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Characters / Dragon Ball - Piccolo

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Character subpage for Piccolo.

Piccolo (ピッコロ, Pikkoro)
Click here to see Piccolo without his weighted training clothes 
Voiced by (Japanese): Toshio Furukawa, Hiromi Tsuru (Kid Piccolo)
Voiced by (English): Scott McNeil (Ocean); Dan Woren (GT: Final Bout); Christopher Sabat (Funimation); Ethan Cole (Blue Water); Paul Bandey, David Gasman (Movie 1), Ed Marcus (The History of Trunks) (AB Groupe/"Big Green"); Raymond Buyco (Creative Products Corp., Philippines); Ray Chase (Bang Zoom!/Toonami Asia in Super)
Voiced by (Latin American Spanish): Carlos Segundo (current voice), Yamil Atala (Kid Piccolo), José Luis Castañeda (Z ep. 194 and Movie 3 and 8), Idzi Dutkiewicz (Kai)
Voiced by (Brazilian Portuguese): Luiz Antônio Lobue, Leonardo Camillo (Z episodes 1-6), Vagner Santos (Kai), Cássius Romero (movie 11)
Voiced by (French): Phillipe Ariotti
Voiced by (Italian): Alberto Olivero (Up to Super episode 30), Luca Ghignone

A Namekian (a race of green skinned aliens), though at the start this wasn't really known; he was the son/reincarnation of Piccolo Daimao (Demon King Piccolo in most dubs), whom Goku defeated in the original series. His exact relationship to Demon King Piccolo is unclear across many works; he has at multiple points been called a reincarnation of the old king, and at others his son. In any case, after being spat out as an egg and hatched, Piccolo tried to carry on his father's work under the brief title of Ma-Junior, but was defeated by Goku and allowed to live. As the series rolls into the Z material, his evil exterior softens due to training Son Gohan, and he eventually becomes a second father to the kind-hearted little boy during Goku's absence. The once feared Demon King eventually becomes one of Goku's most trusted allies, and incredibly popular among the fanbase.


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  • The Ace: The Nameless Namek, aka Piccolo and Kami. The Elder Namek called him a prodigy among the Namekians and Dragon Clan, which was why they sent him to Earth when the weather changed on Namek. When Krillin tells the Elder Namek that Piccolo was killed by a Saiyan, he asks if it was a Super Saiyan who did it. After reading Krillin's mind and learning that the Nameless Namek split into Piccolo and Kami, he says that if they were whole no ordinary Saiyan would have been able to kill him. Nail echoes these thoughts, telling Piccolo that if he had came whole he would have been stronger than Frieza. It is not until the Cell Saga that we finally see the power of Nameless Namek, and he doesn't disappoint. He's stronger than a Super Saiyan and Imperfect Cell, and is an even match for Androids 17 and 18. He also combines the battle experience and wit of Piccolo, and the godly knowledge and wisdom of Kami.
  • Achilles' Heel: Pre-fusion, if you want to kill him, kill Kami. Kami is nowhere near as powerful as Piccolo, and killing him would kill Piccolo along with him.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • He never actually defeats Frieza's second form in the manga - as soon as Piccolo throws his weights off, Frieza transforms straight away. In the anime, Piccolo gives him an extremely cathartic beating prior to the transformation.
    • In his Big Damn Heroes moment where he saves Goku from Frieza by sending the latter flying with one kick, he states in the manga that that was the best he could do. In the anime, he straight up charges into battle with Final-form Frieza to keep him distracted while Goku finishes the Spirit Bomb. He gets totally wrecked, but points for trying.
    • In the third example from the Frieza saga, Piccolo was Frieza's first target after surviving being hit with the Spirit Bomb, and gets shot through the chest before he knows what's happening. In the anime, Frieza aims for Goku first, and Piccolo shoves him out of the to take the bullet.
    • In yet another scene from the Frieza saga, when Vegeta picks a fight with Gohan in a Filler scene on Earth, Piccolo steps in and successfully intimidates Vegeta into backing off, despite the earlier implication that Vegeta was stronger than Piccolo thanks to being able to follow Frieza's movements in his final form.
    • In the manga Cell says that only Vegeta and Trunks were capable of defending themselves from the Cell Jrs but Piccolo isn't shown fighting them until Gohan snaps, where it's revealed that he is one of the only fighters still standing, along with Vegeta and Trunks. The anime runs with this and adds scenes to make Piccolo the one kicking the most ass against the Cell Jrs (and actually rallying and calling the shots for the heroes) until Gohan kills them.
    • Downplayed. In the Super manga, Piccolo could fight on par with Frost's final form, albeit while the latter was tired out by a previous fight. In the Super anime, Piccolo decided to use a fully charged Special Beam Cannon (which as seen in the fight with Raditz can multiply his Power Levels three-fold) to defeat Frost for sure.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Downplayed with Goku. The anime adds a few scenes to flesh out their friendship by either showing them enjoying themselves sparring or having Piccolo lament that he can't join Goku on the battlefield. They become friends in the manga after the Frieza saga, even spending three years training together to fight the Androids, but they're not shown to be Heterosexual Life-Partners like in the anime.
    • A few scenes in the movies and Filler make him out to be have a close friendship with Krillin. In the manga, they never really bond, and he straight up pretends to still be the Demon King Piccolo in one scene partway through the Cell arc to prove that he isn't friends with the other Z-Fighters.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Cell arc as a whole is this for Piccolo. He leads the Z-Fighters against the Androids, becomes whole with Kami, is the first one to meet Cell while also besting his Imperfect form (as well as fooling him into revealing his back story), gets a rivalry and what many consider is his best fight in Z with #17, and manages to hold his own against the Cell Jrs. It's also the only story arc where he isn't dead for a decent portion of the runtime.
  • Affably Evil: Before his permanent Heel–Face Turn in Z he showed signs that he wasn't the evil monster that his father was. When he's attacked by wolves as a child, he knocks them out rather than kill them, and the first thing we see him do as an adult is save a mother and her son from a falling clock tower. At the time it seemed like his beef was with Goku alone, and not humanity as a whole.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: He can often be seen patting Gohan's head when he was younger. One particular moment that stands out is during a flashback when Piccolo does this to a sleeping Gohan and promises that he won't let anything happen to him, cementing his Heel–Face Turn and Papa Wolf status towards Gohan.
  • The Ageless: Never addressed in the series, but Daizenshuu 2 reveals that he actually inherited his father's Dragon Ball wish that granted eternal youth, and thus won't age past his physical prime.
  • Always Second Best: He was once Goku's equal, if not a little weaker. The gap between them grew during the Saiyan Saga and widened greatly by the end of the Frieza Saga. Unlike most, however, he greatly surpasses Goku after he merges with Kami, becoming the strongest hero. He then permanently falls behind after Goku trains in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber for a year. He also has this relationship with all the adult Saiyans. He's far stronger than any of the humans, but can't catch up to the older Saiyans. At points, usually after Gohan hasn't trained for a while, He's stronger than Gohan, and even overpowers a Super Saiyan 2 Gohan after training for a while, but is overwhelmed when Gohan is finally able to re-unlock his "Potential Unleashed" ability again.
  • Alien Blood: Piccolo's blood was originally red in Dragon Ball and early episodes of DBZ (it was turned green in early episodes of the original dub), but after he was established as an alien, he is shown to have purple blood, like his fellow Nameks.
  • All for Nothing: Unfortunately, despite all of Piccolo's planning to stall and delay Buu, attempted mentorship of Goten, Trunks and Gotenks, and his gambit of trapping everyone in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, it all amounted to nothing with Buu killing everyone on Earth followed by destroying the Earth itself. Sure it was undone, but this is the cloest Earth has ever come to an apocalypse.
  • Aloof Ally: He really doesn't want to be friends with any of the Z Fighters, but he eventually grows into being a straight up ally. Although, as time goes on, this is downplayed and eventually he just starts hanging out with them. In the Battle of Gods (which is canon) he's even a guest at Bulma's birthday party — you can't really make any I Was Just Passing Through excuses at that point. He even (badly) sang Karaoke and is a sore loser at Bingo. He started warming up to the group as early as the Buu Saga where he took the invite to go to the World Tournament and allowed everyone to stay on the Lookout. He also showed real concern for Chi-Chi when she tried to attack Buu the first time.
  • And Then What?: Since losing the World Martial Arts Tournament at the end of Dragon Ball and having his plans for world domination foiled by Goku, Piccolo's goal has been killing Goku in the name of revenge. But after managing to kill both Goku and Raditz, he reflects that he got no satisfaction from Goku's death given the circumstances, and realizes that he has no idea what to do with his life now that Goku's gone. Training Gohan for the next year brings about Piccolo's Heel–Face Turn and a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Anti-Antichrist: He was originally spawned to be an emergency successor to his Demon King father/past life. That said, he pulls a Heel–Face Turn long after Demon King Piccolo's demise.
  • Anti-Hero: What he becomes after his Heel–Face Turn. At the start of Z, he only helps Goku fight off Raditz, and join forces with the other Z-Fighters to stop the remaining Saiyans because the Saiyans want to destroy the world, while he wants to conquer it. After he turns mostly good, he's still ruthless and has no qualms against killing his opponents instead of disabling them. This has mostly subsided after fusing with Kami, where he adopts his former good half's compassion and genuinely cares for the people of the Earth. However, he's still merciless towards his enemies, planning to kill Vegeta once he had finished with Frieza, and slicing Babidi in half. Although, he and the other Z-Fighters went out of their way to make sure they didn't kill any of Frieza's men in Resurrection 'F'.
  • Anti-Villain: In early Dragon Ball Z, he's only helping out due to an Enemy Mine situation and is happy to kill both Goku and their opponent in one shot. He still attempts to play this trope up until the Android Saga. No one buys it.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Before his Heel–Face Turn, he and Goku were bitter enemies. Goku hated his father for killing his friends, and he hated Goku for killing his father. When Raditz arrives, they are forced to team-up in order to have even a remote chance of winning. However, it's spending time with Goku's son, Gohan, and acting as a surrogate father that truly erased their hatred with each other and in the Frieza Saga they're good friends.
    • He saw Frieza as this since he slaughtered his people on Namek and specifically ask to be wished to his home world to join the battle. Frieza himself just sees Piccolo as another upstart Namekian.
    • After merging with Kami, Piccolo adopts the former God's compassion, and holds a vendetta against Cell for absorbing so many people. He personally tried to chase him down, and spends a long time hunting the Bio-android. Even after Cell completely surpassed him, Piccolo still wanted to fight him. Cell doesn't feel the same way, and considers Piccolo little more than an annoying road-block at best.
  • Archnemesis Dad: In every continuity he meets King Piccolo in (Mostly video games ) he really don't like him at all. When King Piccolo proposes both of them to fuse, Piccolo mocks his father and finds the idea ridiculous. In Super Sonic Warrior he fuses with him to get a power boost after beating him into submission.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: His Special Beam Cannon can pierce through foes whose raw strength would ordinarily block ki attacks, provided he's given enough time to charge it.
  • The Artifact: His Light of Death ("Makankousappo" in Japanese and "Special Beam Cannon" in the Funimation dub) technique. In expanded universe material like anime filler (including the Super anime), movies, and video games, he always uses one arm and two fingers to charge the beam. In the manga, where he used this technique a grand total of twice, he only did it that way because Raditz had blown off his arm; he outright says that it's meant to be done with two hands and that it would take far less time to charge with both arms. He seems to use it that way against Nappa. It's justified in one use in Super however, as during Piccolo's fight against Frost, he uses one arm to charge while using the other arm to restrain his opponent so they couldn't dodge it, which was a flaw the attack had previously.
  • Asexuality: He expresses not understanding romance, but also in the literal biological sense. Entirely justified, as Namekians are a One-Gender Race that reproduce asexually.
  • The Atoner: Of a sort. He never expresses regret over his past actions, but definitely works off his bad karma. He did, however, show concern and fear when he hears that Babidi can control people through the evil in ones' heart. He even yells at Krillin when he brings up that he used to be the Demon King. At the very least, he's not proud of his past.
  • Avenging the Villain: Well, technically himself, since he's the reincarnation/son of King Piccolo.
  • Ax-Crazy: During the original series as a villain, he was very psychotic and sadistic when fighting Goku. Before then, he was quite calm and even polite to the people he was fighting.
  • Back for the Dead: Piccolo plays no real role in GT until his Heroic Sacrifice happens, nor does he have any focus beforehand.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: He's prone to these.
  • Badass Baritone: Has one of the deepest voices in the series, and the skill to match
  • Badass and Child Duo: Him and Gohan. They fought by each other side in the Saiyan Saga and during the battle against Frieza.
  • Badass Cape: Part of his default outfit is a weighted cape.
  • Badass in Distress:
    • He is nearly killed by Frieza's third form and had to be saved by Gohan and healed by Dende.
    • Later, he is mortally wounded by Frieza and has to be flown to safety by Gohan.
    • He gets caught by Android 20 and has his energy slowly drained. He can't call for help since his mouth is covered, so he sends a mental distress call to Gohan, who smacks 20 upside his head.
    • He is absorbed by Buu along with Gotenks and had to be rescued by Goku and Vegeta.
  • Badass Teacher: His training has toughened Gohan up, helping him become a heroic warrior.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: He wears a turban.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Although Goku beats him at first, Piccolo finally gets the chance to avenge his father/himself when he kills Goku in order to kill Raditz. Granted, the objective wasn't revenge but that was the effect.
  • Bald of Awesome: Piccolo is hairless and is one of the more powerful non-Saiyan heroes.
  • Bald of Evil: Before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: It is Gohan's innocence and kindness towards him that triggers his Heel–Face Turn. As he puts it, Gohan was the first one to treat him decently.
  • Berserk Button: Piccolo hates when people bring up the fact that he was a demon king in the past. He yells at Krillin for doing so.
  • Big Bad: Piccolos Jr. took over from his father and serves as the Final Boss of the original series.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • His Heroes' Frontier Step involves pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save the life of his most hated enemy's son.
    • He pulls one again in the Frieza Saga when he arrives to save the team from Frieza (in his second form). What follows is a very cathartic beating of the sort that Frieze had been completely immune to until this point. The only reason it's not The Cavalry is because we've actually been following Piccolo in a B–plot until he arrives — which actually adds to the sense of accomplishment when he completely trounces Frieza (temporarily).
    • He does this with Goku, saving him from Frieza when he's about to put a hole in his heart. He also tries to pull this when Goku is getting his energy drained by Android 19. He isn't happy that Vegeta interfered.
    • He chews Goku out for not doing this against Cell when he's basically torturing Gohan, and was about to perform another one until Cell decided to stop and steal the Senzu.
  • Big Good: Sometimes, specifically after he merged with Kami. He shows greater concern for Earth and its people, and joins Dende and Mr. Popo on the lookout. He also takes over training Goten and Trunks after Goku returns to the afterlife.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Piccolo is a Namekian, an alien race modeled after slugs. They have visible musculature, antennas, the ability to regrow pretty much anything so long as their heads are intact, and green skin (the muscles are pink, pale yellow in the manga). They also reproduce asexually and are universally male in terms of personality.
  • Blood Knight: He's subtle about it compared to the Saiyans, but he is this trope. He wanted to fight Frieza not only for revenge, but because he wanted to test himself against the person called the strongest in the universe. He went against Bulma's plan to stop the androids early, despite being the most logical thinker in the group, and he really does enjoy sparring with Goku and Gohan. He mellows quite a bit after merging with Kami, so this aspect of his personality is Down Played. He still enjoys a good fight, given the huge smile he had on his face while fighting Frieza's men in Resurrection 'F' and he looks forward the Tournament of Power even after hearing about the universe destruction rule.
  • Born Winner: Much like the Saiyans, the Namekians are born winners with their larger than average battle power along with their mystical talents like some being able to heal, awakening others' hidden powers, and create Dragon Balls. However, the Nameless Namek is a winner even among them. He's called a prodigy among his race and is said to be strong enough to challenge a Super Saiyan and beat Frieza, according to the Elder Namek and Nail. After training for years after re-fusing with Kami, he's easily more powerful than Super Saiyan Goten and Trunks and holds his own while fighting one-handed against Frost while only able to fight one-handed due to charging his Special Beam Cannon. Frost only wins through cheating, notably.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Subverted. Piccolo seems like he's one of Garlic Jr.'s brainwashed minions in his filler arc, but the reality is he never succumbed to it and simply bought his time until he could successfully ruin the demon's plans.
  • Breakout Character: Piccolo is a fan favorite among the main cast. The fact he is the only non-Saiyan Z-fighter who stays useful in combat for the longest, really shows how much Popularity Power he has garnered.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu:
    • With Goku's help he fights against Raditz, and has his arm blasted off in the process. They manage to defeat the Saiyan, only to learn that two even more powerful Saiyans are now coming to Earth, and they know about the Dragon Balls thanks to Piccolo's bragging about Goku's eventual revival.
    • He is able to fight Frieza's second form to a stand-still and seems to have a chance at winning. Then Frieza transforms, and easily beats and tortures him.
    • Piccolo fights Imperfect Cell despite being tired from fighting Android 17 to keep him from absorbing the androids. He gets his neck broken and a hole blown through his chest before being tossed into the ocean. 17 is soon absorbed and 18 follows not long afterwards.
    • He pulls a gambit on Super Buu, trapping him inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Super Buu soon escapes, not only trapping Gotenks and him inside the Time Chamber, but Buu is given free reign of the Lookout. By the time they escaped, Buu ate everyone.
  • Brutal Honesty:
  • Butt-Monkey: Although not to a gratuitous extent, Piccolo is subject to, or at least involved in, a lot more jokes in the Super era, likely owing to his status as The Comically Serious being an excellent vehicle for humour. Since becoming Gohan and Videl's on-call babysitter, many other characters don't take him seriously anymore — when he tries to explain the Mafuba technique to Goku, he gets cut off and ignored. Most notably, Piccolo's rather humiliating elimination in the Tournament of Power happens the same way in both the anime and manga versions of the story, likely meaning that it was specifically written in Akira Toriyama's outline for Super.
  • Byronic Hero: Considering he was born to up to kill Goku and conquer the Earth, before being forced to team up with the heroes. He has a very serious, melancholic outlook on life. After fusing with Kami he also becomes very noble with very strong morals, even further fits this trope.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: In Dragon Ball, he used the word evil to describe his actions, and in early Z, he got angry at Gohan for telling him that he's nowhere near as evil as his father.
  • Came Back Strong: After being killed by Nappa, he went to train under King Kai with the other fallen Earth warriors. After he is wished back to life, he went from being outclassed by the Saiyans to fighting almost evenly with Frieza's second form. Merging with Nail also helped.
  • Can't Catch Up: Played with; Piccolo lasted the longest out of all of the non-Saiyans, remaining the third most powerful hero all the way until Semi-Perfect Cell was born. His year in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber did result in enough improvement to receive praise from Goku and allow him to stand up to the Cell Jr. onslaught before Gohan intervened being the only one able to stand up to them other than Vegeta and Future Trunks. By the Buu saga, when the three main Saiyans have all unlocked Super Saiyan 2 and gotten even stronger than they were at the Cell Games, Piccolo's role shifts to that of a mentor (again) and his role is to finish teaching Goten and Trunks the Fusion Dance. In Super, due to Gohan neglecting his training, he seems to be more powerful than him. After training with Gohan for a while, he was even able to overpower Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. Gohan became stronger than him once again, once he regains his Ultimate form.
  • The Cavalry: Piccolo swooping in out of nowhere to rescue Gohan is so prevalent in the movies that the tenth finally tosses it a Lampshade Hanging: this time, Krillin is the one who rescues Gohan... while dressed up as Piccolo.
  • Characterization Marches On: Piccolo Jr. was a cackling, raving psychopath in the 23rd World Martial Arts saga, often prone to shouting and Slasher Smiles. In the following saga (the beginning of Z), he's suddenly much more composed, being a brooding loner, and only occasionally gives a Psychotic Smirk.
    • However, it should be noted that during the 23rd World Martial Arts saga, he was only three years old. By the beginning of Z, he had more than doubled in age.
    • While Piccolo was always quite intelligent, in the early arcs was prone to rash and impulsive behavior despite his stoicism. However after merging with Kami he firmly becomes The Smart Guy and is very tactical in all his actions, such as how he tricks Cell into revealing who he is.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dips into this at times, such as when he's chewing Goku out for pitting Gohan against Cell and Gohan has been seemingly killed:
    Piccolo: Your son's dead, Goku! He's DEAAAAADDDDD!!
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: His Great Namek form, which he uses against Goku in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. While it does increase his strength and durability quite a bit, according to Goku, the form doesn't actually increase Piccolo's Power Level and essentially just makes him a bigger target.
  • The Coats Are Off: When Piccolo removes his weighted cape, some poor fool's getting a major beat down!
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: During the Piccolo Jr. Saga, Piccolo put Goku through a torture session so brutal and horrific it would make Frieza proud. First, he blasts a hole the size of a fist through Goku's shoulder with a Breath Weapon, aggravates the wound by stomping on it and ramming his elbow into it, and then breaks both of Goku's legs and takes out his other arm with an energy beam. It's easily one of the bloodiest and most horrifying moments in the series.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • When Goku lowered his guard after he thinks he defeated Piccolo during the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament, Piccolo blast a hole through Goku's shoulder. When he knocks Goku down again, he breaks both of his legs and nearly saw off Goku's usable arm, rendering him immobile. He only fails to kill Goku because he didn't know Goku could fly.
    • When he's fighting against the Saiyans he has no reservations about fighting them 2 on 1 or 5 on 1. He also comes up with a plan to grab Nappa's tail and have Gohan blast him while he's disable.
    • During the battle against Frieza, Piccolo blindsides Frieza with a kick to the face while he's distracted with Goku.
    • With all hope seemingly lost, Piccolo attacks Cell with everything he has while he's in his Beam-O-War against Gohan.
  • Combo Platter Powers: At the end of the original Dragon Ball, he was easily one of the most powerful people on the planet, and demonstrated the rare-at-the-time ability to fly and could shoot ki blasts with ease (the only other people who could do this nearly as much was his father and Goku, who relied more exclusively on physical ability). He also demonstrated some other unusual abilities that haven't been seen very widely since, like stretching arms, growing huge, and regenerating limbs almost instantly.
  • The Comically Serious: Sometimes. Especially when the other characters (particularly Goku, Goten, and Trunks) are goofing off.
  • The Corrupter: In the Japanese text, Piccolo humors twisting Gohan into his image and turning him against his father. The opposite ended up happening.
  • Determinator: He'll train as the only thing in years if he has to, to become stronger than his opponent. He'd never back down once a fight has started either. The only time Piccolo ever gave up was when he was about to battle Supreme Kai. A good example of his determination is in the Garlic Jr. Saga, where he just keeps getting up from Garlic Jr's beatings, and while he may have been down on the ground for some time, it was only to heal himself so that he could fight him again.
  • Dead Guy Junior: His father was named King Piccolo.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To Gotenks and Goku during their bonehead moments. He also snarks at Krillin when he's being especially whiny.
  • Death by Adaptation: Piccolo dies protecting Gohan in the Resurrection 'F' Saga in Super when none of the heroes died in the movie the arc it is based on. Of course, since Death Is Cheap in the Dragon Ball universe, he's resurrected by the Dragon Balls as soon as Frieza is dealt with.
  • Death by Irony: He dies the first time saving the child of his sworn enemy, something Piccolo himself lampshades.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Piccolo is one of the key viewpoint characters in the Saiyan saga until his death roughly halfway through.
  • Defeat Means Respect: He respects Goku a lot more after he defeated him during the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Years after his defeat from Goku, he hated the man, although he learned to respect him more. It took an Enemy Mine situation and Goku pulling a Heroic Sacrifice before he saw Goku in a friendly light.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • He gets this in terms of screen time for the Freeza arc. After spending the first half dead, he only gets a brief tussle with Freeza's second form where he doesn't even use any of his signature attacks, before being quickly outclassed and sidelined for the rest of the story barring a Big Damn Heroes moment where he saves Goku from being killed. Then he's shot through the chest and spends most of the Final Battle unconscious.
    • Subverted in the Buu Saga. He doesn't engage in active combat, but he remained in the mentor role for Trunks and Goten, made use of the intelligence he inherited from Kami to act as a Guile Hero to distract Super Buu, and was on the battlefield with them right until Buu absorbed him. He has significantly more screen time in the Buu Saga than the Frieza Saga and contributes much more to the plot, even if he never gets to fight anyone (well, unless you count Dabura spitting on him).
    • He along with almost the entire cast outside of Goku and Pan in GT. Although, unlike most, he is given some story importance such as sacrificing himself to prevent the Black Star Dragon Balls from returning and helping Goku escape from Hell.
    • Subverted in Dragon Ball Super's tournament arcs (both anime and manga) since he was a member of the Universe 7 team, along with Goku, Vegeta, and Buu, against Champa's Universe 6 team and one of the team members in the Universe Survival arc. He gets some eliminations (including, in the manga, the World's Strongest Man of Universe 9) and substantial interactions with Gohan before being tossed aside. He does have a small, but important role in the anime version of the Future Trunks saga, with him teaching Bulma how to do the Mafuba through her phone, which greatly helped Trunks, but this is played straight in the manga version, where Piccolo doesn't appear at all.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • He thought he had Goku dead to rights after he broke his legs and disabled both of his arms. He never suspected that Goku learned how to fly.
    • He comes up with the perfect plan to grab Nappa's tail and disable him so Gohan can blast him. What he didn't see coming was Nappa being immune to his tail being grabbed.
    • Piccolo had Cell on the ropes and was poised to finish him. He is literally blindsided with a Solar Flare that allow Cell to escape.
    • He tries to buy time for Goten and Trunks to train by telling Buu that he can't fight them until he kills everyone on Earth. While Piccolo expected Buu to fly across the world and personally kill every last human himself, Buu instead uses a Beam Spam attack to wipe out every last human on Earth in the span of a few minutes, without even leaving the Lookout as he did.
    • Piccolo traps Buu, Gotenks, and himself in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Not even a being like Buu can escape. Buu escape by screaming and shattering the dimensional barrier, something he didn't think was possible.
    • Although he was suspicious when Buu challenged Gotenks to a duel instead of fighting Gohan, he was caught off-guard when a piece of Buu absorbed him.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • His first fight with Goku at the 23rd Budokai is basically just one long series of Piccolo pulling out a new technique, Goku explaining its glaring weakness, and then repeatedly punching Piccolo in the face. His blunders include nailing himself with his own guided beam, wasting all his energy on an extremely inefficient omnidirectional attack that doesn't faze Goku at all (really messes up the island, though), and turning into a giant after Goku taunts him, which allows Goku to smack him around and free Kami from his stomach.
    • When he first meets Raditz, he somehow forgets to sense his opponent's ki. As a result he arrogantly talks down to someone way stronger than him and then attacks him, only for Raditz to pull a No-Sell. He's extremely lucky that Raditz deemed him Not Worth Killing. Later, during their fight with Raditz, Piccolo's plan of firing his Special Beam Cannon with Goku as a distraction completely neglects actually immobilizing Raditz, so the first time he fires it, Raditz just easily leaps out of the way. When Goku independently comes up with the idea to put him in a full-nelson after Gohan lands a good sneak attack on him, Piccolo just looks confused until Goku yells at him to hurry up and charge another beam.
    • When Nappa plants the Saibamen, Piccolo gets angry with the Saiyans for wasting his time and decides to wipe them all out instantly. It takes Krillin pointing out that the whole reason they're there is to stall for time to get him to back down. Had he actually gotten his wish everyone would have died long before Goku got there.
    • His first plan to take down Nappa requires Gohan to unleash his full power at one decisive moment, even though Gohan has never been able to do that at will at this point and is a child without any battle instincts. It doesn't work. Piccolo himself later states he was stupid for thinking it would. His second plan involves trying to grab Nappa's tail, even though Goku outright told him during the fight with Raditz that a Saiyan could detach their tail if they needed to, and that he himself (despite having much less battle experience than Nappa) trained his tail to not be a weakness when he was only a child. Piccolo still puts all of his stock in the tail plan, grabs Nappa's tail... only for Nappa to laugh at him for thinking that would work and knock him out with an elbow to the face.
    • He demands that Gohan wish him to Namek, despite Krillin's objections (since if Piccolo died the Dragon Balls would turn into stone and the whole trip would be pointless), because he thinks two weeks of training on King Kai's world have made him strong enough to defeat Freeza. When he gets there and senses Freeza's ki, he immediately realizes that no, it didn't, and wonders why he thought that it would. He's damn lucky that Nail just so happened to be near where he spawned to offer a convenient power-up, or else Piccolo would have ruined everything right there.
    • He agrees with Vegeta that they should let Gero create his androids instead of killing him because his Blood Knight pride requires he fight them (Goku at least had the "justification" that Gero hadn't done anything wrong yet). Despite Trunks (who is way stronger than Piccolo) explicitly telling Piccolo that these androids would massacre them.
    • He toys excessively in his fight with Dr. Gero, allowing him to escape despite Piccolo's drastic power advantage. It gets to the point that Vegeta, no stranger to toying and boasting himself, gets sick of it and just tells Piccolo to finish him off before he pulls out a trick.
    • Even after merging with Kami, he has his moments. For example, after a fairly clever Wounded Gazelle Gambit to get Cell to exposit his backstory, Piccolo immediately blows his cover, credits the plan to Kami, and screws it all up to brag. In the process he teaches Cell about his regeneration and gives him a chance to escape.
    • Later, he decides to fight Android 17, hoping to destroy either him or Android 18 to prevent Cell from absorbing them to power up. A good plan... except Piccolo forgot to take into account that Cell can sense Ki. The sudden rise in Piccolo's Power Level immediately tips Cell off that he's fighting the Androids, since no one else would make him fight so hard; rather than prevent Cell from finding Androids 17 and 18, Piccolo ends up leading him right to them.
    • Throughout the manga-exclusive Galactic Patrol Prisoner arc, Piccolo's competency has taken a sharp, noticeable downturn as he repeatedly makes amateurish mistakes. He spares the Macereni Gang after falling for their obvious Wounded Gazelle Gambit and failing to adequately press his suspicions that their arrival on Earth might have something to do with the conflict he sensed in space, a mistake that endangers Earth by drawing Moro's more powerful henchmen to the planet. If Piccolo had remembered his telepathy, none of this would have happened. Later, he gets distracted and leaves himself open to Seventhree's power copying ability that Jaco had warned him about seconds prior, something that even Piccolo admits is sloppy. When even Jaco is calling you out on your blunders, you know you done goofed.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?:
    • Deconstructed. When Super Buu shows up at the Lookout demanding to see the strong fighter Goku promised him (Gotenks), Piccolo, in a desperate attempt to stall for time, suggests that Buu amuse himself by terrorizing the people of Earth, knowing they can be revived with the Dragon Balls; since there were still hundreds of people left on Earth despite Buu's previous rampage, Piccolo believed it would take at least a few hours for Super Buu to terrorize them all. Instead, Buu uses a Beam Spam to kill every last human on Earth in only a few minutes, without even bothering to leave Kami's Lookout to do so. The deconstruction comes in when one considers the realistic aspects of "Cthulhu" in this case note . Buu is an eldritch being of immense power. Even if Piccolo were talking to a human that had a finger on a nuke button, it wouldn't be this bad; the Saiyans would not be this bad. With Buu, yes, he really could do that.
    • He has a more successful attempt afterwards where he buys time for Goten and Trunks in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, taking Buu the long route for several minutes so that the young Saiyans could rest. Buu does catch onto it eventually, but by then Piccolo has already stalled for long enough.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: He's the last villain Goku faces before the latter two thirds of the series.
  • Ditzy Genius: While Piccolo is easily the smartest of the Z-Fighters and a good tactical genius, several of his battle plans fail because he overlooks glaring flaws in them and doesn't notice until it's too late for him to do anything about it. For example, when fighting Raditz, he breaks out the Special Beam Cannon to take him down, but fails the first time because he didn't actually think to immobilize him beforehand.
  • Doting Parent:
    • It took a while, but he eventually becomes very gentle and kind towards his surrogate child, Gohan, that one tends to forget that he was ever a Demon King.
    • In Resurrection F, Piccolo was so cold in his babysitting of Pan that he rocked her cradle with his foot. This also initially seems to be the case in the Dragon Ball Super adaptation; but after making sure nobody was watching, he starts to affectionately play "peek a boo" with his foster granddaughter, causing the baby girl to laugh with delight. That's right; Demon King Piccolo, the Satan of the Dragon-World, is now a goofy and loving grandfather, and it's a positively adorable sight.
    • A later Super episode had revealed him to be Pan's usual babysitter, to the point that she can say his name (in a baby's way). He knows her favorite foods down to preparation details (amazing considering he's from a race that subsists on water), where her books and toys are, that she's scared of strangers, and that she cries when anyone but him holds her (at least until Goku does). When Goku at first starts play-flying with Pan, Piccolo visibly freaks out until he sees that she is enjoying it, and when she goes missing he yells at Goku and Chi-Chi for taking their eyes off of her. He even seems rather proud that he's able to so efficiently care for her.
  • Dub Name Change: In many, many countries, he's known as Satan, Satan Jr, Young Satan, Satan's Little Heart/Little-hearted Satan, Junior, or some variation of those names. He's also quite infamously known as Big Green in the AB Groupe dub, which is why that particular dub is given the Fan Nickname of "the Big Green dub".
  • Eating Optional: Namekians can survive on water alone, but Piccolo is often seen eating solid food.
  • Easily Forgiven: By the people of Earth. During the 23rd Budokai, he openly announces that he is the reincarnation of King Piccolo and intends on conquering the world again, causing the whole audience to flee the stadium in terror. But then he is recognized when attending the Cell Games, fighting for Earth, and as a result he is welcomed back to the 25th Budokai by everyone without any reservation beyond a mild request from the referee that he not destroy the ring this time around.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Prior to his Heel–Face Turn in Z, he's visibly disgusted when Vegeta ruthlessly kills one of the Saibamen for losing to Tien; considering that his father/past life, King Piccolo, was A Father to His Men, it makes sense.
    • Before then, he's offended when Bulma and the others accuse him of wanting to eat Gohan when he takes him to train. This probably has more to do with the fact that as a Namekian, he doesn't eat and only needs to survive on water.
  • Enemy Mine: Was forced to team up with Goku when Raditz arrived, and later all the Z-Fighters to fight the Saiyans.
  • Enemy Without: Initially with Kami, but they merge again, though by that time, he was a better person.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Before their Odd Friendship forms, Vegeta and Piccolo may not like or even trust one another, but Piccolo is both frustrated and disturbed by what happens to Vegeta when it turns out the saiyan has no chance.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • He was this to Kami before Character Development hit. By the time he rejoined with Kami, there was no evil left in his heart.
    • To Goku in Dragon Ball, just like his daddy. They have similar backstories and were influenced by their time living with humans. Piccolo and his father got the worst aspects of humanity, while Goku got the best. This is eventually Subverted once Piccolo takes in Gohan and the good aspects of humanity change his heart.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Goodness gracious was he...In his debut as a villain towards the end of Dragon Ball he was rather over the top and prone to giving classic villainous monologues and psychotic laughs (see below) which is a stark contrast to how he was in Dragon Ball even before obtaining Kami's wisdom.
  • Evil Laugh: Prior Heel–Face Turn, he did this a lot, but after it's very rare.
  • Evil vs. Oblivion: His reason for teaming up with Goku in the Saiyan Saga was because he didn't wish for the Earth to be destroyed before he could conquer it.
  • Ex-Big Bad: Piccolo is the Big Bad and Final Boss of Dragon Ball, but in the Sequel Series, Dragon Ball Z, he reforms under Son Goku's influence and joins the good guys full-time, fighting a slew of new Big Bads alongside them.
  • Family Theme Naming: All King Piccolo's children (Tambourine, Drum, Cymbal, Piano, Piccolo Jr.) are all named after musical instruments.
  • Fantastic Racism: Before his Heel–Face Turn Piccolo saw humans as an inferior species meant to rule and kill at his leisure, much like his father and brothers. The only 'human' he had any respect for was Goku and even in that case he called Goku inhuman before learning about his origins. Even after becoming good, he still didn't have a high opinion of humans, often calling them fragile and weak. It isn't until he merged with Kami that he drops this aspect of his personality.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Performs this in GT. See his Heroic Sacrifice entry below.
  • Final Boss: Of the anime Dragon Ball. He is the final opponent Goku's fights before the anime ends.
  • Finger Gun: His signature Special Beam Cannon/Makankousappou.
  • Foil: On top of being an Evil Counterpart to Goku, at least initially, he is also this. Piccolo is cold and dispassionate, while Goku is fun loving and can be quite emotional when angry or upset. Piccolo is an extremely intelligent Genius Bruiser, while Goku is an Idiot Hero. Piccolo is the responsible one where Goku can be quite irresponsible even when the fate of the world is at stake. Their roles are slightly reverse during the Buu Saga. Piccolo was willing to give himself to Babidi so Buu would stop slaughtering cities. It was Goku who was rational and pointed out that Piccolo sacrificing himself wouldn't help anyone in the long run. It should also be noted that, initially at least, they were both amnesiac aliens that believed they were something else. However, Goku came from a planet of hyperviolent, barbaric Space Pirates, yet ended up being a good person who believed he was human, whereas Piccolo came from a race of peaceful aliens, yet (again, initially) ended up being an evil person who believed he was a demon.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: In the original manga. In the anime, he has a full five digits.
  • Fusion Dance: Merges with two other Namekians throughout the series (Nail and Kami). Even though both of them assure him his personality won't change, there are still subtle differences. Both fusions seemingly made Piccolo more compassionate and heroic.

  • Genius Bruiser: He's easily the smartest of the Z-Fighters, especially after merging with Kami, and after Vegeta shows up and Gohan comes into his own he's often the fourth or fifth strongest. For a short time, he was the strongest in the group. His intelligence was the reason Buu decided to absorb him, rather than merely eating him.
  • Genetic Memory: A minor case; his choice of abode and fashion sense is similar to the landscape and clothes found on Namek. Upon arrival on Namek, Krillin noted the similarity between the landscape and Piccolo's home, suggesting that his choice was due to a deep-seated instinct.
  • Godzilla Threshold: He despises the idea of merging with Kami to the point that he says he wouldn't do it even to fight Frieza. However, once the androids prove too much for him, he swallows his pride and goes to Kami's Lookout to become the Nameless Namek once again.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Piccolo is much more pragmatic about dealing enemies than most of the cast, even saying that he isn't soft like Goku. He's also distant to the group. He loses some of this after merging with Kami, but he still the most ruthless in the group next to Vegeta.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: He loses his arms. A lot. He also got his neck snapped by Cell and a hole blown through his chest and lived to tell about it.
  • Green and Mean: Prior to his Heel–Face Turn. Even after converting to good, he still didn't entirely think much of his allies outside the Son family, until he fused with Kami.
  • Guile Hero: Piccolo is very wise, cunning, and strategic in battle throughout the series. Manipulating the likes of Nappa, Cell, and Majin Buu when it seems they have the upper hand against him. He becomes even wiser after merging back with Kami:
    • In the battle against the Saiyans, he comes up with all the strategies to try to take down Nappa. He pulls an almost successful three-way combo attack using Krillin and Gohan that only fails because Gohan chickened out at the last second. His next plan was to grab Nappa's tail using Krillin as a distraction, and having Gohan blast him. It works perfectly and he has Nappa by the tail and Gohan pose to attack, only to fail because Nappa had trained his tail.
    • After Cell manages to disable one of his arms, Piccolo acts more hurt than he is so he can get Cell to lower his guard and tell him who he is. After Piccolo gets all the information he needs, he rips his damaged arm off and he regrows a new one. The ploy also gave him time to restore his strength. Unfortunately, it also lets Cell know that he can regenerate too since he has Piccolo's cells.
    • He's at his absolute best in the Buu arc, where he is FAR outclassed in power by even the Starter Villain and has to use his mind to get by. First he tries to manipulate Super Buu, telling him that he can't fight Gotenks until he kills all the people on Earth. This backfires spectacularly and Buu kills all the humans with one attack (though Piccolo had no way of knowing that Buu possessed the combination of Super Senses and Super Intelligence necessary to do such a thing). Even then, he manages to make Buu wait half an hour while Goten and Trunks train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, by pointing to Videl and telling him she wants him to wait, correctly guessing that Mr. Satan is still something of a Morality Pet to Buu. When Buu becomes impatient, he makes Buu go the long way to the chamber to buy the kids as much time as possible; even though he has to cut it short when Buu catches on to what he's doing, those few minutes were still irreplaceable. Right before entering the chamber, he tries one last attempt to buy time by offering Buu food, though Buu No Sell's this and correctly points out that Piccolo is stalling. He then has Buu fight in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber since if Gotenks proves unable to beat Buu, he can blow up the door, trapping Buu in another dimension forever. After this fails, he coaches Gotenks through the battle with Super Buu, pointing out Buu's mental weaknesses and urging Gotenks to keep his guard up and attack aggressively; this doesn't work either, as Buu outlasts Gotenks' Super Saiyan 3, but it's likely because of Piccolo that Gotenks was able to get as far as he did. Finally, he opts to take Mr. Satan with him for the next confrontation with Buu despite Trunks' objections because he has "the heart of a hero" and thinks his influence on Buu might prove useful later. This is ultimately shown to be true when Mr. Satan gets Kid Buu to expel Fat Buu, resulting in the latter fighting his evil half and buying the heroes valuable time in the final battle. Super Buu is so impressed by Piccolo that he chooses to absorb him for his intelligence.
    • In Super, when he is matched up against Frost during the inter-universal tournament, he realizes from the start that he's severely outclassed in terms of strength. Therefore he focuses on limiting Frost's movement and putting all of his power into a single, concentrated attack powerful enough to win in one blow. It almost worked, if Frost hadn't cheated.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Prior Heel–Face Turn, a lot could get him mad, now it's a subtle Berserk Button, unless you mess with Gohan.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Started out as the Demon King reborn. Wound up being the only non-Saiyan who can even help Goku in a fight.
  • Hell Has New Management: In GT, he sacrifices himself to put an end to the Black Star Dragon Balls. During the Super 17 Saga, he deliberately gets himself sent to Hell in order to help Goku, who was trapped there by Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu, escape. In the final episode, he's seen bringing order to the endless chaos and protecting Hell's leaders, becoming more of an authority figure than they ever were.
  • Hermaphrodite: Word of God says that Namekians are hermaphrodites that possess physiques similar to those of human males.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: Piccolo completes his Heel–Face Turn when he shields Gohan from a fatal energy blast from Nappa. Piccolo even lampshades this, saying that the demon king dies protecting a helpless child. If that isn't enough, the anime gives him another moment. He shields Goku from a fatal Death Beam from Frieza, despite knowing his death will kill Kami and the Dragon Balls again.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • He died protecting Gohan during the Vegeta Saga. In GT, he stays with the exploding Earth to keep the Black Star Dragon Balls from being used again.
    • He almost pulled another one in the anime when he pushed Goku out of the way of Frieza's Death Beam.
    • In Dragon Ball Super he takes an energy blast to the chest from Frieza to save Gohan's life.
  • Hero Killer: Although completely willing on Goku's part, Piccolo kills his long time rival with his Special Beam Cannon.
  • Hero on Hiatus: He sits out the second half of the Saiyan arc and the first half of the Freeza arc after being killed by Nappa. Makes up for it with A Day in the Limelight for the Cell arc.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Becomes this with Goku over the course of Z. They come to truly respect each other as both fighters and people. When Goku has to return to the afterlife, he puts his trust in Piccolo to train Goten and Trunks. This is much more pronounced in the anime, which adds a lot of scenes developing their friendship.
    • He's also this with Gohan, in a Parental Substitute kind of way.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Until Gohan was able to find it during the time they spent together. In the Android Saga, Piccolo lashes out at Krillin when he says that they are friends and even fires a Ki blast at him, stating that he only works with them to get closer to his own plans of World Domination, but when he flies off to fuse with Kami, the latter states that he feels the evil within is heart is all but faded away.
  • History Repeats: In Super, Piccolo lies down his life to shield Gohan from an enemy's attack, just like he did against Nappa way back in the Saiyan Saga.
  • Honorary Uncle:
    • He ends up raising Gohan after Goku's first death. Early in the series, Gohan tells Piccolo he thought of him as his "big green uncle", to which Piccolo doesn't take lightly at the time. Though eventually Piccolo forms a very close bond with the boy and comes to think of him as the son he never had.
    • As he effectively became Gohan's foster father, he's pretty much Pan's foster grandfather and spends quite a bit of time taking care of her. While he was initially distant and awkward in that particular task, he quickly starts acting in a much more typically grandfatherly fashion.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: "Pathetic... to think that Demon King Piccolo would fall... protecting a child... I have been.... contaminated... by you... and your father's decency... Gohan."
  • Hypocrite: In the Cell Saga, he gives Goku a What the Hell, Hero? speech over his decision to throw Gohan into battle with Cell, pointing out that Gohan doesn't share Goku's Blood Knight attitude and is Just a Kid. While he makes a valid point, Piccolo himself did just that during the Saiyan Saga, putting Gohan through Training from Hell for a year and angrily chewing him out for failing to follow through with a team attack on Nappa. On top of that, while Gohan was nine when Goku pitted him against Cell (eleven in the dub), Piccolo did all of the above to Gohan when he was only four, with Krillin having to point out that Gohan was just a child, had never been in a real battle before then, and shouldn't even be fighting in the first place. Though, to be fair, this was before Piccolo's Heel–Face Turn when he was a villain in an Enemy Mine position, and he may have learned from his mistake.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: Going on from Hypocrite above, despite having done something similar to Gohan during the Saiyan Saga, Piccolo is nonetheless right about the flaws in Goku's plan, especially since Goku never once bothered to tell anyone about his plan to beat Cell until the minute he throws Gohan into the ring. Gohan may have been the only one strong enough to beat Cell, but he isn't mentally ready for the responsibility, doesn't share Goku's love for battle or even want to fight, and finds no pleasure in being beaten senseless by Cell while his father simply stands there and watches it happen; Goku immediately has a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • Iconic Outfit: His purple gi, turban, and long white cape with the long shoulder guards. He always wears this and never changes his clothes like Goku at the EOZ or Vegeta during the Buu Saga... except for the infamous filler episode where he learns to drive, Chi-Chi gave him a ridiculous outfit making him look like a punk teenager.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Piccolo didn't debut until near the end of the original series, but he's easily one of the series' most recognizable characters.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Invoked. Special Beam Cannon is designed to pierce through opponents. He designed it to kill Goku, who killed Piccolo's father this way.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: When Buu drops out of the U6 vs U7 tournament due to falling asleep/failing the written test and Gohan declines taking part due to having a work conference, Piccolo is left to take their place. While he was confident in Buu and Gohan, Goku expresses disappointment about having to bring Piccolo and outright tells him he has no chance against his first opponent. Piccolo tells him he didn't have to be so blunt about it.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Though he's technically only three or four years older than Gohan in his most recent incarnation.
  • Irony:
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • During the Saiyan Saga, when Gohan wants to learn martial arts from his father instead of Piccolo, Piccolo states that Goku is too soft-hearted to be an effective teacher. These concerns prove to be justified in anime filler of the Cell saga when they go into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and Goku initially holds back for fear of hurting Gohan accidentally.
    • In the Universe Survival Saga, he brutally tears Gohan down for constantly letting his ego get out of control every single time he has the upper hand on his opponent, stating outright that because of that, it's entirely Gohan's fault that Majin Buu was able to turn the tables on him, which would have led to all of Universe 7 being destroyed had Goku and Vegeta not been resurrected to handle things.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Z, he's still aloof and harsh, but he develops a good side thanks to Gohan. As the series went on, we see more of the heart and less of the jerk.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Several, including Masenko, Special Beam Cannon, and in Dragon Ball he had the Explosive Demon Wave.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: At the 23rd Martial Arts Tournament, Piccolo's shoots Goku in the shoulder and then stomps on it when he's down. Once he knocks Goku down again, he breaks his legs and nearly saws his other arm off.
  • Killed Off for Real: In GT, he's actually permanently killed off in order to destroy the Black Star Dragon Balls. He later goes to Hell to bust Goku out and sticks around as the main enforcer of peace and order.
  • The Lancer: Both kinds—he's Goku's foil until the end of the Freeza arc, and after that he takes the role of trusted second-in-command.
  • Large and in Charge: The tallest protagonist at 7'5", and the one most likely to lead the team into battle when Goku's not there (which is fairly often).
  • Large Ham: Not much so in Dragon Ball Z but in the original Dragon Ball in his days as villain he was quite the theatrical character who was prone to psychotic laughter, long winded speeches, over the top reactions, and in general was just Chewing the Scenery like no tomorrow. Despite drastically mellowing out in Dragon Ball Z he has some shades of hamminess during the Buu Saga when dealing with Gotenks and his flashiness who proved to be far more hammier than he was in his villainous days.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Prior to the Saiyan Saga, his driving goal is to kill Goku and thereby avenge his father, as per Piccolo Senior's dying instructions. Having technically achieved this in the fight with Raditz, he becomes a lot less dedicated to evil and his Heel–Face Turn comes rather naturally.
  • Last of His Kind: Since Kami and him were technically the same person, he was the last Namekian left in existence after Frieza's genocide of his race. Thankfully, the Dragon Balls fixed this.
  • Legacy Character: He is this to the original King Piccolo.
  • Like a Son to Me: He refers to Gohan as "the son he never had." Gohan in turn idolizes him, thinking of him as a big green uncle. He even states out loud that he admires him almost as much as his actual father.
  • A Lighter Shadeof Black: A considerably lighter shade of black than his father/predecessor King Piccolo, being a comparatively more sane and reasonable person who's willing to follow the rules of the tournament to get to the target of his revenge, rather than the reign of chaos and murder that ensued previously.
  • Lima Syndrome: Who'd have thought abducting a four-year-old to train with him in a dinosaur-filled wasteland would end up being so good for him?
  • Literally Shattered Lives: He is accidentally shattered by Kid Trunks when he's turned to stone. Subverted because it's a Good Thing He Can Heal.
  • Literal Split Personality: He's the reincarnation of King Piccolo, who was Kami's evil side made flesh.
  • The Load: In a very nontraditional way. Because his life is linked directly with Kami, if he dies, so does Kami. When Kami dies the Dragon Balls become forever inactive. Because of that, the heroes do their best to make sure that Piccolo does not die. Although Piccolo is one of the strongest fighters, he does tend to get over his head, like the fight with the Saiyans, Frieza, and in Future Trunks' timeline the Androids. At least twice, Gohan and Goku tell Piccolo to run if things go badly. After merging with Kami, this plot point goes away since Dende is the new Dragon Ball creator.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: After training Gohan, he softens up considerably.
  • Love Is a Weakness: He knows what love is, but sees it as a weakness. He eventually changed his mind after bonding with Gohan.
  • Love Redeems: His friendship with Gohan led to him becoming good.

  • Made of Iron: Even setting his Healing Factor aside, Piccolo can take absurd amounts of punishment. Cell snapped his neck, blew a hole through him as big as the one he blew through Raditz, then tossed him in the ocean, and he survived on his own. He survived a death beam through the chest by Frieza, the same thing that killed Vegeta. Cooler overpowers him and then blows him up in front of Goku. He's still strong enough at the end to take out Salza with a Special Beam Cannon. Deconstructed in that this ability was ramped Up to Eleven in Cell, who learned just how durable he could be by watching Piccolo.
  • Magical Defibrillator:
    • After Gohan is shot by Tagoma, Piccolo uses a blast of his energy to restart his heart so he can eat a Senzu.
    • When Goku is killed by Hit, he attempts to restarts his heart, just like with Gohan in Resurrection 'F'. He's unsuccessful, but Goku manages to shoot an energy blast before dying, which hits him and gives him the jolt needed to get his heart working.
  • Magic Knight: He's proficient in both close-range melee combat and long-range ki battles.
  • Manchild: Inverted. He is 8 during the Saiyan invasion, but is in a fully grown body, and he is by far one of the most serious fighters on the team.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Prior to becoming a Guile Hero, he was this in Dragon Ball. Both are consequences of his high intellect.
  • Manly Tears: Cried for the first time in his life after he sacrifice his life saving Gohan.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: He trained Gohan who went on to train Goten in the main timeline and Future Trunks in the Bad Future:
    • Piccolo > Son Gohan > Goten
    • Piccolo > Future Son Gohan > Future Trunks
  • Mentor Archetype:
    • He served as Gohan's teacher during the Saiyan Saga, training him to harness his hidden potential and they developed a surrogate father-son bond.
    • He also becomes one to Goten and Trunks during the Majin Buu Saga, as he trains them in the art of fusion.
  • Mind over Matter: He possesses telekinesis and materialization abilities.
  • Morality Pet: Gohan becomes this to him after he kidnaps him. Originally, Piccolo wants to shape Gohan into his image and even muses about turning him against his father. As time went on, he becomes fond of Gohan and finally, he dies to protect him from Nappa. After that, Piccolo becomes a completely good person and cites Gohan as the reason why he didn't turn out like his father or Vegeta.
  • Musical Theme Naming: After a musical instrument which he (his dad) and his siblings are all named after.
  • Name Amnesia: The Namek who split into Piccolo and Kami long before the start of the series is recreated when they merge back together, but it has been so long that they cannot recall their old name. They eventually call themselves Piccolo for the sake of convenience (and to stop Goku calling them "Kamiccolo").
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Literally In-Universe: He is the reincarnation of the "Demon King", and when the audience of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament hear it straight from his mouth, everyone high tails it from the stadium, save for Goku's friends and allies...and the announcer.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Nearly beat Goku at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament after breaking and disabling all of Goku's limbs. This is even more impressive given that he is the only Final Boss of a story arc other than Adjutant Black who Goku beats on his own without any outside interference (Kami blocks one punch from Piccolo, but Goku gives him a free hit to make up for it).
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • The Special Beam Cannon. It is so powerful that it killed Raditz, who was much more powerful than Piccolo was at the time. However, it takes five minutes for it to charge and he is defenseless during that time period. Once mastered, Piccolo can use it much faster, but attempting to fire it before it's fully charged still results in a great loss of piercing power.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Piccolo fully charges the Special Beam Cannon during his battle with Frost. It still takes a long time, but Piccolo can now move, block, and uses his multiform and antenna beams to distract Frost. Although he lost through Frost's cheating, the Special Beam Cannon was so powerful that it pierces Vados' barrier. Champa couldn't do it when he was testing it, and Super Saiyan Goku didn't put a dent in it when he randomly hit it during his fight (although, his power as Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken x10 shattered the entire thing with minimal resistance).
    • In the Universe Survival Saga, Piccolo along with Gohan fight U6's Pirina and Saonel. The first time Piccolo uses his Special Beam Cannon, it was fired early, and only left a bruise on Pirina before the latter returned fire. The second one, after being properly charged, traveled through Ultimate Gohan's Kamehemeha, Saonel, Pirina's Mouth Energy Wave, and Pirina himself with little resistance.
  • Nice Hat: One of the few people who can make a turban look completely bad-ass.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The entire reason Vegeta and Nappa attacked Earth in the first place, and Frieza attacked Namek, is because Piccolo shot his mouth off to Raditz about the Dragon Balls. Though, to be fair, he didn't know Raditz's scouter was broadcasting everything he said back to them.
    • This trope may count for the Cell arc too considering Piccolo's the one who taught him how to use his regenerative abilities, which he would then proceed to spam up until his destruction.
    • There's also Piccolo's fight with 17, where he powers up; in doing so, he leads Cell, who can sense ki, right to 17 and 18 and speeds up his plans to absorb them and become perfect.
    • During the Buu Saga, when Super Buu arrives demanding the Worthy Opponent that Goku promised him (Gotenks), Piccolo attempts to stall for time by telling Buu there are still more humans for him to kill on Earth, knowing that they can be brought back with the Dragon Balls. Buu proceeds to use the Human Extinction Attack to wipe out every last human on Earth in a matter of minutes, without even bothering to leave Kami's Lookout while doing so. Essentially, Piccolo turned the entire human race into a Sacrificial Lamb just to give Trunks and Goten two more minutes worth of training.
  • Noble Demon:
    • More so after Z starts. At the beginning, he only teamed up with the protagonists to keep the Saiyans from destroying the world he wants to conquer.
    • He did, however, still save a wife and her kid from a storm in anime filler. The reason for his beef with Goku was to avenge his father.
  • No Body Left Behind: His second death was due to Buu blowing up Earth. His third death in GT also happened this way though he's already fatally wounded by a then Baby-infested Gohan.
  • No Indoor Voice: While he serves as the calm and composed voice of reason among the Z-Fighters in Dragon Ball Z during his villainous run he was prone to frequently shouting which isn't out of the norm in Dragon Ball but constantly shouting when monologuing and talking about world domination definitely qualifies Piccolo as this.
  • No Sympathy:
  • No Time to Explain: Having recently merged with Kami, Piccolo is in the middle of a battle with Cell before the other Z-Fighters (sans Goku, Gohan, Yamcha and Vegeta, who'd appear just a few moments later) arrive. Krillin asks what the hell is the creature standing in front of them, in utter disbelief at what he's seeing (and sensing). Piccolo brushes the question off, and says he'll explain everything after they kill him. It doesn't work out that way, and Cell escapes, but Piccolo does find the time to explain the situation to them and what they're dealing with.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Double Subverted: Until the Namek arc, by the standards of a fighting Namekian type he was, at best, an average fighter, and wouldn't even be considered an Elite Mook in Frieza's army. On Earth, he was the Demon King reborn who was more powerful than his father who had single-handedly took over the world. His only equal was Goku, a fellow alien. That said, Piccolo having relatively recently reincarnated was still young (at least 8 by the Saiyan Saga when he first died), and therefore yet to reach his prime. In addition, when his fellow Namekians discover his true nature,note  they notably conclude that had they not split or decided to remain separate, even Frieza would be no problem for him, much less the Saiyan responsible for his (first) death. This speaks volumes about the sort of power the original Namekian he was had in comparison to the rest of his race. In the Cell Saga, he returned to his former glory when he merged with Kami.
  • Not Quite Dead: Had his neck broken, a hole blasted through his chest, and thrown into the ocean by Cell. He still lived and managed to heal himself before losing consciousness.
  • Obsolete Mentor: By the end of the Cell Saga, Gohan has surpassed him in every way, but their bond is as strong as ever. Subverted in Dragon Ball Super, when he begins retraining Gohan, and is eventually stronger than Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 form.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Gohan and Piccolo couldn't have more different personalities, but it's telling that Gohan's combat attire mimics Piccolo's more often than it mimics his father's.
    • After many trials, Goku and him become good friends despite being Foil to one another.
    • More like odd mutual respect, but more than one Non-Serial Movie give him and Vegeta this dynamic. This carried over into Canon in Dragon Ball Super, where Vegeta does legitimately respect Piccolo as a warrior and became EXTREMELY angry when Frost denied Piccolo a hard-fought victory by breaking the rules of the competition. He even convinces Piccolo to drop out of the tournament so it would allow him to humiliate Frost in front of everyone as revenge. Piccolo happily accepted.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: During his brief tenure as Big Bad, Piccolo served this role as the significantly younger counterpart to Kami and Goku.
  • Only Sane Man: Most of the time, he is this along with Tien and Future Trunks.
  • Overlord Jr.: Pre-Heel–Face Turn, he started off as "Ma Junior", son of Demon King Piccolo in Dragon Ball. Though technically he's more of a reincarnation.
  • Overprotective Dad: Even when Gohan becomes far more powerful than he will ever be, Piccolo would still lay his life down to protect the boy.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • But not so much that he loses plot importance. He enters a period of Can't Catch Up after the Cell Saga, where in he switches roles to The Mentor for the younger heroes. He gets a better deal in the movies though (if you consider them canon), where he usually at least gets to dispatch the Big Bad's Elite Mooks and, in two of them (Dead Zone and Lord Slug), he even saves the day.
    • After the Buu arc, not only is he God (well, he fused with God...), but he's the fifth most powerful non-fused protagonist (unless you count the Supreme Kai) and one of the top ten most powerful beings in the universe, period. Too bad that's still not enough to compete with Buu, Vegeta, Gohan, Goku, the Supreme Kai, and Dabura. He even implicitly admits at one point that the little kids (Goten and Trunks) are stronger than him after obtaining Super Saiyan,note  though this is likely not the case by Battle of Gods given that he's been training for five years while they've been slacking off.
    • By the time of Super, everyone who isn't a Physical God (which includes Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Beerus, Whis, and Frieza) had become insignificant until the Universal Survival Arc. All Piccolo can do during Battle of Gods Saga is watch in awe as true gods clash. The Resurrection 'F' Saga sought to give him and the other Z-fighters a chance to shine as they hold off Frieza's army before Goku and Vegeta shows up. Piccolo even gets a Heroic Sacrifice and saves Gohan, again.
    • The manga version of Super makes this more explicit. Piccolo is stronger than Assault Form Frost (in which Frost was the undisputed emperor of his universe, only below Hit) and can trade blows with true form Frost. He's also a lot stronger than Bergamo, the World's Strongest Man of Universe 9, defeating him in an off-screen Curb-Stomp Battle. In other words Piccolo is legitimately one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse and would be the most powerful being in the universe were he from another universe such as 9. And he's still irrelevant compared to his team's heavy hitters.
  • One-Man Army: In the World's Strongest, Cooler's Revenge, Garlic Jr saga, and Resurrection 'F', he was seen taking on multiple opponents with ease.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Not even Freeza could withstand his wrath when he tried to murder Gohan.
    • Not just Freeza—Piccolo took on Broly to save Gohan. He put up a pretty damn good fight too. It's like this- threaten the kid and the only thing that's stopping Goku from tearing you in two is Piccolo having done it before him.
    • Piccolo rips Goku a new one for putting Gohan's life at risk during the Cell Games. Goku might have been willing to stand by and let Gohan fight Perfect Cell on his own, but Piccolo wasn't, and his rant toward Goku actually gives Goku one of his biggest My God, What Have I Done? moments in the series. He was even willing to jump into the ring and fight Cell to help Gohan out, despite full knowledge he doesn't stand a chance. To quote a very prescient comment on a clip of the scene, "Gohan's father is mad at Goku."
    • He also charged Tagoma after he blasted a hole in Gohan's chest in Super.
    • He grills Chi-Chi on her childcare abilities so hard in Super that she is scared of him and completely speechless. And that's nothing compared to his fury when Chi-Chi and Goku didn't do a good enough job watching Pan and let her escape to who knows where. His explosive rant terrified both of them and was so loud the Pilaf Gang heard him from far away and decided to get the hell out of there.
  • Parental Substitute: To Gohan after Goku kicks it early on. Their special bond is never quite diminished and even as late as the Cell saga, Gohan still prefers to wear Piccolo-style clothing rather than Goku's.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Post Heel–Face Turn, he barely smiles.
  • Physical God: One of the lower-tier examples, but he did fuse with Kami (who was, for all intents and purposes, the God of Earth).
  • Power High: After Piccolo merges with Nail, he spends a good minute just standing there reveling in how awesome he feels. The infamous dubbed version is now known as "Motivational Piccolo".
    "Wow... unreal... my gosh...! This is AMAZING! I feel INCREDIBLE~! YES! YES! YES! YES! I can win! I feel great! I! CAN! DO! THIS! AAUUUGH! [beat] Yes! I'm home! I'm alive! This is all a miracle! I'M AWAKE! I'M WIDE AWAKE!!"
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: If you ever hear Piccolo saying something to the tune of 'Sorry to keep you waiting', his target is in for a world of hurt.
  • Present Absence:
    • Piccolo dying in the Saiyan Saga causes the others to go into space searching for Planet Namek, leading to the events of the Namek/Frieza Saga.
    • In the TV Special History of Trunks his death is the most felt after Goku's since his final death means the Dragon Balls are forever inert, rendering all deaths permanent.
  • Promotion to Parent: To Son Gohan, whenever Son Goku is dead or missing.
  • Psychic Powers: Mostly in Filler but he did levitate about four pyramids with his mind. Seems to be an innate Namekian trait since synchronising his with Dende allowed Goku to escape from Hell in GT.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Prior to the arrival of Raditz.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Piccolo's outfit, blood and Battle Aura are purple. He is also one of the more powerful non-Saiyan heroes.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Born to kill Goku, he finally accomplished the feat when the latter performs a Heroic Sacrifice so Raditz would also die. But since Goku voluntarily threw his life, coupled with Vegeta and Nappa's looming threat, Piccolo never really find the time to relish in his accomplishment.
  • Quit Your Whining: During the training for the Saiyans, Gohan spends so much time whining that Piccolo specifically threatens to snap his neck if he doesn't stop.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: Best shown when he uses it to cut off Dr. Gero's arm and slices Babidi in two.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He had been forced to team-up with Goku and the Z-Fighters for the duration of the Saiyan Saga, but it wasn't until he saved Gohan using himself as a Human Shield, did his status as a hero get cemented.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Even after his Heel–Face Turn, he was generally aloof and distant to the human characters, some of them considered him outright scary, while he spared his gentler side for Gohan. Shoot, he even invoked this when he acted as if the protagonists weren't his allies when he reluctantly decided to merge with Kami. He's also pretty ruthless in battle, at one point severing Dr. Gero's arm (though he originally assumed he was just an android), and bifurcating Babidi. Though he does become less distant to the other human characters as time goes on. In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods he's even a guest at Bulma's birthday party, and does (very bad) Karaoke and Rage Quit Bingo.
  • Reincarnation: Of his own father, King Piccolo.
  • Retcon: Originally Dragon Ball introduced Piccolo's species as being Demon. Dragon Ball Z later clarified that "Demon" was a state or clan that a number of given species can assume, while Piccolo's species was actually a Namekian.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Piccolo, like all Namekians, has extremely sharp hearing, being able to hear people talking from hundreds of feet away, even in a crowded stadium. Yet, he doesn't experience any discomfort from loud noises, showing that he can control the sensitivity of his hearing and filter out mindless noise. Although the Lord Slug film shows Piccolo and Namekians in general are greatly irritated by whistling, to the point where its preferable for them to tear their ears off rather than hear the sound.
  • Revenge Myopia: He despises Goku at first for killing his father and swears revenge. This is despite his father being a vicious mass murderer who indirectly killed Krillin and Master Roshi, and directly murdered Chiaotzu and the Eternal Dragon to ensure no one could used the Dragon Balls against him.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: Piccolo's Hellzone Grenade attack has him firing off several energy spheres until the opponent is surrounded by a mine field of energy balls. Piccolo then commands the spheres to converge onto the enemy all at once.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-Universe example. After Mr. Satan is knocked out of the ring by Cell, Piccolo freely admits that he was rooting for Cell to win, to the extent he's vocally disappointed that Cell didn't just kill him.

  • Sacrificial Lion: He's a major player in the Saiyan saga until being killed by Nappa roughly halfway through. This is the point where Gohan and Krillin are prepared to give up until Goku arrives and saves them in the nick of time.
  • Sadist: During his villain days, he dips into this while fighting Goku, blasting a hole through his shoulder and brutally crippling him, gleefully Laughing Mad the whole time while Goku is howling in agony.
    Piccolo: I'd just like to thank you. Seeing you lying in the dirt, writhing in pain, means more to me than you can possibly imagine. [Evil Laugh]
  • Satanic Archetype: Subverted. He considered himself the Daimaou, but was never actually as evil as his father and eventually made a full Heel–Face Turn. Sure, he claimed to be Satan and planning to take over the world, before going to God's sanctuary to find a way to save it from the androids.
  • Saved by Canon: Is killed off in Dragon Ball Super by Frieza, after making a Heroic Sacrifice to save Gohan. In the manga adaptation (which skipped the Resurrection F Saga, but references it as having happened), he's alive and well in the next arc and plays a major role, so it's a given that he'll be revived. Although, this being Dragon Ball it would probably be a given anyway.
  • Secret Keeper: He along with Goku were the only ones who knew Future Trunks was Bulma and Vegeta's son during the three years time-skip before the Android Saga.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: Originally. His green skin and purple getup greatly contrasted Goku's orange and blue gi back in the original series.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • Before his character development, he served as a Evil Counterpart to Goku, just like his father. He was what Goku would have become if he embraced his ruthless Saiyan nature. Even after Piccolo reforms he retains a distinct contrast with Goku, possessing a much more serious personality and being a more rational thinker, as opposed to Goku's Fun Personified, laid-back, dim-witted nature.
    • Cell becomes his Shadow Archetype when he is Imperfect. He represents what Piccolo would be like if he never met Gohan and became like his father.
  • Shoot the Dog: Does this to all of mankind, indirectly. In an attempt to buy time for Goten and Trunks when Super Buu comes calling in Kami's Lookout, Piccolo suggests to Buu to kill time by eradicating the rest of the humans left.note  Buu actually takes him up on his offer, and exterminates humanity with a single attack Piccolo is left dumbstruck and ridden with guilt to see his gamble returned with absolutely nothing.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: He deliveries a rather glorious one to Babidi, after the former was responsible for Gohan's (apparent) death at the hands of Majin Buu. Babidi tries to reason with Piccolo not to kill him since he's the only one who can seal Buu and if he dies Buu will go on a rampage and kill everyone. Piccolo points out that Babidi will have Buu kill anyone anyway, just before he sliced him in two.
  • Signature Move: Special Beam Cannon, Explosive Demon Wave, Light Grenade, and Hellzone Grenade.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: When he first started training Gohan, he had no qualms about throwing him at a sheer cliff to trigger his hidden power, and followed that up by leaving him in a wasteland filled with dinosaurs for half a year. He made up for it.
  • The Smart Guy: He's probably the smartest of the main cast, serving as The Strategist for the team and considered a sage. After fusing with Kami (aka God), he became much more intelligent, not to say that he was ever stupid. It's no wonder the others come to him for advice when he possesses the wisdom of God. During the Buu Saga, Super Buu even absorbs him specifically to acquire his intelligence.
  • Smug Super: When he was a villain, he was very smug about how powerful he was, seeing only Goku as his equal. He loses this trait after facing Raditz.
  • Spirit Advisor: During his fight with the Universe 6 Namekians where he panics due to the shock of knowing U6 fused the entire Namekian race into two beings, he sees Nail and Kami standing beside him as he lays on the ground. Neither of them says a word, but Kami points at Gohan as if to tell Piccolo to keep going for Gohan's sake.
  • Straight Man: Especially while paired with Gotenks.
  • Stock Shōnen Rival: While Vegeta became the Trope Codifier, it is actually Piccolo who came first as Goku’s nemesis turned ally and overall foil. Like Goku his parents are deceased and he was born with the purpose to destroy the Earth. However, while a Goku started down a heroic path, Piccolo turned to evil before reforming. After joining the good guys, Piccolo continues to contrast Goku’s carefree, friendly, and Book Dumb nature by being The Stoic and strategic. While at first he held the desire to be better than Goku he eventually got hit with Can't Catch Up and this trait got permanently moved to Vegeta.
  • The Stoic: In the original series, he was a cackling villain who was prone to Slasher Smiles. After mellowing out, he rarely shows emotion besides frustration or annoyance. He does shows a softer side around Gohan and loses much of his stoic demeanor after merging with Kami.
  • Student and Master Team: He trained Gohan in combat and has teamed up with him several times since.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In GT, where he decides to die so that the Black Star Dragon Balls wouldn't be used ever again. There's no reason given why they couldn't just find and destroy one of the Black Star Dragon Balls if they felt they were too dangerous to exist or why Piccolo couldn't just deactivate them.
  • Superior Successor: To his 'father' and his better half, Kami. King Piccolo feared the Evil Containment Wave more than anything in the world. Piccolo learns how to reverse it and use it to trap his once more powerful good counterpart.
    Piccolo: If you thought this incarnation would be beaten like the last, then you have not thought!
  • Super Senses: Like all Namekians he has incredibly acute sense of hearing.
  • Supporting Leader: He unofficially leads the Z-Fighters in the battles with Nappa, Freeza, and the Androids while Goku is absent. Also becomes this in the anime iteration of the Cell Games, when he rallies the other warriors to fight the Cell Jrs when Goku is too tired to handle the fight.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How he feels most of the time, and you really can't blame him, either.
  • Taken for Granite: In the Buu Saga thanks to Dabura.
  • Taking the Bullet: For Gohan in the Saiyan Saga, and Goku in the anime version of the Freeza arc. He does it again in Super for Gohan while Frieza is torturing him to death.
  • Tame His Anger: This had a lot to do with his friendship with Gohan.
  • Team Dad: It is so worth noting that he's probably the most sensible, level-headed character in the entire series, and the other characters often defer to him for wisdom in a crisis. He's the responsible one who always has a longterm plan and is probably the most protective of Earth (after merging with Kami). Also tends to get stuck training or babysitting the younger characters.
  • Technician vs. Performer: He is the most technical fighter in the series. He invented several powerful techniques and can hold his own against fighters who are many times stronger than him thanks to his battle experience and training. Super Buu chose to absorb him specifically for his battle knowledge.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • In the original series, after he expended almost all of his energy in a blast that barely phased Goku, who is about to retaliate:
      Piccolo: Uh-oh! I really think this is gonna hurt!
      Goku: (chuckles) A lot! [cue No-Holds-Barred Beatdown]
    • In Dragon Ball Super, thanks to his Namekian hearing, Piccolo overhears Beerus and Whis discussing the former's true purpose in bringing Monaka as motivation for Goku and Vegeta, and that he's nowhere near as strong as claimed. So when Goku throws the match to Hit and Monaka is next to fight him, Piccolo has clearly resigned himself to the inevitable conclusion.
      Vegeta: What's wrong?
      Piccolo: ...You'll see.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: The only reason he chose to merge with Kami. He needed to become the Nameless Namek again to fight the androids.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several times throughout the series:
    • In the original series, his previous incarnation, King Piccolo, was terrified of the Evil Containment Wave to the point that he murdered martial artists. During the 23rd Tournament, he revealed that he learned how to reverse it and used it to trap his previous more powerful good counterpart.
    • After training for a year to prepare for the Saiyans, he went from being manhandled by Raditz to easily killing a Saibaman who had the same power level as Raditz.
    • After he trained with King Kai and merged with Nail, he went from being easily killed by Nappa to fighting evenly with Frieza's second form.
    • In the Android/Cell Saga, he easily beats up Android 20 who, even without the energy he stole, is stronger than Frieza at full power. The same Frieza who destroyed him without even needing to come close to using his final form. There's a lot of fan theories in how Piccolo got that much stronger in just 3 yearsnote  In the same saga, he was no match against Androids 17 and 18. After merging with Kami, he becomes the most powerful hero and was able to fight evenly with 17.
    • After training in Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Piccolo improved significantly from being on par with Imperfect Cell, to being one of the few Z-Fighters standing from fighting off the Cell Juniors, which Perfect Cell himself stated were nearly as strong as him.
    • In the Dragon Ball Super anime, he manages to become powerful enough to stand against Frost's true form, who is somewhat stronger than post-trained Frieza, and even manages to take hits from him and block some note . In the previous story arc, Frieza killed him with a single Death Beam in his weakest form. Bonus points that his Special Beam Cannon pierces Vados' dome, something Champa, God of Destruction, didn't do when he was testing it.
    • In the Universal Survival Saga (also anime), Piccolo is able to overpower Super Saiyan 2 Gohan during their training. Keep in mind, in the Resurrection 'F' Saga base form Gohan was stronger than him and he was only about even with Gohan by the time of the Champa Saga. This shows that Piccolo's power greatly jumped since his last real fight. In the manga and Toriyama's draft, he's never said to have become noticeably stronger, but he does get matched up against weaker foes that let him show off more.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Even though Piccolo is substantially kinder when around Gohan, he is still more cool and stern than openly affectionate. After becoming Pan's honorary third grandfather, however, his personality takes a substantial turn towards open affection, kindness, humor and warmth, particularly towards small children.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Three times. Once after training Gohan, once after merging with Nail, and at last after reuniting with Kami.
  • Token Evil Teammate: In the Saiyan Saga. He's still evil, but helps fight the Saiyans since they want to destroy the planet he plans to rule.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Piccolo demanding that Gohan and Krillin bring him to Namek was not the smartest move on his part, as not only had he not even fused with Nail at that point, but if Piccolo did die as a result of his overconfidence, the trip to Namek would have literally been for nothing.
    • His whole fight against Goku was chock full of Piccolo performing a technique against Goku, either with a glaringly obvious flaw or a flaw that he himself would point out- which Goku would then respond by taking advantage of these weaknesses and beating him up repeatedly of it.
  • Tough Love: His treatment of Gohan. He brutalized Gohan for months when training for the Saiyans. While harsh, he did it so Gohan would be ready for the harshness of a live battle. He also came to care for the boy like his son, wanting him to reach his full potential, which is why he tears Gohan a new one when he chickened out of their three-way attack on Nappa.
  • Tritagonist: In the Saiyan Saga, he's the main character after Goku and Gohan.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Despite Goku murdering his father and see killing Goku as a crucial step to taking over the world, he demeans Goku throughout their entire fight.
    • He, like every character outside of King Kai, underestimated Frieza. He thought for sure he could beat Frieza even before he merged with Nail. After Frieza transforms into his third form, he learns the hard way that he miscalculated.
  • Undignified Death: More like Undiginified Elimination. Despite an overall amazing showing throughout, Piccolo is unluckily subject to one of the most embarrassing eliminations in the Tournament of Power. After the defeat of Universe 4's invisible warrior Gamisaras, another apparently invisible Universe 4 enemy appears. Falling for the Universe 4 God of Destruction's obvious Wounded Gazelle Gambit, Piccolo wrongly assumes that the second enemy is actually invisible and is lured to the edge of the ring, where he is promptly knocked off with no time to defend himself. The second enemy turns out to be a microscopic bug-man, Damon. This is mortifying for a number of reasons:
    • Piccolo, as a Namekian, has advanced hearing and so should have been able to sense Damon coming. Instead he relies solely on energy sensing, which leads to his downfall.
    • Piccolo, as a Namekian, has elongating arms and so should have been able to grab back onto the arena's ledge to prevent himself falling. Even if that doesn't work, he can always use a ki blast to reverse his momentum. Other characters like Vegeta and Krillin, who do not have this physiological advantage, manage to recover from falls at different points in the tournament, so Piccolo really has no excuse.
    • Piccolo, as a Super Namekian since his fusion with Kami, is purportedly a strategic genius, but he nevertheless gets baited to the edge in the first place. Despite the various signs that Damon's gimmick is not invisibility, Piccolo fails to understand until it's too late.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: His first reaction upon being spared by Goku and given a senzu bean to recover to full health is to call Goku and co. fools and swear revenge on them before leaving for parts unknown.
  • Unknown Rival: To Cell. Piccolo is disgusted by Cell's absorbing thousands of people and personally tries to hunt him down, wanting to fight him even after Cell completely surpassed him; Cell returns none of those feelings and sees Piccolo as little more than an annoying roadblock.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: He gets an inner monologue devoted to this in Z after the fight with Raditz. He reflects that despite it being what he was literally born to do, he felt no satisfaction towards killing Goku due to the circumstances, and realizes that he didn't really know what to do with his life afterwards.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the Latin-American Spanish dub, Piccolo in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament saga sounds like a young teenager, which makes sense as he was only three years old. In the Saiyan Arc, he begins to sound raspier and older, and finally in Freeza Arc and onwards, Piccolo gains a deep adult voice.
  • Villain Respect:
    • Back when he was a villain, he certainly respected Goku even though he hated him.
    • Also, in the 23rd World Tournament where he was a villain, Piccolo remained respectful to everyone and played by the rules, until he fought Goku.
    • When he fought Krillin, even he was surprised by the amount of effort Krillin displayed that he even admit to taking back his original comment about him. When he saw Krillin survive his final attack, Piccolo admits that Taking over the world is going to be difficult, and that's because Krillin made him think so.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • During the Frieza Saga, his martial arts training allowed him to fight Frieza's second form on an even footing despite having a slightly lower power level. After losing his weighted clothing, he overpowers his second form, causing Frieza to go to his 3rd form.
    • Compared to the Saiyans, he is this trope. He is one of the most technical fighters in the series with a number of powerful techniques, yet he's falls far behind the Gohan, Goku, and Vegeta' level. This is most evident in his fights against Frost and Gohan in Super where, despite being weaker, his tactics result in him only losing due to his opponent cheating, and winning respectively.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Whistling around Piccolo, or any Namekian can really incapacitate them since they have such sensitive hearing. This becomes a plot point in the DBZ movie Lord Slug where Piccolo asks Gohan to start whistling after ripping off his own ears in a desperate attempt to stop Lord Slug.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • King Kai shouts at Piccolo for breaking his promise about not confronting Frieza.
    • Got called out by Goten when he tried to stop him from helping Vegeta when he was being beating by Buu.
    Goten: If I was Gohan, I bet you'd let me go!
    • Dende is shocked when Piccolo tells Buu to kill all the humans on Earth to give Goten and Trunks more time to train.
    • Piccolo himself does one out to Goku for using Gohan during the Cell Games, illustrating how far he's come from the man who chucked Gohan at a mountain to trigger his power. Even after Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2, Piccolo is visibly less than thrilled with Goku's tactics.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: He is pretty smart as a kid, having inherited his father's memories, but this trope really kicks into high gear when he fuses with Kami, who has the wisdom of God, and hundreds of years of experience as well.
  • The Worf Barrage: His Light Grenade. A blast so huge and powerful, half of the island is engulfed in it and even 17 takes cover. Cell isn't even fazed by it.
  • Worf Effect:
    • Both Goku and him get completely overwhelmed by Raditz. At the time, both of them were by far the strongest warriors in the world.
    • Despite Taking a Level in Badass, he is powerless against Nappa and is eventually killed by him with a single energy blast.
    • After going toe-to-toe with Frieza's second form, he gets destroyed by Frieza's third transformation.
    • He gives Android 20 his hand, even after the android drained his energy. Like all the other Z-Fighters, he is easily defeated by Androids 17 and 18.
    • After merging with Kami, Piccolo becomes the strongest hero in the series who can beat back Imperfect Cell and fight evenly with Android 17. After Cell drinks several cities, however, Piccolo gets manhandled. In some fairness, Piccolo was tired since he was fighting 17 before Cell arrived.
    • Without even fighting the Supreme Kai, Piccolo forfeits his match with him while trembling in fear, explicitly saying that he's no match at all for the Supreme Kai's strength.note 
    • In the anime version of Dragon Ball Super he gets his arm ripped off by Tagoma and killed with one Death Beam by Frieza in his weakest form.
  • Worf Had the Flu: When he gets beaten down by Cell, who had absorbed 600,000 people to power up. It should be noted that Piccolo had been fighting 17 beforehand and worn himself down considerably.
  • Worthy Opponent: He initially resented Goku, but also treated him as his equal and the only one worth fighting. He also pays a mutual respect to 17, despite trying to kill each other.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: He expresses this sentiment after severing one of Dr. Gero's arms:
    Piccolo: It's a darn shame. You could've put this hand to good use! What a waste of technology!
  • You Killed My Father: Towards Goku (well, technically, it's revenge towards Goku having killed him, as he is the reincarnation of his father, King Piccolo).
  • Younger Than He Looks: He's technically only three years old when he fights at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, and eight at the start of Dragon Ball Z. He's only four years older than Gohan — making him something like sixteen years younger than Goku! Technically speaking, he's a mind that is hundreds of years old inside of a much younger body.

Video Example(s):


No civilians, no problem.

Showing up too late to save the city's entire population from being absorbed by Cell, Piccolo realizes that with the city empty of civilians he no longer needs to worry about accidentally killing anyone besides Cell, and cuts loose.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheGlovesComeOff

Media sources:

Main / TheGlovesComeOff