Although it's been over 10 years since viewers were first introduced to Misty, the Cerulean Gym Leader with a fiery temper and heart of gold, she continues to be one of the franchise's most popular characters. Specializing in water-type Pokémon, she joins Ash in his adventures as early as the very first episode of Pokémon: Indigo League.
Misty quickly established herself as a smart, loyal, and independent character. And while we Pokémon fans may remember her fondly, revisiting the series throws up a number of questions about the young adventurer. From motivations to character design to creator choices, let's take a look at 10 questionable things about Misty.
10 Bike Repairs
Although Misty dreams of being an expert water-type trainer, her true motivations for joining Ash on his journey are unclear. When they first meet in the anime's first episode, Ash took Misty's bike to rush his injured Pikachu to the nearest Pokémon Center. Accidentally wrecking the bike, Misty vows to follow Ash until he repays her for the damages. But even once he buys her a new bike, Misty wants to tag along on his adventures.
But why stick around? Some fans have speculated that there's a romantic spark hidden beneath the pair's bickering. Or maybe she saw it as her best opportunity to pursue her own goal of becoming a Master Trainer.
9 Big Responsibility
This is true of most children in the Pokémon world, given that 10-year-olds who dream of becoming trainers are sent out alone into the wild to begin their adventures, but Misty has had a lot of responsibility placed on her very young shoulders.
Longing to become a Gym Leader like her parents, Misty realized the struggles that come with the role when her parents, weighed down by the pressures, abandoned Misty and her siblings, leaving the four young girls to look after Cerulean Gym. Forced to stick to the strict regulations that come with the role, the 10-year-old was forced to grow up quickly and prove herself more responsible than her own parents.
8 What's In A Name?
Speaking of family, Misty is the only one of the four siblings not to be named after a flower. We quickly learn that the red-haired Gym Leader has always been the odd one out of the Cerulean sisters, Daisy, Violet, and Lily, when we meet them in "The Water Flowers of Cerulean."
Misty's hot-headedness contrasts their cool personalities, while her tomboyish behavior is out of place next to their more traditionally feminine interests. They're not overly supportive of their younger sister's ambitions either, mocking her for giving up her Gym Leader role to become a water-type Master Trainer. Nevertheless, Misty went on to prove that she could blossom in her own way, with or without a flowery name.
7 Not All Water-Type Pokémon Are Created Equal
While Misty strives to become an expert in water-type Pokémon, her deep love for the creatures only extends so far. She strikes up an iconic love-hate relationship with the adorable Psyduck after accidentally catching one after dropping a Pokéball that the confused Psyduck wandered into.
She also has a deep fear of one of Gen I's most powerful water-type Pokémon: Gyarados. After crawling into a Gyarados' mouth as a baby and nearly being swallowed, she (understandably) developed a phobia of them. While she confronted her fears to save Cerulean Gym from being terrorized by one, this experience might explain her overwhelming preference for cute Pokémon.
6 Fashion Faux Pas
Misty's yellow crop top, jean shorts, and red suspenders might have become an iconic look, inspiring cosplayers across the globe, but within the show itself, it makes for a peculiar fashion choice for adventuring.
While the other characters usually have a jacket and long trousers to brave the mild weather, camp outdoors, or trail through tall grass, Misty almost always wears the same outfit. She doesn't even get a sweater when it's cold! And while her suspenders may look cool, they don't seem to have any practical use, as her shorts fit her perfectly. It's a bizarre choice, best suited for catching Pokémon in tropical locations.
5 I Choose You, Staryu
In the Pokémon Universe, trainers usually work to level-up and evolve their Pokémon, but Misty is a rare example of a trainer who carries Pokémon from the same family at various stages of evolution. Armed with both an unevolved Staryu and an evolved Starmie, Misty's certainly a loyal collector.
What makes this truly unusual is that Misty prefers to use Staryu – the (arguably) weaker Pokémon – when she needs help in battle or if her friends need help in the water. While she has a good relationship with Starmie, Misty's dedicated loyalty to Staryu over its evolved counterpart is never explained, leaving viewers wonder why she wouldn't opt to send the stronger Pokémon into battle.
4 Fickle Phobias
The young adventurer is clear-cut when it comes to her likes and dislikes, and there are three things Misty hates most in the world: carrots, peppers, and bug-type Pokémon. When Ash's Caterpie looks for a comforting hug from her, she runs in terror, begging Ash to recall it, and she'd prefer to avoid stumbling across a wild Paras.
But for someone with a deep-seated dislike of bug-type Pokémon, Misty will gladly make an exception for a handful of the creepy crawly critters – if they're cute. Determined to assemble an adorable roster of Pokémon, Misty loves Butterfree, so long as she doesn't have to deal with one in its unevolved Caterpie state!
3 Holding Interest
Throughout the series, Misty proved to be a stubborn, determined, caring young protagonist. But this wasn't the creators' intentions when they introduced her to the show as a recurring character. Misty was added to the roster as "eye candy" to help attract boys as viewers. The creators believed her role to be secondary, explaining why she was the first to leave the original trio of travelers and quickly replaced by another girl companion.
However, Misty wasn't a hit with male viewers, instead establishing herself as a complex and relatable heroine for the young girls who watched the show, which makes her absence from the core group even more devastating.
2 Togepi's True Trainer
When thinking of Misty, it's hard to imagine her without her trusty Togepi clutched tightly in her arms. Their unbreakable bond captured viewers' imaginations very quickly. But Togepi, the first Gen II Pokémon to be caught in the show, wasn't caught by Misty. Technically, the little egg Pokémon belongs to Ash.
After finding the unhatched egg, Ash arranged a tournament between himself, Brock, Misty, and Meowth to decide who could keep it, and came out victorious. However, when Togepi hatched, Misty was the first person it saw. Twisting the trope, the Pokémon chose the trainer for once, and Togepi followed Misty everywhere, leaving Ash to begrudgingly hand it over to his friend.
1 Gotta Catch Ya Later!
Misty travelled with Ash for 273 episodes, with a few guest-appearances in later seasons, making her the longest-lasting female companion in the show. While she gave up her travels a long time ago, her lasting impact on the franchise can still be felt with trademark gags (such as grabbing Brock's ear when he's making a fool of himself) being carried forward by subsequent girl characters.
Given Misty's legacy and lasting popularity, it's surprising that the show's creators hold firm in the belief that she'd reached the end of her arc and had no reason to return as a permanent character. But considering Misty's conflicted feelings about leaving the gang in episode 273 and her reluctant send off, fans still hold onto hope that she'll return one day.