People who watched the Pokémon anime back when Ash traveled through the Johto region may remember Misty using a Politoed. Constantly clapping, it was one of her most expressive Pokémon after Togepi and Psyduck. While she got a lot of use out of it in Johto, this isn’t actually the region she caught it in.
Misty first encountered her Politoed as a Poliwag on the Orange Islands. However, this wouldn’t be easy to remember as it only made two major appearances throughout that journey. As a quick refresher, here’s a look back at how Misty first met her Politoed and how it ended up joining her team.
Politoed first appeared as a Poliwag in Episode 110, “A Stun Spore Detour.” While training on an unnamed island, Ash and Tracey fell victim to the Stun Spore attack of a Vileplume. Their resulting paralysis was so bad that Misty had to be the one to read the title card for the episode. Unfortunately for them, the nearest Pokémon Center was on another island. It was up to Misty to find a local cure for her bedridden friends.
By consulting Ash’s Pokédex, Misty found she could heal Ash and Tracey by making a medicine out of boiled Salveyo weed. This herb could be found on lake bottoms where Vileplume is located. Poliwag was also known to live around these areas. Thus Misty began her search for the herb and the Pokémon.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket found themselves in a similar predicament. Like Ash and Tracey, Jessie had also accidentally fallen victim to a Vileplume’s Stun Spore. James was able to recall the details about the cure and Poliwag based on a similar past experience, so he and Meowth began their search. They found the Poliwag first, and, desperate to get what they wanted, they attacked it.
While running away, the Poliwag encountered Misty and hid behind her. Misty protected the Tadpole Pokémon and even treated its injuries. The grateful Poliwag grew affectionate and helped Misty find some Salveyo weed at the bottom of a nearby lake.
James and Meowth made one more attempt to steal the Salveyo weed from Misty directly. This time, Poliwag was the one to protect Misty. The two continued onwards, though Misty did leave some Salveyo weed for James and Meowth to give to Jessie.
After curing Ash and Tracey and defeating Team Rocket, Misty and Poliwag’s business should have been concluded. However, Misty had forged a bond of friendship with the little Pokémon that was just getting started. It was revealed in Episode 113, “Viva Las Lapras,” that Misty had captured Poliwag, thus making it a permanent member of her team.
Misty may not have gotten a lot of use out of her Poliwag in the Orange Islands, but it did help her a lot in Johto. After it evolved into a Poliwhirl in Episode 151, “The Totodile Duel,” it became her primary battling Pokémon. Even when it evolved into Politoed and had its battling role steadily replaced by Corsola, it was still one of the biggest personalities out of all of Misty’s Pokémon. Knowing where it came from and its journey alongside Misty makes this jovial Pokémon all the more endearing.