Tien Shinhan is a character in the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z
, and Dragon Ball GT anime series. He has also appeared in numerous Dragonball Z video games as a playable fighter. He was at first an enemy to Goku
, but eventually the two became friends, with Tien joining the ranks of the Z-Fighters. He also has three eyes, as you may have noticed.
First sighting - Fortuneteller Baba Saga (DB)
Tien is first seen running a scam with his friend Chiaotzu
. They let a monster named InoShikaCho loose on a village, and offer to defeat it for money. Goku spoils this scheme.
The real introduction - Tien Shinhan Saga
Tien is formally introduced into the Dragon Ball series at the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. He is a pupil of Master Shen, who is not unlike Master Roshi
. They are both rivals, and Shen has entered his students Tien and Chiaotzu (both friends) to defeat the students of his rival. Tien starts by defeating Yamcha
and breaking his leg, showing off his brutality at this early time. Tien then takes on Jackie Chun, who is really Master Roshi in disguise. After having the Kamehameha
used against him, Roshi concedes the match, but not before giving Tien a warning against turning evil. The last fight is versus Goku. After finding out Chiaotzu is rigging the match at his master's behest, Tien orders them to stop, thus heeding Master Roshi's words to turn good. Roshi deals with Tien's Master Shen, and the fight continues. Tien eventually destroys the stage, and the two fighters jump into the air, and then fall down, with Tien winning because he hit the ground after Goku.
Helping out - King Piccolo Saga
Without warning, Krillin
is killed. Master Roshi realizes that the Demon King Piccolo must have been set free somehow. With Goku weak, Tien offers to help, and along with Chiaotzu and Master Roshi, starts collecting the Dragon Balls
. Right before the confrontation with King Piccolo however, Master Roshi knocks Tien out, putting him in a cave so that if he fails, Tien will still be there to stand up to Piccolo. Tien is helpless while watching Roshi lose. Chiaotzu dies trying to make a wish before Piccolo, and Piccolo uses the dragon, kills it, and flies away. Tien then practices the Evil Containment Wave after having seen Master Roshi use it. When he goes to confront Piccolo however, he finds that the jar to contain him has been cracked from too much practice. Fighting anyway, Tien loses to Piccolo. Goku then arrives to beat Piccolo, albeit not easily. Back at Roshi's house, Tien then vows (like all the other fighters) to train harder and bridge the gap between him and Goku.
The next tournament - Piccolo Jr. Saga
Tien, along with Yamcha, Krillin (resurrected by a wish from the newly restored dragon), and Chiaotzu continue their training. Seeing as Goku is training with Kami
, the rest of the fighters head to Korin's tower to train. 3 years after Piccolo's defeat, the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament convenes. Numerous fighters attend, including a now teenaged Goku, Tien, Yamcha, Krillin, Chiaotzu, and...Piccolo Jr.
? Tien recognizes that the Demon King must not have died, but keeps it to himself. With Chiaotzu manipulating the cards at Tien's behest, none of the group faces one another early. Chiaotzu is hurt badly by Mercenary Tao (Shen's brother) and Tien finds out that he will fight him next. They face off, with Tien clearly besting him. Tao cheats, using a knife to scar Tien forever. He also tries to use the Super Dodon Ray, before Tien dispatches him. Tien then steps into the ring with Goku. After seeming to have an edge, Goku takes off his weighted clothing, revealing his physical superiority. Tien uses the Multi-Form to split into 4 Tien's and temporarily excel, but Goku is able to figure it out and eventually win. Tien then stays on the sidelines, yearning for his next fight with Goku, while the latter faces off against Piccolo Jr. After a tough fight, Goku is eventually able to surprise the namek with an attack, defeating him.
A New Threat - Saiyan Saga (DBZ)
About 5 years after the last tournament, Tien learns that Goku has been killed by Raditz
, his brother. Raditz was a Saiyan
, a powerful race of warriors. There are two, more powerful Saiyans on the way. Tien, along with the other Z-Fighters, goes to Kami's Lookout
to train. Goku will be wished back to life in a year (after he completes his training with Kami), so the fighters want to be ready. When the Saiyans arrive, the Z-Fighters have to hold them off until Goku can get there. Vegeta
and his partner Nappa
grow some Saibamen
, deciding to toy with the obviously inferior fighters. Tien volunteers and quickly dispatches a Saibaman. This leads to Nappa joining the fight, and taking on Tien first. Tien is no match for him, having his arm ripped off and being beaten to the ground. Chiaotzu then uses self-destruction, sacrificing himself for Tien. Enraged, Tien puts all his strength into one last energy beam, dying in the process. It only damages Nappa's armor, though Nappa praises the fallen fighter.
The Afterlife - Frieza Saga
After being killed by the Saiyans, Tien, Chiaotzu, Yamcha, and Piccolo train on King Kai's planet, just as Goku did. He hears secondhand of Goku and Frieza's
fight, and is eventually wished back to life by the dragon Porunga. While back on Earth
, Tien and Chiaotzu train alone in the mountains. At one point, he detects an evil Ki, which turns out to be Frieza, alive somehow. His help is not needed though, as Frieza is defeated by Trunks
, a man from the future with a warning...
Last major appearance - Cell Saga
As the time nears, the Z-Fighters go to where the Androids
are supposed to be. Tien ends up fighting Android 17
, but he is no match and is choked and thrown aside. After this, he goes to train again with Chiaotzu, until the time comes to find Cell
. Cell absorbs Android 17, and is going for Android 18
, but Tien manages to hold him off using the Neo Tri-Beam attack. Goku then arrives and relieves him. Tien stays on the sidelines for the Cell games, though he is beaten heavily by one of 7 Cell Jrs
. He is saved though, by Gohan's
destruction of Cell.
A Brief Showing - Buu Saga
Tien makes only small appearances in the Buu
Saga. He is first seen being awestruck by Goku's Ki. He is then shown evading the destruction of the earths population. He is later kicked from behind by Super Buu, and lends his energy to the Spirit Bomb
Nothing but a footnote - Dragonball GT
He is only seen once or twice, training with Chiaotzu
. The phasing out of Tien is complete by this time.
Attacks and Special Techniques
- Tien has the distinction of being the first fighter to use his Ki to fly. It was later learned by the other Z-Fighters.
- A technique pioneered by Tien, and later used by many other fighters. The user puts his hands in front of his face, yells "Solar Flare!" and a powerful light shoots out, blinding anyone in the area. Good for gaining the upper hand, or running away.
- A technique of Tien's master, Shen. A single energy beam is shot from the finger. It is even more powerful than a Kamehameha, but its power cannot be increased.
Sphere Attack/Volleyball Fist
- An attack where Tien hits his opponent into the air, and then beats him around like a volleyball.
- First used by Master Roshi
, the user is able to move swiftly enough to leave behind a shadow of their image. This confuses the opponent, allowing the user to move quickly behind and attack them.
- Another technique created by Tien. The user is able to create 3 copies of himself. Unlike the After-Image Technique, these copies are able to fight and be fought. The downside is that each copy retains only 1/4th the strength and speed of the original fighter.
- An attack first devised by Master Roshi. The user cups their hands to concentrate energy, then, while charging up, he yells the signature "Ka-me-ha-me-ha". While yelling this phrase, the user put the hands at the side of the body, and then in front, unleashing their Ki. Check out the Kamehameha page
- A yell used to stop or repel lesser attack. Sometimes accompanied by a hand slash.
Tri-Beam (Tri-Beam Cannon or Ki Blast Cannon)
- One of Tien's signature attacks. Tien puts his hands together, with his thumbs touching as well as the rest of his fingers. This forms a triangle, and with a bit of mental concentration, a beam is shot out of this triangle at the target. The user must be careful of the amount of energy used, as the Tri-Beam is a draining technique that can kill the user as easily as the target.
Four Witches Technique
- Another of Tien's signature moves. He grows two extra arms out of his back/shoulder area, to make 4 to fight with. Tien was the only one to use this move.
Evil Containment Wave
- This technique was first used by Mutaito, Roshi and Shen's master, to trap King Piccolo in a jar. Tien uses it for the same purpose, but fails. The user dies after using this technique.
- A more powerful version of Tien's Tri-Beam. It also drains the user's energy noticeably.
Style and Personality
Tien is an intense personality. He is very serious about his training. He has reached enlightenment, and shows this because of his calmness as well as intensity. Tien has a third eye in the middle of his forehead, the only character to have this trait. His trusted companion is Chiaotzu, and he will die to protect him. For most of his time in the spotlight, Tien wears green armbands, green pants, black boots, and a red belt/sash, with no shirt.