Pokémon is home to wonderful, imaginative characters. And for more than two decades, more interesting ones have been added. Sure, the majority of them are the actual creatures themselves, but the trainers can provide intriguing links for fans who are keen on exploring this world and its inhabitants.
The anime, in particular, gives us the greatest sense of human characters rather than the manga or video games. And while the seemingly ageless Ash Ketchum is a fun protagonist for kids to join on a journey, not all human characters were created equally.
In the first episode, Ash met Misty: a Water-type trainer who would be one of several companions of Ash throughout the show. But as viewers would find out, she wasn’t the most skilled or even levelheaded trainer around. Here are 20 things Misty did that made it clear she was an awful trainer.
Misty keeps a team of all Water-type Pokémon: Horsea, Goldeen, Starmie, etc. But one of her team members she acquired accidentally. After he joined the show in Hypno’s Naptime, Misty showed nothing but contempt for the Pokémon.
While he wasn’t the brightest or most useful Pokémon, his constant headache was in the nature of all Psyduck. Rather than understand that, Misty constantly abused him out of frustration.
While this doesn’t have a negative impact on Togepi per se, it’s still a pretty rude thing to do. At one point in the show, Ash is given a mysterious egg to look after.
And just as it’s about to hatch, Misty pushes him out of the way to get a better look. Togepi hatches, imprints on Misty instead, so she gets to keep Ash’s Pokémon.
As already stated, Misty chooses favorites. And while she does have a strong bond with Togepi, it’s only because it’s the cutest.
Ash, on the other hand, has a strong connection with each Pokémon on his team. And he should. Their partnership is meant to be strong and long-lasting so they can work as a team. Aside from Togepi, Misty doesn’t really have that with any of her Pokémon.
Some would argue that Pokémon themselves are weapons and are used for fighting. But the way in which Misty once used Shellder was pretty violent.
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, Misty throws Shellder at Ash for staring at her too long while she’s in a bikini. I’m not saying Ash didn’t deserve it, I’m just saying Shellder didn’t.
Once Misty gets Togepi, she carries it around for almost the rest of the show. It becomes the sole purpose of her character; to take care of Togepi. While that’s somewhat poor character writing, it’s also irresponsible of her as a trainer.
Pikachu only stays outside because that’s his choice. And it still leads to trouble. As an infant, Togepi severely needs more protection from threats.
In the episode Bye Bye Psyduck, Misty believes that her Psyduck has evolved when a Golduck begins fighting for her during a battle. As it turns out, this Golduck just loved showing off for pretty girls and her Psyduck was M.I.A.
However, the amount of love and appreciation she shows towards Golduck is something that Psyduck has never experienced. She found value only in the evolved form.
Poor, poor Psyduck. He seems to care for his trainer, despite how often she shows she despises the dopey little guy. Before finally accepting that he was part of her team, she tried to get rid of him on a few occasions by either selling him or trading him.
It’s less callous in the games, but the bond between Pokémon and trainer is much stronger in the anime.
Even through all the complaining, Misty has come to rely on Psyduck on a number of occasions. He’s managed to save them all from certain doom with his random psychic abilities more than once.
But he even helped her defeat Ash in a Water-type only tournament. This was absolutely a fluke, as Ash’s Kingler clamped Psyduck’s head, causing a psychic episode. But you’d think she’d show gratitude more often.
Misty is constantly losing her temper with her friends and, notably, with Psyduck. There are obviously negative repercussions in these scenarios, but it goes a bit deeper than that.
Misty was once (and eventually becomes again) a Gym Leader. They are meant to teach others and learn from each defeat. But her negative attitude and short fuse must have a negative impact on her Pokémon.
There are plenty of trainers (most notably, Gym Leaders) who only use a certain type of Pokémon. This allows for certain difficulty curves while playing through the games.
But in the anime, even when she’s not a Gym Leader, Misty only sticks to using Water-type Pokémon. Water-types have a very exploitable weakness against Grass or Electric-types. Using only one type means her team will suffer in battle.
This isn’t anything negative Misty does to her Pokémon, but it is a very negative outlook on other Pokémon. Early on in the anime, Misty is shown to be absolutely disgusted by Bug-type Pokémon.
And it’s completely uncalled for. They’re never shown to be particularly nasty to her, but because they don’t fit her version of “cute,” she wants nothing to do with them.
One would think that after a while, Misty would grow to strive to actually making steps towards her goal, but she rarely ever does. For the most part, she’s just along for Ash’s journey.
She doesn’t try to learn more about different Water-type Pokémon, or the strengths and weaknesses of her team. And since she doesn’t, her team inevitably suffers from it.
A small but very strange thing: Misty is shown on several occasions fishing and eating fish. And since mentions of real-world animals in the world of Pokémon have always been rare, it seems pretty clear that Misty is eating fish Pokémon.
A Water-type trainer who catches and eats fish seems pretty hypocritical to me.
Because she never trains or strengthens her team, or researches different types of Pokémon, Misty is shown on several occasions to be far from the smartest trainer around.
She once sent Goldeen out on the road to battle Team Rocket (it’s a fish). Her Starmie also once lost to a random trainer’s Graveler despite having a distinct type advantage.
A lot of the time, cute doesn’t cut it when battling. There are a ton of great Water-type Pokémon that Misty could add to her team, but they don’t match her ideal Pokémon choice.
She does eventually get a Gyarados, but it’s close to when the character leaves the show. There are also plenty of dual-type Pokémon she could acquire, but for some reason never does.
Eventually, Togepi evolves into Togetic and parts ways with Misty in order to protect a group of other Togepi. It’s a fitting end to the partnership and a bit sad considering how much time the two had spent together.
But soon after, she simply takes to carrying around a different tiny adorable Pokémon. And essentially, nothing changes.
It could be argued that the Gym system projects the idea that Pokémon are tools to be used and that their strength is the most important quality.
When Misty leaves, she returns to being a Gym Leader, despite watching Ash have to disprove this idea countless times. And she’s neither skilled nor calm enough to treat her team with the same kindness or to teach less-experienced trainers this important lesson.
Even if you disregard Psyduck, Misty has always chosen favorites among her team. Once she gets the adorable Togepi, their bond is pretty much all the character becomes known for.
Ash’s favorite was always Pikachu, but he still had strong emotional bonds to each team member. Misty, on the other hand, cares about certain Pokémon far more than others.
From the very start, Misty makes it clear she only cares about building a cute team of Pokémon. In fact, she outright states that she believes it to be the most important quality of a Pokémon.
Not only is this incredibly shallow, but it could have a negative effect on her team. If she never tries to strengthen her team past a cute factor, then the team will never grow.
Ash wants to be the very best like no one ever was. It’s his dream. Misty’s dream, supposedly, is to prove to her older sisters how skilled of a Water-type trainer she can be.
And yet, she’s never shown training her Pokémon. Ash trains with his team constantly because he has a goal in mind. But Misty only lets them out to relax or battle, but they all need training.