EMIYA & Rin Tohsaka
Main Media: Anime/Manga/Games
Shipping Type: Quasi-Canon
Ship Name: None
Primary Moments: “Unlimited Blade Works” Path
First off, apologies for the longer than usual delay. Both life and computer issues took me by surprise but as a sincere apology for my lack of content, there will be another post later this week!
I’ll admit, this one was a hard one for me and honestly came down to several tosses of a coin and the occasional roll of the dice. In a visual novel like Fate/stay night there is no “official” ending though there are favored paths to take and some that are, generally speaking, considered as being the canonical path given the various renditions of said path. While I myself am a sucker for the shipping of Shirou and Arturia, the relationship between EMIYA and Rin brings far more smiles to my face.
… That and it won the coin toss.
Now, while some may argue that EMIYA is in fact Shirou many more would also argue to the contrary, including the two men in question. Shirou is, for lack of a better word, distorted in his views. Damaged in ways that a normal and frankly mortal lifespan could not fix. He is, by the very definition of his own magic and soul, a sword. A sword forged in the fires borne from all the sins of mankind before being quenched by hope. That is how a sword like Shirou Emiya is forged and likewise that is how such a sword can be broken and made anew.
Though Rin will strive to make him value himself, to put his needs above those of others, it is shown in the anime adaptation of their route that Shirou will still inadvertently follow the same path as his future self, though whether or not he will forsake, or change, his ideals in the same manner remains to be seen.
As for me, I am of the opinion that EMIYA is still Shirou insomuch that he is a Shirou who has become more human in his servitude as a Counter Guardian and through the bitter realization that their “borrowed” ideal to save everyone, to become a Hero of Justice, means that in order for someone to be saved, they must first be in danger and that, more often than not, the act of saving one life means ending another in its place. He is a Shirou whom has become more “alive” in death and is able to better sympathize, and emphasize, with people. To a degree of course.
Though worn and weary to the point that he sought to end his own existence by causing a temporal paradox of killing his past self, EMIYA is still… to put it blutnly, a smarmy jerk who tongue is just as sharp as his swords if not more so. He can, has, and will gladly get under Rin’s skin at every available opportunity he has to do so, which I thinks suits their relationship perfectly.
True, there are moments when Shirou has managed to catch her off-guard, with the crowning moment being a tie between the actual confession or the deal he struck with Lancer and Rin’s reaction to said deal. EMIYA would undoubtedly produce more of a reaction out of her and has done so both in canon and the far-from-canonical but oh so humorous Carnival Phantasm anime.
Aside from being a possible grate on her nerves, I’d like to think that EMIYA would keep Rin from becoming too much of a magus. For those not familiar with the series, a “true magus” is often considered as one who will do whatever is necessary to further both their familial magecrafts and to reach the Root of the World, otherwise known as the Akashic Records which are believed to hold the entire knowledge of the World both Past and Future.
Rin is a magus and for all her pride and ability, she is not what in the world of Type-Moon would call a “first rate” magus because she still retains human decency and morality. This in itself is frankly utterly astounding given that the kind of man her father was and later the man who became her guardian following his death.
That’s not to say that Rin hasn’t slipped in her ways. She was both willing and able to try and kill Shirou as a rival mage despite him having little to no actual magical, or martial, prowess of his own and was, for all intents and purposes, someone whom accidentally bumbled his way into the Holy Grail War.
Given what he has seen and done, EMIYA would NOT allow Rin to follow such a path and she, in turn, would keep him from straying too far down his own path of self-loathing. As I said earlier, she would, and quite likely could manage to make Shirou like himself, to put some worth to his well-being, and would succeed far more in EMIYA than in his present, and mortal, incarnation.
The two of them being Master and Servant adds some unique touches to their relationship as well. For one, EMIYA, despite the skills his Class of being an Archer allows him, would still require her prana to continue to exist and likewise Rin, being something of a control-freak, would not allow him to stray from her side for long and not without some serious retribution in the form of demeaning labor or other such tsundere antics.