First off, I'll address Misty's feelings. I think that most of the "hints" for Misty loving Ash actually just prove a close friendship. That said, I do think that, in the past, there have been a FEW decent hints for Misty having a small crush on Ash. But that's all it is, a crush; a crush that she has clearly gotten over. I really don't see Misty as ever having been totally in love with Ash. For one thing, if she was, it seems her head wouldn't be turned by other guys so easily.

For instance, in the Japanese version of the episode with Rudy, Rudy actually asked Misty to MARRY him. Even though she ended up saying no, she was considering his offer pretty seriously, and it just seems like if she was so much in love with Ash, she wouldn't even THINK of marrying some guy she'd only known for one day. And then there's the Danny episode; that's another example of a time when Misty totally dissed Ash for some guy she just met that very day.

Plus, most of the really major hints for Misty liking Ash were dub added anyways. I think everyone should know by now that Misty's Song was just an invention of 4Kids and doesn't count for anything since it has nothing to do with the original Japanese version. And Misty's line in P2K that's often considered by Pokeshippers as being her 'confession'- "Ash will never be alone because he'll always have me"- was also just a dub invention. In the original Japanese version of the movie, that line actually had Misty saying something about Ash being a burden on her!

The Pokeshippers say there are still plenty of good hints in the Japanese version, but you have to wonder, if the Japanese version is so full of AAML (Ash and Misty Love), then why do the dubbers even feel the need to add a bunch of fake stuff in? Especially when, as one dubber admitted, adding in AAML gets them, quote, "A lot of resistance from Japan."

Also, the few good hints that exist of Misty's crush are far in the past. During the extremely long Johto league, there was been pretty much nothing indicative of Misty having feelings for Ash, unless you count the silly dub added thing in The Heartbreak of Brock episode. So it really seems that Misty has gotten over her crush; or, in the larger view of things, Misty crushing on Ash was an idea that the writers tried out, decided they didn't like, and got rid of. the end of Johto...Misty actually gets called back to Cerulean City to run the gym, and leaves the group. The fact that the writers are totally kicking her off the show, directly after an entire league that had completely dropped the idea of Misty having any feelings for Ash, really shows what the writers think of AAML: basically, if they ever were enamored of the concept of Misty liking Ash, they certainly aren't now. Now that Misty is back in Cerulean City, she's spending a ton of time with Tracey, and there have been several hints that her romantic attentions have now turned towards him.

But anyways, as a Palletshipper, my real main concern is Ash's feelings. Even if Misty did have a crush on Ash, that doesn't mean he has to like her back. Even most AAMLers admit that they don't have a whole lot in the way of evidence for Ash liking Misty. They usually use the excuse that Ash is just too dense/obsessed with Pokemon/young/whatever to realize that he likes Misty. But really that's just an excuse without anything to back it up. I mean you could just as well say that Ash secrety likes Brock but is too immature or obsessed with Pokemon or whatever to admit it.

Of course, there are a few things that are commonly used as Ash hints, so I'll address those here. Probably the most talked about one is that in Ghost of Maiden's Peak, Ash looked at Misty and saw a sparkly background behind her. But come on, that sparkly background look obviously doesn't mean love or attraction or anything. I mean, Misty has looked at various Pokemon that way, Meowth has looked at Jesse that way, Misty has looked at a TAMBOURINE that way for Gods' sakes. Unless you think Misty and the tambourine have a future together, I don't see how you can say that look means attraction or love. Also note that in Dig Those Diglett, Ash looked at Gary and saw a sparkly background behind him. So if the Pokeshippers want to claim it as a hint for their side, they'd have to admit that it's a hint for Palletshipping as well. However, I don't think it's a hint for either; as I said, the look obviously does not mean love or attraction.

Another Ash hint they tend to use is the way Ash acted in the episodes with Rudy and Danny in them. Well, as for Rudy, it seemed to me that Ash was getting mad because RUDY wasn't paying attention to him; he didn't seem to notice Misty. Basically Ash was trying to battle and win a badge, and Rudy was ignoring him, which made him upset. Ash was just all focused on Pokemon and battling as usual; he didn't even seem to understand what was going on between Misty and Rudy. At the end of the ep, Rudy even said something about Ash being a lucky guy, and Ash was just like, "Huh?" And as for Danny, it's true that when Misty ran past Ash and gave the blanket to Danny, Ash went, "But what about me?" But come on, you're telling me you wouldn't be a little upset if you'd just made a major accomplishment and your longtime friend was totally ignoring you for someone who's practically a stranger? On top of the fact that Ash was freezing cold and just wanted Misty to give him the blanket!

Another hint people use is the way Ash (and also Misty) get upset when they're accused of liking of each other. But you know, they really don't get that upset, they both just yell for about one second and then it's totally dropped. It's not like they obsess over it or anything. Now, in P2K, when Melody accused Misty of liking Ash, Misty DID go on and on, staying mad for a long time and never letting it drop; and that IS one of the few things that I see as an actual valid hint that Misty had a crush on Ash. But Ash has NEVER reacted that way to being accused of liking Misty; he just denies it and then goes on like it never happened. Also, I think a lot of these situations are misinterpreted. Like, when Nurse Joy said, "Those who fight really care about each other," I think she just meant that the two care for each other as friends, not that they're in love. Also, in the Bye Bye Psyduck episode, Tracey was comparing Misty's hidden feelings for Psyduck to her hidden feelings for Ash- if Tracey thinks Misty cares for Psyduck in the same way she does Ash, I sure HOPE he means platonic, NOT romantic, feelings! I really think most characters who make these comments are just picking up on the fact that even though Ash and Misty fight a lot, deep down they really care about each other- kind of like brother and sister. The only time they were actually accused of having a CRUSH on each other was by Team Rocket- and that time, they didn't yell or scream at all, they just looked kind of embarassed and grossed out and said "No way."

Then, there's the part of Get Along Little Pokemon where Ash has to put his arm around Misty to drag her to shelter since she can't walk on her own. I seriously don't see why people use this as a hint; it seems like a total ANTI-hint to me! When Misty fell down hurt, Ash did NOT run immediately to help her- instead he yelled at her to get up, and it took prompting from Tracey before he went and got her to drag her in. Ash obviously only went and got her when it became clear that he HAD to, or they would never have gotten to safety. It seems that if Ash had feelings for Misty, he would have been a bit more eager to help her. And once they get in the cave, he just sets her down, and you can see him even leaning AWAY from her as he does it; he has her at an arm's length. There's a certain screencap floating around of them sitting next to each other in the cave, and Ash's head is down and people try to say that he's leaning in and protecting Misty, but in fact if you watch the episode, that part is where he is simply ducking down after a crash of thunder. In the scene dircectly after that, you can see that Ash has let go of her.

All the other Ash hints I've heard have been really small things, such as that he supposedly cries out for Misty or Pikachu first when they're in trouble, and rarely cries out for Brock. If you want to get all literal, I'd say that he doesn't feel he needs to call for Brock as much because Brock is obviously older and more mature, and seems able to take care of himself. But really I think stuff like this has NO meaning to it all; like, the people who write the show don't even NOTICE it, probably. Somehow I just don't see the writers sitting there and planning it all out, like, 'Alright, let's make sure that Ash calls out for Misty more than Brock.' It's probably just random, I highly doubt the writers even pay attention to trivial details like this.

And you know, I don't even think Ash and Misty would be very compatible as a couple. I mean, they're both pretty stubborn, hot-tempered, opinionated, like to get thier own way, ect. I think a relationship between them would just be fight after fight after fight! They really each need someone who's more cool and collected to balance out thier more agressive personalities. It's true that Gary used to tease Ash a lot, but you rarely see them ARGUING; you have to admit that Gary is a pretty calm and collected person. And I think Misty would go great together with Brock. Even though Brock gets really stupid around girls, overall he's probably one of the more mature people on the show, and he's always the one who seems to be able to cool down Misty's temper. And there actually are some hints for Brock and Misty: Brock DID drool over that picture of her in The Misty Mermaid; I think that indicates that even though he's not attracted to her now, he probably will be when she gets a bit older. They also slow danced together in that Dragonite episode. Plus, every time Brock drools over some girl, Misty always gets really mad and drags him away- classic jealous behavior. Tracey is another calm, collected person who could be a good match for Misty. As I mentioned earlier, now that Misty is no longer traveling with Ash-tachi, she and Tracey spend large amounts of time together, and there seem to be hints that she has feelings for him.

So, anyways, I just think that Ash and Misty are better off keeping thier sibling-like relationship. I'm not the only one who thinks that way, either; Toshiro Ono- who drew the Pokemon manga- admitted in an interview that he disagreed with AAML, and viewed the two as having a brother/sister relationship. That's why I didn't bother to address any supposed AAML hints from that manga here; obviously since Ono himself said he does not support AAML, there are no valid AAML hints in his manga.

Of course, everyone can have his or her own opinion, but I think Ash and Misty just don't fit together, and there's really nothing in Ash's behavior that shows that he likes her as any more than a friend. Mostly, it seems that people just want to automatically pair up the main female character with the main male character in any story. After Misty left, she was replaced by May, and some people started to ship Ash with May. From what I can tell, there wasn't anything at all in the way of evidence for anything but a friendship between Ash and May. Also, May was quite blatantly in love with her rival, Drew. (Maybe we have a theme of rivals being in love here?) Of course, then May left the show and was replaced by Dawn. So people started pairing up Ash with Dawn, and again there was no evidence of anything besides a friendship between the two.

Aside from those mentioned above, there haven't been any other really popular couplings that conflict with Palletshipping. I think it's interesting to note that Ash/Gary has always been far and away the most popular yaoi couple on Pokemon, both in Japan and the English-speaking world. If people just wanted to pair up two guys, wouldn't it be easier to stick Ash with someone he's around all the time, such as Brock? Obviously there's something special between Ash and Gary that a lot of people are seeing.