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Pokémon: What Was The Big Deal With The GS Ball?

The "Pokémon" series is full of unexplained mysteries. Why do all the police officers and Pokémon nurses look identical and have the same name? How are Pokémon, real-world and often large creatures, able to be stored in tiny balls and digitally on PCs? Why are children allowed to wander the world unsupervised and battle one another with pocket monsters? One of the stranger mysteries to emerge in the franchise is the nature of the GS Ball.


Only appearing in "Pokémon Crystal," the worst-selling Pokémon game of all time, this alternate version of the Poké Ball was colored gold and silver (hence its name) and was seemingly meant to reference the previous "Pokémon Gold and Silver" games. In the original release of "Pokémon Crystal," it was only obtainable through an event and could not be used as an actual Poké Ball. Instead, it could be studied and used to cause a wild Celebi to appear. This was the only way to catch this Mythical Pokémon in the game.

It might have appeared that this was merely a one-off event to give players a chance to catch an elusive Pokémon with the GS simply meant to be a fun reference to the preceding games. However, the GS Ball also made multiple appearances in the anime which seemed to hint that there was more to this item.


The mystery of the GS Ball

In the "Pokémon" anime, the GS Ball was introduced in 1999, roughly a year before gamers got to see it in "Pokémon Crystal." Professor Oak tasked Ash with traveling to the Orange Archipelago and picking up this strange Poké Ball from his colleague, Professor Ivy. Ash would eventually obtain the GS Ball and bring it back to Professor Oak. After this, the GS Ball came up in several more episodes and was referenced in others. It was rarely the main focus of any episode's plot, but it was regularly brought up. It seemed that this unique Poké Ball was being set up for big things down the road.


Sadly, viewers never got a resolution to this subplot. The GS Ball stopped turning up and was never mentioned again. Nothing came of this mystery on the show, and fans were left wondering what it was all about.

While fans eventually got an explanation, it was sadly anticlimactic and generally disappointing. In the context of the anime, at least, it turns out that nothing will ever come of the great GS Ball mystery.

A mostly unsatisfying resolution

Masamitsu Hidaka, a director of the anime, later confirmed in an interview that there originally was a plan for the GS Ball (per PokéBeach). It seems that the mysterious Poké Ball was meant to contain Celebi, and this plot line was building to the Pokémon's introduction. When it was decided that Celebi would be the focus of an upcoming movie and introduced there instead, the writers of the anime were left without a resolution to the GS Ball plot. So, the decision was ultimately made to simply drop it and hope that it would be forgotten.


This leaves a frustrating lack of official answers to the mystery. If it's now canon that Celebi was met elsewhere and not contained in the GS Ball, what, if anything, was it? Ironically, fans know more about the mystery behind the writing of the storyline than they do about the mystery of what happened to the GS Ball in the world of the anime.

Fortunately, "Pokémon Crystal" would later offer a resolution and was even able to ultimately connect Celebi to the GS Ball. The "Pokémon" manga would also feature a GS Ball and a plot involving Celebi getting trapped inside. While the anime that introduced the GS Ball never offered a conclusion, it did create a fun mystery and a fascinating artifact that would become an important part of both the games and manga in the future. For fans of Celebi and obscure "Pokémon" mysteries, the GS Bal is definitely a big deal.