Ash Crimson (アッシュ・クリムゾン, Asshu Kurimuzon) is the protagonist of the story arc TALES OF ASH (KOF 2003-KOF XIII); his first appearance is in The King of Fighters 2003 as the leader of the New Hero Team. His official nickname is Sneering Firelight (嘲笑う 火影, Azawarau Hokage)  or The Sneering Blaze.
Ash was designed with the intent of creating an "attractive evil character" with little changes done to him since conception. During the initial planning stage for Ash, developers wanted to create a protagonist that has never been done for the franchise. Following this idea, they decided to create a feminine-looking and unheroic character to contrast the impact from the previous protagonists.
Falcoon adds that the main goal for Ash was to make him an ambiguous hero that purposely makes players "feel bad" for cheering for him. Ash's character design was not made by Falcoon —some of the development sketches for Ash's final design look closer to Nona's style. However, Falcoon did add extra details to Ash while illustrating him to better fit his character. KOF Maximum Impact: Regulation A earned its title for three reasons: arcade, arrange, and Ash. In a later interview, Falcoon relates that he asked permission from the 2D team to borrow Ash for the game.
Tales of Ash
Ash is the descendant of Saiki. When he was living in France, he spent his childhood years with Elisabeth Blanctorche. For reasons still not entirely divulged, he left her household and the Blanctorche teachings.
He enters the 2003 edition of The King of Fighters tournament alongside Duo Lon and Shen Woo. While his teammates leave him to solve their own vendettas, Ash goes to the Orochi seal where Kyo, Chizuru, and Iori are investigating. Ash ambushes a weakened Chizuru, robs her powers, and leaves her unconscious. He taunts that Iori will be next before fleeing from the scene.
For KOF XI, he enters the next tournament with Shen and Oswald. After the tournament's events, he reveals to Oswald that Shen is the target he has been contracted to assassinate, a set up that Ash had in place before the tournament occurred. After leaving his teammates to fight amongst themselves, Ash takes advantage of Iori's unstable Riot of the Blood state to steal the Yasakani Jewel. Before he leaves the tournament grounds, Elisabeth Blanctorche and her team appears before him.
She accuses Ash of abandoning "their mission" and fighting for personal gain. To intimidate her, he unleashes his new purple flames and disappears using the Yata Mirror. He warns them that Kyo is next.
Prior to the KOF XIII tournament, Ash openly joins forces with Those from the Past and works for their master. During the tournament finals, his true motives are revealed: his previous actions were done to earn Saiki's trust and to gain enough power to rob Saiki's soul. He wants to end their bloodline. Ash carries out his true plan when Saiki finally lowers his guard, but Saiki's essence overwhelms him.
After being defeated again by the winning team, Ash regains control of his body. Saiki insists that Ash enter the Time Gate, which will allow them to return to a previous era and begin their entire plan over again. Since Ash likes the current world, he allows the gate to close. His inaction erases both him and Saiki from time. Ash has a few moments to apologize to Elisabeth before disappearing. He leaves the stolen sacred treasures behind for Iori and Chizuru to reclaim.
Ash Crimson's act of erasing Saiki (and consequentially, his own self) from existence by orchestrating a temporal paradox (by trapping Saiki in the present time) sets up the events in the game, and resulted in the appearance of the entity known as Verse.
Ash is a cunning, self righteous, and flamboyant individual. Confident in his own powers, he doesn't take things too seriously and considers things that are of no interest bothersome. Even when faced with serious situations, he is calm and somewhat blasé.
He isn't one who considers working with others, but instead uses others to achieve his goals. He tends to flaunt the superiority of his halfhearted effort and speaks in a playful and condescending manner, which often irritates the characters he is speaking to.
He views Elisabeth as his older sister figure, and notes that she is "too serious". He feels that Duo Lon and Shen Woo are his good friends, although he appeared to them with mysterious intentions. He also has a habit of calling people pet names such as "Betty" for Elisabeth, and "Ozzy" for Oswald.
His personality seems to slightly change when actively using the power of the Yasakani jewel. Usually calm and composed, when using his Fructidor move, Ash will laugh maniacally while making his opponent burn with the purple flames of the Yasakani. This behaviour is similar to Iori, and it may be interpreted as Orochi's taint affecting his mind.
- Pyrokinesis - Ash can create and control special green flames that look like melted wax. The origin of this flame is still unknown.
- Create Fire - Ash can create fire from thin air.
- Fire Projectile - Ash can create projectiles made of fire.
- Fire Attacks - Ash can increase damage of his punches and kicks with fire.
- Fire Aura - Ash can create fire around his body.
- Power Absorption - Ash can steal powers from anybody he chooses. He decided to target the Three Sacred Treasures. He managed to steal two of three treasures leaving Kyo as the next power to acquire. He could possibly kill people during this process, but he left Chizuru and Iori alive. This was demonstrated when he absorbed Saiki's powers, in turn destroying Saiki's original body.
- Yata Mirror (formerly) - The following are powers shown by Ash when he acquired Chizuru Kagura's Yata Mirror:
- Seal Powers (formerly) - Ash can keep enemies from using their powers for a while.
- Teletransport (formerly) - Ash can disappear and reappear somewhere.
- Yasakani Jewel (formerly) - The following are powers shown by Ash when he acquired from Iori Yagami's Yasakani Jewel, which was later regained by Iori after Ash's disappearance:
- Create Fire (formerly) - Ash can create red/purple fire. It is unknown if possessing the Jewel also allows its possessor to become subject to the Riot of the Blood, but it could be assumed that Ash is immune to the Riot of the Blood due to not having Orochi blood.
Ash fights using an acrobatic style combined with fire abilities to give a graceful fighting style.
Despite his stature, he is extremely powerful. He is a good character for people who like to zone and poke their opponents, but he also has many other tools at the player's disposal that can be used to rush down efficiently, all while keeping the pressure on them. In KoF13, he also employs Iori's and Chizuru's powers into his moveset.
Most of his moves refer to the French Revolution; they are named after months of the French Republican Calendar.
His fighting style in general is similar to the French martial art of Savate.
- Splendid Evil - The King of Fighters 2003
- Joker - The King of Fighters XI, The King of Fighters XIII (when the music is set to "Type B", console version only)
- The Second Joker - The King of Fighters XIII
- Fructidor - Days of Memories
- The King of Fighters 2003
- The King of Fighters XI
- KOF Maximum Impact Regulation A
- The King of Fighters XII
- The King of Fighters XIII - Edit entry / Mid-boss.
- Days of Memories - second, fourth, and seventh titles
- The King of Reversi
- Moeyo! KOF Daiundokai
- SNK Dream Battle
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Online
- The King of Fighters: World
- The King of Fighters All Star
- Kimi wa Hero
- The King of Fighters XIV - in the Official Invitation Team ending, and as Verse's win quote against Iori
- The King of Fighters '94: Rebout - background cameo
- KOF Maximum Impact 2 - background cameo, Kula Diamond's Normal Outfit-Variaton E
- In KOF 2003, Ash quotes Robert Browning's poem The Year's at the Spring, this is the same poem that appears again in KOF XIII.
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- ↑ http://game.snk-corp.co.jp/official/kof-xiii/arcade/character/
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF XII
- ↑ Official character page from KOF anniversary website
- ↑ http://kofworld.com/anime/exclusive-we-talk-to-oda-san-about-snk-heroines-kof-manga-and-anime-and-more/
- ↑ The King of Fighters 2003: Hero team story from KOF anniversary website
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