"Your heart is cold and ruthless. It warms my own."
Master Shen is the Crane Hermit (鶴仙人 Tsurusen'nin), master of the Crane School and Mercenary Tao's older brother. Whilst they both trained at the Mutaito Training Academy, a rivalry quickly grew between Shen and Master Roshi. Master Shen and Mercenary Tao, likewise, began to fight over the smallest things. Eventually, a simple spilled bowl of rice was enough to break the brothers apart.
Master Shen is an elderly man with a long face with sunken cheeks, a thin, pointed nose, a wide-parted "cat whisker" mustache, and medium-length blue-gray hair swept upwards to resemble a bird's wings, with a bald patch on the scalp. He wears a green Crane School changshan (Chinese men's coat, also known as a changpao) with yellow sleeves and red lining, as well as a black Chinese skullcap with a model of a crane's head on the top and black glasses. As a young man, he had dark blue hair worn in the same style as later in life, but with more hair on the scalp, and the same changshan sans Crane School insignia and fasteners. When he was a student of Master Mutaito, he shaved his head bald, wore a purple Mutaito School gi, and did not wear sunglasses.
Just like his younger brother, Shen is extremely sadistic and unforgiving in nature, having no moral qualms about murdering anyone who stands in his way, even his own former students. Also like his brother, Shen is extremely confident in his abilities and does not believe himself to be flawed in any manner. He also attempts to boast his superiority any chance he can; especially toward Roshi, claiming his students are far superior to Roshi's, simply because he taught them. It is implied that his negative personality traits stemmed from disillusionment with his master during the events of King Piccolo's first reign of terror.
Shen does have some redeeming features, however; he wanted to avenge his brother, and Roshi stated that he had enough standards to not free King Piccolo, knowing full well just what he would do to the world.
Shen and Roshi were both students of Master Mutaito, and they quickly became rivals. Shen and Roshi later became friends and in the anime only, for a time, the creature known as InoShikaCho was their pet.
In anime filler it was shown that Shen and Roshi competed over a girl named Fanfan. When Fanfan rejected Shen's advances he knocked her out and took her hostage with his two friends. Roshi and the time-travelling Goku arrived and Goku manages to stop Shen's plan, with Shen being forced to star his training from the start by Mutaito.
Master Roshi states that when King Piccolo defeated Mutaito, he could not deal with the shame of losing in front of his pupils. Roshi believes that on that day, Shen changed for the worse. Mutaito returned and sealed King Piccolo with the Evil Containment Wave, but died in the process. Shen was never the same again. His heart became dark, and his Master's failure and eventual death weighed heavily on his mind. He eventually started the Crane School, whilst Roshi started the Turtle School, and their rivalry continued.
Fortuneteller Baba Saga
Main article: Fortuneteller Baba Saga
Crane Hermit is mentioned in the episode, "The Last Dragon Ball", and later appears in an old photograph of Master Roshi and himself. Later in the last episode of the saga, "Which Way to Papaya Island?", he appears with his two students.
Tien Shinhan Saga
Main article: Tien Shinhan Saga
Master Shen's students Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu enter The World Tournament while Master Shen watches. His rival Master Roshi, disguised as Jackie Chun, and his students Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha also enter the tournament. All of them reach the final eight. Tien Shinhan fights Yamcha and defeats him in the first match. The second match has Jackie Chun fighting Man-Wolf, which he defeats easily. Chiaotzu fights Krillin, but loses, in the third match. Goku defeats Pamput in the last match. Tien fights Jackie Chun in the first semifinal, and during this match, Master Shen figures out who Jackie Chun really is and tells Tien by using telepathy. Tien tells Roshi he knows it is a disguise. Roshi starts lecturing Tien, which ultimately leads to Tien and Chiaotzu leaving Shen. Roshi forfeits the match, and Tien is ready for the final round. Goku and Krillin fight an intense fight next, but Goku is victorious.
During this tournament Master Shen finally hears what has happened to his brother Mercenary Tao. Only in the anime, Shen tries to kill Goku the night before the tournament, but he fails when Tien intervenes. Tien states that he will kill Goku during the final. After finding out that Shen ordered Chiaotzu to constantly paralyze Goku during the match, Tien has an argument with Shen and decides not to be an assassin anymore. This results in him no longer wanting to kill Goku. Furious after hearing this, Shen then angrily orders Chiaotzu to paralyze both Goku and Tien, in order for him to kill them both. As Chiaotzu refuses to paralyze either of them, Master Shen then grabs Chiaotzu and tries to kill him. Having seen enough, Roshi uses his Kamehameha to blast Shen away, thus saving Chiaotzu. Tien wins the tournament, but Shen is not present at the time.
King Piccolo Saga
Main article: King Piccolo Saga In a flashback in the manga Shen appears alongside Roshi as they are by their master's side in his last moments after sealing King Piccolo.
In the anime, Crane Hermit appears in Master Roshi's flashback when he and Master Shen narrowly survive King Piccolo and his mutant spawn. During this time period, he and Master Roshi were good friends until their master left them and Shen lost faith in him. In the flashback, he and Roshi are the only pupils of Mutaito shown to survive the battle with King Piccolo's Demon Clan.
Piccolo Jr. Saga
Main article: Piccolo Jr. Saga In the filler episode, "The Time Room", Goku goes back in time and meets a teenaged Master Roshi and Master Shen when they were students under Mutaito. During this time, Shen and Roshi are rivals and Shen is as ruthless as in the present timeline, striking Roshi's love interest Fanfan and taking her hostage when she refuses to go out with him. He later challenges Goku to a fight, but Goku quickly proves to be much stronger and faster than Shen. When he realizes he cannot defeat Goku, he attempts to kill both Goku and Roshi by trapping them in a deadly ring of fire, but is finally stopped by Goku and is thereafter scolded by Mutaito, who tells him that if he wants to stay in his school he will have to restart his training from the beginning.
In the present time, he appears three years after King Piccolo's defeat when he returns to the tournament with his rebuilt brother Cyborg Tao. Tao brutally defeats Chiaotzu during the preliminary rounds and easily qualifies for the final rounds. Before Tien's match with Tao begins, Shen claims that Tien will stand no chance against his brother's new and improved body and that the Turtle School students should all give up before they get themselves killed. When the match finally begins, Shen eagerly watches. After a long match, Tien easily defeats Tao with one fell swoop, knocking Tao unconscious. Tien carries Tao over to Shen (who is in complete shock over his brother's defeat), telling Shen to never bother him or his friends ever again. Master Shen then carries away Tao and leaves in shame, swearing revenge on Tien, claiming he will not die peacefully.
At some point after the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, Master Shen and his brother Tao got mixed up in something and died as a result of the event. Due to them both being bad people, they were likely not restored to life.
Dragon Ball Super
Universe Survival Saga
Main article: Universe Survival Saga In the anime, it is revealed that in addition to Tien and Chiaotzu, Master Shen also trained a girl named Yurin who would seek to take revenge on Tien using Witchcraft shortly before the Tournament of Power. Despite turning Tien's Tien-Shin Style Dojo students and Master Roshi into Jiang Shi, they are defeated by Goku and Tien. Defeated Yurin remorseful over the damages her Jiang Shi had caused to a nearby town, agreed to Tien's offer to study under him at the dojo. As Master Shen plays no role in Yurin's plot it is implied that he was dead by this point or had given up seeking revenge due to the power Tien and Chiaotzu possessed by this point. However Yurin's attack ironically lead to Master Roshi and Tien agreeing to participate in the Tournament of Power to prevent Universe 7 from being erased.
Main article: Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure
Shen holds the position of Minister of Mifan and appears as one of the main antagonists, with the other being his brother Tao. He is part of a plan with his apprentice Tien and General Tao to take over the kingdom of Mifan, ruled by Emperor Chiaotzu by using the Dragon Balls. Having gathered up most of them, he hides them inside a statue in his room at the castle and orders his army to find the last one at all costs. Shen attends the Tournament and after believing himself to be in possession of all seven Dragon balls he reveals his plans to Chiaotzu. After finding out the Dragon Balls have been stolen, the Mifan Army attacks Master Roshi and the others. Shen orders Tien to kill Chiaotzu but he refuses. Shen says Tien was always weak so he will kill Chiaotzu himself and powers up a Dodonpa, however, he is sent flying off Mifan Castle by Tien's Tri-Beam first.
Other Dragon Ball Stories
Attack of the Saiyans
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans While the Dragon Team is training before the arrival of the Saiyans, Master Shen kidnaps Chiaotzu as part of a plot to get revenge on Tien (for humiliating him and his brother). He lures Tien and the other Z Fighters to his hideout within Mutaito's Training Grounds and unleashes his TPP - EX (short for Tao Pai Pai EX) robot to attack Tien and the Z Fighters. After the Z Fighters defeat his robot, Tien threatened to put an end to Shen if he ever threatens Tien or his friends again. Shen promptly flees.
Dragon Ball Online
Main article: Dragon Ball Online After Gohan's book talking about ki control makes the old ways of the Turtle and Crane schools popular, people want to train under Roshi or Shen. The two former masters have retired, so Krillin becomes the Turtle School master while Tien Shinhan becomes the Crane Schoolmaster.
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle After his brother is defeated by Future Trunks and his fellow Time Patroller, Master Shen joins Tao in taking revenge. Due to the dimensional distortion that the Time Patrol is investigating for King Kai, Tien and Chiaotzu are still students of the Crane School despite Goku being a married adult and his son Gohan being a child. Master Shen and Tao attack the Time Patrol but are defeated. Fortunately Tien arrives and defends them. Future Trunks and his partner are hesitant to fight Tien as an enemy.Chiaotzu arrives and informs Tien the Time Patrol are friends as they had previously warned him about Imperfect Cell's targeting them for absorption. Master Shen however refuses to listen to reason and brands Chiaotzu a traitor for siding with their enemy causing Tien to reject Master Shen upon realizing his lack of honor. This causes Tien and Chiaotzu to leave the Crane School.
Main article: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
- Intermission 1
During the Intermission after the Saiyan Saga, the Crane Hermit and his brother attempt to start a protection racket in the Southeast Mountains Area. However they have the misfortune of starting it at Goku's House which unbeknownst to either him or Tao is the home of the Son family.
The brothers demands to see the homeowner Chi-Chi. Gohan encounters in front of the door to his home. This leads to a Sub Story where Gohan helps his mother by finding a way to convince the brothers to stop pestering Chi-Chi as part of their extortion scheme.
Chi-Chi comes out and the brothers try to convince her that her family should pay them protection with Tao mentioning seeing a monster nearby to convince her. However, Chi-Chi recognizes them from the 23rd World Tournament and sees through their scheme considering them nothing but a pair of gangsters. She goes back inside the house after telling them to leave. However, Gohan senses a high power level nearby indicating Tao's sighting might be true and asks more about it. Tao and Master Shen however are convinced he stands no chance against it though Gohan decides to do just that to get them to stop pestering his family as Goku is still in the hospital.
Gohan finds the monsters they mentioned were Saibamen which he defeats. Returning home he tells Tao and Master Shen that he defeated them but they don't believe him. Chi-Chi comes outside and they claim Gohan is lying but Chi-Chi believes her son and Tao accidentally reveals that the Saibamen were too strong for even him to deal with, thus his and Master Shen's protection is meaningless. Eventually Tao recognizes Gohan's resemblance to Goku and that along with Gohan's strength causes him to ask who his father is and Gohan confirms the cyborg assassin's fears that it is Goku. Not wanting to involve himself further with Goku's freakishly strong family, Tao abruptly leaves claiming he has business elsewhere leaving his brother behind, forcing Master Shen to chase after him.
- Frieza Saga & Intermission 2
During Frieza Saga Episode 1 and the second Intermission after the Frieza Saga, Master Shen and his brother can be found in West City searching for new students for the Crane School and will try to recruit Gohan (whom they don't recognize), Piccolo (Intermission only), or Vegeta (Intermission only) if they speak to them.
Additionally, he can also be found near one of the large islands in the Southeast Islands Area (the same area where Kame House is located). If spoken to, it is revealed he is searching for Tao whom he got separated from. Tao can be found on another large island as he had gone to get a new outfit made thus explaining he and his brother got separated due to Tao's fixation appearing fashionable. However, the Dragon Team is unable to help them and they remain separated though the Dragon Team can receive items from both brothers.
- Anime & Manga
As a teenager, in anime filler, Shen was no match for the time-travelling Goku (from after his battle with King Piccolo), however he is able to overwhelm him when Goku is unable to fight back but is unable to knock him down.
In his youth. Shen and Roshi where the only two students of Mutaito to survive the battle with the Namekian Demon Clansmen.
Shen was able to catch two full rounds of machine gun ammo when he was shot at by Launch. When fighting Jackie Chun, Tien said that he was even better than his master even though later on when the match ended, Tien said he hadn't even been using his full power in the fight.
- Statements by Authors & Guidebooks
Master Shen's power level during the Tien Shinhan Saga is 120 according to a 1989 issue of the Weekly Jump. The movie pamphlet for Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might states that he has a power level of 130. Both of these power levels are lower than Roshi's base power level of 139 from the Saiyan Saga.
Techniques and Special Abilities
- Levitate – A skill which allows its users to fly. He was the first Earthling on the planet known to use this technique which he later taught to Tien and Chiaotzu.
- Ki Blast – The most basic form of energy wave. Used in Dragon Ball Heroes and Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle.
- Dodon Ray – A technique used by the Crane School members. It used by Master Shen in Mystical Adventure, Dragon Ball Heroes, and as his Super Attack in Dokkan Battle and World Mission.
- High Speed Rush – Used in an attempt to attack Goku.
- Tri-Beam – Although never seen using this technique, he taught it to Tien. This life-risking energy technique releases a massive blast that greatly surpasses that of the Kamehameha, at the cost of the user's life force. Many great warriors died using it, or at best had their lifespan greatly reduced, and Roshi greatly resented that Shen taught it to Tien.
- Telepathy – Master Shen can speak with his targets mentally, as shown with his students and Roshi during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament.
Video Game Appearances
- Dragon Ball: Daimaō Fukkatsu
- Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Totsugeki-Hen
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Gokuden: Kakusei-Hen
- Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans
- Dragon Ball Online
- Dragon Ball RPG: Shōnen-hen
- Dragon Ball Heroes
- Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission
- Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
"The Master Shen's cap. Now you can join Master Shen's school."
— Dragon Ball Xenoverse accessory description
In the Xenoverse series, there is an accessory called Master Shen's Hat which is based on Shen's hat and hairstyle.
In Dokkan Battle, Master Shen appears as a playable character and appears as an enemy in the main story, trying to take revenge alongside his brother on Future Trunks and the Time Patrol who had defeated Mercenary Tao previously. Due to the dimensional distortion, Tien and Chiaotzu are still students of Master Shen and Tien comes to Shen and Tao's aid. Fortunately, Future Trunks' partner had previously warned Chiaotzu of the threat posed by Imperfect Cell and convinced Tien that the Time Patrollers were good people. This leads to Tien betraying Master Shen when he shows his true colors by threatening Chiaotzu. Additionally, his Mifan counterpart from Mystical Adventure appears as a non-playable boss character in the Story Event "Mystical Adventure" based upon the film.
In World Mission, his card PCS-10 can be acquired from the SDBH Promotions set at the Gacha Shop in Hero Town. His card is a Berserker type card.
- Japanese: Ichirō Nagai†, Hiroshi Iwasaki (Kakarot)
- Latin American Spanish dub: Carlos Segundo
- Portuguese dub: António Semedo †
- Brazilian Portuguese dub: Hélio Vaccari
- Vietnamese dub: Chơn Nhơn
- Shen vs. Goku
- Shen, Mutaito, Roshi and other students vs. Demon Clansmen
- Master Shen vs. Mercenary Tao
- Dragon Ball
- Master Shen vs. Goku
- The name "Master Shen" only exists in the Funimation dub. In the original Japanese version, the name "Shen" refers to the human body Kami takes over for the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament (that character is called "Hero" in the Funimation dub).