Real Name: Tomoe Gozen
Titles: Archer Inferno
Origin: Japanese History
Featured In: Fate Grand Order
Voiced By: Kanemoto Hisako (Japanese)
As one can no doubt surmise from the title of their Class, Archers are those Heroic Spirits who specialized in long-distance combat. Not strictly by use of a bow and arrow mind you as guns and even specialized magical abilities or Noble Phantasms allow for their summoning as an Archer.
In the case of Tomoe Gozen in particular, she is one of the exceptional few whose abilities are best described as jack of all trades, master of all. No, that wasn’t a mistake on my part, Tomoe Gozen is simply so extraordinary that even when summoned as an Archer, she can still utilize her naginata and katana to the same degree of prowess as a Lancer and Saber.
In The Tale of the Heike, an epic recounting of the Taira and Minamoto clans for control over Japan, she was described as “especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors.”
Though not stated outright in any official records or epic retelling, it is a common belief that the blood of oni-kind flowed in Tomoe Gozen’s veins, a trait that shows most predominately in her fully ascended form and in her skill, Demon Magic that not only increases the attack power of her allies but also increases the strength of their Noble Phantasms for a far longer time than most other Servants are capable of granting.
Her second skill, Knowledge of Chaotic Battle, is not so named for the ability to take command of a military force but rather to utilize combative technique to persevere as a single warrior within an army. Tomoe is so skilled in the art of battles of many against many and one against all, that she and her allies can fight to maximum potential even when they are jumbled together.
Her final is perhaps the most distinct I’ve ever seen in any Servant yet. Aptly named as Adrenaline Rush, this skill was born from a type of self-hypnosis that Tomoe unwittingly performed whilst alive and as a Servant further amplifies her powers as a member of oni-kind.
Basically, it not only increases her health by several magnitudes, it also grants her the ability to overcome a mortal blow and continue fighting. However, for all her skills and all her combative prowess, there still remains one more telling aspect that best describes the sheer awesomeness that is Tomoe Gozen and that, my dear readers, is in her Noble Phantasm.
Named Oṃ Ālolik Svāhā: Mantra of the Holy Avalokiteśvara, this Anti-Unit Noble Phantasm is one of the most brutal I’ve ever seen among Servants. Though the clip above shows just how overwhelmingly powerful the arrow that Tomoe fires is, it doesn’t allow one to hear the neck of the enemy Servant being broken as Tomoe twists their head around before launching them into the air!
Made from the grief of not being able to meet her last moments with Yoshinaka, and coupled with her inborn ability over fire and monstrous strength of an oni, Tomoe chants the mantra of the Aryavalokitesvara Bodhisattva that acts as the honzon of the Gichuji, the temple that held the memorial services for her beloved Kiso no Yoshinaka, before going in for the attack. As to the fiery inferno that resembles the intensity of the sun itself? That, my dear readers, is the literal physical manifestation of her feelings for Yoshinaka.