Pokémon: How Ash Won, Then Lost, Misty’s Togepi

Misty and Togepi were an iconic, inseparable pairing for most of their tenure in Pokémon, yet many people may have forgotten that Togepi was originally meant to be Ash Ketchum's Pokémon. After finding the egg in a previous episode, the subject of who would get to keep Togepi was the focus of the not-so-creatively titled episode "Who Gets to Keep Togepi?" Although many characters feel as though they deserve to keep Togepi, this episode is a classic example of how even when Ash wins, he loses.

Once Ash gets a conveniently timed upgrade for his Pokédex, the gang stops for lunch while planning their trip to Cinnabar Island. As Brock polishes the egg found by Ash in the episode "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon," the group begins to speculate about what Pokémon will hatch from the mysterious egg. Misty hopes for a Tentacruel or a Lapras, Brock hopes for a Golem and Ash hilariously worries it may be another Aerodactyl. Naturally, Team Rocket is within earshot and decides to steal the egg.

Ash, Brock, Misty, and Pikachu search for Togepi's egg in Pokémon

Team Rocket, rather cleverly, dumps a large amount of fake, similarly painted eggs to get the kids to lose track of which one is theirs, allowing Meowth to swipe the real one as the criminals make their getaway. When Ash points out how dumb Team Rocket is for leaving a trail of fake eggs, Brock refuses to let Ash get high and/or mighty by reminding him that they're the dumb ones for losing the egg in the first place. Surprisingly, Meowth devotes himself to caring for the egg, keeping tender watch over it while preventing James from eating it.

After Ash, Brock and Misty jump Team Rocket with their Pokémon, a scuffle ensues in which the egg is tossed back and forth across the air several times, miraculously avoiding damage. When the egg begins to hatch, Ash and Brock look on before being shoved aside by Misty. Once Togepi hatches, Misty's face is the first thing it sees as they all remark on how cute this new Pokémon is. Leaving Team Rocket behind, the gang finds a park bench to discuss their new companion as Misty and Togepi bond.

Once Meowth returns, demanding Togepi after he took such good care of it, Ash suggests a Pokémon tournament to decide who will get to keep Togepi. The first matchup is Meowth vs. Brock. The aspiring Pokémon breeder sends out his poor Onix who, for the second time in the series, is defeated by outright cheating when Meowth throws buckets of water on it. Meanwhile, Ash and Misty's battle is brief, as her Psyduck lets itself out of its Poké Ball to face Bulbasaur, who tickles it into submission before it returns to its ball, forfeiting the match for Misty.

Togepi sits in front of the tournament bracket that will decide who gets to keep it in Pokémon

Ash and Meowth face off in the final round, and Pikachu takes eight of Meowth's nine lives by placing its tail on his face while he's in mid-sentence, defeating the talking Pokémon with a single Thunderbolt. For perhaps the first time in the series to that point, Ash is not the butt of these battle-jokes, taking advantage of everyone else's tomfoolery to earn the right to keep Togepi as his own. Even Team Rocket graciously accepts Meowth's humiliating defeat, leaving the battle arena without complaint.

Unfortunately for Ash, his rare triumph is instantly wiped away when Togepi refuses to even acknowledge him when he goes to claim it. Instead, Togepi happily reaches for Misty, to her smug delight, as she told them before the tournament that Togepi clearly liked her best. Ash's Pokédex, despite having no info on Togepi earlier, now clarifies that a newly hatched Togepi will always consider the first thing it sees its mother. So, it's a good thing it saw Misty's face first instead of Team Rocket or a lamp.

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