Kikō (気功) is the Japanese translation of Qigong or Chi Kung, literally meaning "breath work" or "energy work", a traditional set of techniques for controlling breathing or circulating and cultivating chi (ki, energy) within the body, which is tied to a number of Chinese martial arts and medicinal beliefs.
This technique is performed by gathering energy, forming a vaguely diamond-shape "window" with the hand by keeping the fingers on each hand together, overlapping the index finger on the one hand with the pinky of the other hand, and overlapping the thumbs. The object being focused on gets zoomed in on and visualized inside that diamond, then the user (namely Tien) shouts "Tri-Beam, ha!" while releasing the large yellow beam from the hands. Tien also has the ability to fire it with one hand as seen when he fires the Spirit Tri-Beam at Nappa after he loses his arm.
In addition to being able to kill the target, the Tri-Beam can also easily kill the user as it drains their life energy. The attack has a tendency to cast the entire environment around it in a deep orange glow. The attack formation itself places the hands in a seemingly awkward position; and it appears that later in the series, the finger tips are touching, and the thumbs are the only things that overlap.
Prior to the events of Dragon Ball, during the King Piccolo wars, the disciples of Master Mutaito use Tri-Beams against King Piccolo's Demon Clan. This is in vain, as they are all killed except for Master Shen and Master Roshi.
Tien uses the attack during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament against Goku. Tien also uses the Tri-Beam in the movie Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, to protect Emperor Chiaotzu from Master Shen. He later uses it against Yamcha at Kami's Lookout, against the illusion Saiyans in the Pendulum Room, and against Future Trunks during X.S. Cash's Intergalactic World Tournament in Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound. He also uses his Tri-Beam to destroy Super Buu's Finger Beam, thus protecting Mr. Satan and Dende when the Majin attacked them.
After training with Korin, Kami, and later King Kai, Tien perfects the attack as the "Neo Tri-Beam," which is essentially an "upgraded" form of the attack that allows him to control and enhance how much energy he puts behind it, inflicting even greater damage. This upgraded attack is powerful enough to hold even Semi-Perfect Cell at bay. The attack is extremely powerful, and despite the massive gap between Cell and Tien's powers, Cell was unable to break through the repeated blasts, though they did not inflict any real damage to him. Tien eventually collapsed from using the technique too much, but was saved from Cell by Goku.
Appearances in games
Tien Shinhan can use this technique in Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure, the Butōden series, the Budokai series, the Budokai Tenkaichi series, the Raging Blast games, Dragon Ball Heroes, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. He can use a variation called Multi-Form Attack in the Gokuden series and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the Tri-Beam appears as one of Tien's Super Skills and is chargeable though care must be taken, as overcharging it will stun the user. When preformed on the ground it is performed one-handed. It is also one of Cell Jr.'s Super Skills in its 3rd skill set. This skill and its variation the Neo Tri-Beam can be obtained by the Future Warrior through Tien's Training by taking him on as the Warrior's Master, which is available in the GT Pack 1 DLC.
"Builds up Ki when activated, and fires a Tri-Beam when the button is pressed again. The longer you hold it, the more Ki will be built up, and the stronger the Tri-Beam will be. However, if too much Ki is used, you will be left tired and vulnerable after firing."
— Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Tri-Beam Tutorial description
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, the Tri-Beam returns as one of Tien's Super Skills in all his skillsets and can be used by Cell Junior in its Cell Jr. 3 skillset. The Future Warrior (Xenoverse 2) can learn it by completing School Quest: "Lesson 2" of Tien's training. Like in Xenoverse, the Tri-Beam will tire out the user if overcharged and the user will fire it one-handed if performed on the ground.
"Fires a Ki Blast that can be followed up with additional Ki Blasts that consume Stamina by pressing the button again. Firing too many blasts will leave you tired and vulnerable."
— Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Neo Tri-Beam Tutorial description
The Neo Tri-Beam appears as one of Tien's Ultimate Skills in all his Skillsets. The Future Warrior can learn this Ultimate Skill by completing School Quest: "Lesson 3" of Tien's training. Due to the absence of the Z-Assist mechnic in Xenoverse 2, the Future Warrior is unable to use the Z-Assist Neo Tri-Beam.
- Spirit Tri-Beam – A one handed version of the Tri-Beam which uses Tien's life force as a source of power. Used as a final resort against Nappa.
- Neo Tri-Beam – A stronger version of the Tri-Beam, which can be used consecutively. Used against Cell so Android 18 could escape.
- Z-Assist Neo Tri-Beam - A variation of the Neo Tri-Beam used by the Future Warrior in Dragon Ball Xenoverse when performing the technique while Tien Shinhan is their current Master. The Z-Assist causes Tien's soul (which appears as an astral projection of Tien performing the technique) to go into the Future Warrior's body while they're performing it, increasing the power of the Warrior's Neo Tri-Beam.
- Ultra Tri-Beam - An even stronger version of Neo Tri-Beam that appears as one Tiencha's special move in Dragon Ball Fusions.
- Multi-Form Attack – Tien uses the Multi-Form to split himself into four identical copies and then, at the same time, each copy fires a Tri-Beam. Used in the Gokuden RPG series and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans.
- Crane Wolf Strike - A team attack used by Tien and Yamcha in Attack of the Saiyans. It starts with Yamcha's Wolf Fang Fist and ends with a powerful Tri-Beam from Tien.
- 気 (Ki/Qi/Chi) = Spirit / soul / aura / air / spirit energy / spirit force.
- 功 (Kõ/Gong/Kung) = Work / control / art / craft / ability / technique / power.
- 砲 (Hõ/Pào/Dàpào) = Cannon / gun / launcher / blaster / buster.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, when used by a Future Warrior with Male Voice Option 8 (which is actually the voice of Curtis Arnott/Takahata101, voice of TeamFourStar's Nappa from the Dragon Ball Z: Abridged online parody series) he will shout Geometry which is a reference to the two different geometric shapes that are part of the technique, as it is fired from the hands making a triangle and diamond/square ki blast produced by the technique. He also refers to the Neo Tri-Beam with the name Advanced Geometry referencing the fact it is an advanced version of the Tri-Beam, it may also refer to the fact that the shape of the hands look like a triangle, the blast has a circular shape and the hole on the ground is a square.
- When performed on the ground in Dragon Ball Xenoverse or Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 it becomes the Spirit Tri-Beam, making it one of the few skills that change depending whether they are performed in the air or on the ground.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Dragon Ball Xenoverse, 2015
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Future Warrior: Male Voice Option 8
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Dragon Ball episode 102, "Enter King Piccolo"
- ↑ Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors, 2004
- ↑ Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, 2003
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dragon Ball Xenoverse, GT Pack 1 DLC
- ↑ Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, 2016
- ↑ Dragon Ball Z episode 267, "Ready to Fuse?"