Sakura Matou (間桐 桜, Matō Sakura?) is one of the three main heroines of Fate/stay night and the Master of Rider in the Fifth Holy Grail War. She is also the Master of Avenger, Saber Alter, and the blackened Berserker in the Heaven's Feel route. Sakura is the younger, adopted sister of Shinji Matou and biological sister of Rin Tohsaka. She has a long-standing and obvious crush on Shirou Emiya, who sees her as family. After Shirou's confrontation with Shinji, Sakura would often visit Shirou's home to help him with his daily chores.
Born as Sakura Tohsaka, she is the biological sister of Rin Tohsaka and daughter of Tokiomi Tohsaka and Aoi Zenjou. Like most magi, her father chose only one daughter to carry on his family's tradition as he believed raising an additional child would introduce competition. Zouken Matou, an ancient ally of the Tohsaka House, offered to adopt Sakura with the intention of training her as the successor of the Matou's magecraft as his own heir, Shinji, was incapable of sorcery.
As a result of her natural abilities, Zouken sought to use Sakura as one of his future vessels, empowered by the Angra Mainyu. Having to endure the cruel training under Zouken and Byakuya, Sakura became an empty and emotionless shell resigned to her fate. When Kariya Matou, Sakura's adopted uncle and her mother's childhood friend, learned of Zouken's intentions, Kariya attempted to win the Fourth Holy Grail War in hopes of liberating her. Unfortunately, Kariya died in his attempt and Sakura was unable to understand Kariya's motivation for trying to rescue her. His death demoralizes her and she convinces herself that she should not attempt to fight against Zouken.
After gathering the tainted fragments of the shattered grail from that war, Zouken hybridized the collected black ichor with several of his crest worm familiars. He implanted these parasitic worms into Sakura's body, which drain her Mana but feed on her carnal impulses Sometime later, Sakura met her new brother Shinji (who was studying abroad at the time of the Fourth Holy Grail War) when he returned to the Matou house. Though he later came to love and accept his new sister, he bullied her. This ended the day Shinji found out that Sakura had become the heir to the Matou family instead of him and he became harsh with her, just like everyone else in the Matou house. Because Sakura was apologetic and expressed pity toward him, Shinji took that as Sakura submitting herself to him since she displayed no emotion. Sometime after the death of Byakuya, Shinji began raping her.
Although castigated and humiliated on a daily basis, Sakura maintained her bearings with great stoicism. For the eleven years after her adoption, Sakura grew to resent Zouken for his cruelty, Tokiomi for sending her away, and finally Rin, for never coming to save her. However, she still kept the ribbon Rin gave her. Sakura drew her strength to endure such hardships from Shirou, whom she admired for his dedication. The inspiration she found came from watching him persistently attempt to jump a bar during a track-and-field practice session. She joined the Archery club in order to be closer to Shirou watching him from afar.  A year before the events of Fate/stay night, after Shirou was injured in an accident, Sakura gathered enough courage to approach and help him; she has visited him ever since to assist with daily activities.
Sakura is a young woman with violet hair, which she styles with a pink ribbon on the left side, and violet eyes. The ribbon she wears in her hair was given to her by Rin when they were children and is the first ribbon Rin ever made. Physically, she's noted to have very "large breasts". During school, she wears the standard Homurahara uniform. Her casual clothing consists of a pink cardigan, a white top, and a long cream-colored skirt.
In the Heaven's Feel route, her appearance changes when she becomes Dark Sakura. Her hair turns white and her eyes turn red. She retains her trademark ribbon, though it turns purple. She wears a long black dress made of black ribbons, that are trimmed in red. The length of the dress and the length of the ribbons it is composed of vary. In this form, her face, dress and legs are covered in red markings.
Before Sakura was adopted into the Matou family, she resembled her sister, having had short black hair and aqua eyes. Shortly after her adoption, her hair and eyes take on their violet color, which is a direct result of being implanted with Zouken's parasitic worms. Her clothing at this time consists of a purple dress, purple socks and black shoes.
While Sakura is outwardly shy, soft-spoken and eager to please, she possesses a great inner strength. As noted by Shirou, she can also be openly stubborn at times. However, she is also prone to feelings of resentment towards others.
Despite the cruelty she endures living with the Matou family, she is given a brief reprieve in Kariya, her adoptive uncle and the only person who genuinely loved her. When he dies in the Fourth Holy Grail War, Sakura mistakes Kariya's last attempt to free her from the Matou house as a warning from Zouken as the fate of those who disobey him. The incident cements Sakura's despair and resignation towards her own suffering. However, her own resolve is strengthened after she falls in love with Shirou Emiya and becomes closer to him by helping him with domestic tasks to express how she cares about him. During Fate/stay-night, she begins to feel isolated when she believes that Shirou is beyond her reach.
When she becomes Dark Sakura under the influence of Angra Mainyu, her personality changes drastically; she becomes a devilish, evil, and cruel person. Sometimes she talks about herself in the third person.
« I do not have anyone to call my mom or sister...Grandfather said I should think that they never existed »
|(Sakura speaking to Kariya before the Fourth Holy Grail War - Fate/Zero, Episode 1)|
In Fate/Zero, Sakura is adopted into the Matou family one year before the Fourth Holy Grail War begins. Sakura is described as soft-spoken and often in the shadow of her more energetic sister, and her adoption has deeply affected both Aoi and Rin, who both try not to express their unhappiness openly. Kariya arrives in Fuyuki City three days after her adoption, which he learns from Aoi. Having been a childhood friend of Aoi, he had become well-acquainted with Sakura and her sister, who were both fond of his company.
After confronting Zouken, Kariya makes a deal with Zouken to win the Holy Grail in exchange for Sakura's freedom to return to the Tohsaka family. Kariya was the only member of the Matou family to love Sakura, who became resigned and emotionally withdrawn from the torture she endures from training under Zouken and Kariya's older brother, Byakuya.
Unfortunately, Kariya is defeated during the Fourth Grail War and failed to obtain the Grail. With the last of his strength, Kariya returned to the Matou mansion to return Sakura to Aoi and Rin, but he died in the process. Sakura, who was standing in front of Kariya, interpreted Kariya's death as a warning that those who defy Zouken will die. She remained with the Matou family, demoralized and unwillingly to fight against Zouken.
Sakura only plays a minor supporting role in the Fate and UBW route and she only appears as Shirou's friend. She visits Shirou every day and competes with Rin for his affection.
In the Fate route, Sakura, like everyone else at school, becomes a victim of Rider's Blood Fort Andromeda, though her injuries only result in her staying at home. She becomes good friends with Illya in the epilogue after the latter made her get over her depression about Shinji's "disappearance". Sakura is also made vice-captain of the archery club.
Sakura would not develop as the "Black Grail" in any other route. However, when she was chosen by Shirou, "the person she does not wish to lose", the negative emotions she kept bottled up all these years came flooding out, which accelerated the growth of "All the World's Evil – Angra Mainyu".
In Studio Deen's anime adaption, her role is expanded slightly beyond her appearances in the Fate scenario. After the defeat of Berserker, Sakura is captured by Caster to use as a sacrifice in order to summon the Holy Grail and is held at Mount Enzo, Caster's stronghold. Shirou, Rin, and Saber attempt to rescue Sakura and to stop the Holy Grail from being summoned, during which Shirou and Saber are forced to fight against Souichirou Kuzuki and Assassin respectively. Rin confronts Caster, who manipulates Sakura to fight against Rin. During the fight, Sakura is revealed to be Rin's sister and that she actually comes from the Tohsaka family. In order to save her sister, Sakura allows Rin to stab her so Rin will be able to sever Sakura's magic circuit and prevent Caster's plans from being completed. Following Caster's defeat, Sakura recovers at Shirou's house and ultimately survives the Fifth Holy Grail War.
« No Senpai. I'll probably end up hurting you...I'm going to hurt you, Senpai, but...I want to stay like this. »
Sakura is the principal Master of Rider, who was summoned several days prior to the start of the 5th Holy Grail War. However, under pressure from Shinji and the desire not to fight either Shirou or Rin, Sakura yielded her Master's right to him, although Sakura retains her original Command Mantra. As Rin and Shirou became closer, Sakura began to feel contempt for her sister, which was intensified by the fact that Rin took no action to help Sakura.
Zouken, disgusted at the ineptitude of Shinji as a Master, begins a genocide against the other Servants with help from True Assassin and Sakura morphed into a premature form of Angra Mainyu, referred to as "the shadow". Berserker, Lancer, Saber, and Archer are all absorbed or terminated by this unholy trinity, and Sakura regurgitates Dark Saber and Dark Berserker as assistants. At night, she goes on a rampage throughout Fuyuki City, ingesting large numbers of innocents for mana. Gilgamesh eventually confronts and impales Sakura's body with several Noble Phantasms from within his Gate of Babylon, but she regenerates at an impossibly fast rate and consumes him as well. She is forced to quickly convert him to mana in haste because she was afraid he might tear her up from the inside if she does not digest him.
Meanwhile, Shirou, who was not attracted to Sakura and only saw her as a friend and Shinji's sister, realizes that something is wrong and that Sakura is suffering. Shirou decides to protect her, but he is unsure of his feelings for her. Because of it, Shirou is devastated when he found out that Sakura is one of the participants in the Grail War. He starts doubting about his ideals because he still wants to save everyone but realizes that if he does so, Sakura might die. Finally, after a talk with Illya and later Archer, Shirou abandons his ideals in order to protect Sakura. With this new ideal in mind, he finds Sakura crying at the park, believing that she cannot be saved. Shirou consoles her by telling her that he will always protect her and he fight for her. However, Sakura continues having her strange dreams. Recognizing the devastation she has wrought, Sakura seeks out her grandfather to force him into ending her life in order to protect Shirou.
However, along the way Shinji attempts to blackmail her into sex, threatening to tell Shirou of his history of raping her. Horrified at this prospect, Sakura murders Shinji and gives into her internal malice. She then realizes that she is the shadow that appeared in her dreams and becomes Dark Sakura and proceeds to abduct Ilya, hoping to use her as the core for a new Holy Grail. After Shirou and Kotomine rescue Ilya, Dark Sakura stops the supervisor's artificial black heart, giving him only a few hours to live. She also assimilates True Assassin and purges her body of Zouken's worms. She is confronted by Rin in the chamber of the Greater Holy Grail beneath Mount Enzō, her power equally matched by The Jeweled Sword of Zelretch. Rendering Sakura's shadows useless, Rin makes her way to Sakura, but is unable to give the finishing blow due to her love of her sister. Rin embraces Sakura even after Sakura has stabbed her in panic. Realizing Rin's love, Sakura again starts resisting the malice within in her long enough for Shirou to dispel Angra Mainyu's grip on her soul with Rule Breaker.
If Shirou traces Excalibur and destroys the Grail, his life extinguishes, which results in Sakura's Normal Ending. Refusing to accept Shirou's death, Sakura continues to live in the Emiya household, forever waiting for Shirou until eventually dying of old age. She later reunites with Shirou in what is insinuated to be the afterlife.
If Ilya intervenes, closes the gate, and performs Heaven's Feel on Shirou to keep him alive and close the Grail once and for all, it results in Sakura's True Ending. After her dark self is destroyed, Sakura's body is left containing vast amounts of mana due to her connection with Akasha. She ends up living with Shirou and Rider, with the servant's existence sustained by Sakura's mana pool. Sakura is the de facto Winner of the 5th Grail War in this route, though Kirei Kotomine proclaims Shirou to be the Winner.
« Nii-san...Senpai...Will we ever be able to go back to those happy times? »
|(UBW Manga, Chapter 24)|
In the manga version of Fate/stay night (which follows the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works scenarios), Sakura is a supporting character. She is trained by Byakuya Matou rather than Zouken (who does not appear in the manga); while Shinji does not rape her, he is still abusive towards her. However, she shows concern for both Shirou and Shinji, wishing for the three of them to be good friends like they used to be before the Grail War. She quietly watches the fight between Saber and Rider from afar and after Shinji is defeated by Saber and Shirou and falls from a building, Sakura uses her last Command Spell to make Rider save his life, revealing to Shinji that she is the Master of Rider. After this, Shinji feels guilty after all he has done to her and apologizes. She is currently taking care of Shinji at the hospital and has not appeared since.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Sakura lives a peaceful life in Fuyuki City, which Rin has left in Sakura's care while she is at the Mage's Association, and Rider comments that Sakura is now the popular new captain of the school archery club. Sakura's dark side still exists, but appears only for comic relief. Shinji reveals to Shirou that Sakura assumed control of the Matou household, and both he and Zouken are terrified of her.
In her Eclipse scenario Life of Sakura Sakura takes Shirou into the Matou residence's garden where they are looking at cherry blossom trees in bloom. Sakura then shows very old tree to Shirou, that according to her was planted by her grandmother and now is blooming for very first time in life. Amazed by this fact both are watching this tree for while. After that Sakura invite Shirou into her room where they continue talking about rebirth of old tree. Whereupon Shirou express that he want to see Sakura to "bloom" as well and then they both have sex.
Sakura also appears in Rider's Eclipse scenario The backside of Kibisis where she and Rider appear both naked in front of Shirou and seduce him with their gorgeous big breasted bodies into threesome. However eventually it turns out that whole scenery is just Rider's illusion that she made in order to force Shirou to pursue Sakura more aggressively. Yet in the middle, Shirou realizes the truth and reverses her spell on her, in the end revealing to viewers that Rider herself has deep feelings for Shirou. Sakura appearing in this episode is only a conjecture by Rider's spell, a representation of Rider's true intentions of her actions.
In Fate/Unlimited Codes, Dark Sakura is a playable character and she is known as the Makiri's Grail (マキリの杯, Makiri no Sakazuki?).
In her story, her personality becomes twisted and she wants to destroy everything along her path. She has already killed Zouken by the time she encounters Kirei Kotomine. Kirei can tell Dark Sakura is on the verge of collapse and the personality of Sakura Matou is still within Dark Sakura. Although Dark Sakura claims she is broken, Kirei founds the Matou can raise the young well but the training are too harsh which Sakura appears to have no concern of pain. She further explains that Zouken didn't expect her to last long and ironically he didn't last long to die. Kirei pleased with Zouken's death and expects to wait for the Holy Grail to form by removing Sakura's consciousness. Kirei was impressed with Dark Sakura knowledge but Sakura kills him in the battle, she claims that she will complete his plan in his place. Her final opponent is herself, her counterpart has stayed behind in order to help the growth of Avenger and the Great Holy Grail. They both fight to the death because there is no point for having two Sakura and they hate themselves the most. Dark Sakura fused her memories with her counterpart, although she is uncertain who actually died. She finally completes the transformation of becoming the Holy Grail and gives birth to "All the World's Evil". In her ending, she desires to get out to the outer world and wants to meet Shirou when she is reborn. However, she forgets about Shirou existence and longs to get out to the outer world.
In Kirei's story, Kirei used Sakura in order to learn the meaning of life and was responsible for Dark Sakura transformation. In the opening Dark Sakura approach Kirei in the church. Kirei notices Sakura to be very different to their last meeting and he is pleased that she conceived Avenger. She already devoured both Lancer and Gilgamesh and she desires the life energy that has kept Kirei alive. It appears that Sakura's mind and body is completely contaminated aligned with the "curse". Dark Sakura desires to pay back everyone who made her suffer. Kirei pointed out that although Sakura appears to be a different person but she is pretending in order to protect Sakura Matou as a person. While Kirei escapes, Sakura convinced herself that she can kill him with two of his servants gone. Kirei encounters Shirou, Shirou wants to destroy the Holy Grail in order to stop Avenger in order to save Sakura.
|Fate/unlimited codes - Sakura Matou command list|
Fate/tiger colosseum series
Despite being one of the heroines in Fate, she has a minor role in Carnival Phantasm, compared to Saber and Rin. However, she has a segment focusing on her, Type-Moon Serial TV Novel Sakura, parodying a soap opera.
Her darker personality is comically exaggerated, such as complimenting herself in her monologues and having her stalk Shirou on his dates with the other heroines, all while showing a mischievous, evil grin and getting there before he does.
In Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, Sakura appears briefly to help Shirou after he is injured. An alternate Sakura is an ally of the Ainsworth family, where she is equipped with a Lancelot Class Card. Julian Ainsworth controls her by taking Shirou's appearance.
Sakura makes an appearance in Fate/Grand Order as a Craft Essence card. She appears as the illustration cover for Imaginary Number magecraft (虚数魔術, Kyosū Majutsu?) and Imaginary Around (イマジナリ・アラウンド, Imajinari Araundo?).
Sakura was born with great potential and rare natural talent, considered to be a miracle equal to that of Rin with even the same Od level as her. It surpasses the norm of "natural talent" or "inborn skill" possessed by others, and due to that she would be in danger without the protection of a magi house, can be equated to a curse in a way. She was given to the Matou house to act as their heir for this reason, but Zouken did not intend to use her for that purpose. For the purpose of acclimatization, she has to undergo constant torture in the basement of the Matou household. The way they pass on their magecraft is not a study, but constant, lifelong torture due to Zouken's preference. Taught to the body rather than the mind, she is forced through immense pain and stress constantly for her "education." The changes are so extensive as to change her hair color, eye color, and every cell in her body so that they no longer reflect her Tohsaka heritage.
While having greater potential than Kariya or Byakuya, she is more suited to the Tohsaka magecraft. She was born lacking an Elemental Affinity of the "five great elements", and instead had an Imaginary Element of Imaginary Numbers, or "Hollow", as her affinity, Sorcery Trait and Origin. Her Element was changed to the water alignment with her acclimation to the Matou magecraft, so she cannot display her true talent.  Her Crest Worms will feed on any excess magical energy she circulates before she can use a spell, leaving her unable to even cast any in most cases. Due to them devouring it on a constant basis, even Rin is unable to tell that her sister is an actively practicing magus.
Without expecting anything from her intelligence, Zouken sought to turn her into a tool that uses magecraft. With such little formal education, she is unused to combat and cannot normally match someone of Rin's caliber, losing ten out of ten times without being able to breach Rin's barrier. Rin compares her to a bird with the potential of flight being placed in water, forced to die or adapt as best it can. While she would have had great success as a Tohsaka magus, her current state is much like that of the untrained Shirou, only worse due to her lack of physical training. Under duress, she can cast a spell using the Matou "absorption" nature magecraft, and it shoots like a spear, stabbing and entangling the part hit to drain the person of energy. She says that it has little practical use compared to something like Reinforcement that has many different uses in that it is limited to "stealing away from others" and feeding on their pain.
The Magic Crest of the Matou family is in the form of Zouken's Crest Worms, forcefully implanted into her as part of her acclimatization process. They have grown within her for eleven years, turning into a nerve that has entangled throughout her entire body like a Magic Circuit. It is suspended under normal circumstances without have an effect on her body, but it will attack her nerves and use her energy to roam throughout her body while taking even more if it activates. Left for half a day, they will drain her body of energy and consume her flesh as nutrition. As with any Magic Crest, it is painful containing a foreign substance in her body, but even more so with it entangling her nerves with its own and moving about. Compared to the pain experienced in Rin's arm, she compares Sakura to a cluster of Magic Circuits that violates her function as a human being and should overwrite her mind with a wave of energy.
Normally only an observation device for Zouken, its usage can be activated by her lust, which in turn causes her to lust even more as the worms in her blood become an aphrodisiac. It can be forcefully activated with an aphrodisiac given to Shinji or just through her normal feelings for Shirou. As they devour her energy, she becomes more lustful and is forced to seek out supplemental energy, semen in the original story and blood in Realta Nua. Zouken should be able to incite the worms into action as he pleases, making it a priority to stay away from him. As his main body has been changed to a small worm next to her heart, that is actually impossible. As they are so integrated into her nerves and Magic Circuits, it is impossible to remove them normally, even for Zouken. Kirei Kotomine uses a large number of Command Spells to remove most of it, but he cannot remove the ones metabolized with her nerves without removing her heart.
Its original usage is not meant as a means to kill her, but the conditions of the Fifth War provide a unique opportunity. Imposed on her to make sure she participates in some capacity, they will activate if she breaks a "certain condition", abandoning the war as a Master. Entrusting Rider to Shinji falls under the condition, but it will torture her should she refuse to battle while having Rider's contract. Even forcefully removing her contract with a Command Spell would cause her to be instantly consumed. With the added burden of managing Rider's upkeep, it is difficult for her and could lead to it devouring her. It is set to last for the duration of the Holy Grail War, and will spread further with each day. Kirei's surgery is able to reduce her overall pain somewhat, but she is still plagued by the same overall problem.
At some point after the Fourth Holy Grail War, Zouken managed to collect fragments of the destroyed Grail and implanted them into Sakura's body, transforming her into an incomplete lesser Grail. Sakura has been developed to be able to act as the Black Grail (黒の聖杯, Kuro no Seihai?), a second Lesser Grail, by Zouken Matou. Though the ritual of the Fourth Holy Grail War ended in failure with the destruction of the Holy Grail, it had briefly been completed. It would normally be painful to have the inorganic substance of the Grail within a human body, so he turned the shards into a living thing to allow her to still function as a human. Combining them into Crest Worms, he placed them into her body. Zouken lacked the skill of the Einzberns and completed an eighth of the process in his own way, so she is in an incomplete state. The shards corroded and assimilated her Magic Circuits over the ten year period between the Fourth and Fifth Grail Wars, leaving her with only her Crest Worms as her only way of using magic if she even did. She has the ability to function like the Einzbern Lesser Grail, Illyasviel von Einzbern, in acting as a container for the souls of the Heroic Spirits and becoming the gate upon the ritual's completion.
Zouken originally has no plans for her to be utilized fully in that state during the Fifth Holy Grail War, but instead as an experiment in acting as "Makiri's Holy Grail" that is able to live as a human and contain the function to collect souls. The purpose of changing her is mostly as a way for eventually reaching his goals, slowly developing her into something like the Holy Grail over several decades. While it would be impossible for her to go into that state in other routes, the conditions within the Heaven's Feel route allow for her to become active. Only when being chosen by Shirou Emiya, the "person she does not wish to lose", do her bottled up negative emotions come to the forefront to accelerate Avenger's growth. Previously thought of as only an unadaptable Holy Grail, she shows surprising growth and talent in being able to retain her senses after eventually taking in a number of Servants. He equates her to a true Holy Grail one the same level as the Einzberns, even though he had thought it impossible.
Servants that come into contact with the shadow from the Grail are greatly affected. They cannot oppose it, rotting them anywhere it touches. They lose feeling in the affected areas as they become that which does not exist in the world. Proper Heroic Spirits are extremely affected, going as far as losing consciousness on contact, while Servants close to it in nature, while not fully affected, well have energy drained from touching it. Those taken in and not digested are blackened, changing their mentality as it is corrupted by its malignant influence and considerably augmenting offensive power.
While she can take in and blacken most Servants, Gilgamesh is unable to be controlled, so she must digest him in haste to keep him from tearing her up from the inside.
Converted to magical energy, he provides enough to accelerate the development of the Grail even without enough Servants. Though he is difficult to digest, the large amount causes her to buckle like a broken dam due to previously being able to only barely maintain herself. Differing when he escaped from the Grail mud in the Fourth Holy Grail War cut off from the main body, that of Sakura, the shadow, is connected to the body of Avenger itself. Servants are unable to resist her, having become the Grail itself, and even being incarnated is not enough as long as one is materialized under the Grail System.
As with the Einzbern Holy Grail, the container cannot retain full human function while taking in souls of Heroic Spirits and receiving the powers of the Holy Grail. Her body loses function as the amount of energy she contains from the souls increases, and the overflow from great swirl of magic of the Holy Grail is too much for her mind to withstand. It causes her to break down until becoming Dark Sakura, first showing an overall loss of feeling in her extremities and the state of recent memories becoming vague.
With the development of Sakura as the Holy Grail, the Black Shadow (黒い影, Kuroi Kage?) begins to manifest around Fuyuki. It is the contents of the Grail, Angra Mainyu, leaking out from the other side when Sakura is unable to properly shut the gate even as a complete Holy Grail. It is a Cursed Boundary Layer, Sakura's shadow or even Sakura herself, normally controlled below her threshold of awareness. While it seems that it works with Zouken, he cannot communicate with it, and he can only arrange its path to keep it from running wild. Though he is able to calm it nightly to keep the damage to a minimum, he eventually becomes unable to handle it as Sakura develops. It devours magical energy at first, only leaving people unconscious. More ruthless in its feeding than Caster, it eats their magical energy along with their minds. It eventually realizes that eating them fully is more efficient, taking hundreds of people from fifty households in one feeding. Rather than smashing them, it only needs to swallow them, body and soul.
It is an "unidentified object" that gives the impression of a jellyfish on land or a deep sea monster. Its presence dominates all who look upon it, seeming to distort space around it. It lacks eyes, limbs, or a body, but still casts a shadow at its base. It looks insubstantial, as if a shadow were to stand with so light an existence that it looks able to simply be blown away. As the Holy Grail's shadow, it should not normally have form or a will, but passing through the gate, Sakura, it takes her form, borrows her sealed id, and obtains a body to come into the world. It is a Holy Grail with a will, seeking out humans souls to complete itself. It will swallow all it sees, especially clumps of magical energy like Ilya. It should be possible to stop by stopping Sakura, as it is born from her unconsciousness. It hates whoever Sakura hates, so it will keep them from coming near her.
It is impervious to all conventional attacks, and its targets can only await death in its presence. Shirou is unable to tell of the concept of death can even apply to it. As a cluster of curses, its touch is highly corrosive due to containing Angra Mainyu's property of All the World's Evil, dissolving organic matter and converting the base elements into pure magical energy. It can lash out with tentacles, bring forth a Shadow Giant, and spread out for ten meters to swallow everything like a wave of water, touching them with All the World's Evil that burns skin like coal, cuts off their life, and shows them its horrors. It takes in energy just by existing, turning plant life black, and automatically leeching it from those without any resistance. It can absorb the energy in an area in order to swell up and explode. It tramples over everything upon exploding and spreading the collected energy out like a storm, swallowing its prey instantly.
It can overwhelm all Heroic Spirits no matter their strength so long as they are summoned under the Servant system, filling even the mindless Berserker with the instinct to run away. Spreading its mud over the ground like a swamp, Servants engulfed by it are restrained down by countless tentacles and swallowed. It easily tears through Lancer's Rune barrier, capable of blocking great Noble Phantasms. It dislikes organic material, passing through that which is not alive and digesting that which is alive. Taking them in instantly, the Cursed Boundary Layer is a Bounded Field of dissolution much stronger and more instantaneous than even Blood Fort Andromeda. Growing by the day to feed even more, it swallows an area of fifty meters at once, and then goes on to act as a tidal wave that passes through all things to take its victims without causing a bit of collateral damage. It is not detectable because it is not a specially activated spell, but its regular actions even if it is extremely powerful.
Connected to Sakura, she can initially only feel slight aftereffects from its feedings, but later begins to have uncontrollable visions of it acting. Both its smell and the presence behind it remind Shirou of her, and she feels an intimacy with it, something without an evil mind that, while similar to her, just eats in a different way. She becomes more in-tune with it as the war progresses, eventually coming to the point where she is the one wandering the town at night. It begins to originate from her as her affinity with it develops, feeling its hunger as her own and allowing her to swallow Gilgamesh. It begins to stretch out on its own, allowing her to hear and see through it directly. After becoming Dark Sakura, the Command Spell around her body has the same make-up as the Shadow.
After Sakura rejects Zouken's control and regains her central consciousness, she becomes Dark Sakura (黒桜, Kuro Sakura?), a rancorous and psychotic distortion of her normal self. It would normally be that she would either have exploded from the strain of being the Grail or have had her consciousness disappear and be overtaken by the shadow. Due to her affinity with it, she is able to take control of it. Touching Angra Mainyu, the mud of the Grail, contaminates a person's personality and reverses it towards the orientation of evil. Her reasoning and emotions are severely impaired, and she is indiscriminately destructive to everything around her. She is one capable of using the power of the mud as part of her own power due to the contamination. As she develops, she becomes a "threat to humanity" that could potentially have required or eventually gotten to the point of needing intervention from the Counter Force. Even with this overwhelming strength, being unused to battle and her unstable mental state makes planning against her possible.
Using souls as a perpetual motion machine to create magical energy, Rin calls her a poor imitation of the Third Magic. Connected to the "other side" of the Grail, she has a stock of magical energy that cannot be used in a lifetime, effectively making it infinite. Despite that, she can only use the full capacity of her Magic Circuit to instantaneously release one thousand at a time. Against the Jeweled Sword, Rin is able to release the same amount to match the shadows, making it a battle of Sakura's limitless magical energy and Rin's infinite magical energy. With the same properties as the Shadow, she is capable of forming tentacle appendages from her body. She can spontaneously regenerate, allowing her to recover from mortal wounds within minutes of receiving them. Even before fully developing, she survives being impaled by the Gate of Babylon, having everything below her stomach severed, with only severed nerves being the issue the next day. She can support a number of Servants without issue in this state, and Saber can use the energy intensive Excalibur without limit.
After the contract to Avenger is broken at the end of Heaven's Feel, she is still connected to the other side of the Grail. As an after-effect of the contract, she remains a Holy Grail. While Avenger still exists before Shirou destroys the Greater Grail, it could potentially make her its Master again due to the connection. Vast amounts of energy are collected in her body, and she must periodically release it. She is able to use it to keep up Rider's existence even without support from the Grail, and the excess left after that is given to Shirou to help him maintain his body. She learns magecraft from Kirei's successor and Rider, and her abilities as the Holy Grail, even only in part, are a large boon to her life as a magus.
The Shadow Giants (影の巨人, Kage no Kyojin?) are familiars made out of her Hollow element. Under normal circumstances they are extremely small, but when her powers are augmented by Angra Mainyu and the Holy Grail, their size increases vastly and they start acting as a materialized curse. Each composed of roughly one thousand units of magical energy, they are called a match for the Noble Phantasms of Servants. She can bring them forth without limit, and the amount of energy spent creating them for just a single battle, over one hundred million, is enough to run a department of the Clock Tower for one hundred years.
Carrying the properties of All the World's Evil, fighting them would normally require something to dispel a curse, but a level of energy equal to that making up the shadows can eliminate them. While Rin Tohsaka could not hope to destroy a single one normally, the Jeweled Sword of Zelretch allows her to match Sakura's limited output used to create them and destroy them with her infinite energy provided by the Second Magic.
Creation and Conception
Her initial concept was based on Fujino Asagami. Upon looking at Sakura Tohsaka depicted in Character material, Gen Urobuchi thought "aah, right now I'm writing about a world that does its best to brutally mistreat this kind of girl." It was a "huge mental burden" for him, so he decided to torment her even more. While she only appears twice, her "misery index" may actually be the highest in Fate/Zero. In the original draft of the scene of Kariya's death, the plot was "inhumane." Nasu "scolded" him for it, asking him "What color is your blood, anyway!?" It became one of the few scenes he stopped, making Sakura's monologue into a very mild and calm one.
- In the first Popularity polls of Fate/stay night in 2004, Sakura was ranked 6th and the fifth most voted female character. Dark Sakura was ranked 33rd. Tsuku Sakura (Tiger Dojo) was ranked 49th.
- In the second Popularity polls of Fate/stay night in 2006, Sakura was ranked 5th and the fourth most voted female character. Dark Sakura was ranked 38th.
- In the Type-Moon's 10th Anniversary Character Poll, Sakura from Fate/stay night was ranked 8th and the sixth most voted female character. Sakura from Fate/Zero was ranked 150th. Dark Sakura from Fate/stay night was ranked 176th.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11
 Fate/complete material II: Character Material - Characters: Sakura Matou, p.026-041
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7
 Fate/Zero material - Characters: Matou Sakura, p.080-081
Comment for Sakura
Comment for Sakura
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2
 Fate/complete material III: World material - Record of Heavens Feel - Holy Grail War: History of the Lesser Grail, p.009
History of the Lesser Grail
• Fourth Holy Grail War
• Fifth Holy Grail War
• Matou Sakura
In the final events of the Fourth Holy Grail War, Zolgen (Matou Zouken) acquired the fragments of the destroyed Grail. He combined the fragments with his Crest worms, which he put inside Sakura's body. Though she was incomplete, this turned her into a second Lesser Grail.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: Characters, p.134-135
Q: Sakura studied archery under Shirou’s influence? Or was it Shinji or Zouken’s instruction?
Q: Sakura studied archery under Shirou’s influence? Or was it Shinji or Zouken’s instruction?
A: It was Shirou’s influence. She did it so she could see him more closely.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: General Questions about Fate, p.130-131
Q: Why did Zouken only send Sakura into actual combat in Sakura’s Route?
Q: Sakura only entered the Holy Grail War during her route, but not in others. Although I think she would develop as the “Black Grail” in any other route, why did Zouken only send her into actual combat in Sakura’s Route? Does that mean Zouken was not in the house in the other routes?
A: Actually Sakura would not develop as the “Black Grail” in any other route. However, when she was chosen by Shirou, “the person she does not wish to lose”, the negative emotions she kept bottled up all these years came flooding out, which accelerated the growth of “All the World’s Evil – Angra Mainyu”.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: General Questions about Fate, p.130-131
Q: In Sakura’s Route, what happened to the devoured Gilgamesh?
Q: In Sakura’s Route, what happened to the devoured Gilgamesh? Saber was blackened and enslaved, but was Gilgamesh’s will too strong to be dominated? Or was he completely digested?
A: He simply cannot be controlled. In fact Gilgamesh cannot be blackened. After being devoured by the Grail, Sakura converted Gilgamesh into mana in haste because she was afraid that Gilgamesh might tear her up from the inside if she does not digest him. However, His Majesty was very hard to digest, so “Angra Mainyu” must have been plagued by belly-ache (laughs).
 Fate/Apocrypha material - Encyclopedia: The Three Families [Others], p.166 [T]
The Three Families [Others]
In “Apocrypha”, the Three Families are the magi who constructed the Fuyuki Holy Grail War… in other words, the Einzberns, Tohsaka and Makiri.
Just as alluded in the light novels, Makiri (Matou) Zouken fought fiercely against Darnic during the Third Holy Grail War, but became practically crippled due to the shock of the Greater Grail being stolen. The family wasn’t blessed with a successor either, so their future as magi has been completely shut.
The Tohsaka gave up on the Greater Grail, and now seek a new path in becoming one with the universe with Chinese Kenpou while learning magecraft. The twin-tail daughter of the family might also end up becoming the founder of a “completely new martial arts that combines magecraft and Chinse Kenpou” by the time she becomes a high school student. However, she never imagined that her younger sister who was adopted by distant relatives would come visit her in Japan after becoming a pro-wrestler with unimaginably nice proportions and forming a tag team with a drill-roll-haired girl…!
The Einzberns are in the midst of struggling to make a new Greater Grail under the excuse “It was stolen, so we’ll just make a new Holy Grail”. Fortunately, in the “Apocrypha” world, a certain dead fish-eyed mercenary won’t end up becoming involved with the Einzberns, so their greatest work Illyasviel will never be born—therefore, as long as she isn’t born, the Einzberns will never despair… Is that really fortunate?
Fate/Zero, Volume 1, Act 1, Part 4 Sakura's body does indeed have fitting potentials to become a magus. On this matter she was far better than Kariya and his elder brother Byakuya. Yet, it was inevitably a potential more appropriate for a magus of the Tōsaka brand of thaumaturgy, with fundamental differences to the thaumaturgy of the Matō.
 Fate/complete material III: World Material - Theory of Magic - Magecraft: Magus, p.041
Magic circuits are the pseudo nerves that a magus has inside himself. These are paths that generate magic energy and access the magic foundation engraved in the world. Magi make magic energy with the magic circuits and use the magic energy to run the magic foundation and thus put magery into effect. To do either of these, the magic circuits are necessary.
As suggested by the description pseudo nerves, these are split into cores and lines joining these together and are spread throughout the body.
The number of magic circuits are fixed at birth and the number won't increase by other than external factors.
The product of stamping the anchored mystery that a magus had spent his entire life building up. Can be said to be mystical inheritance that defines the magus line as a magus line. While the inheritor is young, it is necessary to implant this little at a time while at the same time having the body adjust to the magic crest by medicine and rituals. The magic association also has technology for extracting just the magic crest from the body and storing it.
What determines what kind of attributes a magus' magic is going to be likely to have, or what kind of magic the magus is going to have good chemistry with, is going to be the element aligned with the magus.
In addition to the five great elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and sky, there's the imaginary elements of Hollow and Nothing, for a number of seven.
Some of the five elements will differ according to the school of magic. A famous one is a style in which the five great elements are formed from wood, fire, soil, metal,and water.
Basically, one magus has one alignment, but sometimes there are magi with two alignments (like fire and earth, wind and water) and there are also those called "Average Ones" who have all the five great elements.
Matou Sakura normally would have been a holder of the imaginary element of Emptiness. However, through her magic training, hers had been changed to the water alignment of the Matou line, so she couldn't exhibit her true talent.
Five great elements Earth One of the two alignments of Kiritsugu. Kiritsugu exhibited his attribute of combining and used magic which combined the wounds of an enemy in a different form than normal, and made them unhealable.
Five great elements Water The alignment that the Matou magi have had for generations. Matou exhibit the attribute of absorption and have passed it on. Sakura's alignment changed from Emptiness to water.
Five great elements Fire The alignment of Tokiomi and also one of the two alignments of Kiritsugu. It is the symbol of life and death and has good chemistry with destructive magic.
Five great elements Wind One of the two alignments of Kayneth Elmelloi Archibold. There are few magi with wind as an alignment
Five great elements Sky An element which makes up celestial bodies that is newly added as a fifth element to the four great elements of earth, water, fire, and wind. This is, in other words, Ether.
Imaginary Elements Hollow The alignment that Sakura was born with. Defined, in magery, as that "which is possible but is not in the physical plane". Also called imaginary numbers.
Imaginary Elements Nothingness Like Hollow, the alignment of an imaginary element. In magery, defined as that "which is not possible, but materializes". Has a different meaning that the "nothing" of physics and math.
•The absoluteness called Origin
If alignment determines the root of one's magic, then even deeper than that, is the origin which determined the root of one's existence. The origin is not only for magi, but is the orientation that all things are born with and it's existence itself is thought absolutely necessary.
Those magi with an origin that is strongly expressed outwardly are sometimes removed from the normal alignments and there are times that the origin itself becomes the alignment. Most of those magi exhibit their talents as extreme specialists.
Because of that, it's said that they can reach higher grounds than normal magi.
Of the alignments, wind is called "noble" and fire is "normal". By the way, the term "Noble Colors" is used to refer to special and innate things where he workings of the magic circuit are close to the movements of a celestial body (normally they're closer to the movements of the crust), and is innate and special.
Noble Colors are often used to refer to mystic eyes, and Rider's petrifying mystic eyes are also a noble color.
- ↑ Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel Route Day 14. "Rin realizes that the attacks are not from the black shadow, but a magic Sakura possessess. The magic of Matou is to bind others. But Sakura is originally from the Tohsaka family --- a shadow-user with an Origin of the imaginary element, Imaginary Numbers. Matou Sakura is able to embody the black shadow to that degree because she has both attibutes ---!"
- ↑ Fate : Heaven's Feel Manga Chapter 9.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1
 Fate/complete material II: Character material - Characters: Gilgamesh, p.074-079
Nasu Kinoko & Takeuchi Takashi Discussion
Nasu: (Summary) He's saying that, when they were brainstorming the heroes, they came up with Heracles for the strongest, most well-known hero. Then, when trying to come up with the oldest, most obscure hero, they went for Gilgamesh. There were other candidates, but they liked his strong-sounding name and his myth. Conceptually, their Gilgamesh has changed very little since they first came up with him.
Nasu: Regardless he was incarnated or not, as long as Gilgamesh was materialized under the Grail System, he could not resist the Grail itself - Black Sakura. Also, the incarnated Gilgamesh had an amazing amount of mana. In Sakura Route, since she devoured an unexpectedly large amount of mana from Gilgamesh, Sakura who was barely maintaining herself, buckled like a broken dam.
ギルガメッシュ - 誇り高き人類最古の英雄王
奈須 きのこ&武内崇 • キャラクター別対談
奈須：旧「Fate」で"世界英雄大戦"をやると決めたとき、一番強そうでメジャーな英雄としてヘラクレスがいま した。「なら、一番マイナーで一番古い英雄は？」という流れとなって目を付けたのがギルガメッシュでした。 他にも候補はいたのですが、名前自体が持つ強さ、逸話も面白いし、なによりも最強に相応しいと思って。ギル のイメージは、その時からブレていませんね。
 Fate/Zero material - Encyclopedia: Gilgamesh [Servant], p.094
The Archer class Servant of the Fourth Holy Grail War. Though he was summoned by Tohsaka Tokiomi, he ended up deserting his master and re-contracting with Kotomine Kirei. He is the strongest character in both Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero.
In the boy-meets-girl story of the original Fate/stay night he was forced to yield to the universal law of "love conquers all", but in Fate/Zero he's free to show off his overwhelming, cheat-like strength without restraint. He could have ended the war in a single night if he truly desired to do so. But then, careless pride is the king's prerogative, and getting serious over something as frivolous as a wish-granter would be unbecoming. So, taking that into account, it sort of balances out the huge disparity in firepower… I guess?
Also, the reason that he was able to splendidly escape after being swallowed by Angra Mainyu at the end of Fate/Zero despite succumbing to the same thing in the Sakura route of Fate/stay night is because in the latter he was distracted by the presence of a naked girl.
…Just kidding! Actually, it was due to the difference in power between the "mud", which was cut off from its source, and the "shadow" which was connected directly to it.
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Black Shadow [??], p.060 [T]
Black Shadow [??]
It gave the impression of a jellyfish on land. The Black Shadow was impervious to conventional attacks, and the target could only await death in its presence.
We ran out of ideas after Saber and Rin routes, so the Black Shadow was a surprise antagonist after much pondering.
It was a favorite of the Chief Director. In terms of how much love the Black Shadow got, its event CG and wallpapers were crafted with much care and effort.
演出担当さんのお気に入り。 どのくらい血縁度が低 いかと言うと、黒い影登場時のイベント画をかっこよく加工して壁纸にしているぐらいのラブ。
 Fate/complete material III: World Material - The Servants of the Fifth Holy Grail War:
Blackening of Servants, p.038 [T]
Blackening of Servants
The black mud in the Holy Grail contaminates the souls of those who touch it. It goes without saying for mere humans, and supernatural beings like Servants are no exception to this either. The contaminated person's personality reverses toward the orientation of evil. This is madness caused by touching Angra Mainyu. This is called "blackening". There are those who can use the black mud as part of their own power thanks to the properties of its contamination and those whose powerful egos have stayed back its mental pollution.
An example of the former is Matou Sakura and the latter is Gilgamesh. The blackened Servant is incarnated by the power of the Grail so the more concrete ties to the physical plane turns them into powerful beings.
Their physical interference power increases but at the same time they lose the ability to return to spirit form.
Also, as they no longer bother to restrain their magic energy consumption, their fighting ability jumps significantly. This momentum can be compared to a runaway train.
Because they are in that state, fine control is not possible, but in exchange, their destructive power increases.
They are fearful beings inflicting havoc and death upon the world. These are blackened Servants.
Master: Matou Sakura
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Noble Phantasm: A++
Saber Alternative, or Black Saber, is the name given to Artoria when she fell to Hassan, was consumed by the dark shadow, and obtained true incarnation during the "Heaven's Feel" route.
Artoria, now jet-black, could now invoke Excalibur without limit thanks to the enormous prana supply from the blackened Sakura. Thus, she could overwhelm Berserker Heracles even in a direct battle. Now unfettered and in a sense more powerful than she was in life, none can deny that she is the strongest Servant.
Magic Resistance: B
Lower than original value due to the corruption. Still high, as it nullifies spells at B rank (activated within three counts) or lower, and it is difficult to harm her even with high thaumaturgy.
In the maddened state while blackened, the loss of fine control makes it impossible to ride beasts; rather, the mount cannot withstand it. Therefore, in reality one can consider the Riding ability lost.
Constant self-control is required to maintain Saber's reason while blackened. To focus on suppressing her madness, her surroundings are neglected and Instinct is dulled.
Power Burst: A
Saber's body is always suffused in the energy supplied by the Greater Grail. Her armor is also reinforced, granting more defensive ability than in her original state.
The magnificent king's charm which once inspired and captivated her soldiers is gone. Since she rules by terror, leadership ability is improved but troops' morale is extremely low.
Sword of Promised Victory -- Excalibur
Type: Anti-fortress Noble Phantasm
Maximum targets: 1000 persons
Even while blackened, Artoria's greatest power Excalibur is still potent. However, the sword is tainted an ominous black. Just as the fairies of the lake (Vivienne and Morgan) manifest as both good and evil, the holy sword has its own dark side. Still, its "character" as a holy sword is greatest. The function of converting the wielder's magical energy into light through the blade does not change, but the light is transformed into the same darkness of the blade.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: General Questions about Fate, p.130-131
Q: It's thought that Sakura had become "a threat to humanity" in the Sakura route, but was the human Counter Force in action at this time?
Q: It's thought that Sakura had become "a threat to humanity" in the Sakura route, but was the human Counter Force in action at this time?
A: It hadn't occurred at that stage yet. ...On the other hand, whether or not the Counter Force moved could turn into one of those endless arguments...
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Matou Sakura [Person's name], p.074 [T]
Sakura Matou [Person's name]
One of the main heroines of Fate/stay night.
With her long, lustrous hair, soothing smile, and (secretly) dynamite body, by all rights she should be the star heroine. Too bad she's an unfortunate girl who just sort of fades into the scenery.
The heroine who symbolizes a peaceful daily life… or so it would seem at first. Perhaps due to some mistake, she actually suffers the most out of anyone in every route.
Of course, that's only natural, seeing as how her initial concept was an "Asagami Fujino type". She never had a chance at avoiding bloodshed.
As Shirou's junior by one year, the path to their first meeting was relatively convoluted. Four years ago, sometime around April, Sakura saw Shirou persistently attempting the high jump. Then, later that same year they actually met for the first time when Shirou came over to the Matou residence. From that point on she worked hard to greet Shirou every time he came over, until finally a year and a half ago she started going over to the Emiya residence herself to help him out.
Afterward, she gradually grew accustomed to the Emiya residence, and due to Fuji-nee's influence became a more cheerful, energetic Matou Sakura.
She has a quiet personality, and all things considered is exceptionally patient and persevering.
Basically, she is a worrisome girl that never resents others (not even Shinji or Zouken), and always blames herself for everything.
The solitary exception to this rule is Rin, because the two of them are so similar. I guess she's only capable of being honest with herself, or someone almost exactly like herself, yeah.
As everybody knows, she seems passive, but when she does do something she devotes herself to it completely.
She's the girl in the story most suited to using seduction to get what she wants.
Though she's always exuding an obvious aura of "senpai-adoration", it's hard to say if the all-important object of her affection, Shirou, has actually noticed or not.
A devilish woman with a strong maternal instinct, she'll pamper a man to the bitter end and ruin him with her charms. But, just like Hariti…
The most popular among the staff, maybe.
"A heroine at the end of her rope" "A somehow distorted heroine" "A heroine that loves her big brother" …and so on. She can count on the fanatic vote, right?
 Fate/Zero material- Encyclopedia: Tohsaka Sakura [Person's name], p.101
Sakura Tohsaka [Person's name]
When she first appeared in the story of Zero, she was already Matou Sakura, but it’s hard to get an opportunity to use this name. With this name she really seems like a brave and fierce Tooyama Sakura…
Although she only appeared twice (during the prologue and in the middle), once you think about it, a~~~ll that time she was suffering in a worm hell that violates child pornography laws. In Zero, this girl’s misery index may actually have been the highest. When the author was in the middle of writing, and when Character Material published young Sakura’s cute appearance, thinking that “aah, right now I’m writing about a world that does its best to brutally mistreat this kind of girl” was a huge mental burden. You’re terrible, Takeuchi-san! Let’s torment her more!
In the scene with her and Kariya’s death, the first draft of the plot was really too inhumane. After the author of the original work scolded him with “What color is your blood, anyways!?” it became one of the few scenes that the author stopped. So in the end, Sakura’s monologue was very mild and calm. …It was like that. No, really.