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Vanillite and Tepig, both unable to battle
Fainting (Japanese: ひんし near death) is a status ailment featured in which a Pokémon is no longer able to battle.
In the anime, fainting is referred to simply as being unable to battle. These Pokémon are not always unconscious, but merely do not have the energy, ability, or other reasons to continue battling. Fainted Pokémon are often depicted with stunned expressions or as having spirals in their eyes.
In the games, fainting occurs when a Pokémon reaches zero HP, causing the Pokémon to leave the screen with a slowed or distorted cry. A Pokémon which has fainted is unable to battle until it has been revived, but it is still able to use field moves, such as Fly or Cut. When the player's party is viewed, any fainted Pokémon will have a red FNT status bar or a status ailment of FNT.
Pokémon can faint instantly if their opponent successfully uses a one-hit knockout move, such as Guillotine. A Pokémon faints under certain circumstances that occur after the use of Destiny Bond or Perish Song. The moves Selfdestruct, Explosion, Memento, Healing Wish, Lunar Dance, and Final Gambit cause the user to faint. A Pokémon can also faint from certain weather conditions, status ailments, items, and Abilities.
If all Pokémon in a Trainer's party have fainted they will be unable to battle and black out, and the player will lose a sum of money. In Trainer battles, the money will be paid to the winner, but in battles with wild Pokémon, the money will be dropped in panic.
In the games
Fainting through status ailments
Fainting can also be caused through status ailments. When a Pokémon has been poisoned, every four steps will reduce the Pokémon's HP by one point until it faints (In Generation IV, the poison will be cured when the Pokémon has 1 HP, and in Generation V poison does not harm Pokémon outside of battle). Steel and Poison-type Pokémon cannot be poisoned. It is removed either by an Antidote, a Pecha Berry or by similar status ailment healing items. Burned Pokémon can faint during battle by taking enough damage, but not outside of battle. A confused Pokémon is at risk for turning its attack on itself, thus reducing its own HP and possibly making itself faint. Confusion can be removed by a Yellow Flute, Persim Berry or by simply switching the Pokémon out of battle.
All of these conditions are also removable upon the use of a Pokémon Center, (or depositing the Pokémon in the PC) though it is wise to keep the aforementioned items in supply for usage when needed.
Effects of fainting
Fainting will cause a Pokémon to lose friendship, and may grow to resent its Trainer if it faints often and spends a lot of time unconscious.
If all of the player character's Pokémon faint, then the Trainer will have lost the battle ("<player name> blacked/whited out!"). The player will then be warped back to the last Pokémon Center visited and the player will lose money. From FireRed and LeafGreen onwards, a small cut scene explains what happens.
Effects of items on fainted Pokémon
Normal items, such as Potions or status ailment healing items, will not work on a fainted Pokémon. Instead, they either have to be healed at a Pokémon Center or brought back with a reviving item.
||Revive will revive a Pokémon with half of its HP.
||Max Revive will revive a Pokémon with all of its HP.
||Revival Herb will revive a Pokémon with all of its HP.
||Sacred Ash will revive and fully heal all fainted Pokémon (except Generation II where it fully heals all Pokémon as long as one has fainted)
|| Rare Candy will also revive fainted Pokémon due to the HP gained upon leveling up.
There are many ways that fainting can be avoided, with the most common being removing the Pokémon from battle. If the Pokémon uses Endure, it will leave the said Pokémon with 1HP. Items, like the Focus Sash, also ensure that a Pokémon doesn't faint. However, the Focus Sash works only once, disappears when it is used, and requires that the user be at full HP. In addition, in Generation V, if a Pokémon with Sturdy is hit by an attack which would cause it to faint while it has full HP, it will survive with 1HP.
The following items can allow a Pokémon not to faint:
In side games
In the Mystery Dungeon series, fainting occurs under the same conditions as the main series. When a Pokémon faints, a Reviver Seed will be taken from the player's inventory and automatically be used. After being used, the Reviver Seed becomes a Plain Seed. If a Pokémon faints and the player doesn't have a Reviver Seed, the Pokémon will be sent out of the dungeon and return to their Friend Area or the Chimecho Assembly. If the Pokémon that faints is the player him or herself, his or her partner in story-related missions, or another important character, such as an escort or Bidoof when he accompanies the player to the Foggy Forest, the mission is considered a failure, and the entire team will be sent back and allRBTD or halfS of their money and a majority of their inventory will be lost.
In the anime
In the anime, fainting is referred to as being unable to battle (Japanese: 戦闘不能 sentō funō). A Pokémon is shown to be unable to battle when its eyes are "swirly" - presumably to emulate dizziness. During a Pokémon League match, once a Pokémon is deemed unable to battle by an official Pokémon League battle judge, it must be recalled and cannot be used again.
Since not all Pokémon have eyes, they often have different ways of displaying that they have fainted, such as Staryu and Starmie's core flashing.