The Poké Ball is a spherical device used by Pokémon Trainers to "catch" and store Pokémon in the fictional video game series Pokémon. Many varieties of Poké Balls exist; the regular Poké Ball which is simply called a Poké Ball, The Great Ball, the Ultra Ball, the Master Ball, the Safari Ball, the Park Ball, and many other types of Poké Balls are specially designed by Kurt.
A regular Poké Ball features a red top, white bottom, and a black ring going around the center horizontally. In the middle of the Poké Ball, there is a small, silver button which can be pushed to release or call back a Pokémon. The Poké Ball is designed to be portable, so when the Poké Ball is palm sized and when the silver button is pushed, it will grow to full size. In the Pokémon games, it is not possible to carry a Pokémon which is not in its Poké Ball, with the exception of Pokémon Yellow, which allowed a Pikachu to follow your character, Pokémon Soul Silver/Heart Gold, which allowed the first Pokémon in your party to follow your character, and in the Sinnoh region games when inside Amity Square, which permits entrance to a small number of Pokémon species.
Although the exact dimensions of the Poké Ball are not known, it's probably around 4-6 centimeters in diameter, although, according to the Pokémon Anime, the button on the center of the Poké Ball can also be pushed to shrink so it is small enough to attach to a belt. This was later reaffirmed in the story mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where the Pokémon Trainer character uses the silver button to cause the ball to grow from the size of a billiard ball to a dodgeball.
To use a Poké Ball to "catch" a wild Pokémon, a Pokémon trainer will simply throw an unoccupied Poké Ball at the wild Pokémon. The wild Pokémon will then be absorbed into the ball, and will attempt to break free unless it likes the trainer. If the Pokémon has not been weakened enough during the time of catching, it may be able to break free of the Poké Ball (only during the first few moments of its catching, while it's still struggling), which is a good reason to use a stronger Poké Ball over the regular Poké Ball, such as a Great Ball, which is 50% stronger than a regular ball. If the Pokémon does manage to break free, the Poké Ball used to attempt to catch it will break and is no longer usable. Poké Balls can not be used to catch already caught Pokémon (Pokémon belonging to other trainers). It is also programmed not to catch humans. If the red beam hits something other than a Pokémon, (i.e. rice cake Ash caught) it may, or may not capture it.
Once a Pokémon has been successfully caught in a Poké Ball, it will become loyal to its catcher and will usually obey them. For this reason, a Pokémon can not generally be considered "evil" — a Pokémon is only as evil as the trainer who caught it, however Pokémon can also act evil on their own. It is not known what a Pokémon does whilst inside their Poké Ball. The inside of a Poké Ball is "designed to be as comfortable for the Pokémon residing within", although this is not necessarily true. The Pokémon inside may simply be sleeping, or completely unaware of its own existence. Pokémon are, however aware when inside their Poké Ball — by calling their name, the Pokémon will emerge from its Poké Ball almost immediately.
Rarely even, a Pokémon will release itself from the Poké Ball. In one episode of the Pokémon anime, which should not be taken seriously, the inside of a Psyduck's Poké Ball is shown — it simply appears as an empty space consisting of mirrors and circuitry. To release or recall a Pokémon, trainers either say the Pokémon's name ("call it") or push the small button on the Poké Ball. The naming command is usually accompanied with a phrase — such as Go, Eevee or Return, Bulbasaur!. A Poké Ball can only store one Pokémon at a time. For this reason, a trainer may carry as many as six occupied Poké Balls at once — although they may carry up to 999 spare Poké Balls for catching more Pokémon. If more than six Pokémon are caught, the additional ones will be transferred to a PC.
Poké Ball Storage
Due to the Poké Ball's small size, it is hard to imagine how large Pokémon, such as Wailord, or even smaller Pokémon such as Natu manage to fit inside the Poké Ball. Although this has never been made clear officially, when a Pokémon is absorbed into a Poké Ball, their form "shrinks" and turns into energy. It is possible that the Pokémon are simply stored as energy in their Poké Balls, although this, of course, arouses many other questions, such as how they can return to a tangible form.
Even then, when Pokémon are stored inside Poké Balls, they are shown as chips of data when the Pokémon are transferred to Pokémon box, so maybe they are transferred into data.
Other Types Of Poké Balls
These include the types of Poké Balls that have appeared in the anime, manga & games.
Green Poké BallAppearing in the first moment of the anime, not much is known about this ball and it is likely just a regular Poké Ball that has been recolored.
GS BallIn the anime, Professor Ivy was the first character to possess the GS Ball. She called upon the help of Professor Oak to study it, but couldn't figure out how to open it or transmit it via PC. Professor Oak asked Ash to go to the Orange Archipelago and get it from Professor Ivy, which he did in Poké Ball Peril. This prompted Ash's participation in the Orange League.
At one point, Ash tried simply calling a Pokémon to be released but this did not work.
When Professor Oak couldn't do anything with it, Ash was once again asked to deliver it to Kurt, a Poké Ball researcher and manufacturer living in Johto's Azalea Town. It presumably still resides there to this day, and its purpose was, before 2008, unknown. In an interview with Masamitsu Hidaka in 2008 by the webmaster of PokéBeach, it was explained that the GS Ball was meant to contain a Celebi that was to be the star of a large arc of the Johto saga. However, it was decided that Celebi would be the star of the fourth movie, so the story arc was viewed as redundant and shelved. The ball was left with Kurt with the hopes that viewers would eventually forget about it. Misty's Psyduck, in one episode, sneaks Ash's GS Ball out and fools around with it while Ash is in the middle of a big trainer battle. Misty sees this, Grabs the GS Ball, angrily says "PSYDUCK! That GS Ball is not a toy!", and puts it back in Ash's bag. The GS might stand for Gold and Silver.
Mewtwo Ball (Clone Ball)These Poké Balls look like a black and gray ball with a gold strip and a ruby eye in place of the white button. These can capture other Trainer's Pokémon and even those inside their Poké Balls by capturing the actual Poké Ball as well. This ball only appeared in the movie Mew Vs. Mewtwo 150 vs. 151 The Ultimate Battle.
Dark BallOnly used by Vicious The Iron Masked Marauder, it is black all over with a gray strip, a dark gray button and many dents all over. Any Pokémon caught with this ball become unswervingly loyal to Vicious to the point there they will attack and possibly kill their friends and family. It instantly raises any Pokémon to the highest level. The Dark Ball also installs them with a sinister personality to fit. Vicious used this ball to capture Celebi with his Scizor, Sneasel, and his newly stolen Tyranitar.
Old BallThis ball was used by Professor Samuel Oak, and is not available in the games. This ball makes its appearance in "Pokémon 4Ever." It is a murky brown color and is possibly a pre-modern-day Poké Ball. The user had to turn a small crank like those on wind-up toys just to get it to work. It was only seen sending out a Pokémon (Samuel's Charmeleon), never catching Pokémon.
Professor Oak's Custom Ball
The Custom Poké Ball is the item contained in Oak's Parcel in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. It is unknown what its appearance or function is.
- Poké Balls with different colored bands were not introduced until Generation III.
- Poké Balls that were fully colored were not introduced until Generation III as well.
- Poké Balls with special abilities and catching attributes were not introduced until Generation II.
- The Cherish Ball is the only ball in the game that cannot be obtained legally in-game without using unorthodox methods such as cheating or hacking.
- The Dive Ball is the the only ball that had its abilities changed. It was originally used in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald to catch Pokémon underwater, but with lack of underwater routes in later games, it is now used for Pokémon found when using the Surf move.
- The GS Ball did appear in Pokémon Crystal, but it appeared as a Key Item, not a Poké Ball or Items and was an event-only Item. It can not be obtained as a ball using unorthodox methods and is used to catch Celebi in the special Celebi event.
- Poke Balls that hold special Pokémon in the first season of the anime are usually kept in special balls (such as starters and a Leader's Pokémon.)
- Despite the Level Ball and the Nest Ball having different names, appearances and being from different generations, they both do the same job and are the only two Poké Balls that have the same catch rate.
- In Sonic Super Special Issue 12, Sonic The Hedgehog can be seen fishing with a Poke Ball.
In the anime