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 abortive late-1980's Dragon Ball anime dub by Harmony Gold, "Taopaipai" (all in one word) in the Viz adaptation of the manga, "General Tao" in the later FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball Z, and "Mercenary Tao" in FUNimation's earlier dub of the Dragon Ball anime. The "General Tao" denomination is a mixup with the movie 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.
Mercenary Tao's Japanese seiyū is Chikao Ohtsuka, and in the FUNimation dub he is voiced by Kent Williams. Mercenary Tao bears an uncanny resemblance to Korean Taekwondo master/actor Hwang Jang Lee and is loosely based on Hwang's characters from "Snake in Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" in appearance, personality and job.
Dragon Ball Edit
Commander Red Saga EditMercenary Tao is responsible for the death of General Blue, whom he kills with only his tongue. He is sent by the Red Ribbon Army to assassinate Goku and retrieve the Dragon Balls. He catches Goku in the Land of Korin. He easily kills Bora, who had previously held off the Red Ribbon Army single handedly. Goku provides more of a challenge, but Tao defeats him with the Dodon Ray Technique. Goku is saved only by the Dragon Ball in his shirt. Tao returns three days later to retrieve the Dragon Ball. Goku, however, received special training during the three days, and proves to be far too strong for Tao. Tao tries to kill Goku with a grenade, but Goku deflects it back at him, seemingly killing the assassin.
Piccolo Jr. Saga Edit
However, Tao is rebuilt as a cyborg by his older brother, and competes in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, brutally defeating Chiaotzu. He fights Tien next, and violates the rules of the tournament by using a hidden knife to cut his chest. Despite being disqualified, Tao continued to fight, and after Tien broke the blade, Tao used the Super Dodon Wave, only for Tien to nullify it with a Kiai. Tien knocked him out swiftly, then carried the unconscious Tao to his older brother, who carried him away in disgrace.
Dragon Ball Z Edit
Cell Games Saga Edit
In his first appearance, he works as a personal bodyguard for a short man in a purple suit who runs a shelter which can supposedly protect people from Cell. Everything was going exactly according to plan until Gohan appeared in the village, disrupting the scheme the man had going. As the man's bodyguards surrounded Gohan, an old man from the village arrived dressed in a Chinese-styled dogu martial arts outfit. After dispatching the black-suited bodyguards, the man called for Tao to come out and take care of the old man. After a series of exchanged blows, Tao has the man on the ground. He would have finished the man off with a Super Dodon Wave, but Gohan stepped in the way at the last second. Taoasks his name and breathes a sigh of relief in hearing his name was Go-HAN instead of Go-KU. (Tao is fearful of Goku because of their previous confrontations in Dragon Ball.) However, his relief is quickly exchanged for fear as he learns Gohan is Goku's son and he flies off on a pine tree, effectively resigning from his position as a bodyguard.
In his second appearance, he works as a henchman for a rich gangster, who has hired him to gather the Dragon Balls so he may wish for immortality to protect himself from Perfect Cell. Goku shows up to gather the two that Tao has collected, but Goku is disappointed 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 has not appeared again in the series after this.
Video games Edit
Tao was featured as a playable character in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi and its sequels Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3. He is also a boss during the Dragon Ball quest in Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II in which he can use his special attack, Dodon Ray (essentially a yellow-orange version of the Kamehameha) and fire energy blasts. Lastly, he appears as a minor boss in the game Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure twice -- once as an undefeatable story element and again as a regular boss. His normal and cyborg forms are also unlockable as a playable characters in Tournament Mode.
- Flying Pillars: Tao throws a pillar (or something similar, like a tree) into the air at a certain direction and jumps on it, riding it to his destination. The pillar may also strike the opponents at the landing spot.
- Levitate: Though Tao cannot fly, he is shown to be able to fly in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, though this feature is removed in the sequels (he can once again fly with a flight capsule on Tenkaichi 3). He can fly without the flight capsule in his cyborg state.
- Dodon Ray: Crane School's signature technique. A super heated ray fired from the tip of his finger.
- Ultimate Final Strategy: Tao launches his pillar at that opponent, however, Tao's opponent kicks
- Sword: From a capsule, Tao brings out a sword for fighting.
- Grenade: Tao first begs for mercy to make his opponents drop their guard, then pulls out a hand grenade and throws at them. A dirty final resort that backfired and caused him to be rebuilt into a cyborg.
- Concealed Knife: After Tao became a cyborg, he disconnects his left hand to reveal a retractable knife. When Tien was slashed by this sneak attack, he claimed that Tao has lost his honor and pride of a warrior.
- Super Dodon Ray: After Tao became a cyborg, he disconnects his right hand to reveal a built-in cannon, which can fire an enhanced Dodon Ray. This technique also has lock-on capabilities and is Cyborg Tao's ultimate attack.
- Puzzles: Tao's right hand also reveals that he holds three puzzles, where the challenge is to untangle them. This was used to attempt to distract Goku while he snuck away with the Dragon Balls.
- General Tao is the first villain Goku faces to use a ki attack (the Dodonpa), unless one counts General Blue using his Telekinesis attack against Goku as a ki attack.
- It says "KILL YOU!" on his back. This is edited in some dubbed versions of the show.
- He charges 10,000,000,000 Zeni for each kill, but had a half-price discount on his 20th Anniversary.
- Tao bares a resemblance to Gabbachi, the main villain in Toriyama's Kajika.
- The cannon he gains on his hand is very similar to the cannons later used by Android 16.