A Poké Ball (Japanese: モンスターボールMonster 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 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.
Mechanics and design
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 be destroyed (in the games and some manga) or will return to the Trainer (anime), 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 SinnohElite 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 that the Pokémon is contained in 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.
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. Poké Balls are able to be decorated to no ill effect.
There have been 26 different varieties of Poké Ball recorded to date, all differing from each other in some effect, whether it be an increased ability to catch a Pokémon from the wild or an effect which occurs only after the Pokémon has been caught.
A special Poké Ball that is used only in the Great Marsh. It is decorated in a camouflage pattern.
Introduced in Johto
The following Poké Balls were introduced in the Johto region. Seven of them are made from Apricorns by Kurt, while the only one that is not is seen by some to be a counterpart to the Safari Ball in that it is only used in the Bug-Catching Contest in National Park.
Level Ball レベルボールLevel Ball
POKÉ BALLS pocket
Cannot be bought
Allows the player to catch wild Pokémon; works better on Pokémon of levels lower than the Pokémon currently in battle.
1× if the player's Pokémon is the same level as or a lower level than the wild Pokémon 2× if the player's Pokémon is at a higher level than the wild Pokémon but less than double it 4× if the player's Pokémon is more than double but less than four times the level of the wild Pokémon 8× if the player's Pokémon is of a level four times or more than that of the wild Pokémon
-20 if used on Pokémon weighing less than 220.6lbsGSC/451.5 lbsHGSS No modifier if used on Pokémon weight between 220.6lbs and 441.0 lbsGSC +20 if used on Pokémon weighing between 451.5 lbs and 677.3 lbs +30 if used on Pokémon weighing more than 661.5 lbsGSC +30 if used on Pokémon weighing between 677.3 lbs and 903.0 lbsHGSS +40 if used on Pokémon weighing more than 903.0 lbsHGSS