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"Pleased to kill you."
— "The Notorious Mercenary"

Mercenary Tao, also known as Tao Pai Pai (タオパイパイ Taopaipai), is a highly skilled assassin-for-hire, as well as the younger brother of Master Shen. He charges a hefty price for his expert services, as he normally charges ten billion Zeni per kill (one hundred million in the Japanese version) but gave Commander Red a 20th anniversary discount of five billion Zeni (fifty million in the Japanese version).[8]

Tao is a major antagonist in the Commander Red Saga.


Tao is an average-heighted man who, despite being several centuries old, appears as if he is still in his late 40's or early 50's, with small, beady eyes, a pointed nose, a small thin mustache, with black hair tied into a braided ponytail. He wears a pink chang pao (Chinese men's long coat, also known as a changshan) with the kanji for satsu ("kill") on the front, pointing to his career as an assassin. In the dub, the kanji is translated as "Kill You", which carries the same implications of his job.

When Tao was young, he was short, and his face was less marked by age. He didn't have his mustache and shaved his head bald and wore a purple Mutaito Training Academy gi.[4]

After being surgically altered into a Cyborg, the majority of Tao's body has been replaced with robotic components, with his head featuring a domed skullcap and telescoping cylindrical red eyes. The only organic part left of Tao appears to be the lower half of his head from the nose down, as well as his human hair. Despite this, he still dresses the same as he did when fully human.

In Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, his chang pao is blue.


Tao is shown to be extremely sadistic and evil in his actions, taking a lot of joy in killing people and not viewing his missions as just "jobs" but as a means to enjoy himself. He has absolutely no qualms in regard to murdering children, as evidenced when he made his sales pitch to the Red Ribbon Army that he was willing to "annihilate any man, woman, and child" as long as the price was right, his attempts at murdering the child Goku and when he states that Upa should be lucky that he even survived shortly after the latter attempted to avenge his father. He retained his willingness to kill children even after being converted to a cyborg, as evidenced by his confirming he can deal with Gohan to Mr. Borbonne after he interfered with killing Mr. Lao, with only Gohan's resemblance to Goku (and Gohan's confirmation that Goku was his father) preventing Tao from carrying it out. He also seems to be fully aware of his brutal reputation and makes every intention to live it out, at least in the Funimation dub, as evidenced by Tao refusing to pay money to a tailor, and specifically citing his rationale as being because doing so would ruin his reputation as a cold, ruthless, and destructive assassin, before offering to kill someone for the tailor (and promptly killing the tailor himself when the latter refused to issue a hit to anyone). He also at times displays a dark sense of humor. A notable example of this was when he first meets Goku: When Bora told Tao off for nearly hitting them, Tao quipped that it was the idea since he was a hitman. Tao displays cowardice when confronted with an enemy he cannot beat, resorting to dirty tactics to defeat them, as evidenced by his attempt to throw a grenade at Goku after begging for mercy and promising to change his ways. Though he normally kills for profit, there are times he will kill simply when he feels like it or when people mock him such as when Mr. Satan and the Master of Satan Castle (Mr. Satan's Martial Arts mentor) made fun of Tao's hairstyle, which lead to the death of Mr. Satan's mentor. Interestingly, Mr. Satan (the future World Champion and Savior of the Earth) survived their encounter, and it is unknown if Tao simply chose to spare Mr. Satan's life or if it was due a combination of luck and/or Mr. Satan's resilience (as he has humorously survived encounters with other even more powerful villains than Tao). Regardless, Tao did heavily injure Mr. Satan and may have assumed he killed Mr. Satan as he had when he thought he had killed Goku (who luckily survived thanks to the Four-Star Ball hidden under his Turtle School Uniform) during their first encounter.

By the time of Dragon Ball Z, Tao is shown to retain most of his original personality though he has developed a slight fear of Goku, as he is well aware of how powerful and dangerous an opponent Goku is. His fear of Goku also prevents him from even trying to attack Gohan after learning that he is Goku's son, choosing to retreat instead. As he is aware he is no match for Goku, he resorts to taking advantage of Goku's naïve and good-natured personality instead of foolishly trying to fight him directly. Using his puzzle rings to distract Goku, Tao steals Goku's jacket containing his 4 Dragon Balls and flees with his employer, believing that by the time Goku finishes the puzzle and realizes Tao has tricked him, he and his employer will be long gone. However, unfortunately for Tao, after Goku finishes the puzzle, he simply uses Instant Transmission to teleport to Tao's location. Realizing his plan has failed, Tao accepts defeat and pretends to congratulate Goku for solving the puzzle rings, allowing Goku to take the Dragon Balls and leave. While Tao is still as dangerous and lethal a killer when it comes to normal people and martial artists weaker than himself, he has apparently learned from his fights with Goku and Tien Shinhan that some opponents are too strong for even him to kill and thus he is more cautious when dealing more powerful fighters than himself.




Master Shen and Mercenary Tao

Tao was born in Age 459, just two years before the King Piccolo wars which his brother Shen served in.[9] In the anime, he was one of Master Mutaito's students in his academy and he always accompanied Shen along other friend.[4] Even though he was younger, Tao was always one step ahead of his older brother and a rivalry then grew between them. They began to fight over the smallest things and eventually, a simple spilled bowl of rice was enough to break them apart. Though it was never stated, Tao must have gained immortality in some sort of way causing him to live for over two hundred years. At the age of 279, Tao started his career as a mercenary for hire. One day, at a bar in South City, Tao was made fun of for his hairstyle by Mr. Satan and the Master of Satan Castle, so Tao killed the master and heavily injured Mr. Satan.[10] Tao trained the young Tien Shinhan during his days with the Crane School and was a major influence to Tien.

Dragon Ball[]

Red Ribbon Army Saga[]


Mercenary Tao kills General Blue with his tongue

Twenty years after starting his career as a Mercenary, Tao was hired by the Red Ribbon Army to kill Goku, who had been defeating all of their operatives and taking away the Dragon Balls they acquired, messing with Commander Red's secret wish of getting taller as well as the Red Ribbon Army's official wish of world domination. When General Blue, one of the Red Ribbon Army's strongest operatives, arrives at the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters failing his mission, Commander Red gives him a deal. In order to redeem himself, Blue must defeat Mercenary Tao. Before the match, Tao claims that he will not even use his hands or feet to defeat Blue, only his tongue, to which Blue scoffs at the idea. During the match, Tao easily dodges Blue's flurry of punches, also proving himself to be immune to Blue's telekinesis ability in the anime. Staying true to his word, he kills Blue only using his tongue on one of Blue's Pressure Points on his cranium, thus proving to Commander Red and Staff Officer Black that his assistance is worth a very high price.


Mercenary Tao

After looking at his target's photo, Tao is given the option of riding an aircraft to Goku's location, however, Tao instead takes and throws a pillar from the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters and rides it. Tao meets Goku in the Sacred Land of Korin after nearly hitting Goku with the pillar. Goku asks who Tao is, and Tao informs Goku that he has been assigned by the Red Ribbon Army to dispose of Goku. However, Bora, a man who had previously held off the Red Ribbon Army single-handedly and who tried to defend Goku, challenges Tao. When challenged by Bora, whose son had been rescued by Goku, Tao mocks Bora, as he easily overpowers him, by grabbing his spear with only three fingers, and yet, Bora cannot move an inch. Having enough of messing around with Bora, Tao easily murders Bora by launching him into the air and throwing Bora's own spear directly into Bora's heart.

Goku Hit by Tao's Dodon-Pa 06

Goku hit by the Dodon Ray

Seeing Upa weep over his father's corpse causes Goku to become enraged and attack Tao head on. Goku proves to be more of a challenge than Blue, but with barely any effort, Tao knocks him around a bit, dodging Goku's flurry of attacks easily, and then knocks him out with the Dodon Ray technique, thinking he killed him. Upa, Bora's son, tries to attack Tao with a rock, but Tao just blows it back to Upa, hitting him. Tao ends up only retrieving three of the Dragon Balls which were located in the backpack Goku had and realizes this when he is calling Commander Red on his progress. The last ball was in Goku's outfit, which saved him from being killed by the Dodon Ray.

"You can't tell me what to do. I'm not one of your soldiers."
— Tao to Commander Red


Tao with the tailor, who just asked for money for his services

Since Tao's uniform was ruined by Goku's Kamehameha during the battle, he takes off to a town where he forces a tailor to make a new copy of his uniform for free. During the three days, Tao intimidates the townspeople into obtaining free luxuries such as a hotel room. In filler, a sniper in the town tries to assassinate Tao but fails when Tao manages to deflect the assassin's bullet with his slipper. Three days later, his uniform is finished. When the tailor asks for money, Tao replies that if he gave the tailor money, it would ruin his cold, ruthless reputation; he offers to kill someone for the tailor instead. The horrified tailor says he does not want anyone dead, so Tao kills him instead with a Pressure Point Attack and returns to the land of Korin to retrieve the missing Dragon Ball.


Tao's sword being broken in half by Goku's Power Pole

When he arrives, Upa throws his small axe at Tao, but Tao dodges his attack and strangles him for information about the location of the Dragon Ball. When Upa refuses to answer, Tao throws him at the tower, where Goku narrowly saves him, to Tao's surprise. He then fights Goku, who had been specially trained by Korin after climbing his tower. During the fight, Goku proved to be far too strong for Tao, as Tao could land no hits on the small warrior. Tao resorts to bringing out his sword, which breaks in a clash with Goku's Power Pole. After Tao decides Goku was too powerful, he himself climbs Korin Tower to retrieve the Sacred Water that had made Goku so powerful.

The end of Tao, or is it

The grenade explodes on Tao

He easily ascends the tower and meets Korin. Korin knows that Tao is a wicked assassin, so he tricks Tao and gives him the useless Sacred Water. After that, Korin uses a trick to make Tao believe he has improved so he will leave. He sends Tao back down the tower on the Dark Nimbus to prevent him from gaining any strength from the tower climb. Tao challenges Goku again when the Nimbus crashes into the ground and only manages to do slightly better, not enough to defeat Goku. Seeing that he was still no match for Goku and not wanting his reputation tarnished, Tao pretends to surrender, tricking Goku for a split second. While Goku is asking Upa if he thinks they should let him go, Tao throws a grenade at Goku whose back is still turned. Tao then jumps high into the air to avoid the explosion, Goku kicks the grenade back at him, which detonates and seemingly kills the assassin. Though Goku presumed Tao dead, Tao later used all of the money he gained from his previous jobs to be rebuilt as a cyborg.

Fortuneteller Baba Saga[]

Mercenary Tao appears in a flashback when Bulma tells Grandpa Gohan about Goku's feats since they knew about the Dragon Balls.

Tien Shinhan Saga[]

During the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Tao's brother Master Shen learns of Tao's encounter with Goku. Shen instructs his student Tien to kill Goku in the arena to avenge his brother's presumed death, but, thanks to Master Roshi, Tien comes to his senses and ceases his affiliation with the Crane School, with Chiaotzu following him.

Piccolo Jr. Saga[]

Young Tao

A young Mercenary Tao in Mutaito Training Academy

In the anime, when Goku goes back in time to Mutaito Training Academy, he is seen as one of the Mutaito students who accompanies Master Shen when he was 18 years old because in the Japanese version, he calls Shen "big brother".[4]

In the present, with the help of his older brother Shen and thanks to the money he gained from his career as an assassin, Tao is rebuilt as a cyborg and is now called Cyborg Tao (サイボーグ桃白白). He competes in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, brutally defeating Chiaotzu in the preliminary rounds. Tao explains that he came to the tournament in order to get revenge on both Tien Shinhan for betraying him, and on Goku for ruining his appearance and legacy when he defeated him. Tao fights Tien next.

Tien punches Tao

Tien punches Tao in the stomach

Tien and Tao both have a long stare down on the tournament arena. Tao notices that Tien's fighting pose is near perfection as he cannot find a vulnerable spot on his entire body. Then, Tao takes a gamble and charges at Tien, but Tien manages to easily dodge Tao's attempt and attack him straight afterward, making Tao fall to the ground flat on his face, not even realizing what just happened. After Tien shows his new powers (which far exceed Tao's), Tao realizes that Tien is stronger than him and gives him credit. Tien begs for Tao to leave the tournament as he still respects Tao for teaching him how to fight to begin with and does not want his former master to suffer extreme embarrassment. However, Tao still has the utmost confidence that he will defeat and kill Tien, even if it means using more than just his strength. Seeing that he cannot beat Tien fairly, Tao violates the rules of the tournament by using a hidden knife to cut Tien's chest, scarring him for life. Slashed by this sneak attack, Tien claims that Tao has lost his honor and pride of a warrior. Despite being disqualified, Tao continues to fight, admitting that he does not really care if he actually wins the match and that he only participated so he could kill Tien and Goku. Even after the Announcer told Tao put away his blade and leave the ring Tao threaten to kill him next. After Tien breaks Tao's blade, Tao uses the Super Dodon Wave, claiming Tien will stand no chance of survival, only for Tien to nullify it with a Kiai. Tien then knocks Tao out swiftly with one punch, then carrying the unconscious Tao to his older brother Master Shen, who carries him away in disgrace.

Dragon Ball Z[]

Androids Saga[]

Mercenary Tao appears in a flashback when Master Roshi told Maron the history of the Red Ribbon Army, he is shown in his first fight agains Goku and the rematch when he was defeated. Android 20 refers the fact that Tao survived the battle and was rebuilt as a cyborg and resurfaced in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.

Cell Saga[]

Tao never appeared again in the Dragon Ball Z section of the manga, but exclusively in the anime, he makes two appearances during the Cell Games Saga.


Tao in Mr. Borbonne's office

In his first appearance, he works as a personal bodyguard for Mr. Borbonne, a short man who runs a shelter near Chazke Village which can supposedly protect people from Cell. Everything is going exactly according to plan until Gohan appears in the village, disrupting the scheme Mr. Borbonne had going. When Borbonne's bodyguards surround Gohan, Mr. Lao, an old man from the village, arrives dressed in a Chinese-styled dogu martial arts outfit. After dispatching the black-suited bodyguards, Borbonne called for Tao to come out and take care of the old man. After a series of exchanged blows, Tao has Lao on the ground. Just when Tao prepares to finish off Lao with his Super Dodon Wave, Gohan stepped in the way at the last second, protecting Mr. Lao and himself from the Super Dodon Wave. Before he attempts to finish off Gohan with another Super Dodon Wave, he notices that Gohan's facial features are akin to that of Goku. Struck with fear as he remembers his previous confrontations with Goku (in Dragon Ball), Tao asks his name and breathes a sigh of relief in hearing his name was Go-HAN instead of Go-KU. However, his fear quickly returns as he learns that Gohan is Goku's son after Gohan tells him about it. He then chopped a pine tree and flew away with it, effectively resigning from his position as a bodyguard. When Borbonne yelled that Tao can't quit on him, Tao yelled back that not only can he do that, but he just did as he disappeared in the sky.[6]


Tao in Vodka's car

In his second appearance, he works as a henchman for Vodka, a rich gangster who has hired him to gather the Dragon Balls so he may wish for becoming emperor of the world after Cell leaves. Goku shows up at Vodka's Fortress to gather the two that Tao has collected, Tao confronts him but doesn't recognize him in his Super Saiyan form, however, after the latter recognizes him and introduces himself as Goku. Tao examines him closely and realizes it is indeed the boy who beat him years ago now grown up and Goku tells him that it's good to see him even after their rocky past. Tao is left silently bemoaning his misfortune.

Tao gets over his shock after Goku expresses disappointment at himself for having nothing to offer Tao in return. The assassin then poses a challenge to Goku: if Goku can disassemble three complex puzzle rings by dawn the following day, then he will be awarded the Dragon Balls. If he cannot, however, Goku must surrender the ones he has with him. Tao then offers to take Goku's jacket (which contains Goku's gathered Dragon Balls) while Goku works on the puzzles, and while Goku is distracted with the puzzle rings, Tao steals Goku's Dragon Balls and drives far away throughout the night with the gangsters. After Goku solves the puzzle rings, he simply uses Instant Transmission to find Tao and the gangsters. The naive Goku is unaware there was any ill-will on the part of Tao and is given the Dragon Balls without any resistance. Tao could only ask if he is still getting paid as he and Vodka could only stare in shock about what happened.[7]


At some point, Master Shen and his brother Tao got mixed up in something and died as a result of the event, though this event is never covered.[2]

Super Dragon Ball Heroes[]

Supreme Kai of Time Saga[]

Super Space-Time Tournament Various Battles

Mercenary Tao hidden behind a tree during the Super Space-Time Tournament

An incarnation of Mercenary Tao appears as one of the competitors in the Super Space-Time Tournament, along with Ninja Murasaki, Colonel Silver, General White, General Blue, Buyon, and Major Metallitron. In the manga, Tao hides behind a tree watching Android 13 and Lord Slug battle each other while Captain Ginyu poses.[11] As a result of his team failing to advance to the second round of the tournament, Tao and his space-time were erased.

Film appearances[]

Mystical Adventure[]


General Tao about to attack the Pilaf Gang

In Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, Tao is known as General Tao, and is one of the main antagonists along with his brother. He is part of a plan with Master Shen and Tien Shinhan to take over the kingdom of Mifan, which is ruled by Emperor Chiaotzu. After having Pilaf, Shu and Mai build a Global Dragon Radar for them, Tao attacks the Pilaf Gang, and he and his brother use the Dragon Radar to have Chiaotzu's army gather the Dragon Balls for them after secretly stealing his "wife" Ran Ran. Tao kills Lieutenant Blue just before Chiaotzu's Tournament due to him nearly ruining their plans by exposing where they were keeping Ran Ran.


Tao easily injuring Bora

During the tournament, Tao is ordered to kill Bora right in the arena: After dodging Bora's attack easily, Tao throws him and Bora gets impaled by a spear held by a statue. After Bora is killed mercilessly, Goku desperately attacks Tao. Tao's clothes get ruined by a Kamehameha and Tao retaliates with a Dodon Ray, which blows Goku into the distance and all the way to Korin Tower. After he gets his clothes changed, Tao takes a pillar from the castle and rides it to the location where Goku was at.


Tao in Penguin Village

On his way, he passes by Penguin Village and gets knocked off the pillar by a rock thrown at him by Arale. Falling face first into the ground, Arale pokes at him with a stick and laughs. When Tao gets up he tries to ignore Arale, but Goku shows up. Tao begins to charge at Goku but falls back because Arale and the Gatchans had his ponytail tied to a tree. Tao undoes the knot and uses a Dodon Ray on Arale, but it turns out to not injure her. The Gatchans shoot Tao with a beam and Tao continues to fight Goku. After Goku is able to block Tao's Dodon Ray, Tao begins to fake surrendering and throws a capsule to bring a vehicle out. Just after shaking Goku's hand saying that he was a worthy opponent, Tao steals Goku's Dragon Ball and flies off in his vehicle, shooting two missiles as he leaves. However, Goku and Arale deflect both missiles back at Tao, destroying his vehicle and killing him as well.

Super Hero[]

Super Hero - Goku overpowering Mercenary Tao in round 2

Mercenary Tao being overwhelmed by Goku in Super Hero

Mercenary Tao makes a cameo appearance during the Red Ribbon Army recap where he is defeated Goku in their second battle after Goku kicks Tao's grenade back at him.

Other Dragon Ball stories[]

Budokai Tenkaichi 2[]

Mercenary Tao appears as an opponent in the Majin Buu Saga story mode, where he is fought against by Saiyaman and Videl, with his sarcastically addressing them as lovebirds. Oddly enough, he appears as he did during the Red Ribbon Army Saga despite being a cyborg at that time.

Dragon Ball Online[]

Cyborg Tao appears redesigned as Tao X, in Dragon Ball Online. He is apparently residing in the base of the former Red Ribbon Army and has started excavating and mining Korin's Sacred Land. Tao's goal is to rebuild the original Red Ribbon Army via the Red Pants Army) and he has begun collecting members for the group, one such member being Tao X's student, General White Jr.

By Age 1000, Tao X has managed to reclaimed his position as Earth's top assassin. However he confronts the Time Patrol and is killed by the Youth, resulting in Earth's second strongest assassin (an Earthling named Hank) to become Earth's new number one assassin.


Cyborg Tao appears after the Saiyan Saga as part of the Sub Story: "Familiar Face" which becomes available after Gohan completes Bulma's Sub Stories "Foreboding Fear" and "Mysterious Power Reading". Cyborg Tao and his brother are apparently engaging in a protection racket in the Southeast Mountains Area when Gohan finds them at the front door of Goku's House demanding for the house's sole occupant Chi-Chi come outside. Gohan tries to talk to them but Chi-Chi comes outside and tells Gohan to stay back and let her handle the two gangsters as she refers to the brothers fully aware of how dangerous the pair are. Master Shen calls her a fool and states they are offering her their protection. Tao introduces himself as Tao Pai Pai, the world's greatest assassin and states he will protect them and for only one hundred thousand Zeni which he calls a small price to pay for peace of mind. Chi-Chi, realizing it is a veiled threat and that they are engaging in a protection scheme, tells them they're not falling for it and that they're just trying to take their money, and states their money's not earmarked for hoodlums like them. Tao takes her refusal calmly before noting that he happened across some monsters in the area earlier that looked rather menacing and that it would be a real shame if they attacked innocent people like Chi-Chi and her son. Chi-Chi however notes they will not fall for any of their brothers' tricks and that they are full of it before telling Gohan to come with her. Gohan thinks to himself that though his mother believes it to be a trick, he does actually sense something evil nearby indicating they weren't lying about the monster. Mercenary Tao notices Gohan's worried face and asks if he is scared to which Gohan says he is not.

This leads to the main Sub Story: "Familiar Face", where Gohan decides to get rid of the monsters himself to show Tao and Master Shen they don't need their protection. Gohan tells them he can handle the monsters himself. Tao however notes he is just a child, though he laughs and decides to humor Gohan by letting the boy take on the monsters, though notes he is really only rushing to his death. Gohan however says he's not going to lose before going off to face the monsters with Krillin. Both Tao and Master Shen are confident that Gohan stands no chance against the monsters. They find them on a hillside overlooking Goku's House. The monsters turn out to be Saibamen and upon realizing this, Gohan is eager to take them out considering how dangerous they are and their close proximity to his home where his mother is in addition to shoeing the Crane School Brothers that his family doesn't need their protection. After defeating the Saibamen, Gohan decides to return home to tell Tao and Master Shen. Master Shen can't believe he actually won against such a creature and Mercenary Tao thinks it's impossible. Suddenly an angry Chi-Chi comes outside and asks what their crying about. Gohan tells her they think he's lying about defeating the monsters they mentioned. Tao considers it utter nonsense, as not even he is sure that he could take one down accidentally revealing his protection would have been meaningless had Chi-Chi accepted his offer. Chi-Chi realizes this and says she knew she was right about them planning on taking their money and running, as they apparently never planned on protecting them from the monsters and just used their presence as an incentive to accept their services. Master Shen however tries to save face by saying Gohan is bluffing and that there is no way a brat like him could handle that thing. Tao attempts to back up his brother's assertion but stops when he notices Gohan's face and vaguely recognizes his resemblance to Goku and that he feels like he's seen the little runt before. Then it dawns on him, as he is young and freakishly strong just like Goku. This causes Tao to ask what his Father's name is and Gohan confirms his suspicions that it is Goku. Upon realizing Goku is Gohan's father, Tao also realizing that Chi-Chi is his wife which Chi-Chi confirms. Tao thinks to himself that they should forget the protection scheme as he has no desire to be anywhere near such a family of freaks. This completes the Sub Event unlocking Tao and Master Shen's Soul Emblems. Tao pretends he suddenly remembers he has something else he has to do and leaves confusing Gohan and causing Master Shen to ask where he is going before stating he better not leave him there before chasing after him.


Manga and Anime

When Tao is introduced, he is shown to be very powerful at that point in the series. In the anime, he toys with General Blue, at that point the only villain Goku had struggled with in a head-on battle and kills him with one pressure-point strike to the temple using his tongue after proving resistant to his telekinesis (the manga instead has him wasting no time in taking Blue out, though it is still heavily implied that he was superior to Blue ultimately). He then overwhelms Goku with great ease as well and the only damage he receives from Goku's Kamehameha is to his clothes. Tao was also shown to be quite fast, as when fighting he appeared to be a blur in the eyes of Upa. After Goku receives training from Korin, Tao is easily overpowered (although in the Funimation dub of the anime, Goku states that Tao's strength has increased, likely due to climbing up the tower).

Tao also possesses superhuman strength as he was able to effortlessly outmuscle and overpower Bora (whom is considered to be one of the strongest humans of his time), tossing the latter many feet in the air with just one hand. Tao's strength also allows him to throw pillars at extreme distances, specifically many miles, in high velocity, thus using this method as his sole means of transportation by boarding the pillar upon throwing it. Tao also has superior endurance as not only was he able to run towards the top of Korin Tower easily, but achieved this without tiring out, whereas others (including Goku) have shown to be fatigued upon climbing the miles long pillar to the tower.

When he reappears as a cyborg, he has gained a lot of strength - said to have gained several times the amount of power he previously possessed - and as such he easily overpowers Chiaotzu. His increased power is still not enough to defeat Tien Shinhan though, who defeats Tao with ease.

Although a cyborg, he is not immune to the effects of Ki sense unlike the Red Ribbon Androids, as demonstrated by Goku's managing to track him and Vodka down via Instant Transmission.

Statements by authors and guidebooks

The movie pamphlet for Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might states that Tao has a power level of 240.

Cyborg Tao's power level is stated to be 210 in a 1989 issue of the Weekly Shōnen Jump.[12]

Video games

In a special mission in the video game Dragon Ball Z: Scouter Battle Taikan Kamehameha - Ora to Omee to Scouter, Mercenary Tao's power level is 200,000,000.

In Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, he implies after unknowingly admitting his "protection racket" was a scam that he most likely could not beat a single Saibaman when Gohan revealed he took all of them out.


  • Pressure Point Attack – By touching or hitting weakly certain pressure points on an opponent's body, can incite effects such as paralysis or knock the opponent out. Enough prolonged pressure on the pressure points can also kill the opponent.

Mercenary Tao charges the Super Dodon Wave

  • Dodon Ray – A superheated beam shot from the finger. In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, Tao's version is named the The Original Dodon-Pa.
    • Super Dodon Wave – Tao disconnects his robotic hand, revealing a hole through which he fires a bigger and more powerful Dodon Ray. Tao also adjusts the biological waves to match that of his target, so the Super Dodon Wave will pursue the target until it blasts them.[13]
  • Crane Style Assassin Strike – As he says "You dare to mock me?", Tao punches the opponent and knees them in their face, punches them in the stomach, and then hits them with a flurry of finger strikes. Then, he kicks them into the air and double axe handle punches them into the ground. Finally, as he says "I'll finish you off!", Tao knees the lying opponent in the stomach, inflicting a great deal of damage.
  • Ultimate Final Strategy – When facing certain defeat, Tao begs for mercy by saying "Please forgive me!", making the opponent walk away. While the opponent is caught off-guard, Tao pulls out a grenade and throws it at the opponent, exploding in front of the opponent and inflicting a great amount of damage.
  • 3D Scan Mode – A mode that allows for advanced scanning of enemies.
  • Sky Dance – The ability to fly by utilizing Ki. While it is a Crane School technique, Tao cannot fly in the original manga and anime series, he is capable of flight in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Budokai Tenkaichi 3, and Dragon Ball Heroes. He cannot use ki-based flight in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and Dragon Ball Legends.
  • Hikou - The ability to fly without Ki via wings or special mechanism. Used by Mercenary Tao in Dragon Ball Legends.
  • False Courage – One of Tao's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
  • Wild Sense – One of Tao's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
  • Afterimage Strike – One of Cyborg Tao's Blast 1 in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
  • Full Power Charge – Tao is capable of charging in Dragon Ball Legends.

Cyborg Tao

Cyborg Tao prepares the Super Dodon Wave

Cyborg Tao is the result of Tao being greatly injured and then using a great amount of his money in order to be converted into a more powerful cyborg. Cyborg Tao possesses extra abilities and armaments along with his greater power, he has a blade in one arm, scanning capabilities in his robotic eyes, and can also fire the Super Dodon Wave. In this state, Tao's power level is 210.

Tao X

Tao X

Tao X (Tao Pai Pai X) is an even more powerful version of Cyborg Tao. Tao gained this state around the time of Dragon Ball Online, and his cybernetics appear to have been upgraded (bearing resemblance to those used by the Frieza Force) with these upgrades his strength is enough to fight members of the Time Patrol. In addition to the upgrades, he also has a variant Battle Armor variant of his Crane School Qipao.

  • Flying Pillar – Tao throws a pillar (or something similar, like a tree) into the air in a certain speed and direction, then jumps on it, riding it to his destination. The pillar may also strike the opponents at the landing spot. Tao's flying pillar moves at 10,000km/h at full speed.[1]
  • Tao's Sword – From a capsule, Tao brings out a sword for fighting.
  • Grenade – Used to end the Ultimate Final Strategy technique. A dirty final resort that backfired and caused Tao to be rebuilt into a cyborg.
  • Hidden Blade – After Tao became a cyborg, he is able to disconnect his left hand to reveal a retractable knife. He attacks Tien Shinhan using this during the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, though this leads to him being disqualified for using a weapon (as the blade itself is artificial and not natural). Named in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
  • Mercenary Tao Capsule - Mercenary Tao's personal Battle Capsule CAA Special Ability in World Mission. From R2 (Round 2) onwards, toss 1 or more Capsules into either team's Prep Area after the Prep Phase once per battle. Tao's Team effect: Permanently cancel changes to ally CI (Charge Impact) speed. Enemy Team effect: Greatly increase enemy CI speed permanently.
  • Jetpack - Used by Mercenary Tao in Dragon Ball Legends.
  • Tao Pai Pai Machine - A custom variant of the Skull Robo Type 2 used by Cyborg Tao and Master Shen in Kakarot after Master Shen's plan to recruit the pre-Cell Games Gohan to the Crane School using Dirty Magazines failed. Unfortunately this plan too backfired, quite literally as Gohan kicked one of the robots in Cyborg Tao's direction, reminding him the failed Grenade attack that resulted in him becoming a Cyborg in the first place. However there is no indication the explosion killed him and he can still be found alive in other locations after this Sub Story.
  • Battle Armor - Tao X has a Battle Armor variant of his Crane School Qipao in Dragon Ball Online.

Video Game Appearances[]


Mercenary Tao in Origins 2

General Tao SDBH

General Tao in Dragon Ball Heroes

In Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Mercenary Tao battles the Great Saiyaman and Videl when they intend to apprehend him in the Majin Buu Saga chapter. He boasts that they won't last ten seconds against them. Oddly enough, he appears as he did during the Red Ribbon Army Saga instead of his Cyborg self.

In Origins 2, Mercenary Tao appears as Fortuneteller Baba's fifth warrior (replacing Grandpa Gohan) in the bonus level 7-8, where Roshi obliges Goku to fight Fortuneteller Baba's warriors in order to find the location of the Micro Band he dropped in the toilet.

In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, as pre-order DLC (along with unlocking Goku Black as a playable character) Tao's pink pillar appears as a vehicle for the Future Warrior to ride while in Conton City and some areas outside of it. Its capsule is listed in the Vehicle settings as Vehicle Capsule #881. Interestingly, it travels faster than the default vehicle (Vehicle Capsule #315) that the Warrior receives from Chronoa. Additionally, Cyborg Tao's headgear appears as an accessory called Tao Pai Pai's Cyborg Head which also feats a Tao's hair (the hair classifies as a wig as it does not change color during Super Saiyan transformations). Interestingly, Tao is referred to as Tao Pai Pai in even the English localization of Xenoverse 2. Additionally Tao Pai Pai's Super Soul Dodon Ray! will restore Ki by a small amount when using the Dodon Ray Super Skill (learned from Tien in School Quest 01: "Tien's Initiation Test ") and Temporarily boosts normal attacks by a large amount whenever a Dodon Ray hits or is blocked. Additionally this Super Skills Limit Burst is Dodon Ray ATK Up! This Super Soul is useful as it allows the user to build up Ki by firing the Dodon Ray.

Tao makes an appearance in multiple sub-stories in Kakarot, and is referred to both as "Mercenary Tao" and "Tao Pai Pai" in the English version of the game.

Voice Actors[]


Pre-Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball Z
  • Mercenary Tao (Cyborg Tao) vs. Mr. Lao (Anime only)
  • General Tao vs. Lieutenant Blue
  • General Tao vs. Bora
  • General Tao vs. Goku
  • General Tao vs. Goku, Arale Norimaki, and Gatchans

List of Characters Killed by Mercenary Tao[]

Pre-Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball
  • Lieutenant Blue - Killed by Tao's Pressure Point Attack.
  • Bora - Killed when Tao launched him into the spear of a stature.


  • Tao has been known by a number of names in the various English versions of the series. He is called "General Tao Pei" in the late-1980s Dragon Ball anime dub by Harmony Gold, and "Taopaipai" (all in one word) in the Viz adaptation of the manga. In Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z, he is erroneously referred to as "General Tao", as well as erroneously being referred to as a leader of the Red Ribbon Army. Additionally, Goku incorrectly refers to Mercenary Tao as General Tao in Episode 135, Battle of the Eight. The "General Tao" denomination is a mix up with Mystical Adventure, an alternate-dimension Dragon Ball story. In that movie, Tao is actually a general. However, in the main timeline of the series, he never holds that position.
    • The name itself is a pun, as General Tao is a reference to a chicken dish served in American Chinese restaurants. This is likely the translator faithfully following Toriyama's tendency to name his characters after various types of food and drink.
    • Likewise, the actual pinyin of his name is actually meant to be read as "Tao Baibai" with the "p" version being a Japanese-butchered version of the said pinyin. If rendered in Japanese on'yomi, the name would be read as "Momo Hakuhaku".
Kill You

The back of Tao's outfit where it says "KILL YOU!"

TaoPaiPai blue water dub censorship

Cyborg tao's back in Blue water dub

  • On the back of his outfit, it says "KILL YOU!" This is edited to just say "YOU!" in some dubbed versions of the show (but not the Cell Games Saga of Dragon Ball Z). Oddly, this changes the message from being possibly offensive to being definitely confusing.
    • In the Blue Water dub, Tao's "KILL YOU!" was edited out completely from his back.
  • His teenager self in "The Time Room" reuses the design of the tallest of the Bullies of the Orin Temple.
  • Mercenary Tao's Super Dodon Wave cannon later holds the puzzle rings seen in "The Puzzle of General Tao".
  • Tao can fly in Budokai Tenkaichi and Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Oddly, despite being the Crane Hermit's younger brother and, theoretically, knowing the Crane style, he apparently lacks the signature Crane School flying technique in both the manga and anime as well as in Budokai Tenkaichi 2.
  • Also in Budokai Tenkaichi 3, he is called General Tao, his position in the film Mystical Adventure.
  • In the German dub of Dragon Ball, Tao is given a robotic voice after he became a cyborg. [15] However, in DBZ he speaks normally.[16]
  • In the original design, Cyborg Tao had the right side of his face uncovered in metal and appeared bald.[17]
  • The Kanji in Tao Pai Pai's name can be translated as "Peach White White", (Akira Toriyama has stated that he wanted to give him a cutesy, Chinese-sounding name as a joke to contrast with his image as a deadly assassin.[18])
    • Tao's name was changed in the Polish version to show his evil side and was named "Kryminator" (a pun on "kryminał" - crime story), note that in the French dub (in which this version was translated from), he's still called TaoPaiPai. In the Vietnamese dub, perhaps due to translation issues, his name was read as Hongbaibai (Red/Crimson White White - 红白白).
  • In the Japanese version of the anime, the Crane Hermit refers to Tao simply as "Pai Pai", possibly implying that タオ (Tao) is his surname.
  • Tao is the first professional assassin to have been contracted to assassinate Goku. The second would be Hit in the Dragon Ball Super anime.
    • He is also the only one to actually be contracted by one of Goku's enemies, as in the case of Hit, Goku anonymously issued the contract against himself as an excuse to have a rematch against him.



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