|Dragon Ball character|
Tien Shinhan, drawn by Akira Toriyama
|First appearance||Dragon Ball chapter #113: The 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (1987)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
|Voiced by||Hirotaka Suzuoki, Hikaru Midorikawa (Japanese)
Matt Smith (Ocean)
John Burgmeier (Funimation)
Tien Shinhan (Japanese:
The character of Tien has received both praise and criticism from reviewers of manga and anime. They praised his quest for redemption in the Piccolo arc and his fights have been celebrated as dramatic, intense, and entertaining. On the other hand, other reviewers have referred to Tien as dull and uninteresting. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released bearing his likeness including action figures, key chains, and capsule toys.
The character's name is a pun on tenshindon, a quasi-Chinese dish actually invented in Japan and consisting of a crabmeat omelet over rice. Toriyama said that although Tien is strong and cool, he based his name on a well-known Chinese food just to be "silly."
Tien in Dragonball series is loosely based on Erlang Shen from Journey to the West, a three-eyed taoist deity who first appears as an adversary of Sun Wukong, later becoming his ally and rival.
In Dragon Ball
Tien is introduced as the star pupil of Kame-Sen'nin's rival, Tsuru-Sen'nin (鶴仙人, "Crane Hermit" in Funimation's anime dub), who has him and Chaozu enter the Tenka'ichi Budōkai to prove his students' superiority. He begins as an arrogant, but talented martial artist, antagonizing Goku, Kuririn, and especially Yamcha. He first fights Yamcha in the tournament, whose leg he ruthlessly breaks to win. Upon learning that Goku killed Taopaipai, the brother of Tsuru-Sen'nin and a mentor of Tien's, he decides to kill Goku in revenge. He fights Kame-Sen'nin (disguised as Jackie Chun) in his next match, and Kame-Sen'nin shakes his resolve to kill Goku. In the final fight, he battles Goku and brutally beats him down early in the fight, before Goku uses his full power, making the fight more even. Chaozu interferes with the fight by using his psychic powers to paralyze Goku without Tien's knowledge or consent, but once Tien realizes that Chaozu is cheating, he defies his master and refuses to kill Goku. Tien wins the Tournament after destroying the stage with the powerful but potentially life-threatening Kikōhō, and after abandons Tsuru-Sen'nin with Chaozu. Lunch falls in love with him and asks him to live at Kame House with her and Roshi, but Tien refuses, saying that he doesn't want to live with the rival of his former master.
After the death of Kuririn at the hands of Piccolo Daimio, Tien and Chaozu offer to help Kame-Sen'nin in the search for the Dragon Balls. But when Chaozu and Kame-Sen'nin are both killed and Piccolo wishes for his youth, he learns the suicidal Mafuba technique in order to seal away Piccolo Daimao. After Piccolo chooses to attack West City, Tien intercepts him despite knowing that he can't be revived by the Dragon Balls, but must defeat Piccolo's strongest son Drum first, having to be rescued by Goku. In the final battle against Piccolo Daimao, Tien uses the last of his energy to save Goku from Piccolo's strongest attack, but is then taken hostage by Piccolo as he cripples Goku. After Goku kills Piccolo, he is taken by Yajirobe to be healed at Karin tower, while Tien reunites with Bulma, Yamcha, and Lunch, the latter of which nurses him back to health.
Tien participates in the next Tenka'ichi Budōkai, where he fights the previously assumed dead Taopaipai, who had been saved by cybernetics and wants revenge on both Tien, for turning his back on he and his brother, and Goku. Tien easily outmatches Taopaipai, but doesn't want to humiliate his former master and tries to drag him out of the ring peacefully. Taopaipai catches Tien by surprise and gives him a scar across his chest, which he retains for the rest of the series, before Tien defeats him with a single punch.  Tien then fights Goku again in the semi-finals, is defeated, and later protects their allies from being caught up in Piccolo Jr.'s attacks during the final fight.
He then trains along with the other heroes at Kami's, in order to fight the invading Saiyans. Tien manages to defeat a Saibaman, but when Chaozu sacrifices his life in a failed attempt to kill Nappa, he knowingly uses the last of his power attempting to kill Nappa, but fails. Along with Yamcha, Chaozu, and Piccolo, he goes to Kaiō-sama's planet to train under him in the afterlife. He is revived by the Dragon Balls and prepares to fight against the returning Freeza, before Trunks appears and beats them to it. He trains for the battle against the Androids, but doesn't bring Chaozu as he believes that he's not strong enough. He accompanies Piccolo and Goku to fight Android 20 and Android 19. He searches for Doctor Gero's hideout. After Androids 17 and 18 are released, he tries to fight them with Vegeta, Piccolo, and Trunks, but they're all defeated. He saves Android 18 and Android 16 from being absorbed by Cell and gives them time to escape by continuously attacking Cell (who had just easily defeated Piccolo and Android 16), expending all his energy and having to be rescued by Goku. He then participates in the battle against the Cell Jr.s. When Goku returns from the afterlife and asks where Tien is, Kuririn says that he is not coming. However, after Majin Boo is released, Tien appears and saves, Gohan, Dende, and Mr. Satan from being killed by Boo. He fights Boo, but is unable to damage him, and is defeated by a single kick. He and Chaozu later contributed their energy for Goku's Genki Dama attack to defeat Boo once and for all.
In other media
In a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z, during the Saiyan arc, Tien trains for the Saiyans by fighting members of their race in the past using the Pendulum Room.
Tien appears in four Dragon Ball Z movies; in the third, Tien battles the henchmen of Turles; in the ninth, Tien is involved with an intergalactic tournament and helps Gohan with Bojack's minions; in the fourteenth, Tien, Android 18 and Piccolo attack Beerus after Boo angers him, the three being defeated; and in the fifteenth, Tien assists in the battle against the resurrected Freeza and his henchmen, being saved from death by Whis. Tien will participate in Zen-Oh's Tournament of Power as part of the Universe 7 team.
Tien makes very brief appearances in Dragon Ball GT, the anime-only sequel to the series.
Tien returns in Dragon ball Super where he and Chaozu go to Bulma's party, along with the other characters, he meets and fights against Beerus the God of Destruction, and later watched Goku's fight against him. Tien (without Chaozu) goes to confront the newly resurrected Freeza - Him, Kuririn, Piccolo, Son Gohan, Muten Roshi battle against Freeza's soldiers, afterwards he and the others watched on as Son Goku and Vegeta dealt with the evil tyrant. Later he goes with the others to the Nameless Planet and watch the Tournament between Universe 6 vs Universe 7. In the "Universal Survival Saga", when Son Goku looks for 10 members to join for the Tournament of Power, Tien was selected (sometime prior to this story arc, he opens up his own dojo and teaches his student on how to effectively channel ki energy).
Tien appears in most Dragon Ball games. In the 2003 game Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, Tien and Yamcha can be absorbed by Majin Boo to create a form exclusive to the game.
Tien is voiced by Hirotaka Suzuoki in most media, with the exception of episodes 82 and 84 of Dragon Ball Z, where he is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera. Suzuoki said that despite joining the cast while the show had already been in production for a while, it was easy for him to relax and find his place. After Suzuoki's death in 2006, Mitsuaki Madono voiced Tien in several video games such as Burst Limit and World's Greatest Adventure, before Hikaru Midorikawa took over the role for Dragon Ball Kai and all media since.
Tien is a popular character in the series, in 2004 fans of the series voted him the sixteenth most popular character for the book Dragon Ball Forever. Tien's voice actor for the original broadcast, Hirotaka Suzuoki, said despite the character not being an ordinary human, the character's interactions with Chaozu showed his humanity. Tien has received both praise and criticism from numerous publications. Theron Martin of Anime News Network stated that it was 'fun' seeing the groundwork for Tien being laid and reflecting on how he later changed. Martin went on to say that Goku's fight with Tien "presents the most dramatic and intense duel to date in the series." Davey C. Jones of Active Anime noted that "Tien's redemption made an interesting side story" and that it was "crucial in the final episodes" of Piccolo Daimao arc.
Chris Beveridge of Mania Entertainment commented on episodes 62-92 of Dragon Ball, saying, "there are some dull moments to be had, especially as I don't find Tien or Chaozu to be interesting characters." However he went on to say that Tien's fight with Goku "was really quite good" and expressed mixed feelings about the character, saying that as a villain "he was fairly one dimensional." But after being influenced by Kame-Sen'nin's teachings Beveridge said, he "becomes a much more interesting character" and was disappointed that he did not have a really "strong story told for him after this series." Sean Connolly of the same site said that Tien "shows his worth" by holding off Cell "with a flurry of high powered attacks." ANN's D.F. Smith said that Tien's fight against Piccolo Daimao's minions was entertaining, but the conclusion of his fight against Goku was random.
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