Ash and the rest of the trainers can seemingly pull out the correct Poke ball and know who it belongs to. The Pokeballs all look the same and have no tags or accessories on them for identification. It seems confusing as they aren't even looking and somehow know who it belongs to.

How does Ash and his friends know which Pokeball belong to which Pokemon without looking which Pokeball was pulled out and no accessories? Do they have telepathy?

  • Even when team Rocket steal a whole bunch of Pokeballs and they lose it and there are a hundred Pokeballs on the ground, people are still able to find theirs with no problem.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 6:50
  • So I am wondering why that is possible Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 11:28
  • **This is not an accurate answer, but maybe the Pokéball has a lighter shade of red, darker or lighter shade of black, lighter or darker shade of white or all! **
    – user38070
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


There are multiple explanations to this situation:

In Universe

  1. Carry Restrictions
    There is a common theme across all Pokemon mediums (Anime, Video Game, Manga etc) that a trainer can only have 6 Pokemon available to them at any given time. This would make it easier to remember which is which. Especially given:
    • A lot of trainers only carry a couple of Pokemon. For example, when we first meet Brock, he only has Geodude and Onix. He later catches/is given Zubat and Vulpix respectively, leaving him with 4 out of 6.
    • Pokéballs aren't just all carried in a loose Pocket, They're stored like shotgun shells along the belt, or in a specialised backpack pocket or container. The Anime shows this best, with Ash's Pokéballs lining his belt. Sure, it'd take a bit of memorisation, but assuming he always puts his Pokéballs back in the same place, he would know which one's which:
      Ash with Pokeballs on his belt
  2. Ball types
    There are many types of Pokéballs with different designs. They aren't always shown in the anime (see Stock Footage below), but they are heavily used in the games to alter catch chances (or even just for aesthetics).
    • Different Ball colourings could therefore be used to distinguish between Pokemon.
  3. Engravings & Symbols Sometimes, Pokeballs are shown having special markings or symbols denoting the Pokemon inside. (Note that these sometimes may be accidentally (or deliberately) left off for production reasons, see Stock Footage below).
    • This scene is in the very first episode, and the Pokeballs say 'Charmander', 'Bulbasaur' and 'Squirtle' respectively:
      Engraved Pokeballs
    • In the same episode, we are shown Pikachu's Pokeball, which has a little Electric symbol painted or engraved on: Pikachu's Pokeball Closeup shot of the electric symbol

Out of Universe

  1. Off-camera
    It's boring to watch the protagonists try and figure out which Pokemon/Pokéball is whose, so these 'scenes' are always skipped over so we can get back to the exciting stuff of the episode.
    • You may note the same thing happens with cooking/setting up camp, and shows/festivals. One second the protagonists are just walking along the road, and in the next scene they have had a picnic and everyone's had their fill. Or they enter town and a festival is happening, and suddenly they're all dressed for the occasion.
  2. Stock Footage
    It's easier to use 'stock' shots of Pokéballs, especially those being thrown.
    • In scenes with a large amount of Pokeballs, it would be easier to just copy the 'standard' Pokeball template a hundred times.
    • Writing engravings or altering colours for each scene is hard and time consuming. Instead of customising them each scene for each Pokemon, a standard ball gets the job done and doesn't detract from the current episode/story.

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