Pikmin are a semisentient plant-animal life-form indigenous to PNF-404. They are first encountered by Olimar when his ship crash-lands on the planet in Pikmin. Pikmin come in a number of different colors, each indicating a unique set of attributes that better suit them to different environments.
They are 2.9 cm/1.14 inches tall from foot-to-tip and are able to carry about 20 times their weight, just as ants do. The wild Pikmin that Olimar encounters in Pikmin 2 appear to remember him when he revisits PNF-404.
Captain Olimar was noted in Pikmin to wonder, a bit uneasily, why the Pikmin do not attack him, and speculated that they might see him as a "parental figure". An idea commonly held by fans is that Olimar's helmet antenna resembles the stem on a Pikmin's head, and that the Pikmin see him as one of their own or as some kind of "Superior Pikmin". Although wild Pikmin, with the exception of Bulbmin, have never been observed to follow a leader, this explanation seems to be the most probable, and is further evidenced by the fact that Pikmin will imitate Olimar, such as by blowing imaginary whistles.
Although each species has different characteristics, all Pikmin (except Bulbmin, Rock Pikmin, and Winged Pikmin) have the same general appearance, with a: humanoid body shape; large, bulb-shaped heads; 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, five-petaled flower grows. Their limbs also serve as roots when buried in the ground. In fact, Olimar refers to their entire bodies, except the stems, as ambulatory root systems.
Their maximum carrying weight is at least 5 grams/0.18 ounces. This is shown by the fact that a marble of 16 mm/0.63 inches (Love sphere and Mirth Sphere) is 5 grams, and you only need one Pikmin to carry it. This would mean that Pikmin weigh 250 milligrams/.009 ounces and Purple Pikmin weigh 2.5 grams/.09 ounces who can carry 50 grams/1.8 ounces. Olimar should weigh about 20 grams/.7 ounces then, because in the first game you need 4 Pikmin to carry him.
The internal structures of Pikmin are a mystery, but certain things about them can be speculated. Since Pikmin never seem to eat anything except nectar, they probably have a very simple digestive system, if any. As such, it's 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. As Olimar says, Onions seem to be some kind of incubator. However, in Pikmin, flowering 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. Though this wouldn't make sense given their size and mostly plant-like morphology, so it's probably just for comedic effect or they have a simple notochord, a hardened stem which many simple creatures, mostly the same size as Pikmin, possess. Pikmin probably do not have any sort of lungs, 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. When killed, Pikmin fly into the air and disappear as a ghost, sometimes after releasing a liquid of the same color as the Pikmin, possibly the Pikmin equivalent to hemolymph or blood.
In the Nintendo Land game "Pikmin Adventure," after dying, the Pikmin come back to life and continue to battle by the player Mii's side.
While idle, Pikmin's leaves and flowers glow the Pikmin's respective color; that, coupled with a cinema scene 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, though it could possibly be meant for communication.
Pikmin appear to be capable of other forms of communication. When in a group, they will sometimes sing parts of "Luigi's Mansion Theme Song" and Ai no Uta. If left idle for a long time, Pikmin will moan at each other. From what is heard, it can be assumed that Pikmin language is very simple and primitive. Judging by their behavior alone it almost seems as if Pikmin are capable of expressing emotions such as boredom, fear, happiness, pride, and sadness.
Pikmin can be divided into three stages: In the first of these, the Pikmin will have a leaf on their stem. Leaf Pikmin are the slowest and weakest. Although all three stages inflict exactly the same amount of damage to enemies, leaf Pikmin take longer to build bridges and take down gates.
The second stage Pikmin have buds on their stems. In factors of speed and
power, these are just between leaf and flower Pikmin. In Pikmin, if a flower Pikmin is shaken off, it will revert to a bud, and the bud will revert to a leaf in the same scenario. In Pikmin 2, however, flower Pikmin revert to leaf Pikmin immediately. Like flower Pikmin, buds can be received when leaf Pikmin are allowed to stay in the ground for a certain amount of time.
The final stage Pikmin are flower Pikmin. These can be gained by letting Pikmin drink nectar, by letting them mature in the ground, or by letting a Mamuta plant Pikmin. In Pikmin, flower Pikmin which have fallen in battle will occasionally leave behind seeds which will sprout the next day, but this was discontinued in Pikmin 2.
In Pikmin, if flower Pikmin are left in the ground for the entirety of the flower stage, the stalks will retreat into the ground for another cycle and then sprout again as leaf Pikmin. This process is accompanied by a low droning sound which can be heard if Olimar is near the landing site. In Pikmin 2, this last stage is bypassed, and Pikmin will go straight from flowers to leaves when left in the ground for too long.
The flower upon a mature Pikmin is called Sutera cordata or commonly known as the Bocopa. This was used to model the white, five pedaled, yellow centered flowers that rest on top of the first generation of Pikmin species, as well as the Bulbmin in the second generation of Pikmin. Sutera cordata also come in different colors as well, like white, lavender (violet), and magenta (pink). So far in the Pikmin species all three of these colors have been used.
In Pikmin 3, Flower Pikmin do not lose their flowers and remain flowers for the remainder of the time they are alive. This is to compensate for the fact that Nectar is notably scarce in this game. Pikmin also become permanently-flowered as a side effect of Ultra-Spicy Spray, and Yellow Pikmin become flowered when exposed to electricity.
These are the species so far encountered in the Pikmin games. More species may be discovered in future games.
Introduced in Pikmin
Red Pikmin were the first species of Pikmin discovered. Their unique physical feature is their thorn-like noses. These Pikmin are fireproof and have 1.5 times the attack power of an average Pikmin. They can also take down dirt walls faster than others shown in Pikmin 3.
Yellow Pikmin have large ears. Their ears seem to catch wind currents, so they soar much higher when thrown, and they were recently discovered (in Pikmin 2) to be immune to electricity. In Pikmin, they have the unique trait of being able to carry and throw Bomb Rocks, but the Bomb Rocks seen in Pikmin 2 are much larger and are too heavy to be carried, and in Pikmin 3, all Pikmin can carry Bomb Rocks. They can dig faster than any other Pikmin shown in Pikmin 3.
Blue Pikmin have what appear to be mouths but are actually gills. These Pikmin, unlike the others, are amphibious and can survive both on land and in water. They are also resistant to water-based attacks. If thrown into water or standing idle, they will save any nearby drowning Pikmin by throwing them, sometimes back on land, sometimes back into water (by accident).
Mushroom Pikmin (Puffmin)
Mushroom Pikmin, (Puffmin) are not a separate species, but rather the result of allowing Pikmin to be exposed to the spore cloud attack from a Puffstool. Pikmin affected by the cloud turn purple, grow mushrooms on their heads, lose species-specific details (nose, ears, etc.,) and turn against Olimar and other unaffected Pikmin. Mushroom Pikmin can be cured by shaking them off Olimar, by defeating the Puffstool, or simply waiting for the effect to wear off. Attacking a Mushroom Pikmin with an unaffected Pikmin gives a chance to revert it back to the previous Pikmin color. Both Mushroom Pikmin and the Puffstool are found only in Pikmin.
Mushroom Pikmin (Puffmin) can sometimes turn against the Puffstool due to a certain glitch, and can sometimes even be controlled by Olimar, depending on exactly how the glitch is carried out.
Introduced in Pikmin 2
Purple Pikmin are bulkier and larger than normal Pikmin, and have several wiry hairs growing out of their head. These Pikmin are 3 times more powerful than the average Pikmin in battle, and have the carrying strength of 10 Pikmin, but move more slowly.
They can also cause damage simply by being tossed on enemies (which may also stun the foes), and will actually scoot their bodies in the air to try and land on the enemy if not tossed directly above it, arguably making them the best fighters.
Their extra weight prevents them from being blown away by the wind attacks of the Puffy and Withering Blowhogs. Unlike the original Red, Yellow, and Blue Pikmin, Purple Pikmin have pink flowers.
White Pikmin are smaller than normal Pikmin and have red eyes, allowing them to see and dig up buried treasure. These Pikmin are resistant to poison attacks, and seem to have poison in themselves, which can be seen by there purple hands and feet. Enemies take damage when they ingest White Pikmin.
These Pikmin are also the fastest, and carry items much quicker than other Pikmin. Like Purple Pikmin, White Pikmin have pink flowers, rather than white like the original Pikmin colors.
Bulbmin are a combination of a parasitic Pikmin and a juvenile Bulborb. They are immune to all hazards thanks to the Bulborb's anatomy. Although they can carry objects and flower as normal Pikmin do, they are weak in battle and unable to leave the caves in which they are found. When the Bulbmin dies, it takes the parasitic Pikmin with it. The actual appearance of the parasitic Pikmin alone is unknown. It's recommended that you use a Candypop Bud to make a Bulbmin into another color of Pikmin before you exit a cave.
Introduced in Pikmin 3
Rock Pikmin are a species of Pikmin that take the form of small yet sturdy stones rather than plants, though the notable leaf on its head trait remains.
This Pikmin type is very sturdy and strong, and is not easily knocked around. When thrown, instead of latching on to the enemy, they bounce off (much like if you threw a rock at something). Their sturdiness allows them to be able to shatter glass and Crystal Nodules. These Pikmin are immune to blunt force, such as being crushed or stabbed, and wind force, such as the inhaling suction of the Vehemoth Phosbat.
While they may seem somewhat similar to Purple Pikmin, they do not have the strength to lift an object 10 times their own weight and although a bit heavier than other types, not as heavy as Purple Pikmin.
Winged Pikmin are pink in coloration and appear to have large heads, lavender flowers, large blue compound eyes, and are capable of flight via wings on their backs. Flying allows them to do things such as following the captains where most Pikmin types would not be able to, attacking airborne/tall creatures with ease, and even taking quicker, shorter routes while carrying spoils by carrying them in the air. These Pikmin are always airborne and never set foot on the ground.
If the players gather every ship part in the first Pikmin game, they will see several different colored Onions in the ending cutscene. These include five Pink Onions, four Black/Grey Onions, two Cyan Onions, one Green Onion, one Orange Onion, and one Purple Onion. Although Purple Pikmin were discovered in Pikmin 2, they were introduced without an Onion. The Rock and Winged Pikmin are confirmed to live in an Onion in Pikmin 3, although this Onion is different from the ones seen in the cutscene. It is currently unknown whether the rest of these colors will appear in future games, or if the multi-colored Onions are just an Easter egg.
Pikmin Extinction occurs when every single Pikmin, including those planted in the ground and stored in the Onions, is lost. The day ends immediately and the Onions each produce a single seed at the beginning of the following day.
In Pikmin, the following is Olimar's Journal entry on the first day extinction occurs:
The Pikmin have all perished because of my own carelessness. I am an utter disgrace as a leader... How can I continue to collect parts without them? Still the Onions join me in low orbit, as if this Pikmin extinction had never happened. I shan't sleep tonight...
In Pikmin 2, an extinction of Purple or White Pikmin will not produce seeds, as neither colors have Onions.
In the Nintendo Land game "Pikmin Adventure," an extinction of Pikmin never happens, as the Pikmin will continuously regenerate themselves and fight by the player's side as if they didn't die.
Pikmin following leaders are prone to stumbling every now and then, and occasionally fall over completely, in both Pikmin games. This happens much more frequently in Pikmin, and, further complicated by a mass of 100 Pikmin walking together, can sometimes pose a serious problem, reducing general maneuverability. In Pikmin 2, Pikmin trip much less frequently, but still stumble often if directed to switch positions suddenly. During a retreat from a beast, a Pikmin that trips is likely to be eaten or squashed by the creature; this is especially aggravating during no death runs. Sometimes, it may be hard to notice if a Pikmin trips, leading to lone Pikmin becoming separated from the group.
Pikmin can be seen interacting with each other when idle. These actions include grooming each other, communicating in high pitched whimpers, dancing, waving, crouching, and playing abstract games. In Pikmin 2, if 20 of each color Pikmin is called into one group, they will hum a portion of the song Ai no Uta, which at one point topped the sales of the game it was created solely to advertise: Pikmin. This suggests that they have a highly developed and friendly social structure. Pikmin will also watch captains move around when stationary, indicating that they are very curious creatures, and can be seen to mimic the idle motions of those leaders. All idle Pikmin have a natural tendency to perform nearby tasks, such as, for Blue Pikmin, running into water to save drowning Pikmin, even if it is infested with enemies.
The 'Pikmin' trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee reads as follows:
"These strange beings are part plant, part animal. They spend most of their time buried in the earth, but they will befriend whoever plucks them, as evidenced by their devotion to Captain Olimar. Each Pikmin has a leaf on its head that grows into a bud and finally a flower. Like a flower, the life of a Pikmin is both fragile and beautiful."
Most members of the Pikmin family are also represented as trophies in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and can be used by Olimar as a playable character.
- Winged Pikmin have dark stripes on their bodies which make them resemble bees. This color pattern makes their bodies non-monochromatic, a trait uncommon in most Pikmin types. White Pikmin also seem to have this trait to a certain extent, as they exhibit a purplish tint at the ends of their limbs.
- In the ending of the first Pikmin game, you see multicolored onions flying above the planet. Five of these onions were Pink, and four were Black/Grey. It could be possible that Pikmin of these colors may appear in a future game. Pink and Grey Pikmin, however, appear in Pikmin 3 in the form of Winged Pikmin and Rock Pikmin.
- Originally, Red Pikmin and Blue Pikmin were able to hold Bomb-Rocks along with the Yellow Pikmin. They eventually scrapped the idea.
- In Pikmin, electrical hazards were supposed to be there and Yellow Pikmin were supposed to be immune to them. This idea was scrapped but Nintendo brought it back for Pikmin 2.
- The Pikmin appear in the Nintendo Land minigame: Pikmin Adventure. The available Pikmin include Blue, Red, Yellow, and White (in this order depending on how many players there are).
- The first five members of the Pikmin family (from Pikmin to Pikmin 2, not including Mushroom Pikmin or Bulbmin) appear in the Wii to Wii U data transfer app, in which they carry the software from the Wii SD card to the Wii U console. They first appear in the transfer software after the Wii U targets the Wii's SD card. They start off at the Wii console's storage circle after the SD card is inserted into the Wii console and start carrying the software from the Wii to the Wii U via a ship, which is used to go to the Wii U planet, going through certain rooms with nothing to attack them. Once the percentage of the Wii software managing reaches 99%, one Purple Pikmin fails to get to the ship as the door closes and the percentage is now 100%. The Purple Pikmin sadly starts to walk away, but as soon as he turns around and starts to walk off, the ship's door reopens, allowing the one Purple Pikmin to get on the ship, and the ship leaves the Wii planet to go to the Wii U planet, in which the user of the Wii U must now insert the Wii SD card the Wii U targeted earlier. After arriving there, the Pikmin carry the Wii software data they stored in the ship earlier to the Wii U console, where the Wii U storage circle is located. Once that is done, a Wii U version of the sun is formed as the Pikmin begin cheering.
- In a level of the attraction "Pikmin Adventure" in the game Nintendo Land, you can see some lavender flowers, like the flowers from the Winged and Rock Pikmin and thus they might be related to them as an easter egg.
- Pikmin resemble a legend about the mandrake plant, a plant whose roots can sometimes resemble a human body. The legend says that if you uproot a mandrake plant, it will be your servant. However, it is also said that if picked, it will emit a scream powerful enough to kill its picker, so it was recommended to form a strategy for picking it, like digging it out slightly and tying it to a dog and walking away so the dog will follow and uproot the plant, losing the dog in the process.
- Unlike all other known Pikmin, the Pikmin that debut in Pikmin 3 do not have names that reflect their colors.
- Although Winged Pikmin are always in flight, they can still be thrown by the captains.
- The three original types of Pikmin have one immunity and one extra quality or ability in Pikmin 2.
- Each of the first 5 Pikmin represent the 5 recognized senses:
- Smell: Red Pikmin have prominent noses.
- Taste: Blue Pikmin have visible mouths, unlike the others.
- Sound: Yellow Pikmin have prominent ears.
- Touch: Purple Pikmin have feeler-like hairs atop their head.
- Sight: White Pikmin have absurdly large eyes.
- In Pikmin 3, Rock, Winged, and Yellow Pikmin have their own voice, different from the other types of Pikmin.
- In Pikmin 3, Pikmin show a higher degree of intelligence by the ability to build bridges from broken slabs instead of just "rolling" out the bridge in the past.
- Despite their flowers being lavender in game, the flowers of winged, and rock pikmin are blue in some of the official art.
- In a beta video of Pikmin the limit of the Pikmin goes over 100 instead of ending.