Reflections of the Pokémon Anime, Part 7
Early human-Pokémon relationships
Deep in the mists of the Pokémon world's history, the creation of these new creatures amplified humanity's already-negligent and fearful relationship with nature. Harkening back to humanity's earliest myths, if one now polluted a stream or trespassed a certain territory, powerful non-human beings could threaten the livelihoods- nay, the very lives -of the responsible parties and perhaps of scores of innocents. Most humans clearly saw Pokémon as a threat and attempted to salvage their "ecological superiority," using conventional weapons and strategies. However, the Pokémon were not to be outdone, and in the end humanity's technological advances were sent back to the Stone Age in a powerful testament and warning regarding foolish human pride.
However, some people realized that the key to defeating powerful creatures would be to use powerful creatures. Massive global wars and smaller local ones raged across the planet from time to time, with conventional weaponry replaced by hordes of militaristic Pokémon, controlled either through conditioning and taming or more cruel methods of behavioral control. Even though the appearance of humanoid Pokémon, such as Machop, Mr. Mime, Jynx and others (who may have been altered from a previous humanity by Mew in an attempt to relate to humans better to avoid the kind of conflicts the world was beginning to see) did not stem the fighting (in fact, it encouraged more battling), the legendaries were beginning to accept greater responsibility for humanity's reactions to them. Some fled while others took on a god-like role for those humans willing to submit for the sake of harmony. People began to ally themselves with particular Pokémon in a religious sense, even moving to distant islands where they could develop better communication with their patron Pokémon and attempt to regain some sense of security.
In the Orange Islands, south of Kanto, for example, many tribes situated themselves there from the mainland and remained in a primitive state for centuries, worshipping the legendary birds, even a Meowth. In Kanto's Pokémopolis, citizens tried to ease the warring of gigantic Psychic and Ghost Pokémon by using mystical capturing devices. In Johto, Ecruteak City boasted a tower for each of its two major legendary birds, Lugia and Ho-Oh, staffed by Buddhist monks, and in Ilex Forest a shrine was built to Celebi to aid in reforestation from centuries of human and Pokémon destruction. In Hoenn, shrines to Kyogre and Groudon were hidden in deep caves, while a gigantic Sky Pillar, which was rumored to reach to the upper atmosphere, was said to be the preferred home of the sky dragon Rayquaza, who could watch the lords of the land and sea from the comfort of the sky.
However, as time progressed and humans witnessed just how powerful Pokémon could be, an all-out war began for the capture and militaristic exploitation of powerful Pokémon. For example, in Hoenn, Kyogre and Groudon, the lords of sea and land, were manipulated by humans in an attempt to alter the environment drastically. In Johto, the powers of Ho-Oh and Lugia brought humanity to such depths that they burned down Ho-Oh's tower in Ecruteak, trapping and killing the Pokémon inside, although not the birds themselves, who had fled the scene. Many years later, in modern times, a Mew was captured and brought to Kanto for genetic exploitation.
Although it is not clear when or how this occurred, humans and Pokémon began to stop fighting and human exploitation of Pokémon diminished but did not disappear. Presumably, the legends, the most powerful, god-like Pokémon, hid so that humans could not find them. With the lack of unbelievable power, humans apparently decided to end their quest to manipulate them, with the exceptions of a few terrorist and military groups.
In the beginning, it seemed, people and Pokémon lived side by side, whether peacefully or not. However, the large size and threatening abilities of Pokémon posed a problem for all of the ecosystem, humans included, so humans decided that there should be a means of capturing and storing these powerful creatures. Initially, people settled on a mystical approach, as their technology had suffered under the wars with Pokémon. Spells, unnatural objects, etc. were used to somehow store the biological information of the Pokémon indefinitely. Examples would include the Pokémopolis artifacts and the staff of Aaron, which held his friend Lucario during dangerous times.
After humanity's technology began to reassert itself, more scientific and technological means were used. Poké Balls originated, it would seem, in Johto. There, scientists (including Kurt) many decades from the current timeline learned how to encapsulate Pokémon inside hollowed-out apricorn fruit, which were inlaid with techno-organic circuitry. As the spread of apricorn Poké Balls flourished, scientists in Kanto developed a purely technological Poké Ball made of metal, presumably to stand up better against the elements and other scenarios. The first primitive non-apricorn Poké Balls had a dial on the front which had to be turned in order to access the Pokémon inside. After a couple of decades, however, companies such as the newly-founded Silph Co. used much of their research grants to develop more user-friendly items, such as Poké Balls with push-buttons and more advanced computerized life support systems inside the ball itself, lessening a trainer's need to rush to the nearest Pokémon Center.
Technology in the postwar age flourished, as people rapidly expanded an entire economy based upon Pokémon technology, heading precariously to the same stage of civilization that existed before the war. However, humanity was finally starting to accept the Pokémon presence, so a tighter ethic was formed to keep the peace. Tracking devices, Samuel Oak's Pokédex (an electronic encyclopedia with the ability to use a Web cam to visually identify and classify Pokémon), training machines and GPS/communications devices for trainers became a booming business.
With the increasing contact between humans and Pokémon and the natural desire of humans for sporting events, groups of top trainers organized region-specific leagues which are designed to help would-be trainers use ethical training techniques and provide strict battling guidelines. The revenue from their tournaments is used to help fund various researchers and veterinary services. Initially, or so it is assumed, the original Indigo Plateau league, founded on the western border of Kanto, serviced Pokémon trainers and researchers. However, as the phenomenon grew, it became necessary to split the responsibilities so that each region could have its own league and set of support personnel. These separate leagues are independent of each other. In other words, a trainer does not have to excel at any one league before attending another. Neither, however, can one champion of one league automatically battle the Elite Four of another. Even champions must start at the beginning and gain another region's badges (which track the trainer's and Pokémon's abilities and bonds). In this way, humans can be made to realize that there is always something else to learn. Yet, it would still be awesome to see each region's Elite Four have a special tournament against each other.