Heroic Spirits are beings of a higher existence, becoming categorically closer to Elementals than wraiths. Differing from how Elementals are "power" granted form using human imagination as a container, they are entirely woven from the ideals of people all throughout. They are freed from the constraints of time itself and removed from the ring of reincarnation, moved to the Throne of Heroes (英霊の座, Eirei no Za?), a place existing outside of both the World and the time axis. The Throne of Heroes is also occasionally referred to as the Ring of Deterrence (抑止の輪, Yokushi no Wa?), referring to how it is mainly used by the Counter Force. Those that become closer to the planet do not mix well with people, so they fall into the categories of Divine Spirits and Elementals.
- Heaven (天, Ten?) - Heroes who are related to the gods, whether they are Divine Spirits ranked down to becoming Heroic Spirits, children of gods, or incarnations of legends about gods.
- Earth (地, Chi?) - Heroes who are known as the heroes of the land, known through mythologies and legends of a particular region. Fairies and Magical Beasts are included in this category.
- Human (人, Jin?) - Heroes belonging to this category are those recognized through common knowledge as great people who contributed to humanity and were regarded as heroes for their actions since the start of the Common Era. They are generally heroes who were deified by the masses after death, but there are those who were truly superhuman in life.
- Star (星, Sei?) - Heroes of this category, belonging to none of the previous three, are the "hope of mankind" and a "symbol of overcoming hardships." Although close in nature to the Pioneer of the Stars Skill that is given to heroes who became "turning points" in human history, it is an attribute fundamentally given to those that have left behind a great hope in the history of humanity. Simply achieving such exploits is not enough as they also have to be a "shining bright star" among the figures of mankind. It is an omnipotent attribute that possesses no minus towards any other categories save for that of the Beast, which they are both strong and weak against. Parody Heroic Spirits from space all get this designation.
- Beast (獣, Jū?) - Rivaling the seemingly all-powerful Star, they are the Evils of Man that represent the Seven Sins of Humanity, beings that encompass all of humanity.
- This table includes Servants that are not Heroic Spirits. They have been given designations in Fate/Grand Order. For Servants that have unknown attributes, see here.
Heroic Spirits are made up of those who truly existed, those only from legends, and those who were never observed at all. Those who existed had belief of their deeds gathered upon their deaths and were sublimated into beings of higher rank, while those who only existed in myths and legends were born from the gathering of those beliefs even if they didn't exist. Those who were not observed are those who made a contract of some sort with the World during their lives and subsequently became Heroic Spirits and Counter Guardians respectively after their deaths as compensation. Hassan-i-Sabbah is said to be one who existed, Heracles and Medusa are said to be those who existed in legend, and EMIYA and King Arthur are those who became or will become Heroic Spirits after the fulfilment of their contracts. The phenomenon applies to any human, animal, or machine that has left behind great enough achievements, but weapons becoming Heroic Spirits from being worshipped as the "greatest weapon of that era" must harbor a soul to achieve such a status. Those where a human creation gains its own will or those created from the congregation of humanity's fantasies are called Conceptual Heroic Spirits (概念英霊?), including those like Nursery Rhyme and machine Heroic Spirits.
Each Heroic Spirit is a unique existence, "the one and only", who each stood out from the others of their time by performing deeds and possessing qualities that no other possessed. As of the 21st Century, the most recent Heroic Spirits are from one hundred years prior. It is still possible for people to make contracts with the World as Counter Guardians and be summoned from the future into the current age as well. While modern weapons are powerful, it would not normally be possible to summon a "warrior from the future loaded with modern weaponry" because it is difficult for such people to become classified as Heroic Spirits. Modern weapons grant ease of use with the advantage of "anyone can use them as long as they were trained", so those who use them are "faceless heroes" who lack any qualities because they possess "expertise anyone can achieve through sufficient training." Heroes loaded with modern weapons would not become the Heroic Spirit, but rather only the weapon being worshipped so long as it harbors a soul.
Heroic Spirits are also recorded and stored as data recorded from humanity's history within the Moon Cell, but they are identical to those within the Throne. It is unknown if it is limited only to an occurrence within the Moon Cell, but the Divine Spirits stored within are referred to as non-human Heroic Spirits.
The rank of the Heroic Spirit is reflected in the strength they held in life and the popularity they attained after death. While their actions and the weapons they wielded in life will not change from fame, their basic abilities will be affected by the time into which they are summoned. Much like how Divine Spirits require worship and recognition and fall to the rank of Elementals upon it being lost, Heroic Spirits grow stronger with the more people worshiping them to solidify their presence and fall to a state where they do not have much power if they are forgotten. Those that are powerful heroes in their own right will still keep their abilities to some extent even if they were unknown or forgotten. Heroes known by all who also had extraordinary feats, like Heracles, can be considered A-rank Heroic Spirits. Gilgamesh is considered the strongest, Enkidu, while not a regular Heroic Spirit, is considered his equal, Karna is stated to be shoulder to shoulder with him as a servant without equal, Heracles and Saber Alter are at some points called the strongest Servants when summoned. In contrast, Tamamo-no-Mae, Hans Christian Andersen, and Angra Mainyu consider themselves to be the weakest of heroes. Those with only relatively new history will generally be far less impressive in ability compared to ancient heroes of the past and more fragile in their Mystery compared to those with more firm concepts.
The exact criteria for becoming Heroic Spirits are unknown. Historical figures said to not be Heroic Spirits include:
- Charles Nodier - Alexandre Dumas mentions that he was surprised upon learning that Charles is not a Heroic Spirit.
- Dahut - Dahut is a figure unable to be a Heroic Spirit, so Francis Drake is instead modified to act out the role of Dahut.
- Michelangelo - After defeating his Wraith, Leonardo da Vinci mentions she is happy that Michelangelo did not become a Heroic Spirit and that he can rest in peace.
- Oda Nobukatsu - Nobukatsu says he is not a Heroic Spirit and can only manifest as a Servant due to the influence of Demon God Andras.
- Sasaki Kojirou - Due to being a mixture of various stories, there is no Heroic Spirit Sasaki Kojirou. Upon being summoned as Servant, the system chose a nameless Wraith that was closest to the description of Sasaki.
- Sei Shounagon - Due to the completion of her singular work being the singular goal of her life, she did not become a Heroic Spirit upon her death. After being summoned as a Servant in an irregular summoning, she embraced new possibilities and joined the Throne of Heroes as a Heroic Spirit.
- Senji Muramasa - Lacking the heroic deeds necessary for ascension, he is able to manifest only as a Pseudo-Servant.
- Various figures that lacked enough fame and instead became Phantoms.
Heroic Spirits are most normally summoned by the World as a power that protects humans, so they cannot be controlled by humans without something like the Holy Grail or a similar kind of power to summon them. Only the World itself can summon the "main body" of Heroic Spirits, so humans can only summon emanations of the heroes, such as through the Servant system, even with something like a Holy Grail. The souls of the emanations, their information, then returns to the main body upon the death of the emanation, and the main body is able to know about the actions of the emanations as records, as if they are reading books.
As beings outside of time, they can be summoned to any era regardless of the notions of past and future, even if summoned to when their human selves have yet to die or when they have yet to be born.
Counter Guardian (カウンターガーディアン, Kauntā Gādian?), also called the Protectors of Balance (抑止の守護者, Yokushi no Shugosha?, localized as Counter Force Guardian) is a broad classification of Heroic Spirits made up of heroes who are not worshipped, utilized as a mindless Counter Force. Other Heroic Spirits have a high Divinity and act as existences closer to the planet than humanity, so they are able to avoid being drafted by the Counter Force. Normal circumstances are those where the Counter Force empowers a "normal person" in life to remove the factor that can trigger destruction, eventually causing them to be worshipped as heroes. Those who become heroes in such a manner are then used as Counter Guardians, the "Counter" emphasized because they act with no autonomy of their own and only appear in response to an event.
- Confirmed Counter Guardians include
- Confirmed temporary Counter Guardians include
- Okita Souji (Alter): Intended to function only once before her Saint Graph would self-destruct, akin to a living bomb.
- Fujino Asagami: Weaponized specifically to aid in overturning the incineration of humanity.
- Unconfirmed Counter Guardians include
Anti-Heroes (反英雄, Han'eiyū?) are distorted Heroic Spirits, those who do not fall under description of pure, respectable heroes. Those who are not pure can be considered no different than All the World's Evil, although the degree of such can differ between heroes, allowing some affinity with such curses. They differ from proper heroes who earned their titles in that they were forced to the Throne of Heroes only because of their fate. They can rightfully be called Avenger, the Anti-Hero, the opposite of heroes who were praised as heroes regardless of whether they hated humans or were those that humans hated. They are those who were reviled by the people, but saved people as the result of villainy. As those who "clarify good with evil", they became saviors worshipped and cursed in equal measure. Although evil existences themselves, their actions are considered good deeds according to others, so they become saviors even if they are unwilling as in the case of a human sacrifice. Even should they be evil, those who are sacrificed become a hero once it saves everyone in a village, no matter if the method of sacrifice is to be eaten or buried. With the disgrace being forced upon them saving people, it leads to the birth of a hero instead of a sinner. Differing from something like the notion of a posthumous promotionWP, their state of being is set by the minds of those who set up the existence of the hero. While proper heroes are created from respect, gratitude, and feelings of guilt of mankind, Anti-Heroes cannot be born from such thoughts. "Heroes" who die as "evil" will eventually be treated as victims more as time passes, so they will not stay as "pure evil." Their state of being requires them to be both "victim and assailant", created by humanity but not part of humanity. They are a contradiction that makes them "the enemy of the World", but allows them to be exempt from all of the restraining forces of the World. Despite this, there are no "pure Anti-Heroes", but rather only those who come as close as possible by "doing good despite being evil." They are something that people only wish to exist, something ideal humans have created to act as "sacrifices to deny the original sin." They can be thought of wishes that will never come true, "a synonym for peace." While not proper Heroic Spirits, Medea and Medusa do not truly fall under the category of Anti-Heroes either.
- Angra Mainyu - He was an ordinary person without any special ability that was determined to be "All the World's Evil" in his time. He became the "King of Demons that approves of all six billion evils in ZoroastrianismWP" that "embodies every curse in this world."
- Henry Jekyll and Hyde
- Elizabeth Báthory
- EMIYA - He describes himself as not being a pure Heroic Spirit, allowing him to have some resistance to curses like All the World's Evil.
- Hassan of the Cursed Arm - Described as being an Anti-Hero closer to All the World's Evil than EMIYA, he is able to interact with the mud from the Holy Grail much more easily than pure Heroic Spirits.
- Jack the Ripper
- Vlad III
- Main article: Phantom Spirit
- Main article: Wraith
It is possible for those who cannot become true Heroic Spirits to, instead, end up as wraiths. Those who bear the name Hassan-i-Sabbah are Heroic Spirit Candidates (英霊候補, Eirei Kōho?) that have lost their original names, instead taking the form of nineteen wraiths all vying to become the "Leader of the Assassins." Within the Holy Grail War system, summoning a hero that does not exist can lead to a wraith whose characteristics match the legend being summoned, such as Assassin filling the role of Sasaki KojirouWP. It is unknown where they normally exist, due to not being part of the Throne of Heroes.
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Heroic Spirits [Circumstances], p.056 [T]
Heroic Spirits [Circumstances]
The Heroes who achieved great deeds and were worshiped after death became Heroic Spirits.
They were the greatest existences amongst the forces that safeguarded humanity. In terms of classification, they were not Wrath, but closer to Faeries.
Faeries were materialized forces using the imagination of humans as framework, while Heroic Spirits were woven purely from the ideals of humans through and through.
Amongst Heroic Spirits, there were ones who existed in legends, ones who actually lived, and ones who were never observed. Those who were rarely worshiped were included in the classification of "Counter Guardians", and were utilized as an unconscious Counter Force.
In the Heroic Spirits in this story, only Archer functioned as a Counter Guardian.
Other Heroic Spirits were aligned with the planet rather than humanity, due to their high divinity. Counter Guardians were not within this category.
英霊には、伝説上のもの、実在したもの、観測され なかったものがおり、信仰が薄いものは“守護者”という大きな分類に含まれ、意思のない“抑止力"として行 使される。
 Fate/complete material III: World material - Records of Heavens Feel - Servant System: Difference between Heroic Spirits and Servants, p.012
Difference between Heroic Spirits and Servants
Heroic Spirits were Heroes who have left behind great feats in legends after death and become subjects of belief.
Normally, a Heroic Spirit is summoned by the world as power that protects humans.
The ones summoned by humans are Servants. However, Heroic Spirits cannot be controlled by humans, and to summon them, the Holy Grail or something with power of that sort must be used.
The Servant system of Fuyuki summons Heroic Spirits with the power of the Greater Grail. Heroic Spirits summoned as Servants are like "emanations", copies created using the information of the main body of the Heroic Servant.
•Birth of Heroic Spirits
It's been explained that Heroic Spirits are beings that heroes whom belief has been gathered upon become after death, but heroes of myths and legends can be born by the gathering of belief even if they didn't exist. Also, there are those who those who make a contract of some sort with the world when they were alive and as compensation become Heroic Spirits after death. In the Fifth War, Hasan Sabaha was a hero that actually existed, and Herakles and Medusa are ones of legends. Also, Emiya and Artoria are beings that became (or will become) Heroic Spirits after their contract with the world. Those who have become Heroic Sｐirits are freed from the constraints of time and are moved to the Throne of Heroes, existing to the outside of the World.
•Heroic Spirit summoning
Heroic Spirits are beings cut off from the time axis and can be summoned in any era, regardless of past and future. However, the only one that can summon the main body of the Heroic Spirits is the "world", and alas, humans can't summon the main body and can only summon their emanations, the Servants. Speaking of which, the information (souls) making up the Servants return to the main body at the same time as the death of the Servant, and the main body can know, as records, about the actions of the Servants as if reading a book.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: Servants, p.132
Q: What kind of role does the World give to Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians (Counter Guardians) ? Also, what do magi call people with high divinity or are closer to the planet?
Q: What kind of role does the World give to Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians (Counter Guardians)? Also, what do magi call people with high divinity or are closer to the planet?
A: Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians are simply treated as traditions that lend power to the later people. Those that became closer to the planet don't mix well with people so they fall into the categories of Divine Spirits and Elementals.
- 4gamer Interview with Nasu and Shinokawa
Fate/Grand Order - EMIYA Interlude 1: To Be a Master
EMIYA: As a rule, Heroic Spirits can be classified on a grand scale into four categories. Those are "Man", "Earth", "Heavens" and "Star".
EMIYA: Ever since Christian Era, the "Man" category indicates great men who contributed to humanity and were regarded as heroes, becoming common knowledge.
EMIYA: While cases of those who were truly super-humans while alive also exist, these are basically Heroic Spirits who were deified by the general public after death.
EMIYA: Andersen, Shakespeare, Robin (Originally Amadeus before a game update) and Miss Nightingale can be raised as examples.
EMIYA: Next is the "Earth" category. These are heroes told about in indigenous fantastic folklore, but...
EMIYA: ...and here is the important part. The fourth category: "Star".
EMIYA: Neither Heavens, Earth or Man. A hope from mankind. A symbol of overcoming hardships.
EMIYA: This might appear as an omnipotent attribute that possesses no minus towards any other categories, but its true nature lies elsewhere.
EMIYA: There is a category that rivals this "Star". It is the fifth..
- Fate/Grand Order - London: The Death World in the City of Demonic Fog - Section 4: One Book, One Pen
- Fate/stay night Prologue - Day 3
- Fate/stay night - Unlimited Blade Works route - Day 14: Knight stay night - Captured Princess
 Fate/EXTRA Sound Drama 2 Bonus Drama
Taiga: Is it correct to say that Moon Cell Servants aren't summoned from the counter force, but are instead reproduced copies like NPCs?
Sakura: Yes, that's right. To be more precise, they are perfectly reproduced from the Moon Cell's records of human history. However, that human history is connected to the throne of heroes in multiple ways, so they can't be called copies as a rule. In short, the Moon Cell consciously creates its own history of humanity, but that history is the exact same as the throne of heroes, so it's like they overlap in multiple ways as the same existences.
Taiga: While we're at it, the counter force is a different thing altogether. Archer-san is a counter force heroic spirit, but Archer-san in EXTRA was summoned from the throne of heroes, so he's not a slave of the counter force this time.
Caster: I see, so the reason he has a few differences from the original Fate is also because of that state.
- Fate/EXTRA CCC - Gilgamesh Route - Chapter 2: Prison of Projections -Girl’s Side Laboratory-
- Fate/stay night - Fate route - Day 4: Partner - Contract Established
- Fate/Apocrypha Volume 1: Apocrypha: Great Holy Grail War - Chapter 1, Part 04 & Part 05, p.083-090
- Fate/Apocrypha Volume 2: Round Dance of Black / Festival of Red - Chapter 1
 Kara no Kyoukai Special Pamphlet - Encyclopedia: Counter Force [Others], p.041-042 [T]
Counter Force [Others]
The Counter Force here is the safety device formed by the collective unconsciousness.
The prayer to avert the demise of mankind, Alaya.
And the prayer to extend the life of the planet, Gaia.
These are the two aspect of the Counter Force.
Both aspects have the goal of extending the existence of the current World. They will eradicate the factors that threaten to destroy the World at the moment of their occurance.
Since the Counter Force is the unconscious, its appearance draws no attention, and no one will recognize it.
The Counter Force is a formless spiral of power. It adjusts its scale based on the target that needs to be obliterated. The Counter Force will always appear with a status above the target, enough to absolutely secure a victory.
Normally, the Counter Force empowers "a normal person" to remove the factor that can trigger destruction. As a result, these individuals are worshiped as "Heroes".
Individuals who became Heroes through the aspect of Alaya are said to be integrated into Alaya after death. However, the accuracy of this statement is uncertain.
These individuals are also called Counter Guardians. The emphasis here is "Counter", because they have no autonomy and will only activate in response to an event.
- Fate/stay night - Heaven's Feel route - Day 10: darkwood,sleepingbeauty - Distraction
- Fate/stay night - Unlimited Blade Works route - Day 12: moonlight (II) - Interlude 12-2: Infinite...
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Anti-Heroes [Others], p.070
People who are hated, yet the result of their atrocities ultimately saved others. They are the ones who define "good" with "evil".
Although they are the targets of curses, they are still worshiped as messiahs.
They are the anti-heroes.
However, true anti-heroes do not exist.
Ultimately they only reach the level of "individuals who did good while carrying out evil" (stopping short of being true anti-hero).
Assassin and Archer fall into this category.
Rider and Caster are not true Heroic Spirits, but they are not true anti-heroes either.
- Fate/stay night - Heaven's Feel route - Day 4: Avenger - Holy Grail War, the Beginning
- Fate/stay night - Heaven's Feel route - Day 15: limited. - Truth - Anti-Hero Angra Mainyu
- Fate/Grand Order - Orleans: The Wicked Dragon Hundred Years' War - Section 5: Dark Jeanne
Fate/Apocrypha Volume 2: Round Dance of Black / Festival of Red - Chapter 2
Born due to the fear that persisted even after her death, a serial killer Anti-Heroic Spirit—that was who this girl was.
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: True Assassin [Servant], p.062 [T]
True Assassin [Servant]
The real Heroic Spirit of assassination.
He was summoned by Matou Zouken, materialized using the flesh of Sasaki Kojirou.
Bearing a white skull mask and black cloak, he was the classical assassin.
An unremarkable Servant in terms of abilities, but highly utilitarian. In contrast with his disturbing appearance, he was very loyal. He accepted the authority of his master and would never betray him.
Strictly speaking, True Assassin was merely a member of a group of Wraiths (Heroic Spirit candidates) who bore the name "Assassin", thus his abilities were intrinsically low. In order to compensate for this disadvantage, he modified his body. As a result, he was able to rival other Servants.
There was no face under the mask. The skin and nose were shaven off. He inherited the seat of the Old Man of the Mountain as a "nobody".
He lacked intelligence after materialization, but that was remedied dramatically after acquiring Lancer's heart. Since then, he was also influenced by Lancer's personality.
By the way, True Assassin was particularly attached to his Dirks. He would carefully pick all of them up after each battle.
 Second Fate character popularity poll
Oh. By the way, the Noble Phantasm of every Servant Assassin is named 'Zabaniya'. The reason is that each of the 19 candidates for the position of 'Leader of the Assassins' is concealing an 'ultimate technique' crowned with the name Zabaniya -- a hidden trump card for the purpose of taking down the other 18.
初めて知った人の愛～♪ そのコタツでミカンに目覚めた男～♪ アサシンになる前は地味でのんびり屋な性格だったんでしょうかねー。きっと、お正月は臓硯の爺さんと花札やってたんですよ！ 自分たちも当然のように虎ぶるモードに出演するんだと信じて！ うう悲しすぎる、全米が泣いた……！ ところでアッ○ーの教えはどうした。 暗殺者のサーヴァント。アサシンの語源となった、とある暗殺教団のトップに立った者の一人。アサシンの頭目になった時点で自らの顔を無くした人物。 『stay night』では老魔術師・間桐臓硯に仕え、地味ながらも中々の働き者っぷりを疲労しました。派手な活躍はないものの、その戦闘スタイルはなかなかに格好いいのでは。そしてただ一人、『hollow』で出番がなかった男。あうう、全世界が泣いた……！（夜の聖杯戦争で出てきたのは真アサシンであって真アサシンじゃないしなー）あ。余談ですが、アサシンのサーヴァントの宝具名はすべて『ザバーニーヤ』です。アサシン頭目の候補は十九人おり、その誰もがザバーニーヤの名を冠する「奥義」を隠し持っているのです。彼らは他の十八人を蹴落とす為、奥の手は隠しているのだとか。