Pikmin (ピクミン?) are plant-animal hybrid creatures that are found on PNF-404 and the planet in Hey! Pikmin. As the titular creatures of the Pikmin series, they are the main feature of gameplay in all games in the series.
In the main games, Pikmin are created by Onions, which produce them as seeds, which in turn fall to the ground and become sprouts. The player can then get a leader to pluck one of these sprouts. Once plucked, Pikmin follow a leader around the area in a squad, and the leader can throw them at objects, as well as dismiss, swarm, and charge them. When out of a leader's squad, they can be whistled back into it. Through these basic actions, Pikmin can be ordered to carry items or fight enemies, among other abilities.
Pikmin come in several types, each with certain unique abilities (such as resistance to a specific hazard). Most are 1.2cm tall head to toe (around 3cm if the stem and top are included), and have a generally humanoid shape. On top of a Pikmin's head is either a leaf, bud, or flower, representing its maturity.
On its own, a Pikmin is not particularly strong, but in large groups (usually up to 100), they are capable of doing many things. However, Pikmin can be eaten by enemies, and if a player loses all Pikmin of a type, a Pikmin extinction can occur. Fortunately, Pikmin can be grown easily by carrying defeated enemies or pellets to the Onion. In addition, Candypop Buds can convert Pikmin from one type to another.
Pikmin come in several different types, each with unique physical attributes and abilities. The differences between Pikmin types is often utilized in puzzles. As the player progresses through a game's story, more types are unlocked, which over time allow the player to access more sections of areas. While the Pikmin types available in each game are different, every game features the original trio of Red Pikmin, Yellow Pikmin, and Blue Pikmin.
Red Pikmin have pointy noses and white flowers, and are present in all Pikmin games. They are resistant to fire and have a strong attack strength, making them good at combat. They are the first type discovered in all Pikmin games, except Pikmin 3.
Yellow Pikmin have large ears and white flowers, and are present in all Pikmin games. They can be thrown higher than other types, but their other unique abilities vary by game. In Pikmin, they are the only type that can carry bomb rocks. In Pikmin 2, Pikmin 3, and Hey! Pikmin, they are resistant to electricity (they can also conduct electricity in Pikmin 3 and Hey! Pikmin). In Pikmin 3, they are the first type to be discovered, and can dig faster than most other Pikmin types.
Blue Pikmin have mouths and white flowers, and are present in all Pikmin games. They are resistant to water, making them the only type able to access submerged portions of areas where other Pikmin would drown. They are the last type discovered in all games except Hey! Pikmin and Pikmin Bloom.
Purple Pikmin have short hairs, pink flowers, and are bulkier than other Pikmin types. They are present in Pikmin 2 and Pikmin Bloom, as well as the alternative game modes of Pikmin 3. They weigh 10 times as much as other Pikmin types, are slower than other types, can carry 10 times the weight of other types, and can attack with a strong pound capable of stunning enemies. They are native to caves and do not have an Onion, meaning that they can only be grown by throwing other Pikmin into Candypop Buds.
White Pikmin have red eyes and pink flowers, and are present in Pikmin 2 and Pikmin Bloom, as well as the alternative game modes of Pikmin 3. They are resistant to poison, are faster than other Pikmin types, can poison enemies upon being eaten, and can dig hidden underground treasures other types cannot see. They are native to caves and do not have an Onion, meaning that they can only be grown by throwing other Pikmin into Candypop Buds.
Rock Pikmin are greyish-black, shaped like rocks, and have purple flowers. They are present in Pikmin 3, Hey! Pikmin, and Pikmin Bloom. Their hardness allows them to destroy crystal obstacles, attack enemies through a powerful direct impact, and be resistant to being crushed or stabbed.
Winged Pikmin are pink and have wings, blue eyes, and purple flowers. They are present in Pikmin 3, Hey! Pikmin, and Pikmin Bloom. They can fly over water and low barriers, allowing them to take shortcuts when carrying, as well as making it harder for enemies to attack them, but their attack strength is lower than other Pikmin types.
Bulbmin are a special species of Pikmin shaped like a Dwarf Bulborb with a stem, and are present in Pikmin 2 only. They are resistant to fire, water, electricity, and poison, but cannot be taken out of caves, which are the only places they are found in. They are actually a parasite that takes over a juvenile Bulborb; the appearance of the parasite on its own is not known.
The following types are not proper Pikmin types, as they are not distinguished by the games and cannot be controlled by leaders, but are related to Pikmin.
Mushroom Pikmin are a special state of Pikmin, created when the Puffstool attacks Pikmin with its spores. They are purple and have a mushroom instead of a flower, and are present in Pikmin only. They will attack Captain Olimar, and can be attacked by unaffected Pikmin, even though they will not fight back.
Pikpik carrots are plants from the planet of Hocotate that Pikmin are named after. While they do not appear in gameplay, they can be thrown at enemies in Pikmin 2's Piklopedia. Pikpik carrots exist in the files of Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3 as a type of Pikmin, but it is not possible to obtain them in gameplay.
Undocumented types in cutscenes
Pikmin have a generally humanoid body shape. All types have a head with two round eyes, two arms and two legs, two hands and two feet – each with three digits – and a tall stem on which a single leaf, bud, or five-petaled flower grows. There are differences between Pikmin types in ways other than color – Red Pikmin have a nose, Yellow Pikmin have ears, Blue Pikmin have a mouth, Purple Pikmin are wider and have 6 hairs, White Pikmin are smaller and have red eyes, Rock Pikmin are shaped like rocks, and Winged Pikmin have wings and blue eyes.
Their proportions, with a large head and very narrow limbs, make them look a bit like carrots, and this resemblance also exists in the way that Pikmin grow in the ground and can be pulled out of it. While buried in the ground, their limbs serve as roots; Olimar refers to their entire bodies, save the stems, as ambulatory root structures. While all Pikmin of a type are the same size in most games, in Pikmin Bloom, individual Pikmin have slightly different sizes.
Pikmin start their lives as seeds ejected from the Onion, which, after landing in the ground, transform into sprouts. A leader must pluck a sprout so that the Pikmin may come out. While idle, the Pikmin's leaves and flowers glow that Pikmin's respective color; that, coupled with a cutscene at the end of Pikmin 2, would suggest that Pikmin are somehow bioluminescent, though what causes this and what function it might serve in the wild has never been explained.
The internal structures of Pikmin are a mystery, but certain things about them can be speculated. Since Pikmin never seem to eat anything, save nectar, they probably have a very simple digestive system, if any. As such, it is likely that Pikmin get a majority of their nutrients from food the Onions break down. Since the Onions are the center of Pikmin reproduction as well, it seems likely that Pikmin are incapable of sexual reproduction. However, in Pikmin, flower Pikmin will sometimes drop seeds when slain in battle, suggesting that they may be able to reproduce asexually, but also that they do not have defined sexes and are hermaphrodites like many plants. Pikmin also have a skeletal system, as seen when electrocuted. Pikmin probably don't have any sort of lungs (however, the Blue Pikmin are observed to have gill structures), but their leaves, buds, and flowers appear to serve as their main means of respiration, since poison gas or water droplets collecting around them suffocates the Pikmin; inversely, walking in shallow water in which their leaf/bud/flower does not touch (as seen in the Shower Room) is fine. When killed, Pikmin disappear and a soul flies into the air, sometimes after releasing a liquid of the same color as the Pikmin, possibly the Pikmin equivalent to hemolymph or blood – this is best seen when the Cloaking Burrow-nit attacks.
There are 3 stages of life that a Pikmin can be in: leaf, bud, and flower. A Pikmin's maturity controls its walking and carrying speed. Leaf Pikmin are the slowest, flower Pikmin are the fastest, and bud Pikmin are in between. A Pikmin's maturity is not connected to its type.
When an Onion or Candypop Bud sends out a seed, it will always be in the leaf stage. If left in the ground, the leaf will grow into a bud, and then into a flower. Thus, the longer the player waits before plucking the Pikmin, the faster it will be. Pikmin can go instantly to the flower stage by drinking nectar, or being powered up by an ultra-spicy spray in Pikmin 3. They can also decrease in stage in Pikmin and Pikmin 2 through certain enemy attacks.
Decor Pikmin are a special status of Pikmin in Pikmin Bloom. They differ from regular Pikmin in that they wear some decoration. These decorations are generally made from objects like flower heads, acorns, or cupcakes, but there are some Decor Pikmin that have more elaborate costumes. Different types of Decor Pikmin are collected by finding Pikmin seedlings in specific types of real-world locations. There are 22 types of costumes.
When a Pikmin is in a leader's squad, it will follow that leader in a large group with other Pikmin, waiting still when the leader stands still, and running after the leader when the leader runs, going around small obstructions if possible. They can trip or stumble, however, and this can lead them to be separated from the group. The probability of tripping and stumbling varies by game.
When a Pikmin is not in a leader's squad and is not doing a task, it is idle. Idle Pikmin have various animations they do, such as sitting down and standing up, grooming each other, communicating in high pitched whimpers, waving, and playing abstract games. In Pikmin 2, if 20 of each type of Pikmin is called into one group, they will hum a portion of the song Ai no Uta. This suggests that they have a highly developed and friendly social structure. Pikmin will also watch leaders move around when stationary, indicating that they are very curious creatures, and can be seen to mimic the idle motions of those leaders. If there is a task nearby that an idle Pikmin can do, such as attacking an enemy, it will run to the task and do it.
In Pikmin, if Pikmin are told to go in an Onion, they will follow a path to go there if they cannot make it in a straight line. This behavior is rarely seen, given that the area layouts seldom allow Pikmin to be unable to enter the Onion from a straight walk while also being under the control of a leader that is close enough to the Onion's beam. This does not happen in Pikmin 2 or Pikmin 3, as Pikmin will always run in a straight line towards the Onion, except when the Assemble All feature is used.
In Pikmin 3, having a group of 66 or less Pikmin of any type and moving the cursor around the Pikmin or around the group will make some Pikmin look at the cursor, although this may just be aesthetic. For Winged Pikmin, this only works if they are walking. Interestingly, leaders do not display this behavior.
In Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Pikmin that are told to deliver something to the Onion memorize which player ordered them. If the same player is near the Onion when they finish delivery, they will return to that player's group. If that player isn't nearby, but the other player is, the Pikmin will ignore them and go idle.
The word Pikmin is possibly derived from the word "pick", since Pikmin are plucked from the ground. The in-universe reason for the name is that Captain Olimar named the Pikmin after a type of vegetable from Hocotate, the pikpik carrot. The plural of Pikmin is also "Pikmin". The word is typically never written with a lowercase "P", except for the US Spanish localizations of Pikmin 3, Hey! Pikmin, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe, as well as in unused pieces of text in Pikmin, and all Spanish localizations of Pikmin 2 and New Play Control! Pikmin 2.
Interestingly, some parts of some games do not capitalize the word that defines the type of Pikmin, but capitalize the word "Pikmin" itself, whereas others might capitalize both words. For instance, Olimar's voyage log may write "red Pikmin", while Alph and Brittany's dialogues might have the text "Red Pikmin". In earlier versions of Pikmin, a Pikmin would be referred to as a "pikmin", with a lowercase "p", and the plural would be several "pikmins".
Sometimes, Pikmin are also referred to as "piki", especially internally inside a game's files, as proven by the Honeywisp's common name in Japanese being ピキマキ?, or "Piki Maki" (Pikmin Aphid), the term "piki park" in animtest, and the folder
Names in other languages
In the Super Smash Bros. series
Pikmin form a part of Olimar's moveset in all Super Smash Bros. games Olimar appears in as a playable character. Olimar can pluck Pikmin from the ground and throw them at opponents, which the Pikmin then attack. Red Pikmin, Yellow Pikmin, Blue Pikmin, Purple Pikmin, and White Pikmin are all usable in this way, with slightly different attributes based on their abilities in the Pikmin games. Winged Pikmin are also used in Olimar's up special move in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. There are also trophies, stickers, and spirits based on Pikmin.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Olimar is not a playable character, but Pikmin appear as a trophy.