Pokémon, like a fatal disease, will never truly go away. It's like the grim spector of Death, always hovering, right behind you, no matter how far away from it you go. After all this time, people are still playing the games, watching the shows, and reminiscing about what has been. Maybe more of that last one though.
All of it started from the first iterations, Pokémon Red and Blue, and the original Pokémon anime. We fell in love with Pikachu, Brock, Ash, and of course Misty. One of the most prominent characters in the entire show, Misty was Ash's boon companion, possible love interest, and one of the first gym leaders he would face. She was loud, proud, and occasionally mean. But sometimes "mean" didn't quite cover it. Sometimes Misty went so far that even Team Rocket would go, "Yeesh." In a world where Pokémon are routinely used as fighting machines for young children to get fame and glory, we shouldn't be too surprised that even the most innocent-looking characters are responsible for some pretty terrible things.
Here are some of the most despicable things that Misty did, the stuff that makes her seem less a kid's show character, and more of an HBO character...
17 Was Kind Of An Abusive Parent
Misty was a Pokémon trainer, one of the best. From the beginning, she treated all of them like her children, and loved them all. She treated them all kindly and they all loved her. And then came Psyduck.
She treated Psyduck—a Pokémon that was perpetually confused—as an unwanted child that was thrust upon her. She screamed at him, moaned at him, and generally treated him like dirt. Imagine what the most stereotypically awful Soap Opera-esque Bad Mother is (are you imagining Bojack Horseman's mom? good), that's what she was like. If Psyduck was a human, it would have needed years of therapy to get over what Misty did to it. But, since it's a Pokémon, the damage can never be healed. Psyduck will be left alone with its trauma, crying into its Poké Ball, all alone. Maybe one day in the Pokémon universe, they'll make a book with Psyduck on the cover called, "A Pokémon Called It."
16 Had A Dark Secret
Misty, Ash, and Brock all traveled together for what, in the real world, was years, and in the Pokémon universe was... uh... a very long time. But despite Misty, Ash, and Brock being close friends, going through tough times together, and bonding, for the first leg of their journey, Misty hid who she really was from both of them—namely that she was a gym leader.
This is especially odd, and an almost meaningless lie, given that Brock was also a gym leader and Ash had no problems with him. In addition, Misty knew that Ash would eventually face her (or one of her sisters) so the lie wouldn't even hold water forever. She lied, it seemed, for the sheer thrill of it, merely because her black heart loved the idea of deceiving her friends. What, do you have a better reason for her lying?
15 Stalks A Child
Ash borrowed Misty's bike to save Pikachu's life and destroyed it in the process. We can understand being a bit upset or wanting restitution, but what we can't understand is literally stalking someone for years because of it. Yes, Misty, began stalking Ash after he broke her bike. Eventually, the two became close, but that is only because that's exactly how Stockholm Syndrome works.
Every single scene you see with Ash and Misty, you have to reexamine when you remember that she is literally stalking him through his journey. She was not invited and was not originally friends with Ash. She was merely stalking him in order to get him to pay for what he has done. Those are the actions of a mind-warped assassin, not a kid's show character.
14 Being Unkind To The Animals
Ash set off on his Pokémon journey, and Misty followed. Because it's a Pokémon world, this would take them through many strange places, but first off was a forest. There, Ash found a Caterpie, which became one of his most beloved Pokémon. But if it was up to Misty, it wouldn't be his most beloved, just his most flat. (Cuz she'd squish it.)
Because, man, did she hate that Pokemon. Even when Caterpie became a Metapod—a Pokémon that literally cannot even move—Misty still hated it. This was made worse by the fact that the Caterpie actually loved Misty and wanted to be close to her, because Pokémon are thinking, feeling beings. But Misty would have nothing to do with the bug. She shows flat-out revulsion for a being that wants nothing to do but be cared for and loved. Because she's despicable.
13 Domestic Disputes
Ash and Misty do not have what you could call a typical relationship, but the two of them are inarguably close, and romantically entwined—even if neither act on it. There's no kissing between the two of them, but there is a lot of physical contact. Because Misty beats the ever-loving snot out of Ash in almost every episode. Whenever Misty gets mad at Ash, she backhand slaps him, and even does the same to Brock, who functions as—more or less—their parent figure (when he's not flirting with every girl he meets).
You'd think a character who works out all of her feelings with punches might sound more like, say, Batman, than the sweet, Water-loving sidekick of Ash Ketchum. But nope, Misty is more punch happy than any superhero. Which, come to think of it, Misty would be a pretty cool superhero. Although she'd probably still just beat on Ash. Ah, well.
12 She's Anti-Love
Brock wasn't exactly a ladies man—though he wanted to be. Whenever he saw a Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny, he would immediately attempt to flirt with them. Despite this, he wasn't a creep about it. He oftentimes would meet beautiful women and attempt to talk to them, as you do when you're a single young man exploring the world.
But Misty? Misty would have none of that. Almost every time Brock attempted to talk to any woman, Misty would grab him by the ear and drag him away, like he was a dog peeing on the carpet. She wouldn't even allow him to say his greetings before grabbing his ear and yanking. While we can certainly appreciate looking out for women who are being hit on by random men, the fact is Misty rarely let Brock talk to any pretty woman before pulling him off like a bad vaudeville act.
11 Pulls A Team Rocket & Steals Pokémon
The Pokémon Togepi was one of the most famous characters introduced on the show. It was the first main Pokemon that came from the second generation (ie one of the ones after the original 151). At first, Togepi showed up as an egg that Ash was taking care of. However, as soon as Togepi was about to hatch, Misty shoved Ash out of the way, to get a closer look.
And then Togepi bonded with Misty, instead of Ash, and came to think of her as its mother. Due to this, and the fact that Ash was generally a nice dude who cared about Pokémon, he let Misty have Togepi. But none of that changes the fact that what was literally Ash's Pokémon was stolen by Misty, and she never showed a hint of remorse.
10 She's So Vain She Probably Thinks This Article Is About Her
Misty had a habit of being an overtly stereotypical—perhaps even insultingly stereotypical—girly girl. One of the ways these traits manifested was in her desire for things that were cute, cute, and only cute. We covered how much she hates bugs for being gross, but her vanity went beyond that.
One time, she got into an argument with Ash that the outside beauty of a Pokémon mattered more than anything else. Not their strength, or happiness, or heart, but just how adorable they were to look at. Misty eventually becomes the sole Cerulean city gym leader which means she'll be giving impressionable young trainers the lesson that beauty is only skin deep. This focus on beauty extends to herself as well, but more than anything, it is how she views Pokémon—as nothing more than moving stuffed animals. Which, okay, that does sound adorable.
9 Fish Are Friends, Not Food (Except To Misty)
Misty's main character feature is that she loves Pokémon more than a mouse loves cheese that is not inside a trap or part of a sadistic lab experiment. She hugs all of her Water-type Pokémon and gushes about them. Eventually, she becomes leader of an entirely Water-type focused gym. That, however, does not stop her from feasting on fishies.
Heck, the first time we see her, she's fishing. This is, in and of itself, a cruel and unusual sport that involves skewering creatures in the mouth with a knife and dragging them by their lips to the surface where they flop and drown. That's bad, but at least she eats them. Except, wait, she eats them? Her best friends?! At least they're not Pokémon, right? Well, see, eventually, the show phased out the idea that there were even non-Pokémon type animals in the show. That means all those fish that Misty ate? Fish-type Pokémon! How could you, Misty?! How could you!
8 Ghosted On Us
You might find this to be a bit of a weird complaint, given that we've show—conclusively—that Misty is one of the most despicable people in the Pokémon universe, if not all fictional universes. But, that said, we still really like her. Misty was an integral part of the show when it began, and hey, sure, she was an awful screaming black hole of emotions, but she was our awful screaming black hole of emotions.
Despite becoming tethered to our hearts, after she left Ash, she disappeared. For what seemed like ever. She reappeared recently in Pokémon Sun and Moon, for a mere two episodes, and then vanished again. We loved her, and after wanting nothing more than to see what would happen to her—and potentially her and Ash—she vanished out of our lives, never to be seen again.
7 Manipulates People
Some people are so broken, so monstrous inside, that even when they attempt to be a better person, nothing they do turns out right. All sweet words turn to snide remarks, and all attempts at consolation come out as bating, biting hurt. Misty is one of these people.
After encountering two Pokémon, a Nidoran and a Nidorina, quite in love, with owners who are decidedly less interested in each other, Misty attempts to save the Pokémon's love by writing letters to each trainer, pretending to be the other one. This is already a horrifying thing to do, but it doesn't even work right. She gets the Pokémon trainers more mad at each other than before, her plan backfiring stupendously. Even if what she had been attempting to do wasn't fraudulent and manipulative (which, after all, is her MO), it still caused nothing more than more grief and pain. Because Misty is just despicable.
6 Hypocritical Hate
When Misty was young, she climbed into the mouth of a Gyrados—that big blue water dragon that Magikarp evolves into?—and was almost eaten. This is not to excuse her actions, but to demonstrate how even a former trauma cannot sway her to compassion.
After traveling with Ash for awhile, Misty meets up with a Nurse Joy who has a reputation for being good with Water-type Pokémon. Overjoyed, Misty meets her, only to find out to her horror that Nurse Joy -- despite having a talent for Water-types—has an irrational dislike and hatred. Now, despite being terrified of Gyrados—another water type—and having an innate bond with Nurse Joy, Misty rejects all empathy and lambasts Nurse Joy for being just an awful, awful, terrible person. Sometimes the things we say to others are merely what we wish to say to ourselves.
5 She Has Issues With The Green Monster (Not Bulbasaur)
Hey, kids, pull up a chair and sit right there. We've got something to let you know. You might, soon, find yourself liking someone. If you do, there's lots of things you can do to show it, and be respectful. What you should definitely not do is abuse the person, and then, whenever anyone else shows them compassion and understanding, react with mindless rage, like unto The Hulk.
See, despite never telling Ash how she feels—and him being as oblivious as any other ten year old who wears their baseball cap crooked—Misty decides that he is not allowed to be interested in anyone else, ever. And if anyone else is interested in him, there'll be hell to pay. This even extends to other main character girls, such as May, who joined Ash shortly after Misty left. Despite not even being with him, Misty cannot bear to see Ash happy.
4 Became A Leader Knowing The Horrors Of The World
After Ash and Misty separate, becomes the sole gym leader of Cerulean City. Except she shouldn't do that, because Pokémon training is a horrible, horrible thing. Sure, Ash and Pikachu are nice to each other, but not every trainer is. Most of them are harsh and hard. And if that wasn't enough, what about the peril to all of the child trainers out there? Misty knows that Pokémon training isn't safe. She's been with Ash as he's approached death, getting stranded at the bottom of the ocean, attacked by Spearows. Misty's seen the damage Ash's journey has done to him. She's encountered trainers who whip their animals. She's faced down Team Rocket. Despite knowing this, she decides to support it anyway, staying in her gym only one town away from the gym owned by the head of Team Rocket.
3 Rips Apart Her Friends' Self Esteem
In recent years, there's been a focus on the type of abuse that can be done to someone that doesn't involve fists. While Misty is great at using her fists, she doesn't limit herself to them. She's got all sorts of tools in her arsenal, and one of her major ones is her voice. Not because it's annoying, but because she uses it to berate, scream at, manipulate, deceive, and gaslight her supposed best friends Ash and Brock. Throughout the series, she constantly puts them down and attempts to convince them that what they're saying is—and by extension, they themselves are—trash. Misty is a quite typical abuser. Her relationship with Ash is nothing if not a series of examples showing you what not to do if you wish to have a happy relationship.
2 Holds A Grudge Because Her Bike Saved Someone's Life
This might be the worst thing Misty does in the show. It was the first real action she took on-screen. While fishing (because, again, fish aren't friends to her), she pulled a near-death Ash and Pikachu out of the river. With Pikachu having as much energy as the lightbulb in your grandparents' spooky attic, Ash grabbed Misty's bike and rode away on it, getting it destroyed in the process. But, c'mon, he was doing it to save Pikachu's life. Misty held a grudge against Ash that lasted for her entire tenure on the show. Her entire purpose on the show was to remind Ash how bad of a person he was for saving Pikachu?? She left almost immediately after Ash got her a new bike, and until then, she ragged on him about it. Because to her, the bike was worth more than Pikachu's (and Ash's) life.
1 She Abandons The World
We've covered a bunch of bad things that Misty has done, but none of them are as bad as, say, a Doctor Doom. Except for this. Throughout the show, and the affiliated movies, Misty—along with Ash and Brock—save the world countless times. Our hero trio has made it so the Earth can keep on spinning. Despite that though, as soon as she gets her bike, Misty goes back to her gym, leaving Ash and Brock alone. This is tantamount to Superman getting back five bucks Batman owes him and then retiring to live in Kansas. Sure, he's not actively endangering the world, but he has power to help save it—and he's choosing to do nothing with it. This simple, callous act of Misty's—to put her own gym above the safety of the world—is truly her most despicable act ever.