My Testimony: EpsilonAI
1) Were you always a Pearlshipper?
Yes and no.
When I was younger and watched Pokémon without any signs of boredom, I somehow found myself shipping Ash with Misty--how naive I was back then--and when Misty left, I started shipping Ash with May, and keep in mind that this was before I even knew shipping was a thing. Pokeshipping was rather obvious thanks to 4Kids being who they were, particularly the 2nd movie--still one of my favorite movies, I did find Mewtwo Strikes Back overrated then and still do--but when May showed up, I wasn't annoyed, and was kinda glad Misty was gone, since even as young as I was--4 or 5 to a decade later known as 2015-- I still found Misty's traits annoying at best. May was a sweet ice tea of refreshments(I think I failed the Fawful reference) for me, both appearance wise and especially in personality. But the earlier episodes had me having mixed reactions; better personality then Misty, but not as...I think brave? Sure Misty had a fear of Bugs, but May didn't like them almost entirely, which thankfully she grew out of, giving me new hope for her, which more or less worked. In all honesty, I was probably a more true Advancer than a Poker then, but even during the series I thought she belonged with Drew--don't even get me started on how she reacts to the roses he gives, it's pretty obvious she's at least interested in him--but then the 9th movie came along and nearly sank my unofficial Contest ship, but as time went on, I think the movie was more May's shine, and Ash just got the last heroism part, like Jirachi's movie, and thought that if Drew was there, Manaphy would probably think of Drew as a better father(?)ish figure.
When Dawn came around, I found myself actually smiling without having any mixed reactions, with the exception of the clothes and hair issue--the only bad trait of a character so far that didn't turn me away for even a second, as it was actually a normal bad quality that anyone both male and female can have that isn't too hard to change or too annoying to listen to--as she had more or less May's personality, but mixed with Ash's, which I always loved and obviously still do. Then we have the two meeting, and I think you can figure out the rest.
In short terms.
No because I had Poke and Advance on my mind.
Yes because of their relationship AND her personality NOT annoying me on first impressions.
I'm gonna skip the 'if not' question if that's okay.
2) What were your first impressions of Pearshipping?
A girl that almost--she initially got annoyed at Pikachu if I'm correct--didn't care that Ash destroyed her bike? 'THANK GOD' I pretty much thought at first. I really liked Ash and Dawn's chemistry together. The problem with Misty was mainly when she argued with Ash, and was even physically violent to a degree, May was that she was a bit toonice and the arguments were probably just there for something to fill in for some realism. Ash and Dawn however, didn't have these problems, for Dawn rarely argued with Ash after the first season of DP--and when they did, it made sense, unlike some of Ash and Misty's own--and even so, there was actual regret soon afterwards, and I could hear apologies, soon after, unlike again, Ash and Misty, since when they did, it was just kinda forgotten about, and I don't recall many apologies.
My rambling aside, I always found Ash and Dawn having a better relationship than the other females, and it didn't help that they high-fived every so often when they completed something great or just felt like it, and I felt they were the best representative of boy-girl friendship without being romantic, but at the same time could very well be thanks to that friendship.
3) Why are you a Pearlshipper?
I think I kinda already explained it, but it was because of that strong bond they share, which is something I have yet to see properly portrayed again in any other media--correct me if you have anything in mind--and even though I yearn for them to be together so much, I respect them for being just friends--for now--thanks to that strong bond that broke my heart in a good way. Their relationship had so much of an impact on me, that I actually want a relationship with a girl like that, strong friendship that was built before we became a couple, and yes, that image I posted a couple days back means a lot to me as well. A supportive friendship and/or romantic relationship is better than ones based on conflict--looking at you Pokeshipping and Ikarishipping(to a degree, since they interact SO little)--but why can't others see that? Is being supportive cliche? It still works, so why is it not used anymore?
My questions aside, me being a Pearlshipper is dependent on their realistic and supportive relationship, which I envy oh so much, plus the fact that the way they act and when are together is too much cuteness, and makes me smile for whatever reason. (17.8/10 WAY TOO MUCH CUTENESS)
4) How long have you been a Pearlshipper?
I can't say for sure. All I can say for sure is that around 2011-12ish I started looking up Ash x Dawn,--which is the only Ash x Girl relationship that I remember fondly then, and still today--their fanart, fanfiction, and soon enough, I became the Die-Hard Pearler I am today.
5) What would you advise potential Pearlshippers?
Don't let the popular opinions sway you--at least too much--but at the same time, don't let nostalgia cloud your vision, which is always something hard to avoid I'll admit, and make sure you take the time to decide if the decision you're thinking of making is best, because if you don't, you might make one of the worst decisions in your life, and I know I've made my fair share myself, which somewhat explains one of my signature gifs. Regardless, choose what you think is right, and if you choose us, you're almost guaranteed to NOT regret it. I've seen enough of each shipping community in the Pokémon fandom, and us Pearlers are arguably the nicest and most knowledgeable of them all, as we have endured many hardships from those many trolls on this internet, and yet--most of us--don't act like them in retaliation. In our kindness, we have also gained intelligence in dissecting our ship to see what's really inside, which is what matters should it not? As for the ship itself, it remains powerful despite what a great many seem to think it is, and the 'weakness' Pearl is criticized for is it's greatest feat. A strong and lasting friendship like Ash and Dawn would last even longer as a romantic one, which seems to be sadly overlooked nowadays.
Should you join us, you should know that it's best your choice is final,as loyalty is important for anything, but that in return, you'll be welcomed and respected upon these requirements, and hopefully we'll show the fandom just how powerful Pearl REALLY is.
If not, just know that we most likely aren't gonna criticize you for it, BUT don't expect a Pearler to give in to other ships, our loyalty and Ideals are MUCH harder than Diamonds, AND strong enough to become Truths, and no puns are intended here in any way. Regardless, if you don't join us, just know we aren't going anywhere.
Thus I end my testimony with two quotes.
"Choose wisely, it could effect your entire life."
"A great love is a lot like a good memory. When it's there, and you know its there, but it's just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. And you can focus on it and try to force it, but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you're patient and you hold still, well maybe, just maybe, it'll come to you...And I mean hell, if you had to live the rest of your life in a memory, you might as well make it a good one." -Epsilon from RvB
That last quote isn't exactly clear on details, but Pearl is the love and memory. We just to wait and see if our ship Pearl will become canon--fingers crossed!--or...something else. We can only wait for now...ALL of us shippers, but we can hope of course.