Told through its brief instances of majestic spectacles, often dramatized but in an atrociously humane manner, Fate Zero has scarred itself as a splendid show. It also tackles a multitude of philosophical and psychological themes with the help of characters and their conflicts.
One such pair of characters is of Kirei Kotomine and Emiya Kiritsugu, the two sides of the same coin. They both have contrasting personalities and distinct ideals and yet are very similar to each other.
This article will draw parallels between these two beloved Fate characters.
The Advent of an Ideal and Concept:
Emiya Kiritsugu was this cheerful and amiable eleven-year-old kid. But when chaos broke out due to his father’s experiment, he drowned in agony and sorrow. Due to the hesitation to kill his friend/love interest Shirley, everyone in the village got infected. He decided to confront his father after realizing that he was the one to blame for everything that happened.
If he didn’t then Norikita Emiya would most probably continue his Dead Apostle experiment somewhere else. So that’s why he shot his father and an ideal was born that gloomy night – to save many, one has to kill a few.
Kirei Kotomine had a rough time understanding morality when he was a child. The reason being that he wasn’t able to come to terms with righteousness. Kirei wasn’t able to feel true happiness until he saw someone in pain. At the age of ten, Kirei was chosen to be an Executioner and became a puppet for The Church.
After that, he had been constantly seeking answers through his religious beliefs under the guidance of his father and Church.
Both of the characters had the unfortunate fate of having a parent who weren’t able to understand their children. The loss of a parent acted as the inception of something new in both of them. Kirei started embracing the psychopathic side of his and Kiritsugu’s newfound ideals were born.
Masquerading their true selves:
After witnessing the death of all the villagers and Shirley, Kiritsugu changed drastically. His love for humanity grew more and more by every passing day. But still, he kept on killing those ‘few’ people for the greater good of the ‘many’. He gradually shifted his perspective, thinking and understanding in accordance with his actions.
But after witnessing the truth of his ideal through Holy Grail, he and his act shattered into pieces.
Kirei has been numb for all those gut-wrenching years where he had to hide his true self from others. He has been on the side of good for a very long time. The priest tried to conceal his evil side by committing deeds that were considered right, morally and ethically. He lived under a facade that didn’t match his true personality and almost got derailed by his thoughts.
It was all thanks to Gilgamesh that he was able to come with terms to his real self, of a psychopath.
Both Kirei and Kiritsugu tried to conceal their true selves and feelings. They tried to live under an alias of their real sides, masquerading from others. But when exposed to a certain situation and persona, their act of pretense came loose.
The Notion of Love:
Kiritsugu met Irisviel when she was being created inside a tube by the Einzbern family. He found her to be useless through his interactions. In response to that, Jubstacheit decided to prove Irisviel’s usefulness by casting her into the Einzbern forests.
Disgusted with Acht’s actions, Kiritsugu rescued her and started educating Iris about the modern world and society. They even had a daughter, Ilyasviel.
Gradually, they fell in love with each other. But Kiritsugu knew that their love would have a tragic end because of her wife being a homunculus. Still, he decided to stick with her so that she won’t feel alone in her final moments.
To gain a normal sense of self, Kirei decided to have a family because every sane person wants to be love and be loved. He eventually married Claudia and even bore a daughter together, Caren. But the woman he chose was the one with no future. He never knew the reason why but despite that he tried to love her but was unable to. Although Claudia truly loved him but due to her terminal illness, she only lived for two years.
In her final moments, Claudia saw Kirei crying for her and was happy. But in actuality, he was sad over losing the chance of killing her and enjoying her death. Regardless of his distorted nature, he most certainly cared for Claudia more than anyone.
Both of them lost someone they loved and also got separated from their daughters. Kirei tried to love his wife but was unable to and Kiritsugu tried to overlook Irisviel’s presence but failed. They both were burdened with the same tragedy.
Because love is a source of pain as well as salvation.
Becoming the Ideal and Reason:
When Kiritsugu killed Natalia, it only hardened his resolve of ‘to save many, one has to kill a few’. He was slowly being consumed by the ideal he once sought. When he came to know about The Holy Grail War, he decided to kill anyone who stands in his way. The man was becoming the manifestation of his own far fetched ideal.
This mentality led him to the demise of his notion of ‘hero of justice’. The despair he witnessed in Fuyuki was more than enough to give up on his ideal.
On the other hand, we had Kirei. The man who was searching for a reason to justify his existence. He didn’t have any concrete ideals but was consumed by the idea of finding a reason. He has always been living behind a mask. And when he gets the chance to unravel his true self, there’s nothing to work upon. That’s why he despised people who had reason to pursue their goals.
For him, there wasn’t anything he could begin with so he sought answers from Grail. And that led to the destruction of Fuyuki, finally he found what he desired – chaos and suffering.
They got obsessed with their respective beliefs regarding people and society. For Kiritsugu, it ended up as a complete disaster and left him scarred with a sense of betrayal. And for Kirei, it led to him finding the reason for his existence.
Kiritsugu Emiya and Kirei Kotomine were similar in many ways. They were just the opposite side of the same coin. In the end, they finally got their long-awaited answers from the corrupted Grail. One was basked in agonizing pain while the other was fascinated with his true self. The contrast created similarities unknown to both of them. Their distinct personalities gave birth to one of the most intriguing dynamics in the entirety of anime.