This Piccolo Day, take a moment to discover a tale of the impact Big Green has on Dragon Ball fans
It was a balmy 60 degrees in the San Francisco Bay Area, the night of May 8, 2019. It was Piccolo Day's Eve, mere hours before the holiday celebrating one of Dragon Ball's finest heroes. I was trying to think of a good piece I could put up on Crunchyroll News to celebrate this special Namekian boy, when I realized that I happen to work with one of the world's preeminent Piccolo enthusiasts–Andrea Ramirez. So, I called up my co-worker. From across the room. We are also roommates so it was pretty easy to contact her. What follows is a transcription of an impromptu interview I had with her regarding her feelings about Piccolo. It is a tale of beauty and sorrow. Please prepare yourself for The Ballad of Andrea and Piccolo.
Sometimes a family is a gruff Namekian warrior and a child were-ape.
Crunchyroll: Can you introduce yourself and explain your relationship to Piccolo?
Andrea Ramirez: I'm Andrea, and I do Title Marketing with Crunchyroll. I've had a very long relationship with Piccolo–I watched Dragon Ball Z when I was a kid with my cousins, and my favorite character was Piccolo. Sometimes I would force my family members to play Dragon Ball Z role playing games with me, and I would be Piccolo.
CR: Now is this strictly imagination-based, or were there game mechanics?
AR: No there were no mechanics, and I didn't want to fight either. I just wanted to be Piccolo having a nice time. Specifically, I wanted to be Piccolo after a long day of training or fighting, and I just wanted to tell Goku about my day as Piccolo.
CR: Intriguing. There are many things to admire about Piccolo–his sense of duty, his antennae, his Special Beam Cannon–what do you admire most about Piccolo?
AR: There are so many things I like about Piccolo... I like his little fangs.
CR: Yeah, those are good.
AR: Yeah... I actually really just appreciate him as a person. I think that Piccolo is the first tsundere in anime I was ever exposed to. I feel like Piccolo was a really interesting gateway character for me growing up. He was the first character that I latched onto who really had more depth. I thought he was pretty scary when he was mean to Gohan at first–I was really young when I first watched it–but then I realized he had really good intentions. Everything he did to Gohan he did to help him overcome his perceived weaknesses. Something that really sticks with me is when Gohan transforms into a Great Ape under the full moon and how Piccolo dealt with it. That scene really changed how I viewed media at the time, and I think it was just a really defining moment for me. I originally thought "hey, this guy is evil with no redeeming qualities," but then he ended up being one of the most admirable characters in DBZ and became one of my favorite characters of all time.
CR: I understand that you had a really intense experience regarding Piccolo in your past. Could you go into that with us?
AR: So I had to get my wisdom teeth removed when I was... uh, how old was I Meldao?
(Meldao Hirahara, Social Media Strategist and longtime friend of Drea's was on the scene as a corroborating key witness)
Meldao Hirahara: You were 24.
AR: I had to get five teeth removed. I got them all removed at once and I had to go under for a few hours and then go on painkillers. I remember the dentist telling me to close my eyes and count to five and I'd be asleep. I remember saying "That's not gonna happen, I'm wide awake and I'm staying awake!" And then, the next thing I knew, I was dreaming. But I didn't know I was dreaming.
I was on this grand, epic-scale adventure–Piccolo and I were trying to save Namek. I don't even know who was attacking because Piccolo was just trying to save everyone by himself and wouldn't tell me what was going on. It was really frustrating! I kept yelling at him to let us help him but he just wouldn't let us. Then he kept telling me to keep an eye on Dende BUT I DIDN'T WANT TO KEEP AN EYE ON DENDE. Well, I did, I wanted to protect Dende. Dende and I were trying to wrangle eveyone and get them to their houses. I had no powers so I was just a normal human running around trying to get everyone to follow Piccolo's orders.
Then Piccolo took us somehwere else, like another planet, where we could see Namek from a distance. Then he said...
(at this point Andrea did a gruff Piccolo voice impression)
"Take care of Dende."
And I was like "No, Piccolo, what do you mean 'take care of Dende'?!" And then he flew back to Namek AND THEN NAMEK BLEW UP. Then I woke up crying with tears running down my face and onto the dentist chair. I don't really remember all of this too well, but it's been recounted to me by my mother, who was there. I just remember wiping my big dumb swollen tear-streaked cheeks and trying to say "Piccolo" but I couldn't because my mouth was all numb so instead I said "Pigowwo."
The dentist had no idea what I was saying, but I just kept crying and saying "Pigowwo" over and over again. I think my mom thought I was talking about pickles...
(At this point, I'd like to interject with some supplementary details from Andrea's mother, Maria Ramirez, who I interviewed after the fact to corroborate this story.)
Maria Ramirez: I didn't know what the heck was going on with her. When I went to go pick her up she was in a state, and I didn't know what the heck she was talking about. She was really upset. She was talking about Piccolo, but I thought she was talking about pickles. Andrea does not really like pickles, but I didn't understand why she was so upset about pickles.
(Andrea was present for this interview, and I would like to state for the record that she was burying her head under a pillow and some blankets and laugh-crying. Now let's return to the main interview.)
Baby Piccolo :)
AR: I think my mom thought I was really upset about pickles. Which, like, it's true, I hate them. The nurse looked at me and said, "Piccolo? From Dragon Ball?" and I said "yeah..." and I started crying again. I was trying to tell her that Namek was gone, and she understood me a little! She was like, "Namek?" and I said "Yeah... Nyameg Pigowwo!"
I remember calling an old friend on the phone on the ride back to tell her about Piccolo, and I was just drooling all over myself and crying. She was trying to calm me down (which didn't work) and then I had to go watch The Book of Life, the Jorge Gutierrez movie, to calm myself down because I was going through a lot of grief. I watched The Book of Life and I cried and I held my cat. and then Meldao came to pick me up and I held her cat.
MH: My brand new cat.
AR: Yeah, her brand new cat. And I pet her.
MH: Wait... if my cat was brand new, that means you were 22, not 24.
MH: Sug is 4 years old, not 2.
(Editor's Note: Sug is Meldao's cat. Sug is short for Suga. This cat is named after a Haikyu!! character.)
AR: Oh my god, we're old.
We have some fan questions that were asked to Andrea as well, which will be added on later today once we've compiled all of our answers!