I have already suggested that they alter a pokémon's mind to allow its master to control it. Some may disagree with this. But you cannot deny that it makes a captive of a pokémon.
Pokéballs are fairly mysterious items. Not much seems to be known or understood about them by the general public. What we do know is that there have been means of capturing pokémon for thousands of years, long before the creation of the most primitive pokéballs. In ancient times they used mysterious artifacts that weren't balls at all, and which archaeologists of the present are still studying. Some of them even seemed to enhance the pokémon's abilities or even their very size. It is hard to see how such ancient artifacts could have greater powers than our own modern pokéballs. One must also wonder if such artifacts were inspired by nature.
A subject which has been widely debated by many people on both sides of the issue of pokémon rights is this: What's it like inside a pokéball (of any kind)? Did human beings truly create technology that changes the state of pokémon from matter to energy, or have the creatures had this innate ability of transformation all along? It seems almost natural in a way. In fact it may be similar to what occurs when they evolve.
Their "evolution," of course, is not at all the type posited by Darwin. It does not happen to a species collectively over vast amounts of time; rather it happens to individual pokémon within their own natural lifespan. And while the transformation takes place, there is an energy, a brilliance that may simply surround them, or may be them, converted into energy and resequencing their DNA. Perhaps human beings, both now and in ancient times, merely found ways of tapping into this nature, this ability to change form.
But the main question people tend to dwell on is, is it cramped living in those pokéballs? Do the pokémon remain energy and not even notice the size of their cages? Are they not even fully conscious when inside? And what may we infer from some pokémon's frequent attempts to escape these cages (such as Misty Williams' Psyduck and Team Rocket's Wobbuffet)? ...Or, do they return to their material form, but in some smaller size? Is it, in the end, truly cruel on a purely physical level to keep them in there? (It may be granted that sometimes they may be better off, for limited time periods, such as fire types crossing bodies of water or sick ones being carried to a Pokémon Center.) Or is it something that doesn't really bother most pokémon physically, but only is so wrong because of the fundamental question of captivity and slavery?
Ah, well, I could come up with other questions... Are pokéballs related somehow to genies' lamps or bottles? Why do Voltorb and Electrode look so suspiciously like pokéballs, if supposedly they weren't even discovered until some time after the creation of such balls? And how do the balls change size? They shrink for storage and enlarge just before the trainer releases the pokémon from its ball. This kind of advanced technology reminds me of the fictional Minbari fighting pikes.
Why do you have to use a transfer machine to trade pokémon not only over distances, but if you're trading in person? Perhaps it is because the pokéball is somehow attuned to its owner, to make the pokémon consider the ball's owner its master. So you just can't trade pokéballs with the pokémon inside, like hand the ball to the person you're trading with and have them hand you theirs. You each put a ball in one side of the machine, and the pokémon switch between balls. Weird.
Then of course you can only have six pokémon in your party at one time. If you capture a pokémon when you already have six in your party, the one you captured automatically gets transferred to a storage area- you don't even have to use a machine! How the devil does that happen? Obviously there must be some sort of matter-energy transferrence technology built into the pokéballs themselves, even the ones created from apricorns. More truly remarkable tech, that. Also the balls must somehow interact with each other, to know that there are already six pokémon in the trainer's party. It's not even like they simply count the number of pokéballs the trainer has (and that would be remarkable enough), because he or she will usually have a fair supply of empty pokéballs for catching pokémon. So... interactive sensors and transporters... Whoever developed these things must have been brilliant- and I wonder just when this practice was started, and why? I don't suppose this could have always been the case, especially with old-fashioned or primitive pokéballs and other pokémon containment devices. Perhaps when the Pokémon League was officially established, they passed a regulation that a trainer could only carry six pokémon in a party, and had the technology created to ensure that. Of course, this doesn't apply to anyone who doesn't keep their pokémon in balls. Some people stay in one place and raise lots of pokémon, more or less free-range. Ash Ketchum, of course, can have seven pokémon with him, because Pikachu won't go in a pokéball- so he can have that one, plus six in balls. At least, I think so. Possibly his Pikachu (and by "his" I don't intend to suggest ownership, as of a pet) counts as one of six, despite not being in a pokéball. I'm not quite sure.
All this leads to the question of storage, and its obvious cruelty- even more than that of forcing the pokémon in your party to stay in their balls until you have use of them. Most trainers rely upon computer & storage facilities (there seem to be different systems in the Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn regions, though they all seem to be compatible with one another). Excess pokémon are stored for indefinite periods of time in their balls, in boxes of 20, and for all we know they never come out again, unless and until their trainer switches one from from their party with one in storage. With the countless pokémon kept in storage at one facility, do you think they have enough people on staff to take them out on a regular basis? ...Ash is lucky, as are his pokémon, because he happens to know Professor Oak, so those pokémon can live outside their pokéballs alot of the time, in a reasonable reproduction of their natural habitats, and be well-treated by one of the world's leading pokémon researchers.
...There must certainly be a transfer-override for official use, such as Pokémon Centers, Pokémon Researchers, etc., so that they might have an unlimited number of pokéballs on hand. Probably Giovanni (the leader of Team Rocket) would know how to do that and provide his operatives with the knowledge, as they seem capable of stealing large numbers of pokémon without extras being automatically transferred- though such a transfer would probably work to Team Rocket's advantage, making it harder for police and other do-gooders to retrieve the stolen pokémon. And independent bad type trainers might learn how to hack into their pokéballs' pre-programmed directives.
Another strong possibility is that, as has previously been suggested, pokéballs are somehow imprinted to their owners (something like activating a phone card at the store when you purchase it). This would mean that you can't have more than six occupied balls in your immediate possession which are registered to you, but you can have an infinite number of balls which are not registered to you. This would make things simple for Pokémon Centers as well as thieves, whether independent or members of Team Rocket. If this is the case, you could assume that if you meet someone who has more than six pokémon at their disposal, he or she is probably a thief, and at least some of their pokémon stolen from other trainers.
types of pokéball
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