GLOOM - A HEROWhen Erika was a little girl, she accidentally found herself in a weird building, lost in Celadon City. She never felt so scared or alone. To make it even worse, a wild Grimer came out of no where! It started to approach her, ready to attack her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a Gloom walking towards them. For some reason, the Gloom understood Erika's fear, and terror, and responded to her plead for help. Gloom let out a disgusting smell, and chased the Grimer away from them. Erika ran up to Gloom, and hugged it tight. Gloom's face got all red, and Erika told Gloom she loved it. They stayed friends ever since, and Gloom continued to be apart of Erika's life.
We hear all about this story in a flash back, as Erika tells Misty and the others in her Gym how she knows so much information about Gloom. She tells them that as long as you make her Gloom trust you, and show you want a friendship, Gloom won't spray its horrible scent. We find out here that Gloom is the whole reason why Erika decided to be a Grass Type Pokemon Trainer. Erika knows that her bond with Gloom is important with her fighting style, because loving and understanding your Pokemon leads to a successful battle. Erika agrees to battle Ash after he challenges her. She laughs at Ash because she has one thing that he doesn't have; a bond with her Pokemon. She uses Gloom in battle, and gets rid of Ash's Charmander quickly. Before they have time to continue the battle, Team rocket comes in and sets the building on fire. They rush to get all of the Pokemon out of the arena. However, Erika can't find Gloom anywhere! She goes into a panic, and almost runs right into the burning building. However, Misty grabs her, preventing her from going in. Ash runs through and goes in to save Gloom. Gloom ends up trusting Ash, and not spraying it's nasty scent. Because of this, Erika gladly gives Ash the Rainbow badge because anyone who saves her Gloom deserves it.
I find the love Erika has for Gloom to be especially charming. This made me like Erika even more, because she had a Pokemon stand by her for 10+ years. Gloom is known for being smelly and not the most appealing Pokemon, yet Erika chooses to love Gloom more than any other Pokemon. A bond like this isn't normally portrayed in the anime, besides Ash and Pikachu. I was very happy to see this addition in the anime. I do think that its strange they picked Gloom, though, especially because Erika only has a Gloom in the Yellow Version of Pokemon.