While characters like Goku and Vegeta might be considered the central protagonists of the Dragon Ball franchise, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other characters that are just as, if not more popular. One hero in particular that’s adored by fans far and wide is the Namekian Piccolo. Even Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, has gone on the record saying that Piccolo is his favorite character. It’s a bit ironic, considering Toriyama effectively turned Piccolo into a glorified babysitter for Gohan; but that’s neither here or there. It’s Gohan who changed Piccolo and people’s perception of the character. Piccolo could have remained an outcast, unaccepted by Goku and friends, but Gohan went out of his way to ensure Piccolo was embraced by the other Z-Fighters, in turn making him one of the family.
Regardless, people enjoy Piccolo because even though he puts on a tough act, he has a heart of gold. Despite not being one to crack wise and make jokes, Piccolo’s popularity is second-to-none. With such a serious character, it’s even more ironic that there should be a plethora or humorous memes out on the Internet chronicling the best jokes related to the Namekian. Today at CBR we’re looking at some memes of everyone’s favorite Namekian, Piccolo.
One of the most popular Piccolo (and Gohan) related memes is a byproduct of the YouTube channel TeamFourStar and their Dragon Ball Z Abridged series. Throughout the course of their series, one point they comically introduce when Piccolo first begins training Gohan, is the young Saiyan’s inability to dodge incoming attacks. It became a fan-favorite long-running joke of the web series and definitely seemed to ring true.
Even as he got older, Gohan’s friends and family would take the brunt of attacks to protect the warrior. So of course, even if it is in jest, it makes sense that Piccolo’s car of choice would be a Dodge. The only remaining question would be what specific Dodge model would Piccolo fancy? Likely, he’d be okay with anything, just so long as it was green.
14 A CHANGE OF HEART
When Piccolo was first introduced into the Dragon Ball universe, it wasn’t as a good guy. After Goku hit Piccolo’s dad with a deathblow, Demon King Piccolo used the last of his strength to spit out his son in an egg, putting all his malice into his spawn. The Piccolo we know would later arrive at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. He’d tried to kill Goku, but failed. Four years later, Goku’s Saiyan brother Raditz arrived, forcing Piccolo and Goku to team up.
From that point on, Piccolo started his journey from villain to hero in short order. He takes Gohan to train in preparation for Vegeta and Nappa’s arrival, and becomes something of a babysitter. So while his plans might have started with world domination, Piccolo was later delegated to being the nanny of a spoiled 4-year old.
13 A HOLE IN THE STOMACH
The strongest opponent Goku ever fought when he was a child was the Demon King Piccolo. When King Piccolo arrived 300 years prior the beginning of Dragon Ball, he threw the world into complete chaos. He was locked in a rice cooker thanks to Master Roshi’s teacher; Emperor Pilaf freed him centuries later. After years of imprisonment, the Demon King was not feeling particular happy.
With grand ambitions to take over the world, and slightly worried there might be someone else out there capable of sealing him away, he sought the Dragon Balls and wished for his youth to be restored. After, he violently murdered the Eternal Dragon. Goku tries fighting him once, but nearly dies. The second time they meet, their fight is absolutely brutal and concludes when Goku rockets right through the evildoers’ stomach.
12 NO PLACE LIKE HOME
When Kami originally arrived on Earth, he was simply the nameless Namekian. Having forgotten his true identity, Kami applied for the position of Guardian of Earth, he was initially rejected due to the evil that lay within him; Kami trained diligently to separate the evil from himself. This resulted in two beings: the concentrated malevolent being known as King Piccolo and then Kami. After the death of King Piccolo, Piccolo had no idea about his origins.
When Vegeta and Nappa arrived, Piccolo learned he was a Namekian and from another planet. After the Saiyan Saga, Krillin and Gohan went to Namek and wished Piccolo back to life with the Dragon Balls, bringing him to Namek to fight Frieza. It was the first time Piccolo had been on his home world. Unfortunately, Namek exploded shortly thereafter.
11 GOHAN AS THE NEW YAMCHA
Ever since Gohan debuted early on Dragon Ball Z, the series teased the boy’s incredible power.During moments of rage, Gohan would unleash his latent power. Dragon Ball Z spent years building up to Gohan finally unlocking his potential. Turning Super Saiyan 2 during his iconic fight with the villainous Cell was the epic payoff to years of waiting. Audiences finally saw what happened when Gohan was pushed to the limit. Then something peculiar and disappointing happened.
Years passed in the show and Gohan grew to an adult. Upsettingly, rather than being stronger than ever before, he was weaker. Having given up on training, he didn’t have anywhere near the power he did as a boy. This led to Gohan getting beaten up a lot, especially in Dragon Ball Super, when Gohan was so weak he might as well have been Yamcha, the character fans love ridiculing.
10 PICCOLO LOGIC
The Saiyans were a warrior race and the perfect candidates for Frieza when he needed a disposable work force. Among other things, Frieza was a landlord and a real estate developer. He’d send Saiyans to a planet, have them rid the world of the local inhabitants, then sell the razed planet to the highest bidder. Monetarily, it worked out for Frieza. As for the Saiyans, they didn’t have a problem attacking worlds. If a planet’s defenses were especially tough however, the Saiyans could transform into giant apes the size of skyscrapers.
One evening, when Gohan was asleep and resting from the arduous training he’d received from Piccolo, the young Saiyan transformed into his Ozarru form. Though horrified, Piccolo quickly put together that the moon had caused the transformation. So, with complete disregard to how it would affect the rest of the planet, Piccolo opted to blow up the moon.
The theme of sacrifice plays a massive role in the Dragon Ball franchise. At its core, it represents what it means to be a hero. Nearly everyone in the franchise has died, and most of them perished taking one of the team. Goku might well be the best example, embodying the theme by dying twice, each time in an effort to save the Earth from total destruction.
When Piccolo abducted Gohan to train the young Saiyan and unlock his power to combat Vegeta and Nappa, the Namekian wasn’t doing it out of the kindness of his heart but for selfish and tactical motivations. Yet Piccolo warmed up to Gohan; the boy didn’t see Piccolo as the monster everyone else did. This affection changed Piccolo deeply. So when the time came to leap in front of the attack, saving his one and only friend, Piccolo didn’t hesitate.
8 A BROKEN NAIL
While Piccolo might be a Namekian in origin, he’d hardly spent any time with his people. In fact, throughout most of Dragon Ball Z and even Dragon Ball Super, Piccolo’s relationship with Namek, New Namek, and their inhabitants is minimal at best. Plenty of the other Z-Fighters like Gohan, Krillin, and even Vegeta have spent more time around the green-skinned aliens than Piccolo. That said, when Piccolo arrived on Namek to fight Frieza, one of the first things he did was meet his fellow Namekian Nail.
Shortly beforehand, Nail, the one Namekian warrior on the planet, had done his utmost to challenge Frieza and buy some time for Earth’s heroes. It goes as he expects and Nail nearly dies. Before he kicks the bucket, Piccolo fuses with his fallen brethren. As for Vegeta, well, despite his brash and arrogant behavior, he’d probably know better than to insult Piccolo’s people.
7 VEGETA CAN'T DODGE
After Trunks comes back from the future and warns the Z-Fighters about a threat from a pair of androids three years in the future, Piccolo trains with both Goku and Gohan. One person Piccolo did not train with was Vegeta. For his part, Vegeta refuses to train with nearly anyone, only making an exception for Trunks because he’s Vegeta’s son.
Truth be told, Vegeta is an incredible fighter and has a knack for strategy…except when he lets his arrogance and pride take over. That’s exactly what happened when Vegeta fought Cell and allowed the bio-android to reach his Perfect form. Receiving a beating for the ages, perhaps if Vegeta had enrolled in Piccolo’s school of dodging, he might have lasted longer than a minute or two.
6 BEING AN ADULT
With all the wisdom and martial arts training Piccolo has imparted onto Gohan, it’s easy to forget the Namekian isn’t much older than Goku’s son. Though Piccolo is the size of an adult and behaves like one, he actually only a couple years older than Gohan.
Piccolo was first introduced when he was a child during the World Martial Arts Tournament, but only a few years had passed since King Piccolo birthed him. This means Piccolo is effectively a toddler by the time he’s trying to kill Goku. Though it’s not really mentioned in Dragon Ball Z, fans get a kick out of the idea that Gohan’s surrogate father is a child himself. It makes the meme above all the more hilarious when you ponder over how a green child is trying to make a smaller child behave like an adult, despite neither one being a real grown-up.
5 GOHAN THE POKEMON
When Goku’s brother Raditz first arrived on Earth, he demanded Goku join him in his quest for universal domination. Goku refused and Raditz kidnapped Gohan to ensure Goku’s compliance. Instead, Goku teams up with Piccolo and the two fighters rush to battle it out with the older Saiyan.
Raditz lays them both out with little trouble and like looks like all is lost, but there’s one thing no one took into account: Gohan. Brought to tears and blinding rage by the screams of his father, Gohan breaks free from the landing pop Raditz had jailed him in and confronts his malevolent uncle. Gohan proceeds to unleash his hidden power for the first time, giving Raditz a massive head-butt that almost defeats the villain. Can you imagine if Gohan was a Pokemon and Piccolo was his trainer? Now that would make for an interesting TV show.
4 BAD AIM
After Goku killed Demon King Piccolo, the Saiyan knew he would have to eventually combat Piccolo, the King’s son. Knowing he only had a few years to train, Goku ventured to Kami’s lookout where he proceed to train diligently with Mr. Popo and Kami himself. Finally, the time came for the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, where Goku was more than aware that he’d have to fight Piccolo.
After the two warriors make it to the finals, they proceed to beat the holy heck out of one another. Launching every attack they have, along with the kitchen sink, neither is willing to back down. At one point, Piccolo gains the upper hand and tortures Goku with some well-placed energy beams to his joints…and yet he misses all of Goku’s vital organs. This provides Goku the out he needs to claim victory.
3 IRONIC MORALITY
After Piccolo died at the hands of Nappa in an effort to save Gohan, the Namekian became especially protective of the young warrior after he was brought back to life. Piccolo would always go out of his way to save Gohan in the middle of a fight. Amidst the "Cell Saga", the fate of the world is at stake. Goku is the first to combat Cell in the tournament held by the wicked android.
Yet at the battle’s zenith, Goku gives up. Everyone is shocked, but Goku tries to sooth everyone’s fears by insisting his 11-year old son is more than up for the challenge of taking on Cell. Piccolo is outraged by Goku’s carefree attitude in letting his child fight a killer android. That said, those are some pretty lofty morals Piccolo throws around, considering every time the Namekian needed Gohan to fight for and with him.
2 VEGETA'S PRIDE
When Vegeta attacked the Earth with Nappa, it was to acquire the Dragon Balls. The Z-Fighters tried stopping them, but one by one, Nappa killed them until only Krillin and Gohan were left. Goku arrived at the last minute, defeated Nappa, and then moved on to Vegeta. Their fight would pave the way for their infamous rivalry the two would share for the rest of the franchise.
After their fight, practically everything Vegeta did was to one-up Goku and prove that he, the Saiyan Prince, was the strongest of all the Saiyans. Yet no matter what Vegeta did, Goku was always one-step ahead. Even when Vegeta turned Super Saiyan, Goku would prove stronger in very short order. To this day, Vegeta yammers on about his pride and strength and nothing angers him more than others calling him second fiddle in comparison to Goku.
1 YAMCHA CAN'T CATCH A BREAK
There is likely no character in Dragon Ball who suffers the constant mocking of fans than Yamcha. When once he was reasonably respected, the Internet and recent years have not been kind to the master of the Wolf Fang Fist. After dying at the hands of a Saibaman, one of Vegeta and Nappa’s henchmen, viewers would never let Yamcha hear the end of it.
Memes, parody videos, and even Dragon Ball Super have gone out of their way to demonstrate how utterly ineffective Yamcha is and just how far behind his friends he’s fallen in terms of raw power. In turn, the idea of Yamcha stepping up the figurative plate, declaring that he’s going to take care of whatever dastardly villain is attacking Earth, is a laughing matter. Looks like everyone’s going to have to go hunting for the Dragon Balls to wish him back.