Electricity is a hazard in the Pikmin series, being both extremely dangerous and extremely harmless. It presents itself in the form of high current, which neither the Pikmin nor leaders can normally handle, making touching an electrified object or current a dangerous action, with effects ranging from temporary paralysis to instant death. Yellow Pikmin and Bulbmin are completely immune to electricity, however.
In Pikmin 2, if a Pikmin other than a Yellow or a Bulbmin touches an electrical current, that is enough to instantly kill it. It will be zapped, showing an x-ray scan-like representation of their body (pictured left), and will die right after, all in the span of less than a second. There is absolutely no chance of survival for Pikmin that fall prey to this fate, making it very important to use the correct Pikmin types to handle electricity, in order to avoid fatal disasters.
Leaders that touch electricity will get damaged, and will be knocked to the ground. The damage caused isn't too great, but it should not be neglected. Leaders completely ignore electricity or electrical attacks if the Anti-Electrifier has been collected.
In Pikmin 3, electricity returns, but is no longer fatal. Any non-Yellow Pikmin that touches an electrical current will get zapped, but will merely be sent back and will lie on the floor. In this state, the Pikmin will gain a blue aura, and emit some quiet shrieks; every so often, it will also have a convulsion. The Pikmin will not die from the electrical shock, but if not whistled back, it will not get up on its own. As soon as it is whistled, it returns to normal.
Leaders will suffer the exact same effect if they get electrocuted, and will also return to normal once they get up. The player's leader can get up faster if the main control stick is twirled enough; a prompt above the leader's head will notify the player of the action they need to perform. Regardless, any leader will get up by themselves after some seconds. Leaders will not be affected by electricity at all if the Anti-Electrifier has been collected.
The following sources can create or conduct electrical current:
The Anti-Electrifier is a spacesuit add-on in Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3. Once salvaged, leaders will gain immunity to all forms of electrical attacks, fully ignoring any current, just like Yellow Pikmin. The exception is the Titan Dweevil's electrical attack with the Shock Therapist: this attack will always stun the leaders, but will only cause negligible damage with the Anti-Electrifier.
Yellow Pikmin handle electricity in a special manner, in that they are not negatively impacted by an electrical current. In Pikmin 2, they simply ignore it, allowing them to handle electrical obstacles that other Pikmin cannot. In Pikmin 3, not only can they ignore electrical currents, but they can also interact with them to achieve certain goals. This is the case with the electrode: a pair of wire ends that can carry current from one end to another. When an electrode is first found, the electricity circuit is not closed, but Yellow Pikmin can be thrown between the two wire ends, where they will hold hands and, once the gap is closed, allow the current to flow through their bodies, and from one end to the other. This will also evolve them to flower status right away.
In the Super Smash Bros. series
In the Super Smash Bros. series, attacks with electrical properties are common. Although said attacks do not cause any extra damage to non-Yellow Pikmin, they will be completely harmless to Yellows, making them ideal for fights against characters with a lot of electrical attacks, such as Pikachu.