Have you ever wondered how a poké ball works? How it stores a Pokémon in such a small space, and where the Pokémon goes once inside? I have, and over the years I've arrived at a working theory that may explain some of these questions.

Once, when I was younger, I thought poké balls shrank pokémon down to itty-bitty size and stored them inside. That theory continued until about four to six years ago. You see, the problem with the shrinking theory is that pokémon that had been shrunk would, theoretically, still have the same mass as before. This means that if poké balls shrunk pokémon, then a half-ton Snorlax would still weigh half a ton inside a poké ball, making carrying (not to mention throwing) a poké ball nigh impossible.

Then, within the last few years, I had an epiphany. Being an avid sci-fi fan, I was watching Stargate Atlantis one night (Don't judge me!) when a peculiar subject was mentioned. A shadowy creature had been let loose in the city, and it turned out the creature had accidentally been released from a peculiar device referred to as a "Sub-Space Bottle".

Now, since some of you may not be familiar with sci-fi lingo, I'll explain. Sub-space is like a mysterious realm thought to exist outside normal space-time. So a sub-space bottle essentially creates a special region of space outside what we know as the universe, and then places something there for storage. The thing is, since the object being stored is stored in its own space separate from the one we inhabit, a sub-space bottle the size of a suitcase theoretically could contain an entire city.

Here's the neat part: again, since the object (or objects) being stored are outside our normal realm of space-time, they could be carried with virtually no weight except for that of the device storing them. Thus, if you imagine a poké ball as a sub-space storage device, then you could conceivably store a half-ton Snorlax (or even a Wailord) inside of one without regard for its weight.

For those of you not accustomed to science fiction, this may seem a strange concept, but for anyone who has seen the British sci-fi series "Doctor Who" (cough Eevee cough), the concept of an object that's bigger on the inside (TARDIS) is not that far-fetched. For those of you who aren't familiar with Doctor Who, another example of something that's bigger on the inside would be Mary Poppins' purse in the film of the same name. I mean, what didn't she have in that purse?

Anywho, I'll shut up now, but if anyone wants to hear my theories on exactly what the inside of a poké ball is like, just ask.


I once thought that the pokeballs took a DNA sample of the creature and then destroyed it, only to be re-created from nearby stray matter upon "summoning" the pokemon.

But then I realized/remembered that memories and knowledge are largely stored within the brain's neurons, which is a lot easier than altering your genetic code everytime you learn how to make a new sandwhich. So there goes my childhood explanation.


According to Animorphs lore, when morphing into an animal of smaller mass the excess mass is stored in Z-Space. Z-Space is also the same location starships travel through at faster than light speeds.


First of all, that is NOT WHAT THE WORD “THEOREM” MEANS. This is a perfect example of pretentiously misusing language trying to make yourself sound smart and just sounding like a complete fucking idiot to anyone who even REMOTELY approaches the level of intelligence you hope to project. You probably think “theorem” is some fancy, more-proper way of saying “theory”, right? WRONG. The use of the word “theory” itself may have a variable meaning in different contexts, but is certainly useful in the vernacular( and some technical senses) for your purpose. The same is NOT true of “theorem”. Do you know how REAL smart people converse, especially with the general public? Simply. If you really want to sound smart, you should endeavor to make yourself clearly understood above all. Genuine smart people, with the exception of a few smug assholes, mostly reserve big or fancy words in conversation( prose is another matter) for when the specifically nuanced meanings of those words add enhanced precision to what they are trying to convey.

Second, you’re misusing your concepts. A subspace( also a terrible word as it is primarily science fictional and ill-defined, but, we’ll run with it here) bottle could be the size of a pinhead and “contain” the mass of a city - but the wouldn’t be too practical, nor would the suitcase, because of the bottleneck. If the mouth of your bottle is suitcase sized, getting something the size of a city in and out is going to be difficult or impossible. Most likely you’ll require some additional mechanism that can shrink the city( including mass reduction) or convert it into energy, and then change it back on the other side. And, if you had that, why do you need the subspace bottle anyway?

Third, you’re trying to apply physics from our world to a world which blatantly disregards our natural laws all the time! How do we know the equivalent of gravity in the Pokémon world doesn’t allow weight to be influenced by size and other factors, instead of just density and mass? Read Unicorn Jelly for a better understanding of this.

Finally, I’m curious, what episode was this? I think I remember the creature you mentioned but I don’t recall the mention of a subspace bottle.


Whoa LaparasBoi, easy on the personal attack! What did he ever do to you?


@LaprasBoi: ...hmm, a little angry, are we.

Yes, the word "theorem" is misused, but you don't need to rage so loudly over it.


I lol'd because it starts off really angry and ends with "so what episode was this anyway." It's okay everybody. This is how cultured people do their debatin'.

Anyway I had to go look up the difference between theorem and theory, I learnt something new today

On topic, I've always just stuck with the theory Dragonfree wrote (and she visits this forum sometimes, right? Hi!), since I don't have much imagination on the matter myself. tl;dr:

"Apricorns... had evolved the ability to react with Pokémon's bodies in a way that transformed them into the form of plasma and trapped them inside of them."

I think before reading that though, I just assumed they were kind of decomposed into... data. I got my Pokemon and Digimon mixed up, probably.


"Apricorns... had evolved the ability to react with Pokémon's bodies in a way that transformed them into the form of plasma and trapped them inside of them."

Plasma? As in, the highly-energized gas that gives off light when electrically excited kind of plasma?

I guess that would explain the whitish glow that happens when they come out, and the red glow that appears when you capture them.

Unless you're not talking about the state of matter and are referring to another kind of "plasma".


The fluid portion of blood is called plasma. So are they superheated or liquified?


@Spriteless: I doubt that their blood plasma would be all that goes in. That would be pretty gruesome D:


I have a theory the the Doctor from Doctor Who came humans the Pokeball tech. There is an episode in the old school series (season 3 I think) where humans at the end of life of earth. So they create a "space ark", in which they minimized lifeforms and put them into suspended animation. Also the Time lords (or maybe just the Doctor) has tech that can create a timelock. It is where you stop time in space or lifeforms, examples are in Doctor Who movie "End of Time". So I was thinking he used the first one from humans or a hybrid of minimizing and timelock. But that is where I need to know the conditions of what happens to the Pokemon inside the Pokeball. I also have theory's of why the Doctor came to humans for this matter but I will leave it as this for now unless it comes up.


Oops I notice I made so errors (really should read it before I post it). The first sentence should be "I have a theory THAT the Doctor from Doctor Who came TO humans WITH the Pokeball tech." Also another note with the timelock tech it creates and type of "Time prison". Also I don't know the exact conditions of the lifeforms in the timelock.


I believe the only things mary poppins does not have in her bag are the children, the cure for world hunger and the kitchen sink.


I used to followed what SSBB (Super Smash Bros. Brawl) used to say that each time a Pokemon was captured it would stay in the Pokeball but inside there is a small world for the Pokemon and the plasma part would make sense in some ways but what I still don't understand is how Pokeballs are made for specific situations if the only noticeable differences are the color of the Pokeball and the designs it creates whenever a pokemon goes in or out of them.


At first I was going to bring the Shiva laser from Tron into this (which disintegrates a body, stores the matter in a few containers and saves the pattern of how the atoms were assembled... and then uses it to create a digital copy in a virtual world until you want to return, but that part is irrelevant here), but then I realised the original pokeballs were made of fruit............... e_e

Oh well, an explanation of their origin should be pretty hard to come up with xD

However we can still look at how they work. Indeed, the balls obviously don't get heavier. So their mass is transfered and sotred elsewhere. Another thing is that the pokemon don't change while they are inside. I mean, if you left a pokemon with half HP somewhere, it would probably recover with time, whereas the ones kept in balls keep their status effects, HP, PP unless directly treated with items or pkmncenter. I think its safe to assume they aren't in there waiting... in other words, while they're in the balls, they don't feel the passage of time. Hmm..


Teleporter and replicator technology would be more like the way poké balls and the computer storage units work. Also apricorns are used to make poké balls, but the pictures and the dialogue indicate devices are placed inside the apricorn to make it work. Also the box that the unown were stored in (from "Secrets of the Unown") seemed to be a predecessor of the poké balls.

Combined with a feeling that Poké World may have been a lot more advanced technologically than the current time, this could be. A cataclysmic event could have occurred to start them on a more ecologically-friendly society that gave up a lot of advanced technology. Now they are regaining their lost technology, except they are being more careful this time. (Except for groups like Team Rocket.) That is just my theory though.


However, the sub-space/Z-space/extra-dimensional theory would explain the backpacks . . . and Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.


Another thing all Pokeballs have to be very technnologically advanced, because when you catch a new Pokemon in the games the Pokedex gets data on it instantly sothey must be able to communicate with the Pokedex. Right?


Ah, but there a few major facts that contradict all of these theories. In the anime, you might have noticed that trainers can call out commands to their pokemon before they are even out of their pokeballs, and the pokemon seem to understand. That, and in the same concept, the pokemon also seem to know their sorroundings and what's going on outside their pokeballs even when they aren't out. Like in the second movie where all of ash's pokemon came out of their pokeballs on their own to encourage him. Which brings me to my second point.Don't pokemon have to be able to open pokeballs on their own? Misty's psyduck is living proof of that. That kind of rids the idea that they can be stored in a completely different space. Finally, in the mangas, you might have seen that when there is a close up of a pokeball, you can typically see the pokemon inside. The very first Pokemon adventures, even in the first volume, when red looked at the pokeball in his hand, you could see the miniature version of poliwhirl sitting inside. It isn't any form of recognization by a computer, because capturing a pokemon is the only way a pokedex can gain info on an unknown pokemon to begin with. So, it can't be any of those things... but what do I think it is then? Well, personally I think the pokeball should be taken from a more fantasy approach. Or, maybe the pokeball is way past our mind capacities, since you might think that the pokemon world is a little more advanced then we are. Is it maybe earth in the future, when animals have gone through some more (evolution, if you believe in that?)? Pokeballs have been around for a while in some form or another, since professor oak had them when he was young. But then, if they are that advanced, then why don't they have other signs of it, like lightspeed transportation? However, they do have teleportation devices. So what does all of this mean? It means, I really have no idea how it works, or if there even is a logical explanation. Oh, and sorry for the long post.


Okay I'll say it in the smallest amount of words possible so blah, blah, blah... and Pokeballs have to be advanced because if one has 6 Pokemon in his/her team the Pokeball would automatically either turn off in the anime or be sent to the PC in the games. Pokemon sending themselves out as far as I can tell are either Psychic-type or can learn a move of that type as in Jessie's Wobuffet or Misty's Psyduck, but the only exception I know of is Ash's Oshawott. In the end I think that Pokeballs are too advanced to be understood other than by the person who created them. That's all I can tell if anyone wants to add please do so we all just want to find out how Pokeballs can work without bringing up dividing by zero.


OK. First off, the official word is that the anime, games and manga are different takes of Pokémon. You cannot reconcile them they each have their own laws of physics.

For the anime, yeah I forgot about Pokémon being aware of what goes on outside the pokéball while they are inside. Possibly a sort of psychic awareness that keeps them connected with the immediate surrounding of their pokéball. The pokéballs must also be fitted with a communications chip that connects them with the PokéDex / Pokémon storage networks. The storage boxes would use the same technology, just not as balls. Another theory of mine is that magic or The Force has to do with the unified field theory. Magicians and such would be able to use this instinctively. More advanced technologies such as the Techno-Mages of Babylon Five would understand it scientifically.

I am not familiar enough with the manga to offer an opinion.

The games seem to be more science fiction oriented than science fantasy. But the unified field theorem would need to be deeply understood for that technology to work also except possibly for the psychics, channelers and such.


I see I haven't been a child with too much fantasy, as the core has already been said. My explanation was directed towards a multi-layered reality, or with physics bending and creating a pocket of space not discontinuous from the rest.

According to the 4th movie, "old" pokéballs were charged manually before working, while "modern" ones didn't need, leading to think to a kind of auto-charged system. Joining this with the need of transmitting data, you get a net of cellphone-alike antennas that provides energy and exchange data satisfying any need you may have.

Thanks or more recent experience, I'd suggest you to think something akin to Gilgamesh's "Gates of Babylon" from the "Fate/Zero" serie.

Anyway, trying to get some decent theory when there has been no intention to do so is hard.




Seen the anime? Their Pokemon go "wooshh" in/out of their Pokeballs. Therefore, it must be some sort of vacuum. Shouldn't you instead be asking how you store Pokemon in a computer?


pokes thread

It was always of my assumption that the Pokémon were, in fact, converted into a plasma-esque form, but there's a bit more to it. Let's talk about the inside of a PokéBall for a moment. It's described as a capsule, and the inside is decorated with mirrors.

Keep in mind that there's likely not a real explanation for this, that the creators just put it in for the cool factor and never really thought it through. This is basically my two cents. Furthermore, Pokémon doesn't really abide by what we consider possible or scientifically accurate. Keep that in mind as well.

So. The Pokémon are converted to a state (let's call it an energetic state, for the time being) where they are, more or less, some kind of plasma. Don't forget that Pokémon are not, in essence, dead within the Poké Ball. They are capable of thinking and even moving, hence Pokémon being able to break free of their Poké Balls when being captured, or in other situations (Jessie's Wobuffet says hi). So Pokémon are fully conscious and even have a bit of physical power in this state, it looks like. Even more curious is that after a Pokémon breaks free of a Poké Ball (before being caught) the Poké Ball is rendered useless; however, if it breaks free of its Poké Ball /after/ being caught, it can go back into it. Furthermore, the Poké Balls of released Pokémon are discarded. Thus, this energetic state must contain the DNA of the Pokémon embodying it, which is why a Poké Ball can only capture one Pokémon at a time; the DNA is recognized by the capsule and locks everything else out.

When the Pokémon are converted to this energetic state, it looks like they bounce around inside the Poké Ball (hence the mirrors) until they're released. Hypothetically, a Pokémon would be able to break free from the capsule by breaking the mirrors; after a Pokémon is captured, it's probably able to escape without the destruction of the capsule, but the majority of them don't for some reason.

Also note that the Pokémon is withdrawn into the Poké Ball when the Ball's button is pressed; it's of my opinion that the Poké Ball uses some kind of component of the Pokémon's DNA to convert it to an energetic state and cause it to come back into the ball. That way, it's unique to the Pokémon in question and no other Pokémon can enter the Ball.

TL;DR Pokémon get turned into plasma and bounce around their Poké Ball using the internal mirrors.


to any travelers who stumble upon this thread, recently a youtube channel called DidYouKnowGaming got the guy who localized the original 4 generations of pokémon into English. in the book, it supposedly states that pokéballs came about after some professor (probably oak, sounds like something he would do) accidentally permanently shrunk a primeape when trying to give it a specific type of drug to remove its anger.

Also, Pokémon research began in france :)