Pokemon Week: Apricorns

Pokeballs are an amazing piece of science in the world of Pokemon. They somehow trap a Pokemon within its spherical walls and allow it to exist inside the small ball, even if the Pokemon is monstrous in size, like a Wailord. Did you ever wonder how Pokemon trainers caught and kept their Pokemon before the modern day Pokeball? After all, people had to catch and keep Pokemon somehow, back in the days before someone invented the Pokeball. This is a question many long time Pokemon fans asked when the first generation of games came out. Thankfully, Game Freak had an answer.

In Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal, your adventures take place in the Johto region. In your travels, you will eventual come to a place known as Azalea Town. Azalea Town is best known for having the Slowpoke Well, and also bordering the Ilex Forest, home of the Legendary Pokemon named Celebi. There’s also a vital piece of Pokemon history living in this sleepy little town, and his name is Kurt.

Kurt is a Poke Ball Smith who still makes Pokeballs the old fashioned way instead of the modern mass produced Pokeballs you can buy in Pokemarts across the world. If you meet Kurt, he will tell you about the old ways and how long ago, Pokeballs were made from a substance called Apricorns. In the Japanese versions of the game, Apricorns are called, ぼんぐりのみ, or Bonguri Fruit. Kurt is still a master of creating Pokeballs from Apricorns, and happily agrees to make some for you, if you bring him apricorns to do so.

Because these Pokeballs are made by hand, you can’t just get them instantly like when you put in an order at a Pokemart. Instead, it takes Kurt a full twenty-four hours to make a Pokeball in the game, which is kept track of by Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal’s internal 24/7 clock. You can come back the next day and have yourself a free Pokeball. This might seem way too long a wait to receive a single Pokeball, especially for you impatient types, but the wait is worth it. You see, Each Apricorn has a special ability that transfers into its final Pokeball form – abilities that can not be copies by the mechanical and mass produced Pokeballs. Exciting, isn’t it? Be careful though. In your zeal to gather as many apricorns as you can, be sure not to pick the apricorn trees clean, or you will kill the tree. Instead, just take a few and then come back a few days later and you’ll find new apricorns have grown in their place.

There are seven varieties of Apricorns that you can find around Johto. Here is a list of the different types and what Kurt can make them into.

Apricorn come in seven colors:

White Apricorns. (Japanese Name しろぼんぐり, or White Bonguri). White Apricorns can be crafted into Fast Balls. Fast Balls are best used against Pokemon who like to run away, like Abra or Chansey, and have a much higher chance of catching a Pokemon if used at the very beginning of a battle. These are the only Pokeballs that are reliable to use when a Pokemon’s health is full, besides the Master Ball. The Fast Ball is best against the following Pokemon: Abra, Dragonair, Dratini, Grimer, Magnemite, Mr. Mime, Porygon, Tangela, and of course the Legendary trio of Johto: Entei, Suicune and Raikou,

Red Apricorns. (Japanese Name あかぼんぐり, or Red Bonguri) Red Apricorns can be craft6ed into Level Balls. Level Balls have a higher rate of catching if your currently active Pokemon has a higher level than the Pokemon you are trying to catch. If your Pokemon is a little bit higher, you have twice the percentage of catching the wild Pokemon. If your Pokemon is double in levels over the wild Pokemon, you are four times as likely to catch the Pokemon, and if your Pokemon is four times the level of the wild Pokemon, you have EIGHT times the chance of successfully catching the Pokemon in your Level Ball. These are a great tool, especially if you have a Pokemon at level 100 and you decide to go Legend hunting.

Blue Apricorns (Japanese Name:あおぼんぐり, or Blue Bonguri) Blue apricorns become Lure Balls, which are best used against Pokemon you snaged with one of your fishing rods. If you use a Lure Ball against any of these, you are three times as likely to successfully catch the Pokemon you are after.

Black Apricorns (Japanese Name: くろぼんぐり, or Black Bonguri) Kurt takes black apricorns and turns them into Heavy Balls. With Heavy Balls, the more the wild Pokemon weighs, the more likely you will successfully catch it. Make sure to only use these on the heaviest of Pokemon though. If you throw a Heavy Ball at a light or tiny Pokemon, it will actually have an easier time of escaping.

Pink Apricorns. (Japanese Name: ももぼんぐり, or Peach Bonguri). Pink apricorns become Love Balls. Love Balls are amazing Pokeballs that can are the second best Pokeball in the game if you use them right. First make sure your active Pokemon is a different gender from the one you are trying to catch. Then throw out the Love Ball. As long as the Pokemon are different genders, you’ll chance of catching the wild Pokemon is multiplied by EIGHT. Wow! Sadly, this makes Love Balls useless against Legendary Pokemon, but when you’re in Johto, they are simply incredible for filling out your Pokedex,

Green Apricorns. (Japanese Name: みどぼんぐり, or Green Bonguri) Kurt will take a green apricorn and craft it into a Friend Ball. Friend Balls have the same rate of capture as normal Pokeballs, but if you do catch a Pokemon inside one, their base Happiness stat will be set to 200, which is a huge increase. This means Friend Balls are great for Pokemon like Pichu, Chansey, Gokbat, along with any other Pokemon that evolves by happiness,

Yellow Apricorns. (Japanese:name: きぼんぐり, or Yellow Bonguri) Yellow Apricorns become Moon Balls. As you might imagine, Moon Bals are best against Pokemon that evolve with the help of the Moon Stone. Go after a Nidorina or a Jigglypuff with one of these and you’ll have four times the likelihood of catching it!

One of the reasons the second generation of Pokemon games remains the most popular is because of concepts like Apricorns. Apricorns helped to flesh out the history of the Pokemon world and make it seem more real to its fans. Sadly, the second generation is the only time in the games where both the history of Pokeballs or apricorns were referenced. The lack of apricorn balls was cited as a complaint about the third generation games, Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, albeit a minor one. Both the third and fourth generation of Pokemon games introduced new and exciting Pokeballs that specialized in different types or abilities regarding capturing Pokemon, but it was Johto generation of Pokemon games that first introduced to to the idea of new and different Pokeballs, as well as explaining the history of how Pokemon were originally caught and stored.

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