Nintendo is producing a set of Pikmin cartoon shorts, meant to be viewed on the 3DS. Senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto is personally overseeing the production, and suggests they'll be released some time before Pikmin 3.
Polygon reports that Miyamoto is working hand-in-hand with an external animation studio. He created mock-ups using the 3DS Flipnote Studio, and then sent them to the director of the shorts so they could discuss them. In Japan, Nintendo worked with Toho Cinemas to get the video placed in 60 theaters.
Miyamoto says the animated shorts are meant to give the Pikmin characters more personality. The first short features a knife-wielding Captain Olimar slicing up and drinking what appears to be a red pikmin, but as the camera pans back it's revealed that he was just cutting and blending carrots. "I thought it would be fun to have a scenario where it seems like he is going to eat the Pikmin," Miyamoto said. "So it's kind of dark, but he doesn't eat them."
Miyamoto says the company hasn't considered moving into making the 3DS more of an entertainment platform, but acknowledged that they sell Shaun the Sheep video shorts. The Pikmin videos could be sold "if they're popular." As for fears that Miyamoto may take a step back from Pikmin, he reassured, "That absolutely won't happen. It's just a fun side project with Pikmin."