Piccolo is one of the most iconic and recognizable characters in the entire Dragon Ball franchise. Much of that is attributed to his distinct look, as a green-skinned fighter with a design that’s part reptile, part alien, and with an oddly Asian-themed (but still incredibly cool looking) turban and cape ensemble.
It also helps that he’s one of the very few non-Saiyan characters to maintain relevancy. While Goku and pals continue to get more crazy hair colors and extra spikes added to their heads (guess where Super Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog got its idea from), Piccolo has had the same exact look even after numerous fusions and power-ups.
The bizarre nature of Piccolo made him an ideal rival for Goku, a title he held briefly until Vegeta strong-armed him out of the role. These days, he spends most of his time mentoring both of Goku’s sons, his relationship with Gohan earning him internet infamy by classifying him as “Gohan’s real dad,” a testament to Piccolo’s warm-hearted nature underneath his gruff exterior and a condemnation of Goku’s irresponsible duties as a parent.
He is also a character that has had some of the most unique and bizarre repertoires of tricks, techniques, and otherworldly biological traits. This latest list takes a closer look and dissects the Namekian fighter (not literally of course), cataloging all of the fun and funky facts about him that no Super Saiyan could ever replicate (since that species is typically all about yelling really loud and punching opponents into the stratosphere...hey, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it).
25 He Can Conjure Up Clothing
Piccolo is one of the few fighters in Dragon Ball where it could be argued that much of his techniques are pure magic, rather than sheer strength and channeling one’s Ki (though he’s no slouch in either department).
When taking Gohan as his apprentice, Piccolo was able to create a pair of clothes for the boy out of thin air, giving him a garb resembling his father’s. Years later in the Cell saga, he conjured up another outfit for Gohan, this time resembling his own cape and tunic combo (at Gohan’s own request).
24 His Antenna
One of the most immediately recognizable of Piccolo’s physical features, his antenna is usually the first thing to clue folks in about his alien origins. He also tends to keep them nestled under his turban, which funny enough keeps most humans in the dark about his true nature.
But his antenna can also shoot out an electric beam.
This attack is rarely used in the series but can prove to electrify and temporarily stun opponents once it makes contact.
23 Does He Have Red Blood Or Green?
Given that Piccolo is part of a reptilian-like alien race, it would be reasonable to assume that his blood is green-colored, a long-established cliche about space aliens.
But after being wounded by Raditz (which even resulted in him losing an arm), his blood is shown to be red-colored instead. This is further confusing as he is shown to bust out green blood once he regrows his arm. It seems the animators couldn’t make up their minds either, as he later is shown to bleed out both colors at random moments in the series.
22 Does He Have Four Fingers Or Five?
Chalk this one up to a strange case of adaptation: in the original manga, both Piccolo and his father King Piccolo are drawn with four fingers total (including the thumb). Once again, this is a typical design decision to showcase the character’s otherworldly origins.
But in the anime, Piccolo and all other Namekians are drawn with five fingers instead. No official reason was given for this change. Perhaps it was easier for the animators to follow this basic blueprint instead of having to be constantly reminded to draw him with one finger less than everyone else.
21 He Doesn't Need Food
For a being that engages in frequent intense training and has a large frame, Piccolo’s body seems to require very little nutrition in order to remain self-sustained.
It turns out that Namekians do not require food.
Instead, they only require water in order to function. This leads to an amusing continuity error later on when Chi Chi threatens both Goku and Piccolo (who was a temporary resident at Goku’s in order to train) to no longer cook for them if they didn’t get their driver’s licenses.
20 His Race Is All-Male
Piccolo is undeniably one of the most macho characters in the series, thanks largely to his gruff voice and permanent scowling face.
But it turns out that his race is technically asexual, as they do not reproduce through mating but instead lay eggs. This also means that there are no female Namekians, which would normally mean that they would be genderless altogether. However, both Piccolo and all other on-screen Namekians use male pronouns regardless of their biology.
19 He Is Technically A Clone
Anyone who watched the original Dragon Ball series is aware that the Piccolo that is currently around wasn’t the original Piccolo that Goku faced: that Piccolo was actually King Piccolo, a sinister villain who spat out an egg upon his defeat that would later spawn the current Piccolo.
Although he is considered the son of the late King Piccolo, he also retains his father’s memories and (temporarily) his fiendish ambitions. This makes Piccolo Jr. closer to a clone than a son.
18 He Can (Nearly) Regenerate His Entire Body
Early on in Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo showed off his handy ability (ha) to regrow his lost arm after the battle with Raditz. Little did we know that his regenerative abilities are far greater than that.
After being accidentally smashed to pieces by Trunks while turned into a statue, Piccolo was able to bring himself back to top form, revealing that he can regrow any part of his body as long as his head isn’t damaged, further demonstrating the reptilian influence Toriyama had in mind
17 His Incredible Hearing
When Trunks came from the future to warn Goku of the impending threat, as well as reveal his connection to Vegeta and Bulma, he pleaded with Goku to keep the latter a secret from everybody.
Turns out Piccolo’s ears aren’t just for show, as he was able to overhear the entire conversation from a great distance away. Incidentally, he also promised not to give away Trunks’ secret...until he inadvertently revealed his name to Vegeta later during the Android battle.
16 He Is Sensitive To Whistling
Piccolo’s incredible hearing ability does come with an obvious weakness: while he is able to listen in on distant conversations, it turns out that whistling can cause great pain to the Namekian, to the point that it paralyzes him.
This comes in handy against Lord Slug in the fourth movie, who also suffers from this auditory impediment.
Distracted by Gohan’s whistling, Goku and Piccolo manage to land the finishing blow (while Piccolo went as far as remove his own ears so that he wouldn’t be affected as well).
15 He Has Telepathy
Not only can Piccolo listen in on conversations from great distances away, but he can also even communicate with other characters from even further away. This is thanks to his telepathic abilities, which have also been shown to levitate structures as large as pyramids when he concentrates hard enough.
His ability to telepathically communicate with others also seems to transcend other dimensions, as he was able to give Goten and Trunks a telepathic warning while they were in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
14 He Aged Rapidly
Before perishing at the hands of Goku, King Piccolo used his final bit of strength to spit out an egg containing the current Piccolo, who was birthed to avenge his father.
Naturally, this meant that Piccolo Jr. started out as an infant Namekian. However, his aging was apparently accelerated, as he is shown as a full grown adult when he faces off against Goku in the World Tournament just a few years later. This means that Piccolo is technically younger than Goku, despite being far wiser and learned than the laid-back Saiyan.
13 He Can Stretch His Legs
One of Piccolo’s most notable fighting techniques is the ability to stretch his arms out several feet towards distant opponents. This Dhalsim-like attack can prove effective in catching foes off guard, but it also leaves him wide open to attack if they manage to dodge his elongated limbs.
It is unknown if he could stretch other parts of his body. If Goku can shoot a Kamehameha from his feet, perhaps Piccolo could stretch out his legs as well.
12 He Can Grow In Size
Arms aren’t the only part of Piccolo’s body that can be altered. In one of his rarest attacks, Piccolo can actually increase the size of his entire body, turning into a literal giant that can stomp on his foes.
This was demonstrated during his battle against Goku in the World Martial Arts Tournament.
A likely reason Piccolo stopped using this technique is that it ultimately makes him a bigger target while also making it harder to keep track on smaller (and quicker) opponents.
11 He Has Mouth Beams
The intestinal tract of a Namekian must truly be fascinating. Not only can they shoot eggs out of their mouths, but are also capable of firing off dangerous beam attacks as well.
Piccolo demonstrated this with ease by taking out the last remaining Saibamen during the battle with Nappa and Vegeta. After Krillin dispatches with a handful with his attack, Piccolo snatched up the remaining stray before it could harm a distracted Gohan. Incidentally, Nappa is capable of a similar (but far stronger) attack.
10 He Can Fuse With Other Namekians
When arriving on Planet Namek to take on Frieza, Piccolo reluctantly agreed to fuse with Nail, the last surviving warrior Namekian in order to get a significant boost in power.
Not only is the ability to fuse body and soul a Namekian trait, it is also the first instance of fusion ever seen in the series, albeit much different from the more established technique introduced in the Buu Saga (it’s a permanent fusion, for one thing, and also has one Namekian be the dominant personality, a role that Piccolo always retains).
9 He And Kami Shared One Body
Piccolo’s origins are much more complicated than simply being the son/clone of a sinister Namekian. That Namekian, King Piccolo, was actually split from his counterpart Kami, who was the most powerful of all Namekians that crash-landed on Earth centuries ago.
Because Kami feared the creeping darkness in his heart, he chose to banish all of his evil thoughts and will into a separate being, thus creating King Piccolo (who later gave birth to the Piccolo we all know).
8 His Father Was Absolutely Sinister
Before his alien origins were revealed, Piccolo and his father considered themselves to be demons. This is also reflected in the latter’s name, whose full title was “Great Demon King Piccolo.”
This goes even further when looking at his counterpart Kami, the Japanese word for “God.” Thus the quarrel between Kami and King Piccolo takes up the more classic mythology of “God and The Devil.” Furthermore, King Piccolo’s ruthless nature meant that any victim who perished at his hands would not entire the afterlife, but instead remain in an endless limbo.
7 He Can Conjure Items
Piccolo isn’t just an expert magical tailor, it seems.
Throughout the series, the magical Namekian is also seen conjuring up items out of thin air.
Examples include a small sword given to Gohan during his first year of training, as well as an oversized hourglass (sand included!) created for Majin Buu. It is unknown what limits Piccolo has in regards to conjuring up items, but this could also be related to the ability to create Dragon Balls, a power that only the most gifted of Namekians can achieve.
6 He Is The Tallest Z Fighter
As corny as the name sounds, the Z Fighters is the official team name given to Earth’s heroic defenders, including Krillin, Tien, Yamcha, and of course, Goku.
Piccolo falls into this camp as well and holds the distinction of being the tallest member of the bunch by far, standing at a whopping 7'5" feet. Funny enough, the second tallest member is Yamcha, standing at 6 feet and beating out Goku by a single inch. Guess it’s a good thing he’s surpassed Goku in something.
5 He Didn't Know He Was An Alien
As mentioned before, Piccolo was convinced that his origins were of a demonic nature, based on the titles given to both Piccolo Daimao (Demon King) and Kami (God).
It came as quite the shock when he learned of his alien origins, which were revealed by Nappa and Vegeta during their first encounter. Ironically, this was shortly after Goku also discovered that he was a Saiyan born on the Planet Vegeta, revealing that the Earth’s two greatest fighters actually came from outer space.
4 He Had Surpassed Goku And Vegeta (Twice)
Like with most non-Saiyan fighters, Piccolo was forced to silently accept that he had been surpassed as a fighter when compared to the ever-evolving, constantly transforming Saiyan characters introduced later, including his once-rival Goku.
But there were two brief moments where Piccolo surpassed both Goku and Vegeta: once following his fusion with Nail before fighting Frieza, and again when fusing with Kami to take on Imperfect Cell. It was particularly satisfying to see the ever-arrogant Vegeta grow frustrated that the Namekian managed to pass by him in strength, though the moment in which Piccolo could relish the accomplishment was sadly brief.
3 We Never See His Feet
Consider this one an odd personal observation, and not because of some Tarantino-esque obsession with a character’s feet.
Throughout the series, Piccolo is always seen wearing the same garb, which includes a pair of brown shoes.
In some of his most intense battles, Piccolo’s outfit is torn to shreds, yet even during his greatest damaged states, his shoes remain perfectly intact. Considering how he was originally designed to have four fingers instead of five, it does lead to some curiosity over how his feet function.
2 He Wears Weighted Clothing
Piccolo's cape and turban aren’t just a fancy combination of clothes: they actually serve as permanent training gear to help build up his strength.
During the fight with Raditz, it was revealed that Piccolo gains a 20% increase in power and speed when removing his heavy garments. Unfortunately, there is no official number of just how much Piccolo’s clothes weigh. Comparatively, Goku’s own weighted clothes were stated to add up around 250 lbs., which seems like a somewhat paltry number considering his absurd super strength (not to mention his intense gravity training later on).
1 He Can Make Copies Of Himself
Another of Piccolo’s bizarre-yet-cool techniques is the ability to make copies of himself, adding to an increased number of fighters against one opponent. Similar to Naruto’s Shadow Clones, these copies are physical fighters that can operate independently and take physical damage as well.
The downside to this technique is that it divides Piccolo’s strength and speed among his clones, which makes the technique useless against an opponent who is already vastly more powerful.