers a bit of wise, albeit sarcastic, advice every time he makes an appearance.
Was there any doubt? Saber is one of the most popular characters in the Fate series and she’s the face of the franchise..
Saber, real name Arthuria/Altira/Artoria Pendragon (the exact spelling varying on the translation), is the world famous King Arthur, born as a female but made her legend disgused as a male.
The genderfluid King has consistently come first place in many polls, and there are countless pieces of fan art, figures, and games about her.
While her story officially ended in Stay/Night, Saber’s effect on the Type Moon Franchise cannot be understated in any way, shape or form. Just to get an idea of how popular she is, she has multiple versions of her in F/GO, and the term, “saberface” came from her.