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Taopaipai & Master Karin (そんくうとつげき Son Gokū Totsugeki, lit. "Son Goku's Assault") is the eighth volume of the original Dragon Ball manga series by Akira Toriyama. It was released on July 10, 1987 in Japan and in May 2003 for the English version. It concludes the Red Ribbon Army arc by finishing the Commander Red Saga.


Taopaipai & Master Karin

Tired of losing their best operatives to Son Goku, the commanders of the Red Ribbon Army hire Taopaipai, the world's greatest assassin, to "take care" of him permanently! To have a chance of defeating this new opponent, Goku must climb the miles-high Karin Tower, where a mysterious hermit guards a jug of magic water which will grant the one who drinks it super strength. And while Goku struggles to get the magic water, time is running out…because Commander Red only needs two more Dragon Balls to make his deepest, darkest wishes come true![1]


This section, or a part of it, has been transcluded from Bulma Returns; any changes involving it should be made there instead. / 

Legend says whoever gathers the seven magical "Dragon Balls" will be granted any one wish. Son Goku, a young boy from the mountains, first heard the legend from a city girl named Bulma. After many dangerous adventures with Bulma, Goku trained under the great martial artist Kame-Sen'nin and competed in the "Strongest Under the Heavens" fighting tournament. Afterwards, Goku resumed his quest for the Dragon Balls, only to find that a powerful enemy, the Red Ribbon Army, was also searching for them. Now, frustrated by Goku's continued interference, Commander Red has hired an assassin to get rid of him once and for all…[1]

Volume introduction by Akira Toriyama[]


Toriyama illustrating himself on his motorbike.

"On days when I have to inking Dragon Ball, I get up around noon, eat breakfast, and then from 1 p.m., I begin working together with my assistant Matsuyama. I take a break from 7 to 8 p.m. to eat dinner, walk my dog, and feed my bird. Matsuyama goes home at 9 p.m., and I continue to work while watching television. I usually take a bath at 11 p.m. and then after that I relax and I continue to do a bit more working. I will then go to sleep around 4 a.m. And that is what my inking days are like."[1]



Info below is retrieved from Viz Media.[1]

  • Son Goku - Monkey-tailed young Goku has always been stronger than normal. His grandfather Gohan gave him the nyoibō, a magic staff and Kame-Sen'nin gave him the kinto'un, a magic flying cloud.
  • Yamcha - Yamcha used to be a desert bandit, but he went to the city to be Bulma's boyfriend. He uses "Fist of the Wolf-Fang" kung-fu. Pu'ar is his shapeshifting friend.
  • Bulma - A genius inventor, Bulma met Goku on her quest for the seven magical Dragon Balls.
  • Lunch - A strange woman whose personality changes whenever she sneezes.
  • Kuririn - Goku's former martial arts schoolmate under Kame-Sen'nin.
  • Bora & Upa - A father and son who live in the Karin Sanctuary. When Bora defended his land from the Red Ribbon Army, they kidnapped his son. But Goku rescued Upa and brought him back to safety.
  • Commander Red - The ultimate authority of the Red Ribbon Army, he wants to gather all the Dragon Balls so that his wish can be granted.
  • Taopaipai - The world's deadliest assassin.
  • Kame-Sen'nin (The "Turtle Hermit") - A lecherous but powerful old man martial artist master (also known as the muten-rôshi, or "Invincible Old Master") who trained Goku's grandfather, Son Gohan, as well as Goku himself. He taught Goku the kamehameha attack.
  • Adjutant Black - Commander Red's advisor and second-in-command.
  • General Blue - A cruel, vain sub-commander of the Red Ribbon Army. Goku defeated him but General Blue managed to hang onto Bulma's Dragon Radar that detects the Dragon Balls!



Chapter # Title
85 "Taopaipai the Assassin"
Taopaipai the Assassin
  • Original Title: ころタオパイパイKoroshiya "Taopaipai", lit. "The Hitman "Tao Pai-pai""
  • Character Debuts: Mercenary Tao
Following Goku defeating the Red Ribbon troops as thank you, Bora lets Goku keep his Dragon Ball that being the four star one Goku’s been after. Meanwhile back at headquarters General Blue returns and at the same time Mercenary Tao Pai Pai (the world's greatest assassin) meets with commander Red. With an outrageous price of 10 million per head, commander Red agrees to pay him whatever he needs. General Blue arrives but because he only has the radar instead of the Dragon balls he is to be executed but is allowed to live if he can beat Tao in a fight. The fight begins with Tao dodging all of his attacks effortlessly and proceeding to jab Blue in the side of his head with his tongue, killing him instantly. With that done, Tao using the radar finds Goku’s location then proceeds to remove a pillar and throws it towards where he needs to go and then proceeds to ride it like a surfboard. Back at Korin tower Bora tells Goku about the tower that stands in front of him, saying that at the top a master will grant whoever climbs to him magic water that can increase their strength.
86 "The Devastating Dodon-Pa!!!"
The Devastating Dodon-Pa
  • Original Title: タオパイパイ必殺ひっさつどどん Taopaipai no Hissatsu Dodonpa, lit. "Tao Pai-pai's Surefire Dodonpa"
As Goku is getting eager to Climb Korin Tower, Mercenary Tao arrives, his pillar smashing into the ground throwing everyone off. Revealing he’s here to kill Goku, Bora tries to stop him. Coming at him with his spear Tao stops it effortlessly preventing Bora from moving, Tao tosses him into the air and causing Bora to let go and allowing Tao to impale him in the chest with it, killing him. Goku enraged charges at Tao only to dodge his punch and kick him into Korin tower. After getting up Goku then tries to attack again with the Kamehameha, but all it does is destroy Tao’s clothes and not happy about this Tao uses his signature move Donon-Pa shooting a laser from his finger and seemingly killing Goku with it. With the job done, Tao takes the Dragon Balls.
87 "The Great Climb"
The Great Climb
  • Original Title: カリンとう Karin Tō, lit. "Karin Tower"
Tao now has all of the Dragon Balls and is set on leaving only for Uppa to throw a rock at him which he blows back at him, waking Uppa in the head, Tao then leaves but instead of going back to headquarters goes to a middle eastern like village to get a new outfit which he makes the shop owner make in 3 days. He then gets a call by Red who isn’t happy because he only has 3 of the 4 Dragon Balls, he tells him to get it done after he gets his new outfit assured that Goku is dead so it won't be much of a problem. Back at Korin tower Uppa like his father is about to bury Goku however Goku wakes up having survived thanks to being protected by his Four star Dragon Ball. Taking guilt in Uppa’s sadness, Goku decides to use the Dragon Balls to resurrect Bora, but realizing he’ll need the extra strength to defeat Tao once he returns, he decides to climb Korin tower. And so Goku is off climbing at first with quick speed before gradually slowing with exhaustion, nearly falling off but saving himself with his tail and he finally makes it to the top the next day.
88 "Sage of the Karin Tower"
Sage of the Karin Tower
  • Original Title: カリンとうのカリンさま Karin Tō no Karinsama, lit. "Karin-sama of Karin Tower"
After a day of climbing Goku has finally made it to the top. Climbing through the tops opening he finds himself in a circular ancient carved living room area before climbing the stairs to the upper area where the magic water lies attop in the center. Standing next to it is Master Korin, a small anthropomorphic cat person with a staff. After some comedic talk between the two he lets Goku get the water only to attack Goku with his staff telling him if he wants the water he needs to beat him. Goku tries again and again using all his techniques but is unable to steal it which leaves Goku further exhausted. Too help Korin gives Goku a Senzu bean which when eaten replenishes Goku’s strength and heals his injuries. With that Goku tries again to steal the water but fails again. When asked if he’s the first to get here, Korin tells him that Master Roshi succeeded in getting the water from him 300 years ago, but it took him 3 years to succeed.
89 "A Drink of Water"
A Drink of Water
  • Original Title: ちょうせいすいこうのう Chōseisui no Kōnō, lit. "The Effects of the Super Holy Water"
Shocked by how long it took Goku is not willing to wait 3 years, so once again he tries to steal the water this time using the after image technique, failing once again Korin remarks on Goku’s strength telling him that climbing the tower added to it, Goku doesn’t realise it though so Korin decides to show him by tossing his Dragon Ball which he’s stolen and chucks it over the railing causing Goku to jump after it resulting in him having to climb back up again which this time only taking 3 hours. Through more attempts Goku fails and as the two go to sleep Goku tries to steal the water but stops himself so he can get it fairly. The next day comes and Goku catches Korin in the air, tickles him causing him to drop the water but Goku grabs it before it can fall over. Just to his delight Goku drinks it but gains nothing, Korin revealing that magic water is just normal water, and that Goku climbing the tower and beating him was the real strength boost. With that Goku says his thanks and departs, Korin beleiving Goku has surpassed Roshi.
90 "Son Goku Strikes Back!"
Son Goku Strikes Back
  • Original Title: そんくうぎゃくしゅう Son Gokū no Gyakushū, lit. "Son Goku's Counterattack"
Back at the village Tao’s outfit is complete and after killing the shops owner after he askes to be paid, Tao returns to Korin tower like he did before demanding the remaining Dragon Ball from Uppa, he proceeds to throw an ax at Tao which he dodges and then proceeds to grab Uppa by the neck and toss him at Korin Tower, but at the last second Goku descends summoning Nimbus and grabbing Uppa before his can crash. Reasurring Uppa that he can win Goku and Tao begin there rematch Tao reassured he can kill Goku in 3 seconds. The two class Goku dodging Goku’s punch before kicking Tao into the air and kicking him into the tower with an air kick. Despite this and discovering Goku’s training by Korin Tao believes he an still win taking it like exercising.
91 "Battle in the Sanctuary!!"
Battle in the Sanctuary
  • Original Title: せいだいけっせん!! Seichi no Daikessen!!, lit. "The Holy Temple's Decisive Battle!!"
The fight continues Tao charging only for his kick and punch to be blocked by Goku who then precedes to kick him in the face. Tao starting to lose his calm attacks again successfully punch Goku only for Goku to flip and bounce of the tower back to Tao and then punch him back before landing and bouncing off the ground and kicking Tao into the ground. Now more angry Tao fires his Dodon-Pa at Goku who counters with his Kamehameha both attacks cancelling each other out. Now desperate Tao summons a sword from his pocket and attacks Goku with quick permission putting Goku on the ropes. Before he can be cut though Uppa tosses Goku his power poll who uses it too destroy Tao’s sword. Despite having a weapon to his advantage Goku descides to toss it planning on using his bare hands to win.
92 "Taopaipai at the Brink"
Taopaipai at the Brink
  • Original Title: さいタオパイパイ Saigo no Taopaipai, lit. "The End of Tao Pai-pai"
Having enough of Goku Tao attacks with a frontal assault punching, kneeing and proceeding to hold him back the neck and repeatedly jab Goku in the face beforekixcking him into the air smashing him to the ground and then finishing him by kneeing him in the chest. Despite believing Goku died, he gets up and though clearly hurt is still ok and then attacks landing numerous devastating blows on Tao leaving him injured. Tao knowing he won’t get out of this unbeaten tries to convince Goku that he’s turned over a new leaf. But as Goku is distracted by this Tao chocks a grenade at Goku before jumping in the air to escape. But before it can go off Goku leaps and kicks in the air where it goes off directly in Tao’s face presumably killing him. With the fight over Goku decides to go to the red ribbon headquarters to get the rest.
93 "Goku's Charge"
Goku's Charge
  • Original Title: そんくうとつげき Son Gokū Totsugeki, lit. "Son Goku's Assault"
Back at headquarters Commander violet has reutnred with the five star Dragon ball, at the same time Goku is flying towards headquarters where he’s spotted by one of Bulma’s spy drones. After Launch reveals where Goku is heading there drown is shot down by a red ribbon drone, where at the same time Goku arrives and begins his attack. Meanwhile back at Kame house, Bulma believing that Goku is in more then he can chew the three of them decide to supply backup calling up Yamcha to tagalong for back up and to use his hover car and Oolong his forced to accompany. At the same time Goku destroys the hovercopter alerting Commander Red of Goku’s arrival.
94 "Attack from the Sky"
Attack from the Sky
  • Original Title: そんくうかいしんげきSon Gokū Kai-Shingeki!; lit. "Son Goku's Charge!"
Flying in Goku charges onto one of the headquarters tower attacking and beating everyone in sight the enemies bullets worthless against him. He’s then attacked by a hover vehicle only to destroy it and the others with a kamehameha before continuing. At the same time Yamcha arrives and the gang at Kame house take off picking up Krilling who’s swimming to the grocery store. Back at headquarters Goku makes it to the tower where Red and Black are hiding.
95 "The Fall of Commander Red"
The Fall of Commander Red
  • Original Title: レッドそうすいす! Reddo Sōsui Shisu!, lit. "Commander Red Dies!"
After another failed attempt by the soldiers to kill Goku this time with a bazooka. With no one left to fight, Red is furious over losing the Dragon Balls as he won’t be able to fulfill his wish of being taller. This comes to a great shock to Black who believed he was going to use them to increase the Red Ribbons power and that his silly wish to become taller has caused them so much trouble, which isn’t helped by Commander red insulting there his fellow dead soldiers for not trying hard enough which pushes Black to killing Red and taking over the army. At the same time Goku arrives demanding the dragon balls, Black offers Goku a chance to join and take over the world together but Goku casually refuses. The two fight but Black is no match for Goku’s speed, so Black summons a robot mech via a capsule to continue punching Goku in the face, causing him pain.
96 "The Triumph!"
The Triumph
  • Original Title: だいしょう!! Daishōri!!, lit. "A Great Victory"
Goku, reeling back from the attack, is attacked by a laser gun from the mech which he dodges only to be grabbed and thrown out the window. Blacks mech then bursts from the tower and attacks again with another laser beam which appears to have disintegrated Goku. However Goku dodged hiding on a tower and jumping on Blacks mech to which then Black tries to punch him only to hit himself. With one last attack he tries launching a missile at him to stop him but Goku kicks it away, blowing away the top of the mountain. Now out of options Black tries to escape vowing revenge, not wanting to allow this though Goku leaps into the air bursting through Blacks mech, blowing it up taking Black out with it. And with that the Red Ribbon Army has been defeated and Goku now has 6 out of the 7 Dragon Balls in his possession.


  • General Blue vs. Mercenary Tao
  • Goku vs. Mercenary Tao
  • Goku vs. Red Ribbon Army Solders
  • Goku vs. Staff Officer Black

Differences from the anime[]

  • In the manga, Tao is defeated quickly in his second fight against Goku. In the anime, Tao climbs up Korin Tower himself while Goku waits at the bottom.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Viz Media (July 8, 2003).

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