|Dragon Ball character|
|First appearance||Dragon Ball chapter #7 Yamcha and Pu'ar: 11 September 1984 (1984)|
|Created by||Akira Toriyama|
|Portrayed by||Joon Park (Dragonball Evolution)|
|Voiced by||Japanese: Tōru Furuya |
English: Christopher Sabat (FUNimation dub)
|Occupation||Professional baseball player|
Yamcha (Japanese: ヤムチャ, Hepburn: Yamucha) is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. He is first introduced as a desert bandit and an antagonist of Son Goku in chapter #7 Yamcha and Pu'ar (ヤムチャとプーアル, Yamucha to Pūaru), published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on September 11, 1984, alongside his constant companion Pu'ar. He is eventually depicted as being reformed, becoming an ally of Goku's.
Yamcha has received mixed reviews since his inception, being criticized for his weak abilities, but he has also been praised as being a fun character.
When Toriyama decided to create Dragon Ball, he used Chinese author Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West as a prototype for his own series. Yamcha took the role of Sha Wujing. His name is a pun on a form of Cantonese brunch called yum cha. A prototype for Yamcha was Gojō, the river monster, from Toriyama's one-shot series Dragon Boy.
In the original Japanese version, Yamcha is voiced by Tōru Furuya in all media. In the Funimation English dub, Yamcha is voiced by Christopher Sabat. Sabat currently voices him in all Dragon Ball related media.
Though Yamcha is a skilled swordsman he is an exceptional martial artist. His signature technique is the Rōgafūfūken (狼牙風風拳, "Fist of the Wolf Fang", "Wolf Fang Fist" in the English anime dub), a quick flurry of punches and kicks. He has the ability to perform the Kamehameha, a concentrated beam of a chi energy blast that many other characters in the series have the ability to perform as well. Yamcha also uses the Sōkidan (繰気弾, "Spinning Chi Bullet", "Spirit Ball" in the English anime dub), a technique that forms a ball of chi energy to assault an opponent with. He can fully control the ball, allowing it to home in on enemies and to go underground for a surprise attack.
Yamcha enters the series ambushing Goku, Bulma, and Oolong as they are traveling through his territory and attempts to rob them of their money and hoi poi capsules. He also becomes a student under Kame-Sennin and loses a long-held fear of women through his relationship with Bulma. Yamcha also enters the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai along with Goku, but loses in the first round of each tournament, to Jackie Chun (Kame-Sennin), Tien Shinhan, and Shen (Kami) respectively. Yamcha is shown to be a baseball player in the anime filler material for Dragon Ball Z. This was suggested by the series creator Akira Toriyama.
Yamcha becomes a minor league baseball player. Later, Yamcha is killed along with Tien Shinhan, Chaozu, and Piccolo in a battle against the Saiyans. He is killed when a Saibaiman grabs onto him and self-destructs. Yamcha goes on to train with Kaiō-sama in the afterlife just as Goku did, growing greatly in power. Through Kaiō-sama, he is able to witness his friends battles on Planet Namek; when Goku is thought to have been killed in the destruction of the Planet Namek after defeating Freeza, Yamcha relays the information to everyone through Bulma. He is later returned to life from a wish to Porunga and continues to live at Capsule Corp with Bulma and, after the two finally end their relationship, she and Vegeta enter a long-term relationship.
During the Android arc, Yamcha is the first to encounter Android #19 and #20, and is left for dead when #20 absorbs his chi and drives a hand through his chest. He is healed by a Senzu bean and takes the heart-diseased Goku home to get his medicine after the Super Saiyan loses to #19. Yamcha later joins the others in the Cell Games and teams up with Tien Shinhan to protect the weakened Goku from the Cell Juniors, before losing to them. Following Cell's defeat at the hands of Son Gohan and Goku's death, Yamcha and the others return to their peaceful lives. In the alternate timeline of the Cell arc, like most of the heroes, Yamcha was killed in the encounter with the Androids.
By the time of the 25th Tenkaichi Budokai, Yamcha has given up fighting and goes with the others to be a spectator and also meet Goku, who is given a single day to return from death. Yamcha is later killed again when Majin Buu turns him into chocolate and eats him, along with Krillin, Bulma, and the other allies. During Goku and Vegeta's battle against Buu, Yamcha is brought back to life by the Namekian Dragon Balls, and he and the others on Earth give their energy to Goku's Genki-Dama, which he uses to destroy Majin Buu and restore peace to the universe. Yamcha returns in Dragon Ball Super where he and Puar attend Bulma's birthday party along with the other characters, while there he meets Beerus the God of Destruction and later witnessed Goku's fight against the deity. Later he goes with the others to the Nameless Planet to watch the Tournament between Universe 6 and Universe 7. Yamcha plays a prominent role during the baseball match between universe 6 and Universe 7, he is the team's captain uses his newly invented technique (Wolf Fang Pitching Fist) to effortlessly strike out Universe 6 during the first half of the first set, afterwards both Whis and Vados call off the match after Beerus and Champa started fighting physically, not before Vados points down to Yamcha laying at home base.
Appearances in other media
Yamcha is the main subject of the spin-off manga Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha (ドラゴンボール外伝 転生したらヤムチャだった件, Doragon Bōru Gaiden: Tensei-shitara Yamucha Datta Ken). Written and illustrated by Dragon Garow Lee, it is about a high school boy who after an accident wakes up in the body of Yamcha in the Dragon Ball manga. He trains as Yamcha to make him the strongest warrior, having known what happens to him later in the manga against the Saiyans.
Yamcha also appears in an unofficial Chinese live-action remake of the first Dragon Ball feature film, played by Cheng Tung-Chuen. Here he is known as Westwood. He joins Monkey Boy, Sparkle, Turtle Man and Seeto in the quest to destroy King Horn and his powerful warriors. He was played by Korean pop singer Joon Park in the film Dragonball Evolution, for which James Kyson Lee also auditioned.
Reception and legacy
Ryan Parreno from GameRanx
Yamcha has had mixed reviews during his inception. He is commonly described as useless and outclassed as a fighter in the Dragon Ball series yet has also been described as fun and an iconic anime character to other publishers. A few have noted that his most highlighted moments in the anime was in the original anime adaptation compared to the more popular Dragon Ball Z anime. In 2004, Japanese fans voted Yamcha the fifteenth most popular character of the series. He was ranked as the thirty-eighth greatest Dragon Ball Z character of all time by Complex describing his willing to sacrifice himself as being the best part of his character.
Yamcha is commonly joked about as one of the weaker fighters by fans of the series. When younger fans would belittle the character as weak, Krillin's voice actress Mayumi Tanaka said she would explain to them that Krillin and Yamcha are the strongest earthlings, the other characters are all aliens. Despite this, he has been used as a joke that appears in internet memes, T-shirts and action figures, especially regarding his initial death which has been described as "iconic" and is subject to many parodies and homages. So much so that online writers such as Moviepilot's Ak Khan Ten's described him as an "iconic troll legend". He felt that despite being a weaker fighter he still is an important character from the Dragon Ball mythos since the creation of the manga and felt that he deserves respect as "an iconic Dragon Ball character". He also described Yamcha as Goku's first real rival in the series. He also praised the revealing of him mastering the Spirit Ball technique and also him being the first one who realized that he should cut Goku's tail to stop Goku in ape form. Yamcha's initial death has inspired a phrase by fans on when somebody dies in the Dragon Ball universe as being "Yamcha'd". Yamcha's "death pose" was even referenced in the official Dragon Ball Super anime during the 2016 episode, "A Challenge From Champa! This Time, a Baseball Game!", in which Yamcha, during a baseball game between Universe 7 and 6, steals home base during a confrontation between God of Destruction Beerus and his brother, Champa. In the ensuing fight between the two Destroyers, Yamcha ends up wounded, laying face down in a crater in the same pose with his hand on home base. Krillin comments that this scene looks familiar.
Furuya, the character's voice actor, designates Yamcha as one of the characters by whom he was inspired to create his music, as well as one of the top six favorite characters he voiced. Rebecca Bundy of Anime News Network takes note of resemblance of scars between Yamcha and Kenshin Himura, but also observes that their meaning is quite different. He has expressed disatissfaction for the way Akira Toriyama handled his character on multiple occasions. The first was the way Yamcha was murdered by a Saibaman despite his constant training during the Saiyan Arc which made him a supporting character in following arcs. The second time he was shocked with Yamcha's development was when it was the revealed when the characters Trunks was Bulma's and Vegeta's child from the future despite the fact that Yamcha and Bulma were often in a relationship and Yamcha was turned into a cheater to cause such change. Hiromi Tsuru, Bulma's first Japanese actress, was also shocked by this change, believing her character would end with Yamcha. This caused Furuya to protest against Toriyama who said that Yamcha was always a cheater while laughing.
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- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 1 — ISBN 1-56931-920-0
- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 2 — ISBN 1-56931-921-9
- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 3 — ISBN 1-56931-922-7
- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 10 — ISBN 1-56931-848-4
- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 15 — ISBN 1-59116-297-1
- Dragon Ball manga, Volume 16 — ISBN 1-59116-457-5
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 5 — ISBN 1-56931-934-0
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 12 — ISBN 1-56931-985-5
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 13 — ISBN 1-56931-986-3
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 18 — ISBN 1-59116-637-3
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 20 — ISBN 1-59116-808-2
- Dragon Ball Z manga, Volume 26 — ISBN 1-42150-636-X