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Evolution

Pokémon can undergo Evolution, process in which they suffer a sudden, systemic long-term transformation into a new shape often called evolutive morph. This process and the shapes they can progress into are determined by species. This is distinct to the capacity some Pokémon have of temporarily assuming a different form via a reversible transformation, more commonly called form or forme.

Evolution is one of the two paths a Pokémon can choose to follow by releasing an enormous amount of “typeless energy” they have stored for a long period of time during their lives, the other form being Overdrive.

Mechanics

Pokémon are, for the most part, in control of when and how do they want to evolve. When not, the process might be triggered by stress (such as needing the energy release to heal a serious injury) or age (reaching a given state of maturity). Requisites for evolution are mostly uniform across species and involve having reached the previous evolutive stage (so no eg.: Digimon’s Warp Evolution) and having the required energy intake or store to carry out the process.

Evolution can change all physiological and psychological aspects of a Pokémon specimen. In drastic cases, Evolution could wipe out memories or skills learned by the individual; the psychological changes can result in the emergence of whole second personalities or consciousnesses (eg.: Dodrio), or the loss of separate / multiple identities (eg.: Beldum).

Evolutionary items, such as the Type Stones, basically serve the same purpose as Gems - they give a Pokémon a strong surge of the type of energy needed to trigger that evolution. Without a Type Stone, most Pokémon that evolve by stone would need a very long time or fulfilling very specific requisites to reach evolution in the wild, sometimes even making it unfeasible to reach evolution under their lifespan in the wild.

Cultural Aspects

Most species regard Evolution as a sacred event -a remainder of the old eras and a means to become closer to their original beings; even in the wild, if a predator sees that their attack has triggered prey's Evolution, they will wait patiently for it to finish or in certain cases just forgo the prey's life, under the understanding that a Pokémon who has evolved has earned semi-divine right to experience the abilities their new body is capable of.

Outliers include Scyther seeing evolution into Scizor as an aberration in the wild (they lose their speed, stealthiness, natural camouflage and elegance), and most “Starter” Pokémon seeing evolution into their final stages as unnecessary or thankless because they stop being small and cuddleable and in exchange they become less fit to perform activities with their humans other than competitive battling.

De-Evolution

Certain Pokémon with the power and knowledge of how Evolution works can dispense the inverse process: De-volution, where a Pokémon’s power is released to the environment and their shape returned to the next earlier morph. Most Pokémon, including Legendaries, see this process as cheating or flat-out “evil”.

Because only the morph / stages' upwards reconstruction paths are actually encoded within a Pokémon's biological information, whereas the de-evolution path is not, the process is unnatural and extremely dangerous to undergo, and needs to be administered externally by a being of tremendous power and utmost control of it.

Unlike with normal evolution, undergoing de-evolution can (or will) kill an injured or debilitated Pokémon.