Dragon Ball: What makes Piccolo’s special beam cannon so … special?

One of the most powerful attacks in all of Dragon Ball is Piccolo’s special beam cannon. This is what makes the Namekian technique so unique.

The Dragon Ball The franchise has boasted a growing number of attacks and special techniques since Master Roshi taught Goku the Kamehameha Wave at the beginning of the original series. Piccolo revealed an attack that departs from the usual line of devastating martial arts moves at the beginning of the sequel series. Dragon Ball Z while taking on the Saiyan invader Raditz: The Special Beam Cannon.

Despite the newer and more powerful attacks that have been introduced to the franchise, the Special Beam Cannon remains one of Piccolo’s signature moves, and one of the most effective attacks in the franchise. In addition to his impressive intro, let’s take a look at what makes Piccolo’s attack so special.

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Anime Dragon Ball Z Goku Raditz Die Special Beam Cannon

While Raditz was significantly stronger than Piccolo and Goku when he arrived on Earth at the beginning of DBZPiccolo’s special beam cannon was an attack that could visibly damage and kill him when fully charged. Early in their fight, Raditz was nearly killed by Piccolo’s attack, narrowly dodging at the last second with his shoulder still injured after the blast of energy brushed past him. When Goku sacrificed his life to keep his evil older brother in his place, Raditz was mortally wounded by Piccolo when he took the full weight of the special beam cannon head-on, and the blast completely pierced him and Goku. After this, Piccolo would employ the special beam cannon at all times. DBZ and its sequel series Dragon ball super, often taking less time to charge the attack to full power than its initial appearances.

An important part of the effectiveness of the Special Beam Cannon is due to its being a charged attack. Charged attacks have a long history of being able to defeat much more powerful opponents throughout the franchise. Goku’s fully charged Kamehameha Wave and Vegeta’s fully charged Final Flash significantly damaged Cell in his perfect form. The most iconic charged attack of all is the Super Spirit Bomb. This technique takes Goku a prolonged amount of time to prepare, but it can completely eliminate much stronger enemies.

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The other factor in the Special Beam Cannon’s effectiveness, and the one that makes it more unique from other energy attacks in the franchise, is how the technique is applied. While many energy attacks tend to detonate on impact, the special beam cannon explodes with a spiraling stream of energy, like a corkscrew, and is designed to pierce its target. This is similar to Krillin’s signature attack, the Destructo Disk, designed to pierce through enemies instead of poignant exploding. Even though Krillin was significantly weaker than Frieza in his second form, the Z Fighter could still cut off the villain’s tail with a well-aimed Destructo Disk; The Special Beam Cannon operates on similar principles.

Piccolo is one of Dragon Ballmaster strategists, even as his Saiyan counterparts became much more powerful than him. This combat wisdom extends to the development of his Special Beam Cannon. Originally intended as a way for Piccolo to triumph over Goku after their climactic battle at the end of Dragon Ball, the Special Beam Cannon finally managed to kill Goku while dispatching a common enemy. Piccolo knows how to defeat even the strongest enemy with a single attack, with the Special Beam Cannon cutting through the opposition in contrast to the other signature techniques of the franchise.

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