Dragon Ball Can’t Decide if Namekians Are Demons, Aliens, or Gods

Dragon Ball has introduced Namekians as demons, gods, and aliens. But the green slug people are none of these things now. But what are they?

What even are Namekians – the green, humanoid beings with floppy antennae in Dragon Ball? Dragon Ball Super Chapter 69 tries to answer this question. Are they slug people? Plant guys? Demons, aliens, gods; or some sort of extradimensional, genderless perfect, super-powered specimen? It’s not entirely clear at times. That’s a lot of question marks for a race of beings that have been main characters in Dragon Ball almost since its inception. 

Goku has been trying to punch, and then make friends with every new enemy he has come into contact with since he was a child. And Kami, a wrinkled pickle of a man, was one of Goku’s first pals after he climbed The Lookout to train with him. But Kami’s people – the green, space-faring beings of planet Namek are not demons or aliens or gods as was originally suggested. 

Dragon Ball has kept a somewhat cohesive canon of character origins but Akira Toriyama is not above completely retconning his series. In Dragon Ball Z, Toriyama decided to expand the sci-fi portions of his story and made Goku into an alien who was sent to Earth.

Actually, the canon is pretty messy. This is probably why no one has a clear idea about what exactly Namekians are. They don’t eat food and only subsist on water. They have mystical powers even beyond the outlandish powers of the Z-Fighters who can shoot plasma balls from their hands. Namekians have been variously explained as plant-people, slug-people, aliens, and deities. Though a recent scene from Dragon Ball Super Chapter 69 explained Namekians may not be from this dimension at all. An elder says the first Namekians moved to their planet from “another realm altogether” helpfully leaving out how or when the first Namekians did this. 

Namekians have a masculine build, with broad shoulders and giant muscles like every other yoked-out character in the Dragon Ball universe. But Namekians don’t have an assigned gender and could be non-binary (though young Namkians were curious after first seeing a human woman). They have purple blood and give birth asexually by spitting eggs out of their mouths. Kami (which in Japanese means god) declared himself a guardian of Earth and was its closest thing to a deity until Dragon Ball added so many gods it would dizzy a Hindu. Namekians have incredibly long lifespans but they are mortal if such a thing exists among the constantly resurrecting Z-Fighters. Namekians can regenerate limbs and even most of their body as long as their head is left intact. Their name comes from a Japanese word for slug, which accounts for green skin and antennae. Namekians in the manga have four fingers as opposed to five fingers in the anime, which is never really addressed.

Namekians are formidable warriors and created the manga’s eponymous Dragon Balls. Any beings that can create wishing balls with almost limitless powers are sure to be compared to gods. But as Dragon Ball Super has shown, there are so many gods and upper echelons of deities that calling Namekians gods isn’t so special. The likeliest answer is that Namekians are beings from another dimension. Unlike any other humanoid in the cosmos, they have powers completely different from even the most powerful fighters and deities. Namekians can summon clothing (no clothing boutiques on Namek), fuse with others, stretch their limbs, heal themselves and others, and connect telepathically with other Namekians.  Namekians are probably extradimensional in origin but have chosen this universe as their home.

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