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|“||If you want me to drop the barrier, you'll have to get on your knees and beg.||„|
|~ Shinji Matou, Fate/stay night|
Shinji Matou is a villain from Fate/stay night who is the older brother of Sakura Matou and an old friend of Shirou Emiya. Although he is chauvinistic, narcissistic, and in possession of an inferiority complex, he is very popular as the Vice-Captain of the Archery Dojo. Like Rin Tohsaka, he is of a distinguished line of sorcerers; however, he is naturally incapable of sorcery. Shinji is rather uncomfortable with his sister's visits to Shirou's home and has an open crush on Rin, who, however, does not return his interest, much to his frustration.
He acts as the master of Rider during the fifth Holy Grail War because Sakura lent her to him due to her being uncomfortable with fighting Shirou herself. In fact, Shinji is rather abusive of Rider, which both makes it clear that Rider doesn't like him and sees to it that she's often the first Servant to be eliminated in every scenario of the Fate series (except for the Heaven's Feel route). In Unlimited Blade Works, Kirei Kotomine gave Shinji Gilgamesh as his replacement Servant after Rider was killed by Souichirou Kuzuki.
He is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya in Japanese and Doug Erholtz in English.
Much like his father, Byakuya Matou, Shinji has curly blue hair and gray-blue eyes. During school, he wears the standard Homurahara uniform. His casual clothing consists of a white and black jacket, a black shirt, and blue jeans.
His clothing as a younger boy varies in the manga and in the non-canon Carnival Phantasm. In the latter, his clothes consist of a white shirt with a red bow tie, a gray waistcoat and black shorts. His hair was also messier at the time.
Shinji is a haughty boy who is known for having a nasty temper. He's also violent, controlling, and manipulative, as shown through his relationship with his younger sister, though this spawns from a sense of inferiority towards her. He does not take any sort of rejection well, either. As noted by Shirou, he is an ironic yet honest person.
Character Material shows that he is not as haughty as he appears to be in the visual novel. After becoming a Master, he felt more lenient and more full of himself, becoming more violent during the fifth Holy Grail War. Should he survive the war, he returns to his old self, as shown in the Unlimited Blade Works route, where he starts getting along with Sakura again like when they were young, and in Fate/hollow ataraxia, where, while he is still a jerk, though in a lesser degree, and he becomes delusional, often sulking about everything. He truly appreciates Shirou, but refuses to admit it due to his arrogance.
It can be said that Shinji gets his haughty personality from his father Byakuya. Like Byakuya, he is a jerk with a nasty temper, though he is also a coward on the inside. Also, Shinji, alongside Byakuya, is considered a disgrace to the Matou family by his grandfather, Zouken Matou, due to not having any Magic Circuits. Ironically, Shinji hates Sakura in a degree similar to how Byakuya hated his brother Kariya.
The Matou family are no longer capable of producing heirs naturally capable of sorcery due to the thinning of their bloodline. This led Byakuya, the eldest son of Zouken, to marry a woman with an "inheritor" sorcery trait, who later gave birth to his son, Shinji. Unfortunately, Shinji was completely incapable of sorcery.
The manga adaption, Character Material and the Heaven's Feel route reveal more details of Shinji's past. A young Shinji concluded by himself that he had the right to be the heir, despite fully knowing that he lacked any magical powers whatsoever. This did little to dissuade his determination to become the successor, instead leading to the boy convincing himself that he was special. Shortly after, Sakura Tohsaka was adopted into the Matou family and introduced as his new sister. At first, he was against this due to not wanting "outsiders" in his family, but he later grew to like and accept her though refusing to show it due to his arrogant and selfish nature, which led him to simply pick on her. This ended abrubtly when he accidentally entered the room where Sakura was being infested by Zouken's worms, causing Byakuya (who had been hiding the truth from him all along) to become distant with him. From that point onwards, Shinji's attitude with Sakura became harsher, and he started treating her like an object to do with as he pleased.
In a mixture of pity and guilt, Sakura silently accepted Shinji's abuse, which he mistook for her submitting to him. Some time later, when Byakuya died, Shinji realized he was alone because Zouken only focused on training Sakura and she kept pitying and apologizing to Shinji. All of this caused him a breakdown and later led him to brutally rape her of his own volition out of belief that he had the right to do it after being treated with contempt recently. During middle school he met Shirou, starting an estranged friendship with him. A year before the events of Fate/stay night, Sakura started getting close to Shirou after he was injured in an accident, which Shinji disapproved of out of fear that Sakura will start turning against him. He was resigned to his position with the start of the 5th Holy Grail War, but after noticing that Sakura, who had just summoned Rider, did not want to fight, he persuaded Zouken into letting him enter the war as Rider's new Master, all in an attempt to prove to Zouken that he was not useless and that he could become the family heir instead of Sakura. His only wish was to acquire the ability to utilize magecraft.
He does not appear in the Fate/Zero scenario, because Byakuya sent him to study abroad. Because of that he doesn't know that his uncle Kariya participated and died during the 4th Holy Grail War, probably because Byakuya (who despised Kariya) chose to hide this fact from him.
Shinji is the temporary master of Rider. He is initially depicted as an evil and deceptive character, but as the story moves along his character begins to show cowardly and even pathetic qualities. He tries to partner with Shirou, but he declines the offer. Shinji later finds out that Shirou has already partnered with Tohsaka and gets angered, trying in vain to turn Shirou and Rin against one another.
He later tricks Shirou into coming to school, to trap him there as he forces Rider to activate her Bloodfort Andromeda. Shirou is able to hold on and tries to reason with Shinji, but he does not listen and orders Rider to kill him. Rider's blade is unable to deal Shirou a killing blow, so she kicks him out of the window. Shirou calls out Saber and the two servants fight, while Shirou defeats Shinji, forcing him to call off Bloodfort. Shirou and Saber travel through town trying to find Shinji and Rider but are unsuccessful at first. After finding them, Rider and Saber start fighting and in the end Saber is forced to unleash her Noble Phantasm, Excalibur, to defeat Rider. After losing Rider and his Book of False Attendent is burned, Shinji escapes the building, only to be murdered by Illya and Berserker.
Unlimited Blade Works
In Unlimited Blade Works route, he is defeated by Saber and Shirou and loses Rider. His failure and loss of Rider results in him approaching Kirei Kotomine, who lends him Gilgamesh as a Servant. Some details of his past are revealed, like the fact he hates his father, Byakuya for hiding the truth about the real heir of the Matou family and that he hates his own mother (whose corpse is revealed to be at the worms storage) for giving birth to him without Magic Circuits. Gilgamesh quickly notices that Shinji has no idea about the Grail and realizes that he thinks it is just a game. He takes advantage of it and manipulates Shinji into killing Illya.
After Lancer kills Kirei, Shinji tries to rape Rin (in the visual novel, he also tries to make her partner with him, despite Rin's warnings that he is just being used by Gilgamesh) only to be stabbed in the arm by Lancer. He escapes and has a mental breakdown in which he imagines himself ripping the arms of everyone. Gilgamesh appears and ignoring Shinji's protests, implants Illya's heart inside of him in order to use him as a new vessel for the Holy Grail. It results in him being forced to endure a mass of flesh growing from his body. He is rescued by Rin and is eventually hospitalized. According to Shirou, Shinji returns to his old self, thus getting along with Sakura again.
In Heaven's Feel his past and his torn relationship with Sakura is expanded. After losing Rider, Zouken comments that Shinji is much more worthless and pathetic than Byakuya. This infuriates him and in an attempt to show Zouken that he can be the heir instead of Sakura, he becomes more manipulative, frustrated and violent towards Sakura.
He later tries to take Sakura back home by force only to be stopped by Shirou. The next day, the ill Sakura wants to walk to school with Shirou, but he declines. Shinji takes adventage of this and kidnaps Sakura with the help of Rider, because he has another new Book of False Attendent. He orders Shirou to go to school without Saber if he wants Sakura back. When Shirou arrives to school, he is forced to reinforce himself in order to fight Rider alone. Rider is fairly weakened and starts disobeying Shinji's orders. After Shinji orders Rider to kill Shirou, the hostage Sakura screams and Shinji's Book of False Attendent is burned again. At that moment, Rider becomes more powerful and it is revealed that Sakura is the principal Master of Rider, who was summoned several days prior to the start of the fifth 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.
With Shinji losing two of Sakura's Command Spells and without his Book of False Attendent, he has no control over Rider. Shinji has a breakdown and orders Sakura to help him kill Shirou and Rin, which Sakura declines.
After remembering his distorted past, with his father and Sakura hiding him the truth about the heir of the Matou family for seven years until he found it out by himself, which resulted in his father becoming harsh with him and Shinji hating Sakura; he has an ultimate breakdown and blames Shirou and Sakura over his disgraces, deciding that he will break Sakura by his own. When Sakura arrives to the Matou house in order to find Zouken and to force him into ending her life, Shinji appears and tries to rape Sakura again, blackmailing her into staying with him by telling Shirou about her history of being raped by him for the last three years, which ultimately causes Sakura to kill him. After killing him, she realizes she is the is "the shadow" and becomes Dark Sakura.
It is eventually revealed that Shinji's actions in the whole route were orchestrated by Zouken in order to further his schemes for Sakura and he was being manipulated the whole time.
Fate/stay night Manga
In the manga version of Fate/stay night (which follows the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works scenarios), Shinji seems to openly show liking to Shirou and though he is still abusive towards Sakura, he never rapes her. He tries to make Shirou partner with him, but gets angry after discovering that Shirou has already partenered with Tohsaka. He also becomes more paranoid believing everyone is trying to hide facts from him (which becomes justified after his past is revealed). After Ayako warns him that he is on the verge of being expelled from the club, he has a breakdown and orders Rider to attack Ayako and to use Bloodfort Andromeda to kill everyone at school.
Shinji is stopped by Shirou and the two fight, where Shinji reveals openly that he is jealous of him. After being defeated by Saber and Shirou, Shinji falls from a building, despite Shirou's attempts to save him. However Sakura, who was watching the whole fight from afar, uses her last Command Spell to make Rider save his life. Shinji is surprised by her action, because he always believed that she hated him for abusing her for the last three years and that she just saved him for being Shirou's friend. However, Sakura shows that she still cares about him and both walk home together. He is later hospitalized and meets Ayako, who was also hospitalized. After a short talk, Ayako tells him that she really wasn't planning on expelling him in the first place. When he tries to say that he was the one who almost killed her, she doesn't believe him and forgives him instead. However, Shinji feels that he doesn't deserves to be forgiven so easily after all he has done. When he returns to his room he sees Sakura bringing some flowers and Shinji apologizes for everything to her. Like in the visual novel, after those events, he returns to his old self. He is currently in the hospital being taken care of by Sakura and has not appeared since.
In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shinji is alive alongside Zouken. It is eventually revealed that Sakura assumed control of the Matou household, and both Shinji and Zouken are terrified of her. He retains his haughty attitude, but because the 5th Holy Grail War had already ended, he is disillusioned about being the head of the family and has finally realized that being a Magus is not worth it. He is also nicer to Shirou now, as he doesn't consider him a rival anymore.
In a strange scene, he complained to Shirou in a scene that Sakura had more scenes than him and compared himself to Zouken, Byakuya and Kariya, commenting that they all sulked about their lives because they all were Matous. His appearances are mostly for comic relief
Rider describes Perseus, the slayer of Medusa, as a Shinji who succeeded.
Like in Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shinji's appearances are for comic relief and he has been reduced to a gag character. Also, Sakura and Rider now mistreat him and he has become terrified of them.
In Shinji's end, after he obtains the Grail, he wishes for all the girls to fall in love with him (which was a parody of his end route in the Hanafuda game in Fate/hollow ataraxia). After some minutes, the spell vanishes and Sakura and Rider, realizing what he did, glare at him.
He makes small appearances in the first episodes, but he has a major appearance in Episode 6, called Type-Moon Serial TV Novel Sakura, which is a soap opera parody in which Rider tries to save Sakura from Shinji's abuse. In order to save Sakura, Rider whacks Shinji with anything at hand, like a bicycle or a pole. Later, he tries to rape Sakura, only for Rider to give her Caster's Rule Breaker to Sakura in order to stab Shinji. When she stabs him, it magically strips him from his clothes. However, Sakura is dissapointed at Rider, because Shinji's spirit was cleansed thanks to the Rule Breaker, and she prefered him when he was a jerk because he was more dependable on her.
Shinji has been reduced to a gag character and he can be from nice (complimenting Sakura for her cooking and admitting that he needs her) to violent (beating her for visiting Shirou and even raping her) towards Sakura. It is often shown that bad things tend to happen to him and a running gag in the opening and ending shows Sakura trying to help him with Rider stopping her from doing it so.
In Episode 8, he is seen together with Sakura, as they help Zouken enter the Ahnenerbe bathroom, but he is shown badmouthing Zouken at his back. In Episode 9, Shinji alongside Rider, compete in the Grail Prix. They use a granny bike and at some point they seem to be winning, until they accidentally get away from the road and fly on the sky in a E.T fashion. In Episode 12, he appears at the Ahnenerbe party, being eaten by one of Nrvnqsr Chaos' beasts as Rider and Sakura watch with a smile.
Shinji, like Shirou, is unskilled in magic, but unlike the latter, Shinji doesn't have any particular abilities. His mother had a Carrier Sorcery Trait like the Fraga family, but the pathogen is nothing special like the Fraga's ability to use a Noble Phantasm. According to Zouken, she was just the daughter of "a random third-rate magus." Because Shinji is not Rider's true Master, he must use an item created from the command spells of Rider's true Master known as the Book of False Attendent. The book, which acts as a provisionary command spell, allows Shinji to control Rider and, due to Shinji's incompetence, was made twice by Rider's original Master. Because it is not a true command spell, it burns if it is used beyond its limits or if Rider is destroyed. In the anime, while the book seemingly allowed for Shinji to use a form of magecraft that fired shadows at his opponents, the shadows were weak, and even an incompetent Shirou using a reinforced broom was able to cut them away.