Tien Shinhan , commonly just called Tienin 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. However, he spends most of his time training with his lifelong best friend, Chiaotzu.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
There is one skill that I have improved upon that even you can't keep up with. And it so happens to be the most important tool in a successful attack. And that is the skill of Speed. Im impressed im moving at traffic speeds and yet you're still tracking me. But just because you can see me doesn't necessarily mean you know where I am or what I am doing.
In addition to his arsenal of techniques, Tien Shinhan can see through simple illusions (i.e. the Afterimage Technique) owing to his third eye. He also possesses the ability to move each of his eyes independently, allowing him to look in multiple directions at once. This appears to enhance rather than compromise his vision like it would in real life, considering that he uses this talent while seeing through Roshi's and Goku's Afterimage Strike.
- Ki Blast – The most basic form of energy wave.
- Domination Blast – The name of Tien's Renzoku Energy Dan (Continuous Ki Blast) technique he uses in the Butōden series andBudokai series.
- Kiai – This is a technique used by Tien against Mercenary Tao at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament: it consists in a yell that he uses to reject the less powerful attacks. In the raging blast series it is known asKiai Return and is Tien Shinhan's signature attack.
- Dodon Ray – The signature technique of the Crane School. It is an energy beam shot from a finger, which is more powerful than a normal Kamehameha, yet does not need as much as charging time as the Kamehameha. Another version of the Dodon Ray technique is the
- Neo Dodon Ray - A larger, more powerful version of the Dodon Ray. The technique appears in Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit.
- Flight – The capability to fly by using the ki. At first, this technique was used only by Tien and Chiaotzu, then it was learnt also by all the Z Warriors, except for Yajirobe and Master Roshi.
- Super Knee Uppercut – The technique he used to break Yamcha's leg in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. Named in Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22.
- Hammerhead – The flying headbutt technique Tien used during his match against Jackie Chun. Named in the Butōden series.
- Machine Gun Punch – Tien swings his arms so fast they appear to be windmills on his shoulder and pummels his opponent too many times to count. Tien uses this in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament against Goku. It is called Jackhammer Fist in the Budokai series.
- Machinegun Fist – The name of Tien's High Speed Rush in the Budokai series.
- Jackhammer Fist Flash – Tien kicks the opponent up in the air, and then he kicks and punches them down again. Used in the Budokai series.
- Volleyball Attack – Tien uses his opponent as a ball and makes them fly with two hits before giving a final blow to stamp them into the ring.
- Four Witches Technique – Tien uses this ability to sprout two extra arms from the back and shoulders so he obtains four arms to fight his opponent. Tien performs this attack at the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament and it allows him to immobilize Goku's arms and legs.
- Multi-Form – Tien splits himself into four identical copies. The only weakness of this technique is that the copies divide his original energy.
- Ki Blast Cannon – A square blast of energy. Used against Goku after he split into four identical copies during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. In the Budokai series, the Ki Blast Cannon is fired in the same fashion as the Tri-Beam.
- Mystery Ray – Tien fires a straight white beam from his third eye. He uses it against Goku while split into four identical copies during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Named in Ultimate Battle 22.
- 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 Ki Blast Cannon. Named in Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, the technique is alternatively Multi-Form Tri-Beam in the Gokuden series.
- Meteo Brute Combo – His meteor attack in Ultimate Battle 22, where he creates a copy of himself, and then both attack the opponent with the Machine Gun Punch at the same time.
Tri-Beam – One of Tien's signature technique's. He unites his hands at the tips of the fingers and aims at his target between his fingers and his thumbs. Then he shoots a powerful energy blast to hit it. This is a very dangerous attack, because it uses up most of user's health so this one has to control how much energy he is putting into the blast in order to not over use it. Later Tien makes this attack more powerful and calls it the "Neo Tri-Beam". It is also called the "Ki Blast Cannon" in Budokai Tenkaichi video game series.
- Spirit Tri-Beam – An enhanced Tri-Beam which uses Tien's life energy.
- Neo Tri-Beam – The Neo Tri Beam is Tien's most powerful attack. It is a variation of the Tri-Beam, that negatively affects his life force every time he uses it.
- Surprise Technique – The Tri-Beam technique used against Super Buu. Named in the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game.
- Solar Flare – This technique is used the first time by Tien during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament against Jackie Chun. He called it "Solar Flare of Crane School" because at that time he was Master Shen's pupil. The user of this technique puts his hands over the face and generates a powerful flash of light that temporarily blinds anyone whose eyes come in contact with it. Solar Flare is performed by other Z warriors and Cell as well.
- Final Solar Flare – A technique where Tien uses a Solar Flare followed by his Mystery Ray. This attack appears in Attack of the Saiyans.
- Heavenly Sunlight – A combined Solar Flare attack used with Krillin in Attack of the Saiyans.
- Afterimage Technique – This is a technique that consists of disappearing from a place, leaving a shadow of oneself, for a short period of time in the original position and causing the shadow image effect. The enemy is deceived into thinking that his opponent is still there and this one can quickly move to another spot close by and attack him unexpectedly. Tien uses a variation of the afterimage, the Wild Sense, in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
- Mimicry – Both Chiaotzu and Tien Shinhan have shown the ability to copy moves after seeing them only once. Tien states this after using hisKamehameha after copying it from Yamcha. He also uses it to copy Master Roshi's Evil Containment Wave to use on King Piccolo.
- Kamehameha – An attack that was developed by Master Roshi. At first the user cups both of his hands to concentrate the energy; Then, they recite the technique's name in intervals as Ka - me - ha - me - ha!, With their hands cupped at their side, the stored energy is eventually released in a powerful Ki blast. In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, it appears as one of Tien's Super Skills in his 2nd Skillset.
- Evil Containment Wave – Secret technique invented by Master Mutaito (Master Roshi and Master Shen's teacher) to defeat King Piccolo. He managed to use a magic wind to propel the demon into an Electric Rice Cooker, trapping him at the cost of his life. Tien is one of the few users able to survive after using the technique, though completely exhausted.
- Ki Sense – The ability to sense ki energy. Tien learns this ability while training on Kami's Lookout.
- Power Stance – A special fighting stance. Named in the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game.
- Telepathy – Tien is able to speak with his targets mentally.
- Telekinesis – Only in the anime, Tien Shinhan is shown using this to halt the waterfall near his home during the Saiyan saga.
- Fusion Dance – Tien is able to use the fusion dance with Yamcha to form Tiencha, only in the video game Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2.
- Spirit Boost – A defensive Ki burst. Used in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse.
- Tien Shinhan vs. Mercenary Tao (seen in flashback)
- Tien Shinhan vs. Fighter mercilessly injured (seen in flashback)
- Tien Shinhan vs. Nam
- Tien Shinhan vs. Yamcha
- Tien Shinhan vs. Jackie Chun (Master Roshi)
- Tien Shinhan vs. Goku (Kid)
- Tien Shinhan vs. Drum
- Tien Shinhan vs. King Piccolo
- Tien Shinhan vs. Cyborg Mercenary Tao
- Tien Shinhan vs. Goku (Teen)
- Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Krillin & Yamcha vs. Scarface & Shorty
- Tien Shinhan vs. Saibaman
- Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, Krillin, Chiaotzu and Gohan vs. Nappa
- Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu & Yamcha vs. Piccolo
- Tien Shinhan vs. Burter & Jeice
- Tien Shinhan, Piccolo, Future Trunks and Vegeta vs. Android 17 and 18
- 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 vs. Super Perfect Cell
- Tien Shinhan vs. Super Buu (Gotenks absorbed)
- Tien Shinhan & Chiaotzu vs. Rasin & Lakasei (The Tree of Might)
- Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Krillin, Yamcha & Piccolo vs. Turles (The Tree of Might)
- Tien Shinhan vs. Future Trunks (Base, Super Saiyan) (Bojack Unbound)
- Tien Shinhan, Yamcha and Gohan (SS) vs. Bido, Bujin and Zangya (Bojack Unbound)
- Android 18, Tien Shinhan and Piccolo vs. Beerus (Battle of Gods)
- Tien Shinhan, Piccolo (fused with Nail and Kami), Gohan (Base/Super Saiyan), Master Roshi (Base/Max Power), and Krillin vs. 1,000 Frieza Soldiers (Revival of "F")
- Friends Reborn! Zarbon’s Hideous Transformation
- 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).
- 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 Attacktechnique 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.
- Tien Shinhan's hobby is playing volleyball with Chiaotzu.
- Tien Shinhan favorite foods are jiaozi and shumai.
- Tien Shinhan's favorite vehicle is a llama and ostrich.
Voice actors and actresses
- Japanese: Hirotaka Suzuoki (Dragon Ball; Dragon Ball Z; Games 1995, 2002-2007), Kōichi Yamadera(Dragon Ball Z episodes 82 and 84), Mitsuaki Madono (Games 2008-2009), Hikaru Midorikawa(Dragon Ball Kai; Games 2009–present)
- English dubs:
- Harmony Gold dub: Eddie Frierson (DB movie 3)
- Ocean Group dub: Matt Smith (Dragon Ball Z)
- FUNimation dub: Chris Cason (episodes 68-107 [54-92 edited]); John Burgmeier (108-291 [93-276 edited]; 1-107 remastered)
- Blue Water dub: Brendan Hunter
- AB Group dub: Doug Rand (DBZ movie 3), David Gasman (movie 9), Sharon Mann (Gohan and Trunks)
- Creative Products Corporation dub: Richard Jonson
- Latin American Dub: Ismael Larumbe Jr.
- Catalan Dub: Joan Pera (DB), Jordi Hurtado (DBZ, DBZ Kai)
- Italian Dub: Claudio Ridolfo
- Portuguese Dub: Ricardo Spínola
- Brazilian Portuguese dub: Alexandre Marconatto, Afonso Amajones (DB Kai)
- Hungarian Dub: István Wohlmuth
- Polish Dub: Leszek Zduń
- Hebrew Dub: Shmil Ben-Ari
- Thai dub: Ithipol Mameeked (DB and DBZ- first episodes) Thanakrit Jenklongtham (2nd voice)
- Greek dub: Giannis Papaioannou
- Serbian dub: Dragan Vujić (Old Serbian dub) Peda Damnjanović (New Serbian dub)
- French dub: Georges Atlas
- German dub: Jullien Haggege
- Spanish dub: Daniel Palacios
- Basque dub: Kepa Cueto