Piccolo was the very last villain of the original Dragon Ball series, and by the time Dragon Ball Z rolled around, he was one of the most important characters of the franchise. Piccolo served as Gohan's first teacher and protected the world on more than one occasion, making him one of the most impactful villain-turned-heroes of all time, second only to Vegeta in both popularity and character development. Piccolo has contributed a lot for Earth and its people, and he's also contributed a lot to the lore and world-building of Dragon Ball.
How, you might ask? Well, without Piccolo, we wouldn't know all that we do about Namekians, since Piccolo taught us about their biology much more than his father did. As a result, we know quite a bit about the Namekians, specifically the inner and outer workings of Piccolo's body. We've seen Piccolo demonstrate and describe some incredibly interesting abilities and attributes over the course of the Dragon Ball franchise, similar to the way that Vegeta has taught us about Saiyans. There's a lot we can learn from Piccolo's body, and there's a lot you might not know about this mean, green, fighting machine, so we're here to bring you 15 facts you never knew about Piccolo's body.
Saiyans might arguably be the strongest warrior race in the world of Dragon Ball, but Namekians are a close second. In fact, there are a couple of things that Namekians have over the Saiyans which Piccolo has demonstrated all throughout the franchise. Piccolo's Namekian biology gives him impressive regenerative abilities, allowing him to regrow severed or damaged limbs.
Piccolo first demonstrated this ability in his fight with Goku by voluntarily ripping off his own arm to show that he could regrow it. It was a baller move, and it wouldn't be the first time he used his regenerative powers. By the time of the Tournament of Power, Piccolo is shown being able to regrow limbs in seconds without using up as much energy as stamina as he used to.
14 COLORFUL, INSIDE AND OUT
Speaking of the first time Piccolo tore off his own arm, here's a bit of trivia for you, the color of Piccolo's blood during that scene in Dragon Ball was actually incorrect due to an animation error. In later appearances, Piccolo's blood, as well as the blood of other Namekians, was shown to be purple, contradicting the red we had seen previously. His red blood was not seen again after Dragon Ball, but it wasn't only purple that replaced it.
Due to various censorship edits throughout Dragon Ball Z's American broadcasts, Piccolo's blood was sometimes depicted as a color besides purple and red. In some versions of the series, his blood was shown to be green, an edit made to ensure DBZ could be targeted towards children in America.
13 A HERMAPHRODITE
Like all Namekians, Piccolo's biology is much different than that of Earthlings. Though he has a male humanoid appearance, he is actually described as being a hermaphrodite, though this might not even be the most accurate term. There are no genders amongst the Namekians, as they are all roughly the same in terms of biology. This is to say that even though Piccolo is referred to as "he/him," he has no specific sex or gender.
Furthermore, Namekians of the Dragon Clan are capable of asexual reproduction, and since Piccolo is technically a member of this category, he is technically capable of reproducing by spitting up an egg, though we've never seen him do it. These facts are all pretty much derived from the fact that Akira Toriyama based Piccolo and Namekians on slugs, which is what their species' name means.
12 HE'S A REINCARNATION OF HIS FATHER
Though he has become known as Piccolo, everyone's favorite Namekian was originally called "Piccolo Jr." as he wasn't the first to hold the title. No, that honor belongs to Piccolo's father, King Piccolo. When Goku dealt the final blow to King Piccolo, the villain spit up one last egg before his death. The offspring that resulted from this was unlike the other sons that King Piccolo had produced -- this was his reincarnation.
Piccolo Jr. was born with all of the memories of his father, thus he had motivation to get revenge on Goku for what was done to him. This means that Piccolo's body is sort of a clone of his father's, with a few minute differences. The fact that King Piccolo could reincarnate himself does raise the question of why he didn't just do that instead of using the dragon balls to wish for his youth.
11 HATCHED FROM AN EGG
Speaking of Piccolo's origins, let's talk about how he was born. During his final moments, King Piccolo spat up one final egg that hatched into his reincarnation, Piccolo Jr. This egg taught us a lot about Piccolo's body, and by extension, Namekian birth. Piccolo Jr. was hatched from an egg, inside of which his body was suspended in a purple goo that most likely acted as life support for the infant Namekian.
This tells us two things: one, that Namekian eggs do not require any kind of incubation to develop and hatch; and two, that Namekians are born without one of their signature features -- the pink patches that go over their muscles. We also know that Piccolo specifically emanated immense energy from his egg, causing it to glow and hum with his great power.
10 THE WAY HE AGES
After Piccolo Jr. hatched from his egg, he trained for three years to face Goku in the World Martial Arts Tournament. In those years, Piccolo grew from his (surprisingly adorable) youthful sage to a fully-developed Namekian, which tells us a bit about his aging. Namekian development is clearly different from humans, since Piccolo aged into a full-fledged adult in such a short time and his intelligence seemed to have matured along with him.
We also know that, based on Kami, King Piccolo and Grand Elder Guru, Namekians can live to be several hundred years old. This strange aging was poked fun at a bit in the Saiyan saga of Dragon Ball Z when Gohan says he's too young to fight, being only four years old. Piccolo replies, "So what, I'm only 8."
9 THE NAMEKIANS WITHIN HIM
Piccolo is incredibly strong and has abilities of both the Dragon Clan and warrior-type Namekians. Part of the reason behind this is because he has two other Namekians within him via Namekian fusion. This technique allows one Namekian to absorb the power of another, a technique that Piccolo has used twice with Nail and Kami.
Piccolo absorbed Nail when he was close to death so that his power could be put to good use. Piccolo also fused with Kami, though it was a bit different since the two were one person to begin with. When a Namekian came to Earth and wanted to become its guardian, he purged the evil from his body, creating Kami and King Piccolo. Since Piccolo is the reincarnation of his father, he and Kami were two halves of the same person, so when they fused, Kami returned his essence and power to Piccolo.
8 STRETCHY LIMBS
One trait of Piccolo's body gives him a power that not many others have, the ability to stretch and grow. This power has manifested itself in two ways that give Piccolo a huge advantage in a fight. The first way Piccolo uses this power is to stretch his arms, giving him an extended reach, a way to attack from afar and a means of constricting an opponent.
The second way in which Piccolo can use his stretching ability is to increase the size of his body. This technique hasn't been seen since Dragon Ball though, perhaps since it requires a ton of energy and is somewhat painful. By concentrating his power into his nerves and using his regenerative abilities, Piccolo is able to grow into a giant Namekian capable of great strength.
7 CONNECTION TO THE DRAGON BALLS
Piccolo's connection to Kami, which was strengthened by his absorption of him, causes another connection to a rather important piece of the Dragon Ball world. Piccolo's body and life are tied to the dragon balls via Piccolo's tie to Kami. This life tie works both ways: if one dies, the other will as well, and both situations would cause the Earth's dragon balls to lose their power.
This is because Kami created the dragon balls, and without their creator, the balls lose their power and turn to stone. Piccolo's tie to Kami was initially due to an invisible thread, a connection between the two that was created when the Nameless Namekian split himself in two, but the connection became more direct when Piccolo absorbed Kami.
6 PINK OR YELLOW?
There were quite a few changes made to the Dragon Ball manga when it was being adapted into an anime, one of which was the coloring applied to Piccolo's design. In the original manga, King Piccolo, Kami and Piccolo Jr. all had yellow patches of skin on their bodies. However, this wasn't the case in the anime, at least not for young King Piccolo and Piccolo Jr.
In the anime, the color of Namekians' skin patches changes over time. When they are young, the patches are pink, but as a Namekian ages, the patches turn a pale yellow. In the manga, all Namekians had pale yellow patches, and the reason for the change to pink is unknown. Though, to be honest, we kind of prefer the manga colors.
5 HEARING ORGANS
Piccolo has hearing far beyond that of normal humans. He said as much in Dragon Ball Z, demonstrating his excellent hearing by listening in on various conversations from afar. Piccolo says that the source of his excellent hearing has to do with the large size and unique shape of his ears, though there might be more to it than that.
In most cases, animals that have antennae do not have ears as well, since the antennae act as their hearing organs. Taking this into consideration, we can assume that Piccolo's ears aren't the only reason for his excellent hearing. By having two types of hearing organs, Piccolo and other Namekians take in sound via two sources, which could be the reason that he has such good hearing. It also implies that everything he hears is much clearer and that he might be able to separate individual sounds similar to Daredevil.
4 LIQUID DIET?
In the Namek saga of Dragon Ball Z, we learn that Namekians are able to survive on water alone, as they have special enzymes which turn water into all the nutrients their body needs. This means that Piccolo needs water to live, though he has been seen eating food as well. In fact, Piccolo is the only Namekian seen eating food in the franchise, though his father demanded a feast in Dragon Ball.
Piccolo has been seen eating on a couple of occasions and actually stated that he got sick of eating fish in the Saiyan saga. The reason for Piccolo eating is usually stated to be for pleasure,which, combined with the fact that he grew to dislike fish, means that he can taste and thus has tastebuds.
3 FOUR FINGERS?
Like we mentioned earlier, there were a few changes made to some characters' designs when the Dragon Ball manga was adapted into an anime. The changes made to Piccolo's design were small, just the colors and his fingers. In a change that is surprisingly common in the Dragon Ball franchise, Piccolo's finger count was changed to match most humanoid characters in the series.
In the original manga, Piccolo only had four fingers, a design choice most likely made to differentiate him from humans and make him appear more alien/demonic. When it came time for the anime adaptation, Piccolo had five fingers, perhaps because it was easier to keep track for the artists from one episode to the next. Regardless of the reason, Piccolo's body saw a couple of changes from the manga to the anime.
2 TWICE DEAD
Death seems to be a rite of passage for the Z-fighters, as pretty much all of them have died at least once. Piccolo is amongst those that have died three times, two of which were the result of protecting Gohan (we're not crying, YOU'RE crying). Piccolo's first death came during the Saiyan saga, when he shielded Gohan from Nappa's attack. The second time Piccolo died was during the Buu saga after the Earth was blown up, and the third was almost identical to his first death.
When Gohan was on the verge of death after Frieza had pelted him with death beam blasts, Piccolo took the final hit, shielding him like the surrogate father that he is. After each of these deaths, Piccolo was revived using the dragon balls, and during his times in Otherworld, he was allowed to keep his body.
1 TURNED TO STONE
Speaking of Piccolo's death count, it was almost up to four thanks to one moment in the Majin Buu saga. When the Z-fighters faced Dabura, the demon king used his magical spit to turn Krillin and Piccolo into stone. Piccolo's stone body was later shattered, but he didn't die. Why is this exactly? Because his regenerative abilities are apparently much stronger than initially thought.
Everyone thought Piccolo could just regenerate limbs, but he could actually do much more than that. When Piccolo was shown alive and well despite having been turned to stone and shattered, he stated that as long as his head was in tact, he could regenerate his whole body, so once his body was returned to normal after Dabura's defeat, he was able to regrow it.