Compared to Kanto days her battling skills vastly improved which can be noticed in coming top 8 in Whirl Cup, winning Seaking contest, her skills being recognized by several trainers etc. She definitely became more confident and mature too getting over complex of feeling less worthy compared to sisters which can be noticed when helping Sakura to cope with same problem and becoming less aggressive with other traits being showed more like sarcastic and girly side.
Originally Posted by Hidden Mew
As for Corsola it was along with Poliwhirl her most used pokemon from moment she captured it being involved in several matches and winning some important battles for her, so i respectively disagree about this too.
Majority of Misty water types were far more memorable than Totodile which never really had chance to properly shine ending as worst Ash Johto starter.
Staryu and Corsola were very strong too, and when getting headache Psyduck never lost. There were quite a few references about training like when Marina commented how she trained Staryu well after defeating Tentacruel, when Misty mentioned how she managed to come far in Whirl Cup thanks to intense training Corsola received in one of Whirl Islands episodes etc. I also believe given how often he was used in battles with Misty using it effectively was more of reason behind its evolution than simple marketing, being writers way to show her improvement as trainer.
Misty had knowledge about Water Pokemon, but none of her Water Pokemon, except for maybe Politoad, didn't really seem that strong in battle and her skills were never something to write home about. The only mention of training that Misty did that I remember was trying to teach Togepi Headbutt. I don't remember a lot of references to training her Water Pokemon. Poliwag evolving had more to do with promoting a Johto Pokemon than showing how good of a trainer Misty was, but it was still pretty believable all things considered. I still don't think that how two of her Water Pokemon turned out really makes me think that Totodile would be used more or have a better win-loss ratio considering that the bulk of her Pokemon were forgettable and she didn't battle that much more often until near the end of Johto.
About battling score, it wasn't only end but early and mid Johto where she still battled more than she did in Kanto.
I don't think problem was in number of pokemon, but more in lack of focus not being given chance to utilize everyone properly. There is a reason why Horsea was dumped to gym to make room for pokemon which isn't only dependent on water, so addition of Totodile would certainly more help than hurt her situation and since it is starter its basically guaranteed he would be one of most used pokemon under Misty care in Johto. Fact that her Corsola , Poliwhirl and Staryu in general received better treatment and had more significant achievements over Totodile are pretty good indication how Totodile faith would in that case be much more bright than reality provided.
Like I said before, replacing one of Misty's Pokemon with Totodile when she had too many for her role wouldn't have been a solution for her forgettable team. I also don't think that having another amphibious Pokemon would necessarily make her more battle active when she already had two for the majority of Johto and then a third one with Corsola. Plus, with that argument in mind, they could have just given her a Wooper instead as it would be amphibious and be cute enough for her to gush over it. I don't know if getting excited over a cute Pokemon means that Totodile would fit with Misty's personality, especially when I think it worked better on Ash's team in that department.
Also given passionate love for water and fondness for small cute pokemon, i believe Misty persona would mesh with Totodile energetic attitude quite well. Better than it did with Ash not having many memorable moments so to speak with too much pokemon Ash had to deal with in Johto leaving out Totodile as odd child which receives least love usually taking backseat to make room for others.
With her at least he wouldn't have to compete with so many pokemon, having bigger chance to shine since she had less pokemon than Ash did.
She received Luvdisc too, but your right in sense of purpose behind Gyarados capture being to show Misty growth as trainer in managing to get over long time fear and create bond with pokemon which she panicky feared for years. However that doesn't change fact that writers didn't had hesitation in giving Misty big, fully evolved pokemon(third in collection). As for rest of team i have hard time viewing Staryu, Starmie or Politoad as "cute and girly" being more of battlers than someone which could enter beauty contest. That can be applied more to Dawn team.
I don't really see the point in bringing in Misty's team in the games when we're talking about Misty in the anime and the two version are treated fairly differently, especially regarding their teams. She did receive a Gyarados, but considering the the only other new Pokemon she's been shown to have was Azurill, I think that they gave her Gyarados to make her look like a stronger trainer and give her team more meat. Even without the need to market Johto Pokemon, I'm not sure if Totodile would have much more of a chance to evolve when most of Misty's Pokemon are cute/girly, with Gyarados being the only exception in that case. I think that we're going off topic and I personally don't want to go around in circles with another discussions, so let's just end the discussion here.
Logically, if pokemon is used in gym battles being constantly trained, chances for his evolution are a lot higher than it would be by doing nothing(like its case now at Oaks lab). Also most May pokemon were un evolved too, but that drastically changed when she appeared in Sinnoh, so there is no reason to believe how Totodile couldn't evolve under Misty at gym either with argument of being unfitting falling in water when looking at Gyarados or Starmie. Especially when her battling style is offensive being portrayed as tough battler which shoots for big aims, always trying hard which is something she and game counterpart share.
p.s. Your right we are starting to wear of topic and this discussion should stop. I only decided to comment and express my disagreement over Totodile being better of with Ash, when in long run he only suffered from it ending un evolved, forgotten and weak being treated worse than it would be with water trainer and gym leader like Misty for all above reasons.
But whatever, im done from my part.