Character Returns: Misty’s Sisters/The Sensational Sisters/Daisy, Violet and Lily
Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived on the edge of Viridian City, hopeful to soon acquire Ash’s eighth and final Badge – the Earth Badge. However, Misty is troubled. Horsea is depressed, seemingly because it’s been unable to get out and swim in a wide open area. Misty tries to get it to swim in fountains and small bodies of water, but it’s not good enough.
Misty suggests taking a detour to Cerulean City to allow Horsea to get some exercise in the big pool in her Gym, and Brock and Ash think it’s a great idea. She calls ahead to her sisters to give them a heads up and they head out.
When they arrive, her sisters reveal that their shows aren’t doing so hot, but they have a plan. They’re going to put on a new underwater ballet called The Magical Mermaid. They also reveal that Misty is the headliner, much to her shock and annoyance because the show is the following day and she hasn’t agreed or prepared in any way. Her sisters successfully guilt-trip/trick her into doing it, however.
The next day, she skillfully plays her part as the titular mermaid, impressing the audience with her and the Water Pokemon’s underwater dancing. The show is going off spectacularly, but Team Rocket bursts in to ruin their fun. They tie up Lily and Violet, who were set to play the villains of the story, and take their places in the show but for real. They intend on stealing all of the Gym’s Water Pokemon during the performance.
Luckily, Misty won’t take that lying down, and eventually Ash and Brock also rush in to help her. Jessie’s Arbok is the only one able to fight underwater, but Misty and Ash have all of the Cerulean Water Pokemon, Misty’s own team and Ash’s Squirtle to combat him. Horsea is sidelined rather quickly because it simply doesn’t have the power to fight very well. Misty uses Seaking in its place, along with her own Starmie.
Even with everything in their favor, Arbok still seems to have their backs against the wall. Suddenly, Seel, a seldom-used Pokemon of the Gym, steps in to protect its friends. Teaming with Misty, it manages to get Arbok on the ropes with some Headbutts and an Aurora Beam.
Its efforts are paid off when Seel starts evolving into Dewgong! No longer the little ‘baby Seel’ everyone underestimated, Dewgong Ice Beams the trio into a block of ice.
Once they’ve evacuated the pool of all Pokemon and people (not Team Rocket) Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock the water in order to finish off Team Rocket. A final thwack from Dewgong’s powerful tail sends all of them blasting off.
In spite of Team Rocket’s intrusion (or maybe because of it?) the show was a huge success, and now Misty’s sisters can enjoy massive crowds in their shows once more. Despite Misty leaving again, they explain that they can just take turns playing the role of the mermaid.
Before she leaves, Misty’s sisters suggest borrowing some of Misty’s Pokemon in order to help out with the shows. Misty is upset at this request, but Brock justifies at least leaving Horsea since it obviously needs regular exercise in big bodies of water that it can’t get while traveling with Misty. She agrees with this logic and hands over Horsea, but is appalled to hear they also want her Starmie. She agrees to this request too, albeit more begrudgingly, and the group heads off before they try to siphon off Misty’s blood for profit or something.
Biding her sisters goodbye, Misty, Ash and Brock head back to Viridian City.
– I love how they’re all “We’re not near the ocean” when they realize Horsea needs a big body of water to get some exercise…..they literally just pointed out that they came from Cinnabar ISLAND.
Also, considering you’re all supposed to be on the outskirts of Viridian City, it looks like you’re pretty close to the ocean from where I technically stand.
See, this is why you guys need a better map.
Actually, while we’re on the subjects of maps, note how far away Viridian City is from Cerulean City (It’s two squares away from Viridian heading northeast). They’d have to go through the Viridian Forest, to Pewter City and then walk about a quarter the length of the entire region east to get there. It’s quite the detour just to get a seahorse to a pool.
I was going to mention how this is kinda 4Kids fault, because, as Dogasu’s comparison states, the original just has them in some random town stopping off at a park as they’re on their way to Viridian City – they’re not right there at the city limits or anything…..but then I thought about it….The original actually makes this WORSE. They came from Cinnabar and were traveling to Viridian, who knows how far away they actually were from it, and still decided to traverse nearly halfway across the region on a whim. Wow.
– I get why Water Pokemon, especially ones without legs, need to exercise in water, but why is it just Horsea? Why not Goldeen?
– Misty: *on the phone with her sisters* “How are you? We’re coming to visit!” Maybe give them a second to respond to your question before blurting out your news, Misty.
– Wait, wait, wait….So….they’ve been planning this underwater ballet for weeks, seemingly always intending that Misty be the star, if that poster is any indication, yet they had to wait until the huge coincidence that is Misty suddenly visiting out of the blue, a day before the event no less, for them to actually secure her for their act.
The only way I can see this really working is if Misty took several weeks to get back home, which actually isn’t that unrealistic considering the distance, but if that’s true, holy shit…..just…holy shit, they traveled for days, maybe weeks just to get a seahorse in some water when they literally just left the ocean an episode ago.
But if they really started pulling all of this together after she called, why are they pissed that she seemingly didn’t rush right over?
Also, why are none of her other sisters taking the role? They mention how their water shows aren’t raking in the crowds anymore, but that doesn’t imply that they as performers are stale. And, skipping ahead a bit, the girls do play roles in the ballet, so they’re not concerned about people disliking them. Couldn’t they have just hired another actress who can swim? Just seems like a big stretch for this whole setup.
– Lily and Violet cheer that they managed to trick Misty into agreeing….right in front of her…meaning, she could just choose to decline right now out of spite. Good on her for not doing that, she’s a woman of her word, but screw her sisters….barring Daisy because she at least looks ashamed of them.
– Another near-death experience for unsupervised Togepi. Mother of the year, Misty.
– Horsea SWAM AWAY while Togepi was about to fall in the pool. Guess the seahorse doesn’t fall far from the Misty.
– I love Misty’s glare and pout at the start of rehearsal.
– Pbbbbttsahsahshahhahahahahaha that awkward ‘I have to hug my sister because my mom is forcing me for a Christmas photo op’-esque hug Misty and Daisy are doing during rehearsal.
– That is even more awkward in context considering they’re hugging because their characters fall in love. Tell me again why they didn’t at least hire someone to play the prince. Or, hey, and this isn’t for the sake of shipping, why not get Ash to do it?
(Awkward note: Violet wrote this entire play….with Misty in mind for being the star and Daisy being the prince…..meaning she purposefully designed a story in which two of her sisters fall in love……..Eeeeggghhhhh.)
– Rehearsal’s kinda pointless if you can run through the entire play in less than a minute. Also, this story kinda sucks, but I guess it was a fairy tale for kids written in either 15 minutes or several weeks ago.
– Brock: “I like that charming prince!”
Ash: “I like the Seel!” *chortle* I dunno why that got me.
– Ugh, this episode reeks of filler budget if you know what I mean. It’s weird. There are some great shots and expressions but just as many awful shots and animations.
– Jessie: “It looks like there will be a lot of Water Pokemon in that show.” Jessie….there’s a lot of Water Pokemon there all the time….it’s the Cerulean City Gym…Remember? The place where you tried to steal all of the many Water Pokemon they had?
– Daisy: “I am, like, so happy we tricked Misty into this!” Oh….here I thought you were actually ashamed of tricking her. Nevermind, they’re all bitches.
– It’s adorable that Brock’s feeding popcorn to Togepi….but babies shouldn’t have popcorn.
– Some dude in the audience: “Yeah the effects are totally cool!” What effects? All you’ve seen so far is the pool being lifted up so everyone can see in the water.
– Misty looks really cool as the magical mermaid.
– Shellder! I usually don’t get to express how much I love that little bivalve.
– I like how they show little instances of hidden places where they’ve planned for Misty to get a breath. It’s a small detail, but it’s pretty cool. Adds to the realism.
– Lily: “Hm, maybe I should’ve played the magical mermaid. She has a much nicer costume!”
Violet: “That is, like, totally selfish. Besides, that costume would look better on me!” Are you just now realizing that the role you’ve all described as being beautiful and magnificent has a more appealing costume than one of the thugs trying to kidnap her? Also, this just opens the door back up for that question of why they insisted Misty be the mermaid at all.
– I’ll keep saying this until the day I die – James always looks amazing in women’s clothing. Look at him pulling off that swan lake-ish outfit like it was made for him. Work it, James!
– Aw yawning Shellder!
– Jessie: “Nobody’s better at stealing Water Pokemon than we are!” Says the person who failed to steal any Water Pokemon the last time they targeted this exact Gym…..
– James: “And next time we steal men’s clothes!” 4Kids, don’t play this that way. Jessie is wearing men’s clothing right now. If he really didn’t want to wear the ballerina outfit, he’d just wear the prince outfit and Jessie would wear the ballerina outfit. But he chose the ballerina outfit because he looks fabulous in it. Let him be fabulous.
– Eh, I’ll just chalk up the talking underwater stuff to cartoon logic.
– I will ding them for being able to hear Meowth without any distortion whatsoever when he’s hovering above the water and they’re standing at the bottom of the pool.
– So Team Rocket basically nearly got away with a school of Goldeen? I mean, yeah that’s still terrible, but I doubt Giovanni would ever be impressed with a bunch of Goldeen.
– How is Arbok breathing underwater right now?
– This is Horsea’s final episode, and it’s proven more than ever to be useless. Actually, considering how useless it is in battle and the fact that it can’t function without constant access to big pools of water, it’s actually to Misty’s benefit that it stay behind in the Cerulean Gym.
– Misty: “I know. You haven’t been feeling well.” Horsea’s not sick. It just got depressed because it hasn’t been able to swim in a big body of water for maybe two days. Again, they literally just came from the ocean after spending days on an island.
– I love that Misty can easily command Seaking too. Reminds you of the fact that she is, in fact, the Cerulean City Gym Leader.
– Ash: “Good job, Misty!”
Misty: “Thank my sisters. They trained it.” Love Misty for giving her sisters props when she honestly doesn’t have to, especially considering they’ve been so shitty to her since she got there.
– Violet: “Only Water Pokemon can battle in water.” Factually incorrect on so many levels. Arbok’s battling just fine and it’s not a Water Pokemon. Also, Dratini/Dragonair excels underwater and it’s not part Water. Technically, as long as a Pokemon isn’t weak to water and can hold their breath, or has a rebreather, then it can probably battle underwater just fine. Weezing is a unique case because of course it would float to the surface, being loaded with light gas and everything.
– Violet: “Go Psyduck!” For real, Violet? For actual real? Granted, I’m not sure she knows what a dunderhead Psyduck is (or the fact that it, ironically, can’t swim) but Misty has to have told her sisters some things about it since Violet knows Misty has one and was even able to locate his Pokeball with ease. If Misty did talk to Violet about it, then I can’t imagine she didn’t share her anger at its ineptitude. That’s pretty much all she talks about when Psyduck is brought up.
Also, maybe I’m being a hypocrite, but despite liking Misty battling with the Gym’s Pokemon, I’m not sure how I feel about her sisters commanding her own personal team.
– Violet: “Misty’s Psyduck is, like, totally embarrassing.” I feel like you did that on purpose.
– Ash: “Underwater Tackle!” Ash…..even if you just said “Tackle”….it’d still be….an underwater Tackle….Squirtle wouldn’t be confused and go “Oh, a regular Tackle. But we’re underwater. Guess Ash wants me to move this battle to dry land.”
– Why does Arbok start lunging after everyone with its fangs when Jessie called for a Poison Sting attack? Isn’t that a Bite? I would say maybe it’s using a venomous bite, but as we’ve gone over before, venom and poison are two different things. Plus Arbok’s Poison Sting has always been a bunch of shining needles shooting from its mouth.
– It’s also quite weird that three well-trained Water Pokemon, two of which being Misty’s Starmie and Ash’s Squirtle, are so scared to death of Arbok’s Poison Sting – an attack they’ve faced many times.
– Violet: “It’s over!” A three on one against Jessie’s Arbok…underwater, which is Misty’s home field….with the three in question being high-ish level Water Pokemon…..is considered easily won by Arbok because he has ‘cornered’ them (underwater, meaning they have many avenues of escape) and intends on using Poison Sting? Careful, you’ll dirty the water with all that bullshit.
– How is this Seel considered a ‘baby’ when it not only knows Aurora Beam, which requires level 35, but is also on the tipping point of evolution, which occurs at level 34?
– What the hell? Look at how tiny Seel is compared to Arbok during the whirlpool sequence. Arbok’s like a titan.
– Lily: “I never knew Seel was, like, this strong.” …….Wait…..you never trained the thing? What, did you just happen to catch Seel at a high level by default? So many people in this frickin’ show never train their Pokemon. It’s unreal.
Daisy: “We never let it, like, be itself.” Where did that come from?
– How does Misty know how strong Seel is when she’s been gone for so long? She even knows it knows Aurora Beam….Maybe SHE trained it before she left and her sisters didn’t notice or care.
– *Seel starts evolving*
Brock: “Look what’s happening to Seel!”
Violet: “What’s that?”
Lily: ”What’s Seel doing?” Have you experienced Pokemon Trainers and GYM LEADERS never seen a Pokemon evolve before?
– I wonder if it’s weird for a Pokemon to be addressed differently after it evolves. You spend your whole life being called one name but then you evolve and suddenly people call you a completely different name. This is one of the reasons why it’s kinda stupid that Pokemon nicknames aren’t more common. It’d just so obviously be a thing most people would do. Imagine getting a puppy and calling it Puppy until it’s about a year old and then you start calling it Dog.
– Why Use the Pokedex?: Ash declares that he knows this is a Dewgong before ‘dexing it.
– Am I the only one who thinks using Ice Beam underwater would freeze the water surrounding it too? It’s like a laser will heat up an entire container of water instead of just shooting through to its target.
– What the hell!? Team Rocket is frozen solid, and instead of calling the cops or something Ash and the others opt to drag all of the Water Pokemon out of the pool so Pikachu can shock the everloving crap out of them? You’re a cold-blooded sadist, Ash.
Although, I get that this whole spiel is just to give Pikachu the spotlight again….
– Alright, they’re shocked now and clearly defeated. Time to–
*Dewgong tail-slaps them all out of the Gym, blasting them off*
Is the legal system in Pokemon just royally screwed? Is that why no one ever seems to want these people arrested?
– Why are Misty’s sisters all taking a bow and waving? They did absolutely nothing this whole time.
– Violet: “And if you decide to leave, Lily and I can take turns playing the mermaid.”
So you acknowledge that Misty didn’t have to play the mermaid and either of you could have done the job just fine? You three continue to be a cluster of canker sores.
– Daisy: “If they decide to leave, we totally won’t have enough Pokemon.”
No, really, why? This is the Cerulean City Gym. Don’t they have tons of Water Pokemon there? This Magical Mermaid show doesn’t call for more Pokemon than their other shows. They’re largely aesthetic.
Also, they’re kinda screwed either way, aren’t they? Because people will be clamoring about the explosions and the ‘air show’ and the big Pokemon battle and the funny Psyduck and the Arbok and the evolution and all the other cool stuff that they won’t be able to pull off without Misty, Ash and even Team Rocket playing a part.
– Violet: “Bummer. Maybe we can borrow some of Misty’s Pokemon.” Yes, why go out and capture some new and interesting Pokemon when you can just mooch off of your sister?
Also, bitch move to ask that after she’s already done so much for you, considering you forced her into doing something she didn’t have to do in the first place all because you’re manipulative harpies.
– Lily: “You better give us your Starmie, too.” Fuck you! Not only is it really greedy to ask for more when she’s already agreed to give up one Pokemon after all of this, but the one that is essentially her strongest? Come on! Granted, it is a little redundant to have a Staryu and a Starmie, but still. I’d think it’d be more logical to give up Staryu. It made perfect sense to leave Horsea here, it was the weakest link in Misty’s team and needed to be in water, but taking Starmie as well is a bit much. Now Misty’s team is really barren.
– Misty: “Oh, how can I say no?” Like this.
Seriously, though? How can you say no? You’re acting like they’re sweet-talking you when they’re pretty much demanding your Starmie.
– Oh but she draws the line at Togepi. Every single one of them is dripping with favoritism.
– *pushes Psyduck their way* Misty: “But you can keep this if you want it!”
Lily and Violet: “We’re not THAT desperate!” First of all, Misty, keep “this”? Stop referring to Psyduck like it’s a thing. Second, stop shitting on poor Psyduck, all of you.
– Oh hey a mention of Misty’s destroyed bike. Looking back, that’s actually kinda depressing foreshadowing because I believe the next time Misty will contact her sisters will be when Misty is written out of the show – which is when her bike will also conveniently be fixed.
– Fitting that the Pikachu’s Jukebox for this episode is the song ‘Viridian City’ where the lyrics are “We’re on the road to Viridian City.” Because they are….even though they were right next to it at the start of the episode and will have to travel god knows how long to get back there.
As much as this episode is heavy with story and art/animation problems, I can’t deny that I fondly remember it and still enjoyed it on this rewatch. It was nice to return to the Cerulean Gym, and Misty is an absolute delight in this episode. She’s badass and cool, elegant and fun, and even though her sisters are screwing her over she’s still being shockingly accommodating to their wishes – even to the point where she pretty much sacrificed half her team to them.
I also love the concept of the underwater ballet, even if the underwater battle was a bit of a missed opportunity. You can tell they really didn’t care about water physics, how sound would be affected or really anything else. Some things can be hand-waved by budgetary constraints, but others can’t. Bad time to be hit with a bad art and animation two-fer. Outside of them using their rebreathers, you’d only barely notice they were underwater. Also, a Poison Type snake nearly singlehandedly defeated three moderately high level Water Pokemon UNDERWATER is bafflingly bad writing. Arbok can hardly ever get the upperhand on land. There’s no reason whatsoever that Arbok didn’t drown that whole time, let alone that he would be dominating this match until Seel comes in.
Misty’s sisters did irritate me, as usual, but I was able to mostly tune them out. They honestly could have just politely asked Misty over the phone if she’d do it instead of springing it on her when she arrived and acting as if she should know she’s the star of their show. Misty is being incredibly kind this whole time. Surely she’d agree if they were nice about it and gave her a heads up. But nope. Instead they guilt-tripped and tricked her. Granted, that is totally a sister thing to do.
I really believe she should have been given Dewgong, though. They even pointed out how much it made sense by Daisy saying they never let it be itself. Misty helped bring out Seel’s strength, and it’d be a fine trade for Starmie. But nope. They just took and took and gave nothing back to her. Makes me glad she eventually takes the Gym back over down the line. She deserves it more than they do.
Next episode, I get a feeling of dread because I really don’t think I liked this one. Jigglypuff returns and has a beef with a Clefairy.
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4 thoughts on “Pokemon Episode 61 Analysis: The Misty Mermaid”
Great analysis! Misty can really hold her breath for a long time. Her nearly drowning in that shell used to scare me as a kid
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[…] Pokemon Episode 61 Analysis: The Misty Mermaid (Anime Madhouse, @TheFiddleTwix) […]
I remember that episode, but I forgot about how annoying Misty’s sisters were. Wow, all the implications make this even worse with the family dynamic and everything. I also underestimated how sadistic Ash can me when you mentioned the scene of Team Rocket being frozen.
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The biggest problem with how Misty was handled in the anime, is the writers just didn’t really care much about her goal or pokemon. They used Psyduck for comedy, but the rest of her pokemon are just there and only appear randomly with no real development. It doesn’t matter so much for Kanto since its the first series and focused on comedy, but once you get into Johto it gets really dire especially for Misty.
One of the reasons the writers made the decision to axe Misty from the show, as well as give May and Dawn bigger roles than she had, is because they basically admitted they had no idea what to do with her after awhile and felt she was the least justified character on the cast by the time you got into Johto. Misty basically existed as a foil to Ash and the occasional comedy, but once the show became obvious it would be a long running series into Johto and beyond it became obvious how limited Misty’s role really was.
If you ever get into watching all the later seasons, you’ll really see how they expand the female companion role over time. Misty being the first main girl was both a blessing and a curse, where she got a lot of exposure at the height of Pokemon’s popularity….but then she got the least amount of development and screentime as the writers didn’t quite know how to develop Ash’s companions back then.
Funnily enough now that we’re in 2022, its officially been 20 years since Misty was written off the anime back in 2002. 20 years later the decision to drop her as a main character really did “stick” for the rest of the animes history.