A Poké Ball (ポケボール, Poke Bōru), pronunciation: /ˈpoʊkeɪball/ POH-kay Ball) is a type of item that is critical to a Trainer's quest, used for catching and storing Pokémon. Both a general term used to describe the various kinds as well as a specific term to refer to the most basic among these variations, Poké Balls are ubiquitous in the modern Sonic Pokémon world. Up to six Pokémon can be carried with a Trainer in Poké Balls, while any number of other Poké Balls can be held in the Bag for later use. These six Pokémon in the Poké Balls can be attached to the user's belt for carrying them around. Some Pokémon do not like to be carried around in Poké Balls, such as Ash's Pikachu.
The strength of a Poké Ball is determined by how much it raises a wild Pokémon's catch rate, and may in fact vary depending on the conditions of the battle. Poké Balls limit the power of Pokémon contained inside, taming them, though they do not cause the Pokémon inside to always obey the Trainer.
The invention of Poké Balls apparently occurred in the Johto region, where Apricorns grow; these fruit were cut apart and carved out, then fitted with a special device, and used to catch wild Pokémon prior to the mass production of the Balls that occurs in modern times under Silph Co. and the Devon Corporation. Some Trainers still use Poké Balls made from Apricorns, while Kurt, a resident of Azalea Town, still constructs them. In the Archie comics, Drayden claims that Poké Balls did not exist during his childhood; however, due to Poké Balls being in the sunken ship in A Shipful of Shivers, it seems that in the anime Poké Balls were first made at least 300 years ago.
Prior to the invention of Poké Balls, Pokémon were referred to as magical creatures (魔獣, Majū), indicating that the name Pokémon, short for Pocket Monster (ポケットモンスター, Poketto Monsutā), did not come into common parlance as a term until these devices allowed the various Pokémon to be stored easily. This also shows that in these times they were believed to be supernatural or paranormal creatures, not natural ones.
Stylized Poké Balls are used in many places to symbolize Pokémon in general: the logos of both Battle Frontiers feature a Poké Ball in their design, while several Poké Balls can be seen in every Pokémon Center. The headgear of the protagonists of Kanto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova-based versions feature Poké Ball designs, as do the Bags of the protagonists of Johto-based versions. Ethan's headgear is also similar to the top half of an Ultra Ball, and Lucas's Bag prominently features a Poké Ball.
Mechanics and designEdit
Though the technology behind a Poké Ball remains unknown and has evolved through the centuries to accommodate the diverse requirements of their creators, the basic mechanics are simple enough to understand and tend to remain constant: in a Pokémon battle, once an opposing wild Pokémon has been weakened, the Pokémon Trainer can throw a Poké Ball at it. When a Poké Ball hits the Pokémon, as long as it is not deflected, the Poké Ball will open, convert the Pokémon to a form of energy, pull it into its center, and close. A Pokémon in this state is given a chance to struggle to attempt to break free from the ball and escape, being instantly re-converted from energy into matter. Should a Pokémon escape a Poké Ball, the device will either open the Poké Ball and escape by themselves or will return to the Trainer, who can attempt once again to capture the Pokémon. A Pokémon who does not escape the ball will be caught.
Poké Balls are specifically constructed for Pokémon capture, transport and training. As well as being physically difficult to escape from (as they seal tightly shut as soon as a Pokémon is taken into them) the environment of a Poké Ball is designed to be attractive to Pokémon also; according to Lucian of the Sinnoh Elite Four, weakened Pokémon instinctively curl up tight in an attempt to heal themselves, an action that the environment of the Poké Ball encourages. Furthermore, while it is not known how a captured Pokémon perceives their time inside their Ball, the device is said to replicate a "Pokémon-friendly" environment that is "designed for comfort". All of these factors strongly discourage Pokémon from escaping their Balls. In the manga, Bugsy refers to his "capture net" as being the net that is supposedly inside a Poké Ball, but visible and already deployed. According to Kurt, this invisible net captures and physically stores a Pokémon.
Poké Balls are not always at full size. Pressing the button on the front will convert it between its full size, about the size of a baseball, to a smaller size, about that of a ping-pong ball, and back again. The larger size makes throwing the ball easier, while the smaller one makes for easier storage on a belt clip, in pockets, and in Bags.
As mentioned, the generic Poké Ball design is not constant and has been remodelled and altered innumerable times in order to create new Poké Balls that are adapted for specific conditions. For example, it is seen in several anime episodes such as Gulpin it Down! and Claydol Big and Tall that normal Poké Balls have difficulty catching Pokémon which are extremely large or extremely heavy. In the latter episode, it is revealed that ancient civilizations overcame this issue by constructing immense Poké Balls many times the size of the standard model known today, and made from stone instead. Other civilizations such as Pokémopolis also discovered new technologies that more closely resembled modern Poké Ball technology, such as the Dark Device and the Unearthly Urn, which were also adapted for the capture and storage of massive Pokémon but in small containers. However, devices like these became lost to the ages and their roles were subsequently supplanted by Heavy Balls in the modern world.
When a Pokémon is released from a Poké Ball, it will be accompanied by a bright light as it returns from its energy form, and materialize nearby, often on the ground. This bright light has been shown to vary depending on the type of Ball in which the Pokémon is contained in the games, while it has always been shown to be white in the anime. Pokémon are recalled to their Poké Ball by holding up the Poké Ball with its button pointed at the Pokémon. A beam of red light will shoot from the button, converting the Pokémon back into energy and returning it to the Ball. The beam, however, has a limited range, and can be dodged by the Pokémon. If the beam hits a person, they will be stunned for a moment, but aside from that no ill effects will make themselves apparent. Releasing Pokémon from a Trainer's ownership, unlike normally sending the Pokémon out, will bathe the Pokémon in a blue glow, and the Poké Ball will no longer mark it, making it able to be caught by another Trainer's Poké Ball.
A Poké Ball can also be broken, which will release it from ownership, and if a Trainer has done so accidentally, it must somehow be fixed before the Pokémon can be recalled. In the manga, if a Poké Ball is broken before a Pokémon is sent out, then that particular Pokémon can't be used until their Poké Ball has been repaired. This happened several times in the Pokémon Adventures manga, such as during Ash's battle against Giovanni, where the opening mechanism for the Poké Balls of Ash's Charizard and Gyarados were damaged, preventing either of them from being used in the match.
Pokémon appear to be conscious while inside Poké Balls. Several Pokémon have shown the ability to leave and return to their Poké Balls at will, most notably among them Jessie's Wobbuffet, Misty's Psyduck, Ash's Oshawott, and Brock's Croagunk, which tend to do so in every episode they appear in. In Dig Those Diglett!, many Pokémon belonging to Gary Oak, as well as other Trainers, including Ash Ketchum, demonstrated the ability to prevent themselves from being sent from their Poké Balls, as they refused to fight against the Diglett, though this has not been demonstrated since. Pokémon have also shown to be able to hear orders given by their Trainer right before they are sent out.
Poké Balls are able to communicate with a Trainer's Pokédex, as the system updates itself with information on newly-caught Pokémon, and keeps track of how many Pokémon the Trainer has with them. If a Trainer catches a new Pokémon with the full six already with them, the Pokédex will automatically send the newly-caught Pokémon in its Poké Ball to the Pokémon Storage System that the Trainer is using. As shown in Two Degrees of Separation, a Pokémon caught by a Poké Ball is "marked" by it, and thus most Poké Balls thrown at it will have no effect aside from temporarily stunning it. In the games, as well as in Bad to the Bone, however, the Trainer of the Pokémon will block a Poké Ball thrown by another, though it is possible that this is more out of courtesy to their Pokémon than to prevent capture outright.
Other wireless capabilities of Poké Balls are shown in Destiny Deoxys, as when the electricity of the city is down, Audrey could not release her Masquerain from the Poké Ball, claiming that the "Poké Ball Management System" was no longer working without power. There has been no mention of any such system since.
Poké Balls are able to be decorated to no ill effect, with several Poké Balls that have been painted with special colors being seen in the anime. In the games, a Ball Capsule and seals can release special effects when the Pokémon is sent out.
Poké Ball accuracyEdit
Except for the Master Ball, all Poké Balls have a chance of breaking and not capturing the Pokémon in question, however, in several cases, it is possible for the Poké Ball to miss the wild Pokémon completely.
List of chancesEdit
- Main article: Catch rate
Types of Poké BallsEdit