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As hints and evidence for ships are mostly speculation, this page may contain personal points of view.
PalletShipping (Japanese: シゲサト Shigesato or サトシゲ Satoshige) is is the belief that Gary and Ash belong in a romantic relationship. This Ship is more popular in Japan, very possibly because the original version contains a larger amount of hints, which, as PalletShippers point out, are edited or made less suggestive in the dub.
PalletShippers believe that, among other hints, the following moments constitute valid proof of a possible romantic relationship between Ash and Gary.
- En route to Cerulean City, Ash and company notice a small piece of graffiti Gary left on a sign saying, "Gary was here! Ash is a loser!" Ash then tears off down the road to catch up with his rival. PalletShippers notice that this is the first of many times Gary goes out of his way to insult Ash, and many wonder what drives him to do this. Ash also becomes very aggravated by this small note, which is proof that Ash takes to heart what Gary says to him.
- Ash and the gang find Gary and his cheerleaders wounded in the final Kanto gym. While Brock goes crazy about the wounded girls, Ash exclaims Gary's name and runs over to him, cradling him and seeming truly worried about his 'hated' rival. Gary tells Ash what happened to him, right there in Ash's arms. Later in the same episode, after Gary seems to have recovered a bit, Ash is battling Team Rocket and Gary seems rather worried about him when he gets shocked; he even spouts some encouraging words to Ash (which is a rare event, considering he is almost always taunting Ash). Gary is also the one who leaps in to tackle Meowth, making sure that Ash gets the badge from the gym. The final bit in this episode is the very end when Gary actually compliments Ash, saying that he is a decent trainer.
- This episode takes place shortly after The Battle of The Badge when Ash and Gary meet up at Professor Oak's lab. Ash had originally traveled there to speak to Professor Oak about the Indigo Pokémon League. Upon realizing Gary is there, however, Ash completely forgets about asking Oak and instead runs to Gary. Ash then takes him by the shoulders and shakes him while begging for information about the League, which he could have just as easily obtained from the Professor. After a bit of arguing (as is normal in their rivalry up to this point), they stop and finally admit that both of their training techniques are good, and finally end up hanging out, walking around the Professor's ranch like friends and chatting about their Pokémon. In this episode Gary also winks at Ash a few times, and they end up battling Team Rocket together in perfect union, without a second thought.
- After a battle with Gary in the episode A Tents Situation, Gary has left and Misty inquires if Ash would like to know where Gary is going. Ash acts as if he doesn't care (exclaiming "Why should I care!?" defensively) but later goes to Professor Oak's lab and asks him where Gary is heading anyway. Upon finding out that Gary is going to the Johto Region, he apparently chooses to go to Johto himself based on Gary's decision, beginning his trek there in the next episode.
- At the beginning of this episode, Ash and the gang stumble across Gary battling a trainer who has a strong-looking Alakazam. Gary uses his Umbreon to defeat the Alakazam and Ash gets excited, sliding down a rather steep cliff to get to Gary as the latter begins to walk off. Ash momentarily gets Gary's attention and asks for a battle, which Gary refuses. Ash seems genuinely hurt by being rejected by Gary, even though it was just a battle. Later, when Ash is still in a bad mood from his rejection, Misty asks "What's the matter with you, Prince Charming?" Some PalletShippers see this as proof that Misty is aware of Ash's attempt to impress and entice Gary by battling. That very night, Ash is still seemingly hurt and angered by the rejection, and claims that he'll stuff his face until he meets up with Gary again so that he'll have plenty of strength. After defeating Team Rocket's mecha, Gary says, "Now's our chance, Ash," even though Misty and Brock are present. This is yet another example of how Gary seems to only pay attention to Ash during their meetings. When Gary goes to switch on the water handle, Ash immediately says, "I'll go with you!" even though Gary doesn't ask for company. Ash and co. all try to turn the handle and Gary decides to help them by putting his hands on Ash's and pulling the handle with them. Towards the end of this episode, when the power has returned to the city, Gary starts to depart when Ash calls Gary's name in an almost wistful sort of way, as if he doesn't want him to leave. Gary stops and tells Ash that he did a good job getting the power back on and that next time they meet they will battle. Ash is overjoyed as he watches Gary walk away. Another somewhat suggestive theme in this episode is the seemingly romantic music playing in the background during the last scene between Ash and Gary.
- Similar to the examples of Ash following Gary to various regions, when Ash learns that Gary is in a race, he swears to beat him (possibly to try to gain dominance in the relationship). Of course, it is entirely possibly that Ash, being Ash, would've entered the competition anyway, because that's what he does (like the Whirl Cup with Misty). It is worth noting that Gary does not once insult Ash in this episode, a drastic change from his earlier appearances. Also, when Ash falls off his skateboard and falls down the hill, Gary calls his Arcanine to block Ash from continuing to roll.
- Ash arrives at the Silver Conference. Upon arrival, he realizes that Gary is participating in the Conference, and seems somewhat bothered by that fact. During the night, Ash thinks about Gary and the Conference and cannot fall sleep. He decides to take a walk, during which he bumps into Gary. The two of them end up sitting by a lake, under a starlit sky, and talking for a while. Gary gives Ash some very professional-sounding advice, and Ash inquires if he is alright. Later, they agree that they are friends, and Gary uses what PalletShippers believe to be a pet-name, calling Ash "Ashy". Later, in the same episode, Gary is also the one who says that Ash should be the one to carry the Silver Conference torch.
- In this episode, Ash actually beats Gary in a battle during the Silver Conference. Professor Oak and Delia are watching the battle, and Professor Oak says that even though Gary would never admit it, Ash is his most important friend. Delia replies that Ash is no different in that respect. After the battle, Gary tells Ash to meet him, and ends up giving the latter his half of a Poké Ball (of which they had each carried half throughout their entire journey). The two of them then hold hands.
- In this episode Ash and Gary say their final goodbyes before Gary leaves to go do his research. Before they part, Ash decides to give Gary back his half of the Poké Ball. Gary takes the small part of the Poké Ball and says he'll take good care of it. Later, Ash is sitting around thinking about how all of his friends are gone, and decides he wants to be like Gary and get a whole new start by going to Hoenn, basing another important life decision on being like Gary.
- In this episode, Ash is feeling rather down about losing a battle when he receives a postcard from Gary. He imagines himself standing and talking with Gary in response to the letter. After doing so, Ash becomes less bummed about losing the battle and gets a burst of determination, deciding to work hard and try again. Professor Oak also makes a comment about how Gary is a medicine for Ash at times like these.
- In this episode Ash runs into Gary and his Electivire. Gary greets him using that famous pet-name, "Ashy-boy," and Ash asks for a battle. Gary agrees, but says that Electivire is too tired from battling Team Rocket at the moment, and that they can battle later at Professor Oak's lab. They do indeed battle and Gary wins, telling Ash that even though he beat the Battle Frontier, there are many trainers and Pokémon that he doesn't know about in Sinnoh, and that the world is a big place. He then says goodbye, saying he's heading back to Sinnoh. Ash takes Gary's words into consideration and makes the decision to follow Gary to Sinnoh, basing yet another travel decision on Gary's own. Ash leaves for Sinnoh the very next day and meets up with him 45 episodes later. Many PalletShippers believe that Ash's decision is based on his possible love/interest in Gary.
Although the most widely-used name for this coupling is "PalletShipping", others do exist. Some of them are:
- ShigeSato (シゲサト) : The original (Japanese) name for this ship, using the Japanese convention of combining the names of two characters, with the dominant character being first.
- SatoShige (サトシゲ) : A less-common variant on ShigeSato, used by those who believe Ash (Satoshi) to be dominant over Gary (Shigeru).
- ShiShi (シシ) or ShiShiShipping: From Satoshi and Shigeru. Some PalletShippers use it to indicate that they merely like the pairing without caring about evidence.
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