Leaflings (葉っぱ人?, lit.: "Leaf Man") are characters in Pikmin 4 that cannot be identified because their heads are entirely covered by leaves. Their ID badges are unreadable due to corrupted biometric data, listing their name as "???" or "Error" and their home planet as PNF-404. They can be found in Dandori Challenges, Dandori Battles, and a few caves, and can be converted back into regular characters by curing them with glow sap.
The biology of leaflings is unknown. Olimar as a leafling can be seen kidnapping a castaway, dragging it into an Onion, and making it pop out as a leafling. He justifies this by saying that those that do not embrace dandori cannot survive in the planet, but they thrive instead if they have the leaves. This process is how leaflings are made. Dandori Challenges and most Dandori Battles are run by characters that are themselves leaflings. In this state, leafling characters are unable to speak in normal sentences, instead using simple words and small sentences at a time, and are obsessed with dandori. They will hand over the leafling castaways they have, or fall unconscious so they can be rescued themselves, if they witness a good display of dandori in their challenges or battles. Like normal castaways, they weigh 3 units when carried, with a maximum carrier count of 6. Glow sap from a Lumiknoll can be made into medicine by Yonny that dissolves the leaves, reverting the leaflings to their normal state.
According to dialogue from cured characters, they remember their time as leaflings but retain the personalities they had before becoming obsessed with dandori. Following his curing, Olimar believes that leaflings may have had Pikmin DNA incorporated into their bodies after being taken into an Onion, triggering their physical and psychological changes and causing them to rapidly sicken if they try to leave PNF-404. Although he does not know what purpose this "Pikmin-ification' might have, he speculates that the Pikmin may be trying to create a permanent leader for themselves.
Leaflings wear regular gray spacesuits, but without a helmet, and their head is covered with leaves, almost like a head full of hair. Only their noses (if any) and eyes are visible. Different characters have different colored foliage. The color of the leaves on a leafling's head matches the hair color of the castaway once they're cured.
List of leaflings
There are 21 curable leaflings in the game: 12 from Dandori Challenges, 4 from Dandori Battles, and 5 from caves. The Dandori Challenge leaflings stand outside a specific challenge location. When the player approaches, a cutscene will play in which the leafling jumps into the cave. Inside that cave, the leafling will watch the player attempt the challenge, and if it is cleared with at least a bronze medal, the leafling will fall unconscious, and upon exiting the challenge, the unconscious leafling will exit too, and can be carried back to the S.S. Beagle overground, upon which it will be rescued.
Three of the four Dandori Battle leaflings are initially seen as regular castaways outside the Dandori Battles in the first three areas, standing next to a mysterious red leafling which takes them inside in a cutscene when the player approaches. Inside, they are converted to leaflings by the red leafling. Upon beating the red leafling in the battle, the other leafling will come out of the cave with the player, and can be carried back to the S.S. Beagle overground, upon which it will be rescued. The fourth Dandori Battle leafling is the red leafling, and upon beating it in the fourth area's Dandori Battle, that leafing will come out of the cave and can be rescued.
The cave leaflings are found in specific sublevels of caves, and are rescued in the same way as castaways, by carrying them to the S.S. Beagle on the sublevel.
The following table lists the leaflings and their locations, in the order the locations are listed in the area selection menu.
|The Dandori Challenge in the Sun-Speckled Terrace.
|The Dandori Battle in the Sun-Speckled Terrace.
|The Dandori Battle in the Blossoming Arcadia.
|The first Dandori Challenge in the Blossoming Arcadia (up the climbing wall).
|The second Dandori Challenge in the Blossoming Arcadia (behind the reinforced wall).
|The Dandori Battle in the Serene Shores.
|The first Dandori Challenge in the Serene Shores (in the northwest).
|The second Dandori Challenge in the Serene Shores (underwater).
|The Dandori Challenge in the Hero's Hideaway.
|The Dandori Battle in the Hero's Hideaway.
|Sublevel 4 of the Doppelgänger's Den, inside a breakable pot.
|Sublevel 4 of the Frozen Inferno, behind a numbered gate.
|Sublevel 5 of the Plunder Palace, being dragged by a Giant Breadbug.
|The first Dandori Challenge in the Giant's Hearth (on top of the fire pit).
|Sublevel 3 of the Ultimate Testing Range, in an Arachnode's web.
|The second Dandori Challenge in the Giant's Hearth (past the sprinklers).
|The third Dandori Challenge in the Giant's Hearth (near the Dream Home).
|Sublevel 3 of the Subterranean Swarm, under some sticky mold.
|The first Dandori Challenge in the Primordial Thicket (on the plateau in the center).
|The second Dandori Challenge in the Primordial Thicket (across the small pool of mud).
|The third Dandori Challenge in the Primordial Thicket (near the Winged Onion).
A red leafling that has Captain Olimar's suit, nose, and voice. Unlike the prior leaflings, he uses correct grammar, though still obsesses over the idea of dandori. He is usually seen accompanied (and later guarded) by Moss. Both are seen stealing castaways and turning them into leaflings via their Onion, as they believe that those who are not leaflings cannot survive this planet. The mysterious duo challenges the player to rounds of Dandori Battles, returning the castaways they steal only when the player wins. They are first battled in Trial Run, Battle in a Box, and Dandori Castle.
In Hero's Hideaway, he is revealed to be Olimar himself through various late entries in his voyage log. After opening the safe he is inside, he challenges the player to one more battle, Leafy Showdown. Once he is defeated, he has no castaway to give and instead falls unconscious to be rescued as Moss runs away. Once he is rescued and cured, he reverts back to his usual non-leafling self.
Louie later finds the abandoned Moss and takes over Olimar's role as a Dandori Battle opponent.
The Sage Leaf is a white leafling found in a hidden cave in the Rescue Command Post, which is only revealed after completing Olimar's Shipwreck Tale. They oversee the Trial of the Sage Leaf, a series of ten complex Dandori Challenges with varied objectives. Like the red leafling (Olimar), they speak normally.
Though they refuse to be rescued or cured, they will reward the player with the White Onion and Purple Onion upon completing their fifth and tenth trials respectively. Recompleting the fifth and tenth trials will reward the player 10 White Pikmin and Purple Pikmin respectively. It remains unknown who this Sage Leaf was before they became a leafling (the Sage Leaf has long since forgotten their former identity and says that they have no desire to reclaim it), but given their old age, it would seem they have been one for a long time.
The space dog Moss is affected by a similar condition to humanoid leaflings: she has a leaf on the tip of her tail, cannot leave PNF-404 without falling seriously ill and shares some of her DNA with the Pikmin. Her backstory is unknown, but Olimar believes she has been this way since birth.
After Bernard has been cured, the Rescue Pup Oatchi grows a leaf on his tail similar to that of Moss. This becomes a problem when the Rescue Corps has rescued Olimar but cannot leave PNF-404 without Oatchi suffering the same symptoms that other leaflings would. After acquiring the Gift of Friendship, Yonny extracts some of the Ancient Sirehound's cells from the collar and makes a special cure that reverts Oatchi to normal.
Like castaways, leaflings are cured in a particular order no matter where they are found. While leaflings are cured in the order that they are rescued, the character that they are cured into depends on how many leaflings have been cured. However, this system is complicated by Dandori Battles. As completing Dandori Battles is necessary to progress the story, leaflings from these locations have priority to be cured over leaflings from Dandori Challenges or caves. Upon completing a night expedition and getting glow sap, if Dandori Battle leaflings are waiting to be cured, they will be cured first in their cure order, followed by other leaflings in their cure order. If a Dandori Battle is completed but the leafling from that location is not rescued, then a leafling from elsewhere will instead be cured into the next character in the Dandori Battle cure order.
The hair color of a cured character depends on the leafling they were cured from, so each of these characters can have one of five hair colors. (In the table below, the hair colors are based on the assumption that the player completed the caves, challenges, and battles in the order they're listed on the area selection menu.) Like castaways, each character has a defined suit color, but that suit color will instead be red if the player selects that character's defined color to be the Rescue Corps suit color.
Dandori Battle leafling cure order
|ID badge description
|He's known for saying, "You can always find me in the pits!" He'll take the leap into any cave, no matter how dangerous it is.
|The "Cave Delving" mission.
|A spelunker. He is from the planet Flukuey.
|When it comes to work, he's thorough, fast, reckless, and presumptuous. Which also describes his plan to build houses here.
|The ability to replay Dandori Battles.
The "Dandori Battle Training" mission.
|A general contractor. He is from the planet Moyama.
|A veteran pilot who started in the private sector before joining the Rescue Corps. He's always brimming with optimism.
|The Hero's Hideaway (once the player has × 7,000) and the ability to leave the planet and view the final results menu (once the Ancient Sirehound has been defeated).
The "Cure the Leaflings" mission.
|A Rescue Corps Officer. He is from the planet Nijo.
|A hard worker and family man who often sacrifices his time off to support his family. He also seems to be a magnet for bad luck.
|The Giant's Hearth (once the player has × 11,000), Olimar's Shipwreck Tale, and Oatchi's Swallow skill.
|An employee of Hocotate Freight. He is from the planet Hocotate.
Other leafling cure order
|ID badge description
|He's always in search of the next uncharted planet to explore, as well as someone who wants to hear tales of his past adventures.
|The ability to replay Dandori Challenges.
The "Beat Dandori Challenge" mission.
|A space explorer. He is from the planet Flukuey.
|The leader of a diverse research task force. It may seem like he doesn't work at all, but he's the glue that keeps the team together.
|The "Precious Scientists" mission.
|The leader of a research task force. He is from the planet Mihama.
|A true gambler who revels in the game of life and leaves it all up to fate. He came to this planet with high hopes and high stakes.
|The "You vs. Planet" mission.
|A gambler. He is from the planet Flukuey.
|A midranking travel agent at Satella Travel. She organized the Uncharted Planet Tour to save the company from bankruptcy.
|The "A Tour Without Tourists" mission.
|A tour guide. She is from the planet Neechki.
|She's a streamer who came to this planet in desperate need of content and followers. Her eccentric style hasn't quite caught on.
|A streamer. She is from the planet Flukuey.
|Currently a temp at Satella Travel. He's had many jobs over the years and seems fated to always cross paths with his rival.
|A pilot. He is from the planet Nijo.
|Chowder's secretary at Tulbo Real Estate. Loyal to the core, he puts up with a lot from his impulsive and unpredictable boss.
|The "Employer at Large!" mission.
|A secretary. He is from the planet Maxima.
|An expert in minerals and social niceties. He joined the task force to study raw materials alongside former classmate Osa.
|A researcher. He is from the planet Siguray.
|Here to study hydrologic cycles, she hopes her research will save her home planet from industry-caused ecological destruction.
|A researcher. She is from the planet Tagwa.
|His boundless ambition drove him to expand his telecommunication business into areas like space travel, food, and entertainment.
|A CEO of a telecom company. He is from the planet Conohan.
|He followed his whims in real estate for 27 years. Now he travels the galaxy, expecting his next big idea to pop up out of nowhere.
|The president of Tulbo Real Estate. He is from the planet Conohan.
|A painter who joined the tour so he could paint these never-before-seen landscapes. Sadly, he left his art supplies behind.
|A painter. He is from the planet Koodgio.
|A winner of a competitive cooking show, he was invited by the task-force lead to join them and discover new flavor profiles.
|A researcher. He is from the planet Enohee.
|An author struggling to write the follow-up to his best-selling debut novel. He hopes the demands of his editor won't find him here.
|An author. He is from the planet Koodgio.
|She's just an ordinary gal who follows her bliss as she floats around space, though the space police have their suspicions.
|A nomad. She is from the planet Sozor.
|Acquired his enormous wealth by creating, and then subsequently selling, IT start-ups. His motto is "Be the first to jump ship."
|A venture capitalist. He is from the planet Conohan.
|His talent and reputation for method acting precedes him. No matter the role, he always plays himself perfectly.
|An actor. He is from the planet Conohan.
Leafling body type
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- The concept of Olimar being turned into a Pikmin-like creature was introduced in the "bad" ending of the first Pikmin, in which the Pikmin carry an unconscious Olimar to the Red Onion, which absorbs him and releases an Olimar head-shaped Pikmin seed. The scene of Olimar becoming a leafling in Olimar's Shipwreck Tale mirrors this sequence.
Names in other languages
|From "Feuille" (leaf)
|From "Laub" (foliage) and the suffix "-ling"
|From "Foglia" (leaf) and the suffix "-ino", which indicates something small
|From "frondoso" (leafy) and "andante" (walker)
|From "folha" (leaf) and "fulano" (guy), the word "fulano" is more used when talking to each other mentioning guy as an example, instead of saying "cara", "fulano" is simply used on a certain occasion.
- For example, Bernard describes how he was unable to take his mind off dandori and Olimar remembers converting other castaways into leaflings.
- “As far as I can tell, Moss has been a leafling pup since birth, and some of her DNA resembles that of the Pikmin.” – Captain Olimar in his Piklopedia notes for Moss
|Captain Olimar • Louie • The President • Alph • Brittany • Charlie • Pikmin 4 player character
|Oatchi • Collin • Shepherd • Russ • Dingo • Yonny • Bernard
|S.S. Dolphin • Hocotate ship • S.S. Drake • S.S. Dolphin II • SPERO • S.S. Beagle • S.S. Shepherd
|Castaway • Leafling • Minor characters • Moss • Pikmin
|Red Pikmin • Yellow Pikmin • Blue Pikmin • Purple Pikmin • White Pikmin
Rock Pikmin • Winged Pikmin • Ice Pikmin • Bulbmin • Glow Pikmin
|Candypop Bud • Idle • Maturity • Onion • Flarlic • Pellet
Pikmin extinction • Trip • Sprout • Seedling • Soul • Squad
|Carry • Dig • Dodge • Fight • Hide
|Charge • Dismiss • Swarm • Pluck • Throw • Whistle
|Decor Pikmin • Leafling • Mushroom Pikmin • Pikpik carrot