I may be going out on a limb to say this, but sans the character dwindling down a bit during Johto and a few underused Pokemon with lots of potential, Misty wasn't really all that bad. I can even go on to say that she was one of my favorite characters at one point in time. I enjoyed Misty because of her nostalgia factor, not the Justin Beiber/Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers factor, which I'll go further into detail in the bit. I grew up with Misty on the show and if she was really detrimental to it I probably wouldn't have watched it. I rather enjoyed her tomboyish attitude in the early Kanto era and her bickering with Ash was usually interesting to see because(unlike Iris) it was usually justified.
In terms of Misty's Pokemon team I was just bedazzled by her Staryu and Starmie because I think it's pretty neat to own a pokemon and its evolved form at the same time, something that til this day has yet to be done again. I admit, I was kind of bummed out to see Misty drop her Starmie as well as her Horsea off because that was just wasted potential. If anything they both would/could have made Misty into a stronger and more adaptable battler. They at least should have been brought to Johto, especially Horsea. It would have been perfect advertising especially after seeing Brock's Crobat, but it's whatevs at this point. Hopefully we get to see a Kingdra in Misty's next cameo. In terms of Goldeen, once again, I actually found it cool that she owned a fish opposed to everyone else's land pokemon. If utilized properly, Goldeen could've been great, but I give Misty credit for using it(even seldomly) despite it's battle record.
Psyduck was and still is to this day is amazing. The only problem that Psyduck had was fucking up a lot of Misty's battles. Psyduck made Misty look good and bad at the same time because it had the most life on her team, yet it ruined Misty's potential by not letting her showcase her skill with instead letting her win by luck. That's why Corsola, Politoad, and Gyrados will go down as probably Misty's best Pokemon, with Staryu included. This is all on a battle basis, however. I enjoyed Corsola's, Poliwag's, and even Gyrados's debut episodes because they all showed Misty's determination to either become a better trainer, show some compassion for her friends, and go after something she desperately wanted. Poliwhirl was her best battler I say until it evolved and Corsola came into the picture. Gyrados is pretty bad ass I must admit, and to think Misty actually used to fear them is great development. Lol, even looking back at the Fortune Teller Episode when Gyrados was her Pokemon by her birthday, to think she got one later on is hilarious.
Azurill was nice considering that she had an interesting bond with a Marill back in Johto, which was one of the more interesting Johto episodes to me. Luvdisc was cute and so was it's debut episode, but that's about it. Dewgong is funny but I don't know where it stands on Misty's team and as for Togepi/Togetic.
I'll admit, Misty releasing Togetic was an emotional release to see, hell all of them were, but it was definitely for the best in terms of her character. Togepi was adorable but once Johto hit, it really should have evolved or something. To say it absorbed Misty's personality is too harsh so I will say it, like Psyduck, prevented Misty from doing what she did best whenever given the opportunity, interact and battle. Togepi never irratated me as much as the fucking Penguine did. I'll tell you that much. I had to lol at Dawn getting a Togekiss later on, I was like really? We can't escape this line can we?
Misty had great interactions with Sakura, Max, Rudy(Orange Islands), Ash(non-shipping standpoint), and her sisters. She also interacted nicely with the Marill in For Cryin Out Loud. Which brings me to this observation: Notice how May bonded with Swablu, Iris bonded with Deino and Misty bonded with Marill, hell even Jessie Bonded with Blissey in an episode which bought out some great development for each. I can see why Dawn never got a bonding episode though, I mean, Pachirisu's capture episode already had a lot of detail as well as Ambipom's release and with Piplup hogging up the damn screen all the time, there really was no time for one. But anyway....
Misty's biggest flaw does not come from Misty herself, but mainly her fanbase. Not trying to start a flameware with any Misty fans because at the end of the day I was one, but she does have that "Justin Beiber factor". Which is when a character has a couple of nice traits about them, but then when you hear about them all the time, where they are brought up in situations they don't need to be, and feelings are hurt unneccisarily due to a difference of opinion, to where riots start happening is just ridiculous. I like Misty and I'd be lying if I said there weren't times that I do miss the character and hope for a cameo. Hell, I wouldn't be pissed if the writers ever brought her back if they ever even decided to do that, but I'll cross that bride when and if it comes. But ultimately I have accepted the fact that she moved on to bigger and better things, she's probably the most mature main character now sans Brock and Cilan probably, and I'm ok with that.
So, overall I liked Misty. Her team could have been utilized better, but hey she's a Gym Leader now so I'm sure they are. I will go on to say that the next time we here from her I hope she is venturing out of some sort, because being a "Water Pokemon Master" can only take you so far as Gym Leader status. I go by seasons on who my favorite characters are, and I must say for Kanto and Orange Misty is definitely on the list, since Johto wasn't really good for anyone and besides Gary, everyone's character/pokemon got royally screwed at one point in time, but not totally.
Main character wise, I'd give Misty a B overall, but an A for Effort to the writers for handing a female character the way they did so early on in the franchise compared to now.