Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Piccolo’s Time to Shine

Everyone's favorite Namekian is the MVP of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Here are some reasons why.

Dragon Ball Super Super Hero Piccolo Powers Up
Photo: Toei Animation

This article contains spoilers for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

It’s not easy for a franchise to maintain a passionate audience for nearly four decades, and yet there’s no end in sight for Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball. There are hundreds of hours of entertainment between the many Dragon Ball anime, manga, video games and more, but the series’ feature film installments frequently tell stories that are too big to contain in the standard anime. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero picks up after the events of 2018’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but turns to the original series’ roots when it comes to this new source of conflict. The Red Ribbon Army have a contentious history with Goku, but due to certain events their defeat falls on Piccolo, who also figures out how to reignite Gohan’s killer instinct. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Piccolo’s greatest showcase in over a decade and the movie paints an optimistic picture over the Namekian’s future.

A Deeper Look Into Piccolo’s Personal Life

Piccolo has been one of the most important characters in the series right from the start of Dragon Ball Z, but he’s a nomadic individual who keeps his personal life closed off to even his closest friends. Piccolo is frequently shown training and meditating in the wilderness, or seeking refuge at Kami’s Lookout. However, Super Hero takes great strides to flesh out Piccolo’s personal life, which includes the first look at his house. Glimpses of Piccolo’s downtime do a lot for the character and it’s equally surprising to learn that he has a cellphone. Before the action kicks in, Piccolo communicates with Videl and Bulma, seeming to function as a middleman when it comes to Gohan. More slice of life moments where Piccolo gets into mundane activities with Videl and Bulma would be appreciated. He definitely needs to host Bulma’s next birthday.

Piccolo Takes On More Pupils

Gohan wouldn’t be the martial artist that he is today without the rigorous training that Piccolo instilled in him during his youth. It’s quite endearing to see in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero that this tradition has extended over to Gohan’s daughter, Pan. Pan’s wilderness training with Piccolo needs to be expanded upon in the future. She proves herself to be a quick study who masters flight by the end of the movie and likely isn’t far away from her first Super Saiyan transformation.

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There’s a lot of potential in Piccolo continuing to train Pan, but this could also extend to him taking on other younger pupils, like Gotenks, who shows growth in Super Hero, but still has a lot to learn. Piccolo is so knowledgeable on the fusion dance that he might also push Pan in this direction as she continues to get stronger. She’s not that much older than Bulla.

He Explores His Namekian Roots And Becomes An Icon For His People

The catalyst of Piccolo’s growth in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has a lot to do with his Namekian physiology and the limitations of his people. Piccolo emerges as the strongest Namekian ever and it seems like he could apply this power to help out his own kind. Piccolo talks to Dende about upgrading the Dragon Balls, but there’s also a whole planet of displaced Namekians who lack a greater purpose.

Piccolo could become a symbol to inspire the Namekian to surpass their former limits. It’d be extremely satisfying to see him pass on what he’s learned here and help other Namekians transform to new heights. This is the most plausible way for Namekians to ever rival the Saiyans in strength again.

Piccolo And Gohan Throw Themselves Into Training 

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a two-hander where both Piccolo and Gohan get to shine. The movie celebrates their individual accomplishments as well as their continued growth as a team. The movie ends with Piccolo and Gohan stronger than ever and it’d be a tragedy if they ended their growth here when it feels like it’s just getting started.

Dragon Ball has featured plenty of dedicated training arcs, but it’s been a while since Piccolo and Gohan have entered this dynamic together. In the manga, Vegeta has recently traveled to Planet Yardrat to train and master their valuable skills. It might finally be time for Gohan and Piccolo to make the trek to Yardrat and continue to become indispensable characters. If nothing else, it’s time for these two to at least get a sparring session in with Whis or Beerus.

Piccolo Has A Dangerous New Form To Perfect

There are always new transformations that come out of nowhere in Dragon Ball and there’s a fine line between these metamorphoses feeling like a justified surprise or a manipulative plot device. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero deserves some credit for going back to the Elder Guru’s ability to unlock people’s potential as the impetus for his new transformation. Piccolo turns to the Dragon Balls to wish for Shenron to unlock his potential, but the Eternal Dragon mentions that he also “throws in a bonus” for good measure. This bonus translates to Orange Piccolo, a transformation that might be a little rough around the edges when it comes to its appearance, but its strength is nearly unmatched. 

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Orange Piccolo also makes use of the Namekian’s gigantification skills, which also haven’t been prominently seen since Piccolo’s pivotal World Martial Arts Tournament battle against Goku in the original Dragon Ball. Piccolo has never felt more important to the series and it’s exciting how Orange Piccolo will be used in tandem with Ultra Instinct Goku, Ultra Ego Vegeta, Gohan Beast, and whatever else the anime has in store.  

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is currently playing in limited theaters, in both subbed and dubbed versions.