The Poké Ball is a spherical device used by Pokémon Trainers to catch wild Pokémon or store their own Pokémon. It was designed to be lightweight, practical, and effective. Poké Balls can store Pokémon, regardless of weight or size, in a very small space by converting the Pokémon's matter into energy. There are many types of Poké Balls, and ordinary ones have an upper red half and a lower white half that are separated by a black line circling around the Poké Ball. There is a button in the center of the Poké Ball, and although its purpose is not shown in the main Pokémon series of games, the Pokémon anime shows that the button activates the Poké Ball, causing it to slightly increase in size.
Upon contact, a Poké Ball flips open, draws a Pokémon inside by converting it into energy, and then closes. Wild Pokémon are able to resist and break free from a Poké Ball used on them, although weakened Pokémon and those with status conditions struggle more to break free, making them easier to catch. In the main Pokémon series of games, if a Pokémon frees itself, the Poké Ball is irreparably broken, but in the anime, the Poké Ball rebounds to its trainer. Once a Pokémon Trainer catches a Pokémon, it stays in its Poké Ball until its trainer willingly calls it out, especially during a Pokémon battle. A Pokémon can only be returned into the Poké Ball from which it was caught. Whenever a Pokémon Trainer has six Pokémon with them, additional captured Pokémon and the Poké Ball in which they were caught are automatically teleported to the trainer's Pokémon Computer Storage System. If ever a Pokémon Trainer misuses a Poké Ball to try and capture another trainer's Pokémon, they block the Poké Ball to protect their Pokémon from being stolen.
Most Poké Ball variants specialize in capturing certain types of Pokémon, most notably Legendary Pokémon, which require several Poké Balls or a stronger type, usually a Master Ball, in order to be caught. The inside of a Poké Ball features many of what appear to be mirror panels, which are supposedly designed to keep the Pokémon feel comfortable while they are inside of the Poké Ball. However, there are a few Pokémon that dislike being inside of a Poké Ball, most notably Ash's Pikachu.
In the main series, regular Poké Balls are the most common type. The player character is taught how to use Poké Balls early on in the games. Poké Balls are usually sold in every Poké Mart, where they cost 200 and can be sold for 100. Because they are the standard type, Poké Balls are less expensive than their variations.
Whenever a Pokémon Trainer sends their Pokémon out to battle, the Poké Ball is thrown to the ground and opens to release the Pokémon.
Many items around the world map are contained within a Poké Ball. When the player character picks one up, that Poké Ball is not added to their stock, since they were already used to contain an item. Like the Pokémon Computer Storage System, one's items can be transported to and from a properly equipped PC. This feature was removed starting with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions because the player character's Bag can hold as many items as they need.
Interestingly, a Pokémon hatched from an egg is automatically put into a standard Poké Ball, even if the Pokémon Trainer is not carrying any of them. This is not the case for a Shedinja's appearance after a Nincada evolves into Ninjask. In this case, the Pokémon Trainer must have a standard Poké Ball in their Bag and an open slot in their party to contain Shedinja.
Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions / Pokémon Crystal Version
In Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions and Pokémon Crystal Version, there are fruits called Apricorns that the player character can give to the Poké Ball expert Kurt in Azalea Town for him to make one of seven special types of Poké Balls, depending on the Apricorn's color:
- Level Ball (red)
- Moon Ball (yellow)
- Lure Ball (blue)
- Friend Ball (green)
- Love Ball (pink)
- Fast Ball (white)
- Heavy Ball (black)
According to Kurt, Poké Balls were originally made by fitting a special device in a hollowed-out Apricorn, but later ones were made of synthetic materials and mass-produced by large companies such as Silph Co. in Kanto.
Pokémon Colosseum / Pokémon Colosseum XD: Gale of Darkness
In the Nintendo GameCube games, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the player character can steal others' Pokémon by using the Snag Machine, which turns Poké Balls into Snag Balls. These function Mewtwo Balls from Pokémon - The First Movie.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Poké Balls are instead sold at a reduced price of 100, and can be sold for 50.
Super Smash Bros. series
Poké Balls are an item in every Super Smash Bros. game. If a fighter throws a Poké Ball, a Pokémon is released to assist them. A trophy of a Poké Ball appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, according to its trophy, a holographic environment is created to suit the Pokémon contained within.
Throughout the anime, Poké Balls have a smaller and larger size, which are comparable to the sizes of a ping pong ball and a baseball respectively. Poké Balls are at their smaller size by default, as it indicates that they are not activated. However, in some appearances, the larger-sized Poké Balls are shown to be inactive.
In order for a Pokémon to be caught, the button on Poké Ball must touch the Pokémon. A red light emerges from the Poké Ball whenever it captures a wild Pokémon or if a Pokémon is returned into their Poké Ball, but if the Pokémon is called out or is evolving, a white light appears from the Poké Ball.
When calling a Pokémon out to battle, the Poké Ball is thrown towards the battlefield, opening suspended in mid-air and releasing the Pokémon held inside. The Poké Ball then returns to the trainer's hand. To retrieve the Pokémon, either because it was knocked out or the trainer wants to give it a rest, the Poké Ball is held with the button pointing at the Pokémon, and the Poké Ball does not open.
Pokémon already belonging to a specific Poké Ball can be returned to it with a laser emitted from the expansion button on the Poké Ball. Originally, the Poké Ball opened to allow the recalled Pokémon to enter. This was later changed so that a recalled Pokémon enters through the expansion button. This is more convenient in recalling Pokémon from battle rather than having the respective Pokémon contact the ball itself. As with any laser however, obstructions can prevent the laser from recalling the Pokémon.
In early episodes of the anime, small objects, such as rice balls or rocks, have been caught in Poké Balls for comedic effect. Humans cannot be caught with Poké Balls, and if a Poké Ball tries to capture one, that person feels a slight paralyzing effect. In one episode, Jessie gets painfully shocked when she protects a Sudowoodo from a Poké Ball. Contrarily, in the manga, it was briefly discussed that Poké Balls are not powerful enough to capture a human, but if ever one was to be captured, the Poké Ball would "correct" the mistake by turning the human into a random Pokémon.
In the first episode, "Pokémon - I Choose You!", when Ash tries to get his Pikachu to go into the ball, it refuses. Ash says that Pikachu should go in and uses his Pokédex to confirm that all captured Pokémon are expected to do so.
In "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis", giant ancient Pokémon appear to have been stored in simple stone talismans. For example, a giant Alakazam comes out of an ancient spoon, and returns back to it in a manner very similar to modern Poké Balls. Contrarily, in "Claydol Big and Tall", a giant Claydol was contained within a similarly giant-sized ancient stone Poké Ball.
In a certain episode Ash's Snorlax's Poké Ball was broken, and the party had to carry the Snorlax to the nearest town, in the back of a great hill.
Pokémon: The First Movie
In Pokémon 4Ever, which is partially set in the past, one of the characters uses a non-synthetic Poké Ball that functions differently from Kurt's Apricorn Balls; it is opened by unscrewing the disproportionate top. The anime episodes (which included a paralleled history of Poké Balls in an episode with Kurt titled "Goin' Apricorn") tend to focus on ancient civilizations and the ways that they dealt with Pokémon capture.
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys
In Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, it is revealed that all Poké Balls are registered to a managing system. When LaRousse City was isolated from the rest of the world by Deoxys's force field, the blackout caused the trainers' Poké Balls to fail, making them unable to release or return their Pokémon.
Names in other languages
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|Games||Beast Ball • Cherish Ball • Dive Ball • Dream Ball • Dusk Ball • Fast Ball • Friend Ball • Great Ball • Heal Ball • Heavy Ball • Left Poké Ball • Level Ball • Love Ball • Lure Ball • Luxury Ball • Master Ball • Moon Ball • Nest Ball • Net Ball • Park Ball • Premier Ball • Quick Ball • Repeat Ball • Safari Ball • Sport Ball • Timer Ball • Ultra Ball|
|Anime||GS Ball • Mewtwo Ball • Dark Ball • Old Ball|