At the end of Fate/Zero, why did the Holy Grail materialize for Kiritsugu (Episode 24, 23:30) when Saber, Matou Kariya, Kotomine Kirei and Gilgamesh were still alive?

Kirei should still have been alive because he was merely unconscious and watching Kiritsugu's visions within the Grail. According to what Kirei explained to Gilgamesh in order to "plead for his life" (Episode 17, 23:30), all seven servants must be "sacrificed" before the Grail can be activated.

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    It's mentioned in Fate/complete material III, that six servants is enough to manifest a wish if it is within the limits of the world, but seven servants are required to activate up the Great Grail.
    – кяαzєя
    Dec 12, 2012 at 2:29

3 Answers 3


At some point in the Fate/Stay Night game, it's revealed that the holy grail can be summoned without having sacrificed all of the necessary servants. The grail won't be all-powerful, but it should still be plenty powerful for most wishes. Because the grail was activated while some of the servants were still alive, it was not at full power, hence the destruction (the only wish it is able to grant in its current corrupted form) is less than what it could be.

Spoilers for F/SN game:

The fact that the grail wasn't all-powerful and yet still caused so much destruction is why Kotomine sets in motion the events of the 5th grail war. By keeping Gilgamesh and beating the newly summoned servants, Kotomine would be able to see the grail at full power. In fact, six servants would be sufficient for any wish "within the limits of this world" (whatever that means), but Kotomine wants to know what would happen with all seven.

This is also important for at least one F/SN route:

On the UBW good end, the grail is summoned while both Saber and Archer are present. The fact that Archer is still alive is not known at the time, even to Gilgamesh. In this case, the grail was summoned into an impure vessel as well, because Gilgamesh believes that the more corrupt the vessel, the greater the destruction it can bring.


It's explained that the grail will materialize before it's fully "filled", but it's only complete once all 7 heroic spirits are dead. From the Novel when Kariya hands over Irisviel to Kirei:

“To be precise, it is this homunculus. If one or two more Servants are finished, then it will probably show its true form… I will prepare the ritual to receive the Grail as it descends. Until that time, let this woman also be temporarily under my protection.”

And later, while Kirei and Kiritsu duel:

Directly above the big prop warehouse where the two men were, Irisviel’s already-cold corpse was placed upon the raised stage of the music hall. [...]

After Archer’s victory, this vessel had finally absorbed the soul of the fourth Servant. [...]

The corpse of the beautiful homunculus was completely consumed by the heat in the blink of an eye, and was reduced to ashes. That was not all. The golden cup that had contacted the outside air charred the floor and the curtains, and roaring flames enveloped the completely empty stage.

On the stage where the fire was raging ever wilder, the golden cup floated in the air as if it was upheld by a pair of invisible hands. The ceremony of the descent of the Holy Grail, which the Three Noble Families of the Beginning had desired so much, had begun silently even without the presence of a priest


The ending of FZ was a result of the Holy Grail not being complete due to the sacrifice of less than the necessary number of servants. It was still considerably powerful and able to destroy half of the city and reincarnate Gilgamesh and resurrect Kotome Kerie.

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