Guru (最長老, Saichouro; lit. "Grand Elder") was the eldest and wisest remaining Namekian in existence at the time of his appearance. As the creator of the Namekian Dragon Balls, Guru's death would cause them to become inert. He gave birth to all of the Namekians.
Guru is one of the two survivors of a cataclysmic climate shift on Namek several hundred years prior to the events in the series (the other ones being Kami and King Piccolo, who were once one being prior to Kami's separation with his inner evil). Guru is renowned for saving the Namekian race after the climate shift, by laying eggs and continuing his species. In his lifetime, he birthed 109 children, including his bodyguard Nail and the young Dende.
Morbidly obese in his old age, Guru is always seen sitting stationary on his throne-like chair during the Namek Saga. He dies before Frieza is defeated, of a combination of a broken heart and stress (both brought on from repeatedly sensing his children's deaths at the hands of Frieza's minions), but not before unlocking Krillin, Gohan and Dende's hidden powers (the latter of whom seemed to gain healing abilities as opposed to increased battle strength).
It is revealed that Guru knows about the Super Saiyan legend when he asks Krillin if the Saiyan who attacked Earth (Vegeta) was a "Super Saiyan". Also, Guru regards Kami and Piccolo's original potential to be so great that only a Super Saiyan could have a chance at defeating him (after Piccolo's fusion with Nail and Kami, Krillin later states in the Imperfect Cell Saga that Kami and Piccolo's potential is even greater than that of a Super Saiyan).
His death prevents Vegeta from wishing immortality, just before Frieza found Krillin, Vegeta, Gohan, and Dende wishing with the Dragon Balls. Soon thereafter, King Kai chose to revive him and all the other victims of Frieza's army with the Earth's Dragon Balls so the Namekian dragon, Porunga, would be brought back. The third wish left was used to transport everyone on the planet (except Goku and Frieza) to Earth. Later on Earth, when his death due to old age was imminent he passes on the Dragon Balls and his position as the Namekian Grand Elder to Moori. As Guru dies again of his old age, he goes with a smile on his face, saying it was a good day to die. Upon his death, his body faded away (implying that he was allowed to keep his body upon death).
Powers and abilities
Though Guru was not shown fighting, he has shown a number of abilities. As a member of the Dragon Clan, his most famous ability is the power to create Dragon Balls, to which he gave powerful abilities. He has the ability to unlock someone's hidden potential by placing his hand on their head; he did this for Krillin, Gohan and Dende. Krillin asked Guru if he was not weakened after unlocking his potential, but Guru replied that it did not matter the slightest as he only acted as a catalyst, and that his life force is not affected in the slightest. Guru can also view someone's memories by placing his hand on their head, and can perform telepathy and sense ki.
- Guru's chair/throne design actually first appeared several years prior in the King Piccolo Saga, though King Piccolo's was slightly different with skull detailing, while Kami's was nearly identical to Guru's, as was the chair originally within the ship the Nameless Namek came to Earth in. Nameless Namek and/or his father Katas may have known Guru due to this, though it is also possible other Namekian leaders used these chairs as well, in the time prior to the climate shift on Namek which nearly extinguished their species.
- Though many characters in Dragon Ball Z die twice within the course of the storyline (like Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Master Roshi, etc.), Guru is the only character to die twice in the same saga.
- Although referred to as "Guru" in the English dub of the Dragon Ball Z anime, that name has been dropped in favor of a more literal translation of his name, "The Grand Elder," for the English dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai. This makes him the only character to have his name changed for the new show like this.
- In the Hebrew dub, Guru stated to be a female Namekian, probably because of him giving birth to nearly all the Namekians currently alive.
- He gave Moori the responsibility to look over New Namek.