Giselle is a trainer that appears exclusively in “The School of Hard Knocks”.
Midway through the episode, Ash wanted to see the person in charge of the Pokémon Technical Institute after one of the beginners was tested through unfair means. Joe presents the trainer, Misty, and Brock with a photograph of the student leader in question. Instantly, the two boys blush at the girl’s appearance. Misty asks why the student carries the picture around despite treating the students miserably, to which Joe answers for the same reasons as the blushing Ash and Brock. She then scolds her two traveling companions for “slobbering over [the] dopey picture” and walks towards the doors of the institute to “straighten [the witch] out”.
Inside the institute, Joe warns Ash, Misty, and Brock about Giselle’s training, which Ash interrupts by presenting him with two Gym badges. The young student replies that Giselle is the top beginner at the tech, better than having three badges. Immediately, Misty shoves Ash, challenging Joe to a battle. After she defeats his Weepinbell with Starmie’s Water Gun, Giselle enters the field with five students. She brands Joe as an embarrassment to school, making Ash and Brock blush at her. Ash asks the former Pewter City Gym leader about how pretty Giselle is, to which he says that she is “like a movie star”. The top student at the institute then introduces herself to the three as a trainer who despite others praising her beauty, talent, and humble attitude, she is “just Giselle”.
When Misty tries to reason with Giselle after the latter scolds Joe, Ash tries to help. Brock stops him, reminding him to not get into a cat-fight. With the Cerulean City Gym leader defeated, Ash tells Giselle that there is more to Pokémon training than her interpretation, seeing Giselle’s arrogance. She laughs haughtily and calls Ash a beginner, then asks how long he was trying to become a trainer. He guesses “for two months”, to the reply of the time period of taming his Pikachu. Giselle adds that Ash’s “Pokémon are training [him]”. She teases Ash him about only having two Badges and three Pokémon. Ash decides to challenge the top student as well, arguing that Pokémon training is more than types and levels – one needs to be friends with them, too.
Giselle brings her Cubone out, while Ash brings his Pikachu forward. She reminds him about Cubone (a Ground Type) absorbing the Mouse Pokémon’s Thunder Shock, then commands it to use Leer, disorienting him for a moment. Ash then tells Pikachu to give a funny face at Cubone, provoking the Lonely Pokémon closer to him. After he gets with its Bone Club, Ash tells Giselle that was not fair, and she replies that the battle is contest of power and skill, not of staring. Despite the legal bone attacks on Pikachu, Ash manages to defeat her by making Cubone’s Boomerang backfire not before the Mouse Pokémon’s use of trickery. Giselle humbles down admitting that there was more to Pokemon battles than on the textbooks. Joe calls this a once-in-a-lifetime battle, and Misty tells him not to try copying the battle.
Giselle laments on her loss when smoke appears on the pool grounds, with Ash recognizing as Team Rocket’s entrance. After she and her students drive them away with Poké Balls, Giselle relays the lessons learned from the battle to Joe. She then looks forward to having another battle with Misty and Ash in the future. Both hope to do so, with the two students nodding in agreement at them and Brock.
There were no other interactions after the episode. However, both appear in the second opening theme Pokémon World, with Giselle’s cameo lasting only for a few seconds.
Giselle has brief appearances in The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, though she did not interact directly with Ash in them.
This pairing has some following. There are currently a few fan-made works that represent this ship. In terms of fictions, two exist in Archive of Our Own as of November 2021.
Giselle is the only girl Ash has ever shown attraction for. Her fans explain that Giselle is one of the few girls who combine her beauty with her great ability to be a Pokémon trainer, allowing her to be a possible partner of Ash and thus, be on a par with Serena, almost surpassing her. As she only appears in one episode of the original series, this could be considered a rare pairing despite the interactions. Detractors often argue that this was because Ash’s normally oblivious character was not developed that early on, his characterisation only changed throughout the years.
This ship is overshadowed by the more-popular PokéShipping (Ash×Misty) for the original series.
- GoggleShipping is also a variant ship name for the slash ship between Ash and Goh, as both characters have been wearing Go-Goggles for at least two episodes in Pokémon Journeys.