Even to those with only a passing knowledge of Pokémon, the names Ash, Misty, and Brock should sound familiar. They were the main trio of Pokémon trainers in the anime adaptation of the popular game series. As such, the three occupy a special place in the hearts of first-generation Pokémon fans. Ash and Misty especially stood out for them. Being roughly the same age and traveling together for so long, TV viewers couldn't help but wonder if there was something more to the pair. Years of cartoons beforehand trained them to think the main boy and girl get together in the end. Would the same happen with Ash and Misty?
The two clearly had a strong relationship, but what kind of relationship was it? Did they really have romantic feelings toward one another, or was it just a platonic friendship? The writers of the various Pokémon continuities have always left the answer ambiguous, the anime particularly, but if their relationship is romantic, it sure is an odd romance. Almost of all of Misty and Ash's stories begin with her being abrasive and critical of the young Pokémon master, only to soften as time goes on. Also Ash keeps almost drowning around her.
So we've gone through as much Pokémon trivia as we could, looked at every continuity, to make this list about Ash and Misty's rocky relationship. Because whatever the original plans for the two were, they almost certainly changed. Whether due to translation errors between English and Japanese, or differences in the characters' incarnations, or a dozen other reasons.
These are 25 Crazy Facts About Ash And Misty's Relationship In Pokémon.
25 The Age Difference
Ash Ketchum is 10 years old. This is a fact as absolute as Earth's rotation around the sun. No matter how many years go by, Ash will always be 10 years old. Despite this, he's traveled with people both older and younger than him. Misty is one companion that's older. She's actually 13 compared to his 10.
This probably explains why she's slightly taller than Ash in the early seasons of the anime. At least she's 13 in The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, a loose retelling of the anime. As the only source for Misty's age, we're going to go with it.
24 She Hates Bugs, Except Ash's
It's established early on in the anime that Misty hates Bug-type Pokémon. They're number one on the list of things she dislikes. Misty explains this as no Bug-types meeting her definition of "cute." There are some exceptions to her fear of bugs though, and interestingly, they involve Ash. His Butterfree was the first Bug-type she ever took a liking to. Ironic, considering she hurt its feeling back when it was a Caterpie. Misty also wasn't afraid of Ash's Heracross during the Johto arc. It could be that she finds these bugs cute, but her feelings toward Ash could be another reason.
23 The Declaration Of Love That Was Cut
Pokémon as we know it could have ended very differently. The original anime was actually supposed to end after Ash won the Indigo League, with the first movie being the big finale. In the original script, the movie was supposed to end with an older Misty telling her daughter about "a boy she once loved."
This older Misty is also seen with a Pikachu. The implication, of course, being that this boy was Ash. But the series' massive popularity meant the anime would continue and this script was thrown out. A trailer featuring the scene is still floating around the Internet though.
22 Their Gym Battle Was Way Different In The Manga
The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga got pretty wild at times. One of those times was Ash's gym battle with Misty. Instead of the standard battle, it's more of a challenge. Misty's Gyarados steals Ash's hat and she explains that if one of his Pokemon can get it back, she'll give him the badge. Then all of Ash's Pokémon let him down. Pikachu's too scared to move, his Pidgeotto abruptly goes on vacation, and his Fearow comes out of its Pokéball asleep. Ash ultimately wins by throwing a dumpling at Misty's head, getting his Fearow to attack her and get his hat back.
21 Missing Dads
It's an old joke in the Pokémon fanbase that Ash's dad has abandoned him. What exactly became of Mr. Ketchum is unknown but if he did run out on his family, it would be something Ash has in common with Misty. Both of her parents abandoned her.
As the story goes, Misty's parents were the original gym leaders of the Cerulean City gym. But the strict regulations put on Gym Leaders forced them to leave their daughters and their gym behind. With nowhere else to go, Misty and her sisters became the new gym leaders. That's pretty harsh for teenagers.
20 Misty's Other Boyfriend
The Pokémon games are where you'll find the most differences from the anime. That makes sense, considering the player character has to be the lead. One of the biggest differences with Misty is that she actually has a boyfriend in the games. The Player can annoy her on a date in Silver & Gold. The two are chilling on the beach in Cerulean Cape. We know nothing about who this guy is either. He doesn't even get a name. He can't be Red, the game version of Ash, because Red is the final boss. Who are you, Misty's mystery man?
19 Counting The Water-Types
Different Pokémon gyms specialize in different Pokémon types. As a Gym leader then, Misty is such a specialist with Water-types in her case. She is a master of Water-types, and was the only female Water-type master in the series until Lana. Despite her specialization though, both she and Ash have the same amount of water-type Pokemon. They're both currently tied at nine. In fairness to Misty, she's always had a significant lead over Ash. Back in the Indigo League days, she had six water-types to Ash's three. He didn't catch up to her until he caught his Froakie in Kalos.
18 The Song Of Love
Those fans wanting to ship Ash and Misty have had no trouble finding evidence. In one case, they were handed some on a silver platter. Released in 1999, the album Pokémon 2.B.A. Master featured original songs based on the anime with the English voice actors. Included on the album was Misty's Song, where she sings about how much she wants to tell Ash she loves him, but is too afraid that he'll break her heart to do it. It was even performed during the Pokémon Live! stage show that toured the US in 2000. Shippers have made it their anthem ever since.
17 Just Friends
Whether Ash and Misty have romantic feelings for each other has always been vague. As far as the anime is concerned, they're just very good friends. Close, sure, but not romantic. This didn't stop people from assuming they were together. During the Orange Islands arc, it even became a running gag of people bringing an attraction up only for one of them to angrily deny it. The best example is probably when Ash got a ceremonial kiss in the second movie and Misty seemed jealous. If they did have feelings for each other, they never acted on it.
16 When She Saved Him From Drowning
Okay, technically she saved Red from the Pokémon Adventures manga from drowning, but Red is the manga's equivalent of Ash. Same difference. Anyway, after beating Misty Red tried crossing the ocean only to be attacked by a Dragonite and nearly drowned. That was when Misty appeared on her Gyarados, fought off the Dragonite, and rescued Red.
Presumably oxygen-deprived, he mistook her for a mermaid. How's that for shipping fuel? Misty then scolded him for not asking for her help crossing the ocean and trained Red to ride her Gyarados. She traded it to him for his Krabby and wished him luck.
15 When She Saved Him From Drowning (Again)
No matter what continuity of Pokémon it is, Ash seems to have trouble around water. When he battled Misty at the Cerulean City gym in the Pokémon Zensho manga, he almost drowned again. In fairness to Ash, he was trying to save Pikachu from drowning. Misty ended up saving both of them. She actually teaches Ash and Pikachu how to swim so they don't drown again in their rematch. Believe it or not, there is a third time Misty rescues Ash from drowning, in the Pokémon 2000 the Movie. In freezing water no less. Dude, just stay out of the water.
14 Togepi's Surrogate Parents
Togepi's introduction in the anime was a big deal. She was the first Generation 2 Pokémon we met in any detail. But just as big a deal was who would be her Trainer. Ash, Misty, and Brock actually held a little competition to decide back when Togepi was just an egg. Ash officially won their tournament, meaning he got to keep the egg. Togepi had other ideas though, and hatched in Misty's arms, imprinting on her as its mother. So while she was the egg Pokémon's mother, Ash could be still be seen as its surrogate father. He found Togepi's egg after all.
13 That Time A Dude Basically Proposed To Misty
In the episode "Misty Meets Her Match," set during the Orange Islands arc, Misty saves a young girl from drowning out at sea. Yes, another person she's saved. Maybe Misty should become a lifeguard. Anyway, the girl's brother Rudy completely falls in love with her watching the rescue. He's also the local Gym Leader. Rudy treats Misty to a fancy dinner and takes her dancing, then asks if she'll stay with him and his sister. She actually considers the offer but Rudy says she doesn't have to answer until after his battle with Ash. Ultimately, she decides to go with Ash.
12 Misty's Sisters Get In The Way
Many older fans still wonder why Misty stopped traveling with Ash during the anime. After the Johto arc, she left and has only made guest appearances since. Well, her sisters are to blame. Misty's three sisters were handling Gym Leader duties in her absence, but shortly before her return from Johto decided to go on a world tour. They needed her to take over the Cerulean Gym while they were gone. This caused some soul-searching from Misty, who'd grown to care for Ash and wanted to keep traveling with him. Ultimately, she decided her gym's welfare had to come first.
11 The Forgotten Slap
A lot of minor changes had to be made to the Pokémon anime when it was first released in America. Names needed changing, adult humor had to be cut out, and some violence had to be trimmed. Case in point, Misty actually slapped Ash in the face the first time they met. Western viewers wouldn't know it though, as the slap was cut out by licencors. Well, kind of. It wasn't perfectly cut out. While the slap itself is gone, you can still see the red mark on Ash's cheek and the sound of Misty hitting him. So, good job licencors?
10 The Running Joke of Property Damage
As the first of Ash's many female traveling companions, Misty set the mold for those to follow. She set certain traditions down, including this strange one. Ash's Pikachu destroyed her bike (which Ash stole) in the first episode and the reason Misty was following Ash was to get him to pay her back. Believe it or not, this bike destruction became a running gag throughout the anime. Both May and Dawn would have their bikes destroyed by Pikachu in the same way, while Bonnie and Iris would be electrocuted directly. It wasn't until Serena showed up that this gag ended.
9 Misty Loves... Tracey?
After her departure seemed to end things with Ash, fans have speculated who Misty has gotten romantic with since. Well, there are hints in the anime that she may have started a relationship with Prof. Oak's assistant Tracey. The first hint came in the movie Pokémon 2000.
When Tracey overhears Misty denying Ash is her boyfriend, he mistakenly asks if she's talking about him. Then after both left, Prof. Oak tells Ash that Tracey often goes to Cerulean Gym to help Misty. And when Misty did return, she had a baby Azurill. Which she got as an egg from Tracey. Hmm...
8 Team Rocket Caused Them To Meet
Not being based on the anime, the Pokémon Adventures manga differs greatly from the story we know. For instance, Ash and Misty's first meeting was totally changed. In the manga, they first met while Misty was trying to calm down her raging Gyarados. The sea monster Pokémon had been experimented on by Team Rocket and was going on a rampage. Despite telling Ash (or Red, in this case) to stay away, he jumped in to help her. Together they were able to subdue Gyarados. Misty was impressed by Red's resolve, and teamed up with him to stop Team Rocket. Thus, a friendship was born.
7 No Happy Ending
Time to be the bearer of bad news. To those of you hoping Ash and Misty will get back together some time in the future, maybe give up. She's never going to be a main character again. Former director of the anime Masamitsu Hidaka said so himself. In an interview from 2008, he said Misty would only be returning in guest appearances like she has since leaving. The appearance would have to make sense too, like for a special battle or something similar. So, sorry shippers. Looks like a happy ending for this couple isn't on the horizon.
6 Plenty Of Fish In The Sea
As a Water-type Trainer, fishing is one of Misty's main hobbies. But what's weird is how linked her and Ash's relationship is to fishing. In the anime, the first time they meet is when Misty literally fishes Ash out of a river. With a hook and fishing pole and everything.
It goes on. The two's duel over who would catch Totodile in Johto devolved into a fishing competition between them. And even after Misty left, fishing kept her connected to Ash. During Diamond & Pearl, she sent Ash a special fishing lure that looked like a chibi version of herself.
5 Fair And Square
For a supposed Pokémon Master, Ash Ketchum seems to luck out in most of his battles. Heck, he won his first two Gym badges on technicalities. So whether he could actually win a battle against his friends was a question for a long time. He didn't defeat Misty fairly until Sun & Moon.
In their original gym battle, they were basically tied until Team Rocket interfered. After defeating them, Misty's sisters gave Ash the badge over Misty's objections. But twenty years later, they had a rematch and Ash finally earned that Cascade Badge. He beat Misty's Mega Gyarados to win it.
4 The Hidden Gym Leader
One of the more curious things about Ash and Misty's relationship is the fact that she never tells him that she's the Cerulean City Gym Leader until they get to her gym. There's no reason why she shouldn't. She knows Ash is training to be a Master, she's with him when he battles Brock. What's more curious is that this happens in every incarnation of Pokémon. Even those not based on the anime's story like the Adventures manga. Most people watching have played the games so they know she's the Cerulean Gym Leader. Why does she never tell Ash?
3 Ash Loves Misty (But Only In English)
As we've said, the anime writers have kept Ash and Misty's relationship deliberately vague. Declarations of love are rare, if they exist. Except for one instance. In the sixth movie, Jirachi-Wish Maker, Ash is reminiscing about old times and talks about a "special friend" he once had. Obviously this is implied to be Misty. Ash x Misty shippers hopped on the line as proof but there was one problem. It wasn't in the original Japanese dialog. 4kids Entertainment, the English localizers, added the line in for the movie's English release. So the two's feelings are still unclear. Darn creative translations.
2 The Tomboyish Mermaid
Misty stood out from other cartoon ladies of her day by having multiple shades to her personality. She was a tomboy with a short temper at times, but also embraced her feminine side, squealing over cute Pokémon. This dichotomy of hers came to the forefront in the Ash & Pikachu manga. A retelling of the anime's Johto arc, the Misty here often complained that Ash and Brock didn't treat enough like a lady. It was an odd detail because while Misty always had a ladylike side, it wasn't something she ever got hung up on. It's why she's called the "Tomboyish Mermaid."
1 Ash Never Replaced Her Bike
The catalyst for Ash and Misty's friendship was Pikachu destroying her bicycle in the very first episode. She was following Ash around because she expected him to replace it. But the little weasel never did.
Oh, Misty got her bike back but not from Ash.
After the Johto arc, it turned out Nurse Joy had fixed Misty's bike for her. By that point though, Misty didn't care. She was traveling with Ash just because she liked being with him. Ironically though, Ash remembered about her bike and expected Misty to stop traveling with him now that she had it back. The dope.