December 21, 2018

Trainer Spotlight: Brock and Misty

This month, the spotlight shines on two of the most well-known Gym Leaders in the world of Pokémon: Brock and Misty.

The recent release of Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! for the Nintendo Switch inspires nostalgia as we return to the Kanto region. And when a Pokémon fan thinks of the Kanto region, there's a good chance they'll think of Brock and Misty.

These two Gym Leaders are big names in the world of Pokémon, and thanks to their significant (and frequently concurrent) roles in Pokémon the Series, it's hard to talk about one without talking about the other. Refamiliarize yourself with these two iconic characters in this Trainer Spotlight.

In Pokémon the Series

Pokémon the Series has been on the air for more than 20 years, and one aspect that remains constant is that our hero Ash Ketchum always has at least one traveling companion as he explores the Pokémon world. As Ash's first two (human) partners on his ongoing journey, Brock and Misty are still fondly remembered—in fact, the trio's recent reunion in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon was treated as a very special occasion.

Misty shows up in the very first episode of Pokémon the Series (“Pokémon—I Choose You!”) when Ash makes a less-than-great first impression by “borrowing” her bike to escape a flock of furious Spearow, with the promise to “give it back someday!” She meets up with Ash again in the next episode (“Pokémon Emergency”), when she tracks him down to reclaim her stolen property (which—whoops—has been burned to a crisp by Pikachu's electricity). She vows to stick with Ash until he's able to pay her back. It isn't until later that Ash learns Misty's true identity as a Cerulean City Gym Leader (“The Water Flowers of Cerulean City”).

We meet Brock when Ash challenges the Pewter City Gym (“Showdown in Pewter City”) for his first badge. Gym Leader Brock gives Ash a harsh lesson in type matchups when he pits his Onix against Ash's Pikachu (as a Ground type, Onix is immune to Pikachu's Electric-type moves). Later, we learn that the seemingly gruff Brock is actually a tender caregiver who takes care of his many younger siblings in the absence of their parents. Don't mistake Brock's tenderness for weakness, though. During a fierce rematch with Ash, Brock is dedicated to pushing his Pokémon to the limit, urging his Onix to keep fighting even after it's weakened when the Gym's sprinklers are set off during the battle.

When Ash calls off the fight due to the circumstances, Brock is inspired by his opponent's spirit and reveals that his true desire is to become a Pokémon Breeder. The surprise return of Brock's father gives Brock the opportunity to join Ash and Misty to pursue his dream.

The three become true friends and go on to have many fantastic adventures. Misty eventually forgives Ash for trashing her bike, but she's no pushover—she can become frustrated when her friends act immature, and she's not shy about expressing her opinions. Her Psyduck certainly gets the occasional earful when it pops up at inopportune moments.

Misty will definitely let you know how she feels about Bug-type Pokémon, which really creep her out. When she finds a Pokémon she cares for, however, she becomes incredibly devoted and protective. This is especially apparent with her Togepi, who bonded with her immediately after it hatched from an Egg. She raised it until it evolved into Togetic, and then released it so it could help protect the Mirage Kingdom (“A Togepi Mirage”).

Brock has a natural instinct for taking care of people and tends to dole out advice to his friends in an effort to keep them out of trouble. He is also a skilled cook and frequently prepares meals for Ash, Misty, and their Pokémon partners...although he does have an odd habit of mistaking onigiri (Japanese rice balls) for donuts or sandwiches. One quirk of Brock's personality is his habit of developing an enormous and immediate crush on just about any woman he meets—just ask Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny. This often leads to Misty angrily dragging him away when he won't leave the ladies alone. (In Misty's absence, Brock's Croagunk is typically the one who ensures he stays in line.)

Despite Brock and Misty's close relationship with each other and Ash, circumstances force them to go their separate ways, but they remain good friends and continue to reunite on occasion. Recently, Ash made the journey from Alola to Kanto for a brief visit home, and his friends from the Pokémon School came along for a field trip! This prompted a reunion—and a few heated Pokémon battles with Brock and Misty (“Alola, Kanto!” and “When Regions Collide!”).

In the Video Games

Brock and Misty have been part of the Pokémon video game series right from the start, with their appearance as the Pewter City and Cerulean City Gym Leaders (respectively) in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. They both return as Gym Leaders in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver and then again in Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 as opponents in the Kanto Leaders Tournament at the Pokémon World Tournament. You'll even find the pair in Pokémon Stadium, Pokémon Stadium 2, and Pokémon Puzzle League!

The people of Kanto speak highly of Brock. As a Gym Leader, he is liked and respected by other Pokémon Trainers, and he is known to take his responsibilities seriously. Brock is a master of Rock-type Pokémon, and he boasts of his partners' strong will and “true-grit determination.” Of course, Brock's trademark Onix may be big, but even it is vulnerable to a strong Water- or Grass-type attack.

In the video games, Misty is referred to as “the Tomboyish Mermaid,” a title that suits her well. The people of Kanto know her for her exceptional skill with Water-type Pokémon and her constant training. It's not all business for Misty, though—in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, the player can interrupt Misty while she's out on a date with her boyfriend. Naturally, she does not take this well. In battle, you can count on Misty sending in her partner Starmie, so make sure you have some Grass- or Electric-type Pokémon ready to engage.

Recently, Brock and Misty have returned in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! Their battle strategies haven't changed much after all these years, so you should be able to earn the Boulder and Cascade Badges with no problem!

In the Pokémon TCG

As such prominent characters in the world of Pokémon, Brock and Misty have been part of the Pokémon Trading Card Game since the early days. The two were introduced in the Gym Heroes expansion way back in 2000, and each had their own theme deck that included cards focused on them, their Gyms, and their Pokémon.

The original Brock card plays into the character's nurturing side, allowing the player to heal 10 damage from each of their Pokémon. Brock's Training Method lets the player search their deck for any Pokémon that bears Brock's name and put it into their hand. Fortunately, several Pokémon in the Gym Heroes expansion are on Brock's team, so this card is a good way to get one of the Rock-Solid Pokémon Trainer's best battlers into play.

Brock appeared again in the Gym Challenge expansion with Brock's Protection, which works somewhat like a Pokémon Tool card—you attach it to one of Brock's Pokémon, and then your opponent can't remove that Pokémon's attached Energy by using an attack or a Trainer card.

More recently, Brock returned in the XY—Evolutions expansion with Brock's Grit. This card lets players shuffle a combination of 6 Pokémon and basic Energy cards from their discard pile into their deck. It's a nice representation of Brock's determination and drive to take a strategy that has seemingly been defeated and urge it back into action to continue the battle.

Misty's history in the Pokémon TCG is quite similar to Brock's. She debuted in the Gym Heroes expansion with her own theme deck, returned in Gym Challenge, and then took several years off before making a comeback.

The original Misty card boosts the attacks of Misty's Pokémon by 20 damage the turn it's played (at the cost of discarding 2 other cards). As with Brock, several Pokémon in this expansion are on Misty's team.

Misty has two different cards in the Gym Challenge expansion. Misty's Wish allows the player to look at one of their Prize cards and switch it with a card in their hand—but only if the opponent agrees. (If the opponent says no, the player gets to draw a card instead.) Misty's Tears lets the player discard a card to search their deck for up to 2 Water Energy cards.

Years later, Misty returned with the Misty's Determination card from the XY—BREAKpoint expansion. Here, discarding a card lets the player look at the top 8 cards of their deck and put 1 of them into their hand. The same card reappears in XY—Evolutions with different artwork.

Misty's cards tend to involve manipulating the player's hand, allowing them to prepare strategies for the perfect attack. This ties in with the depiction of this Gym Leader in the video games, where she uses a combination of natural skill and intense training to prepare her Pokémon for battle.

Whether you look at them separately or take them as a pair of devoted friends, there's no doubt that Brock and Misty are two of the most popular characters in the world of Pokémon. Given their long-running popularity, we wouldn't be surprised to see these two make more appearances in the future. Until that time, though, please look forward to our next Trainer Spotlight!

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