Humans are a species that exist in the Pokémon world. They usually live in harmony with Pokémon, in a world similar to that of the real world. Humans who own and use Pokémon for a number of different purposes are called Pokémon Trainers and are found throughout the regions of the Pokémon world. The very relationship between humans and Pokémon is what the series mainly revolves around, featuring them in the vast majority of games, anime, manga and other media. Throughout the Pokémon series, humans have befriended Pokémon and used their help in tasks like battling, Pokémon Contests, protecting nature, and other vital roles. However, some evil teams have used Pokémon harmfully for their own gain.
Humans in various age groups have been shown in all sources of Pokémon media, while infants have seldom been seen and very rarely appear in the anime. The biological relationship between humans and Pokémon is not explored within the series, but it is known that humans and Pokémon are two different "species", unlike the real-world relationship between humans and animals. There are a few references in Sinnoh myths mentioning that humans and Pokémon once coexisted as a single species. A few individuals appear to possess abilities well beyond those that real-world humans are capable of attaining, such as having Psychic or Aura powers.
For comical purposes, characters in the Pokémon world are often pictured with a greatly exaggerated ability to withstand physical trauma, (e.g. being burned, poisoned, and falling great distances). The most common occurrence of humans being harmed without injury is the constant electrocution of Ash and his nemesis, the Team Rocket trio, consisting of Jessie, James and Meowth, who are blasted off over the horizon countless times in the early seasons of the anime series. However, Pokémon still present a threat to humans, hence why people need a license in order to train Pokémon.
The human culture of the Pokémon world, much like the technology, is depicted as revolving around Pokémon. The care and research of Pokémon is shown to be of primary importance, Pokémon feature in many forms of entertainment and media, such as movies and magazines, and Pokémon battles are an almost universal pastime. Facilities such as Pokémon Centers, Gyms and even entire arenas and stadiums have been built to this end. So important are Pokémon to humans that they were revered or even outright worshiped in certain parts of the world, especially Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, so named because of their prominent roles in myths and legends. However, this fascination with Pokémon is not always benevolent; various individuals and organizations with motives ranging from greed to grandiosity have repeatedly tried to exploit Pokémon to further their own agendas, often at the expense of the well being of Pokémon, other people or even the very world itself. This is not always the case as humans are equally capable of good as they are of evil, and are able to see the error of their ways; however, only time will tell if they are also able to learn from their mistakes.
Unlike the real world, humans in the Pokémon world live, for the most part, in an extremely environmentally friendly society. Automobiles are apparently used at a minimum, with walking or riding Pokémon being the preferred methods of transportation, as demonstrated by the many traveling Trainers who have not been shown to use public transport. However, bicycles are common. Many vehicles are seen with virtually no visible emissions such as smoke, suggesting that technology has allowed for environmentally friendly transportation. Towns and cities are often deeply integrated with the surrounding environment, and often allow surrounding forests to encroach on the city borders.
The population of humans appears to be much lower than that of the real world, as seen by the immense stretches of forest and fields, untouched by human development. There are also many examples of human developments, both ancient and modern, that have been abandoned for one reason or another that have since been reclaimed by nature and Pokémon.
Humans have achieved a level of technology unparalleled by any other species on the planet. Much of human technology appears to be based around the concept of human-Pokémon relations; this technology includes the ubiquitous Poké Ball as well as teleportation and data transfer systems designed to store and move captured Pokémon at their Trainer's convenience. Humans have also created artificial Pokémon, such as Porygon; a product of artificial intelligence programming and light manipulation, and Mewtwo; a powerful clone of Mew, designed and created specifically for battling. Apparently, this knack for technology dates back to ancient times as there are many examples of lost civilizations that utilized similar technology. It would seem strange that humans remain dominant over Pokémon, as it is mentioned in many occasions that some Psychic-type Pokémon (e.g. Alakazam and Slowking) appear to be far more intelligent and powerful than humans, however, this has not been explored much aside from Pokédex descriptions.
Human organizations in the Pokémon world
- International Police: A law-enforcement organization.
- Pokémon Association: Handles legislation regarding Pokémon.
- Pokémon Breeder: Raises and mates Pokémon for genetic improvements such as moves, individual values, and Natures.
- Pokémon Connoisseur: Specializes in identifying the compatibility between Pokémon and their Trainers.
- Pokémon Coordinator: Raises Pokémon to compete in Pokémon Contests, by feeding them snacks used to enhance their appearances and teaching them moves designed for particular appeals.
- Gym Leader: Hold some title of prestige and worthy of recognition among Pokémon Trainers, earning them status in a town or city to challenge Trainers aspiring to challenge the Pokémon League of their particular region. They also hand out a Badge to Pokémon Trainers who beat them in battle.
- Pokémon G-Men: A detective unit whose main purpose is to travel the countryside, investigating and arresting anyone who improperly treats Pokémon.
- Pokémon Performer: Raises Pokémon to compete in Pokémon Showcases.
- Pokémon Professor: Researches certain aspects of Pokémon and the Pokémon world, such as evolution, habitat, etc. They also hand out starter Pokémon to aspiring Pokémon Trainers.
- Ranger Union: Pokémon Rangers belong to the Ranger Union, an organization with the intention of fighting people who mistreat Pokémon and threaten peace. They utilize the power of Pokémon to protect the environment, help other people, and help Pokémon. Rangers use Capture Stylers to bestow feelings of friendship to Pokémon.
- Pokémon Stylist: Sketches and designs clothing and accessories for Pokémon.
- Pokémon Trainer: Raises, travels with, and battles with Pokémon.
- Pokémon watcher: Studies Pokémon, their habits, behaviors, and interactions.
- Villainous teams: Always human outside of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure, the villainous teams would threaten the region, and serve as antagonists to be defeated. They can range from mere crime syndicates, such as Team Rocket in the Kanto or Johto regions, to groups with specific, extreme ideological beliefs, such as Team Galactic in the Sinnoh region or Team Plasma in the Unova region.
Many references to ancient human civilizations have appeared in many forms of Pokémon related media. It is their existence and their interactions with Pokémon that eventually gave rise to many fables, myths and legends regarding different Pokémon, legendary or not. These ancient people didn't only leave behind stories, but ancient artifacts and even whole ruins which have since been reclaimed by nature and Pokémon. While many civilizations have been referenced, only a few have been explicitly named:
- Draconid people: A tribe of Dragon-type-users who resided in Meteor Falls.
- Kingdom of the Vale: A kingdom which once lived in peace with both Pokémon and nature using the power of the Dragon Force, before it fell to ruin due to war between the two princes, which resulted in the Dragon Force going out of control.
- People of the Water: A race of people who left behind Samiya, a sea temple activated by crystals.
- Pokélantis: A lost empire in Kanto that was destroyed by Ho-Oh when its king wanted to abuse Ho-Oh's power.
- Pokémopolis: Another ancient civilization in Kanto. Had artifacts that contained Giant Pokémon.
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series takes place in the Pokémon world, inhabited solely by Pokémon. However, in all of the games except for the WiiWare titles, the player is a human who has been turned into a Pokémon. In Gates to Infinity and Super Mystery Dungeon, humans are established to be thought not to exist by most Pokémon, existing only in children's stories.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, a greedy Trainer grabbed a tail of a Ninetales. The resulting curse was taken by his Gardevoir, and the Ninetales prophesied that the human would be reincarnated as a Pokémon in the future during a time of natural disasters. The player is summoned to the Pokémon world by that Gardevoir to stop a falling star from destroying the world, losing their memory in the process. After meeting their partner and calling upon Rayquaza to destroy the meteor, the player leaves the Pokémon world, but decides to return when their partner pleads to Gardevoir. Decrepit Lab is also mentioned to have been built by humans.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, Explorers of Darkness, and Explorers of Sky, the player and Grovyle were trying to solve the mystery of the paralyzed planet and traveled to the past. There, they were separated when Darkrai attacked them, and the player was turned into a Pokémon. Having lost their memory, the player washes up on the Beach and is found by their partner. After traveling to Temporal Tower and saving the world from paralysis, the player is erased from existence, but is brought back when Dialga feels the partner's sorrow.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, many humans have been summoned from an alternate dimension to the Pokémon world by Hydreigon, the Voice of Life, to save the world from the Bittercold. However, all of them were defeated by Munna and her gang and sent back to the human world. The player was then summoned, the only human left to save the Pokémon world. After meeting their partner and defeating Bittercold, the player is sent back to the human world. Their partner later makes a wish at the Worldcore for the player to return and be allowed to travel between the human world and Pokémon world, and the player is brought back from the human world.
In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, Dark Matter once attempted to attack the Tree of Life, which would have caused the planet to crash into the sun, but was defeated due to the efforts of a human and Mew. However, they failed to completely destroy Dark Matter, so the player is brought from an alternate dimension to the Pokémon world by Mew to save the world when Dark Matter begins to rise again. Finding they have lost their memory, the player meets Nuzleaf and their partner. After traveling to the Tree of Life and defeating Dark Matter, the player realizes that at some point, they must have to return to the human world. However, the player's partner, a reincarnation of Mew, leaves the player instead, having fulfilled their role by helping to save the world. Various characters who make a cameo from previous Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games also reference other humans from those games.