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"The Notorious Mercenary" (きた!かい一のころタオパイパイ Kita! Sekai'ichi no Koroshiya "Tao Pai-pai", lit. "He's Here! The World's Greatest Hitman, "Tao Pai-pai"") is the second episode of the Commander Red Saga and the fifty-ninth episode in the Dragon Ball series. This episode first aired in Japan on April 22, 1987. Its original American airdate was October 29, 2002.


Picking up from where the previous episode left off, General Blue returns to Red Ribbon Army Headquarters, with the remaining guard then bidding him a welcome back to base. However, Blue angrily yells at him for giving "false sentiments", making clear he knew they wanted him gone in the first place, causing the guard to promptly apologize.


Goku tells Bora his reasons for wanting the Four Star Ball

While Commander Red talks with the infamous Mercenary Tao, Blue arrives in Red's office stating he has returned for duty. Commander Red, furious over General Blue's recent failures, then demands to know how Blue managed to consider returning. Blue, misinterpreting the question to mean how he literally managed to return, attempted to explain that it was a hassle that involved stealing a plane and then a car, but then was cut off by his irate commanding officer, who elaborated that Blue should not have returned especially considering that he failed to get the Dragon Ball from Goku. Blue attempted to explain that Goku was tricky, but Red would hear none of it. Blue then explains that, despite not actually ending Goku or even getting the Dragon Balls, he still managed to steal his radar before unveiling it, and explaining its properties of easily honing in on the Dragon Balls and it being extremely accurate. Black expresses surprise at its small size, and Blue adds that he could use it to find the Dragon Balls in no time. Red, however, is unmoved, stating that while he'll acknowledge that Blue had a good find in the radar, he still failed the specific objective of retrieving the dragon balls themselves, and thus he is considering following the policy of those who fail face "severe consequences". Blue, out of horror and despair, then proceeds to break down and drop the Dragon Radar. Red then states that, due to Blue's value to them in the past, he's might spare him under one condition: He has to beat Mercenary Tao in battle. Blue eagerly accepts the proposition. Meanwhile, on the Sacred Land of Korin, Goku learns about the Korin Tower from Bora and the strength-enhancing water at the top.


Mercenary Tao eliminates General Blue by using his tongue

General Blue then exchanges words with the infamous assassin Tao. Tao then sarcastically asks if Blue wants his autograph, with Blue commenting that Tao is "amusing" before declaring he'll put an end to his arrogance. Tao then tells Red that he expects a fee for this battle as well, as he doesn't work for free. Red then tells them to get on with it. Blue then tells Tao he should bring out a weapon just in case, though Tao claims he won't even need his limbs, let alone a weapon, to kill Blue, and will just use his tongue, with Blue expressing doubts about it before Black tells them to begin their fight. Blue, while laughing, then proceeds to go on the offensive against Tao. However, Tao not only manages to dodge every move but then proceeds to move in behind Blue, startling the latter. Blue then acknowledges he has some skill before asking if he can handle the next attack before proceeding to use his special ability. He then asks how he likes being paralyzed while laughing. However, Tao cracks his own neck before casually asking what that was all about, much to Blue's horror and Black and Red's shock. Blue then recklessly attempts to rush at Tao, clearly panicking, before Tao proceeded to dodge and, just as he earlier claimed, kill Blue just with his tongue on his temple before stating that the problem's "licked". Black and Red then express shock at how effortlessly Tao killed Blue with only a single strike, with Black commenting that he definitely lived up to his reputation, before Tao states that now that he's had his fun, Red should show him the actual target that he was hired for so he could get to work.


Bora killed by Tao

After learning about Goku and the Dragon Balls, Mercenary Tao sets out to Korin. Goku expresses eagerness to climb the tower just before Mercenary Tao arrives. As Tao introduces himself to Goku, Bora then tells Tao off for nearly hitting them, with Tao nonchalantly stating that hitting them was the idea, identifying himself as a hitman, and explains to Goku that he was sent by the Red Ribbon Army to "tie up loose ends" namely, kill Goku. Bora fights him, but Mercenary Tao kills him mercilessly. Angered, Goku leaps into a fierce battle against the deadliest assassin in the world.

Major Events[]

  • Bora tells Goku about the Korin Tower and the legend behind it.
  • Mercenary Tao kills General Blue.
  • Mercenary Tao kills Bora.


  • Mercenary Tao vs. General Blue
  • Mercenary Tao vs. Bora






Differences from the Manga[]

  • The scene where General Blue is greeted by two soldiers, only for Blue to tell one of them not to patronize him, isn't in the manga.
  • Upa mentioning to his father that he'd heard someone made it to the top of Korin's Tower a long time ago, only for Bora to dismiss it as a myth, isn't in the manga.
  • General Blue dropping the radar after learning Commander Red's planning to have him executed anyways even after he supplied him with it is exclusive to the anime. In addition, Blue attempts to protest in fear when learning of the likelihood of execution in the manga, while in the anime he expresses silent terror during this time.
    • Blue is shown to slightly hesitate upon learning he'll have to fight Mercenary Tao in the anime (implying he realized the chances of winning were low) before agreeing to it, while in the manga, he eagerly agrees to fight Tao when mentioned.
    • Commander Red is shown to be fully facing General Blue during his interactions with him up to his offering Blue a chance to fight Tao as a way out of immediate execution in the anime. In the manga, his chair's back is toward Blue the entire time with Red only slightly turning his head to face Blue.
  • The fight between Blue and Tao is expanded in the anime. In the manga, Tao wastes no time after he dodges Blue's kick and kills him with his tongue. In the anime, Blue attempts to strike him several times only for him to be dodged. He uses his Psychic Eyes on Tao but it doesn't have any effect. Blue then panics and attempts to rush Tao only to be dodged again and killed the same way as in the manga.
  • The scene where Goku sits down with Bora and Upa for a meal, as well as Upa sharpening his father's spear, is not in the manga.
  • In the anime, before Tao's arrival, Bora explains in further detail how people fail to reach the top of the tower by going through their food rations too quickly and that aircraft fair no better since they run out of fuel before seeing the top. This isn't in the manga.
  • In the manga, when Bora dies, his eyes are open. In the anime, they are closed.


  • The reason for Blue scolding one of the soldiers for greeting him is different between the Japanese and English versions. In the former, the soldier is relieved to see Blue unhurt, to which the general replies that he'd never be killed that easily. In the dub, the troop says he's glad to have Blue back, only for Blue to take it as false sympathy with him saying, "You were all glad to be rid of me, so save it."
  • Commander Red expresses exasperation that Blue returned to HQ empty-handed despite that at the end of "Arale vs. Blue", the control room adviser had learned of Blue obtaining the Dragon Radar and ordered the former to return. Judging from his and Black's reactions it's possible that this detail never reached Red until Blue's report.
Earth's Hero and his master

The Earth's Hero whom Cabba's outfit is based on.

  • The warrior in Bora's story is wearing armor that is similar in appearance to the Saiyans armor from Universe 6.
  • Bora's depiction of Korin in his story bears some resemblance to Ryuken from Fist of the North Star. This may have been intentional, as Toei Animation also made Fist of the North Star’s anime adaptation four years prior to their start on Dragon Ball.
  • Despite Bora claiming that air vehicles always run out of fuel before they reach the top of Korin Tower, later in "Saiyans Emerge", Bulma has no problems getting her plane to get that far and higher to get to the Lookout. It should be noted that Bora's claim was only in the anime. It's also possible that capsule technology had progressed enough in the passing years that going that high was possible by that later point.
  • Red stated that Blue's orders were to bring him the dragon balls and that execution was the price for failure before offering a way out due to his exceptional service record (including the successful retrieval of the Dragon Radar as compensation) by fighting Mercenary Tao. Ironically, in Dragon Ball: The Path to Power, a film remake of the Red Ribbon Army saga, Blue does successfully bring the Dragon Balls before Red, yet ends up getting executed anyways due to missing a ball buried in the sand (as well as the implication of Red being angered at Blue literally standing tall in his presence).


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