Kariya Matou is the younger brother of Byakuya Matou, though he has actually severed ties with the Matou family for about ten years out of disgust. Disappointed with the lack of sorceric potential in Byakuya and his son, Shinji, Zouken Matou blames Kariya for allowing the Matou's magical lineage to decline since Kariya is the first in many generations to be born naturally capable of sorcery. After running away from the family, he had no choice but to earn a meager living as a freelance report writer.
He wears a blue hoodie with black cargo pants. Unlike his brother or nephew, he has black hair and darker eyes.
After he is implanted with crest worms, half of his limbs become disfunctional and distorted, resulting in a limp. He has a sickly pale complexion brought on by the constant deterioration of his health. On certain parts of his face, veins protrude and when Kariya uses magecraft, crest worms are seen squirming under the surface of his skin, specifically around his face. His hair turned completely white from shock and he went blind in one eye. He is usually seen with his hood up to better conceal his face. In the original novel, Rin compares his physical appearance to that of a cancer patient.
Kariya is a benign person whose reason for originally leaving his family was out of disgust for their horrible and inhumane practices. He is shown to be good with children with both Rin and Sakura taking a strong liking to him, and he in turn, loves them as they were his own children.
Kariya also displays a strong determination and a remarkable capacity to endure pain and suffering after Crest Worm implantation. Due to Crest Worms also slowly eating away at his body, particularly his brain, and the constant pain he has to endure, Kariya also becomes unable to perform complex thinking, and causes him to be easily manipulated by others as a result.
Though he genuinely wishes to save Sakura and help Aoi, he is unable to understand that despite giving Sakura away, Aoi still truly loves Tokiomi and she does not want him and Kariya to fight. He begins solely with the objective of rescuing Sakura and defeating Tokiomi, but diverges towards killing Tokiomi in order to save Aoi from her "suffering" and making Tokiomi's family his own. He bases his actions on his ideal fantasy for himself and his "family", and it becomes harder for him to rationalize his ambition as he comes closer to death.
« There was someone I loved. She was warm and kind. I wanted her to be happier than anyone else. For her, I would lay down my life. That's why, I have endured this pain until now. Endured, endured, endured, endured, endured, endured, endured it all! »
|(Kariya before he strangles Aoi - Fate/Zero, Episode 21)|
One year before the Fourth War, Kariya discovered that Sakura, who possessed a greater potential to become a strong magus than either Kariya himself or his brother Byakuya, had been handed over to the Matou family. Because Magi families traditionally raised only one child as an heir, Tokiomi had agreed to Zouken's request for his youngest daughter, supposedly for the intention of reviving the Matou family's stagnant bloodline.
Enraged at Tokiomi's treatment of his daughter and the grief that it caused Aoi, Kariya made a deal with Zouken: Kariya would participate in the 4th Holy Grail War and win the Holy Grail, which he knew to be Zouken's primary design. In exchange, Sakura would be allowed to return to her family. However, because Kariya lacked any formal training as a Mage, Kariya insisted on implanting numerous Crest Worms into his body. The worms would literally eat away at their host, causing Kariya's health to progressively fail, in return for significantly expanding his magic circuits and magical potential. By the time of his summoning of a Servant, Kariya's hair is white and the left side of his face and body paralyzed with many other complications. However, despite the Crest Worms and his own accelerated training, Kariya remained severely lacking as a magus. At Zouken's behest, he compensated for this by summoning a Berserker-class Servant, using the Mad Enhancement trait to boost his Servant's strength.
During their first two battles, Kariya's hatred for Tokiomi leads to his focusing solely on dispatching Tokiomi's Servant, Archer. Both attempts end in failure, due largely in part to Berserker's obsession with Saber leading him to engage her against his Master's orders. Berserker is struck down from behind by Rider in the first instance, and Archer in the second. Kariya's attempt to engage Tokiomi directly also ends badly, when the former is thoroughly out-classed and left for dead. His problems are further compounded by his failing health and excruciating pain, due to the high mana requirement of manifesting a Berserker Class Servant. After his defeat to Tokiomi, Kariya recovers from his serious injuries with the help of Kirei Kotomine, who secretly heals him without his mentor Tokiomi knowing.
Following the defeat of the rogue Caster, Kariya is again approached by Kirei Kotomine. In return for kidnapping Irisviel von Einzbern using Berserker in the guise of Rider, he is promised victory and the Holy Grail. To this end, Kirei replenishes Kariya's spent Command Spells with reserve seals he acquired from his murdered father. Kotomine's promise amuses Zouken, who sees through the priest's deceptions and reveals that he had never expected Kariya to win the War in the first place.
Kariya confronts Tokiomi, only to find him already dead, seconds before Aoi walks in on him. She misinterprets the situation, and in her grief blames him and the Matou family for taking away both Sakura and her husband. She accuses Kariya of never having loved anyone, completely oblivious to how he had always loved her. This breaks Kariya's heart and his resolve, revealing that he endured it all for her sake in the first place, and in utter frustration and disappointment, causing him to blindly lash out and strangle her in a moment of temporary madness. It is later revealed that the entire incident had been orchestrated by Kirei, whose sole intent was to derive amusement from it. Kariya then suffers from a psychological breakdown and cries out hysterically as he leaves the church, believing he murdered Aoi.
On the last day of the 4th Holy Grail War, Berserker faces off against Saber, culminating in a battle so ferocious that Berserker draws more mana than Kariya can provide. His Servant is killed, Kariya survives long enough to make his way back to the Matou estate, where he is able to freely enter due to Zouken going to the area where the Grail was destroyed to obtain the pieces of it that he later implants in Sakura. Kariya is approached by Sakura upon entering the basement. He tells her that he has come to rescue her, but collapses at her feet soon after. Kariya dies with a satisfied smile, comforted by dreams of escaping with Aoi, Sakura, and Rin and starting a family together. His death demoralizes Sakura and convinces her that she should not attempt to fight against Zouken.
Kariya is mentioned in Fate/hollow ataraxia, though he appears unnamed. Since Shinji is about to graduate soon, he is making plans to leave the Matou household, causing Zouken to compare him to Kariya. Shinji knows that Kariya was disinherited after running away, but is unaware about his participance in the Fourth Grail War years ago.
Fate/Accel Zero Order
Through a familiar sent to the Matou Residence, Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald proposes to Kariya that he ally with him and Ritsuka's party. Kariya agrees on the condition they provide an opportunity to fight Gilgamesh.
Later, in Einzbern Forest, Kariya meets with Ritsuka's party. El-Melloi II informs him that Gilgamesh is currently discussing kingship with Artoria Pendragon and Iskandar at Einzbern Castle. The group interrupts the discussion and fight Gilgamesh with Lancelot's help. However, after Gilgamesh perishes, Kariya passes out from expending too much magical energy. He and Lancelot are both taken away by Iskandar, who's decided to ally with them against El-Melloi II.
Outside the Matou Residence, Kariya tells Iskandar and Waver how he came to be Lancelot's Master. Iskandar punches him upon hearing that he plans to kill Tokiomi Tohsaka now his Servant Gilgamesh is gone. He then reminds Kariya that he should prioritize saving and protecting Sakura Matou first. Seeing Kariya doesn't have his priorities straight, Iskandar abandons the idea of him and Lancelot being his allies. He then proceeds to burn all the worms in the basement, capturing Sakura in the process. He agrees to give her to Kariya in exchange for his right hand and Command Spells, which Kariya concedes to. After severing Kariya's hand, Iskandar notices the Crest Worms are keener on eating the Command Spells than their host. He then has Mithrenes take Kariya and Sakura to a hospital outside of Fuyuki.
Kariya did not receive childhood training in magecraft unlike many of his opponents in the Fourth War, thus leading him to be one of the weakest Masters, only beating Ryuunosuke Uryuu for skill or experience. To his advantage however is the unique nature of the Matou Crest Worms. Allowing him to be forcibly injected with Magical Energy and spells, the Crest Worms transformed Kariya into something of a glass cannon magus. While his body became incredibly weak and easily broken, he gained the ability to fight using an evolution of the Crest Worms called Blade Wing Worms (翅刃虫?), carnivorous flying insects that strip flesh like piranhas.
Kariya's Servant, Lancelot, is a Berserker-class servant. Much like all previous Berserkers, he requires many times more magical energy than regular Servants in order to remain materialized. Due to Kariya's fragile state of health, every single one of Berserker's fights leaves him in excruciating pain and brings him even closer to death. Despite his lack of training, his Master aptitude is extraordinarily high for a makeshift magus, which would have allowed for him to support Lancelot in a different class quite well. Kariya displays remarkable fortitude even with the absolutely absurd magical energy consumption, his goals of killing Tokiomi Tohsaka and saving Sakura, all for the sake of Aoi, his true motivation, allows him to keep going physically and to dominate Berserker's will with his own to force the rampaging Servant to focus on Gilgamesh. It could be said that he should be praised for enduring as long as he did during the War. Due to the strain from Berserker draining his energy at the end, it killed all of the Crest Worms in Kariya's body, indicating to Zouken that he was doomed.
Kariya's design was only drafted as planning for the publication of the first volume of Fate/Zero was beginning, so it went through major changes. The initial design was meant to give off a more villainous first impression, but it was eventually changed to the final design. Gen Urobuchi thinks that having the design obscure his eyes with the hood of his parka ruins his image a little by not showing enough of his "amazing face." Takashi Takeuchi believes that his appearance before becoming disfigured is too plain to even have him draw concept art of it. Kariya's regular face is without much individuality, much like that of generic protagonists in early games that begin with "Please enter your name", and the normality that can be seen in both his regular and twisted face is his true nature.
Atsushi Ikariya was in charge of the character design for the anime adaption.
 Fate/Zero material - Characters: Matou Kariya, p.064-065, 082
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 55 kg
Blood type: AB
Birthday: March 22
Image color: Dark green
Talents: Creative writing
Things he likes: Small trips, photography
Things he hates: Extravagant things
Worst enemy: Zouken Matou, Tokiomi Tohsaka
After he ran away from the Matou, he had no choice but to earn a meager living by working as a freelance report writer, or at least that's my headcanon. [Gen Urobuchi]
Comment for Kariya
Takeuchi: Because I only thought of this design as the first volume began publication, major changes were made. You'll see the initial design in the following pages. It was good in terms of the result. I'm fairly pleased with it.
Urobuchi: Looking back on it, the design that called for him to wear the hood of his parka low over his eyes wrecks this jut a little bit. We should have shown this amazing face straight on more.
Takeuchi: I am not drawing his face from before the Crest Worms twisted it, but I think it is a face without much individuality. From my point of view, the normality that you can see both in his regular and twisted face is Kariya Matou's nature.
Urobuchi: As for that, he seems to have a face like the protagonist of those early games that went "Please enter your name."
Kariya's early design. It was a design concept that made him give off a villainous first impression. [Takeuchi]
Frozen in a pained expression. Should his teeth be bared?
Comment for Kariya
- Fate/Zero Anime Visual Guide I - Kariya Matou entry, p.030
 Fate/Zero Blu-ray Disc Box II English Translation booklet: Master Session 004 - Berserker Side, p.013-016
Master Session 004 - Berserker Side
Second oldest son of the Matou family, one of the three founding Mage familes.
Although his Magecraft aptitude was higher than his brother's, he hated the vile nature of the Matou family's magic. To save Sakura, the daughter of Aoi Tohsaka, he agrees to participate in the HolyGrail War. As a side effect of the Crest Worms, half his body is twisted and distorted. Atsushi Ikariya was in charge of the character design for the anime version.
A mad knight Heroic Spirit who is clad in black armor. The "Berserk" affinity was added to him, as he is unable to speak, and he refuses to obey his Master's instruction. His abilities include For Someone's Else's Glory, which conceal his own abilities, and Knight of Honor, which allows him to turn anything into a Noble Phantasm. He demonstrates an unnatural fixation on Saber. Atsushi Ikariya was in charge of the character design for the anime version.
The Matou family uses Worms in their Magecraft. In combat, they can be summoned and employed at will. There are various kinds, including the flesh-eating Blade Wing Worms that Kariya employs, and the Crest Worms that crawl around the Worm Pit.
Head of the Matou family. After repeatedly extending his life, this Mage is already not quite human. He is well versed in all things related to the Holy Grail, and gives Kariya Crest Worms. He observes the proceedings of the Holy Grail War from a distance.
Berserker 3DCG Supervisor Masato Takizawa
With Berserker's movements, I tweaked things like warping the parts and altering the scale so that it wouldn't look like stiff CG animation. Although there were a ton of difficult areas over the course of the series, I believe that all the hard work really can be seen on the screen and made for better visuals. I think that shows like this that are so beloved by the audience comes around once in a blue moon, so it's a real honor to have given the opportunity to take part in it.
A knight of the Round Table who served Arthur (Artoria). He falls in love with King Arthur's wife, Guinevere, and this dishonor brings about the fall of Britain. Also, in the anime, he is drawn with keyframe animation after his face is revealed. Because his complex armor was bring drawn by hand, it involved huge amounts of time and effort.
Q: How did Uncle Kariya slip into the Matou Residence to meet Sakura before he died?
Q: How did Uncle Kariya slip into the Matou Residence to meet Sakura before he died?
A: Grandpa Zouken was too busy rushing to Ground Zero to get a chunk of Iri.
- Fate/hollow ataraxia - 10/09 - Emiya's - Noon
- Fate/Grand Order - Fate/Accel Zero Order, ACT-11: Strategist's Trap
- Fate/Grand Order - Fate/Accel Zero Order, ACT-12: Discussing the Holy Grail
- Fate/Grand Order - Fate/Accel Zero Order, ACT-13: Battle Royale
- Fate/Grand Order - Fate/Accel Zero Order, ACT-15: To the Greater Grail
 Fate/Zero material - Encyclopedia: Matou Kariya [Person's name], p.103-104
Kariya Matou [Person's name]
The little brother of Matou Shinji's father, Byakuya.
The gutsiest, most rebellious person in the history of the Matou family – against that monstrous old man, just standing up to him and running away was a heroic act of valor. Of course, from Zouken's point of view, no matter how much better Kariya's magic circuits were than his older brother's, they weren't worth the effort it would take to break his will and train him into a proper family head. In fact, at that point he had probably already decided that he had no choice but to bet everything on Byakuya conceiving an heir that would turn everything around. Unfortunately, in the end his longshot gamble backfired spectacularly, and instead of a miracle that would save his lineage, he got Shinji.
By the way, even Kariya's childhood friendship with Aoi was set up by Zouken, who had become aware of the Zenjou family's excellent hereditary trait long before the Tohsaka. However, due to Kariya turning his back on sorcery and getting cockblocked by Tokiomi, the old man's plans once more came to nothing.
…Well, Kariya bringing his beloved Aoi back to some horrid worm pit was never going to happen in the first place. Maybe if the Matou sorcery was a little more normal, he would have been willing to obediently accept his inheritance and become Tokiomi's rival for Aoi's affections.
For a makeshift magus, Kariya's suitability as a Master was exceptional. The fact that he was able to endure the maddened Lancelot's outrageous magical energy consumption for as long as he did is a feat truly deserving of praise. While he might have been better off if Zouken hadn't punished him by forcing him to summon a Berserker, well… I hate to say it, but the only reason Lancelot was able to fight Gilgamesh as well as he did was due to the parameter boost from being maddened. And given the single-minded devotion with which Kariya was pursuing Tokiomi, there's no way you could expect him to have the prudence to avoid that powerhouse team and survive to the very end. When all's said and done, as long as he carried the Matou spirit of putting grudges before everything else, he was probably doomed to failure no matter what.
 Fate/Zero material - Encyclopedia: Matou Zouken [Person's name], p.104
Zouken Matou [Person's name]
As far as the Matou family's sacrifices in the Fourth Holy Grail War go, for the small price of a ruined home defense barrier and a grievous injury to Byakuya's wrist, they were able to get their hands on fragments of the Holy Grail. Too cheap, too cheap! Grandfather is laughing.
Though Zouken allowed Kariya to participate in the Grail War, he mostly did it just to punish him – if Kariya had actually won, he probably wouldn't even know how to react.
Originally, Zouken had been content to turn a blind eye to Kariya's transgressions as long as he was living the wretched, fearful life of a runaway, but his extremely un-Matou-like willingness to heroically sacrifice himself bought him the old man's ire. Probably, it was the warped pride of a living, rotten corpse at work. Like, "When did my own flesh and blood get so damn impudent!?" or something to that effect.
By the way, Zouken thought that Kariya had died when all the crest worms were killed by Berserker's rampage.
The reason that Kariya, finally free, was able to return to the Matou mansion and reach Sakura's side without any issues, was because Zouken had rushed off to the scene of the fire to see if he could find anything worth salvaging.
In fact, they must have literally just missed each other. It seems Kariya has a talent for seizing odd strokes of good luck at the height of misfortune.