Just because Goku and Vegeta are the central protagonists of the Dragon Ball franchise, doesn’t mean they are unequivocally the most popular. Out of every hero that’s appeared on screen or in the manga, the Namekian Piccolo is by far none one of the most beloved characters. When asked about whom his favorite DBZ character was, Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, said that it was Piccolo. It’s partly why Piccolo has remained relevant in Dragon Ball Z and even onwards and upwards in Dragon Ball Super. After all, there were tons of early characters that were discarded at the wayside.
Whatever the case, Piccolo’s charm comes from a gruffness that masks his heart of gold. Though he might have began his tenure in Dragon Ball as a villain, his eventual fondness for Gohan taught him to open his heart to others. Piccolo’s arc is truly spectacular and is appreciated by fans. Piccolo could very well have remained an outcast, but the other Z-Fighters embraced him wholeheartedly and made him one of the family. Piccolo might be a good guy now, but he’s still committed some questionable deeds. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 dark facts you might not know about Piccolo.
15 HE WAS POSSESSED BY BABIDI
Fans of Dragon Ball Z love “what if” scenarios. They allow for endless possibilities, letting the creators have tons of fun in the process. In a “what if”, anything goes. “What ifs” have become so popular, they’ve become a mainstay draw for various Dragon Ball Z video games. The Dragon Ball Z Xenoverse games are based off time travel and alternate and divergent timelines; people seem to love it. It’s kind of like the creators read your fan fiction on the Internet and decided to run with it.
In Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2, there’s a “what if” where Piccolo is possessed by Babidi, transforming into Majin Piccolo. The power he acquires from this possession then lets him from defeat the Saiyans and revive Frieza and Perfect Cell. Gohan and Vegeta had to try and break control over Piccolo and stop Majin Buu.
14 HE WAS A VILLAIN IN PUZZLE AND DRAGONS
For one reason or another, Piccolo often gets turned into a villain in video games. Granted, it’s not a far departure from his early appearances in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. In the TV show and manga, he’s the son of the Demon King Piccolo. After Goku laid a deathblow on the King, he used the last vestiges of strength to spit out his son in an egg, putting all his malice into his son. Piccolo would then try to murder Goku, but he later turned good.
In the mobile phone game Puzzle & Dragons, Piccolo is once again evil. When Dragon Ball Kai debuted in Japan, Puzzle & Dragons helped promote the series via some crossover events. This included multiple DBZ characters appearing as enemies you could battle and collect. During the promotional event, there were several different forms of Piccolo who appeared, many of them evil.
13 HE HELPED KILL ALL THE NAMEKIANS FROM ANOTHER UNIVERSE
Currently in Dragon Ball Super, the canonical sequel to Dragon Ball Z, the Z-Fighters are fighting for the fate of their universe in the Tournament of Power. There’s been a lot going on, what with new enemies and rivals appearing by the minute, new powered-up forms, and the Zeno, the Lord of Everything, wiping out every universe that loses.
In one of the show’s latest match-ups, Gohan and Piccolo battled two Namekians from another universe. The two Namkeians are incredibly powerful, having absorbed the entirety of their people. They are all that remains of their species. Despite their power, Gohan and Piccolo unleash a combination attack of the Kamehameha and Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon, defeating their opponents. As a result, Universe 2, the home of these Namekians, is wiped out. In essence, Piccolo assisted in the genocide of his own people.
12 HE'S REFERRED TO AS THE DEVIL IN SOME FOREIGN DUBS
Dragon Ball Z is no stranger to having the names of various characters changed or modified. The most famous example is the comic relief hero Mr. Satan. Since Western censors didn’t approve of associating a character with the Devil, they changed his name to Hercule.
It’s not just censorship that causes certain names to be changed; it can also depend on the region the show is being broadcast. Piccolo fell victim to such an alternation. There are multiple foreign dubs where he is referred to as other names associated with the devil. One explanation of this is the fact that Piccolo was occasionally referred to as Satan Piccolo in some translations, in an effort to differentiate him from his super evil father, King Demon Piccolo.
11 HE MESSED UP DBZ CONTINUITY
The Dragon Ball Z manga is incredibly popular. The only negative side of this is that the anime can’t necessarily catch up in time. It is just too labor-intensive a chore. When this happens, the TV staff is forced to create some filler episodes until both the manga and anime catch up properly.
Generally, the filler episodes are reviled. They don’t add anything of substance to the actual show. They only aggravate the viewer, who really just wants to be watching whatever is considered canon. Sometimes, as seen in certain episodes in Dragon Ball Z, the actions of a character in a filler episode can affect mainstream continuity. Piccolo wrecked the continuity during a filler episode where Gohan discovers the pod Goku traveled to Earth in. Piccolo destroys the pod, but this created a plot hole later, since Dr. Brief used the same pod to make a spaceship for Goku.
10 THE COLOR OF HIS BLOOD KEEPS CHANGING
It shouldn’t be surprising, but in any lengthy show, inconsistencies are bound to pop up. A rather bizarre inconsistency dealt with Piccolo and the color of his blood. When Piccolo was still considered the evil Demon King, his blood was the color red just like everyone else’s. Later, after his connection to the planet Namek and the Namekians was established, his blood, and the blood color of all his fellow Namekians, suddenly changed to purple. Every Namekian we see from that point on had purple blood.
However, due to censorship, the early red-blood Piccolo was often changed to him having green blood. This added another inconsistency. The fact that Piccolo has gone through changes and censorship isn’t surprising, not when you take into account that he originally didn’t even have five fingers too. Piccolo has endured weird modifications over the years.
9 HE'S KAMI'S DARK HALF
Kami is the designated Guardian of Earth. He oversees the planet high above on his Lookout, accompanied by his stalwart companion Mr. Popo. When he originally arrived on Earth, he was simply the nameless Namekian, having forgotten his true identity. Though Kami applied for the position of Guardian of Earth, he was initially rejected due to the evil that lay within him (all Guardians had to be pure of heart). To that end, the Namkeian, who’d later become Kami, trained diligently until he could separate the evil from himself. This resulted in two beings: the concentrated malevolent being known as King Piccolo and then Kami.
The new rule of thumb was that if one died, the other would perish too. This made trying to kill Demon Piccolo a precarious endeavor, hence Master Roshi’s teacher’s technique the Mafuba; it could seal him away without loss of life.
8 HE DESTROYED THE MOON
Nearly every DBZ episode features a city, mountain range, or even whole planets getting destroyed. At the very least there’s going to be massive crater following a nuclear bomb-sized explosion. One of the most notorious and memorable feats in this regard took place during the first season of Dragon Ball Z when Piccolo destroys the moon!
After an incident involving Gohan transforming into a giant ape, courtesy of his Saiyan heritage and the moon’s beams, Piccolo quickly put the two together and took decisive action. Believing the sensible thing is to destroy the moon, the Namekian does just that. If the moon were destroyed in the real world, the Earth would suffer irreparably. Ocean currents could be out of whack, there’d be horrible shifts in the seasons, and the planet’s rotation could be thrown off balance. In DBZ, it has virtually no consequences.
7 HIS DAD KILLED THE ETERNAL DRAGON
Demon King Piccolo was not a good guy. When he arrived 300 years before the beginning of Dragon Ball, he threw the world into complete chaos. Though he was originally defeated and locked in a rice cooker thanks to Master Roshi’s teacher, Emperor Pilaf freed him centuries later. After years of imprisonment, the Demon King has gotten old and weak. 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.
Knowing he could only rule if he had his full power, Piccolo summoned the Eternal Dragon Shenron. He then wished for his youth to be restored. After which, he violently murdered the dragon, rendering the Dragon Balls useless. It was a shock. Up until then nobody knew Shenron could be killed, much less wanted to try to kill him.
6 HE'S SACRIFICED HIMSELF FOR GOHAN IN EVERY SERIES
Though Piccolo originally hated Goku, he developed a soft spot for Gohan. Though he originally kidnapped the boy, Piccolo developed legitimate feels of affection for the Gohan and took him under his wing. Piccolo cares about Gohan so much he’s sacrificed himself for the young Saiyan in every Dragon Ball series. The first and most iconic time was in fighting Nappa. As he’s about to blast Gohan, Piccolo jumped in front of the energy attack, shielding Gohan from harm and dying in the process.
That level of loyalty would become their pattern going forward. The same thing happened in Dragon Ball Super where Piccolo sacrifices himself to take a beam Frieza had fired at Gohan. Finally, in GT, Piccolo gives up his life to end the threat of the Black Star Dragon Balls. The whole time, it’s clear he’s ultimately doing it for Gohan.
5 HE'S ONE OF TWO CHARACTERS TO KILL GOKU
Goku’s the central Dragon Ball protagonist. He’s fought countless opponents, saved the world and the universe multiple times, and through it all, he’s only died twice. Both times were practically of his volition, but Piccolo was instrumental in one of those moments.
The first time Goku died was when he and Piccolo fought Raditz in an effort to save the Earth and a kidnapped Gohan. During the fight, Piccolo and Goku get beaten horribly and despite Piccolo’s powerful Special Beam Cannon, Raditz won’t stay still long enough for it to hit. In one last gamble, Goku grabs his evil brother in a full nelson and gives Piccolo time to fire. Piccolo does, killing Raditz; the beam is so powerful it pierces its intended victim and also impales Goku. The only other time Goku would die was when he sacrificed himself against Cell.
4 HE COMES FROM AN EVIL FAMILY
After Demon King Piccolo separated from Kami, he began his attack on the planet Earth. Thanks to Master Roshi’s teacher, he was defeated. When King Piccolo returned centuries later, he wasn’t at all happy. Realizing he needed a different approach in taking over the world, he spat out eggs that gave birth to his children, Tamboruine and Drum, two demonic monsters.
The duo would actually be Piccolo’s siblings, though Piccolo Jr. himself would never meet them. Even so, Piccolo’s family tree left a lot to be desired. Tambourine was responsible for killing Krillin and Drum would have murdered Tien if not for Goku intervening. If you thought you came from a bad family, it’s nothing compared to Piccolo’s origins. Still, it’s a testament that he was able to repent and become more than the sum of his evil family and instead turns into one of Earth’s greatest protectors.
3 HE KIDNAPPED GOHAN
Back when Dragon Ball Z was starting, Piccolo was not a hero. He was still considered a villain and hardly anybody trusted him. When Raditz, the brother of Goku, arrived on Earth, Piccolo realized he couldn’t defeat the older Saiyan alone. He teamed up with Goku and together at the cost of Goku’s life, they won. Before Raditz died, he mentioned how two stronger Saiyans would arrive in a year’s time. Piccolo, after seeing Gohan’s hidden power on the battlefield, chose to take the four-year old away for training. Krillin and Master Roshi can’t really stop Piccolo, so they let him do what he wants.
And so Piccolo kidnapped a small child and forced him to live in the wilderness for a year. Though he watched over the boy, Gohan still had to fend for himself in acquiring food and shelter. Even if Piccolo’s intentions were benign, kidnapping is kidnapping.
2 HE WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE A DEMON
Before Nappa revealed Piccolo was an alien, Dragon Ball referred to him as a demon. His appearance certainly didn’t help matters; he possessed all the physical attributes and abilities of a creature from the darkest pits of hell. Since Piccolo himself had forgotten his real identity, it was a good an explanation for him too. Piccolo being an alien just wasn’t part of the original plan. While Akira Toriyama hasn’t come out and said it, you can tell by the circumstantial evidence surrounding King Piccolo.
King Piccolo’s children look nothing alike, but all Namekians look similar to one another; it’s an inconsistency that Piccolo’s children appeared so different. Additionally Piccolo Jr., the Piccolo we’d come to know and love, has the body of an adult when he first appears, despite being an infant. This contradicts that later on Namek we see kids like Dende with childlike appearances.
1 HE'S BARELY OLDER THAN GOHAN
With all the training and wisdom Piccolo has imparted to Gohan, it’s easy to forget that the Namekian isn’t much older than Goku’s son. After all, Piccolo is the size of an adult and definitely behaves like one. Yet, when you sit down to think about, Piccolo is only a couple years older than Gohan.
Piccolo was first introduced when he was a child during the World Martial Arts Tournament where he fought Goku for the first time. Only a few years had passed since King Piccolo birthed him, so Piccolo is a toddler by the time he’s trying to take over the world and 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.