- Ash Crimson is pretty much The King of Scrappies. He's a Jerkass Smug Snake who has gotten away with some pretty controversial stuff in the current saga (namely, stealing the powers of Chizuru and Iori) simply because SNK likes him too much. If you've played The King of Fighters XI, you've probably noticed that there's a common motif with a few of the team themes, such as "Jack," "Queen," and "King"; they're all high level playing cards (in fact, Ace is the only one missing from the bunch). "Joker" is the theme of the "Hero" Team. Given that there's a literal card-wielding Badass Grandpa on the team, you might think that this theme had Oswald in mind. However, this was subtle foreshadowing at its finest. The Joker is used in a variety of roles when it comes to card games. It can either be the most powerful card to play or the weakest. It can even be used as a placeholder for missing cards. Ash Crimson only appears to be a frail, unassuming weakling, but he's a bastard of both the manipulative and magnificent varieties. He is literally the personification of the Joker, a true Wild Card. Not only did he run the masses with an expy of Gambit and a fight-craving Badass Normal in order to progress far enough through the tournament, but he set it up with such finesse so that after he turned his former allies against one another (when they had outlived their usefulness) by preying on their personal ambitions (thus eliminating any potential threats by having Shen Woo and Oswald duke it out to the death as Ash slips away), he could then steal Iori's powers (as Orochi Iori, may I add) immediately after Iori had been worn down in a fight with Kyo and Shingo. That's Obfuscating Stupidity so brilliant that you might wonder whether or not Ash is The Chessmaster. You can't deny it. - X2X
- Going back even further, one of Ash's win quotes in 2003 was "Don't play your trump card till the end... the very end!" In hindsight, SNK was pretty much telling us, "Keep your eye on this guy. Something's gonna happen." - X2X
- Related to the above: In XIII, Ash's a single entry character. Quite odd, given that he's The Hero of the saga... You'd think that it's because he'll become the True Final Boss at the end as Evil Ash, and that's right - but it's deeper than that: Like the above Troper has stated, he's prone to manipulate his teammates to his own ends. So him being a single entry is a subtle Gameplay and Story Integration - He can make team with any character in the roster, but he'll end up leaving them in the end.
- Additionally, this all seems to tie in with the revelation that Ash really is on the heroes' side. He functions as a Guile Hero because of the very probable mindset that if more people (including sister figure Elizabeth, presented here as a rival to Ash) knew about his true intentions, his plans to stop Saiki and Those from the Past would be less likely to actually succeed. (Especially Elizabeth, as she is the person he is actually doing most of this for, and the only one who comes from his past and therefore with the highest level of knowledge about his personality.) The Jerkass Fašade he dons is a calculated farce used to further his goals and ensure that the number of other fighters thrown into the crossfire is a bare minimum. Perhaps you could say he didn't want anyone to call his bluff. - X2X
- There are three people that are able to sense that Ash's intentions aren't as malevolent as they seem. One of them is King, who refers to Ash's behavior as "a cry for help" among other things. Why would she sense such stuff, considering that she's not a psychic (unlike Athena) and has relatively limited experience (unlike Chin)? Easy: she's a bartender, and bartenders are typically used to listen to the problems of people who are drowning their sorrows. This means she can catch body language signals that others cannot, whether the person she's speaking to is toasted or not; then, it's not surprising that she can see that Ash's plans and mindset are more complex than he lets other see, even when she obviously doesn't know what he wants (and never will, now that he's gone forever). - Orihime
- For some people, Yuri's Neomax, the Haoh Raiouken, seems lackluster compared to flashier Neomaxes, save for the mushroom cloud at the end. Then, I realized that, unlike fellow Kyokugen practitioners Ryo and Robert, she was only taught the very basics of Kyokugenryu, aptly named the Raiou principle. In a way, her Neomax serves as a Take That to her father and brother, showing that she can throw away Raioukens like atomic bombs. - Aenthin
- Also, when you examine Yuri and Ryo's relationship, some interesting conclusions can be deduced/speculated. Ryo is the dutiful son, the one trained from childhood by his father Takuma to become the heir of Kyokugenryu, alongside his natural talent; Yuri is a late-bloomer, who only started when she was a teenager and mastered the basics within a year. While they love each other dearly, they also intensely clash: Ryo objected to her being trained (though he doesn't object to other Action Girls being around, like King or Mai), Yuri decided to keep training and then add her own variations to the style. Ryo's current objections to have her around don't only come from her being a girl (though that does play a part), but because he sees Yuri's additions to the Kyokugenryu roster as an insult to the Kyokugenryu style itself... and also as a part of their interactions outside the ring. Ryo had to work very hard for his martial arts skills and to make the Kyokugenryu style widely known ever since he was a young boy, adding an It's Personal layer to what seems to be a mere "Stayin The Kitchen"-like Sibling Rivalry, even when it's not very fair to Yuri herself - Orihime
- For XIV, at first I wonder what kind of team would name themselves the "villains team" and why Chang and Choi of all people would join. Then the Villains Team trailer is out and we see just what kind of person Xanadu is.
Fridge / The King of Fighters