What’s your stance on pokeballs? Manga, anime, and games seems to treat them differently. I dissected Gladont’s response on chemical alteration and supposedly could work for the anime; except there are examples that opposes his statement of pokemon suddenly turning 180 too. His argument works better for games yet why hasn’t N said it? Real sad truth = there is nothing clear, it’s inconsistent evidence. This is why game theories typically ignore factors or else it fails (and also no fun allowed).

I’m just gonna copy-paste some stuff from the Disqus comments on that post to start this off:

GLaDONT: I believe pokeballs are the bad thing that happened in the past, at some point along the way we developed storage devices that maybe at the time had unintended side affects of affecting a pokemon’s nature. We have seen mutilpe times in the anime unwilling pokemn turning 180 after capture. I think the idea is pokeballs can make any pokemon your partner whether it wants it or not, making what may have once been a voluntary friendship into something darker.

Pokémaniac Chris: I don’t really want to devote all that much attention to poking holes in the ‘brainwashing’ thing, *or* to plugging those holes; mostly my problem with it is that it seems *too obvious*. Whatever’s going on, I think, has to have been more subtle in order to go unnoticed. At the moment, I think that Pokéballs are a problem because they symbolise the way industrialisation and modernity have changed Pokémon training. Without Pokéballs, it’s hard for one person to keep a large number of Pokémon, it’s hard for people to travel with Pokémon, it’s hard to create spaces in towns and cities where you can exclude Pokémon, and it’s hard to ignore your Pokémon even for a short time. None of these things are direct and necessary consequences of using Pokéballs, but they’re ways in which the relationship *can* change and develop because of them.

I don’t believe that Pokéballs ‘brainwash’ Pokémon in any absolute sense.  I do wonder whether it’s possible they could alter Pokémon’s brain chemistry in a way that makes them more suggestible – not so they actually can’t disobey an order or anything like that, more so that, in most circumstances, most Pokémon will be easily persuaded to obey orders.  I don’t think that’s what happens, but I also don’t think it’s easy to prove it’s not happening, and I really don’t want to start rewatching anime episodes hunting for examples and counterexamples, because seriously f&$% that.  Mostly I think that my sort of explanation is just more consistent with the themes of the series – the way it presents the contrasts between tradition and progress, and between nature and civilisation.  Some kind of scenario where Pokéballs alter the brain chemistry of Pokémon almost seems to necessitate a sort of bizarre conspiracy on the part of the makers of Pokéballs – because it seems clear that most people aren’t aware of any compulsion or mind-altering influence – or an even more bizarre accident of the workings of the technology that was somehow never noticed.  That’s why I prefer to imagine that the problems with Pokéballs stem from things you might not even think of when you first started using them, or even from things that seem obviously beneficial at first, but turn out to be double-edged swords.  Pokéballs reduce the constraints of food and space – which means that you can have more Pokémon, and will inevitably pay less attention to each one (early excesses in this regard may have led to criminal neglect that ultimately resulted in laws limiting an active party to six Pokémon – in fact I think this is a much more likely explanation than anything related to battles, since the vast majority of battles use far fewer Pokémon than six anyway).  Pokéballs allow you to travel easily with Pokémon – which means you can take them far away from their native habitats and don’t have to think too hard about what you’re doing.  Once Pokéballs are in common use, it’s easy for civic governments to enforce legislation (if they choose to enact it) that excludes Pokémon from certain buildings or areas, because asking someone just to recall their Pokémon is never going to seem like an unreasonable request.  Pokémon can and sometimes do leave their balls without being called, but they also can’t seem to ignore being recalled unless they can actually dodge the beam, so if you just don’t want to deal with them right now you can always enforce a short ‘time out.’  None of this actually compels Pokémon to do anything; all of it puts trainers in a greater position of implicit authority than they would otherwise have – and to me that’s actually a much more interesting situation than a global brainwashing conspiracy.

One thought on “What’s your stance on pokeballs? Manga, anime, and games seems to treat them differently. I dissected Gladont’s response on chemical alteration and supposedly could work for the anime; except there are examples that opposes his statement of pokemon suddenly turning 180 too. His argument works better for games yet why hasn’t N said it? Real sad truth = there is nothing clear, it’s inconsistent evidence. This is why game theories typically ignore factors or else it fails (and also no fun allowed).

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