By Jeremy Carden
The purpose of this blog is to hopefully settle a long standing debate to decide who the most powerful earthling in the series is.
And I can tell you right now that it is not Mr. Satan!
And it isn’t Uub either! True before fusing with Mr. Buu in GT to become Majuub, Uub was 100% human but the fact that he was the resurrected form of Kid Buu kind of leads to an unfair advantage.
In any case, the two humans or should I say super humans up for the #1 spot are Tien and Krillin.
Based on interviews by Akira Toriyama, it is said that Krillin IS the strongest earthling meaning that he is superior to Tien.
However, I have room for doubt mainly due to what I’ve seen in the series. I’ve read the manga once so I can’t really use a lot of information from it. Most of my reasoning will come from the anime which I’m sure most of you are familiar with.
First I’d like to clear the air of something a lot of people throw in Tien’s direction; Tien isn’t 100% human because he is said to be the descendant of the Three-Eyed Clan. Well it is mentioned in the Daizenshuu books, some online biographies of the character and other sources. The only time I remember seeing anything about him being “related” to aliens through having a bloodline involving the Three-Eyed Clan was in a video strategy guide book that I read a long time ago.
Even so I doubt that it has anything to do with making Tien a full on alien or even partly one. I mean from what I could gather from a lot of reliable sources was that Tien actually gained his third eye through intense meditation. Similar to Piccolo we see Tien power up through mental preparation and spiritual enlightenment. So, if Tien IS a descendant from the Three-Eyed Clan that could potentially mean that the only way he could have gotten his third eye was through that meditation and not from birth. I know we see him with that extra eye as a kid training with Tao but maybe he started meditation at an early age?
Honestly, I don’t know who cares anyway?
Tien has an extra eye but Krillin doesn’t have a nose! So that’s that and I feel that even if Tien is a descendant of that clan it doesn’t really make him any less human than Krillin and puts him in fare running for this comparison.
For this I’ll be breaking it down into 6 categories:
- Power Levels
- Who would win?
Category #1: Training
Krillin began his training as a member of the Orin Temple where he was bullied by the stronger and much taller students before he became fed up with their bulling. He then ventured off to find the legendary Master Roshi and from there trained with his rival turned lifelong friend Goku for their first World Martial Arts tournament.
Thanks to their strict training schedule, he was able to raise his abilities from “normal human standards” to superhuman due to surpassing the normal limitations of human strength. He proved to be a strong contender in the World Tournament until he met his match in his master disguised participant: Jackie Chun.
From there until the beginning of the next tournament, he went back to Roshi’s island to once again continue his training for the next tournament alongside Yamcha. His power did increase but not as much as Goku’s thanks to his power going up through battling the likes of the Red Ribbon Army, training with Korin and his 3 years of traveling on foot around the world.
After being wished back with the Dragonballs, Krillin went to train with Korin before the 23rd World Tournament and that raised his power quite a bit. He was even shown to now be able to fly and use powerful Ki attacks.
During the 5 year gap between DB and DBZ it appears that Krillin was living at Kame House and he might have done a bit of training while he was there. It was shown that his power level was 206 when compared to Roshi’s 139 possibly proving that he had finally surpassed his master. I know his number is higher than Roshi’s but remember Master Roshi could still bulk up to his “MAX POWER” form for battle increasing his strength.
Until the Saiyans arrived, Krillin trained at Kami’s Lookout for an intense training session increasing his power to over 1,000.
After the battle with the Saiyans, he went to Namek with Gohan and did some mind training to help hone their skills before touching down on the planet.
Although he did not do any real training on Namek he did get a power boost from Guru that released his unlocked potential. I’ll get more into that when I get to the Power Level section of this blog.
He was dead for the remainder of the saga after Frieza blew him up and was wished back with the Namek’s Dragonballs on Earth later on.
Despite the Garlic Jr. Saga being filler, we don’t see him training just hanging with his then girlfriend Marron and fighting Garlic’s men.
Before Mecha Frieza returned, Roshi comments that ever since he broke up with Marron he has been training at a serious level that he hadn’t done before.
After Trunks departs leaving them with the message of the Android threat on the horizon, Krillin AGAIN goes to Roshi for training.
He does do some sparring with Yamcha to prep for the Cell Games but that only goes as well as could be expected…
7 years after the threat of Cell, it is learned that Krillin had given up fighting to become a family man with his wife 18, daughter Marron and he lives at Kame House: my guess is that Roshi only agreed to it since 18 would be living with him.
It was mentioned that he grew his hair out since as a fighter dedicated to training a bald head was a symbol of that or something.
The only time(s) we see him training is before the World Tournament with 18 in order to win prize money to leave Roshi’s house.
Later on he and Yamcha are seen training on Grand Kai’s Planet showing the two to actually be more or less even with each other despite BOTH saying that they had given up fighting after the death of Cell.
He is older in the later years of Z and practically an old man in GT so that pretty much covers ALL of the training that he endured as a Z-Fighter.
Now let’s move on to Tien:
Like Krillin, Tien began his training at a young age but instead of simply training to be a martial artist…Tien was trained to be an assassin!
Training with Mercenary Tao and Master Shen, he learned how to be a cunning, deceptive, powerful and dangerous warrior.
He knew about pressure points and how to cripple/immobilize his opponents which proved to be quite effective when we saw him fight in the World Tournament against Yamcha, Jackie Chun and Goku.
After changing his ways, his training shifted from martial arts to the Evil Containment Wave in order to end the threat of King Piccolo after Roshi had died in his failed attempt. In only a matter of days, Tien had mastered the technique but was saved by Goku’s intervention that killed Drum and Piccolo.
Later on, he went to Korin’s Temple for some training with the feline master for the next tournament with the desire to defeat Goku (who at the time was training with Kami).
During the 5 year gap between DB and DBZ, he was off training around the globe with his companion Chiaotzu.
He then ventures to the Lookout to train for nearly a year for the Saiyan threat raising his power over 1,000 like the rest of the Z-Fighters.
After dying, he goes to King Kai’s Planet and that proved to raise his power level a considerable amount. He went from being beaten around by Nappa to being able to EASILY defeat Burter and Jeice at the same time!
He remained there longer than Yamcha before being wished back with the Dragonballs so it can be assumed that he raised his power level a good deal before finally being wished back.
Moving forward 1 ½ years later before Goku returned after the battle on Namek, he is shown to again be traveling for some intense training.
After Trunks leaves, he decided to train like never before in order to be prepared for the Android threat.
He was actually going to take a trip into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber before the Cell Games but after Goku (as a Full Power Super Saiyan) admitted to being no match for Cell, Tien decided to step down since despite a power increase for training in the chamber for a year, he figured that it would not be enough to even hold a candle against Cell.
Finally, after Cell’s defeat he says that the others would probably never see him again as he would isolate himself from humanity to train. His last appearance in battle was to save Dende from Buutenks’ attack before being knocked out later on with a kick from his lower half cut off by Goku.
It can be assumed that despite not being seen at the final tournament, Tien was still in training around the Earth.
We even see him meditating under a waterfall at the end of GT where he spots Goku riding off with Shernon into the sky.
Alright I have to give this round to Tien because the man NEVER stops training in order to improve his skills. This was clear after learning about Goku training with Kami and I believe it was Yamcha or Krillin who mentioned that if he is training with Kami not only was he the best in the world due to him stopping King Piccolo but now training with the Guardian of the Earth means that the gap between their powers would never be closed. This lead to Tien saying that no matter what he was going to train even harder in order to beat Goku in the next tournament and that kind of never say die attitude was what helped him get even stronger.
Then hearing that Goku had defeated Frieza as a Super Saiyan making him the best in the universe, he even thinks to himself that he’d like to fight him just to see how he would measure up in the universal ranking! Talk about a real contender!
Krillin is strong but his “breaks” in training really hurt more than helped increase his skills not to mention he was walking in the shadow of Roshi much longer than he should have. Instead of training under him for so long he should have been like Goku or Tien by travelling the world for training rather than just doing the same thing over and over simply shooting Kamehameha Waves at the ocean.
Even after learning about the Android threat he decided to train with Roshi which made little to no sense at all to me…
So that is why I feel that Tien wins this round!
Category #2: Battles
Throughout the series, both fighters had numerous amounts of battles and most of which were with characters more powerful than themselves.
If I had to pick from the DB days Krillin’s best battle, I’d have to say it was his fight with Piccolo Jr. Even though he lost that match, his skill was enough to surprise even Piccolo! He learned how to fly, manipulate Ki to distract Piccolo for a punch to the face and even stood up after being hit extremely hard into the ring.
Tien’s was most likely his fight with Goku both times in the tournament and even though Goku won the fight physically, Tien won the fight by technicality. In their rematch, Goku was superior but Tien had some new tricks like the Multi-Form that even caught Goku off guard a few times. Not to mention he put up a good fight against Piccolo’s minion Drum but had to be saved by Goku.
In DBZ, these 2 didn’t really fight in a major battle until the Saiyans arrived.
Of course we all know that Tien’s main “fight” was against Semi-Perfect Cell holding him off with the Neo-Tri Beam! That had to be a powerful attack to keep an opponent who was stronger than Android 16, Kamiccolo and Android 17 in check.
Krillin’s only “real fight” in my book was against Frieza but even then it wasn’t a fight but more of stalling and staying alive while Dende healed Gohan.
However, Krillin did fight ALL of Cell’s forms!
- He and Future Trunks destroyed the Baby Cell in Gero’s lab
- He fought Imperfect Cell to protect a girl and her brother
- He attacked Semi-Perfect Cell in an attempt to stop him from absorbing #18
- He attacked Perfect Cell in a rage after Cell absorbed her
- He ALMOST attacked Buff Cell after he spit up 18 but Piccolo held him back
- Finally he and the other Z-Fighters attacked Super Perfect Cell during his beam struggle with Gohan
True some of those “fights” were filler but still worthy of note.
Overall, Krillin didn’t have a lot of wins in DBZ but he knew how to escape fighters like Frieza, Cell and Dodoria with crafty moves like the Solar Flare up his belt; which he totally stole from Tien….
I know movies are not canon but if I were to pick out at least one that was worthy of note it would be Tien vs. Future Trunks in Bojack Unbound.
Krillin was freaking out about his battle with Piccolo especially in terms of being killed with the Special Beam Cannon. So in a comical fight that was so ridiculous that even Piccolo forfeited, Krillin won…
Tien on the other hand faced his opponent like a champ and asked Trunks to not hold back and their fight was a couple of minutes long but one of the best parts of the movie in my opinion.
He was pretty much holding his own against Trunks who had trained twice in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber!
If you ask me I think that Tien was holding his own and actually winning the fight due to being the more experienced fighter even landing a blow to Trunks’ face!
However, he turned Super Saiyan…
But still Tien did not back down!
Gohan is fighting?!
Yamcha gave up the will to fight after learning Gohan and the others entered the tournament
Gohan, Trunks and Piccolo are fighting? This is a load of bull…
Krillin was freaked that Super Saiyans were in the tournament
But Tien stood his ground!
Even though he lost he fought to the end!
But looking at the main series…I suppose that since Krillin actually battled Frieza (since Tien was dead), pretty much all of Cell’s variations along with Super and Kid Buu I’m gonna have to give this round to Krillin
Tien’s battles were more impressive in my book BUT Krillin faced down a lot more opponents. Heck remember that he ALMOST killed Frieza with his trademark attack and that was certainly worthy of merit!
Category #3: Bravery
This round is a bit more difficult because despite Tien and Krillin being highly outclassed by the Saiyans and other alien races they still train and fight even in battles that they know they cannot win.
Krillin basically has a reputation of being a coward and for good reason. I could be here for a week going down a list of all of the time Krillin either ran from a fight, complained about being so weak that he had no chance of winning or how he would die without having a girlfriend.
In terms of bravery, I feel that Tien is no doubt the braver warrior. Whether it comes from him being trained as an assassin from childhood basically wiping out fear from his mental dictionary or what he was certainly a warrior not afraid to take on tougher opponents because it would make him stronger.
Krillin did show some spine during the fight with Nappa and Vegeta especially after Yamcha died and he took out 3 Saibamen with one shot. Then he protected Gohan a couple of times as well in order to save him from the Saiyan’s wrath.
The highlight of his bravery came in the Buu Saga when he opted to stall Super Buu as long as he could for the others to escape into the Lookout to hide. In his mind he mentioned how not even Gohan, Goku or Vegeta could stop this beast so he had no chance but decided to give his life for this friends and family.
Looking back at the Cell Saga, he was brave taking on Cell multiple times but let’s face it most of those bouts were out of his “love” for 18 or a pretty girl (remember that time he faced Imperfect Cell to help that girl and her brother escape).
I think that we can all agree that Tien’s finest moment was when he used his Neo Tri-Beam to stall Semi-Perfect Cell from absorbing 18 and becoming perfect.
The guy was putting his life at risk to stop the Android threat and succeeded for the time being until Vegeta AND Krillin’s selfish desires allowed Cell to reach his perfect form.
After some debate, Krillin did jump in to fight Kid Buu proving that he was at least braver than Yamcha!
Krillin does jump in to help his friends but only after a lot of stalling and going over his options. He was quick to criticize Piccolo for jumping in to help Gohan in his beam struggle with Cell only for Tien to cut him off saying that he KNEW he didn’t have a chance but did so anyway because sitting on the sidelines wasn’t worth it unless he fought until the very end.
This inspired Tien to be the FIRST to power up before flying off the help. Not counting Vegeta, Krillin was the LAST to fly off to help meaning that even Yamcha grew a backbone before Krillin!
Going back to his decision not to train in the Time Chamber, before getting to the battlegrounds of the Cell Games, Tien and Yamcha said that they’d go to watch but not participate due to the power of Cell being far too great. So he respectfully bowed out…
But overall, Tien has been facing down giants for quite some time even before Z with opponents like King Piccolo. Krillin is brave especially for his size but overall I’ve got to give this point to Tien because he never backs down.
Not to mention in Battle of Gods, Krillin ran away when Bills attacks but Tien jumped in!
And even though he was easily tossed aside when his fist was caught but chopsticks he still attempted to fight which was more than Krillin attempted to do!
Category #4: Techniques
To keep things simple I’ll just be using the techniques that these 2 have become popular for like Krillin’s Kamehameha or Destructo Disk along with Tien’s Tri-Beam and Multi-Form.
I’ll say that in terms of Ki manipulation, the winner would be Krillin because the guy can come up with some techniques that will help him contend with even the most powerful beings in the universe. If not for Vegeta’s intervention, Nappa would have been killed with the Destructo Disk.
He ALMOST killed Frieza in his 2nd form with his Chain-variation of the move that cut off his tail.
Of course being a student of Roshi, he was able to use the Kamehameha and even proved to manipulate it against Garlic Jr. to catch his opponent off guard.
Ki attacks aside, I’d have to say that martial arts master goes to Tien because he never stopped training in order to improve his skills making him a VERY skilled combatant.
Not to mention that many of the crafty moves Krillin uses to hold his own against powerful opponents came from Tien like the Multi-Form and Solar Flare.
Also remember the Tien is able to counter the Kamehameha Wave
He even shocked Jackie Chun using the wave during their match at the World Tournament because he deflected Yamcha’s in round 1 and somehow mimicked it with ease
His multi-arm ability might prove to be a challenge for Krillin also in terms of close combat
I mean I think that his power level is higher than Krillin’s so if both of them split into 3 or 4 bodies then I think that Tien would still be more powerful than Krillin’s duplicates.
Tien would have the upper hand but I wouldn’t be surprised if Krillin came up with an off the wall tactic to get back into the game.
Also remember that their techniques don’t mean that their power levels are off the charts but are specifically designed to do damage to their opponents.
Like Krillin vs. 2nd Form Frieza, his power level was over 1 million while Krillin’s wasn’t even 100,000 but the Disk is specifically an attack that cuts through nearly everything and it cut Kid Buu in half!
However, it just bounced off of Perfect Cell’s neck…
Tien’s Neo-Tri Beam is a barrage of powerful blasts that push back the opponent. Semi-Perfect Cell could only be bested by an Ascended Super Saiyan. That doesn’t mean Tien’s power level was as high as say Super Vegeta’s but it just means that the technique was designed for that purpose to impact the opponent with a continuous stream of Ki blasts.
Hear me out on this one! Although Tien’s Tri-Beam was enough to hold Cell at bay it is a move that is deadly to his opponent but potentially deadlier to Tien being that his own life force is used up for the move depending on how much he uses it.
Krillin’s signature move isn’t the best move in terms of accuracy especially if his opponent is fast. While the Destructo Disk is deadly, if it misses the opponent then what’s the use?
The reason I give this point to Tien is because Krillin uses most of Tien’s attacks so that pretty much explains it.
In Bojack Unbound, Tien use what looked to be a Destructo Disk but it didn’t cut Trunks but exploded on contact (remember it was a tournament so killing was not allowed, so Tien might have used a variation of the technique). But I’d say that Krillin used more of Tien’s moves than Tien did for Krillin’s moves.
It makes sense because the two trained together at Korin’s then on the Lookout so learning each other’s moves was probably a common practice.
Category #5: Power Levels
Now we all know that after the Frieza Saga, power levels were no longer recorded so I’ll have to be making assumptions in most of my numbers.
Looking at V-Jump and the Daizenshuu the highest power levels listed for Krillin and Tien are as follows;
Tien was 1,830 while fighting one of the Saibamen and that is pretty much his only listing…
Krillin was over 10,000 while fighting Guldo and officially listed as 13,000 after receiving the “Unlocked Potential” technique by Guru.
And for some strange reason, V-Jump listed Krillin at 75,000 during the fight with Frieza!
I don’t know how that could be…
First off we know that Saiyans get a Zenkai not Earthlings so when Goku healed him with a Senzu Bean after he arrived on Namek we can assume that Krillin’s power level did not jump from barely over 13,000 to over 70,000.
I think the best piece of evidence of that theory is because when he and Gohan fought Ginyu inside Goku’s body (who had a power level of 23,000 and falling), Gohan and Krillin working together eventually managed to beat him down until Ginyu started realizing how to use Goku’s body beating Krillin, Gohan and Goku inside Ginyu’s body.
If I were to make an educated guess, after being healed by Dende after nearly dying by being impaled by Frieza’s horns that probably didn’t just heal Krillin but increased his power as well.
However, the theory to counter that is when Goku sensed Krillin’s Ki again before he was able to leave the healing capsule to save Gohan. He said that Krillin had returned but he didn’t say that his Ki had increased but more like something along the lines of “Krillin’s back!” or something like that.
Though while fighting Frieza in his first form, Vegeta mentioned that his power, Gohan’s AND Krillin’s was increasing with every attack making special note of Gohan having more power than he even realized. So I don’t know how much that means to Krillin’s actually power level increasing…
In any case, we know that Krillin trained for 3 years for the Android threat but stopped training after Cell was destroyed (the same as Yamcha).
Now in terms of Tien’s power level I’d say he was at least around 80,000 or so at the time of the Ginyu Force’s arrival on King Kai’s Planet. I know it was filler but still the two he fought (Jeice and Burter) were at least at a power level of 40,000+ not to mention he used the Multi-Form to split into 2 and was still making sport of the two.
He was also on the planet longer than Yamcha opting to remain dead until the Namek Dragonballs could be used 130 days later meaning he got more training.
Not to mention the 1 ½ before Goku’s return then another 3 years of training before the Androids arrived POSSIBLY but his power above 500,000.
Of course his power was again boosted after another 7 years of training between Cell and Buu.
I honestly, don’t think that Krillin OR Yamcha ever reached a power level that measured over 1 million but that is just my opinion.
If there was a human who reached over the 1 million mark it would be Tien.
Also keep in mind that although Krillin got his potential unlocked we have yet to see the limits of Tien’s abilities unlocked!
Category #6: Who would win?
If these 2 had an all-out battle, I’d have to cast my vote for Tien. However you’d also have to ask yourself when would these two actually battle it out in the series? If you ask me, I think that Krillin was in his prime after the 3 years of training for the Android Saga. For Tien that is difficult to say because he was ALWAYS training…
Let’s see I think it would be fair if their battle took place between their Android Saga personas.
Overall, Tien is the better fighter, tactician, is far more disciplined, braver and with 3 eyes instead of 2, I could “see” him being able to see Krillin’s moves faster than Krillin cold detect his.
As I mentioned above, if they used the Multi Form, Tien’s duplicates would be more powerful than Krillin’s.
I could see Tien somehow countering or deflecting Krillin’s attacks or even mimicking them.
He did fall prey to the Solar Flare when Goku used it on him so he isn’t immune to it.
I also think the Tien is faster than Krillin not to mention he doesn’t lose his cool in the middle of combat.
Trust me if Krillin used his signature move to cut Tien in half then it is lights out!
However, I could see Krillin being beaten by that Tri-Beam…
Looking at their battles from the Android Saga, Tien would get my vote no doubt as the victor!
So what do you think? Who do you consider to be the best of the Earthlings; Tien or Krillin?