The Ship refers to an old Hocotate Freight company rocket which Captain Olimar pilots in Pikmin 2. Unlike the S.S. Dolphin, the Hocotate Ship has AI and is capable of speech, and it gives advice to Olimar and Louie throughout the game. It has a pompous and disdainful personality, which Olimar laments in his notes. Once the President's debt is repaid, the ship is upgraded into a much sleeker, golden model. The Ship's actual name is unknown.
The Ship can store Pikmin, just like the S.S. Drake, and does so, storing both White Pikmin and Purple Pikmin. Unlike the S. S. Dolphin, the Captains cannot check how many treasures have been collected- nor can they restore their suit's damage meter. Standing in the green light and pressing A before Purple or White Pikmin have been discovered does nothing. The ship has two cockpits, and is capable of deep space communication, sending a report each night to Hocotate and receiving e-mails. To do this, it must be in orbit around PNF-404. The ship can dispatch a Research Pod for traveling underground.
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Whenever the captains go exploring underground, the nosecone of the Ship, known as the Research Pod, detaches and flies with them into he cave. It is used to store any treasures and enemy carcasses to be sold to pay off the debt upon exiting the cave. In emergency cases, it can empty its cargo, take in Olimar, Louie and the Pikmin, and return to the surface; should this happen any carcasses and treasures collected are lost. If you have rescued the King of Bugs, a scratching noise can sometimes be heard when near the golden research pod.
When a complete "series" of treasures is collected, the Ship creates a Sales Pitch for each treasure in the series. They generally read as advertisements for the treasures as if they were a products.
The remains of the ship are found in the Garden of Hope in Pikmin 3, where it crashed for the final time.
In Pikmin 2, the ship was always referred to indirectly as "the ship," so its given name was unknown, but fans took to calling it "The Hocotate Ship" to distinguish it from the ship in the first game. This nickname was made canon in Pikmin 3 when Olimar says "Curse that Hocotate Ship!" in his journal, although he was still only indirectly referring to the Ship, so the its true name remains unknown.
- Superstick Textile
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Super Mario Galaxy
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Ship also appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. During the beginning of a match, Olimar enters the stage in the ship and jumps out to pluck three Pikmin. When Olimar uses his Final Smash, "End of Day", he hops in the Ship while Bulborbs cause damage to his opponents. Olimar then crashes down back on the stage, sometimes further harming his opponents. In the Subspace Emissary, Olimar's ship is seen along with a number of other airborne vehicles in the attempt to enter Subspace as well as the beginning of the level Outside the Ruins. In the Great Maze section of the Emissary, it appears in the background as part of the level's scenery. If Olimar uses his Final Smash while on top of the Bulborb in the "Distant Planet" stage, the ship steers away from the Bulborb as it falls. The ship also appears as a trophy and a sticker. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the trophy names the ship "Hocotate Ship".
Nintendo LandThe Ship has a role in the Nintendo Land attraction Pikmin Adventure. The ship is the goal point in every level of the minigame.
"This is the ship that Olimar piloted during his legendary employment at Hocotate Freight. This one doesn't actually speak, though, which is probably best for everyone."
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
The Ship appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. However, it is not the real ship, and rather a bomb disguised as the Ship. It is an item that will lift off, and will unexpectedly drop, causing it to drop and likely explode. The Ship also appears as a part of Olimar's final smash.
- Although the Ship was obviously there when Louie ate the golden pikpik carrots, it never told the President.
- When the Ship is upgraded after repaying the debt, the second cockpit has a television installed.
- The ships name is never mentioned, imprinted, or even told in a gamer's guide. It is referred to as "the pre-Dolphin" or simply "the Ship". This would explain why it is generally older or messier.
- In an earlier version of the Pikmin 2, Olimar's journal on the Network Mainbrain refers to the Ship as "Dolphin 1".
- In the american/NTSC version of Pikmin 3, Olimar refers to it as the "Hocotate Ship" for the first time in his exploration notes, making the common fan name official, but in the european/PAL version of Pikmin 3, he simply calls it "the Ship."
- In Louie's expedition log in Pikmin 3 he says he is a crew member of the S.S. Dolphin. It is unknown if he was referring to the Ship or Olimar's ship.
- In Pikmin 3, it is possible to get out of bounds at the boss arena in the Garden of Hope, allowing you to get up close to the destroyed Ship and walk around it.
- The Ship always sends the captains to gather treasure, even though its research pod should be able to fly around and collect the treasure itself.
- Some fans theorize that the Ship's name is the "S.S. Angel" because of the angel painted on its side, but "Hocotate Ship" won out as the most popular name as it is technically canon and still keeps the tradition of referring to it indirectly.
- While the Hocotate Ship is the first intelligent machine shown in game, it's not the first in the series. In the first game, Olimar reveals in his notes on the Analog Computer that the S.S. Dolphin also has an AI with a personality.