Piccolo (Dragon Ball)
|Dragon Ball character|
|First appearance||Dragon Ball chapter #161: Son Goku Wins!! (1988)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
|Voiced by||See Voice actors|
Big Green (France/UK dub)
|Relatives||Piccolo Daimao (parent / incarnate)
Kami (good counterpart, later assimilated)
Piccolo (ピッコロ Pikkoro?) is a fictional character from the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. Piccolo was first seen as the reincarnation of the evil Piccolo Daimao in chapter #161 Son Goku Wins!! (孫悟空勝つ!! Son Gokū Katsu!!?) first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump on February 22, 1988, making him a demon and archrival of the protagonist Goku. However, it is later revealed that he is a member of the extraterrestrial race called Namekians, those able to create the series' titular wish-granting Dragon Balls. After Goku defeats Piccolo, Piccolo decides to team up with Goku and his friends in order to beat newer, more dangerous threats. He also trains Goku's first child Gohan, with whom he forms a strong bond.
Creation and conception
Piccolo, more specifically his parent Piccolo Daimao, was created by Toriyama as he wanted to have a villain who would be a true "bad guy." Prior to their creation, nearly all his previous villains in the series were considered too likable. After creating Piccolo as the new villain, he noted that it was one of the most interesting parts of the series and that he became one of the favorite characters of the series. Although Piccolo's transformation from a villain to a hero was considered by Toriyama to be cliché, he still felt excited when drawing him, noting that despite having a scary face, he still looks appealing. He inherits the name "Piccolo" from his parent, which, like those of his parent's minions, is a pun on a musical instrument; in his case the Piccolo. Piccolo is initially assumed to, like his parent, be a member of the Demon Clan (魔族 Mazoku?), however, mid-way through the series it is learned that they are actually members of the alien race called Namekians (ナメック星人 Namekku-seijin?). Just before characters travel to his home planet, it is revealed that Piccolo's name means "Different World" in the Namekian language.
When Piccolo Daimao was introduced in chapter #135 The Conspiracy of Kuririn's Death Comes Fearfully (クリリンの死そして恐ろしき陰謀 Kuririn no Shi Soshite Osoroshiki Inbō?) first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump on August 10, 1987, he was designed to appear as a strange-looking divine creature, who had pointy ears, antennae, fangs and four-fingers. The audience is later introduced to Kami, who is Piccolo Daimao's good counterpart, and the two share an almost identical resemblance. Piccolo Daimao wears the kanji for "Ma" (魔?) meaning "demon" on the front of his gi, which becomes a representative symbol of himself and his "demon clan". Piccolo Jr. makes his first appearance in chapter #161 Son Goku Wins!! (孫悟空勝つ!! Son Gokū Katsu!!?) as a child, newly hatched from his egg, wearing an outfit similar to his parent's original complete with the kanji. However, his more common appearance is first seen in chapter #166 Everyone's Reunion (それぞれの再会 Sorezore no Saikai?), which takes place three years later, wearing purple gi, without the kanji, underneath his signature large white cape with shoulder guards and a white turban (the latter two being weighted training gear).
Piccolo is one of the few major characters in the series whose appearance does not drastically change as the series continues except that he is noticeably taller by the end of the series. He, like all Namekians, is hairless, has pointy ears and green skin, aside from their shoulders, biceps, and forearm areas, which are pink or light yellow. In the anime, all Namekians (Piccolo included) have an additional fifth finger on each hand, making them more human-like.
Piccolo was originally villainous, much like his father. When battling Goku in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, he shows almost no mercy and no regard for his opponent, breaking all of Goku's limbs while laughing sadistically. Despite this, he did possess some sense of good, having once saved a mother and daughter from debris during a storm. Later, when he and Goku team up to battle Raditz, Piccolo began to show more honor during battle, even commemorating Goku on his noble sacrifice. After he trains and befriends Goku's young son, Gohan, Piccolo's heart and motives quickly begin to change as the boy takes his time to talk with Piccolo and have normal discussions, not resulting in a violent outbreak. Gohan even comments on this, telling Piccolo that he seems to be more grumpy than truly evil. During the battle with Nappa, Piccolo goes as far as to sacrifice his life to save Gohan, stating how his friendship and love had changed him forever. Piccolo has stated that Gohan was the first person to see him not as a monster, and was proud to call him his friend, even going as far as to admit that Gohan is like the son he never had in one of the dubs. Upon his return during the battle with Frieza on Namek and after fusing with the Namekian warrior Nail, Piccolo fights for the honor of his people and to save the innocent. Years later, during the Androids Saga, Piccolo still does retain a bit of ruthlessness and cockiness, but once he fuses with Kami, all traces of evil and hate disappear, and Piccolo is completely reborn as a pure soul. He is shown to be very wise, and strategic in battle. Even after merging with Kami, Piccolo remains a loner, preferring to stand apart from others. He has little to say unless it involves battle, and does not seem to understand the concept of romance, referring to it as "mushy stuff". As Piccolo carries on in life, he becomes slightly easier to stress and annoy, especially during the Buu Saga, but he normally can still retain his stoic personality if required to not show fear in the face of an enemy.
Introduced as the offspring and reincarnate of the demon Piccolo Daimao, Piccolo Jr. plans to continue his parent's mission of world domination, and avenge his death at the hands of Goku. Piccolo enters the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budōkai under the alias "Demon Junior" (マジュニア Majunia?). Piccolo fights Goku, but is defeated in the final round.
Five years later, Piccolo is confronted by Raditz. Realizing the Saiyan would thwart his plans for world domination, Piccolo teams up with Goku in an attempt to stop Raditz from destroying the Earth. When the two arch rivals team up, Piccolo is able to defeat Raditz, but at the cost of Goku's life. Piccolo remains amazed with the powers from Gohan and trains him in preparation to fight against the two Saiyans who will invade Earth. When the Saiyans arrive a year later, Piccolo's fondness toward Gohan results in him blocking one of Nappa's attacks aimed at Gohan, which results in the death of himself, Kami, and the Dragon Balls. After the Saiyans are defeated, Gohan and the survivors travel to Piccolo's homeworld, Namek, to revive those who died against the Saiyans with the Namekian Dragon Balls. Piccolo is resurrected on planet Namek to help Goku and others defeat the evil Freeza. He takes this time to merge with the beaten Namekian called Nail (ネイル Neiru?), giving Piccolo a power increase. Despite his massive power increase and going head to head with Freeza's second transformation, Freeza transforms and Piccolo is defeated and severely injured by him, leaving Goku to defeat Freeza alone.
After Freeza's death, Piccolo trains with Goku and Gohan for three years to prepare for a battle against two powerful Androids created by the Red Ribbon Army's Dr. Gero to kill Goku. After being defeated by Android #17 and Android #18, Piccolo seeks to unite with Kami, and gain another massive increase in power. After uniting with Kami, Piccolo becomes aware of a more dangerous threat named Cell. Before his second encounter with Cell, Piccolo once again battles the Androids, except this time he battles #17 one on one. After a somewhat even match, Cell arrives on the battle scene; Cell needs to absorb the Androids to complete his power. Piccolo is nearly killed by Cell, and he is forced to participate in a tournament created by Cell called the Cell Games, where he fights one of the seven Cell Juniors that are created by Cell, who are later destroyed by Gohan.
Seven years later, Piccolo acts as a trainer to Goten and Trunks and their fused form Gotenks. Piccolo trains the boys in fighting the evil creature Majin Boo, but is later absorbed by Boo along with Gotenks and Gohan and incorporated into his being. He is later freed by Goku and Vegeta, and he later gives his energy to Goku's Genki-Dama attack, which Goku uses to defeat Boo once and for all.
In the original Japanese version, Piccolo has been voiced by Toshio Furukawa for all Dragon Ball media (although the newborn child incarnation was voiced by Hiromi Tsuru). Several different voice actors have voiced Piccolo in English productions of the anime: by Scott McNeil in episodes 1-67 (1-53 unedited) in Funimation Entertainment's initial dub of Dragon Ball Z in association with Saban Entertainment and Ocean Productions as well as Geneon's dub of the Dragon Ball Z films, and episodes 108-291 of Westwood Media's dub of the franchise (in association with Ocean Productions), by Ethan Cole in Chinook Animation's dub of Dragon Ball GT (produced in association with Blue Water Studios), by Dan Woren in Bandai's English release of the video game Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, and consistently by Christopher Sabat in Funimation's in-house dub of all Dragon Ball media.
Piccolo has shown many unique abilities throughout the series. Due to his Namekian physiology, Piccolo can expand his arms, move fast enough to not be seen, regenerate lost limbs of his body so long as his head is still intact, and possesses superhuman hearing and strength. Piccolo's Chōkyoshinjutsu (超巨身術?, "Super Large Body Technique", or "Super Giantification Spell" in Viz's manga) allows him to become gigantic to the point where he is capable of reaching mountain-like heights. He also has the ability to conjure objects such as garments and a blade, including his cape and turban outfit. Among Piccolo's known psionic skills, he is able to communicate telepathically with select individuals. Thus, this enables him to read minds and mentally contact others nearby. In one instance, he alerts Trunks and Goten of Boo's proximity to the dimension where the two were training.
Like many other characters in Dragon Ball, Piccolo has the ability of flight through the technique called Bukū-jutsu (舞空術?, lit. "Air Dance Technique"). He also possesses an attack called the Bakuretsumaha (爆裂魔波?, lit. "Exploding Wave", or "Destructive Wave" in the English anime dub), which is fired with one hand being supported by the other. One of Piccolo's most powerful attacks is the Makankōsappō (魔貫光殺砲?, lit. "Demonic Screw Light Cannon", "Light of Death" in Viz's manga or "Special Beam Cannon" in the English anime dub) an attack that is expelled from Piccolo's index and middle fingers. Unlike most energy-based attacks in Dragon Ball, the potent Makankōsappō pierces its targets like a drill rather than enveloping them or exploding on contact. Another attack of Piccolo's is the Renzoku Sen Kōdan (連続閃光弾?, lit. "Repeated Flash Bullets", "Hellzone Grenade" in English media), which involves firing off many orbs of energy that float around the opponent. Piccolo then squeezes his hand to make all the orbs converge onto the opponent, exploding on contact. The Masenkō (魔閃光?, lit. "Demon Flash") is another of his signature attacks, being one that he teaches to his pupil Gohan. Another move Piccolo is seen to have is the Gekiretsu Kodan (激烈光弾?, lit. "Violent Light Grenade", simply "Light Grenade" in the English anime dub) which is conjured by putting his hands on his chest, gathering energy and then releasing it outwards. One of Piccolo's less frequently used techniques is the ability to fire energy rays from his eyes, which he first uses against Kuririn's energy attack during their match in the 23rd Tenka'ichi Budōkai, then later against Goku in the finals, and again when he trains Gohan.
Piccolo can also perform the "Namekian Fusion" which he does with Nail on the distant planet Namek to confront Freeza and with Kami to confront the Androids as a super namek, each time greatly increased Piccolo's power level (the first time enough to clash toe-and-toe with Freeza's second form, and the latter he became much more powerful than an unmastered Super Saiyan.).
In other media
In Dragon Ball GT, Piccolo is severely injured by Gohan while he was possessed by Baby. Piccolo then sacrifices himself to put the Black Star Dragon Balls to rest and bring peace to the world. He goes to Heaven but then requests to be sent to Hell in order to free Goku when he is imprisoned there. He can be seen putting Hell in order and protecting the rulers there. In the final episode, Goku stops in Hell to see Piccolo. He tells Piccolo that he will be leaving and that they are glad they met and teamed up. Goku also tells Piccolo that he had become a good friend and promised to get him out of Hell someday. They shake hands and Goku leaves while Piccolo stays behind.
Piccolo has been in many Dragon Ball-related video games such as Super Butōden, the Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi series of games, as well as Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World and Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit. He is a playable character in some crossover games such as Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars.
Piccolo's character has received praise and criticism by publications for various media. Chris Beveridge from Mania Entertainment praised Piccolo's growth in Dragon Ball Z as one of the most important parts of the series, noting how he decides to train Gohan to fight Vegeta. Although Katherine Luther from About.com noted Piccolo to be one of the strongest warriors from his planet, she mentioned he has several weaknesses that make him weaker than other characters from the series, with his most notable one being his affection for Gohan. During a review of the Dragon Ball anime, Beveridge noted Piccolo to be able to perform a large number of abilities in contrast to other characters such as Goku, making the fight between both of them unbalanced. However, he found the said battle to be very entertaining despite it lasting several episodes. Tim Jones from THEM Anime Reviews found Piccolo's differences from Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z as one of the reasons the former show is recommendable to viewers over the later anime. While reviewing the fourth Dragon Ball Z film, Anime News Network writer Allen Drivers found Piccolo's initial scenes peacefully enough to entertain viewers. In a later film, John Sinnott from DVD Talk criticized Piccolo's involvement saying he appears "from out of no where" in order to fight alongside his friends giving the film little reasoning. Piccolo has appeared in various Anime Grand Prix polls, taking high places in the category "best male character" in 1990, 1991 and 1992 polls. Piccolo is a popular character in the series, in 2004 Japanese fans voted him the fifth most popular character.
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