"You are too kind, Mister Popo. But I must act for the good of the Earth. This is about the continuing struggle for power between the forces of good and evil...and the danger that looms over us now poses a greater threat than anything we have faced in the past."
Kami (神様, Kami-sama; lit. "god," "deity" or "divine being") is one of the beings that have served as a Guardian of the Earth. Throughout a majority of the story, the character known as Kami on Earth is a wise Namekian who no longer even remembers his real name. It was revealed, however, that his father's name was Katas. As a nameless Namekian, he hatched on Planet Namek in Age 242 and, as a child, was launched by Katas into outer space in a Namekian spaceship which requires at least a basic knowledge of the Namekian language to pilot. Kami is also the Namekian that created King Piccolo and Earth's version of the Dragon Balls.
It is not known what Kami's personality was like originally, but after purging himself of his evil counterpart he becomes a normal peaceful Namekian for the most part. Though he could count as a Warrior-type Namekian, he gives up martial arts almost completely after becoming Guardian of Earth (though, he later fights Piccolo Jr. as Hero and Garlic Jr. as himself). According to Korin, Kami does not like visitors and will send any rocket ship trying to reach him back (implying it has happened at least once). His need for seclusion may stem from growing up by himself in the remote Yunzabit Heights. Despite having a legitimate care for the Earth, he began to think all humans were selfish and distrustful as he watched humanity grow and rebuild after the King Piccolo wars, until he meets Goku, which renews his faith in humanity (despite Kami knowing Goku is not from Earth, though it may have been Goku's love for his friends that changed Kami's mind).
At some point in his adult life, he arrived at Kami's Lookout, the home of the guardian of Earth at the time and became his apprentice in hopes the aging guardian would choose him to be his successor when he died. Although loyal to the aging guardian and even successfully outclassing the Makyan Garlic who competed with him, he was ultimately denied by the old guardian because of his selfish desire to become guardian due to its benefits, and because of the evil that dwelled within, although the Nameless Namek was a majority good.
He finally became Kami after separating the evil from of himself in order to attain the position, forming an evil twin brother calling himself King Piccolo who shared a lifeline with him (if one died, the other would also). He watched over the Earth from his lookout during King Piccolo and his mutated sons' initial rampage but eventually in a series of long, complicated circumstances they were defeated by the forces of Master Mutaito. He later created the Dragon Balls to give the people of Earth hope and encourage acts of bravery after King Piccolo's reign, though he later regretted it until he met the pure-hearted Goku.
Some 300 years later, at the conclusion of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Emperor Pilaf frees King Piccolo and soon after a human named Krillin is murdered by Piccolo's newest son, Tambourine. It is later revealed King Piccolo seeks to destroy all existing martial artists to prevent any challengers from learning the Evil Containment Wave that trapped him. Piccolo also seeks the Dragon Balls to restore his youth before taking over the world again. After Cymbal and Tambourine are mysteriously killed, King Piccolo encounters the young Goku and in the ensuing fight Goku is seemingly killed.
King Piccolo eventually summons Shenron and, after killing both Master Roshi and Chiaotzu, has his wish granted. Soon after however, Piccolo then kills Shenron to prevent anyone else from using the dragon against him. King Piccolo next invades the king of the world's castle and takes the king hostage. The next day while about to leave for the doomed West City, King Piccolo is confronted again by Goku, who narrowly defeats him by punching him clean through his midsection.
With all his sons dead and himself mortally wounded, King Piccolo spits out one last egg containing his son and reincarnation Piccolo Jr. intended to exact revenge on Goku and thus also sparing Kami's life in the process before he explodes. Shortly after Goku arrives at Kami's mysterious lookout and meets his loyal servant Mr. Popo. Kami agrees to meet with Goku without the long rigorous training required to beat Mr. Popo and, upon seeing Kami, Goku mistakes him for King Piccolo and charges at him, but Kami merely flicks him away. After explaining his origins, Kami, as a reward to Goku for defeating Piccolo, revives Shenron so that all the innocents killed by Piccolo and his sons can be removed from limbo and brought back to life, but then informs Goku he must train under him for three years in order to defeat Piccolo Jr. who would be seeking to challenge him at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.
During this period, Kami restores the moon, which had been destroyed by Master Roshi six years earlier, and permanently removes Goku's tail. Eight years later, Piccolo would destroy the moon again. It is also during this period that Goku receives the weighted undershirt, wristbands, and boots that he wears for the rest of the series and the majority of Dragon Ball Z.
Three years later, Goku arrives at the tournament and Kami enters as well, but inside the body of Hero, after realizing Piccolo Jr. is even stronger than his father now. During the tournament, Kami defeats Yajirobe and Yamcha with extreme ease, managing to completely dominate each battle, and embarrasing Yamcha in their match, however, Yamcha does manage to hit Kami with the Spirit Ball before getting knocked out, which surprises Kami. While he fights the two, he acts clumsily and awkwardly in order to fool the audience and not to raise any suspicion. After defeating the two, Kami attempts to trap Piccolo Jr. with the Evil Containment Wave, but at the last second Piccolo Jr. reverses it and Kami finds himself trapped within a Klein Bottle, but exists from Hero's body so he won't be trapped with him. Piccolo then swallows the bottle, so that if Goku tries to get Kami out, Piccolo will die and so will Kami. Later, Goku frees Kami by tricking Piccolo into growing huge so he could go inside his mouth, and eventually defeats Piccolo Jr. Goku shows him mercy because Kami would die as well were he to kill him. Still full of guilt, Kami offers Goku his position, but Goku declines to keep his promise to marry Chi-Chi and flies off on the Nimbus cloud with her.
Dragon Ball Z
Five years later, Kami continues to watch over the Earth, and it appears Goku and Piccolo clashing once again is inevitable, but one day a mysterious alien named Raditz lands on earth in search of his brother, Kakarot (Goku). Raditz's power and aspirations are even worse than Piccolo's, in that Raditz is far stronger and could also destroy the Earth, rather than make it his kingdom like Piccolo aspired to. Eventually with Goku's help, who had to sacrifice himself as a result, and an intervention from his son Gohan, Piccolo defeats Raditz. After learning two even more powerful Saiyans are on their way to Earth, Kami brings Goku to King Yemma's office and is able to get him training with King Kai, the king of the Northern Quadrant of the universe who lives in the Other World on his personal planet at the end of the Snake Way. Kami trains Krillin, Tien Shinhan, Yamcha, Chiaotzu and Yajirobe for the fight as well. During the initial struggle with Vegeta and Nappa, Piccolo is killed when he sacrifices himself to save Gohan, and Kami dies soon after. Goku eventually arrives back on Earth and narrowly saves it from Vegeta, but in the end, lets him live. Kami remains dead until the Frieza Saga. After his revival, as well as during the destruction of the planet Namek, he is briefed on the plan to evacuate everyone except Frieza from Namek by collecting the Earth Dragon Balls, and then wishing for everyone who was killed by Frieza and his army, whether directly or indirectly, and then wishing them to Earth. In addition, he inadvertently revealed to King Kai, when he contacted him on a pressing matter, that Piccolo was not only alive, but Namek wasn't quite as destroyed as initially believed.
Afterwards, Kami was captured by the released Garlic Jr., and imprisoned in a container. He remained in there until Piccolo seized on the opportunity to shatter their prison (Piccolo faked being under the influence of the Black Water Mist in order to lure Garlic Jr to get him close enough to the container to free them). Afterwards, he went deep into the lookout to use the Sacred Water to counteract the Black Water Mist before it permanently brainwashed the populace to Garlic Jr.'s side, although not without nearly being killed by the previous guardians, and Piccolo with him, in the process.
Kami's role diminished greatly after the heroes return to Earth from Namek from what it had been prior to their journey, and by the Androids Saga, he was no longer needed for training or wisdom. Because of this, and out of concern for a then unknown threat, he agrees to fuse with the reincarnated and redeemed Piccolo in the Imperfect Cell Saga to return to being the original nameless Namekian. The new Piccolo would go on to fight Cell, but never manages to kill him through various complicated events. Because he is a Namekian, he also has the ability to create Dragon Balls, but this is not a skill that most Guardians would have.
Despite being essentially a god, the person who acts as Kami is not necessarily supremely powerful. Kami was the strongest fighter in the series during and after King Piccolo's final rampage that was ended by Goku, but by the start of the Garlic Jr. Saga, virtually all of the main Z Fighters and their enemies are more powerful than Kami and his role becomes more of a support one (possibly because of his advanced age), and Piccolo even remarks once, "the only reason you even exist now is for the Dragon Balls".
Despite his disappearance, Kami is still remembered and mentioned at times; when Dende asks how the two halves of Majin Buu could be both separate and the same person, Piccolo states "Remember, Kami and I were separate but still one", and the Lookout is still referred to as Kami's Lookout.
In an issue of V-Jump, his power level is placed at 220, which is weaker than King Piccolo, who is at 260 (when his youth is restored). However, in Dragon Ball, Kami was stated to be more powerful than Mr. Popo, who easily defeated Goku. This means that Mr. Popo and Kami consider other measures than energy output when referring to power.
Techniques and special abilities
- Flight – Kami can fly by simply controlling his energy and push out ki from underneath, as he was seen doing in Hero's body in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.
- Afterimage Technique – Kami used this against Piccolo while possessing Hero.
- Energy Cannon – Kami can shoot a visible blast of energy from his palm.
- Eye Lasers – A thin laser-like beam is shot from both eyes.
- Explosive Wave – Kami used it against Garlic Jr. in Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone and Garlic Jr. in the Garlic Jr. Saga.
- Exploding Wave – An invisible ki blast of a sudden wind attack that can be launched theoretically from any part of the body. Kami used this against Piccolo while possessing Hero.
- Evil Containment Wave – Kami attempted this technique to seal Piccolo Jr. in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament but ended up sealed himself by Piccolo Jr.'s Evil Containment Wave.
- Finger Beam – Kami can shoot an energy blast from his index finger.
- Kai Kai – Kami can instantly appear at King Yemma's front desk in the afterlife without requiring the use of an energy signature to home in on.
- Magic Materialization – Kami used this to restore Goku's clothes that were wrecked by Piccolo in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.
- Regeneration – A Namekian trait that allows Kami to regenerate as long as his head is undamaged (Note: Kami is never shown using Regeneration).
- Self Destruction – Kami can convert his life force into energy to create a powerful explosion that can range for miles, he tries to use this on Garlic Jr. but stops due to Piccolo and Goku's intervention.
- Telepathy – The ability to channel one's thoughts to another being.
- Kami was able to overshadow, or otherwise control Hero so as to disguise himself during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.
Video game appearances
- Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden
- Dragon Ball Z Arcade
- Dragon Ball Z: Goku Hishōden
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Totsugeki-Hen
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Kakusei-Hen
- Dragon Ball Z: The Legend
- Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku
- Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
- Dragon Ball Z: Bakuretsu Impact
- Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu
- Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors 2
- Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
- Japanese version: Takeshi Aono, Bin Shimada (Dragon Ball Kai, Episode 66)
- Ocean Group Dub: Michael Dobson and Dale Wilson
- FUNimation Dub: Christopher R. Sabat
- Latin American Dub: Carlos Segundo (DB, DBZ) and César Árias (DBZ Kai)
- Portuguese Dub: António Semedo
- Brazilian Dub: Fábio Tomazine (DB, DBZ) and Roberto PratesKai)
- Hungarian Dub: Antal Konrád
- Italian Dub: Mario Zucca
- Spanish Dub: Jorge Tomé
- Croatian Dub: Matko Knešaurek
- The name Kami or Kami-sama, meaning a god or God in Japanese, refers to his position rather than his original name. This is evident in the first portion of the series, where everyone is surprised at the mention of the name "Kami", even though they had never heard of him before. Though King Piccolo and his sons were originally considered Mazokus, Kami and the original Nameless Namek would not have been considered Mazokus. Therefore, the origin of Kami's true species remained a mystery until the fight with Vegeta and Nappa.
- During his fight against Yamcha in Hero's body, Kami actually tells Yamcha that he is a visitor from another planet (foreshadowing his Namekian origins). This contradicts his later statement that he had no recollection of being an alien.
- It is believed by some that Kami is somehow connected with the Ultra Divine Water, due to his symbol actually appearing on the pot containing the water before Kami himself appears. However, it is likely all guardians wear the symbol (as evident by the fact his successor, Dende was also sometimes portrayed wearing it).
- Kami and Master Roshi have several similarities -- both end up teaching Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha, and they both give their students clothing (Master Roshi gave his students the turtle outfit; Kami gave weighted clothes) and they both participated in the World Martial Arts Tournament while disguised (Kami as Hero and Master Roshi as Jackie Chun). Both characters also learned the Evil Containment Wave from seeing it performed on King Piccolo by Master Roshi's Master Mutaito.
- When Goku suggests training under King Yemma instead of King Kai, Kami comments on how King Kai is stronger, and Yemma responds by telling him he is thinking of sending him to Hell when he dies, which ironically is where his permanent fusee, Piccolo, later ends up. In the last episode of Dragon Ball GT, "Until We Meet Again", Goku promises Kami's permanent fusee Piccolo that he would take him out of Hell someday.
- In Dr. Slump, an old man called Kami ("God") appears and is the Guardian of Earth, however he is Human rather than Namekian.