Piccolo Daimaou (Piccolo the Great Evil King) is introduced late in the pre-Z episodes of DragonBall as Goku's arch-nemesis. His first act was to kill some of Goku's friends in his quest for collecting dragon balls, leaving only his signature "ma" in Chinese characters (meaning "Evil") on pamphlets next to the bodies. Mutenroshi, upon hearing this news, is scared shitless, which is a tell-tale sign of a long story, and advises the young Goku not to get involved with him. (A similar thing happens in a future series when Kaiou hears that Freeza is at planet Namek)

Goku goes after Piccolo, nevertheless. After all, his friends were murdered. He wants revenge. When he is able to catch up to Piccolo with his Dragon ball detecting device, he sees Piccolo, a green-skinned, pointy ears dude with tentacles on his head, but is defeated after a fight. He is barely alive when his life is saved by Yajirobee (Yajirobee, by the way, is the name of a traditional Japanese doll/toy, and is also the main character in a novel called Toukaidouchuuhizakurige, 1802).

Mutenroshi reveals Piccolo's past as an evil menace that brought fear and despair to Earth. Together with then Mutenroshi's master Mutaito and colleagues they fought. Mutenroshi's master successfully traps Piccolo Daimaou's spirit into a rice cooker with mahuba, a great and difficult skill that takes away the life of whoever that uses it. This is how Mutenroshi's master dies. Piccolo is gone and peace is on Earth until Pilaf, an old foe of Goku, resurrects Piccolo by opening the old rice cooker, and hopes to use Piccolo's evil powers to conquer the world. His plan, obviously, fails miserably.

Upon hearing the resurrection of Piccolo, Mutenroshi meets him and also tries to send Piccolo's spirit into a rice cooker with mahuba, but misses, and dies. Of course, in the end Goku defeats Piccolo and his children; his children were spawned out of his mouth in the form of eggs whenever Piccolo chanted: "Pokopen Pokopen daarega tsuttsuita!". Their names were Piano, Drum, Cymbal, and tambourine. (The naming theme of the dragon tribe ("ryuzoku") here isn't too hard to figure out. Also, in general another theme in DragonBall is that evil characters have Western names while friends of Goku have Eastern names.)

Later in DragonBall Z (the name change is similar to how later episodes of the anime/manga Gundam were renamed Gundam Z - to be trendy), Piccolo re-emerges in the form of Ma Jr., a.k.a. Piccolo Jr. with a turban on his head to conceal his tentacles. Ma Jr. is Piccolo Daimaou's last and most powerful child/replica. He is as powerful, if not stronger, than his father. His only mission since birth is to defeat Goku.

In Goku's trainings to become stronger, he meets Kamisama. His first reaction is an unpleasant one, since Kamisama looks exactly like an aged Piccolo. Goku shortly finds out that Kamisama and Piccolo used to be one and the same being, called Gatattsu, who is a Ryuzoku (dragon tribe). The former Kamisama disallowed Gatattsu from inheriting his position as Earth's god, since the he felt a strong evil presence inside Gatattsu. Upon training, Gatattsu sends the evil spirit outside of him, which in turn became Piccolo Daimaou.

Later in the story, some Sayan aliens visit Earth, and from their conversations and after much deductive reasoning, pieces fall into places and it becomes apparent that Gatattsu came from another planet called Namek. Gatattsu didn't know this, since a shock to his head upon landing on Earth gave him trauma-induced amnesia. Goku and pals end up going to planet Namek to collect dragon balls there, to use its special powers. By this time, Piccolo Jr. is called, simply, Piccolo, and after fighting aliens with Goku's friends, Piccolo has turned into a good fellow, albeit still a hermit of a personality. Piccolo is resurrected with the power of dragon balls to help Goku out at planet Namek, where he merges with a fighter Namek to become even more powerful.

Later on, they all go back to Earth, and Piccolo merges with Kamisama to become more powerful in order to fight the bad guys during another crisis.

The new Piccolo no longer lays eggs, but he occasionally practices special powers, such as making things appear out of nowhere, being able to see anywhere on Earth from his god's palace, regrowth of any body part except his head, and having extra keen ears. During his merge with Kamisama, the core of the new person was the fighter Piccolo, hence he lost most of his godly powers. He gave up his position as god to Dende, a skilled Namek.

Some translations/name origins:
  • Gatattsu → katatsumuri ⇒ snail
  • Dende → dendenmushi ⇒ snail, synonym.
  • Namek → namekuji ⇒ slug
  • Kamisama ("Kami" in US-released episodes) ⇒ god
  • ryuzoku ⇒ dragon tribe
→ : derived from
⇒ : translation into English

Pic"co*lo (?), n. [It., small.]

1. Mus.

A small, shrill flute, the pitch of which is an octave higher than the ordinary flute; an octave flute.

2. Mus.

A small upright piano.

3. Mus.

An organ stop, with a high, piercing tone.


© Webster 1913.

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