The Tournament of Power story in Dragon Ball Super shows that the franchise hasn’t forgotten about Tien. As one of Goku’s oldest allies, the three-eyed earthling has been a part of Goku’s story going all the way back to the original Dragon Ball series.

Tien was a secondary character in Dragon Ball Z, but he played a key role in the Saiyan Saga when the Z-Warriors had to band together to make a stand against Nappa and Vegeta. Tien outlasted Yamcha and Chiaotzu, but died in the fight with Nappa. Tien remained a supporting character, but as characters like Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and even Piccolo grew in power, Tien’s presence in the anime lessened over time, though he did get to play small parts in battles with Cell and Buu. Tien returned in Dragon Ball Super and helped fight the Frieza Force in the Golden Frieza Saga. He was even picked to be on Goku’s team in the Tournament of Power.


Tien, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu made up a trio of a side-characters who didn’t have a whole lot to do in Dragon Ball Z. The trio was even less important in Dragon Ball Super, though its handling of Tien in particular is a bit different than what it did with the other two characters. Dragon Ball Super focused an entire episode on Goku trying to recruit Tien, which gave the fan-favorite character a significant amount of screen time. Furthermore, by putting him on the Universe 7 team for the Tournament of Power, Dragon Ball Super allowed Tien to take a more active role story than he had had in years.

Admittedly, Tien was only the second fighter on the Universe 7 team to be defeated, but he made a significant contribution to their team’s efforts to win the tournament when he went up against Universe 2’s Harmira, a character who used his long-rage energy attacks to act as a sniper. He successfully pinned down Gohan and Piccolo, and it took Tien’s Multi-Form technique to finally bring him down. Unfortunately, defeating Harmira and saving his friends resulted in his own defeat as well. Regardless of that fact, Tien making clones of himself and rushing toward Harmira whilst each one of his counterparts is shot down one-by-one is one of Tien’s finest moments in Dragon Ball history.

Also, Tien’s elimination didn’t completely remove him from the story. Though sidelined from the actual combat, Tien was able to remain as a spectator. Being a spectator allowed him to continue having a supporting role right up until the end of the series. That’s more than what can be said of Yamcha’s role in Dragon Ball Super. Tien and Yamcha have always been on similar playing fields in terms of power, and are usually paired together. But Dragon Ball Super left Yamcha behind, choosing to elevate Tien back into the spotlight, finally restoring him to relevance in the Dragon Ball anime.

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