Reflections of the Pokémon Anime, Part 10
Loyalty is definitely hard to come by these days. It seems like the most fickle, unused, one-sided, corrupted piece of nonsense- seconded only by love. Loyalty is bought and sold, lasting only as long as the money or, in relationships, the passion holds out. Love is so vague and so broad a concept that it seems hopeless to ever get to the most profound definitions of it.
Brock, former leader of the Pewter City gym and currently unemployed breeder (Besides his own, he never really raises Pokémon, much less breeds them.), had to raise his family all on his own after his mother and father split up and abandoned them (although if they left at the same time or at different times, we do not know). He spends a lot of his time wooing women, with a particular obsession with Nurse Joys and Officer Jennys. Yet, only one or two of these women (one a Frontier Brain, the other a girl with an unrequited crush) seem to fall for him.
Misty, leader of the Cerulean City gym, had to face the unrelenting teasing of her sisters, her parents are nowhere to be found (Maybe the Gyarados that frightened her as a child ate them?), visitors to the gym are fickle (Her gym is popular one day and unnoticed the next.)- but she doesn't seem to have as many loyalty issues as Brock might. And, like Brock, she too has had her share of crushes, from the clueless hero Goku (er, Ash), to an unofficial Water-type gym leader (in the Whirl Islands, if I remember correctly), to- most likely -Tracey Sketchit.
Both Brock and Misty have been able to outgrow their parentless beginnings, becoming pseudoparents themselves, striving to take care of those they love, from siblings to friends to Pokémon. Misty became more maternal with the addition of baby Togepi. Brock had always been parental with his siblings but now he has a baby Bonsly to nurture, as well. Does the acquisition of baby Pokémon betray a need for love and loyalty? After all, how many of us know women who get pregnant because they think it will make their spouses love them or stick around, or that the child can fulfill them in ways that their lovers can't? If true, then the fact that both of them have largely repaired their relationships with their families hasn't helped them much. Both Brock and Misty have been very loyal to Ash and his dream, even delaying their own dreams to make sure he accomplishes his. Also, they do not have the same frequency of releasing Pokémon that Ash does. They typically only really "release" their Pokémon to their respective family members, which shouldn't count as releases since they can easily return and retrieve them.
What about love, then? Are they crying out for it, since they are capable of loyalty? Brock has yet to be in a relationship that is even hinted at, unless one counts BoulderShipping, which is a possibility, but we don't see Ash reciprocating that one, either. There is still the issue of what happened between him and Professor Ivy, the most likely scenario being that it was one thing to fall head over heels for someone and quite another to be in a serious romantic relationship. After all, he was much younger than Ivy, and his romantic ideas of love may have shattered when reality kicked in. Misty may have a relationship with Tracey, at least in Chronicles, but it is hard to tell, since the writers don't seem very eager for any main character to be in love (See RocketShipping, which has had more off-again/on-again twists and turns than a soap opera.).
Misty at least seems more sure of herself nowadays. She runs her own gym, has let go of her resentment of her sisters (who have done more to help her recently), has a male friend who visits her often- she seems to be stronger and less needy of certain attachments. Brock, on the other hand, remains with Ash, never really accomplishes his own dreams (again, unless BoulderShipping is canon) and still doesn't have a girlfriend. He seems to have made peace with both his father and his mother (Note that it was after his mother tried to give the gym a water theme and Brock made amends to her that he had caught Mudkip and Lotad, both Water types). We shall simply have to see what destiny lies ahead for poor Brock...