Mistress of the House, Rin Tohsaka

rin tohasaka, the tohsaka household, fate, type moon, fate/stay night, unlimited blade works

The Fate franchise has previously both bored and terrified me. What little I experienced of it – Fate/Zero and varying descriptions from close friends who happened to be fans – felt too heavy both in subject matter and consumption with little emotional substance to make me care about its major players.

For this I do not slight Kinoko Nasu nor the series itself, but the way I interact with a story. I’m willing to forgive all types of plot inconsistencies provided that the characters resonate with me in some way. Fate/Zero did not keep my attention, as the only endearing characters were Waver Velvet and Rider. All other characters were simply mouthpieces for in-universe minutiae or lofty philosophical ideals. It was with trepidation and distrust that I approached Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works begins with Rin Tohsaka, and simply Rin Tohsaka. The narrative will indubitably shift to Shirou Emiya; however, for this prologue Fate offers us Rin, revealing her personality and circumstances in a surprisingly careful manner.

tokiomi tohsaka, rin tohsaka, fate, fate/zero, fate/stay night: unlimited blade works, unlimited blade works young rin

I remember little of Tokiomi Tohsaka from Fate/Zero aside from his steely demeanor and eventual demise. Therefore, the above image had little emotional impact on me until this one was shown a few minutes later. In her flashback dream, Rin sees her father off at the gates of a larger, imposing estate than the house she inhabits in her present. Her current abode still boasts an impressive amount of space, but is obviously untended since Rin is the only one who lives there.

rin tohsaka looks in the mirror, rin tohsaka, fate/stay night, unlimited blade works

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works lovingly portrays every detail of Rin’s house as she goes about her morning toilette, with each room allowing a different look into Rin’s life. Her bedroom is completed by a four-poster bed, elaborately decorated curtains, a Persian rug, and French furniture. It’s large and fairly organized aside from the piles of books, an askew lampshade, and her chair as she topples it by launching her alarm clock. She walks through her living room, still with French furniture and another Persian rug. The curtains and paneling are less ornate, but the room boasts wall-mounted candelabras and an imposing fireplace decorated with swords. Her bathroom has a modern faucet, but patterned wallpaper and what appears to be a marble sink along with a plant. She straightens her tie in a dusty mirror.

rin tohsaka at home, rin tohsaka, fate/stay night, fate zero, rin, unlimited blade works

This presentation of Rin’s habitat shows that, aside from the basement where she presumably hones her mage powers, she puts little effort into living inside the house. While the basement is strewn with papers, tomes, scrolls, a victrola, and various other oddities, the rest of her house is a museum. It protects her, and reflects the monetary situation of her now-absent parents, but doesn’t reveal her personality at all. Rather, it suits to show us the aloof and majestic persona she adopts while in public. Fate/Stay Night follows up this introduction to Rin through her home by presenting Rin at school as a girl who forces herself to stay just distant enough from others in order to doggedly fulfill the role that was passed down to her through birthright.

rin tohsaka, archer, rin and archer have tea, fate/stay night, fate, unlimited blade works

It is fitting that when Rin summons her Servant, as she was trained to do, it’s neither neat nor pristine, and ruins her living room. Archer is not the servant-class that she desired – she wished for Saber – but her new found companion suits her well. Both characters speak in half-truths, with Rin assuming the mantle of the house of Tohsaka, while Archer is noticeably closed-lipped regarding his identity. Later episodes will surely move away from the intricacies of Rin Tohsaka’s house and into the details of the Holy Grail War. However, for a week, Fate/Stay Night gave me Rin Tohsaka at home.

8 comments

  1. It is known that Kotomine became her guardian, thus inheriting her families fortune. He subsequently squandered the vast amount of wealth her family had. Since both her parents are dead, essentially she is an orphan. She does have a sister, but I’m staying *closed lipped* on that😛. And there is a reason as to why her servant suits her well. The anime is lead by Rin, but the real story focuses on Shiro and Archer.
    Deen didn’t do a good job on F/SN. The story was way too convoluted. Trying to stick in all three routes was a bad idea. They did make an alright movie though. With Ufotable, they certainly have gotten on a good start with UBW. Since they are staying close to the source material.

    1. How I read this post.

      “Spoilers, followed by spoilers, with a low chance of more spoilers.”

      I wish people would have more of a clue when talking about spoilers.

      1. And this is how I read this post

        “Never seen either series (F/Z and F/SN), but will watch this one, even though I have little care for the series.”

        Er, yeah this particular series was never meant to be watched like this. People really should try to the know the difference between what spoilers and tease is.

          1. Depending on your point of view, not much was given away. The revelation that Rin has a sister might be a bit of a downer (to newcomers at least). However, who this sister is, since I didn’t name her. Leaves enough curiosity to keep watching and find out. It will be a surprise, when you do find out.

    2. Oh, I honestly don’t mind being spoiled on plot details. I don’t really care about the intricacies of the plot provided that the characters themselves come to life for me (as Rin did in this prologue).

      (I’ve already been spoiled on a lot of FS/N ^ ^)

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