The Namek Saga is the second saga from the Dragon Ball Z series. The manga volumes that it is made up of are “Dragon Ball In Space” and “Battlefield Namek“. Its name is derived from the story arc revolving around the homeworld of the creatures on Earth believed to be demons, such as Kami and King Piccolo. It covers the trip and arrival to planet Namek, a fictional planet from the series, of Bulma, Krillin, and Gohan. The saga also covers the battles the Earth warriors and Vegeta face against Zarbon and Dodoria, Frieza‘s top two henchmen. Nearing the end of the chapter, it covers the arrival of Goku on Namek to aid his allies and the beginning of the fight against the Ginyu Force.
The Namek Saga comes after the Vegeta Saga and precedes the Captain Ginyu Saga. This saga aired in Japan in 1990. It is the first part of U.S. season 2. This saga comprises the first half of the FUNimation Season Two Remastered Box Set, except for the first 4 episodes which were included in the Season One Box Set, the last 6 episodes of the first Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box, and the first part of the Dragon Box FUNimation Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box Z Volume 2 Set.
Spoiler Warning: Spoiler details may follow.
Journey to Namek
After the epic battle with the Saiyans, and as Krillin limps back towardsGoku, a ship arrives with Chi-Chi, Master Roshi, and Korin. Chi-Chi, unconcerned about the fate of her paralyzed husband, only cares aboutGohan, who, in comparison, is fairing much better. Goku is carried into the ship, and the group somberly heads off to gather the bodies of those who died. After doing so, Krillin comments on it being possible to revive everyone with another set of Dragon Balls on the planet Namek, Piccolo’s home planet (Krillin overheard the conversation between Vegeta and Nappa about the existence of the Namekian Dragon Balls). However, King Kai informs them a cataclysm had occurred there long ago and now there were only about 100Namekians left in total.
Bulma determines that it is possible to use engines from one of the Saiyan spacecrafts to travel to the planet, but in an attempt to bring the space pod to them, she blew it up. It seemed as if all hope was lost, until Mr. Popoappeared and said Kami had told him of a ship that might be able to take them to Namek (it was used by Kami long ago to escape the cataclysm on Namek). Mr. Popo and Bulma go and check it out, and they realize that it is, indeed, capable of the trip. They make their way back to the hospital and find that Krillin and Gohan are willing to go. So after a short trip to Kame Island, Bulma, Gohan, and Krillin set off to a trip to Namek. They suffer some delays on their way to Namek, including finding an invisible spaceship full of orphaned kids, and getting stuck on a fake Namek.
Vegeta, after being seriously injured in his fight with Goku and the others, returns to Planet Frieza 79 to regenerate himself using a special Medical Machine. After fully recovering, Vegeta feels stronger than ever, as Saiyans have the unusual ability to reach higher power levels after healing from near death experiences. His self proclaimed rival, Cui, informs Vegeta that his former boss, Frieza, was initially angry at Vegeta going to Earth and violating orders but decided to forgive him when he overheard the conversation between he and Nappa about the Dragon Balls on Namek (scouters also served as a transmitter, which Frieza used to overhear their conversation). Furious about the consequences of Frieza being immortal, Vegeta rushes to Namek himself, now openly declaring himself an enemy of Frieza.
War on Namek
Soon, Frieza, Vegeta and our heroes all arrive on Namek with the seven Dragon Balls on their minds. There is one Dragon Ball per Namek village, each protected by the village elder. Obtaining them proves all too easy for Frieza who, with the help of his top two henchmen, Dodoria and Zarbon, bags four balls. As they go from one Namekian village to another, Zarbon and Dodoria butcher the Namekians until they locate the Dragon Ball. Cui has also followed Vegeta to Namek and searches the planet for his rival. Cui, still thinking that Vegeta’s power rivaled his own, (about 18,000) followed Vegeta to Namek and tries to wipe out Vegeta on orders from Frieza. However, Vegeta shows Cui his true strength before eliminating him. Vegeta’s power, which had risen from 18,000 to 24,000 because of his near-death confrontation on Earth, is noted by Zarbon and Dodoria, who were following his battle with their scouters.
Back on Earth, Yajirobe visits Goku in the hospital and gives him a Senzu Bean, instantly healing Goku and restoring his strength. Goku immediately flies off, surprising all the doctors and nurses with his speedy recovery. Goku then goes to the Capsule Corporation to find that Dr. Brief has built aspecial ship from parts of the Saiyan spaceship he traveled in when he was a baby. He is also able to train at various levels of gravity from twenty to one hundred times Earth’s gravity using an anti-gravity machine that Dr. Brief built at Goku’s request. Knowing that his friends are in danger and wasting no more time, Goku then takes off for Namek to set things straight and hoping to arrive in six days.
During this time, Frieza locates another Namekian village in order to obtain its Dragon Ball. Gohan and Krillin watch with horror as the entire village is slaughtered easily by Zarbon and Dodoria, except for one remaining Namekian child, Dende. After all the Namekian warriors, elderly, and children have been eliminated, Moori, the village leader, manages to destroy all the scouters used by Frieza and his crew, knowing that they cannot locate Namekian battle powers anymore and will not be able to track down the remaining Dragon Balls. However, after Moori is also executed and as Dodoria is about to kill Dende, Gohan interrupts in a fit of rage. He kicks Dodoria into a wall and runs away with the Namekian child and Krillin.
Dodoria is ordered to pursue the fleeing heroes. After blasting the entire area, Dodoria assumes he has exterminated them and turns back in order to return to Frieza. However, As Dodoria is trying find the Namekian village, he is confronted by Vegeta, whose increased strength allows him to easily hold a grip on Dodoria. In a desperate attempt to save his life, Dodoria tells Vegeta about the Saiyan planet and its destruction in exchange for Vegeta’s promise to spare his life. Vegeta releases Dodoria from his grip, and then Dodoria explains the Frieza lied about Planet Vegeta being destroyed. He tells that the Saiyans were getting stronger and Frieza thought it was only a matter of time before they could stand up to him, so he decided to destroy planet Vegeta and the Saiyan race. Before that, he sent Vegeta to another planet, seeing that Vegeta was powerful and still useful. Vegeta then scoffs, saying that he never cared about his family or Planet Vegeta and executes Dodoria ruthlessly. Vegeta is overjoyed at recent events; he knows that without scouters, Frieza will have a much harder time finding Namekian villages. Vegeta then rushes to a Namekian village with his newly acquired skills from Earth, the ability to detect ki and the ability to hide his power as he sees fit. After Vegeta locates a village that had not yet been raided by Frieza and his henchmen, he is able to obtain a Dragon Ball after slaughtering all of the villagers himself. After clever thinking, Vegeta throws the Dragon Ball underwater, intending to come back for it later. As long as Frieza is unable to obtain one Dragon Ball, he will not be able to summon the Dragon. Meanwhile, Gohan and Krillin bring the young Namekian Dende to their hiding spot. Bulma awaits them in a Capsule House and is surprised to see Dende. After a meal, Dende explains to them that there is a Dragon Ball kept safe with Guru (the Great Elder). However, Guru is far away and it would take quite some time to get to him, even if they flew there. Krillin takes a big chance and goes alone with Dende in order to retrieve the Dragon Ball from Guru. This leaves Gohan to temporarily fend for himself. Meanwhile, Vegeta suspects that the Earthlings are also on Namek because Dodoria had told him about them prior to being slain.
Vegeta vs. Zarbon
Zarbon stands waiting for Dodoria’s return and remarks that Dodoria should have been back. Dodoria has not returned and Frieza becomes impatient. He demands that Zarbon and Appule search planet Namek for more villages. He has grown impatient and wants the Dragon Balls so his wish for immortality can come true. Zarbon is sent to locate another Namekian village. Meanwhile, Piccolo, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, and Chiaotzu have all arrived at King Kai’s planet for special training; supposedly the same training that Goku received prior. They telepathically communicate with Goku to tell him of their arrival and Goku tells them that the situation is worse as there’s even more evil warriors on Namek, more powerful than Vegeta. King Kai suspects that something is wrong and checks to see that Frieza is truly on Namek. He then proceeds to warn Goku to never go near Frieza, fearfully telling him that Frieza is the most powerful entity in their quadrant of the universe.
Vegeta detects a powerful force which is revealed to be Zarbon. Vegeta does not fare as well when he comes face to face with Frieza’s right-hand man and his most powerful henchman, Zarbon. After Zarbon and Vegeta wage war for a few minutes with Vegeta once again easily dominating his opponent, Zarbon warns Vegeta of his ability to transform. Vegeta welcomes this challenge, not fully comprehending its consequences. Zarbon transforms into a hideous reptilian beast, completely surprising Vegeta and showing off his true power. He then proceeds to tear into Vegeta, easily beating him to a pulp with a combination of roundhouse kicks, headbutts, and a devastating piledriver, leaving him for dead. After Vegeta is tossed into the water, Zarbon decides to return to the ship in order to report to Frieza.
Once Zarbon returns to Frieza with his news of victory, he is given orders to bring Vegeta back in order to rejuvenate his energy for interrogation. Apparently, Vegeta had hidden a Dragon Ball, and Frieza needed to squeeze the information out of him. Zarbon locates Vegeta’s battered body and brings him to Frieza’s spaceship. There, he orders Appule to watch over the injured prince. However, once Vegeta is healed, he blasts through the Medical Machine tank, killing Appule in the process. He also blasts a hole through Frieza’s quarters in his spaceship, managing to toss out the Dragon Balls and fooling Frieza and Zarbon into thinking he escaped while he is actually hiding inside the spaceship. When Zarbon attempts to search for Vegeta, he takes the opportunity to fly off. An extremely angry Frieza orders Zarbon to retrieve Vegeta immediately in an hour or face severe punishment.
Meanwhile, Krillin is taken to Guru, the eldest and leader of the Namekians, who is very ill. It is revealed that if Guru dies, then the Namekian Dragon Balls will be gone forever, therefore threatening the revival of Yamcha, Piccolo, Tien, and Chiaotzu. To make things worse, Guru states that he does not have much time to live. When Guru puts his hands on Krillin, he realizes that he is good at heart and gives him a Dragon Ball to prevent Frieza and Vegeta from getting their wish, at the very least. He also summons energy and awakens the hidden potential within Krillin, increasing his battle power significantly. Bulma notices that the Dragon Radar is picking up a solitary Dragon Ball in an isolated place (where Vegeta hid it earlier underwater), and has Gohan go retrieve it. However, while returning back to Bulma, Krillin’s huge power unfortunately attracts Vegeta, who also notices that Krillin has a Dragon Ball. Zarbon also sees Vegeta in the distance and follows him.
Vegeta arrives as Krillin and Bulma become frightened. Zarbon arrives, demanding that they hand over the Dragon Ball. Bulma quickly finds herself attracted to Zarbon’s appearance. However, Zarbon and Vegeta collide in a fearsome clash and Zarbon is forced to transform once again in order to take down Vegeta, leaving Krillin and Bulma to watch in horror. Since a Saiyan’s power grows after every brutally grueling near-death battle, Vegeta is able to execute Zarbon in his transformed state by ramming his fist clean through Zarbon’s stomach, and blasting him into the sky, sending him to a watery grave in the Namekian sea. He then takes Krillin’s Dragon Ball and spares the two in his moment of joy, believing that he now has all 7 Dragon Balls. As he goes to pick up the Dragon Ball in the lake, he runs into Gohan, who happened to fool Vegeta and come with the Dragon Ball still in his possession. As Gohan returns, Krillin suggests that they move to a safer location and lower their power in order to avoid being detected by Vegeta.
The Ginyu Force
An extremely angry Vegeta, learning that the Dragon Ball was taken from its hiding spot by Gohan, rushes to the old meeting ground only to discover nobody is there. He then gathers all 6 Dragon Balls and guards them, while also trying to pick up any trace of Gohan’s and Krillin’s ki. He knows he can not face Frieza just yet, since Frieza’s power is enormously higher. The best he can do is wait it out until he is able to detect Krillin and Gohan in order to acquire their Dragon Ball.
Upon learning of Zarbon’s demise, and realizing that Vegeta was more than he bargained for, Frieza decides to summon the elite mercenary fighting team known as the Ginyu Force to find the Dragon Balls and take care of anyone or anything that gets in their way. The Ginyu Force is summoned and they depart for planet Namek.
Meanwhile on Namek, Krillin takes Gohan to have his hidden powers unlocked by Guru, knowing that his huge potential would help even fend off Vegeta. On the way, they are detected and confronted by Vegeta who tells them that his wish of immortality is the only way of defeating the Ginyu Force, 5 enormous evil ki that have just arrived on the planet. Our heroes reluctantly agree after Nail tells them that 3 wishes can be granted by the Dragon Balls, allowing everyone to have their wish granted. Ultimately, though, it is too late as the Ginyu Force arrives just in time for the Dragon Balls. They retrieve the seven balls and Captain Ginyu flies off to give them to Frieza, leaving the rest of the team to deal with Vegeta, Krillin, and Gohan.
First up is Guldo who has the ability to freeze time by holding his breath. Although Vegeta warns Krillin and Gohan beforehand about his abilities, they still become backed in a corner and Vegeta is forced to step in and kill Guldo by beheading him, and blowing him up. Meanwhile, Ginyu delivers the Dragon Balls to Frieza, who makes his wish for immortality but to no avail. Frieza suddenly remembers a Namekian elder who willingly gave up his Dragon Ball but told him that he would never be able to make his wish, and realizes the elder was right all along. Frieza senses Guru and Dende from afar and departs to find and interrogate them on how to use the Dragon Balls, while Ginyu remains behind to guard the Dragon Balls and bring Frieza’s men up to shape.
Next is the hulking brute, Recoome. Vegeta decides to fight him alone. Throughout this battle, Vegeta has his ups and downs, sometimes even surprising Recoome. During most of the battle though, Recoome has the upper hand. Vegeta wastes more energy and stamina than actually doing damage, and is beaten severely. Although Vegeta gives everything he has, Recoome is left nearly unscathed, although his armor is burnt off. Krillin and Gohan save Vegeta from Recoome’s Eraser Gun, but Recoome easily confronts Krillin and kicks him hard, crippling him. Gohan, furious because Krillin has been hurt, begins to fight Recoome head on. He puts up more of a battle but does not do any damage to Recoome. When Recoome jumps in the air breaking Gohan’s neck and spine, he is left on the brink of death. A Capsule Corporation spaceship is seen as it lands on the planet. The warriors are unaware of who has arrived.
Goku finally arrives on Namek and gives Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta the remaining Senzu Beans. Gohan and Krillin are shocked when Goku helps their once-enemy Vegeta. Goku then effortlessly defeats the powerful Recoome in one blow to the midsection, thanks to his training in the ship. Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta all marvel at Goku’s extreme power. Burter andJeice get cocky and believe it was a lucky shot, as the scouter registered Goku as being at a battle power of just 5,000. However, when Burter and Jeice attack Goku, he does not seem at all concerned with the two deadly members of the Ginyu Force.
The remaining members of the Ginyu Force are stunned at Goku’s abilities, while Vegeta is the only one that senses something has changed in Goku and wonders if Goku has become a legendary Super Saiyan.