In manga and anime, the protagonists and heroes tend to be more popular and get more attention. However, the “light” shine even brighter in the presents of a “shadow”.
In “Villan Biographies ~What are their principals?~”, we focus on villainous characters. For vol. 4, we explore the fascination of Kotomine Kirei from the “Fate” series.
Kotomine Kirei from the “Fate” series is a man of hard work. He is a character who concluded that his true nature is evil after a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication.
He feels “pleasure” from watching people suffer. He doesn't care about people's deaths, using orphans, or even ruining people's lives for the sake of his pleasure. An outrageously evil character.
Though being evil beyond saving, Kotomine has his moments where he shines. This is because he “lives his own life”.
“Let's live our own lives” is a common message. In movies, anime, manga, and even advertising, “living our own lives” is almost always used as a positive message, and is portrayed as a good thing. Everyone wants to be true to their desires. That's why we admire people who live that way and makes a great theme of a story.
However, it's usually portrayed on the protagonist's side, and not the villain's side.
Kotomine didn't take pleasure from the suffering of others from the beginning. Well, he did, but he denied it with reason because he knew it was wrong.
Kotomine is a priest. His father was also a devout clergyman and believed in God's teaching himself. In “Fate/Zero”, we found out that he was an elite priest who skipped grades and graduated with top grades from the seminary. It was also suggested that he had a tremendous amount of training and gained much fame and status.
But he still couldn't find joy in his life. No matter how hard he worked, the emptiness would never go away. His rival, the protagonist Emiya Kiritsugu, said about Kotomine: “He has never had a single passion in his life.”
This was because his efforts were never directed toward what he “truly wanted to do”. It may be similar to how we don't feel passionate about studying at cram schools when we hate it, or how we feel stress when our parents make us got to various lessons.
He fought in the Holy Grail War and discovers that his true desires were in the misery of others. The protagonist of “Fate/Zero” is Emiya Kiritsugu, but the process of Kotomine, the antagonist, discovering his true self was portrayed as if he also was a protagonist of the story.
How he lived faithful to his desires, seemed like the opposite of the Emiya's, yet also had a similarity. Emiya Kiritsugu always wanted to be a hero but becomes a Magus Killer. He would sacrifice the minority to save as many people as he could, resulting in taking the lives of many more. Kiritsugu never was able to live his own life.
The structure of this work was unique in that the protagonist never got to live his own life, while the villain found a way to live his own.
Now let's turn to the protagonist of “Fate/stay night”, Emiya Shirou. “Fate/stay night”, as you know, has 3 different routes, and the protagonist acts differently in each route. In one of them, he literally questions his way of life through the battle against himself.
In “Fate/stay night”, Kotomine has already found his way of life and acts according to its principals. It's amazing how his way of life doesn't differ in any of the 3 routes.
Kotomine is full-on evil, who concluded himself as evil through a lot of hard work, so even if you could beat him with physical force, it will be difficult to beat him in a game of reason and mind.
Besides, people who live their own lives seem glamourous. His un-villainous shine probably made Kotomine the special villain that he is.
Though being evil beyond saving, Kotomine is a rare villain that we envy and even be taught a lesson of the importance of “Living our own lives”.
(C)TYPE-MOON, ufotable, FSNPC