When King Piccolo was first introduced in Dragon Ball, he was just depicted as a demon of sorts; there was no implication of any alien origins. Then, Kami was brought in to the series and Akira Toriyama created a connection between the two, implying their extraterrestrial background. Fast forward to the Frieza saga of Dragon Ball Z, and we meet the Namekians, the race of aliens from which Kami, King Piccolo and Piccolo Jr. all originated from. The Namekians, whose name is derived from the Japanese word for slug, became a big part of the Frieza Saga and with how essential Piccolo is the franchise as a whole, it’s easy to consider his species a staple of the franchise.
Yet, because a lot of Piccolo’s traits and abilities were explored in Dragon Ball, not all fans know that much about Namekians, since Z was always much more popular with American audiences. There are also a few obscure moments which reveal some interesting facts about these green aliens that not everyone remembers. For these reasons, we decided to gather up some facts about Dragon Ball‘s Namekians that you might not know!
Let’s start off with one that people might know. Namekians are known for their regenerative factor, an ability that allows them to regrow limbs after they are severed. This ability is first shown in the Piccolo Jr. saga of Dragon Ball, where Piccolo tore off his own arm after it had been damaged, regrowing a new one in its place.
The regenerative ability is not unique to just Piccolo, as Nail was seen using the same ability in the Frieza Saga, and it is implied that all Namekians have this power. Despite how useful this ability is, it seems to take quite a bit of stamina to accomplish. Both Piccolo and Nail show great exhaustion after regrowing limbs, and both did a long buildup of screaming prior to the regeneration.
The regenerative abilities of Namekians can also serve a second purpose. By using this power to invigorate their cells, a Namekian can increase their size to gigantic proportions. This ability was first seen by King Piccolo, who was depicted as being taller than average Namekians, implying that he might have constantly been in an expanded state. He also grew even larger after being angered.
This ability was also used by Piccolo Jr. at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Piccolo grew to ten times his height in the middle of his fight against Goku, frightening both Goku and the crowd. When Piccolo used this ability, he also revealed that the process of growing is incredibly painful as the increased mass puts a strain on his nerves both as he grew and while in his larger state.
Fusion was a big part of the Buu Saga, it was seen in two forms, each creating a powerful fused warrior that took on Buu. However, the fusion dance and the potara earrings weren’t the first forms of fusion introduced in the series. That honor is afforded to the Namekians!
When Nail was close to death, he gave his strength to Piccolo, allowing himself to be absorbed so that Piccolo could be strong enough to take on Frieza. Piccolo absorbed Nail and he became part of him. Though it is called “fusion,” the Namekian form of fusion should technically be called “absorption,” since the two did not combine to form a hybrid warrior and Piccolo is still in control of his body.
With the Namekian ability to fuse, there is also the ability to separate. Though there has only been once example of this power, we still know it is possible. The only user of this technique was the first Namkian that came to Earth. This Nameless Namekian wished to be Earth’s guardian, but had too much evil in his heart, so he decided to split himself in two, the good part being called “Kami,” and the evil part went by “King Piccolo.”
Though Namekians have the ability to reproduce (we’ll get to that later), this seems entirely different. We can assume that the ability to separate does not apply to Namekians that have fused, something that has been confirmed by the fact that Piccolo cannot release Nail from his body. Of all the Namekian abilities, we know the least about their “fission.”
THEY HAVE NO GENDER
Though they might all have traits that could be associated with human males, the Namekians have no specific gender. They are often referred to as “he/him,” but aside from that, they are considered to be genderless. Their alien biology and reproduction does not require specific sexual organs and thus, the society is made of entirely of one, nonspecific gender.
There’s actually an interesting fact related to this. In the Kai dub of the series, Dende tells Krillin, Bulma and Gohan about the Grand Elder Guru, who he states “hatched all of his brother and sisters.” This was a contradiction to the fact that Namekians have no gender, a surprising mistake for Dragon Ball Z Kai, which is considered by many to have the most accurate translations and continuity.
THEY REPRODUCE ASEXUALLY
Speaking of Namekian reproduction, the process is actually kind of interesting. First introduced in Dragon Ball in the King Piccolo saga, Namekian reproduction is entirely asexual. In order to produce an offspring, a Namekian must, for lack of a better term, cough up an egg. Literally, they must birth an egg from their mouth — talk about a sore throat!
There are two types of Namekians, the Warrior-type and the Dragon Clan, and only the latter have the ability to produce eggs. In the current “rules” of Namekian society, this is limited even further, as only elder Namekians are allowed to birth new Namekians. This form of reproduction has been used by both King Piccolo in Dragon Ball and the Grand Elder Guru in Dragon Ball Z.
THEY CAN MODIFY THEIR OFFSPRING
King Piccolo was both the first Namekian in the franchise, as well as the first shown to reproduce. In laying the eggs that would hatch into his sons, we learned that Namekians also have a certain amount of control over how their offspring turn out. For example, all of King Piccolo’s sons aside from Piccolo Jr. were mutated Namekians.
Piano, Tambourine, Cymbal and Drum all looked drastically different from their father as well as other Namekians. King Piccolo was able to give some of them wings, adjust their size and change their appearance, showing he has some control over the eggs he hatches. King Piccolo’s final egg hatched into a reincarnation of himself, complete with all his memories and abilities. This further shows that King Piccolo had a surprising amount of control over his offspring.
THEY WERE NEAR EXTINCTION
As Dragon Ball Z eased its way into the Frieza saga, there was a short arc known as the Namek saga to introduce Frieza and his army. In the Namek saga, we learned a ton of information about the Namekians and their planet. One of the things that was very noticeable about planet Namek was that it was rather empty, and, save for a few small groups of Namekians, there was very little life on the planet.
The reason for this is because prior to the events of Dragon Ball, the Namekians underwent a great extinction. Sudden, violent shifts in the climate caused dangerous weather and deadly storms. This rapid climate change caused the death of nearly all the Namekians, save for two, one that would go on to be Kami and King Piccolo, and the other being Grand Elder Guru.
A SMALL POPULATION
Speaking of Grand Elder Guru, he is responsible for the survival of the Namekian Race. After The Nameless Namekian left the planet, Grand Elder Guru was the last survivor of the planet’s cataclysmic climate shifts. As such, he saw fit to repopulate his planet and did so by laying eggs. Over his long lifetime, the Grand Elder birthed over 100 eggs, laying them across different points in time.
These eggs hatched and formed the the last remaining Namekians, those that we saw in the Namek saga. These Namekians are the only Namekians in existence and have diverged into a few lone villages on the planet. After nearly avoiding a second extinction at the hands of Frieza and his army, the race continued to thrive with some help from Goku and friends.
THEY HAVE PURPLE BLOOD (SOMETIMES)
In the original Dragon Ball, both King Piccolo and his son were first shown to have red blood whenever they were injured. However, in Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo and other Namekians were shown to have purple blood. There’s not really an explanation for this, though there is some speculation. Some believe that since Namekians weren’t revealed to be aliens until later in the franchise, both Toriyama and the coloring crew behind the anime saw no need to give Piccolo and his father different colored blood.
Another explanation could be that King Piccolo was evil, and his demonic nature gave him red blood. This could also apply to Piccolo, who had red blood when he was a villain, and purple blood as he started to become more of a hero. Whatever the reason, we found it interesting that Namekians have purple blood and the fact that this wasn’t always consistent.
THEY CAN WITHSTAND GREAT COLD
As aliens, Namekians naturally have a physiology different to that of humans. We can see this in their obvious differences in appearance, their method of reproduction, their regenerative abilities and even their purple blood. There is, however, one thing we’ve yet to cover about Namekians, their durability. Specifically, their durability to extreme cold.
Namekians, especially the warrior-types, are much stronger and durable than humans, and we’ve seen that they can handle cold weather without any discomfort or adverse effects. This was seen when Piccolo commented on how weak humans are as Krillin shivered and nearly froze in Yunzabit Heights, a notoriously cold part of the Dragon Ball world that Piccolo seemed to have no problem with. Piccolo has even been seen training at Yunzabit Heights without even flinching at the temperature, implying that Namekians are naturally acclimated to low temperatures.
This is another one that fans might already know, but it’s still worth exploring. Namekians have very large, pointed ears and a set of antenna. Naturally, one could assume that two sets of auditory sense organs would grant Namekians a great sense of hearing. This was confirmed by Piccolo himself, who said he could hear across galaxies, though this might of been an exaggeration.
What fans might not know is that this isn’t the only enhanced sense that Namekians have. In the world of Dragon Ball, humans and other beings can train themselves to sense ki, but this comes naturally to Namekians. What also comes naturally is the ability to sense the moral alignment of someone’s soul/heart. In other words, they can detect if someone is good or bad, seen when Tsuno denied Vegeta the use of the Namekian Dragon Balls because of his evil heart.
THE NAMEKIAN BOOK OF LEGENDS
The Namekians in the Frieza Saga seemed to know something about a Super Saiyan, as though they had heard the legend before. This wouldn’t be the only Saiyan legend they knew of, nor their only legend period. In both Battle of Gods and the Dragon Ball Super adaptation of the story, we learn that the Namekians have an entire book of legends.
We learn this when the Z-fighters summon Shenron so Beerus can ask about the Super Saiyan God ceremony. Shenron reveals the backstory of the first Super Saiyan god, beginning the tale by stating it comes from the Namekian book of legends. We’ve yet to actually see this book, and it hasn’t been mentioned since, but we can assume it’s got some killer stories.
As we stated before, there are two types of Namekians, the Warrior-Type and the Dragon Clan. The Warrior Types are, as one might expect, physically strong and have naturally high power levels. The Dragon Clan are still strong, just in a different way — they have great abilities of magic and can even create dragon balls.
The magical abilities of Namekians is rather impressive, as Dende was able to heal others, Piccolo is able to manifest things out of thin air, and all Dragon Clan members are able to create and modify dragon balls. This is by far the most impressive of the Dragon Clan’s magical feats, as it can create a dragon that grants nearly any wish. Kami was most likely a mix of Warrior-type and Dragon Clan, as he had both magic and strength, much like Piccolo.
After their near extinction both from Namek’s climate shifts and at the hands of Freiza’s army, the Namekians have finally started to thrive once more. After being teleported to Earth for safety, Namek was destroyed by Frieza, leaving the alien race without a home. However, things were looking up, as the Namekians later found a new planet to live on.
Dubbed “New Namek,” this planet appeared to be identical to the original, and had everything the Namekians need to survive. This isn’t much, by the way, as Namekians only need water to live. Namekians do not require food since they have special enzymes which convert water to nutrients. After staying with Bulma at Capsule Corp., the Namekians used the dragon balls to teleport themselves to their new home, where they have continued to thrive ever since.
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