Ash Crimson

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Ash Crimson
The King of Fighters character
Ash Crimson.png
First game The King of Fighters 2003
Voiced by Sounosuke Nagashiro
Fictional profile
Fighting style Personal style (employing special green flames)

Ash Crimson (アッシュ・クリムゾン Asshu Kurimuzon?) is a video game character in The King of Fighters fighting game series developed by SNK Playmore. His first appearance was in The King of Fighters 2003 as the leader of its Hero Team. Ash is a teenager participating in the series' titular fighting tournaments employing pyrokinetic powers as part of his fighting style. Despite being featured as the series' protagonist from its third story arc, Ash takes an antagonistic role across the series, wishing to steal the powers from several recurring fighters. The character's identity and intentions are further explored in the latest title The King of Fighters XIII. He has also appeared in printed adaptations from the games as well as drama CDs.

The staff from SNK Playmore created Ash with concept of having an evil main character, contrasting the series' previous main characters. His movesets have been reworked across every game he has appeared, in which gained new techniques as result of his actions in the plot or was modified to balance the roster. Critical reception to Ash has been largely negative as a result of his androgynous appearance and his strong techniques. In interviews and press releases, video game publisher UTV Ignition Entertainment noted that he was not very popular within Western games as his design was more suitable for Japanese fans.

Appearances[edit]

Introduced in The King of Fighters 2003, Ash stars as the leader of the New Hero Team composed also by Duo Lon and Shen Woo participating in a new King of Fighters tournament.[1] After the tournament, he ambushes the host Chizuru Kagura and steals her powers, promising Iori Yagami to be his next opponent.[2] In The King of Fighters XI, he teams up with Oswald and again Shen Woo.[3] In the game's endings, Ash leaves his teammates to fight each other after revealing Oswald's price for joining him was finding a drug he can only obtain after defeating their pharmacists' enemy, Shen Woo.[4] He later finds a berserker Iori and defeats him, stealing his powers.[5] As his comrade Elisabeth Blanctorche accuses Ash for abandoning his original mission, and having become obsessed with power, Ash leaves stating that Kyo Kusanagi will be his next victim.[6] He also appears as an available fighter in the KOF: Maximum Impact 2 update titled KOF Maximum Impact Regulation A as well as The King of Fighters XII, games which do not have a storyline.[7][8]

For The King of Fighters XIII, Ash appears as the only character who does not belong to a defined team.[9] Ash's role in The King of Fighters XIII reveals that he has working for the organization Those From the Past, seen in 2003 and XI. However, he comes into direct conflict with the organization's leader, Saiki, at the end of the game. Ash acts as the final boss of The King of Fighters XIII as "Ash driven insane by the Spiral of Blood" (血の螺旋に狂うアッシュ Chi no Rasen ni Kuruu Asshu?), also known as Evil Ash, which is imbued with power stolen from Saiki, who is attempting to possess him. He ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy Saiki.

Aside from the main series, Ash has also appeared in other media from The King of Fighters series. In the anime The King of Fighters: Another Day, he is featured in the fourth chapter, in which he is revealed as the creator from a city's fire, seeking to lure Kyo into a trap.[10] Ash also appears in the manhua adaptations of The King of Fighters 2003 created by Wing Yang and King Tung. Participating in the 2003 tournament, Ash's team is defeated in the final, but later assists in the defeat of the demon Mukai.[11] In The King of Fighters XII manhua, Ash is absent from the recurring tournament, but briefly confronts Kyo in an attempt to steal his powers.[12] He is also featured in the CD drama KOF: Mid Summer Struggle, which shows a fake King of Fighters tournament.

Creation and development[edit]

Ash was designed with the intent of creating an "attractive evil character" in contrast to previous The King of Fighters hero characters. The supervisor designer created to fit the desired appearance to a "T," little changes done to him since conception. Because of his recent introduction by The King of Fighters 2003, the staff did not want to reveal more information about him, and told fans to look forward to his "exploits."[13] Falcoon adds that the main goal for Ash was to make him an ambiguous protagonist that purposely makes players "feel bad" for cheering for him. Ash's character design was not made by Falcoon. However, he did add extra details to Ash while he was illustrating him to better fit his character.[14] As a result of Ash's final appearance, the staff joked that his teammate Shen Woo appeared to look more like the series' main character than him.[15] For The King of Fighters XIII, Producer Kei Yamamoto wants gamers who played previous titles from Ash's story wonder what are the character's motives for his actions as well as whether they could relate with him.[16] KOF: Maximum Impact 2 Regulation "A" earned its title for three reasons with one of them being the character of Ash introduced in the spin-off series for the first time.[17] Falcoon also labelled the character as "really wild" because of his role within the series and personality.[18] Nona, another artist in charge, stated that from the original The King of Fighters characters, Ash was one he liked as he looked forward to his development.[19]

In The King of Fighters XII, Ash was the character who the staff worked the most. They reworked his moves and speech to be more consistent with the rest of the cast.[20] Producer of The King of Fighters XIII, Kei Yamamoto, commented that Ash was a character players could use to "show off", comically adding it was as a result of his personality. His EX version from such game tends to perform more multiple hits than his regular form. Particularly, his technique "Genie" (ジェニー?) was commented to fit well within his character due to its "disgusting" style. Ever since his introduction, Ash gained new moves in accordance to his actions in the series. After The King of Fighters 2003, Ash gained Chizuru Kagura's "Germinar" (ジェルミナール?), a move which allows him to seal his opponents' special moves. After defeating Iori Yagami, Ash gained the "Fructidor" (テルミドール?) Neo Max move which works as his strongest attack from The King of Fighters XIII. During development from the game, the staff thought about changing the animation style of Fructidor for an early one they used in a location test.[21]

Reception[edit]

Ash Crimson's character has received negative comments from video game publications. When first introduced, GameSpy's Christian Nutt stated that Ash was a "clone" of Guile from the Street Fighter series because of their similar movesets. Nevertheless, Ash's team was praised for standing as new characters from the series with new elements.[22] Lucas M. Thomas, writer from IGN, commented that a major fan complaint was the character's strength in the video games which caused him to become one of the strongest opponents despite his apparent lack of effort within fights. Thomas himself shared similar comments, commenting that Ash is "nothing if not strange" in regards of stereotypes, and lamented how many times he appeared in the KOF 2003 manhua in comparison to more popular characters.[23] When the playable characters for the arcade version of The King of Fighters XIII was revealed, Anime News Network's Todd Ciolek wondered about Ash's lack of teammates and joked that it was possible he was alone since "no one likes Ash now."[24] Marissa Meli from UGO Networks commented on Ash's design, placing it sixteenth in a list of "The Most Androgynous Video Game Characters". The notable androgynous appearance was jokingly mentioned by Meli to have been done on purpose by the Japanese designers in order to confuse Western gamers regarding their sexuality.[25] Similarly, while placing Ash's voice as one of "Gaming's Top 10 Deepest Voices", Dan Howdle from Now Gamer joked about him, referring to him as a female character.[26] Writers from Game Informer also commented about this, joking about their surprise to realizing that he is actually a male character.[27] When UTV Ignition Entertainment started a poll in which fans voted which artbox would be used in console versions of The King of Fighters XII, an official press release noted that the fans' negative reaction to Ash reduced the number of covers to only two featuring Kyo and Iori.[28]

In an interview with Ignition Entertainment's Director of Business Development Shane Bettehausen, Alex Lucard from Die Hard Game Fan stated that SNK fans from the Pacific simply hated the character and complained about his inclusion in The King of Fighters XII when the title did not have a storyline related to him while they wanted other popular characters from the series to star there. In response to this, Bettehausen commented that he had problems understanding what were the problems regarding aside from his design which he did not find appealing for fans outside Japan. Nevertheless, he commented that as his gameplay mechanics were improved for the game, it would be possible that Western fans would like him now.[29] In June 2009, Stephen Totilo from Kotaku had an interview with Bettehausen, who asked him when playing what was Ash's gender. Totilo replied female to which Betehausen replied that KOF was progressive with introducing cross-dressing characters. He also commented that fans appeared to be "warming up to him" despite his design.[30] In contrast to this negative reception, Jonathan Holmes from Destructoid praised Ash's character as he exemplifies the theme of "defying traditional gender roles while kicking some ass." They praised his personality traits and his role as a hero which makes him "the perfect mascot for the KoF series as a whole."[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hero Team Story". King of Fighters Official Website. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ SNK Playmore (2003-12-12). "The King of Fighters 2003". Playstation 2. SNK Playmore. Ash: Where... is... it... now?/Chizuru: Ah.. ah.../Ash: Oh, oh, oh, here we are. With this my objective has come to fruition. 
  3. ^ "Hero Team Story". King of Fighters Official Website. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ SNK Playmore (2007-11-13). "The King of Fighters XI". Playstation 2. SNK Playmore. Ash: Shen wanted a strong opponent... And Oswald wanted money and information about the drug... /.../ Ash: You see, the drug known as "Dragon Pills" is only made by a pharmacist in Shangai. They won't sell it, but they will give it to anyone who defeats their mortal enemy, Shen Woo. / ... / Ash: I'll leave the rest to you. Bon Voyage! 
  5. ^ SNK Playmore (2007-11-13). "The King of Fighters XI". Playstation 2. SNK Playmore. Iori: Grrrr.... I'll kill you... Kyo.../ ... /Shingo:A-Ash... Iori's just gone crazy.../ ... /Iori: Kill.../Ash: Those eyes... I see... If it's this advanced, then that means... Hehhheee. So much pressure! 
  6. ^ SNK Playmore (2007-11-13). "The King of Fighters XI". Playstation 2. SNK Playmore. Elizabeth: Ash Crimson! Have you forgotten your mission?! /.../ Ash: You're as scary as ever, aren't you? But don't think that you can bully me. You want to know why? Because... I'm not the person I used to be./ Elisabeth: !! That color! Iori Yagami's flames? No, it can't be... Orochi? /.../ Ash: When Kyo wakes up, tell him something for me. Tell him he's next. 
  7. ^ "The King of Fighters XII". King of Fighters Official Website. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ Ahearn, Nate (2007-09-21). "TGS 2007: King of Fighters: Maximum Impact Regulation A Hands-On". IGN. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  9. ^ "アッシュ編がついに完結! 舞にユリ、キングも参戦する『KOF XIII』は夏稼働 - 電撃オンライン (King of Fighters XIII character select image)" (in Japanese). Dengeki Online. 2010-03-25. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  10. ^ SNK Playmore (2006-04-27). "KOF Maximum Impact 2". PlayStation 2. SNK Playmore. Level/area: The King of Fighters: Another Day. 
  11. ^ Yen, Wig (2005). The King of Fighters 2003, Volume 1. Dr. Master Productions. ISBN 978-1-58899-030-3. 
  12. ^ Otto, Nekketsu (2009). The King of Fighters XII, Volume 12. Lucky Dragon Comics. ISBN 978-2-07-332100-8. 
  13. ^ "Ash Crimson's KOF 10th anniversary profile". King of Fighters 15th Anniversary Official Website. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  14. ^ "SNKプレイモア、シリーズ10周年記念「KOF忘年会」を開催「KOF2004」は出ない! 別の「KOF」の開発は順調". Game Watch (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Shen Woo's KOF 10th anniversary profile". King of Fighters 15th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The King of Fighters XIII Interview". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ Falcoon. 2007年04月29日 (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Remembrances with KOF illustrator". King of Fighters 15th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Remembrances with KOF illustrator (Nona)". King of Fighters 15th Anniversary Official Website. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  20. ^ "KOF XII & KOF2002UM 開発者インタビュー". Front Fighters Line. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  21. ^ "チーム紹介 アッシュ". SNK Playmore. April 28, 2010. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  22. ^ Nutt, Christian (February 17, 2005). "King of Fighters 2002/2003". GameSpy. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  23. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (March 8, 2008). "The King of Fighters 2003 Vol. 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved July 29, 2008. 
  24. ^ Ciolek, Todd (July 14, 2010). "The X Button Dramatis Persona". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  25. ^ Meli, Marissa (January 26, 2011). "He or She? The Most Androgynous Video Game Characters". UGO.com. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  26. ^ Howdle, Dan (June 2, 2010). "Gaming's Top 10 Deepest Voices". Now Gamer. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  27. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (September 16, 2011). "King of Fighters XII" (Press release). Game Informer. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  28. ^ "King of Fighters Fans Choose Official Box Art" (Press release). IGN. May 6, 2009. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  29. ^ Lucard, Alex (2007-04-28). "Interview with Ignition Entertainment's Shane Bettenhausen About The King of Fighters XII". Diehardgamefan. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  30. ^ Totilo, Stephen (June 10, 2009). "The King of Fighters XII For Novices". Kotaku. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  31. ^ Holmes, Jonathan. "Review: The King of Fighters XIII". Destructoid. Retrieved April 11, 2013.