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The Tales of Ash, also known as the Ash Saga (アッシュへん) is the third mainline story arc in The King of Fighters series. It covers the events found in The King of Fighters 2003, The King of Fighters XI and The King of Fighters XIII.

Past Events

Ancient Times, -Another Side-

Within old Europe, a mysterious group known as Those from the Past began emerging as the counterparts to Orochi's Hakkesshu. Their leader, Saiki, was a power being who possesses control over time. Sometime after Orochi was sealed, many members of Those from the Past were wiped out, at the hands of the Blanctorche Family, a group of nobles who protect the innocent and have a mastery of the elements of light.

Late 1990s

By the late 1990s, Elisabeth Blanctorche is the last known remaining member of the Blanctorche family. At one point, she became the childhood friend of Ash Crimson and they were raised in the same mansion together. She used to act as his older sister figure, until a fire burned down the mansion and many of her clansmen to the ground. As the sole remaining Blanctorche, she lives with her butler, Jacques, near the remains of her family's home.

Story

The King of Fighters 2003

Welcoming All Oncomers

Two years after The King of Fighters 2001, The King of Fighters tournament returned in full force. Once again the rules were changed, with the "Striker System" being dropped completely, and the matches returning back to the 3v3 team matches. However, the tournament introduced the Multi-Shift System; now matches took place in a single round, and fighters could freely swap out with other standby members at any time.

The King of Fighters XI

Mukai, a member of a mysterious group, stole the Orochi seal in the last tournament and broke it, causing confusion and destruction to happen from within sight. Taking advantage of the situation at hand, Ash stole the Yata Mirror from Chizuru and drained her powers in the process. In the advent of a new KOF tournament, new faces are handed invitations, while old faces, such as Eiji Kisaragi, return to the ring.

Among the new KOF participants are Oswald, Duck King (a South Town veteran fighter himself), Momoko and Elisabeth. All these fighters will find themselves in a tournament full of mysteries and secrets started by motives that they’d ignored. Behind this healthy competitive tournament hides a hidden force called "People from the Past" with a mysterious goal.

The King of Fighters XIII

Magaki was slain by Shion's spear, and Shion vanished into the dimensional rift. Then other members of the group Heidern was tracking suddenly appeared and vanished, as if to mock Heidern and his team. Who are "Those From the Distant Land," and why are they so persistent in their pursuit of the power of Orochi?

Meanwhile, Ash Crimson, having obtained Kagura's power, chose to ignore Elisabeth's cautions and took on Iori Yagami's power.

Yata was defeated, and Yasakani has fallen. Only one of the Three Sacred Treasures remains: the Sword of Kusanagi. However, Kyo Kusanagi suffered a major injury at the hands of Yagami, who had been overtaken by the power of the revitalized Orochi.

Time has passed...

With these recent incidents, it was feared that the next King of Fighters tournament would never happen. However, thanks to an unheard-of amount of promotion by a mysterious party, the KOF will be held on an unprecedented scale. The new mixed martial arts tournament is on the world stage, and the mass media has been giving it coverage like never before.

Fighters all across the world begin to receive invitations... all sent from "R"!

Characters

Debutant Characters

Characters who made their canonical debut in The King of Fighters series, ordered by their first appearance in the series.

KOF 2003

Original Characters
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Ash Crimson (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII; Mid-Boss unlockable in XIII)
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Duo Lon (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Shen Woo (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Malin (Playable in 2003 and XI)
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Adelheid Bernstein (Playable in 2003 and XI; Alternative Final Boss in 2003 and Mid-Boss in XI)
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Maki Kagura (Playable only in 2003)
Mukai2003.gif
Mukai (Final Boss; Playable only in 2003)
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
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Tizoc (The Griffon) (Playable in 2003 and XI)
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Gato (Playable in 2003 and XI)

KOF XI

Original Characters
Oswald-sprite1.gif
Oswald (Playable only in XI)
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Elisabeth Blanctorche (Playable in XI, XII and XIII)
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Momoko (Playable only in XI)
Shion sprite.gif Shion stance.gif
Shion (Sub-Boss; Playable only in XI)
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Magaki (Final Boss; Playable only in XI)
Fatal Fury/MOTW series
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Duck King (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters) (Playable only in XI)
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B. Jenet (Garou: Mark of the Wolves) (Playable only in XI)
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Hotaru Futaba (Garou: Mark of the Wolves) (Playable only in XI; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character)
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Tung Fu Rue (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters) (Playable only in XI; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character)
Buriki One
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Gai Tendo (Playable only in XI; appears as a Mid-Boss)
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Silber (Playable only in XI; appears as a Mid-Boss)
Savage Reign/Kizuna Encounter series
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Sho Hayate (Playable only in XI; appears as a Mid-Boss)
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Jyazu (Playable only in XI; appears as a Mid-Boss)

KOF XII

Fatal Fury series
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Raiden (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters) (Playable in XII and XIII; his babyface persona, Big Bear, appears as an alternative costume in XIII)

KOF XIII

Original Characters
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Saiki (Playable in XIII; his Human Form appears as a Mid-Boss Unlockable; his Awakened Form appears as Sub-Boss Unplayable)
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Evil Ash (Final Boss; Unplayable in XIII)
Fatal Fury series
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Hwa Jai (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters) (Playable only in XIII)
SNK vs. Capcom: SvC Chaos (2003)
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Honki ni Natta Mr. Karate (Playable only in XIII, as a DLC EX form and an alternative costume for Takuma)

Returning Characters

Characters who are returning from previous installments in The King of Fighters series, ordered by their first appearance in the series.

KOF '94

Original Characters
Kyokofxii.gif Kyokofxiii.gif
Kyo Kusanagi (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII; his NESTS version is playable in XI [only in PS2], and in XIII as a DLC EX form)
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Benimaru Nikaido (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Goro Daimon (Playable in 2003, XII and XIII)
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Chin Gentsai (Playable in XII and XIII)
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Chang Koehan (Playable only in 2003)
Fatal Fury series
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Terry Bogard (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Andy Bogard (Playable in XII and XIII)
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Joe Higashi (Playable in 2003, XII and XIII)
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Mai Shiranui (Playable in 2003, XI and XIII; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character in XI)
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Kim Kaphwan (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
Art of Fighting series
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Ryo Sakazaki (Playable in 2003, XI, XII, and XIII)
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Robert Garcia (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character in XI)
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Takuma Sakazaki (Playable only in XIII)
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Yuri Sakazaki (Playable in 2003, XI and XIII)
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King (Playable in 2003, XI and XIII)
Ikari Warriors series
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Ralf Jones (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Clark Still (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
Psycho Soldier
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Athena Asamiya (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII)
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Sie Kensou (Playable in XI, XII and XIII)

KOF '95

Original Character
Iorikofxii.gif Iorikofxiii.gif
Iori Yagami (Playable in 2003, XI, XII and XIII; his Flameless version appears in XII and XIII, while his classic Flames version appears as a main playable variant in 2003 and XI, and as a DLC EX form in XIII)
Fatal Fury series
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Billy Kane (Playable in 2003 and XIII; Console and Climax Version Exclusive and Unlockable Character in XIII)
Art of Fighting series
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Eiji Kisaragi (Playable only in XI)

KOF '96

Original Characters
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Leona Heidern (Playable in 2003, XII and XIII)
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Chizuru Kagura (Playable only in 2003)
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Mature (Playable only in XII and XIII)
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Vice (Playable only in XIII)
Fatal Fury series
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Geese Howard (Playable only in XI; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character)
Art of Fighting series
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Kasumi Todoh (Playable only in XI)
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Mr. Big (Playable only in XI; PlayStation 2 Exclusive Character)

KOF '97

Original Character
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Shingo Yabuki (Playable in 2003 and XI)
Fatal Fury series
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Ryuji Yamazaki (Playable only in 2003)
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Blue Mary (Playable in 2003 and XI)

KOF '99

Original Characters
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K' (Playable in 2003, XI and XIII)
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Maxima (Playable in 2003, XI and XIII)
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Whip (Playable in 2003 and XI)
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Jhun Hoon (Playable only in 2003)

KOF 2000

Original Characters
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Kula Diamond (Playable in XI and XIII)
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Vanessa (Playable only in XI)
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Ramón (Playable only in XI)
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Hinako Shijou (Playable only in 2003)

KOF 2002/UM

Original Character
Kyokusanagi2002.gif
Kusanagi (Playable only in 2003; Console Exclusive Character and Canonical Debut)

NPC Characters

Non-playable characters who appear during the saga's lore.

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Rose Bernstein (NPC in 2003, XI and XIII)
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Botan (NPC in 2003, XI and XIII)
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Shroom & Rimelo (NPC in XI and XIII)
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Foxy (NPC only in XIII)
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Diana (NPC in XI and XIII)
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Kogoro Daimon (NPC only in 2003)

Characters & Teams' Participations

Teams in which the characters who participated in the saga were inserted.
Note 1: As there are no teams formed, all participations in The King of Fighters XII are solo. However, it is possible to form 3-on-3 teams.
Note 2: The order of the table are based on the appearances on the first mainline game of the saga.
Character
KOF 2003
KOF XI
KOF XII
KOF XIII
Ash Crimson
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
Solo Participation
Mid-Boss
Duo Lon
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Solo Participation
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Shen Woo
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
Solo Participation
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Terry Bogard
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Solo Participation
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Joe Higashi
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Absent
Solo Participation
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Tizoc (The Griffon)
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Mark of the Wolves Team (MOTW Team or Garou Team)
Absent
Absent
Ryo Sakazaki
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
Art of Fighting Team (Ryuku no Ken Team)
Solo Participation
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
Robert Garcia
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
PS2 Exclusive Character
Solo Participation
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
Yuri Sakazaki
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
Art of Fighting Team (Ryuku no Ken Team)
Absent
Women Fighters Team
Leona Heidern
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Absent
Solo Participation
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Ralf Jones
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Solo Participation
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Clark Still
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Solo Participation
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
King
Women Fighters Team
Art of Fighting Team (Ryuku no Ken Team)
Absent
Women Fighters Team
Mai Shiranui
Women Fighters Team
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
Women Fighters Team
Blue Mary
Women Fighters Team
Agents Team
Absent
Absent
Kim Kaphwan
Korea Justice Team (Kim Team)
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Solo Participation
Kim Team
Chang Koehan
Korea Justice Team (Kim Team)
Absent
Absent
Absent
Jhun Hoon
Korea Justice Team (Kim Team)
Absent
Absent
Absent
Ryuji Yamazaki
Outlaw Team
Absent
Absent
Absent
Billy Kane
Outlaw Team
Absent
Absent
DLC Mid-Boss
Gato
Outlaw Team
Mark of the Wolves Team (MOTW Team or Garou Team)
Absent
Absent
Benimaru Nikaido
Japan Team (Benimaru Team)
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Solo Participation
Japan Team (Kyo Team)
Goro Daimon
Japan Team (Benimaru Team)
Absent
Solo Participation
Japan Team (Kyo Team)
Shingo Yabuki
Japan Team (Benimaru Team)
Kyo & Iori Team (Kusanagi-Yagami Team) (Kyo Team)
Absent
Absent
Athena Asamiya
High School Girls Team (Athena Team)
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Solo Participation
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Hinako Shijou
High School Girls Team (Athena Team)
Absent
Absent
Absent
Malin
High School Girls Team (Athena Team)
Anti-Kyokugenryu Team (Anti-Art of Fighting Team)
Absent
Absent
K'
K' Team
K' Team
Absent
K' Team
Maxima
K' Team
K' Team
Absent
K' Team
Whip
K' Team
Ikari Warriors Team (Ikari Team)
Absent
Absent
Kyo Kusanagi
Solo Character
Kyo & Iori Team (Kusanagi-Yagami Team) (Kyo Team)
Solo Participation
Japan Team (Kyo Team)
Iori Yagami
Solo Character
Kyo & Iori Team (Kusanagi-Yagami Team) (Kyo Team)
Solo Participation
Yagami Team
Oswald
Absent
"Hero" Team or "Protagonist" Team (Ash Team)
Absent
Absent
Elisabeth Blanctorche
Absent
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Console Exclusive Character
Rivals Team (Elisabeth Team or Deuteragonist Team)
Duck King
Absent
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Absent
Absent
Sie Kensou
Absent
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Solo Participation
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Momoko
Absent
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Absent
Absent
B. Jenet
Absent
Mark of the Wolves Team (MOTW Team or Garou Team)
Absent
Absent
Vanessa
Absent
Agents Team
Absent
Absent
Ramón
Absent
Agents Team
Absent
Absent
Eiji Kisaragi
Absent
Anti-Kyokugenryu (Team Anti-Art of Fighting Team)
Absent
Absent
Kasumi Todoh
Absent
Anti-Kyokugenryu (Team Anti-Art of Fighting Team)
Absent
Absent
Kula Diamond
Absent
K' Team
Absent
K' Team
Gai Tendo
Absent
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Silber
Absent
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Sho Hayate
Absent
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Jyazu
Absent
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Geese Howard
Absent
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
Absent
Mr. Big
Absent
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
Absent
Tung Fu Rue
Absent
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
Absent
Hotaru Futaba
Absent
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
Absent
Andy Bogard
Absent
Absent
Solo Participation
Fatal Fury Team (Garou Densetsu Team)
Takuma Sakazaki
Absent
Absent
Absent
Art of Fighting Team (Kyokugenryu Team)
Chin Gentsai
Absent
Absent
Solo Participation
Psycho Soldier Team (Athena Team)
Raiden
Absent
Absent
Solo Participation
Kim Team
Hwa Jai
Absent
Absent
Absent
Kim Team
Mature
Absent
Absent
Console Exclusive Character
Yagami Team
Vice
Absent
Absent
Absent
Yagami Team
Mr. Karate
Absent
Absent
Absent
EX DLC Character
NESTS Kyo Kusanagi
Absent
PS2 Exclusive Character
Absent
EX DLC Character
Flames Iori Yagami
Absent
Absent
Absent
EX DLC Character
Chizuru Kagura
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Absent
Maki Kagura
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Absent
Kusanagi
Mid-Boss (Canonical Entry)
Absent
Absent
Absent
Adelheid Bernstein
Alternative Final Boss
Mid-Boss
Absent
Absent
Mukai
True Final Boss
Absent
Absent
Absent
Shion
Absent
Sub-Boss
Absent
Absent
Magaki
Absent
Sub-Boss
Absent
Absent
Human Saiki
Absent
Absent
Absent
DLC Mid-Boss
Awakened Saiki
Absent
Absent
Absent
Sub-Boss
Evil Ash
Absent
Absent
Absent
Final Boss
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