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This article is about the prominent species of squid in Splatoon. For the language by the same name, see Inkling (language).
Squid redirects here. For other uses, see Squid (disambiguation).

Inklings are a sentient race of squid-like humanoids who are the main protagonists in Splatoon and Splatoon 2.


Inklings are evolved species of squid that came to be after rising sea levels sunk human civilization. Circa 2000 years before the events of Splatoon, the Inklings crawled up to what little habitable land there was left on the planet. The lack of space forced the Inklings to fight for whatever territory they could find, and the Turf War as a concept was established. The original Turf Wars were overseen by Judd, who was cryogenically frozen by his human owner before the Earth was flooded. 100 years before the events of Splatoon, the Inklings and the Octarians engaged in a Great Turf War. A young Cap'n Cuttlefish and the Inklings won, forcing the Octarians to retreat into Octo Valley.


An Inkling shows her teeth.
The development of an Inkling from infancy to maturity.

Inkings can alternate between a humanoid form and a squid form. Juvenile Inklings resemble squids, but grow into an increasingly humanlike form as they age. By the age of 14, Inklings gain complete control over both these forms and can change between humanoid and squid form at will. However, some Inklings are able to control both forms at much younger ages.

The squid form resembles a small, cartoony, monochromatic squid with eight small tentacles in the middle of their bodies and two large ones on either side, resembling the hair of their humanoid form. It has relatively large head fins, and two upward-facing, human-like gray eyes. The undersides of their enlarged calipers are always white, regardless of what color the rest of them is, and they have a single large sucker on each. In this form, they are largely incompetent outside of their own ink, but when swimming in it, they can completely submerge into it and swim at speeds far greater than humanoid form's running speed. They can even jump out of the ink to cover further distances and swim up ink-covered walls. However, this form is also largely vulnerable, as being inside of enemy ink in this form will eventually splat an Inkling.

The humanoid form has a black marking that resemble swim goggles or a mask, or heavy eyeliner around their eyes, pointed ears analogous to the squid's fins, and "hair" that resembles a squid's tentacles, which changes color according to their ink color. The color is randomly selected out of predetermined pairs, some of which can be found in Sunken Scroll 7. Their mouths contain human-like teeth, as well as three larger sharp teeth, two on the top and one on the bottom, which resemble a squid's beak. The inside of an Inkling's mouth matches their ink color as well. Inklings have no bone structure, making their teeth possibly the only truly solid part of their body, just as the only solid part of a squid is its beak.

Inklings are customizable, though the options differ between each game. Both games allow for the player to choose a male or a female Inkling, and female Inklings have noticeably thinner eyebrows than male ones as well as a curvier body.

In Splatoon, female Inklings have two long tentacles that reach past their waist and hang from both sides of the head in front of their ears along with a bang, and male Inklings have two tentacles tied in a ponytail at the back of their head, tied together with a brown, yellow, and green band. Both genders also have four smaller tentacles on their neckline, adding up to ten tentacles (including their limbs). Skin color, gender, and eye color can be changed in the options menu at any time. Head accessories, shirts, shoes, and weapons can be changed to the player's liking in the equip menu based on their purchases, and many clothing items change to match the Inkling's current color. Both forms have a slightly different pitch to their voice.

In Splatoon 2, hairstyles are no longer limited to one style per gender, allowing the player more customization options, six different hairstyles are allowed for each gender. Inkling Girls have a choice between their original Splatoon hairstyle, a much shorter bob cut like style, an asymmetric haircut with one long, curled tentacle hanging on the left side of their face, have their tentacles tied in a knot, a curly pig tail style (sometimes in a ponytail when waring certain headgear) , or a straight long hairstyle with a long bang. Inkling Boys have a choice between their original Splatoon hairstyle, a spiked comb back hairstyle, a ponytail haircut but with tentacle bangs combed to his right, a buzz cut hairstyle devoid of visible tentacles with what appear to be scar marks, a short spike topped mohawk hairstyle with buzzed sides, or a bowl type style.

Eye color and skin tone choices also return, and Inkling now have a choice of pants. Inkling Girls will be able to choose between their Splatoon shorts, a skirt with shorts underneath, capris, loose sporty-like shorts, or skintight pants. Inkling Boys will be able to choose between their Splatoon shorts, much looser shorts with leggings, looser capris, leggings, and jean-like shorts. Pants unlike other pieces of gear are part of a character's customization and have no impact on an Inkling's stats.

Inklings take on a unique appearance when they have a Special Weapon ready: they will give off sparks, the tentacles on their head will become very brightly colored and will glow, bubbles will form at the top of their head as if from boiling water, and they will appear to be caught in a strong wind even when completely still. Their appearance goes back to normal once their Special Weapon has been used.


Concept art of an Inkling assuming humanoid form.

Both of the Inklings' forms have abilities associated with them. In humanoid form, Inklings can splatter a special type of colored ink by using various weapons, including guns, rollers, buckets and paint brushes. This ink can be quickly spread over many surfaces, with the exception of green barrel-like objects, black pavement, and Glass surfaces. This ink inhibits the movement of Inklings that do not have a matching color. When used as a projectile, ink can damage opposing Inklings, eventually "splatting" them and forcing them to respawn. In squid form, an Inkling can swim and jump quickly through ink of the same color, even using this mechanic to swim up walls and through wire fences and grates into areas that are not typically reachable. However, squids cannot travel past striped barriers, preventing them from swimming into inaccessible areas.

An Inkling just after dissolving in water.

While squid form Inklings are in their own ink color they will be invisible if they stay still, and when moving only slight ripples will appear. While submerged in ink of their own color, they quickly replenish their ink ammunition. When squid form Inklings are on dry land they are only able to slither slowly, even slower than a humanoid Inkling. Inkling squids in ink of a different color will be unable to remain in squid form for long before being forced back to humanoid form.

Inklings are unable to swim in water. When submerged, their body dissolves for unknown reasons, leaving their clothes behind. The official American Splatoon Tumblr has mused that this may be because their bodies are actually made of liquid. Another reason to support this is that squid form Inklings can go through grates, which is also cited by the Tumblr account to possibly be related to them being made of liquid, but since squids don't have bones, it might just be that they can easily fit through the holes.

Inklings are capable of producing their own light, possibly from bioluminescence, an ability some real-life squid such as the firefly squid possess. In the dark, either during a Splatfest or some Octo Valley missions, the player's Inkling will glow brightly in humanoid form, lighting up the area immediately around them. This glow disappears entirely upon assuming squid form. Other Inklings remain dark, helping to differentiate them from the player's. However, all Inklings (as well as jellyfish) in Inkopolis Plaza do give off a very faint glow during a Splatfest, seen only on the ground around them.

Communication and language

Main article: Inkling (language)
An example of Inkling language.

Inklings communicate with each other in the Inkling language, which sounds like indecipherable, high-pitched gurgling. They can be found talking to each other in Inkopolis Plaza. Written Inkling appears frequently in-game: on signs, in Sunken Scrolls, etc. The Squid Sisters talk and sing in Inkling. Inklings speak to teammates in Inkling when Signals are used in online battles.

So far, there have been no successful attempts at decoding the language, leading some to believe it is gibberish.




Inkling culture has been heavily influenced by the ancient human cultures that came before them; as a result, Inkling architecture, fashion, art, and even the Inkling written language shows influence from Japanese, American, and other ancient human societies. It was implied that Inklings adapted much their own culture and mannerisms from the cities and towns they've taken as their own, and the fossils of human civilizations they have unearthed.

A pair of Inklings wearing various pieces of gear.

Though much of their culture has been appropriated from humans, the Inklings have their own modern rendering on certain subjects, as well as cultural ideas of their own. Turf Wars as a sport are cultural high-point to many Inklings, with many youngsters participating in turf war events as a means of entertainment and relaxation. Turf wars also can be seen as a means of recreation and celebration, since the Inkling victory of the Great Turf War.

Fashion is a major part of Inkling societies, to the point of coining the term "fresh" to signify how recent and cool an Inkling's attire and general style is. Freshness can be applied to many other aspects of Inkling life, such as firearms and linguistics. Heavy focus on Inkling gear is commonplace, as Inklings will spend lots of their time and Cash shopping for new and interesting headgear, clothes, and shoes. Inklings can be seen gathered both inside and outside of local shops, socializing and buying themselves new gear.

Inkling music can be heard throughout Inkopolis, from the rock band Squid Squad, to the worldwide pop idols Squid Sisters. Many bands have members from completely different species, such as the anemone and lobster members of Chirpy Chips, but the music industry seems to be largely comprised of Inklings.

Every so often, a Splatfest is held, a special event that brings Inklings together for a large concert and celebration of two opposing ideas, and can be seen as a merging of music and turf wars. Two teams are formed around two opposing topics (such as Cats versus Dogs) and compete in turf wars against each other. The more popular and/or the higher scoring team wins. For the entire duration of the Splatfests, the Squid Sisters (or Off the Hook, in the case of Splatoon 2) perform. Miiverse posts by participating Inklings are highlighted during the event, showing up on billboards in the concert area and around the selected stages for that event.

In Splatoon, Inklings who compete in Turf Wars hang out in Inkopolis Plaza, which is also the location of Booyah Base, a strip mall containing different stores. This plaza is the hub for Splatfests and is where Inkopolis Tower, holding the Great Zapfish that powers all of Inkopolis and also allows access to Turf Wars and Ranked Battles, is located. Two years later, in Splatoon 2, Inkopolis Plaza has been replaced by Inkopolis Square, a location that can be accessed from Inkopolis Plaza through the use of the subway, and more stores have been opened there.


Inkling Christmas Card.jpg

Squidmas is an Inkling holiday that is assumed to be celebrated in the winter. Much is unknown about this holiday aside from its obvious likenesses to the human holiday of Christmas. From this, it is assumed that in the winter, a figure named Father Squidmas goes around the world giving out presents and freshness to all the good Inkling children. According to Callie of the Squid Sisters, Father Squidmas can be found in the North Pole of the Earth, making gifts all year in preparation for Squidmas time. According to her cousin Marie, Father Squidmas isn't real and all of their interactions with him are simply their grandfather dressed up as him.

It is unknown if there are other Inkling holidays, or if they parallel to human holidays.

Squidmas is an additional element associated with the localization. The Japanese edition originally doesn't have it, and other regions may not have it.


While in battle, Inklings can use their weapons to splat each other with ink. Standing in enemy ink will damage and slow down an Inkling's movement, but only enemy fire is able to splat an Inkling. When splatted by an enemy, Inklings explode into enemy ink, with their gear and weapons drop before dissolving shortly thereafter, and a ghost-like squid figure will rise into the air over where they were splatted. Inklings can also be splatted from diving into water and dissolving, or falling off a ledge and exploding into a cloud colored of their own ink. Inklings can respawn at Checkpoints after being splatted in both Octo Valley and online battle modes. It is unknown whether or not being splatted is another term for dying and Inklings simply respawn after death, or if Inklings can actually die through other means.

Profiles and bios

Transform into a squid to hide, climb walls, or travel at super speed in your own ink. But watch out for enemy ink—it'll hurt you!
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
The squid-like residents of Inkopolis are totes crazy for color-flinging, ink-slinging, turf-splattering battles.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
From squid…to kid…and back! Inklings can transform at will into squid form, so you've gotta master both if you want to win.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
Swim up ink-splattered walls and jump from one splat to another in squid form.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
Find shortcuts and navigate tricky areas.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
Avoid being targeted by baddies by hiding in your own ink.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
Turn into a squid to move more quickly across your ink.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]
Hide as a squid, then quickly switch to an Inkling to take enemies out of the action with a well-aimed splat.
— Splatoon's official website, [1]


  • According to the EDGE article, Inklings get full control of their squid and human forms at age 14. Since the playable Inklings seem to have full control of their squid and human forms, one can assume that they are at least 14 years old.
    • Despite this, it is possible that Inklings can control both forms at ages much younger than 14 as shown in Sunken Scroll 17 where the Squid Sisters are shown as children in their humanoid form, and in Sunken scroll 1 in Splatoon 2 where Pearl is seen in humanoid form as a child, much younger than the age 14.
  • An Inkling's ink color is random online unless the Ink Color Lock option has been turned on, while in Octo Valley, it depends on the chapter.
  • The developers said when they came up with the concept, they didn't consider Bloopers from the Mario series, despite the close resemblance between Bloopers and Inklings.
  • A trophy of a female Inkling appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, which becomes available after downloading the Inkling Mii Fighter costumes.
  • When switching between gear on the equipment screen, there is sometimes a small delay before the selected piece of gear appears on the player's Inkling. For that moment, they will not be wearing any gear in that slot.
    • In Splatoon, for clothing, they wear a tight, sleeveless black shirt by default. For shoes, it shows their bare feet, which are flipper-like and featureless because of the fact that Inklings' feet are meant to never be seen. For headgear, they simply look like they are wearing the Fake Contacts, or no headgear. However, Inklings will always wear their Shorts.
    • In Splatoon 2, the gear-less Inklings can also be seen in Octo Canyon when they are in the temporary "danger" mode that occurs when their Hero Headphones, Hero Hoodie and Hero Boots break from taking fatal damage. For clothing, the Inkling Boy is topless, while the Inkling Girl wears a black tank top. For shoes, their feet are now properly rendered and have toes. The headgear Still looks like Fake Contacts. Their Legwear remains the same.
  • When designing the Inklings, the Splatoon development team centered around the girl at first, to the extent that they thought at first to not have a boy Inkling. They emphasized on the girl Inkling because there weren't many female leads in Nintendo games and that having a strong, active female lead would make it easier to become accepted overseas. The boy Inkling was created later.[2]
  • The Squid Research Lab admitted that Inklings may be made entirely out of ink. This theory would explain why Inklings dissolve in water, swim through grates, and reform with ease after being splatted.[3]
  • It appears that Inklings have tongues, as seen in the Splatoon manga and official artwork.
  • Inklings appear to use their weapons with their right hand, and there is no option to change that in the control settings, allowing the assumption that all Inklings are right-handed.
  • While the player is swimming in squid form, the music is set to be more quiet than normal and bubbling sounds can be heard.


Click to view the gallery for Inkling.
View the gallery.

Names in other languages


Language Name Meaning
FlagJapan.svg Japanese インクリング
FlagNetherlands.svg Dutch Inkling Inkling
FlagFrance.svg French Inkling Inkling
FlagGermany.svg German Inkling Inkling
FlagItaly.svg Italian Inkling Inkling
FlagRussia.svg Russian Инклинг
FlagSpain.svg Spanish Inkling Inkling


Language Name Meaning
FlagNetherlands.svg Dutch Inktvis Squid
FlagFrance.svg French Calamar Squid
FlagGermany.svg German Tintenfisch Squid
FlagItaly.svg Italian Calamar Calamaro
FlagRussia.svg Russian Кальмар

FlagSpain.svg Spanish Calamar
FlagCzechRepublic.svg Czech Olihně Pencil squid
FlagDenmark.svg Danish Blæksprutte Octopus/Squid
FlagFinland.svg Finnish mustekala Octopus/Squid
FlagHungary.svg Hungarian Tintahal Squid
FlagNorway.svg Norwegian Blekksprut Octopus/Squid
FlagPoland.svg Polish Kałamarnice Squid
FlagPortugal.svg Portuguese Lula
FlagSweden.svg Swedish Bläckfisk Octopus/Squid


Characters in the Splatoon series
Main Major Agent 3 · Agent 4 · Cap'n Cuttlefish · Judd · Off the Hook (Pearl · Marina) · Squid Sisters (Callie · Marie)
Minor Ammoses Shellendorf · Bob Dub · Chirpy Chips · DJ Lee Fish · Hightide Era
Mr. Grizz · Squid Squad · Squidbeak Splatoon · Turquoise October · Wet Floor
Enemies DJ Octavio · Great Octoweapons · Octarians · Salmonid
Vendors Annie · Bisk · Craymond · Flow · Moe · Crusty Sean · Jelfonzo · Jelonzo · Sheldon · Spyke · Murch
Species Inkling · Jellyfish · Zapfish · Super Sea Snail