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Tien Shinhan

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"This is not about me. Or rather, this is about the bad things in my life that made me no better than King Piccolo. This is about atonement. And I only hope it's enough."
— "The Ultimate Sacrifice"

Tien Shinhan (天津飯, Tenshinhan), commonly just called Tien in the English dub of Dragon Ball Z, is heavily devoted to martial arts, reclusive and disciplined, Tien Shinhan is one of the strongest Humans within the Dragon Ball universe. He battles alongside the other Z Fighters when major threats to the Earth surface, often courageously engaging enemies far more powerful than himself.[9] However, he spends most of his time training with his lifelong best friend, Chiaotzu.




Tien Shinhan in the Trunks Saga

Tien Shinhan is a powerful warrior, a master of martial arts and one of the most powerful Humans on Earth. Due to his harsh upbringing, Tien is initially cold and heartless, thinking nothing of exploiting innocence and inflicting pain. However, Master Roshi and Goku eventually help him to see the folly of his master's teachings and he becomes a trusted ally from then on. Throughout much of his adult life, he battles alongside the other Z Fighters when major threats to the Earth surface, often courageously engaging enemies far more powerful than himself.[9] Except for these times of dire need, his reclusive and independent nature strays him away from the other Z Fighters. He spends most of his time training with his lifelong best friend, Chiaotzu.

Creation and concept

The Daizenshuu books mention that Tien Shinhan is a descendant of the Three-Eyed clan.[1][2] The description booklet in the boxes for the Dragon Ball Z Season 1 and 4 DVDs, which lists bios of a few of the characters also mentions this. Tien Shinhan being a descendant of the Three-Eyed clan is a reference to the character Sharaku, who is also a descendant of an ancient race of three eyed humans in Osamu Tezuka's 1974 manga The Three-eyed One. Tien's origin is also referenced in the Dragon Ball: Raging Blast what-if story "The Top Earthling Tournament" where, after defeating Tien for the title of "strongest earthling", Krillin asks if Tien is even from Earth.

Technically, Tien is a triclops, which simply means a three-eyed creature, though this has never been depicted as being indicative of another alien race and is more likely just a rare trait in Humans. Also, Piccolo refers to Tien as an Earthling in the original Japanese dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai. In popular culture, the third eye is from becoming enlightened (like the Hindu god Shiva), and Akira Toriyama stated that this is the reason that Tien has the eye, however he is unable to use the eye's abilities due to his evil upbringing by the Crane Hermit.[10] The fact that, despite being a descendant of the Three-Eyed clan, Tien was not born with his third eye is supported in the series in the video game Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, which states that Tien's third eye was achieved through deep meditation when the player scans the friendly Tien NPC with the scouter.


Tien's non-combat outfit typically consists of a Hanfu (Han-style) robe with loose pants and boots, in contrast to the Manchu-style clothing most Chinese characters in the series wear. This can be seen during the Trunks Saga, Majin Buu Saga, and in the manga version of Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and Friends Return


Tien Shinhan's Japanese name pun is tenshindon, a quasi-Chinese dish actually invented in Japan and consisting of a crabmeat omelet over rice. It gets its name from the fact that it was originally made using high-quality rice. The character’s name is written in kanji (天津飯) with a furigana reading (テンシンハン, Tenshinhan) .

Personality and hobbies


Tien with his best friend, Chiaotzu

Tien enjoys eating jiaozi/gyouza (Chiaotzu gets his name from this food) and shumai (Shu and Mai are named after this).[3][11] He likes traveling on a llama or ostrich.[3] His hobbies are volleyball[3][11] and training in martial arts.[12]

Tien Shinhan was originally a cold-hearted and ruthless warrior, never caring for anyone's life with the exception of his fellow students and mentors. This brutality can be plainly seen when he crushes Yamcha's and another fighter's leg during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. However, he finds a lifelong best friend in Chiaotzu, for whom he cares deeply, and vice-versa. He highly idolized his mentor Mercenary Tao and desired to be a famous assassin like him. Due to Master Roshi's and Goku's consolations, he changed his demeanor and became one of the most respected warriors on the planet. Before he transitioned to the good side, he planned to kill Goku during the World Martial Arts Tournament as he was seen as a threat to himself and his cohorts. However, this mentality soon changes with the realization that he disagrees with the brutal methods employed by his masters, Shen and Mercenary Tao. He goes off on his own to train and soon becomes a powerful ally to Goku and the others. His personality transitions from one of a brutal killer to that of an honorable warrior who cares deeply for those he strives to protect. He occasionally tries to repent for his former brutality, but eventually rises above his horrid memories and looks toward the future. He also is very stern and serious, not cracking as many jokes as often as a lot of the Z Fighter crew.

During Dragon Ball Z, he is seen striving to become a powerful warrior and still hopes to surpass Goku one day. Tien despises staying on the sidelines whilst his more powerful friends and allies fight opponents far stronger than him and will always attempts to assist even if he knows that it will most likely lead to his death. Despite making new friends, Tien stays reclusive and is not very socially active, spending most of his time training to become a better fighter. He valiantly fights and defeats a Saibaman when the Saiyans arrive, and does battle with Nappa, during which Chiaotzu sacrifices himself in vain, causing Tien to put all his effort into one final attack, which fails. Tien dies a hero's death, but is revived later by Porunga. When the conflict with the Androids comes into full swing, Tien puts his life on the line numerous times when assisting his friends against the mechanical demons, most notably when using his life-force to hold Semi-Perfect Cell at bay, nearly sacrificing his own life to allow Android 16 and Android 18 to escape, thus saving the Earth from certain destruction. When Super Buu threatens Earth's existence seven years later, Tien arrives just in time to save Gohan from certain death.


Dragon Ball

Early life


A young Tien Shinhan training with Tao

Tien Shinhan has a unique physical composition as a throwback to his ancestors, the Three-Eyed clan:[1] he has the ability to grow arms from his back,[2] split into four people, and he achieved his third eye through deep meditation.[13] During the early years of his life, Tien entered Master Shen's Crane School. There, he learned powerful ki-based techniques such as the Dodon Ray and the Tri-Beam, and he was taught defensive techniques by Master Shen's younger brother, Mercenary Tao.[14]

Working for Master Shen

Main article: Fortuneteller Baba Saga


Tien and Chiaotzu scamming a village

Tien and Chiaotzu first meet Goku when they are pretending to save villages from InoShikaCho by pretending to kill it. When Goku discovers that they are really con artists, he tries to expose them by making the supposedly dead beast laugh, but Tien turns the people against Goku, saying that it is Goku who is partnered with InoShikaCho instead. Tien accomplishes this through hanging InoShikaCho over a fire and telling Goku to leave the beast to burn if he was not allied with it. When the merciful Goku cuts InoShikaCho down, he is chased away from the village.

Later, along with their master, Tien and Chiaotzu travel on a boat to Papaya Island for the upcoming 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament.

Appearance at the World Tournament

Main article: Tien Shinhan Saga


Tien at the World Tournament

"Poor Yamcha, only thing more pathetic than a loser is a loser who thinks he's born to win."
— "Preliminary Peril"

Tien's first major role in the series begins at the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. As the star pupils of the Crane School, Master Shen is entering Tien and Chiaotzu to defeat the students of his rival, the Turtle Hermit Master Roshi. In the preliminary rounds, Tien Shinhan leaves Nam unconscious and nearly dead after their match in order to send a message to Goku and his friends.[15] Tien faces little in the way of a challenge during the preliminaries and easily makes his way into the finals.


Tien battles Yamcha

‎Using Chiaotzu's mental powers to fix the ordering of the matches in the quarter-finals, Tien decides to first face off against Turtle student Yamcha, whom he had been exchanging hostile words with since the start of the tournament. Yamcha puts up a better fight than Tien expected, but was still not a significant threat to Tien, who not only defeated him, but went further and ended the match by needlessly breaking Yamcha's leg while he was unconscious. Soon after this fight, Tien learns of the death of his role-model Mercenary Tao by the hands of Turtle student Goku and the tournament becomes more about revenge than victory.
Tien breaks Yamcha's leg

Tien breaks Yamcha's leg

Tien's next opponent is the winner of the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, Jackie Chun and he faces his first true challenge. Jackie Chun challenges Tien not only in physical combat, but also begins to warn him about following an evil path. With the help of the Master Shen, Tien learns that Jackie Chun is actually Master Roshi in a disguise and proceeds to use Master Roshi's signature move, the Kamehameha against him. After this, despite having shown none of his true power, Roshi concedes the match and hops out the ring. Tien proceeds to track down Master Roshi shortly afterwards to find out why he forfeited, to which Master Roshi responds by telling Tien that it is time for younger fighters, Tien included, to take his place.


Tien fighting Jackie Chun

Tien then proceeds to battle in the final round against Goku himself. Goku is a powerful opponent and the fight seems to be relatively even until Goku suddenly becomes unable to throw a punch or dodge an attack without becoming frozen in place. Tien quickly learns that Chiaotzu is rigging the fight under Master Shen's orders and he demands that Chiaotzu stop since he wants a fair match. Master Shen takes this as defiance and orders Tien to kill Goku, but Tien, thinking about his own desires for the first time, humbly refuses. (Thus, Master Roshi's words have proven true and Tien rejects the path of an assassin.) The now infuriated Master Shen orders Chiaotzu to kill both Tien and Goku, and when Chiaotzu refuses, Shen then threatens to kill him instead. Master Roshi puts an end to this by blasting Master Shen out of the stadium with a Kamehameha, allowing Tien and Goku to concentrate on their match.


Tien and Goku getting ready for their fight

After deliberately letting Goku give him a beating to make up for the beating he gave him while paralyzed, Tien and Goku continue to battle and Tien sprouts two extra arms to fight Goku, but Goku counters it when he grabs Tien's legs and holds onto them, causing Tien pain. Tien manages to throw Goku off, and they continue the fight. Tien then decides to put an end to the match and use his ultimate attack, the Tri-Beam. He warns Goku to expect and dodge the blast (as there is no way to survive being hit by it) planning to force him out of bounds instead. Tien proceeds to use the attack and destroys the entire arena. Because of his warning, Goku dodged by leaping incredibly high in the air. Tien is convinced he will win at this point, as he can fly and Goku cannot, but Goku uses one final Kamehameha to propel himself into Tien like a rocket. Both fighters then fall to the ground, Goku slightly ahead. Goku attempts to use another, smaller Kamehameha to slow himself down, but is hit by a truck and lands first. Tien lands an instant later, thus winning the tournament.


Tien forges a friendly rivalry with Yamcha

After the match, Tien receives 500,000 Zeni and offers Goku half of the prize money as he recognizes that, while he could have killed Goku in the first place, it was mere luck that he was the one who landed second. He also apologizes to Yamcha for using such excessive force during their fight and the two agree to meet at the next tournament. Master Roshi offers to let Tien stay at the Kame House, but Tien declines, stating that he cannot follow the teachings of another, even if he has betrayed his master.

Battle against King Piccolo

Main article: King Piccolo Saga The good mood is short-lived however, as Turtle student Krillin is unexpectedly killed while separated momentarily from the group. Along with his body there was a note with the character "demon" on it. Master Roshi tells everyone that it represents an incredibly powerful Demon King, King Piccolo, who was sealed away centuries ago by Master Roshi's old master using the suicidal Evil Containment Wave technique, but is now apparently free again. On hearing this, Goku, still not fully recovered from his battle with Tien, rushes off in a rage to seek his revenge.


Tien begs a man he injured during a tournament for a Dragon Ball

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Tien volunteers to help in anyway he can. He is informed of the seven Dragon Balls, which when collected summon a dragon that can grant any wish and, along with Chiaotzu and Master Roshi, is soon on a quest to retrieve them in order to have the Dragon eradicate King Piccolo. After finding several of them though, their radar which informs them of the Dragon Balls locations shows them that the remaining ones are actually coming to them, meaning King Piccolo is also seeking the Dragon Balls and is coming for theirs.

Before King Piccolo can confront them, Master Roshi unexpectedly knocks Tien out and hides him in a cave. Master Roshi plans on using the Evil Containment Wave against King Piccolo and, since Goku is thought to have already been killed, Master Roshi considers Tien to be the last line of defense for the planet in case he fails. Semi-conscious, Tien can do nothing but witnesses Master Roshi's ultimately unsuccessful stand against the powerful Demon King, and watches him die. King Piccolo wastes no time joining the Dragon Balls together to summon the Dragon and Tien, in desperation, orders Chiaotzu to quickly make a wish to destroy King Piccolo before the Demon King can make one himself. Chiaotzu tries, but is quickly killed mid-sentence from a blast by King Piccolo, an act Tien can only watch in horror. King Piccolo continues to make his wish and then destroys the Dragon, knowing it is the only thing that can stop him.


Tien faces mutated Namekian spawn Drum

After regaining his mobility, and King Piccolo has long gone, Tien practices the Evil Containment Wave, having learned it from watching Master Roshi perform it. After many attempts, Tien has fully mastered the Evil Containment Wave and heads off to King Piccolo's location in Central City to confront the demon. After he arrives and challenges King Piccolo, he is horrified on discovering that the vessel to be King Piccolo's prison is cracked and useless from his practicing. Knowing that he will not be able to use the Evil Containment Wave, Tien decides to confront King Piccolo regardless.


Tien fights Krillin at Kame House

King Piccolo, not seeing Tien as being worth fighting, spawns a new minion, Drum, his most powerful son yet, to take care of him. Drum quickly dominates the battle, but Tien is able to knock him down giving him the opportunity to use the Evil Containment Wave on King Piccolo. However, Drum gets in the way of the blast and before Tien can seal Drum in the Electric Rice Cooker, King Piccolo destroys it. Drum is about to finish Tien off when Goku intervenes and saves him, killing Drum with a single kick. Tien, amazed at Goku's new power, can only watch as Goku and King Piccolo then battle it out, using the last of his strength part way through their match to quickly fly in and levitate Goku out of the path of a powerful attack by King Piccolo. When the battle seems to be turning against King Piccolo, the Demon King decides to take Tien hostage in order to force Goku to allow himself to be crippled. Piccolo says that if Goku does not do what he orders, he will crush Tien's head. After King Piccolo severely damages Goku, Tien is discarded by King Piccolo, but Goku is more resilient than King Piccolo thought and uses one final attack to kill the Demon King.

With the battle over, Tien heads back to the Kame House with Goku's friends Launch, Yamcha and Bulma. He vows to train harder in order to bridge the now massive gap between himself and Goku.

King Piccolo's reincarnate

Main article: Piccolo Jr. Saga


Tien Shinhan at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament

Tien keeps up his training, redoubling his efforts after learning that Goku is being trained by Kami, Guardian of the Earth. With the dragon restored, a wish is made to bring all those killed by King Piccolo back to life. Tien then trains with Yamcha and the newly resurrected Krillin and Chiaotzu until they are informed by Master Roshi that, to be able to compete with Goku, they are going to need to find better ways to train than are available at the Kame House. They all head to Korin Tower and train with Korin before each going their own separate way.

Three years after King Piccolo's defeat, Tien, along with Yamcha, Chiaotzu and Krillin, return to compete in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. He is somewhat surprised to see the now teenaged Goku and hopeful that he is even more powerful than before. His real shock, however, is seeing Piccolo Jr., and realizing that something of the Demon King has survived. Goku asks him to remain silent about the matter for the time, not wishing to create a panic.


Tien vs Mercenary Tao

When the lots are drawn up to determine the order of the fights, Tien again has Chiaotzu manipulate the cards so that none of the group (Tien, Yamcha, Goku, Chiaotzu and Krillin) or Piccolo Jr. fight each other in the preliminaries.

The early matches seem to be going as usual, with the group quickly dispatching their foes. Tien then receives a horrible sense of something happening to Chiaotzu. He races to the scene and finds Chiaotzu heavily wounded and unconscious, his opponent turning out to be the now cybernetic Mercenary Tao, greatly surprising Tien, who thought Tao to be dead. Tao explains that after his seeming death by Goku, he was rebuilt into the half-man half-machine before them, and that he seeks revenge on both Goku and the "traitor" Tien. Tien claims he has not betrayed Shen, but realized Shen's teachings were wrong. Tien gladly accepts his challenge, wanting to avenge Chiaotzu.

They get their wish as Tien and Mercenary Tao are the first of the eight finalists to fight. After a long silence, Tao lunges at Tien, but Tien quickly sidesteps and counters, knocking Tao to the ground. Tien then states that he does not want to embarrass Tao, since he taught him how to fight. Tien also forgives Mercenary Tao for what he did to Chiaotzu and tells him to forfeit. Tao refuses this and presses on his assault, though he is clearly outclassed by Tien, who dominates the whole battle. After Tien grabs one of Tao's wrists, the cyborg pulls a surprise maneuver and detaches his mechanical hand, revealing a knife that he quickly uses to slash Tien, scarring him permanently. Though disqualified for use of a weapon, Tao does not care, as he only participated in the tournament to kill Tien and Goku. Tao quickly drops his other hand to reveal a cannon and fires a Super Dodon Wave at Tien, claiming Tien has no chance of survival. Tien however nullifies the large blast with his Kiai and then proceeds to defeat Tao with a single punch to the gut. He takes Tao's unconscious body out of bounds and presents it to the watching Master Shen, telling him to take his brother and leave, and to never bother him again.


Tien's clothes fall off while fighting Goku

Tien's next fight is the one he has been waiting for, a rematch against Goku. The battle starts with numerous quick sparrings and shows to be fairly even, but with Tien having an edge in raw speed. This changes after Goku removes his weighted clothing though, making Goku fast enough to steal Tien's belt without Tien even noticing; resulting in Tien's boxers to be exposed to the audience. Realizing that he will not be able to defeat Goku physically, Tien uses a new technique he has created, the Multi-Form, and splits into four identical copies of himself. The Tiens disperse to the four corners of the ring, each one then firing a Ki Blast Cannon at the center, where Goku is, resulting in a large explosion which Goku has to leap to avoid.

The Tiens quickly fire again, this time from their third eyes, at Goku, sending him crashing back to the ring. The Tiens warn Goku to give up before he gets hurt, but he appears unfazed by their attacks, and states they will not be able to pull off that trick again, which they then promptly attempt. Goku dodges the beams this time though, and uses the Solar Flare against them, blinding the Tiens. He then quickly dispatches each of them, causing them to revert to the single being. Goku states that the new technique Tien has a critical weakness, as Tien's power is divided amongst the duplicates. With the fight over, Tien looks forward to their next rematch, suspecting that Goku was still holding quite a bit back.

Tien plays little role in following battles, he can only watch as Goku fights the seemingly all-powerful Piccolo Jr. He offers his assistance at several points, but is denied by Goku who wants to fight the demon alone, though he does open the Sealed Flask, which Piccolo Jr. used to trap Kami, after Goku tosses it to him. Tien also helps to evacuate their friends, creating a pit in the earth for them to take shelter from the Hyper Explosive Demon Wave, one of Piccolo Jr.'s more devastating attacks.

When it looks like Goku has been beaten, with Piccolo Jr. close to finishing him off, Tien reluctantly accepts the order from Kami to kill the elderly guardian, thus also killing Piccolo Jr. He is stopped by Goku though, who evades the demon's onslaught and ends up defeating him with a surprise attack.

Dragon Ball Z

Saiyan attack

Main article: Saiyan Saga


Tien takes on a Saibaman

Five years after the tournament, Tien learns that Goku has died in battle against an amazingly powerful warrior called Raditz, a Saiyan who was Goku's brother. Even more disturbing is that two more Saiyans, both more powerful than Raditz, are on their way to Earth and will be there in about one year.

In the early days, the wild Launch developed a bit of an infatuation with Tien, and she continues to chase him wherever he goes. Tien wastes no time, and is invited, along with Yamcha, Chiaotzu, Yajirobe and Krillin, to train at Kami's Lookout so they can aid Goku when he is wished back to life in a year, after he completes his training with King Kai. In filler during this period, Tien and the other Z Fighters on Earth fight Shorty and Scarface, two illusion Saiyans they met on Planet Vegeta when using the Pendulum Room at Kami's Lookout to go back in time. Tien and his friends are overpowered greatly by the Saiyans, before they are transferred back to Kami's Lookout. The experience frightens Tien and the others, so they continue to train as hard as they can.

Tien attacks

Tien prepares for battle

When the Saiyans finally do arrive, the Z Fighters decide to hold them off until Goku can arrive. Tien and Chiaotzu eventually find the Saiyans, Piccolo, Gohan, and Krillin's location, and join them, soon followed by Yamcha. Vegeta, deciding to toy with his opponents, has Nappa grow several Saibamen in the soil so that he can hold a small challenge. Knowing that they have to buy time, the Z Fighters agree to this, and Tien volunteers to go first. He manages to quickly defeat the vicious creature, causing Vegeta to destroy it for incompetence.


Tien loses part of his arm

After all the Saibamen are killed, Nappa decides to enter the fray himself, taking on Tien as his first opponent. Tien is no match for the giant warrior, and has his left arm ripped off in a single hit. Immediately, Tien tries to use levitation to escape, but is quickly smashed to the floor in the second hit. Seeing this, Chiaotzu sacrifices himself with a a self-destruction attack against Nappa, but it was in vain as Nappa remains unharmed and starts to fight with the now ally Piccolo and Goku's son, Gohan.

Tien, enraged by the death of Chiaotzu, puts all his remaining strength into one final Tri-beam through his remaining right hand, killing himself from exhaustion in the process. The attack manages to do serious damage to Nappa's armor, but does not seriously damage the Saiyan warrior. In the anime however, Nappa goes as far as to praise Tien's efforts, claiming that had his aim been better, it would have seriously injured him. The attempt also shocked Vegeta, as he was the one to warn Nappa of its power and stating that if he had not warned Nappa, it could have killed him.

Training with King Kai

Main articles: Namek Saga and Frieza Saga


Tien with Yamcha, Piccolo and Chiaotzu, shortly after arriving on King Kai's planet

Because of the influence of Kami, after he perished, Tien was allowed to train on King Kai's planet in the Other World as Goku did earlier. Joining him were the other warriors who also perished in the battle against the Saiyans, Chiaotzu, Piccolo and Yamcha. On King Kai's planet, King Kai contacts Goku and tells him that his friends all crossed Snake Way in a far shorter time than he did, and that they all requested for tougher training than what Goku had received.[16] Prior to beginning his training with King Kai, Tien has difficulty making King Kai laugh during the prerequisite joke-telling test. In order to finally deliver a successful joke, Tien must literally power up and use the Multi-Form technique as he aggressively declares "You can tune a piano, but you can't tune a (tuna) fish" in the English version, and "You think what's up your nose is a secret but it's not (snot)" in the Japanese dub. Tien, along with Chiaotzu and Yamcha, remains on King Kai's planet and learns of everyone's (Goku, Vegeta, Krillin, Gohan, Dende and Piccolo fused with Nail) mighty struggle with the evil tyrant Frieza on Namek. While there, in a filler scenario, King Kai calls upon the deceased Ginyu Force (excluding Captain Ginyu) to challenge Tien, Yamcha and Chiaotzu. Tien takes on both Jeice and Burter, and disposes of them rather quickly and easily, showing off how much stronger he had gotten. Knowing the Ginyu Force at one time defeated Vegeta, gave them all a sense of pride. Tien is eventually wished back to life along with Chiaotzu by a wish made to Porunga. Once back on Earth, Tien and Chiaotzu go into solitude, training in the mountains.

The mysterious youth

Main article: Trunks Saga


Tien as he appears in the Trunks Saga, just prior to Frieza and King Cold's arrival

A year later, while Tien and Chiaotzu are training in the mountains, they are interrupted when they sense two powerful evil energies heading towards Earth. They then fly to the location of where the power is coming from. Both Tien and Chiaotzu are surprised to find Vegeta (who was somewhat reformed during the crisis on Namek and now resides on Earth with Bulma) and the other Z Fighters who inform them that the power they are detecting is Frieza's, who somehow survived Namek's destruction. When Frieza does land, he is quickly dispatched by an unknown mysterious youth (Future Trunks). Piccolo, overhearing the young Super Saiyan's private conversation with Goku, tells everyone the warning that two incredibly powerful Androids will attack in three years time and defeat everyone with the exception of Gohan (and, of course, Future Trunks, but Piccolo does not make mention of the youth in order to keep his identity a secret). During the three years of training, Tien trains alongside Chiaotzu across the Earth and his power increases.

The Androids

Main article: Android Saga

"Whatever it costs me, I will fight."
— "Goku's Special Technique"


Tien is helpless to defend himself as he is mercilessly choked by Android 17

The three years soon pass and the Z Fighters head to the location where the androids soon appear. Tien tells the other Z Fighters that he left Chiaotzu behind as he felt that even though they trained, he would not have been able to keep up in the battle. After Gero destroys half of the city where they appeared, Goku, Piccolo, and Tien fly off to a different location with the Androids following. Tien notices that Goku is already tired and out of breath just by flying. It is revealed Goku's deadly heart virus is the cause of this lack of energy.

Tien himself does not do any fighting until Android 16, Android 17, and Android 18 appear. He attacks Android 17, but is quickly over-powered, and ends up being choked until he is dropped.

The new threat, Cell

Main articles: Imperfect Cell Saga and Perfect Cell Saga

"I might just be a pothole in the road to you big guy, but it's going to be one heck of a deep pothole!"
— "Sacrifice"


Tien prepares an attack to keep Cell away from Android 18

When the Androids leave to continue their pursuit of Goku, who is recovering from a heart disease, Tien goes off with Chiaotzu to train and become powerful enough to help against this new threat. He is soon interrupted from this to lend his aid in hunting for the new menace, Cell.

Eventually Tien catches up with Imperfect Cell, and witnesses his battle against the combined force of Piccolo and Android 17. Imperfect Cell defeats Piccolo though. When Imperfect Cell gets up, after being shot by Android 16, Tien tries to warn Android 17, but Android 17 ends up absorbed. This allows Imperfect Cell to become Semi-Perfect Cell. Semi-Perfect Cell then makes his move to absorb Android 18 as well, but is held off by Tien, who uses his Neo Tri-Beam to hold Semi-Perfect Cell in place. This maneuver stops Cell from pursuing Android 18 for some time, but slowly drains Tien's life force. Tien uses every ounce of energy he has, which ends in Tien passing out. Goku arrives and relieves the thoroughly drained Tien before he is destroyed by Semi-Perfect Cell.

The Cell Games

Main article: Cell Games Saga


Tien battles a Cell Jr.

When Perfect Cell declares his Cell Games, Tien decides to remain on the sidelines out of the fight; he even is given the chance to enter the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, but declines the invitation stating he has no chance against Cell. He does however get thrown into the mix when Perfect Cell spawns seven Cell Juniors to torment the Z Fighters, in an effort to make Gohan angry. Despite a severe beating by the small creatures, he does get in a hit with Yamcha while saving Goku (anime only). He and the other Z Fighters soon saved from the Cell Jr. by Gohan, who turned Super Saiyan 2.

During Gohan's final battle with Super Perfect Cell, as he feels a lot of guilt for letting Goku sacrifice himself (especially as Goku was largely the reason he trained extensively at martial arts), Tien along with Piccolo, Yamcha, and Krillin blast together Cell from behind him in order to aid Gohan and vows to not let Gohan die. The Z Fighters are eventually brushed aside by Cell who is then finally defeated by Gohan with the help of Vegeta. At Kami's Lookout, Tien tells the other Z Fighters that they will most likely never meet again (which stays true for at least 7 years). Saying farewell, he flies into the distance.

Fighting against Buu

Main articles: Majin Buu Saga, Fusion Saga, and Kid Buu Saga


Tien as he appears in the Majin Buu story arc

"Hardly recognize you Gohan. You've changed a lot, inside and out, good for you. But I see Majin Buu did some changing too!"
— Tien to Gohan after he saved him and the others from Buu's blast

Seven years later, in the following Majin Buu Saga, Tien makes an appearance with Chiaotzu as their training in the mountains is interrupted when they both sense Goku transforming into his Super Saiyan 3 form, both shocked by the power.[17]

Tien later reappears alongside Chiaotzu whilst they are training in the mountains. Here, himself and Chiaotzu manage to evade being hit by Super Buu's Human Extinction Attack, which was used to exterminate the population of Earth. They then briefly examine the small craters left behind by Super Buu's attack.


Tien is knocked out cold with a swift kick to the back by Super Buu's severed legs

When Tien finally intervenes into the main battle, he saves Mr. Satan, Gohan, Dende and Bee from being killed by Super Buu (w/ Gotenks absorbed). Tien then fires a Tri-Beam at Buu, but is unable to damage the monster at all. After being cut in half by Goku, Buu's legs land next to Tien, who is dispatched after a single kick by Super Buu from behind. When the Earth was destroyed by Kid Buu, Tien and Chiaotzu are also killed in the process. Once everyone is revived by the Namekian Dragon Balls, he and Chiaotzu later give their energy to Goku's Super Spirit Bomb so that he can kill Kid Buu. He is later seen at a party at Bulma's house.

After the end of the saga, stoic Tien Shinhan mainly does farming in addition to his training. He can split into multiple bodies and grow extra arms, so harvesting the crops goes quickly. He is found by Launch, who fell in love with him at first sight and had been constantly pursuing his whereabouts, once again and even reluctantly lives together with her. As she is not cut out for farming and Tien has no interest in romance, she leaves after just a few days. After that, Launch apparently stops in from time to time.[6] Launch persisted in trying to get into a relationship with Tien, and it is possible that they ended up getting together.[7]

Battle of Gods

Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

"His strength, it's incredible."
— Tien Shinhan describing Beerus' power.


Tien Shinhan after being thrown away by Beerus.

Four years after the battle with Majin Buu, Tien Shinhan attends Bulma's birthday party. He, along with No. 18 and Piccolo, attack the God of Destruction Beerus but they were easily defeated. After being defeated, Tien Shinhan realizes how strong Beerus is. He later watches the battle between Goku and Beerus. In the end, Beerus still beats Goku and spares the lives on Earth.

Resurrection ‘F’

Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

"That cold-blooded monster! He'll pay for this!"
— Tien Shinhan seeing Frieza destroy North City.


Tien Shinhan preparing a Tri-Beam.

Tien Shinhan heads towards North City where Frieza has arrived and destroyed it. When Tien Shinhan lands, he tells Gohan and Piccolo that he did not want Yamcha and Chiaotzu to help because he thought it was too dangerous for them. He, along with Gohan, Master Roshi, Jaco, Piccolo, and Krillin battle Frieza's army. After taking out several enemies, Master Roshi suggests that they part so they wouldn't be overrun. Tien takes his group of soldiers into a cave and takes them on. After the Galactic Frieza Army was finished, Tien Shihan takes a Senzu Bean from Krillin. Tien Shinhan watches the fight between Goku and Frieza and later Vegeta who steps in after Goku is taken out. After Frieza destroys the Earth, Tien Shinhan gets protected by Whis, along with the others. Whis undoes time for Goku to able to kill Frieza and send him back to Hell.

Dragon Ball Super

Battle of Gods Saga

Main article: Battle of Gods Saga


Tien Shinhan is blasted by Beerus's kiai.

Sometime after Majin Buu's defeat, Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu head towards Bulma's birthday party which is being held on a cruise ship. While flying, they see Krillin, Android 18, Marron, Yamcha, and Puar. Tien Shinhan seems to be enjoying the party like everyone else. After the battle between Majin Buu and Beerus, Tien Shinhan along with Piccolo and Android 18 attempt to stop Beerus. Their attacks were mainly being dodged until Beerus unleashed a kiai wiping out the three. After Vegeta sees Bulma get hit by Beerus and goes fully enraged, Tien Shinhan is amazed by Vegeta's power increase. Time has passed and Oolong is in a rock-paper-scissors math with Beerus. Oolong loses and Beerus's gets to destroy the Earth. Tien is frustrated that Beerus is going to blow up the Earth but Goku arrives and asks for time to find out more about Super Saiyan God.

Resurrection ‘F’ Saga

Main article: Resurrection ‘F’ Saga When Tien Shinhan heard news of Frieza's return, he joins Master Roshi, Krillin, Gohan, and Piccolo in the fight against him and his army of 1,000 soldiers.​

Dragon Ball GT

Picture 17

Tien and Chiaotzu in "Piccolo's Decision"

Tien has kept apart from the rest of the Z Fighters and only appears twice in Dragon Ball GT. It is often said that he leaves to go travel the world and train with Chiaotzu. Despite being a man at the age of 57, Tien does not have any physical differences from his younger years (this may be because of his super-human traits, however Krillin does have age-related differences).

Baby Saga

Tien Shinhan is seen when the Earth is about to explode from the work of the Black Star Dragon Balls. At the end of the episode, he is attending a party at Bulma's house with Chiaotzu and the others.[18]

Shadow Dragon Saga


Tien's final appearance in Dragon Ball GT

Tien Shinhan is seen in the final episode, "Until We Meet Again", when Goku passes by him with Shenron as he and Chiaotzu are training under a waterfall.

Other appearances

Anime filler

  • While searching for the Dragon Balls in the King Piccolo Saga, Tien, Chiaotzu and Master Roshi retrieve the first one from a greedy pirate bear leader of a Mercenary Clan. When getting the second ball, they arrive at a near-vacated town. When Tien enters the house where the Dragon Ball is indicated to be, he finds himself face-to-face with an ex-fighter whom he savagely beat at a tournament several years ago. At first the man's wife calls the police, believing Tien is responsible for the series of murders being committed by King Piccolo's son Tambourine. Master Roshi is able to prove Tien's innocence however and the police soon leave. Not trusting Tien, the man wearily predicts that the former Crane student will proceed to tear his humble house apart in his search for the object. Instead, Tien grovels at the man's feet, begging him for forgiveness for his previous cruel actions and for the Dragon Ball which can help stop the current crisis. Surprised by Tien's humbleness, the man grants his forgiveness and gives him the Dragon Ball. They then locate the third ball in the Arctic from an icecap and the fourth ball from a mountainside.
  • While fighting against Drum, Tien puts up a better fight against the demon, and manages to knock him down enough for him to attack King Piccolo. When King Piccolo starts to leave during their battle, Tien attempts to use the Evil Containment Wave on him, but ends up ensnaring Drum instead when he realizes what Tien is attempting to do. King Piccolo then uses a finger blast to destroy the jar Tien was going to use to seal Drum, allowing Drum to remain free.
  • On his way to train with Korin, Tien, Chiaotzu, Yamcha and Krillin rescue a village from an active volcano.
  • While training with Kami, Tien and the others enter the Pendulum Room, which allows them to virtually battle Saiyans from the past.
  • In the Namek saga, on King Kai's planet, Tien along with Chiaotzu and Yamcha participate in a 3 versus 1 sparring match against Piccolo.
  • In the Frieza Saga, while training with King Kai, the recently killed members of the Ginyu Force show up on the planet, battling against Tien, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu. They eventually beat them and send them flying back down to the depths of Hell. Tien himself takes on both Burter and Jeice, at first splitting in two to fight them individually.
  • In the Cell Games, after Perfect Cell returns as Super Perfect Cell, Tien, along with the other Z Fighters, blast Super Perfect Cell in the back to try and help Gohan.
  • At the end of the Kid Buu Saga, he goes to a party at Bulma's house.

Film appearances


Main article: List of Power Levels

Manga and Anime

Tien Shinhan is one of the strongest humans on Earth in the series. His power level is 180 during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament and 250 in the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. After training at Kami's Lookout for a year, his power level rises to 1,830.

In the Android Saga, he is to be able to hold off Semi-Perfect Cell using his Neo Tri-Beam and was later able to survive a fight with the Cell Juniors in Cell Games, though the Cell Jrs. were holding back as they were not meant to kill the Z Fighters. In the Majin Buu Saga, Tien appears to have improved (at least his Tri-Beam technique), as his Tri-Beam is able to stop Super Buu's (with Gotenks and Piccolo's powers absorbed) blast.


During the Intergalactic Tournament in Bojack Unbound, Tien Shinhan is shown to hold his own against Future Trunks, a Saiyan/Human hybrid, until Future Trunks transforms into a Super Saiyan.

Video games

Tien defeated Burter and Jeice in Other World during the Frieza Saga (their combined powers are stated to be 95,000 in Dragon Ball Z: Sagas).

In the Dragon Ball Z: The Anime Adventure Game, Tien's power level in the Androids Saga is 800,000.

Techniques and special abilities

Main article: List of techniques used by Tien Shinhan

Video game appearances

Tien Budokai 3

Tien Shinhan in Budokai 3


Tien's appearance in Revenge of King Piccolo

Voice actors and actresses


Dragon Ball

  • Tien Shinhan vs. Goku (Anime only)
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Nam
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Yamcha
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Jackie Chun (Master Roshi)
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Goku
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Drum
  • Tien Shinhan vs. King Piccolo
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Cyborg Mercenary Tao
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Goku

Dragon Ball Z

  • Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Krillin, and Yamcha vs. Scarface and Shorty (Anime only)
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Saibaman
  • Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, Krillin, Chiaotzu, and Gohan vs. Nappa
  • Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, and Yamcha vs. Piccolo (Anime only)
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Burter and Jeice (Anime only)
  • Tien Shinhan, Piccolo and Future Trunks vs. Android 17
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Semi-Perfect Cell
  • Tien Shinhan, Krillin, Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Piccolo, and Yamcha vs. Cell Juniors
  • Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, Yamcha, Krillin, Vegeta, and Gohan (Super Saiyan 2) vs. Super Perfect Cell (Anime only)
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Super Buu (Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo absorbed)

Dragon Ball Super

  • Tien Shinhan, Android 18, and Piccolo vs. Beerus


  • Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu vs. Rasin and Lakasei
  • Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Krillin, Yamcha, and Piccolo vs. Turles
  • Tien Shinhan vs. Future Trunks (Base/Super Saiyan)
  • Tien Shinhan, Yamcha, and Gohan (Super Saiyan) vs. Bido, Bujin, and Zangya
  • Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, and Android 18 vs. Beerus
  • Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, Gohan, Master Roshi (Full Power), and Krillin vs. Frieza Force



Tien without his third eye

  • Tien supposedly has hair, as Master Shen states that he shaves his head.
  • At the end of the episode "Full-Moon Vengeance", Tien is briefly seen without his third eye when Chiaotzu leaves to enter the ring.
  • The scar on Tien's chest is from his fight with Mercenary Tao in the 23rd World Tournament. Oddly, it never healed, even with the aid of any Senzu Bean he ate after the tournament.
  • Tien is one of the most notable characters who does not appear in Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! This was done because his original voice actor, Hirotaka Suzuoki, had died 2 years earlier, although this can easily be explained story-wise by Tien and Chiaotzu's reclusive nature. He appears with Chiaotzu in the opening and is briefly mentioned when Gotenks utilizes his Volleyball Attack technique in battle against Aka. However, they are included in the manga adaptation.
  • In Dragon Ball Forever's poll of the top 20 best characters, he was voted number 17 by Japanese fans. This is above Bulma and Yajirobe.


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Daizenshuu 4, 1995
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Dragon Ball: Super Exciting Guide, 2009
  4. Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy, 1997
  5. Dragon Ball Online, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Interview with Akira Toriyama, Mandō Kobayashi, March 24, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dragon Ball Forever, 2004
  8. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dragon Ball Z episode 153, "Sacrifice"
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Jump Heroes collection, Tenshinhan Character Collection 11, Chapter 1" DRAGON BALL Character Ekisaitingugaido Shueisha, March 4, 2009
  12. "DRAGONBALL, resume all fought thorough history of man", Dragon Ball: Bouken Special, Weekly Shonen Jump special edition, Shueisha, December 1, 1987, 29939-12/1 Magazine, p. 49
  13. Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, 2003
  14. Dragon Ball episode 136, "Tien Shinhan vs. Mercenary Tao"
  15. Dragon Ball episode 86, "Then There Were Eight"
  16. Dragon Ball Z manga Vol. 06, p. 119, King Kai states to Goku that Tien, Chiaotzu, Piccolo and Yamcha all want tougher training than he had. ISBN 1569319359
  17. Dragon Ball Z manga Vol. 24, p. 25 ISBN 1421502739
  18. Dragon Ball GT episode 40, "Piccolo's Decision"

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