Ash Crimson enters the grand King of Fighters
tournament in 2003
, where he is the leader of the Heroes Team. In a break from previous story arcs, SNK Playmore
designed him to be an "attractive evil" protagonist, a character who is decidedly unheroic yet nonetheless likable. He fights with a graceful, somewhat bombastic style which belies his true strength, seemingly revealing his skills only when necessary. In his dealings with others he is also a rather two-faced individual, as he has feigned friendship with many only to discard them when they have lost their use. When he speaks, it is usually with a barbed tongue, though he is almost always smiling. With so many of his traits seemingly in conflict, deception appears to be the driving theme of Ash Crimson, as there are many things about him that are inscrutable or not what they seem. This idea sees its culmination in King of Fighters XIII
, where Ash is shown to have some heroic qualities after all.
Joining the tournament in King of Fighters 2003 alongside Duo Lon
and Shen Woo
, Ash ostensibly desires to win the tournament. Unbeknownst to his companions, his true goal is to steal the powers of those that sealed away Orochi
nearly two millennia ago, which he will accomplish by defeating their descendants (Kyo Kusanagi
, Iori Yagami
, and Chizuru Kagura
). At the end of the tournament he takes advantage of the distraction provided by Mukai
's presence to obtain the Yata Mirror from Chizuru, which greatly injures her. Amused by how easy it was to take possession of the first sacred treasure, Ash escapes with a boastful warning that Iori Yagami will be next.
In the next tournament
, Ash returns with Shen as well as a new partner, Oswald
. This is further machination on his part, as Oswald has actually been contracted to kill Shen Woo. When the time is right, he reveals the truth to his partners, who waste no time in attacking each other. Using the opportunity to slip off alone, Ash seeks out Iori, who has lost control of himself due to the presence of Orochi. Despite the considerable power of Orochi Iori
in his frenzied state, Ash is able to defeat him easily, taking the Yasakani no Magatama for himself. Now with only one treasure left to obtain, he issues a final warning to Kyo Kusanagi before leaving.
Choosing for the first time forgo the team format, Ash enters the King of Fighters XIII
tournament individually, swearing allegiance to the shadowy group behind the tournament. This is, of course, just another means to an end for Ash. By convincing the competition's organizers of his loyalty, he is able to bide his time long enough for them to let down their guard. During the finals, Ash attacks the leader of the group, Saiki
, hoping that the two sacred treasures will be enough to contain him. He has unfortunately miscalculated, however, and Saiki takes control of his form. When Saiki is defeated at the end of the tournament, he finds himself disembodied. He attempts to bargain with Ash in order to become corporeal again, but his offer falls on deaf ears. Ash seals him away and, being that he is linked to Saiki, is erased from existence himself.