The Pikmin Leaders are the characters of whom the player has control. In Pikmin, there is only Captain Olimar, an employee of Hocotate Freight who crash-landed on the Planet of the Pikmin. In Pikmin 2, Louie makes his debut as the secondary protagonist, also controlled by the player; it is possible to switch between the two playable Leaders by pressing the "Y" button ("-" button in New Play Control! and Pikmin 3). Later in the game, The President becomes a playable leader. In Pikmin 3, there are 3 leaders. They are Alph, Brittany, and Charlie.
The leader is followed by the Pikmin he has called out of the Onion or plucked, as well as lone Pikmin he touches or whistles at. The leader can throw Pikmin for various purposes, or attack monsters himself when no Pikmin are nearby by punching. Puffstools, mature Bulbmin, and Antenna Beetles act as naturally occurring enemy leaders, in each of the two Pikmin games, stealing the player's Pikmin or scouting with their own, respectively.
Captain Olimar, often simply called Olimar, is the main protagonist of the Pikmin series. He was the first Hocotate Freight employee who discovered the Distant Planet. He is the leader of his personal ship, the S.S. Dolphin, until it is sold to repay some of the debt at the start of Pikmin 2. His family consists of his wife, his son, and his daughter, who live on Hocotate and remain there throughout the two games in the Pikmin series.
Louie is the secondary protagonist in the Pikmin series. He first appears in Pikmin 2 and serves as a partner to Olimar, commanding Pikmin as his sidekick. He is controlled by Player 2 during multiplayer modes. He is relatively new to the shipping business and has a ravenous appetite. He was raised by his grandmother who made him play with bugs and eat them, from where it is assumed that his great affinity for cooking beasts in Pikmin 2 comes.
After gaining x10,000, Louie is replaced by the President. This is because Olimar accidentally leaves him behind on the Distant Planet on his return to Hocotate and only realizes this, shown in a cut-scene, as the ship begins to speed away. The actual reason, however, is never stated. It is unlikely that he jumped out after having taken off on purpose, as he is in a rather shocked and frightened state (noticeable in the credits cut-scene, though that may be due to having been left behind).
While he wanders around the Pikmin planet, he comes in contact with a colossal Titan Dweevil. Whatever his intents are with the creature, he is later discovered sitting on top of the great mass, where he remains during the battle with the beast. It is questionable as to whether he is controlling it or not as the ship claims, as there are few reasons why he should attack the aiding Pikmin and the other leaders, who don't seem to show any negative feelings to Louie.
In the end, it becomes apparent that Louie is actually the one responsible for the debt Hocotate Freight suffers, and not a "ravenous space bunny" as he lead the President to believe at the start; it was truly he who ate the load of Golden Pikpik Carrot. This is revealed in a cut-scene unlocked by getting a pink flower for all 30 of the Challenge Mode levels.
The President is the owner of Hocotate Freight, and is the tertiary protagonist to the Pikmin series. He was first mentioned in Pikmin and later makes his debut in Pikmin 2 as a playable character. He is called "Shacho" in the Japanese version, which is Japanese for President, and is often called by that name because he says it when you switch to his character (although it's commonly mistaken as "Schyaco", "Syecho", etc.).
He runs into financial trouble after Louie ate the aforementioned Pikpik Carrots. The President took out a large loan to reimburse the loss of the carrots, and has no way of repaying the enormous debt. He sold off the only company asset, the S.S. Dolphin, in Olimar's absence, but it only made a small dent in the enormous loan, as x10,100 are still owed by the time Olimar has returned. This, occurring after the events of Pikmin, shocks Captain Olimar. He is so surprised, in fact, by the news, that he drops a souvenir that he brought back from his "vacation" for his son. The souvenir, a bottle cap, worth x100, is collected by the Hocotate Ship, which then evaluates the item as a treasure, reducing the debt to an even x10,000.
The President is the main source of mail in Pikmin 2 before you erase the debt, his news getting worse as he finds out that the loan agent he actually came to was the All-Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks, as opposed to Happy Hocotate Savings and Loan, and goes into hiding.
- Pikmin 3. When the three are ejected from Drake, he gains conciousness in a small body of water, and proceeds to find the Red Pikmin. He then helps the Pikmin retrieve their Onion from a vine. He looks up to Charlie for some reason.
Alph is the engineer of the group in
Brittany is the botanist of the group in Pikmin 3. She goes missing in the beginning of the game, but is soon found by Alph. She is very sharp minded, but gluttonous as well.
Also, Charlie has a Rubber Duckie that he brings along on all of his missions for good luck. Charlie is the captain of the group in Pikmin 3. He lands in a snowy area after he is ejected from Drake. There, he finds a group of Yellow Pikmin. Later through the game, he regroups with Alph and Brittany. He strangely favors Brittany...
- Puffstool, who will shoot spores at Pikmin to posess them. These Mushroom Pikmin will follow the Puffstool around, and will chase Captain Olimar if he gets too close. Pikmin can be cured by either shaking them off or by killing the Puffstool. The only enemy leader in the first Pikmin game is the
- Antenna Beetles found in Pikmin 2 are comparable to the Hocotatian leaders in that they can control Pikmin with the sounds they produce, apparently by flapping their wings. This appears to affect Pikmin in a similar way to the whistles of the other leaders. The only way to regain control of the capture Pikmin is to kill, stun, or chase away the Antenna Beetle. The Antenna Beetle's whistling range is notably larger than the leaders' without the Mega Tweeter. The
- Bulbmin are Pikmin-Bulborb crosses that roam around caves. They have a maximum of 10 following Bulbmin. These Bulbmin do not do anything but follow their leader. The leader attacks by eating Pikmin just like normal Bulborbs do. When you kill the Bulbmin leader, the followers will get frightened and run around in circles. These Bulbmin can be called into your army, and act as additional Pikmin. They have immunities to the main 4 hazards. The downside to them is that they cannot be taken out of caves. When you take the geyser out of the cave, they remain at the base of the geyser. It is best to use Candypop Buds to convert them into other types of Pikmin which can be taken out of caves.
- Scornet Maestro is the fourth major boss in Pikmin 3 story mode. It can commands up to 100 Scornets at the same time and use them to attack with various formations. They also protect it. After one of its assaults, the Scornets will be left for a while, and the player will be able to attack it. The
Leader is Down
When a leader loses all of their health, they become unconscious. In Pikmin, the day ends and all Pikmin that aren't in an Onion die. In Pikmin 2, this only occurs if both leaders faint; otherwise, the Pikmin that were with the leader become idle, and the leader is moved to the ship, where he lies on the floor until the end of the day.
In Pikmin, If Captain Olimar's suit takes too much damage, there will be a cut-scene with him slowly returning to the S.S. Dolphin, in a depressed, perhaps ashamed state. The words "Olimar is down" will then appear onscreen and the day's journal with read as follows:
"I've been careless, sustaining damage beyond my space suit's limits. My crisis transport system saved me, but I lost all of the Pikmin I had with me. I must pay closer mind to my space suit damage meter in the bottom-left corner of the screen. I can press A by the Dolphin to repair my suit."