In the Dragon Ball manga, the moment the villain Raditz appears, the series abruptly shifts from a mystical fantasy story to a science fiction escapade. Instead of using ancient martial arts techniques to battle generations old evil, the cast now fights tooth and nail against aliens, biological weapons, and cosmos destroying space creatures. With this sharp change in tone and style, it’s no surprise that the anime divided this shift by labeling everything starting with Raditz as Dragon Ball Z. It’s also not surprising that the demons Piccolo and Kami were retconned to be part of an alien race called Namekians.
Namekians hail from the planet Namek and are basically magically slug people. They can create the titular dragon balls and possess a wide array of unusual biological functions. They premiere primarily during the Namek Saga as the evil space tyrant Freeza attempts to use their dragon balls to give himself immortality. They don’t have a major role in the story following this arc, but Piccolo and, to a lesser extent Dende, play major roles in the events of Dragon Ball Z and supporting roles in Dragon Ball Super.
While Piccolo uses the unique biological abilities of Namekians to great effect in battle, most others in his race merely incorporate some of their abilities into their everyday lives. Of course, Namekian culture also contains a fair number of eyebrow-raising features. Every character in Dragon Ball has some ridiculous elements, and these 25 items are some of the most bizarre things about Namekians that most people forget about or choose to ignore.
25 For A While They Were Just Called ‘Nameks’
There are a lot of different Dragon Ball dubs that have a wide range of accuracy to the source material. One of the ‘dubisms’ to emerge from one of the less accurate translations is referring to Namekians as simply Nameks. While not totally inaccurate, this name does feel quite a bit harsher and even more derogatory than what the mostly pacifistic aliens deserve. This misnaming was so common that it even appeared in a number of video games, such as the titles in the Legacy of Goku series.
24 They Don’t Need To Eat
Namekians only need to consume water or other liquids to survive, and only eat solid food as a treat. This facet of their biology really drives home how slug-like they actually are, and it’s surprising that such humanoid beings don’t need any solid food to survive. While on Namek they mostly consume just water, during their time on earth, Namekians were shown consuming juice and milk for additional nourishment. It’s pretty bizarre that creatures with the obvious ability to consume solid foods somehow also evolved in a way that made such consumption unnecessary.
23 They Are Magic
It’s kind of understated how odd it is that Namekian sages are able to create magical, wish-granting Dragon Balls that can perform all kinds of impossible feats. Supposedly, they gained this ability after encountering a planet-sized super dragon ball and learning to make their own smaller versions. Tough, this bit of lore is still pretty unexplored. It’s not exactly clear where the thematic line is on these slug people creating wish-granting dragons, but it remains a staple of the series nonetheless.
22 Their Superb Hearing Is A Strength And A Weakness
Namekians possess a superb level of hearing, which acts as one of their greatest strengths and weaknesses. Piccolo is able to hear conversations several yards away from him easily and his hearing makes it almost impossible for someone to sneak up on him. However, as shown in the Lord Slug film, high pitched noises cause Namekians an extreme amount of pain. In exchange for their exceptional hearing, mere whistling is enough to put even the strongest Namekian in a paralyzing amount of pain.
21 They Have Kids By Spitting Out Eggs
Namekians create more Namekians by spitting out eggs from their mouths. This is how the evil King Piccolo created his minions and Piccolo Jr. It’s also more than likely how Lord Guru created Dende and many of the other Namekians on planet Namek. While this method of reproduction is incredible, it also comes with a host of unanswered questions. Are Namekina offspring technically clones? Why do Namekians have such a wide range of appearances if they all are technically siblings? These questions will probably never receive answers.
20 There Are Mutant Namekians
In Dragon Ball, King Piccolo created the mutant Namekians: Cymbal, Tambourine, and Drum, to aid in his quest to obtain the dragon balls and eliminate all martial artists. They are far more monstrous than any other Namekians and it’s likely that King Piccolo knowingly altered their physiology to increase their fighting and dragon ball hunting abilities. It’s not clear what other traits these demonic Namekians share with their more fully formed counterparts, and it’s not likely that these warped characters will ever play much of a role in the story again.
19 They Can Grow To Giant Sizes
A rarely utilized Namekian ability is gigantification. Piccolo and Lord Slug are both able to increase their size to the point where they are as large as a building. This massively increases their destructive power and comes at no loss to any of their other abilities. The only downside to this technique is that it uses up a great deal of energy and makes their vital areas much larger targets. Sadly, this technique isn’t used very often in the series, despite it being tremendously useful and powerful.
18 They Can Stretch Their Limbs To Impossible Lengths
Namekians can stretch and bend their limbs to fantastic lengths at will. This allows them to easily close the distance between opponents or incapacitate an enemy by wrapping their flexible arms around them. Piccolo rarely uses this technique in the series, but when he does it never fails to catch his opponent off guard. This ability proved vital when Piccolo defeated Cooler’s Armored Squadron and allowed the green warrior to nearly defeat the villainous Frost in the Universe 6 and 7 tournament.
17 They Can Make Clothes From Thin Air
Numerous times throughout Dragon Ball, Piccolo uses his energy to make new clothing materialize from thin air. It’s never really explained how he’s able to do this impressive feat. Presumably, he channels his energy and gives it the form of clothing, but how he learned or invented this technique is never brought up. This technique is incredibly useful, and it can only be assumed that all Namekians use this ability to cloth themselves, since it doesn’t seem like they possess the materials or technology to create fabric through a more traditional means.
16 They Can Fuse Naturally
Any Namekian can fuse with another Namekian so long as both parties agree to merge and at least one of them knows the technique. This results in the dominant personality gaining an incredible amount of power as the weaker entity assimilates into their being. Nail used this technique so that Piccolo would have enough strength to battle Freeza’s second form. The Universe 6 Namekians in the Tournament of Power also merged with several other of their people with in hopes of saving their universe.
15 They Can Divide Into Separate Entities
Namekians can also divide themselves into new entities by splitting up parts of their personality and giving them form. Kami created Piccolo and Lord Guru created Lord Slug by expelling all of the evil within them. Of course, this also dramatically weakens a Namekian by giving half of their fighting prowess to the new Namekian. However, these Namekians will always share a link, meaning that if one every travels to Other World, the other half will also fade away to that realm.
14 Namekians Can Transfer Their Soul
Following King Piccolo’s defeat at the hands of Goku during the events of Dragon Ball, he quickly spat out an egg into the horizon and transferred his soul into the soon to hatch being. That gave the infant, Piccolo Jr., all of his father’s memories and personality traits, as well as the experience of growing up alone and afraid. This is a bizarre ability and it’s odd that more Namekians don’t use it throughout the series, as it functionally makes them immortal.
13 Some Of Them Can Heal, But Not Others
Some Namekians, like Dende, are able to heal another person’s wounds, but other Namekians lack this extremely useful ability. Dende’s healing technique is so strong, that Vegeta recovers from a fatal injury in a matter of seconds. It’s not clear if this tremendous restorative power is a technique that only some Namekians learn, or if it’s a biological feature only present in a few members of the alien race. Either way, with how handy it is you’d think that the Namekian people would better prioritize those who have the power.
12 They Live For Hundreds Of Years
Namekians’ have an incredibly long natural lifespan, that’s nearly greater than any other species in Dragon Ball. Both Guru and Kami were hundreds of years old when they first appeared in the series. Even if age does weaken them like most other living things, both are still shown to be incredibly powerful even in their advanced years. While their exact natural lifespan is unknown, Dende was shown to be barely middle-aged in Dragon Ball Online, where he would have been nearly 250 years old.
11 They’re Named After Instruments And Snails
Most Namekians in Dragon Ball share one of two naming conventions. Piccolo, and his mutant offspring Cymbal, Tambourine, and Drum are all named after instruments. Other Namekians have names that revolve around snails. Dende’s name comes from the Japanese word for Snail, ‘Denden-Mushi.’ Likewise, Nail’s name is just the word ‘Snail’ without the ‘S’ at the beginning. While Guru and Kami don’t share any of these naming conventions, this is likely because their names are titles passed on with their positions as guardians of their planets.
10 Many Are Farmers, Despite Not Needing Food
Throughout the Namek Saga, the viewer sees lots of Namekians growing a plant similar to cabbages in the various settlements on their planet. This is rather odd considering they don’t need to eat solid food, but apparently, they grow these plants and throw them into water sources to increase the nutritional value of that water. Even if this does seem a bit roundabout, apparently they prefer to do this instead of eating the plants directly, further establishing their unusual biology and culture.
9 There’s A Clan System That Doesn’t Make Much Sense
Most Namekians belong to one of two clans, the Warrior Clan and the Dragon Clan. The Warrior Clan trains in martial arts to defend the Namekian people from threats and the Dragon Clan learns how to create dragon balls and presumably other mystical feats. Even though they’re called clans, it seems like they’re more like schools, as Namekians seem to be a monoculture. Moreover, a person can learn techniques from both clans, as Kami was from the Dragon Clan and Piccolo the Warrior Clan despite the two originally being the same person.
8 They Are Barely Surviving
During the Namek Saga, we learn that there were barely over a hundred Namekians alive on Namek when Freeza starts his invasion. These dwindling numbers are likely due to the natural disaster that ravaged the people before the start of the series. Although, it’s strange that the Namekian population remains so low, considering that Guru could make as many new Namekians as he wanted. Perhaps with greater numbers, they could have put up more of a fight against the Freeza Force’s invasion and numerous attacks.
7 Most Other Aliens Recognize Them
Despite their smaller population, apparently most space-faring aliens recognize them. Both Nappa and Vegeta instantly recognized that Piccolo was a Namekian and reasoned that a Namekian would have a high enough power level to defeat Raditz. Perhaps their ability to create dragon balls made them a widely known people, or it could be that before the calamity they regularly traveled through space. Unfortunately, this fame would prove troublesome to them, as it inspired Freeza to invade their planet with the hope of wishing for immortality.
6 They Can Grow Heavier
Despite having a diet that consists mostly of water, Namekians can somehow become hevier. As Namekians age and exercise less frequently, apparently it’s easier for them to pack on the pounds, just like humans. Similarly, if they eat solid foods instead as opposed to just liquids, it is very easy for them to gain weight if they do not exercise enough to compensate. However, none of these explanations really justify how Lord Guru managed to achieve his extremely vast stature.
5 A Namekian Parent Can Speak Telepathically With Their Children
Namekians can speak telepathically with their children. This is shown when Guru communicates with Dende despite the younger Namekian being well across the planet. Similarly, Kami can speak with Piccolo Jr. telepathically, as Jr. is King Piccolo’s offspring and Kami and King Piccolo are technically the same being. For whatever reason, this ability wasn’t used to better organize the Namekian people during Freeza’s invasion, but maybe the degree to which an elder can speak with all of their children is limited.
4 They Can Feel Someone’s Morality
Namekians can tell if a person has evil in their heart or merely bad intentions by being close to them. This is how the Namekians knew they could not trust Vegeta when he came for their dragon ball or how Nail knew that Freeza was pure evil. Perhaps this ability is how the Eternal Dragon is able to distinguish between good and bad individuals, when a person wishes to revive large groups of people except for the really bad ones.
3 They Can Survive Frigid Environments
Despite their planet having a rather fair climate, Namekians can easily survive frigid temperatures. Kami was able to survive in a frozen tundra when he first arrived on Earth for decades, and Piccolo is often shown in frozen regions with little concern for what the temperature might do to his slug-like body. For whatever reason Namekians can endure even the most desolate of frozen landscapes without much inconvenience. Although, it’s unknown if they can consume and live off of ice as easily as they can water.
2 They Can Regenerate From Nearly Any Injury
The most useful feature of Namekian anatomy is their ability to regenerate from nearly any injury. Piccolo states in the anime that he can regrow up to his entire body so long as his head remains intact. Cell, who’s composed of some of Piccolo’s DNA, is able to push this healing factor even further and regrow his entire body so long as a single one of his cells is alive. While it’s shown to be quite tiring, it’ll always be cool to see Piccolo rip off and then regrow his arm rather than wait for a wound to heal.
1 They Don't Subscribe To Western Binaries
Namekians don’t really have any concept of gender, because their species is hermaphroditic. While every Namekian shown in the anime uses male pronouns, in extended universe material like the Dragon Ball Fusions game, there are Namekians who use female pronouns and have more traditionally effeminate personalities. It’s also suggested throughout Dragon Ball lore that any concept Namekians have of gender or romantic relationships comes from observing human culture. While this might seem like a small detail, it goes a long way to establishing just how alien Namekian culture and biology is compared to humanity.