Most of us do seem to think that only inklings and octolings are able to respawn. If you have more questions, I advise you to look through this thread. I know it's long, but a ton of different points are addressed.
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Actually, those of us who've been on the thread for a while are of the opinion that inkling/octarian ink is actually a highly acidic substance (possibly a sort of living thing?) that violently attacks organic matter that doesn't contain certain identifier proteins (except plants, apparently.) The proteins correspond to ink color, and an inkling can change the protein they are using. If you want to hear more about this, read the thread in depth, if you have the time... It's pretty long at this point.Here are my theories about Inkling/Octoling biology:
1. The Inklings' and Octolings' humanoid forms are more solid, while their squid and octopus forms are more liquid.
2. Inklings and Octolings lay eggs, much like the Zora from the Legend of Zelda series. However, Octolings can also reproduce by cutting their tentacles off, hence the existence of lesser Octarians such as Octotroopers.
As for their inability to swim in water, I think that the Inklings and Octolings simply don't know how to swim in it. But if an Inkling (or Octoling) taught themselves to swim in water (while in humanoid form, of course), then water wouldn't be such a problem for them (especially if they managed to develop an immunity to it by taking small amounts regularly).
Enemy ink, however, is a completely different story. Notice how there's a vast river of Octarian ink at the bottom of Octo Canyon, which just so happens to be where Cephalon HQ is located.
Also, when you fall into the ink river, it has the same effect as falling into water. However, even if an Inkling somehow taught themselves how to swim in water while in humanoid form, they would still be unable to swim in enemy ink, let alone Octarian ink, sort of like how in other games you can't swim in lava (which is basically what the ink river in Cephalon HQ is). Of course, Inklings and Octolings have no trouble swimming in their own ink, especially in squid and octopus form.
By the way, why do Inklings dissolve in water? Squid ink isn't water soluble, but octopus ink is. According to Nintendo:
Also, if a splatted Inkling's or Octoling's "ghost" does contain its vital organs, then what happens to the Octo Samurai when his respawn device explodes after you defeat him? Does the Octo Samurai... die?
Nintendo stated that water diffuses the solid ink that is the skin of an Inkling, hence why they dissolve in water. I think the insides are different, though. So they may drink water/soda/juice/etc.I've always sort of wondered how Inklings wash themselves or quench their thirsts if they're so sensitive to water. Although maybe they just can't be immersed in water, maybe they'll drown if they try to swim, and touching/drinking water is okay.