One scene from his Kanto days that will stick out to me was in "Abra and the Psychic Showdown." Remember after his loss to Sabrina he and his friends had to be rescued by Sabrina's Dad (the jogger). Then he warned him AGAIN to not challenge Sabrina and that any attempt would be foolish. He then kept blasting Ash away with telekinetic powers. At one point brought down his pants and had him doing the same "dance" (which sort of resembled the Thriller Dance) that Kadabra made Pikachu do in its match using Psychic.
After that Ash pleaded with him to tell him the secret to beating Sabrina. Ash was literally crawling to the jogger's feet begging for help despite being weighed down with his psychic abilities but he REFUSED to give up. Seeing that amount of guts from a plucky 10-year-old convinced him to tell Ash to go capture a Ghost Pokemon and use it to beat Sabrina.
Ash goes to Lavender Town to face, battle and capture a Ghost Type, "dies" in the process and even after he decides not to capture one of his new "friends" he decides to face Sabrina again even without a Ghost Pokemon and in the end Haunter decides to come along, it makes Sabrina laugh and he wins a badge...um...ok...
The point of this thread is to show that Ash might have gotten over half of his first set of League Badges out of pity or simply because he displayed random acts of kindness but he truly did have a strong sense of bravery, determination and character. I mean he was "fighting" a person with psychic abilities in an attempt of discovering a way of defeating the toughest trainer he had faced at that point and possibly one of the strongest he has ever faced; Sabrina. I mean seriously that bitch was completely psycho!
Just goes to show that even though Ash didn't have the brightest mind out of the other trainers going for the league, he proved that guts can take you far but with strategy you can go even farther than that.
Let me do a quick run-down of how Ash showed character in his gym matches;
Brock; after losing the first time, he was going to give up having lost his first Pokemon Gym Match so badly but thanks to some encouragement from Flint he powered up Pikachu in a way that was potentially dangerous but by using the wheel outside the hydroelectric mill/power plant as a treadmill he succeeded. He could have won that match but decided to stand down due to the sprinklers weakening Onix
Misty; I'm only mentioning the events BEFORE the match happened. He was going to take the badge after Daisy offered to him but also remember that he was hesitant saying that he wanted to earn his badges through battles not convince just because all the other Kanto trainers had won at the gym and Seel was their only Pokemon left (who Pikachu could have zapped and that would have been it) and then after Daisy kept insisting, Ash still hesitant was kind of like "What the hell?" and was reaching for it as Misty screamed out
Lt. Surge; I think this was one of Ash's first displays of actual strategy in a battle (thanks to Brock's idea of using speed attacks) and that was what made this memorable not just because it was Ash's FIRST real win in a gym, Pikachu's first signs of not wanting to evolve or its win over its evolved form
Sabrina; Already mentioned this above at the beginning of the post
Erika; Even though he was indirectly a reason for the gym catching fire (he did help TRio get inside the gym) he risked his life going in the burning gym to safe Gloom
Koga; Um...the episode itself was more about Psyduck so really Ash's gym match wasn't THAT memorable except for Bulbasaur using Whirlwind (illegally), Pidgeotto losing so bad (I feel bad for this bird, I love it to death but its battling record is not the most impressive one with most of his wins being against the TRio's Meowth balloons...) that it took Venomoth's Sleep Powder AND Stun Spore (which should be impossible since in the games you can only be affected by one major status condition not two; unless you count Confusion). Until TRio interrupted, it looked like Charmander as winning and then against Golbat the ONLY memorable moment worthy of note; FINALLY seeing Brock's eyes open during him being nailed with a Flamethrower from Charmander
Blaine; Care for his Pokemon, he was smart enough to stand down against Magmar because Pikachu had been burned by Fire Blast and was shown to be exhausted. Instead of fighting until his Pokemon was defeated he wisely stepped down. Even Blaine commented that continuing the match would have been foolish and probably expelled him from being a trainer (I'll post my thoughts on this in another thread). Then in the rematch we see him and Charizard in sync to defeat Magmar and win the badge!
TRio; Straight up determination and faith in himself and his Pokemon enough so that even Gary was impressed, let me repeat that...GARY MOTHERF**KING OAK was impressed!
What do you think?