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 more 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.
Stylized Poké Balls are used in many places to symbolize Pokémon in general: the logos of the Battle Frontiers, the Pokémon Contests, the Pokéathlon, and the Pokémon Musical all 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 games feature Poké Ball designs, as do the Bags of the protagonists of Johto-based games. Ethan's headgear is also similar to the top half of an Ultra Ball, and Lucas's Bag prominently features a Poké Ball.
According to Pocket Monsters: The Animation, Poké Balls were developed to allow for various trainers to efficiently capture and train Pokémon in relatively little risk to themselves, as the act of training a Pokémon often results in severe injuries and even death. It also claims that the Pokémon Primeape and its notoriously violent nature was directly responsible for their creation.
Prior to the invention of Poké Balls, Pokémon were referred to as magical creatures (Japanese: 魔獣majū), indicating that the name Pokémon, short for Pocket Monster, did not come into common parlance as a term until Poké Balls allowed the various magical creatures to be stored easily.
Mechanics and design
A schematic displaying Poké Ball size, storage, and mechanics
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 catch 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 caught 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.
Interior of a Poké Ball from the anime
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 remodeled 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 sent out from a Poké Ball, it will be accompanied by a distinctive sound effect and 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, white, or blue 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 a 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, as seen when Jessie releases her Dustox in Crossing Paths. If a Trainer has done so accidentally, it must somehow be fixed before the Pokémon can be recalled. This was seen in Pokémon Food Fight!, where Ash becomes unable to recall Snorlax after its Poké Ball is broken. In the manga, if a Poké Ball is broken before a Pokémon is sent out, then that particular Pokémon cannot be used until their Poké Ball has been repaired. This happened several times in the Pokémon Adventures manga, such as during Red's battle against Giovanni, where the opening mechanism for the Poké Balls of Red's Venusaur 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, Brock's Croagunk, and Clemont's Chespin 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. In Charmander – The Stray Pokémon, Ash was able to catch his Charmander in a Poké Ball despite his previous ownership by another Trainer, though it may have lost its "mark" when it abandoned its previous Trainer by refusing to return to its old Poké Ball. Earlier in the same episode, Ash failed to catch the same Charmander while it still held its loyalty, despite its weak condition.
Other wireless capabilities of Poké Balls are shown in Destiny Deoxys, as when the electricity of the city is down, Rebecca claims 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. Additionally, a Ball Capsule can be used in combination with Seals to create special effects when the Pokémon is sent out.
Poké Ball accuracy
In some scenarios, a Poké Ball can miss the wild Pokémon completely (in contrast to breaking if the Poké Ball does not successfully capture the Pokémon):
In the Generation I games, it was possible for a ball to miss the Pokémon when the likelihood of catching the Pokémon in question was particularly low—rather than the ball throwing animation playing and the ball wiggling zero times, a message would come up stating "You missed the Pokémon!".
Starting in Generation V, in Double and Triple Battles, it is not possible to issue a command to one Pokémon and then throw a Poké Ball as the second Pokémon's turn. However, it is still possible to throw a Poké Ball if one Pokémon is in the middle of a two-turn move.
In Black 2 and White 2, Ghetsis uses his cane to control a wild Kyurem and orders it to attack the player. The cane also emits signals that disrupt the use of empty Poké Balls, preventing Kyurem from being captured during the climax.
In Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon, a signal that prevents the use of empty Poké Balls is broadcast throughout Aether Paradise to protect the Pokémon living there. This prevents the player from capturing the wild Nihilego that attacks them on their first visit to the facility.
In the Pokémon games so far, there have been 27 different varieties of Poké Balls, 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. From Generation III onward, each variety of the Poké Ball has a unique animation when they open to draw in a Pokémon and when a Pokémon is sent out, and the type of Poké Ball used to catch the Pokémon is preserved on its status screen.
Prior to Generation VI, all hatched Pokémon are in a standard Poké Ball. In Generation VI, a bred Pokémon will be in the same Poké Ball as its mother, unless its mother was in a Cherish Ball or Master Ball in which case the Pokémon will be in a Poké Ball; Pokémon bred from a male or genderless Pokémon and Ditto will hatch in a standard Poké Ball. In Generation VII, Pokémon bred from a male and a Ditto will inherit the father's ball as well and if two Pokémon of the same species in different balls are bred, the resulting offspring will be in either the mothers or father's ball.
Introduced in Generation I
The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Red and Green, and have appeared and been available in all games since then, with the exception of the Safari Ball, which is only available in Generations I, III, and IV. They were developed by Silph Co., with the development of the Master Ball factoring into the plot of the Generation I games and their remakes heavily.
When a Pokémon in one of these Balls is used in a link battle in Generation IV, it will appear as an ordinary Poké Ball, regardless of if the link is made with a Johto or Sinnoh-based game. Using a Pokémon in one of these Balls in one of the Battle Frontier facilities will show it as it should appear during the battle, but as an ordinary Poké Ball if the battle is saved to the Vs. Recorder and played back. Trading a Pokémon in one of these Poké Ball variations into Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum or registering it in Pokémon Battle Revolution will cause it to display as a normal Poké Ball, though if the Pokémon is traded back into a Johto-based game or transferred forward into Generation V, it will regain its variant Ball.
In Generation IV, none of these Poké Balls can be held due to not existing in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.
In Pokémon data, information for these Poké Balls on the status screen and in battle is stored in a separate location from the variants introduced in other generations, so that the Pokémon can be traded back to Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum from HeartGold and SoulSilver and display an ordinary Poké Ball there (the data space for these balls being ignored in the earlier games).
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 at most 225.5 lbs.GSC*/451.3 lbs.HGSS*/220.2 lbs.SM*USUM* No modifier if used on Pokémon weighing between 225.8 lbs.GSC/220.5 lbs.SM and 451.3 lbs.GSC/440.7 lbs.SM +20 if used on Pokémon weighing between 451.5 lbs.GSCHGSS/440.9 lbs.SM and 677.0 lbs.GSCHGSS/661.2 lbs.SM +30 if used on Pokémon weighing at least 661.4 lbs.SM +30 if used on Pokémon weighing between 677.3 lbs. and 902.8 lbs.GSCHGSS +40 if used on Pokémon weighing at least 903.0 lbs.GSCHGSS
A special Poké Ball that is used during the Bug-Catching Contest.
Note: Called Park Ball (パークボール) in Generation II.
Introduced in Generation III
The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. While the main four Poké Balls and the Safari Ball returned to central usage, these specialty Balls were only available at certain Poké Marts in the Hoenn region, and the Luxury Ball only available via completion of certain quests in the games. Generally, they can be seen to be counterparts to Generation II's Apricorn Balls, which were not available in the Generation III games, with the Nest Ball and Level Ball, Net Ball and Lure Ball, and Luxury Ball and Friend Ball being very similar in effect to each other.
The Premier Ball is functionally identical to the standard Poké Ball; it is simply a premium (hence the name) given with the purchase of ten Poké Balls. Only one is given with each purchase of ten or more, so buying 20 or more Poké Balls still only yields one gift Premier Ball. To obtain multiple Premier Balls, the Poké Balls must be purchased in separate transactions of 10 at a time.
These Ball variants continued to be available in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, though most must be traded in from a Hoenn-based game, with only the Timer Ball and Repeat Ball available to be bought, and even then, only in Two Island. The Dive Ball's effect was altered, with it now having greater chance to catch Pokémon encountered on water rather than under it, as Hoenn-based games are the only ones where wild Pokémon can be encountered while using Dive. In Generation IV, all but the Dive Ball are readily available to be bought, though the Dive Ball can still be obtained through use of Pal Park and other special events. The Johto-based HeartGold and SoulSilver make the Timer, Repeat, and Luxury Balls hard to find once more, though the returning Apricorn Balls help to take their place. All of these Poké Balls can be purchased in Generation V. Additionally, the Timer Ball's effectiveness now increases much more quickly as the battle goes on.
Unlike the Poké Balls introduced in Generation I, these Poké Balls were developed by the Devon Corporation.
The following Poké Balls were introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The set of seven introduced in Generation III, as well as the original set of five, are preserved in this generation, and are available either for purchase or by trade in all Generation IV games.
Note: Pokémon recaught with this ball in Pal Park will retain the ball in which they were originally caught in Generation III. Not to be confused with Sport Balls, which were known as Park Balls (パークボール) in Generation II. It is not programmed as an inventory item in Sinnoh games.
Introduced in Generation V
Only one new Poké Ball was introduced in Pokémon Black and White, though all Poké Balls of previous generations are programmed into the game, both as items and on the status screen. If the player cheats to get them into the game, the Apricorn Balls, Sport Ball, and Park Ball cannot be used to catch wild Pokémon, though the Safari Ball and Cherish Ball can. If a Pokémon is transferred to Generation V from an earlier generation with the Poké Transfer, it will appear to have the same ball it was originally caught with.
In the Entree Forest, when a player "speaks" to a Pokémon, a Dream Ball appears in the player's Bag. As Poké Balls never fail in the Entree Forest and the Dream Ball can only be used there, the Dream Ball effectively never fails. However, any Poké Ball in the Bag can be used in the Entree Forest, not just the Dream Ball. Pokémon transferred from Pokémon Dream Radar are obtained in Dream Balls.
A special Poké Ball that appears in your Bag out of nowhere in the Entree Forest. It can catch any Pokémon.
Introduced in Generation VII
Much like in Generation V, only one new type of Poké Ball was introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon: the Beast Ball, specifically designed to catch Ultra Beasts. Other Poké Balls (except the Master Ball) will only work as well as a standard Poké Ball when used against Ultra Beasts. Conversely, Beast Balls are barely effective against Pokémon other than Ultra Beasts, only being 10% as effective as a regular Poké Ball. In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Beast Balls were apparently developed by Faba, building on the work of a predecessor. In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, they were created by the Aether Foundation, with help of the Ultra Recon Squad.
In addition, the Apricorn Balls are once again available in Generation VII, although only oneSM/twoUSUM of each can be obtained per game without trading.
A special Poké Ball designed to catch Ultra Beasts. It has a low success rate for catching others.
In other games
Using Poké Balls in Pokémon GO is a more detailed process than in most other games. The primary factor is the player's aim, rather than battling. The player must press their finger on the Ball, move it, and release it in order to throw the Ball. The Ball and Pokémon exist in a 3D environment, so the player may miss the Pokémon by throwing the Ball the wrong distance or too far to the side. Additionally, the wild Pokémon may attempt to dodge or attack every few seconds. When a Pokémon attacks, it temporarily becomes invulnerable to Poké Balls, and any Balls that hit it will be deflect it. When a Pokémon dodges, it will move around but can still be hit by a thrown Ball.
The player's throwing technique can improve the chances of catching a Pokémon in two ways. One is aiming for the shrinking colored circle over the Pokémon. If the player's throw lands inside this circle, they will get a "Nice!", "Great!", or "Excellent!" throw bonus depending on how small the circle was. When the circle shrinks to nothing, it resets to its widest and continues to shrink again. The other factor is throwing a curveball. If the player spins the Ball while holding it, it will temporarily retain the spin and curve left or right when thrown.
Poké Balls awarded up to level 11 (including 50 Poké Balls starting at level 1)
Great Balls awarded from level 12 to level 19
Ultra Balls awarded starting level 20
Regular Poké Balls may be purchased in the Shop at the following rates:
20 for 100
100 for 460
200 for 800
All three types of balls have also been available in limited-time Box deals.
Premier Balls are also available in Pokémon GO exclusively for catching Raid Bosses; Raid Bosses can only be caught with Premier Balls, and if the player runs out, the Raid Boss will flee. The number of Premier Balls are awarded to the player after a Raid Battle is based on how well they battled. Unused Premier Balls are not retained and do not roll over to future Raid Battles. Like in the main series, Premier Balls are just as effective as regular Poké Balls.
Master Balls are also coded into Pokémon GO, but they have not yet been made available.
モンスターボール Monster Ball
A device for catching wild Pokémon. It's thrown like a ball, comfortably encapsulating its target.
スーパーボール Super Ball
A high-performance Ball with a higher catch rate than a standard Poké Ball.
ハイパーボール Hyper Ball
An ultra-performance Ball with a higher catch rate than a Great Ball.
プレミアボール Premier Ball
N/A (Used to capture the Raid Boss after winning a Raid Battle)
The best Poké Ball with the ultimate level of performance. With it, you will catch any wild Pokémon without fail.
In the anime
In the main series
Ash pulling out a Poké Ball, preparing to catch a Pokémon
In the anime, the basic Poké Ball is the most commonly used of all varieties, with other varieties appearing either very few times or not at all. A vast majority of Pokémon are shown to be stored in regular Poké Balls, to the point that large collections of Poké Balls can be seen with no variation among them. Even Ash's Pikachu, the most prominent Pokémon in the anime which spends all its time outside with Ash, has a plain Poké Ball that differs from others only by the small yellow lightning bolt symbol on it, as seen in Pokémon - I Choose You!.
Despite this, the various other types of Poké Ball have been seen in the anime, usually to illustrate a special property about that particular ball. The lack of the different types is unsurprising, however, due to the fact that, when the anime was first created, the games themselves did not even keep track of the Poké Ball that a Pokémon was caught in, and thus, it made no difference in sending a Pokémon out. This has recently become less common as of the Sun & Moon series, possibly to reflect the fact that NPC Trainers in Generation VII have certain types of Poké Balls associated with them.
The first time that a Poké Ball aside from the normal variation was seen was in EP035, where Ash was given 30 Safari Balls in order to compete in the Safari Game. With these 30 Safari Balls, Ash attempted to catch various rare Pokémon; however, he only managed to capture an entire herd of Tauros. They appeared in Safari Balls in Showdown at the Po-Ké Corral; however, whenever Ash uses one of his Tauros in a battle, it is sent out from a standard Poké Ball.
The GS Ball was the second of the variant Poké Balls to appear in the anime, this time with a special purpose. This mysterious ball was unable to be opened by Professor Ivy, and served as the reason for Ash's journeys to the Orange Archipelago (to pick it up) and Johto (to deliver it to Kurt), so that what was contained within it could be discovered. Celebi was long rumored to be related to the ball, something which the Pokémon Adventures and game canons verify, while a director of the anime confirmed that, had it not been insisted that Celebi appear in a central role in the fourth movie, the GS Ball arc would have concluded with Celebi being released from the ball and traveling with Ash and his friends.
Also related to Kurt, as in the games, the first non-standard Poké Ball variants, the Apricorn balls, made an appearance in the anime, and several were given to the members of the main cast. All three members of the main cast received a Fast Ball each in Going Apricorn!, with Brock using his to catch a Pineco shortly after receiving it. Many other Apricorn Poké Balls also appeared in a fantasy in this episode. In the next episode, Brock received a Heavy Ball, while Ash and Misty received a Lure Ball each. While Brock's Heavy Ball and Ash and Misty's Fast Balls would remain unused (and have not been mentioned since), both Ash and Misty would use their Lure Balls to capture a Totodile and Corsola, respectively. Another Heavy Ball appeared in Gulpin It Down, where it was used to capture a giantGulpin, though this was not the one belonging to Brock. In Trouble's Brewing, the Kimono Sisters (excluding Sakura) were shown keeping their Eeveelutions inside Apricorn Poké Balls, with Satsuki's Jolteon's ball being a Moon Ball, Sumomo's Vaporeon's ball being a Lure Ball, and Satsuki's Umbreon's ball being a Fast Ball. While Koume's Flareon's ball wasn't shown, her kimono pattern indicates it being a Love Ball.
Ash calling out a Pokémon
The Master Ball itself has only appeared once as an actual Poké Ball, in Whiscash and Ash, where it was used by Sullivan in a last resort attempt to catch a wild Whiscash called "Nero". Despite the fact that a Master Ball cannot be escaped from, the Whiscash swallowed the Master Ball, thus preventing capture, and disappeared back into the water. While not a Poké Ball itself, Misty owns a beach ball that is designed like the Master Ball, which can be seen in Beauty and the Beach and A Hot Water Battle.
The Generation III specialty balls have mostly been seen in cameos. The Repeat Ball and Luxury Ball appeared in the opening of Jirachi: Wish Maker. These balls contained Brendan's Shiftry and Aggron, respectively.
The debut of most of the specialty balls, both from Generation III and IV, came in the ending Which One ~ Is It?, which contained the first appearance of the Great Ball and Ultra Ball, as well as the first anime appearance of the Premier, Heal, Net, Dusk, Nest, Quick, Timer, and Dive Balls.
The first proper appearance of the Great, Ultra, Net, Nest, Dusk, Dive, Repeat, Premier, and Heal Balls was in A Frenzied Factory Fiasco!, where these balls were seen being manufactured at the Poké Ball Factory, in addition to normal Poké Balls, Luxury Balls, and Safari Balls, although the last ones were not shown. Although James did mention a Quick Ball in the Japanese version, one was never shown in the episode (a fact that was picked up by the dub, which removed the Quick Ball reference). Team Rocket tried to steal many of these Poké Balls, but were foiled by Ash and his friends.
It was revealed in First Catch in Alola, Ketchum-Style! that James had been collecting Poké Balls. When Jessie's attempts to catch a Mimikyu with typical Poké Balls had failed, she grabbed the Luxury Ball James had been polishing and used it instead, capturing Mimikyu, much to James's dismay. The rest of James's collection appeared in Acting True to Form!, where it was revealed to also contain a Great, Ultra, Premier, Dusk, Heal, and Quick Ball, marking the first proper anime appearance of a Quick Ball.
Many other Poké Balls have been shown in the anime; however, most of these are cosmetic alterations alone, such as Poké Balls with gold plating, diamond studded Poké Balls, and Poké Balls with stickers or special designs on them, usually to denote an organization. Ball Capsules and Seals can also be used to customize a Poké Ball's appearance, and they add special effects when the Pokémon is sent out. In the anime, they are mostly used by Coordinators during Pokémon Contests to create a showy entrance and ensure that the Pokémon will make a good impression right out of the Poké Ball.
Notably, a broken Poké Ball, snapped in half at its rusted hinges, was kept by both Ash and Gary, symbolizing their rivalry. After Ash defeated Gary during the Silver Conference, Gary gave his half of the Ball to Ash as a sign of ending their rivalry.
In Mystery at the Lighthouse, it was shown that if a Trainer catches a Pokémon while they already have six on hand, it is automatically sent to the regional Professor. Sewaddle and Burgh in Pinwheel Forest shows a major difference in what happens after a Pokémon is captured. Instead of being automatically sent to the regional Professor, the Poké Ball is sealed and the button becomes red. The Pokémon is kept inactive until it is switched out by another actively in the Trainer's party.
The Master Ball only appeared in a demonstration in File 3: Giovanni, as it was still under development at the time. After Team Rocket was driven out of the Silph Co. building by Red, the development of the Master Ball was put on hold for a while.
Additionally, in Pokémon Origins, the sound effects and bright light used when a Trainer is catching, sending out, or recalling a Pokémon differ in comparison to the sound effects and lights that are used in the main Pokémon anime, more resembling the effects seen in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
In the various Pokémon manga, Poké Balls have been shown to appear differently, as an attempt to explain how a Trainer knows which Pokémon is in which ball, as most Pokémon manga series were, like the anime, developed at a time when the games could not keep track of the ball a Pokémon was contained in.
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga
In the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu, the rules are more similar to the anime; however, Poké Balls are numbered on the outside, on the button, so that a Trainer knows which member of their team they are sending into battle. In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Trainers must obtain a license before they are legally allowed to purchase Poké Balls.
It is also possible for a Pokémon to be placed inside a Poké Ball without it being owned by a Trainer. In Days of Gloom and Glory, Meowzie steals a Poké Ball from a shop and puts her kitten in it so that it will not be hurt by a flood affecting the city.
In the Magical Pokémon Journey manga
In Magical Pokémon Journey, the main characters generally do not capture Pokémon, rather, they befriend them. Although Almond, one of the main characters, is known to be a Pokémon Trainer, he is not actually depicted capturing or raising any Pokémon. In fact, in the bonus materials of Volume 2, in which the cast of the manga meet Ash, Misty and Brock in a series of crossovers, it is revealed that Hazel and Coconut do not even know what Poké Balls are. When Ash and Misty explain that they are used to capture Pokémon, they both proceed to attempt to use them to capture Almond, as he is each of their love interest.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, the tops of Poké Balls are semitransparent, allowing the Pokémon inside, which is miniaturized, to be seen through the ball, while the Pokémon can likewise see out of the ball it is contained in. In this manga, unlike in the anime, Pokémon already captured can be recaught in another Poké Ball, as is seen when Red recatches Misty's Gyarados in Gyarados Splashes In! (though Blue states that catching a Pokémon that belongs to another is not possible in Lapras Lazily).
Like in the games, but unlike the anime, Pokémon placed in their balls don't recover from status conditions nor regain lost health, no matter how much time passes.
A Great Ball
An Ultra Ball
The Master Ball
An early Safari Ball
A Safari Ball
The GS Ball
A Heavy Ball
A Friend Ball
A Fast Ball
A Lure, Moon, and Love Ball
Generation III Poké Balls (Net, Dive, Nest, Repeat, Timer, Luxury, and Premier Balls)
A Luxury Ball
A Quick Ball
A Beast Ball
In the Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All manga
In Pokémon Gotta Catch 'Em All, Poké Balls are depicted as solid, with no visual identification as to which Poké Ball is which. In Special Chapter - Get Pikachu!, it is revealed that when Shu met Pikachu, Pikachu's Poké Ball had been abandoned in a forest because it was defective and it was causing Pikachu's electricity to be released throughout the surrounding area.
In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga
In Pokémon Pocket Monsters, Poké Balls are often shown as transparent to identify when a Pokémon is inside. They usually have their typical appearance from far away, suggesting that they may not always be transparent, or are only see-through from up close. Pokémon appear to be able to see the world outside of their Poké Balls, as shown in Bring Down the Powerful Opponent Onix!!, when Clefairy sees Pikachu inside his Poké Ball, and they talk to each other. In Introducing the Pokémon Clefairy!!, when Green is choosing Charmander as his starter Pokémon, he is shown to be able to pick up and lift Charmander directly from the Poké Ball without throwing it first.
Several variants of Poké Ball have been released in card form in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, ranging from the standard variants found in the games and other media to variants specific to the TCG.
The standard Poké Ball card, which was the first released, debuted in the Jungle expansion and has since been featured in many others. It features a TCG-centric mechanic, requiring a coin flip to search the deck for a Pokémon to be put in the hand. Most of the Poké Ball variants, both adapted from the games and exclusive to the TCG, are similar to this, with several requiring coin flips to use their effect.
The Ultra Ball can be seen in the artwork of Rocket's Sneak Attack, from the Team Rocket expansion. The 'H' on this Ultra Ball is derived from its Japanese name, Hyper Ball. The Ultra Ball itself would appear in Dark Explorers, with its effect requiring the player to discard 2 cards from the hand to search the deck for a Pokémon.
The Great Ball, which first appeared in the TCG expansion coinciding with the remakes of the Generation I games, is somewhat of an upgrade to the Poké Ball, and does not require the coin flip that the Poké Ball does, instead restricting the search to Basic Pokémon. Later, in Emerging Powers, Great Ball's effect was changed to have the player search the top 7 cards of the deck for any one Pokémon card and put it in the hand.
The Master Ball, first appearing in the Gym Challenge expansion, and in the games the most powerful of the Poké Balls, provides a vastly different effect than the standard. Rather than searching the entire deck, only the top seven cards may be searched. One Pokémon found in these seven can be put into the hand, while the rest must be shuffled back into the deck. In Plasma Blast, the Master Ball was changed to an Ace Spec that allowed the player to search the entire deck for any one Pokémon.
Debuting in the Skyridge expansion, the Lure Ball is different from the basic Poké Balls in that it draws from the discard pile rather than the deck. For each heads flipped, with a maximum of three, an Evolution card can be returned from the discard pile and put into the hand. It has not appeared since.
Also debuting in Skyridge, the Friend Ball, another Apricorn Ball, has a unique effect entirely, allowing the user to search their deck for a Pokémon of the same type as one of the opponent's Pokémon, making it effective in decks that typically match up well against their own type. It also has not appeared since.
The Fast Ball allows the player to go through their deck, turning over cards one at a time until they find the first evolution card, and then taking that into their hand, shuffling afterward. Like the other two Apricorn Balls, it debuted in Skyridge and has not appeared since.
The Premier Ball, debuting in the Great Encounters expansion, is special, much as in the games, and allows the player to search either the deck or the discard pile for a Pokémon LV.X to put into their hand.
The Luxury Ball, first found in the Stormfront expansion, is among the rarest of the Poké Ball varieties in the games, though its catch rate is the same as that of a normal Poké Ball. Likewise it is so with the TCG, allowing a non-LV.X Pokémon to be searched from the deck, but only if another Luxury Ball card is not in the discard pile.
The Quick Ball released in the Mysterious Treasures expansion has a similar effect to the Fast Ball released in Skyridge, allowing the player to uncover cards from their deck until they find a Pokémon. An expansion of the Fast Ball's use, any Pokémon can be found, though this may prove an issue if the player is looking for an Evolution card specifically and finds a Basic Pokémon first, and vice versa.
The Dusk Ball, also first found in Mysterious Treasures, features an effect somewhat opposite from the Master Ball's: Instead of the top seven cards being searched, only the bottom seven cards may be, and a Pokémon found there may be put into the player's hand.
The Heavy Ball, first found in Next Destinies, allows the player to search through their deck for a Pokémon who has a retreat cost of 3 or more and put it in their hand, whereas the Level Ball, also found in Next Destinies, allows them to do the same with a Pokémon that has 90 HP or less.
The Net Ball, first found in Fairy Rise, allows the player to search their deck for a Basic Pokémon or a Energy card and put it into their hand.
In the Super Smash Bros. series, Poké Balls mainly appear as items which a character can pick up and throw to release a random Pokémon. Most Pokémon will perform a direct attack against the characters on the stage, but some may have other effects. Like many other items, the Poké Balls also do damage simply by hitting other characters. The fourth game in the series also introduced a Master Ball variant on the Poké Ball, which essentially functions the same as a Poké Ball except that it usually contains a Legendary or Mythical Pokémon.
The Poké Ball also features in a couple of other ways in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Brawl, in The Subspace Emissary, Pokémon Trainer is shown to push the button on the Poké Ball to send out his Pokémon, a mechanic that has not been shown in the anime. A Poké Ball logo is also used to represent the Pokémon games in the Super Smash Bros. series. In the third and fourth games, this logo is updated to match Generation IV's redesigned icon.
These balls are used to catch and contain wild Pokémon. Most Pokémon must be weakened in some way before they can be caught, but once they're inside a Poké Ball, they enjoy their new home, since Poké Balls contain an environment specially designed for Pokémon comfort. Master Balls are the strongest type.
"An item used for capturing Pokémon and calling them out into battle. Pokémon live in these items which despite appearances, actually contain a wide, comfortable Pokémon-friendly world inside them. In Super Smash Bros., Pokémon give temporary support to who calls them out. You never know which you will get, but some are devastatingly powerful."
NA: An item used to call out different Pokémon. Which Pokémon emerges is a mystery, but it will aid whoever threw the Poké Ball. Some of the Pokémon contained inside are extremely powerful and will really intensify the battle. It's definitely worth beating your opponents to these!
PAL: A ball holding one of any number of Pokémon just waiting to burst out and help you in battle. Which kind will it be? Well, that's a surprise, but whichever one it is, it'll definitely up the intensity of the battle! If you see one, make sure you're the one to grab it!
The Master Ball in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
NA: These valuable, powerful balls can capture any wild Pokémon. In Smash Bros., hard- to-find Pokémon often pop out of them. You can easily identify a Master Ball by the distinct purple appearance and large M on the top. A Pokémon within a Master Ball may turn the tide of battle.
PAL: A rare type of Poké Ball that never fails to catch a Pokémon. Throw one in this game, and the Mythical or Legendary Pokémon inside will come to your aid. Master Balls are easy to identify due to their purple colour and the large M on them. Use one to quickly turn the tide of any battle!
The following Poké Ball variants are found outside of the standard games. They are often very unusual compared to the 27 types found in the games, and it is sometimes questionable whether or not they even qualify as Poké Balls. Many have separate articles, where their unique properties are described in greater detail.
In the games
Pester Balls: These objects, which appear similar to Poké Balls at a glance, are not used to catch Pokémon, and instead will release a Pokémon repellent on contact. They are only found in Pokémon Snap.
A Snag Ball is not a single, separate type of Poké Ball, but rather any type of existing Poké Ball that has been "unlocked" by the Snag Machine, allowing it to snag an already-caught Pokémon during a battle. While it is able to be used on any Pokémon, Rui will only allow Wes to use it on Shadow Pokémon, while Michael's Aura Reader will render the Snag Machine inoperable when a Pokémon other than a Shadow Pokémon is targeted.
When transferring Pokémon via Poké Transfer, a blue-colored Poké Ball is used to catch the Pokémon in the mingame. They are shot using a bow.
Typing Balls are used in Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure. They are thrown after one successfully types a Pokémon's name. It has the overall design like that of a normal Poké Ball, only having an additional vertical line at the bottom, resembling the letter "T".
Several objects were used to contain and control Pokémon before Poké Balls themselves were developed. Large monumental objects have been shown several times in episodes to be containers for large ancient Pokémon, as seen most notably in The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis. Smaller objects have also been used, such as the staff belonging to Sir Aaron, which contained his partner, Lucario, until Ash released it in the current era. Special armor developed by Marcus was used to control Pokémon in ancient Michina Town, though it did not directly contain the Pokémon; unlike other methods of using Pokémon, these Pokémon were enslaved, instead of befriended, and they turned against him the moment the armor was broken.
Mewtwo had a collection of strange Poké Balls known as (Japanese: ミュウツーボールMewtwo Balls) in Mewtwo Strikes Back, which incorporated an eye into their design, and were used primarily to capture Pokémon to be cloned. These balls had no trouble catching Pokémon which were already captured—even if they were already inside of Poké Balls.
Molly Hale, whose imagination caused the power of the Unown to change the world around them, was able to use strange, crystalline Poké Balls when she challenged Brock and Misty in Spell of the Unown: Entei. The Pokémon sent from these appeared normally, but dissolved into crystal, rather than being recalled. These crystal Poké Balls only appeared when used by her imagined older selves, and do not appear to actually exist.
A special variant of Poké Ball, the Lake Ball, was used during the Seaking Catching Competition in Hook, Line, and Stinker; this is viewed by many to be similar to the Sport Ball used in the Bug-Catching Contest. They appear as blue and white Poké Balls, with a fish pattern around the edge, and a yellow arrow on the top and bottom of the ball. They don't shake after capture, implying an automatic catch.
Older Poké Balls have also appeared in the anime, specifically the one carried by Sam in Celebi: The Voice of the Forest, which was colored differently, and it had a knob that needed to be twisted before the Pokémon inside could be sent out. While it is unknown how these types were manufactured, it is likely that they were made by hand using Apricorns, prior to the standardization and mass production of modern-day Poké Balls.
The Iron-Masked Marauder, an agent of Team Rocket, used special Dark Balls that corrupted Pokémon caught inside them and made them into mindless servants of the Trainer, as well as raising their power significantly. Multiple Pokémon were caught in these Poké Balls, including the MythicalCelebi and a powerful Tyranitar. They seem capable of catching any Pokémon without fail.
As in the games, the GS Ball appeared in the anime, and was the primary motivation for Ash's trip to the Orange Islands, where he would compete in his second Pokémon League. It also served as the catalyst for his journey to Johto, as he needed to deliver the ball to Kurt. Former director Masamitsu Hidaka revealed that a shelved storyline, that would have concluded the GS Ball's arc, involved a Celebi that would have traveled with Ash and his friends through at least part of Johto. The storyline was viewed as redundant after the decision was made to introduce Celebi in the fourth movie instead.
Claydol, Big and Tall featured the "Stone Ball", a huge Poké Ball made of stone used to keep an evil, giant Claydol that levied destruction everywhere. This Poké Ball is about the size of a two-story house.
In Battling the Enemy Within!, an ancient relic resembling a Poké Ball was first mentioned by Brandon, who told Ash and his friends a story about the King of Pokélantis, who had once tried to control Ho-Oh for his own evil purposes. When Ash later found the relic, it was revealed that the King of Pokélantis's spirit was actually sealed within it, and it possessed Ash until it was banished from his body and resealed back inside the relic.
In A Fishing Connoisseur in a Fishy Competition!, a specially marked Poké Ball, called the "Fishing Poké Ball", was used in the fake fishing contest set up by Team Rocket. This Poké Ball highly resembled the regular red and white Poké Ball, except that it had a dark fish mark on its red part.
In The Power of Us, the participants of the Pokémon Catch Race used special "Catch Race Poké Balls" to catch specifically marked Pokémon around Fula City. These Poké Balls feature a blue-and-white color scheme, with a gold button.
In Haunting My Dreams, a giant Poké Ball named the Enormo Poké Ball-X1 (Japanese: ビッグモンスターボールX1Big Monster Ball-X1) or EPB-X1 for short, was created to capture the gigantic Haunter, Black Fog. It was destroyed when the Black Fog used Explosion to free itself after being captured.
The Enormo Poké Ball-X1
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
In addition to various Poké Balls introduced in the games, Pokémon Adventures also has several Trainers modifying their Poké Balls to suit their fighting styles.
Bruno has modified his Poké Balls so that they are fitted onto the ends of his nunchucks. By swinging them quickly and throwing the nunchuck forward, Bruno can have his Pokémon quickly attack his opponent, giving him the advantage.
Koga and his daughter Janine modified their Poké Balls into shuriken to fit their ninja theme. In addition to being used as weapons, they can also be used to have their Pokémon pop up from different locations to surprise the opponent or to hold items to help an ally.
Bugsy had Kurt modify his butterfly net into something he calls a Capture Net. His net has a Poké Ball nested into the middle of it. The bag of the net is made of the same material of the inside of a Poké Ball. Once a Pokémon is covered in the bag, they will automatically be sucked into the Poké Ball.
Falkner has modified his Poké Balls into boomerangs using the feathers of his Skarmory. Because of Skarmory's feathers being transparent, they have the tendency to turn invisible, confusing enemies when Falkner throws them in random directions only for them to turn around and go straight for them.
Erika and Moon modified their Poké Balls to be at the end of their arrows.
Bruno's nunchuck with Poké Balls on them
Koga's shuriken Poké Ball
Bugsy's Capture Net
Falkner's boomerang Poké Balls
Erika with one of her Poké Ball arrows
In the TCG
The Dual Ball is merely two Poké Balls together, and has a similar effect to using two plain Poké Ball cards, requiring two coin flips to search for up to two Pokémon, depending on how many heads appear.
The Team Magma Ball is Team Magma's Poké Ball variant, found only in the EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua expansion. It works similarly to a Poké Ball, however, it only can be used to find Team Magma's Pokémon, and will still allow a player to find a Pokémon, though only a Basic one, if the coin flip results in tails.
In both the anime and games, it has been shown that items can be contained in Poké Balls, apparently able to be captured in much the same way as a Pokémon. The anime has used this as a gag on several occasions, most notably in Primeape Goes Bananas, where Ash accidentally catches a rice ball when he throws a Poké Ball in an attempt to catch a wild Mankey.
Items contained in Poké Balls have been present from the very first games, with many items that are found on the field being found in Poké Balls in conspicuous locations. These items are sometimes important, and usually will be among the required items for pickup along the way. Sometimes, even Poké Ball variants can be found in item balls, though it may be that the item ball itself is supposed to represent the ball that is found. Many other items, however, are hidden, and are not in item balls, instead being directly on the field, and can be found more easily using an Itemfinder or Dowsing Machine.
These are artwork of the items as seen in Pokémon GO.
Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald
Battle sprites are the same as summary sprites.
Generations IV and V
From Generation VI onward, the sprites used on the summary screen are the same as the sprites used in the Bag menu.
Any Poké Ball
Poké Ball Love Ball
Great Ball Lure Ball Fast Ball
Ultra Ball Friend Ball
Moon Ball Heavy Ball Park Ball
Battle sprites are the same as summary sprites.
The Apricorn Poké Balls, the Safari Ball, and the Sport Ball, while programmed into the game, cannot be used to catch Pokémon and can be seen only in the Pokémon summary screen or when sending out a Pokémon. Sprites seen below are at full size as they are seen as they are when player's Pokémon is sent out after a switch.
The Safari Ball, Sport Ball, Dream Ball, and — in Generation VI only — Apricorn Poké Balls, while programmed into the game, cannot be used to catch Pokémon and can be seen only in the Pokémon summary screen or when sending out a Pokémon.
Outside of battles, Generation I Poké Balls (except the Safari Ball) are all seen in the minigame Furret's Frolic in Pokémon Stadium 2. Poké Ball is worth 1 point, Great Ball 2, Ultra Ball 3 and Master Ball 5.
Only the Scyther family and Pinsir can legitimately be obtained in all of the 27 in-game Poké Ball variants.
In Pokémon Pinball, the Poké Balls serve as the balls in the machine; they can be used to capture Pokémon and are upgraded depending on the multiplier bonus at the time.
In Generation II, the Park Ball's name is written as one word on the in-battle menu during the Bug-Catching Contest, where it takes the place of the Pack command. However, when the ball is used, its name is formatted properly.
In some early artwork for Pokémon Red and Green, Poké Balls are shown on the ground in two pieces while the Pokémon are in battle, rather than in the more familiar hinged form they take now. This may be a carryover from when Pokémon was known as Capsule Monsters, as the Poké Ball sprites in Generation I also do not show the button on the ball. In Generation II, Poké Balls split in half when capturing a Pokémon as part of their animation, while the anime had been using the hinge style since the very first episode.
Poké Balls are inspired by the capsules for gashapon machines, which contain small, handheld toys.
In HeartGold and SoulSilver and the TCG, Lure Balls are shown to have a green outer coloring; however, in official artwork and the anime, they are shown to have a blue outer coloring. In later games, the Lure Ball's color is changed to the official blue color.
Similarly, the Fast Ball is shown to be red in official art; however, it is orange in its Bag and status screen sprites, and only appears red in battle in Generation V.
In Generation II, after catching a Pokémon, the Poké Ball's color palette changes to that of the Pokémon that was just caught. It then changes back to normal thereafter.
Both the Safari Ball and Generation II Park Ball appeared in the anime prior to sprites being introduced for items in the games, in EP035 and The Bug Stops Here, respectively. In these appearances, their designs were vastly different from their later-introduced in-game sprites.
When the player uses a Master Ball in Generation II, stars appear and a sound effect is played before the ball closes and captures the Pokémon.
A similar effect would later be used in subsequent generations for all Poké Ball captures (regardless of the variety of Poké Ball used), beginning with Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon only, a Heavy Ball will always fail to catch a Pokémon whose weight is less than 220.46 lbs and whose catch rate is less than or equal to 20. This is because the game will set the catch rate to 0 when the catch rate becomes negative due to the -20 modifier that is applied. The only catchable Pokémon that this affects are Beldum and the guardian deities.
The Global Link artwork for the Sport Ball has the letter S on the top dome instead of an image of a Poké Ball.