Types In GeneralWhat is an elemental type? Such questions are often asked by up and coming Pokémon Trainers, hoping to grasp the complexities of battle to their fullest (or, perhaps, to avoid battles they cannot win). And it is understandable that they would ask such a question, seeing as how elemental types can often determine the proper response to a Pokémon. The aspect that confuses them the most is the split between elemental Pokémon and elemental moves; the purpose of this article is to clarify such confusion.
Elemental PokémonA Pokémon's elemental affiliation is determined by a combination of physiological and behavioral traits. Fire-type Pokémon, for instance, near universally have internal glands which produce flammable substances alongside specialized organs to direct them; the few Fire types that don't have this operate by redirecting ambient heat in a manner similar to their gland-based brethren, and are thus classified as Fire-type due to their similar behavior. Because their types are determined by their physiology, moves of a specific type will in general have greater or less impact one pokemon of a specific type. In addition, a Pokémon using a move of the same type as its own affiliation will be more adept with it instinctively. Pokémon are generally classified as either "pure", having only one elemental affiliation, or "dual-typed", having two; while many Pokémon could in theory belong to more groups, such metaclassification is generally seen as unnecessary nitpicking by the community.
Elemental MovesThe various specialized attacks and Abilities a Pokémon can learn are referred to as moves. Unlike Pokémon themselves, moves only come in one elemental variety at a time; this is due to the physiological requirements of a move being more specific then a Pokémon's own biology. However, a move's element does not limit the Pokémon that can learn the move; continuing the Fire-type example, the Bagon line is capable of learning Ember by striking its claws against its shellcrests, despite not being Fire-type itself. What type a move belongs to is determined by the methodology most commonly used to enact a move. Moves are also classified by their usage, with physical attacks requiring physical contact and special attacks being ranged or psychic in nature; a number of moves are not aggressive, but instead inflict a temporary condition known as a "status effect."
Elements In CultureFire types are aggressive. Water types are gentle. Fighting types are honorable. These and more stereotypes can be found throughout all civilizations that have had contact with Poké, and they are not without reason; a Pokémon's type is often determined by its environment, and its personality shares such origins. However, Pokémon are individuals first and foremost; simply classifying a Pokémon's methods by type is not advisable, as even some pure-typed Pokémon break the trend of their elemental class.