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Recap / Dragon Ball King Piccolo Arc

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King Piccolo arc is the sixth story arc in the Dragon Ball series.

Short Summary

Shortly after the tournament, Goku and his friends head off for a victory dinner. However when Goku goes to look for Kuririn he finds that he's been killed. Seeking revenge, he follow his assilant but is easily beaten. Though he eventually manages to get his revenge, Goku finds out he was one of the "sons" of an evil being named Piccolo who was originally sealed away in a rice cooker but has been freed by Pilaf (who was hoping to use him to take over the world but was cowtowed into serving him) who now seeks to, what else, take over the world. Goku and his friends find themselves facing their greatest challenge yet.

Main Summary

(Events from filler are in italics.)

Last time... on Dragon Ball! The 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai had come to a close, with Tenshinhan scoring a victory over Goku. However, ''during a victory dinner celebration'', Goku returns to the tournament grounds to find Kuririn... dead.

In a fit of rage, Goku flies off with Kinto-Un, going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the one who killed him. The rest of the Dragon Team, however, spots a paper on Kuri with a particular symbol on it... that of the Demon Lord Piccolo. Many years ago, Piccolo terrorized the world before becoming trapped in a Denshi Jar by the Muten Roshi's master, Mutito. But Piccolo has been freed by the Pilaf Gang, and sets off two tasks of his Evil Plan: eliminate the martial artists who could challenge him, and gather the Dragon Balls to restore him to the prime of his youth. Thus Roshi and Tenshinhan travel all over the world to try and get the Dragon Balls before he does. The remaining heroes relocate Kame House to avoid detection.


During his quest for revenge, Goku encounters a monster named Tambourine, the one who ultimately killed Kuririn. Goku's fight with him, however, does not end well, and he ends up on the losing end. However, after the battle, he encounters a fat vagrant samurai named Yajirobe, who seems to hit it on with Goku.

In order to gain a greater foothold on his plan, Piccolo births a new henchman by laying an egg from his mouth. This henchman, Cymbal, is tasked with collecting the Dragon Balls. However, he runs afoul of Yajirobe, who also happens to have a Dragon Ball, and ends up chopped and roasted. Realizing this, Piccolo sends a psychic symbol to Tambourine to deal with the interloper just before he added Yamcha to his list of victims. But Yajirobe's cooking leads to Goku recovering fully, and he defeats Tambourine with ease.


With the loss of his minions, Piccolo stops playing around and deals with Goku personally. It is a fight Goku is utterly mauled in, to the point of having his heart stop. Piccolo uses the opportunity to get the Dragon Ball for himself, giving him two to play with.

Once it becomes clear the heroes are on the hunt for the Dragon Balls, Piccolo comes up with a plan to let the heroes gather the balls, then steal them from their corpses. As insurance, he swallows his own two to make them impossible to gather. In a confrontation with the Muten Roshi, Roshi attempts to use the Mafuba on him, but he fails to hit the target, and dies as a result. Stealing the Dragon Balls, Piccolo summons Shen Long and attempts to make his wish, with Chaozu trying to interrupt.

Piccolo: "DRAGON! I command you! Restore..."
Chaozu: "Destroy Picco..." *ZAP!*

Indeed, Piccolo kills Chaozu, and makes his wish unimpeded. He is restored to his youth at last, becoming even more powerful than before. But he's not done yet. After securing his victory, Piccolo kills Shen Long, turning the Dragon Balls to stone and rendering them unusable. And for good measure, he dumps the Pilaf Gang out of their ship, preparing his assault on the castle of the King of the World.

However, what he didn't count on was Goku's heart restarting, and knowing he can't beat Piccolo as he is now, he has Yajirobe take him to Karin Tower, offering the promise of as much food as he wants. Once he arrived, Yajirobe gets quite used to the Senzu, and Karin reveals the existence of something that can power him up, the Super Godly Water, a drink that will either increase his power dramatically... or kill him. Acquiring the water isn't easy, however. Goku needs to enter a hidden cave in an icecap, then conquer the illusions of the cave through his will to never give up. Even after all that, however, one gulp of the water triggers spasms in Goku.

...but miraculously, he survives! Goku is stronger than ever, and ready to take on the menace!

And he couldn'tve gotten his power at a better time. On the anniversary of the King's rise to power, Piccolo takes over the king's castle, and the world along with it. With his power, he declares the world free of rules, crime legal, and on May 9th every day, he will destroy one continent of the world. Put simply, Piccolo has won.

Not standing for this, Tenshinhan attempts to stop him, but Piccolo simply births a new minion, Drum to put him in his place. Even Ten's attempt to use the Mafuba is a total failure, though he survives. The villain has won, and all attempts to stop him have failed. Death awaits Tenshinhan...

Until at last, Goku returns, ready to face the threat of Piccolo.

Goku easily defeats Drum, then focuses his attention on the Demon Lord himself. Despite Goku's new powers, Piccolo is still always one step ahead. He even uses a powerful energy blast to level the area, and cripples Goku to boot. But even despite his injuries, Goku still has one good arm, and puts everything he has into one last attack.

It succeeds! Goku's body drives a hole through Piccolo, killing him at last!


Piccolo births one last minion, telling it to avenge his death by murdering Son Goku. Meanwhile, Yajirobe shows up to retrieve Goku. The wandering samurai takes Goku away, accidentally leaving the Nyo'bo behind. When Bulma, Yamcha, and Lunch arrive to obstinately support Ten, they are amazed to hear of what went down. Bulma radios the media to report that Piccolo has been destroyed, but doesn't give Goku's name, only stating that "The forces of good" won. As the world celebrates its freedom from the Demon King......The freshly hatched last son of Piccolo swears to avenge his father.

And of course, Kuririn, Chaozu, and Roshi are dead alongside many others, the Dragon Balls not around to save them. How will Goku get them back?

The answer lies in the realm of God. But what awaits him there? Find out next time, on Dragon Ball!

King Piccolo Arc has the following tropes

  • Adaptation Expansion: When Karin gets the actual Miracle Water for Goku in the manga, he just pulls it out of a closet. In the anime, he makes Goku go on a journey into a cave to retrieve it.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: After Goku kills Demon King Piccolo, everyone across the world celebrated their liberation.
  • Anyone Can Die: This is the arc that establishes the series mainstay of major characters dying, starting with Krillin and following up with Roshi, Chiaotzu and even Shenron.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Piccolo succeeds in getting everything he wanted. He got the dragon balls to give him eternal youth and killed the dragon so no one could ever use the dragon balls against him. He also killed a number of the strongest fighters in the world, and seizes control of the entire world. Too bad his reign was short-lived because of Goku.
  • Call-Back: When hearing a report how some mysterious stranger was not only fighting Piccolo and winning, Bulma remembers Baba's prediction that Goku will save the world.
  • Darkest Hour: Piccolo Daimaou had killed Goku's best friend Krillin, with him failing to avenge him, now his Old Master Muten Roshi is also dead along with Chiaotzu, Piccolo got his wish for eternal youth, and worst of all, he killed Shenron himself so that he is no longer challenged.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Goku accomplished what no one, not even his Master Roshi, could do when he killed King Piccolo. Even the one who stopped him before, Mutaito, was only able to seal him away.
  • The Dreaded: King Piccolo. Even Master Roshi is terrified of him.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Pilaf learns the hard way that a Sealed Evil in a Can is not the best business partner.
  • Fountain of Youth: Piccolo's time trapped in the rice cooker robbed him of his youth. Upon being released, he planned to use the Dragon Balls to become young forever. In retrospect, it's a good thing he didn't also wish for immortality, otherwise, Goku wouldn't have been able to kill him.
  • He’s Back: Goku after drinking the Ultra Divine Water.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted by Roshi to seal Piccolo but he misses the rice cooker at the last second, which ends up killing him needlessly. Tien was planning to use the same sealing move later on but was stopped when he noticed the rice cooker he brought had a hole in it.
    • In the anime, he does use it, but he misses Piccolo, and ensnares his new demon-spawn Drum instead...only for Piccolo to destroy the rice cooker. Tien survives, but barely.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Goku convinces Yajirobe to take him up Karin's tower by telling him that there's a lot of food up there. When they make it up, Yajirobe is incensed to learn that the 'food' is in fact Senzu beans, and angrily swallows a handful- which is when Goku tells him that one bean is equal to 10 days of food.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Piccolo's appearance marked a major shift in the story and the first time where things were completely dire, not just for the heroes but the world as well.
  • The Last Straw: Hearing about Master Roshi's death at Piccolo's hands steels Goku's resolve to take him down.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Due to being spawned from him, King Piccolo can detect when one of his minions has been destroyed. It apparently hurts his head.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Piccolo Daimaou gives one to Goku, demolishing so thoroughly, that he stop his heart from beating.
  • Oh, Crap!: Goku's reaction when Piccolo effortlessly No-Sells the Kamehameha during their first battle. It's at this point when he realizes he's completely outmatched and doesn't stand a chance.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Piccolo finds out Roshi was the student of the martial artist who imprisoned him.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Throughout most of the arc, everyone thought Goku was dead: his friends, Tambourine, even King Piccolo. This explains why it was so shocking to see him return.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Piccolo was sealed in a rice cooker before being released.
  • Take Over the World: Piccolo successfully does this. However, his reign ends up being very brief, thanks to Goku.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Bulma purposely glosses over who exactly defeated King Piccolo and saved the world.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Pilaf in releasing Piccolo despite knowing of his reputation. Even he eventually admits how bad an idea it was.
  • Villain World: Piccolo's reign almost had the Earth turn into this, since crime was basically legal. However, Goku killed him before it ever got that far.
  • Wham Episode: Starting with Goku finding Krillin's body.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Goku loses to Tambourine the first time because, as Kame Sennin said, it was only a short time since his fight against Tenshinhan. It's been established that how strong Goku is was proportional to how full his stomach was. Once Goku manages to fill up on Yajirobe's fish, the next fight ends with Tambourine becoming atoms.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Despite valiant attempts, King Piccolo's plan to use the dragon balls to gain eternal youth succeeded. Furthermore, his conquest of the world also went off without a hitch. It was while he was ruling that his plans were ruined.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once he gets the Dragon's wish, Piccolo has Pilaf's trio tossed from their own airship. They survive...but this is the last we see of them in the manga.
    • The kicker, this was Piccolo being generous as he states it's Pilaf's "reward" for reviving him.

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