PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
4 votes

You know............All Pokeballs look same

good question.

3 Answers

5 votes

There are two different theories I`ve created with anime evidence to create an answer.

Theory Number One:

In the first season of the anime, there is a very early on episode where it shows where ash's pokeballs are stored, and that happens to be on his belt, which is concealed by his jacket most of the time. My theory is, he has them in a pattern similar to the games (first, second, third, etc.), so that he can easily remember which Pokemon is where, and since he's been on his journey for a while, and has had the experience, it`s become natural to him to know which Pokemon is at on his belt.

Theory Number Two:

There was an episode in the anime (battle frontier season, I believe, not sure) where butch and Cassidy were holding a battle area sort of thing where they were stealing a bunch of pokeballs. Long story short, Jessie, James, and Meowth got involved and the plan screwed up, and a lot of pokeballs got spilled around the arena. Trainers were picking the pokeballs up, and suddenly knew if their Pokemon was in the pokeball. So, I have developed a theory, Each trainer's name and the Pokémon and it's stats are engraved on the bottom of the back of the pokeball. Therefore, the trainer checks the back of the pokeball, and looks for their name and their Pokemon and it's nickname (if it has one).

Alltogether, I doubt we`ll ever TRUELY know how to determine how a Pokemon trainer figures out how what Pokemon is in each pokeball. But, I feel my two theories at least shed a little light on this petty, but intriguing, mystery.

Theory 2 is dismissed because of trading. Imagine Dawn's Aipom's PokeBall having Ash Ketchum written on it
Not really. It` s not like the "engraved" part isn`t digital, or maybe the trading machine moves it to a new pokeball with the new trainer`s name on it. There`s also a way like in the games where there`s a little "OT" and that lists the original trainer, like in trading via Wi-Fi...
4 votes

The anime is a cartoon. It does not have to make sense.

How stupid would the show be if Ash spent time trying to work out which Pokemon was which? The anime directors just avoid unnecessary time wasters like this, even if it may seem silly when you think about it. There isn't an explanation for it. It's just how it is.

This is like asking why Pokemon movesets are so dumb in the anime - it's all for the quality of the show. Pokemon using constant attacks - even if they're awful in the games - is generally going to be much more engaging and interesting than what takes place in standard battles, which often end in stall wars or other uninteresting situations. It doesn't have to make sense or be perfectly logical; as far as the success of the show is concerned, it just needs to engage its audience. Ash trying to tell apart his Pokemon is boring and takes away from the quality of the show.

While it may be possible that Ash has some way of telling them apart, these aren't really mentioned if they exist at all. The closest thing to it I remember are Seals, which appear on the PokeBall as seen here; however, they don't appear very often and have not returned since Gen 4.

2 votes

My Theory

Ash remembers where he puts each Pokeball after he returns the Pokemon to its Pokeball.

But they're all in his pocket :|
So unless the PokeBalls stick ...
I thought they were on his belt :P
I think in some season's they're in his Pocket :/
Maybe he's got different markings on each of them that are so small the viewer of the anime can't see them...
Or maybe it's just a cartoon and it doesn't have to be logical.
in the manga the pokeball tops are clear