Red Bulborbs (アカチャッピー) are amongst the most well-known enemies in the Pikmin games, appearing in all games in the series. The Red Bulborb's original name was the Spotty Bulborb, but had its name changed when Olimar found other subspecies with spotted patterns. In Pikmin 3, it is simply named Bulborb, despite the Orange Bulborb also appearing in the game. This nocturnal creature will sleep out in the open, exposing themselves to Pikmin attacks.
Red Bulborbs are among the most mammalian enemies in the series due to them having leathery, soft skin and bulbous eyes, opposed to the compound eyes of most insects. Judging by the size of their eyes and their nocturnal lifestyle, their eyes have a wide pupil, a large lens and possible increased retinal surface used for collecting more ambient light during night time.
Olimar mentions the Red Bulborbs having a set of mandibles. Mandibles are a pair of appendages near an insects mouth, used for grinding and chewing food. The so-called mandibles Olimar mentions in his notes look nothing like normal mandibles and are instead most likely sabre-teeth, used for breaking exoskeletons of prey insects and digging through the soil for roots. It is very likely that Bulborbs are omnivorous creatures.
It seems that the juvenile Red Bulborb is the favored host of the parasitic Pikmin known as Bulbmin. This type of Pikmin appears to control its host, causing the animal to behave less like a Bulborb and much more like a Pikmin, following a Captain (which is naturally an older Bulbmin) and hunting in packs. Red Bulborbs are not observed at the two stages of development displayed by Bulbmin anywhere else in-game (unlike the Spotty Bulbear), so it is unknown whether Bulbmin are a common stage in Red Bulborb initial development or not, as symbiotic cooperation from the parasite would give this slightly weaker form of Grub-dog an advantage in the subterranean environment that all stages of the Red Bulborb species are found in.
"The most plentiful species on the planet, they are quite ferocious despite their appearance, using their massive jaws to swallow Pikmin whole. Frontal assaults result in disaster; attacks from behind are more successful. Attacking their legs is also effective."
"This nocturnal hunter feeds mostly on small animals returning to their nests at night."
"This large organism has the familiar mandibles and cranial morphology of the grub-dog family, as well as the characteristic bulging eyes. As with most grub-dogs, the creature's cranium comprises half of its total length and girth. Showing a scarlet abdomen with white spots, this creature is primarily nocturnal, choosing to prey upon smaller creatures returning to their nests. Originally classified as the spotty bulborb, further research has reclassified this species as the red bulborb. Subspecies of varied colors have recently been discovered, but academics are divided into two rival camps over how to handle their classification."
"Plump specimens are best spit-roasted whole, stuffed with a lime and a slab of bacon. Baste frequently to ensure a magnificently moist haunch."
Nintendo Player's Guide
"The weakest of the larger Bulborbs, the Red Bulborb can still hold its own against a good-sized Pikmin squad. Since it is a nocturnal species, most of the Red Bulborbs that you encounter in the daytime will be asleep to start. Sneak up on them from behind and hit them with a stream of flying Pikmin."
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Trophy
"A creature whose Japanese name translates as "spotted crimson bug-eye." These bulky nocturnal animals have white-and-red-flecked rumps that resemble strawberries. Red bulborbs sleep in the day and wake in the evening to feed on small animals. Several colors of Bulborb subspecies have been discovered--their classification is a hot subject for scholars."
Pikmin 3 Website
"It's considered one of the weakest of the Bulborbs, but can still hold its own against a good-sized Pikmin squad. Attack from behind to gain the advantage. Weakest point: eyeballs."
Pikmin 3 Prima Guide
"These large creatures use their jaws to gobble up several Pikmin with each bite. Whenever possible, use a large squad of Pikmin to charge the creature from the rear. If brute force isn’t an option, throw Red Pikmin and Rock Pikmin onto the creature’s back. During an extended battle, it’s important to retrieve your Pikmin as the Bulborb shakes them off."
Note: The following part(s) of the article is a strategy (or strategies); therefore, it is highly subjective, meaning it may not work for everyone.
The most effective strategy is to swarm it from the back with a large group of 30 or more Pikmin, preferably Red Pikmin for their high attack power, and it will die. Note that if the game has been running for a while it may instantly be standing and will kill more Pikmin than expected. Another very effective strategy is, with a group of 30-40 Pikmin(preferably Red, as stated above), to get behind it and throw Pikmin onto the back of the Bulborb. The Bulborb should shake in an attempt to get the attacking Pikmin off, but continue to throw your Pikmin; the speed you can throw in this game is perfect for this strategy, since even the fastest speed is slow enough that not all of your Pikmin will thrown onto the Bulborb come the first shake. This will result in more Pikmin on the Bulborb's back while the ones that were shaken off will rush to the feet of the Bulborb for greater damage.
If only a few Pikmin are available, repeatedly throw Pikmin onto the Bulborb's back and retreat if it starts charging at them. When it goes back to sleep, toss more Pikmin on its back. Then, when it attempts to shake them off, call your Pikmin back and throw them back when the Bulborb is done shaking. It should be unable to eat any Pikmin if done correctly. This strategy also works for the Spotty Bulbear, but it takes a little bit longer because Spotty Bulbears have more health. Red Pikmin are the best for this strategy. (Notice: This does not work well in Pikmin 2) When attacking Dwarf Bulborbs, they will sometimes screech when agitated and awaken nearby Red Bulborbs. Note that a glitch exists when the Bulborb moves in to attack that renders it invincible. Unless it is at very low health, expect some Pikmin to be devoured. With a large enough Pikmin group, this shouldn't be a problem. If Bomb Rocks are used, the Bulborb will die with two blasts or 3 blasts, each blast dealing half damage however he will heal himself over time so throwing two almost simultaneosly is recommended.
In Pikmin 2, rather than swarming it, continuously toss Pikmin onto its back and ignore any fallen Pikmin if it has low enough HP when it shakes. A few Purple Pikmin can cause serious damage, especially if they stun the Bulborb. If it is accidentally awakened it before attacking with Pikmin, run away until it turns around, and begins to fall asleep, if attacked at this moment, it will not realize it is being hurt until it begins to snore. In some metallic themed caves, Red Bulborbs and their kin can be led off of the stage by awakening it and quickly running around a hole in the sublevel, causing it to fall.
It should be noted that when it shakes, it flings attacking Pikmin in front of it, opposed to flinging them backwards as they did in Pikmin.
It has also been observed that hitting it from underneath could kill it immediately, but this is a rare occurance and not recommended.
In Pikmin 3, the best way to defeat a Red Bulborb is to gather a large amount of Pikmin, about 40, and sneak behind the Bulborb while it is sleeping. Once you are behind it, Lock on to it and dismiss your Pikmin. All the Pikmin should run towards it and kill it instantly, before it has a chance to eat a single Pikmin. If it has been awoken, repeatedly throw Pikmin at its eyes, preferably Rock Pikmin.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U
In the Smash Run mode of the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, a Red Bulborb appears as one of many enemies featured in the game. It is one of, if not the largest enemy in the game
- Along with Olimar, the Pikmin and Louie, the Red Bulborb is available as a plush toy, along with being a secret figurine in the first volume of Pikmin Figures.
- The Red Bulborb's scientific name Oculus kageyamii russus translates to "red-eyed kageyamii". It is unclear what "kageyamii" actually means.
- On the title screen of Pikmin 2, pressing and holding the X button will summon a Red Bulborb onto the screen. The player can control it by using the C stick and can eat Pikmin using the Z button.
- While the Red Bulborb had purple eyes in the first two games, they now have blue eyes in Pikmin 3.
- Using an Action Replay to access a model test menu in Pikmin, the Spotty Bulborb's code name is "swollow".
- The Bulborb's name is possibly a play on the words 'bulb' and 'orb,' as they have large, round eyes and bulbous bodies.
- Its name has been slightly altered in every game so far. It is named "Spotty Bulborb" in Pikmin, "Red Bulborb" in Pikmin 2, and just "Bulborb" in Pikmin 3. This makes the Red Bulborb the creature with the most name changes in the series.
- The Bulborbs in Pikmin 3 look directly at the Pikmin instead of looking straight forward, as they have done in the past two games.
- The Red Bulborb Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl states that the Red Bulborb only appears in Pikmin 2. This may be because they are referred to as "Spotty Bulborbs" in the first game.
- It is believed that Bulborbs are named after Olimar's pet dog, Bulbie. More evidence supporting this are the names Grub-DOG and BULB-orb.
- In the beta of Pikmin, the Pikmin originally carried the Bulborb's corpses upside down instead of rightside up.
- In Pikmin 3, if a Bomb Rock is planted near a Bulborb, the noise produced by the explosion will wake it up.
- In Nintendogs, a Bulborb can be seen in the shop.