- This article is about the original character. For the character portrayed in live-action by Joon Park, see Yamcha (Joon Park).
Yamcha (ヤムチャ Yamucha) is a character from the Dragon Ball universe created by Akira Toriyama as a main figure for the media franchise. He is introduced as a thief and started out as an antagonist of Goku but quickly reformed and became an ally and Z Fighter. His constant companion is Puar. His seiyū is Tōru Furuya. In the English dub, he is voiced by Ted Cole and later Christopher Sabat. His name is a play on "Yum cha" (literally "drinking tea"), referring to a gathering to drink tea and eat dim sum.
Creation and Conception
When Akira Toriyama decided to create Dragon Ball, he used Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West as a prototype for his own series. Yamcha is most likely based on Sha Wujing, also known as Sha Seng, from this novel. Both are powerful bandits (Yamcha from a sandy desert, and Puar from a sand river), who eventually change their ways and help the heroes on their quest. A likely prototype design for Yamcha was the main character from Mr. Ho, a one-shot manga drawn by Toriyama. It featured a Yamcha-like character as the protagonist, and set in Red Ribbon Army Saga-like setting.
Yamcha's appearance stays relatively the same for the majority of the series, although his clothes and hairstyle are changed several times throughout the series. Many of Yamcha's hairstyles are also used by Gohan at various points in his life. According to Android 19's scanner, Yamcha is 183 centimeters tall and weighs 68 kilograms, during the Androids Saga. Series creator Akira Toriyama suggested that Yamcha would be a baseball player in anime filler material for Dragon Ball Z. The first kanji Yamcha has on his clothes "樂" stands for "happy" or "music". After training with Master Roshi, he takes the turtle kanji "亀" as a sign of respect. Later, after training with King Kai, he wears both "Kame" and "Kai" kanji. He wears them the opposite way Goku did, "Kame" on the back, "Kai" on the chest, except in Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might where he wears the "Kai" kanji on the back and "Kame" on the chest.
Emperor Pilaf Saga
Yamcha entered the series early in Dragon Ball as a desert bandit; he ambushed Goku, Bulma and Oolong as they were traveling the desert in order to steal their money and capsules. When challenged by Goku, they fought each other until the presence of Bulma made him retreat due to his fear of women. Yamcha returned to their camp that night and, while spying on them, learned of the Dragon Balls and their ability to grant a wish, he then decided to steal their Dragon Balls and make a wish to overcome his phobia. He and his companion Puar broke into the group's van one night to do so, but were foiled when the orbs under the sheet which Yamcha thought were Dragon Balls were actually the breasts of a nude and sleeping Bulma, causing him to leave in a confused daze. He attacked again the following day, destroying the group's van with a panzerfaust, but was again challenged by Goku and retreated when Goku damaged his vanity by knocking one of his teeth out.
Realising that he couldn't beat Goku, Yamcha instead decided to let the group collect all seven balls and then steal them. He again came to the group, this time apologizing for his behavior, and gave them a car to make up for destroying their van; the car of course had a tracking device in it.
While on the groups trail, Yamcha encounters a mysterious girl; she is frightened by Yamcha and attacks him, causing him to retaliate and knock her out. Later, when eavesdropping on Goku's conversation with Ox-King, he realizes that the girl is Chi-Chi, Ox-King's daughter. Not wanting to face the wrath of an angry Ox-King, Yamcha races back to the scene and apologizes to Chi-Chi, saying he did what he did because he is crazy with love for her. He quickly hides when he sees Goku coming and, by luck, witnesses Chi-Chi pull Goku's tail, exposing his weak spot. Yamcha returns to Ox-King's castle and remains hidden as Goku returns with Chi-Chi and Master Roshi, the legendary martial arts master who trained both Ox-King and Goku's grandfather, Grandpa Gohan. He is awed by Master Roshi's display of the Kamehameha, an energy wave Master Roshi used with the intention of putting out the massive fire at Ox-King's residence but instead destroyed the castle and the entire mountain it was on. He also can't help but be somewhat envious after Goku is chosen by Master Roshi to be his disciple.
Yamcha continues to tail the group after they recover the sixth Dragon Ball from Ox-King into a remote village; there, he has to intervene and help Goku after Bulma is turned into a carrot by Monster Carrot. He orders Puar to turn into a bird and rescue the hostage carrot-Bulma while he takes out Monster Carrot two henchmen; Yamcha quickly hides again after this, letting Goku deal with the gang without having to worry about Bulma's safety.
When Emperor Pilaf's henchmen ambush Goku, Bulma and Oolong, stealing five of their six balls along with destroying their car, Yamcha has to again intervene, this time joining the group. They track the balls to Emperor Pilaf's castle but are soon trapped. From a hole blasted in the wall by Goku they witness Emperor Pilaf summoning Shenron and Yamcha orders Puar to go with Oolong and stop it. Emperor Pilaf's wish is interrupted by Oolong and, as punishment, the group is moved into a giant solar-oven like cell to die the next day when the sun comes up; they are not contained long though before Goku transforms into a Great Ape and destroys their cell by the light of the full moon. Just as Goku is about to crush Bulma, pinned by some rubble, Yamcha comes to the rescue and grabs his tail, stunning him long enough for Puar to transform into a giant pair of scissors and cut the tail off, returning Goku to his normal state. The next morning, with the balls now inert, the gang goes their separate ways. Yamcha and Bulma are satisfied though, as they now have each other and, therefore, no need to make any wishes. They go with Bulma back to the city while Goku goes off to train with Master Roshi.
Yamcha next meets up with Goku at the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament where he makes it to the quarter-finals, but is eliminated by Jackie Chun, who dodges all of Yamcha's attacks and knocks him out of the ring with a simple hand gesture; this level of power, along with the physical likeness causes Yamcha to suspect Jackie Chun is Master Roshi in disguise.
Red Ribbon Army Saga
After the tournament Yamcha is not seen again until near the end of the Red Ribbon Army Saga when he is informed that Goku is making a head-on assault at Red Ribbon's headquarters and is called by Bulma to assist. By the time Yamcha and the others arrive though, the battle is over, with Goku victorious.
Fortune Teller Baba Saga
Regardless, Yamcha decides to accompany Goku and travels with him to see the fortune-teller Fortuneteller Baba and learn the location of the last Dragon Ball. Fortuneteller Baba doesn't give readings free though and will only do it after her five warriors are beaten. Yamcha faces her second warrior, See-Through the Invisible Man.
Unable to see his opponent Yamcha can’t land a blow and was losing the match. He tried to locate his opponent by sound, but is foiled when Fortuneteller Baba starts singing. Krillin thinks quickly though and brings both Bulma and Master Roshi to the ring; he then exposes Bulma's breasts causing Master Roshi to have a nose bleed which covers See-Through the Invisible Man. With his opponent now visible, Yamcha uses his Wolf Fang Fist and quickly dispatches him.
Fortuneteller Baba then takes the warriors to a new ring, the Devil's toilet which has a thin platform over a pool of powerful acid. In this arena Yamcha battles his next opponent, Bandages the Mummy, who is both a fast and strong mummy. Things look bad for Yamcha until he manages a quick sneak attack, tripping Bandages the Mummy off the ledge; though it is proved futile as Bandages the Mummy is able to use his bandages like a rope and climb his way back up. They fight again, and again Yamcha is pummeled until, being held up by his neck over the ledge, he surrenders.
Goku takes over the fighting at this point and defeats Bandages the Mummy with one hit, as well as the rest of Fortuneteller Baba's fighters. It isn't in vain for Yamcha though, as Master Roshi accepts him to become one of his students.
Tien Shinhan Saga
Three years later, Yamcha competes in the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament.
While in the preliminaries he has confrontational words with Tien, the prize student of a rival school. When the finals are about to begin, Tien has his partner Chiaotzu magically fix the fight schedule numbering so that he and Yamcha face off first in the quarterfinals.
In their fight, they seem to be relatively even at the start, trading an equal number of blows. Yamcha then attempts his Super Wolf Fang Fist, but it is beaten by Tien who parries the assault and counters with a quick punch to Yamcha's gut. Yamcha decides to go all out and utilizes, to everyone's surprise, the Kamehameha; this is stopped by Tien who reflects the attack back at Yamcha and quickly counters, knocking him out. Tien does not stop at that though, and shatters the unconscious Yamcha's leg with a diving knee attack. (Note that this is Yamcha's only tournament match where he is defeated by KO rather than ring-out).
Yamcha is eliminated by KO and goes to the local hospital and can only listen to the remainder of the fights on the radio. He arrives back at the arena once the tournament is over where a now reformed Tien apologizes for the unnecessary beating.
King Piccolo Saga
Due to his injuries, Yamcha spends the majority of the following the King Piccolo Saga on the sidelines. He is powerless to intervene as first Krillin, followed by Goku, and then Master Roshi and Chiaotzu are killed by the King Piccolo. When he learns of King Piccolo's takeover of the world capital, as well as Tien's seemingly suicidal mission to take him out, Yamcha joins in and races to the scene. He arrives with Bulma and Launch only to find it a desolate wasteland. They soon encounter a battered Tien who fills them in that Goku's actually alive and defeated the Demon King; Yamcha then assists Tien in getting back to the Kame House to recover.
Not long after, Goku quickly bursts in and announces that he is training with Kami before taking off again after recovering his Power Pole. This knowledge causes Yamcha to redouble his preparation for the next World Martial Arts Tournament.
Yamcha trains along with Tien and the resurrected Krillin and Chiaotzu until Master Roshi informed them that, to be able to reach Goku's level of power, they are going to need to find better ways to train than those available at the Kame House. After that, they all head to Korin Tower and train with Korin before each going their own separate way in preparing for the next, 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament.
Piccolo Jr. Saga
Yamcha next meets with the group at the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, he has trained for last three years for this tournament (earning his trademark scars in the process) and looks forward to the fights.
Yamcha makes it to the quarter-finals and must contend with a nerdy human named Hero and finds himself injured by what seem like accidental clumsy mistakes made by his opponent (like getting kicked in the kidney after Hero supposedly tripped, and landing on the back of Hero's head, hurting his groin). When they both state that they'll fight seriously, Hero proves to be a fighter in a class well beyond Yamcha and quickly counters every move Yamcha makes. In desperation Yamcha uses his secret weapon, the Spirit Ball, a powerful ball of guided energy. While it proves to be an effective attack, it's ultimately futile as Hero (who is actually Kami) recovers from being hit with it and knocks Yamcha out of the ring.
Yamcha can only watch from there on out, in awe at the massive power displayed in the fight between Goku and Piccolo Jr. at which he is powerless to intervene. When Goku eventually does defeat Piccolo Jr., Yamcha joins the others in celebrating his victory.
Dragon Ball Z
After Goku sacrifices his life to defeat Raditz, Yamcha is summoned along with Yajirobe, Tien, Krillin and Chiaotzu train at Kami's Lookout for the battle against Vegeta and Nappa. After completing Kami's training he then trains on his own until the Saiyans arrive.
Yamcha arrives at the battlefield just prior to the fight beginning, and volunteers to do battle with one of Nappa's spawned Saibamen after Tien defeats one. Yamcha's fight with the Saibaman is fast, and he seemingly defeats the creature after evading its attack and smashing it with a Kamehameha from behind. He then lowers his guard, thinking the creature is destroyed, but it was quite alive and was able to leap and cling onto him and Self Destruct, killing both Yamcha and itself.
Because of the influence of Kami, after he perished, Yamcha was allowed to train on King Kai's Planet in the Other World as Goku did earlier. Joining him were the other warriors who also perished in the battle against the Saiyans: Piccolo, Tien and Chiaotzu. On King Kai's planet, King Kai tells Goku that they all crossed Snake Way in a far shorter time than he did, and that they all requested for tougher training than what Goku had recieved. 
Through King Kai, he is able to witness everyone's (Goku, Vegeta, Krillin, Gohan, Dende and Piccolo fused with Nail) battle with the evil tyrant Frieza on Planet Namek. In a filler scenario, Yamcha takes on Recoome of the Ginyu Force and, similar to Goku, dispatches him with relative ease. At this point, the filler estimates say that Yamcha was nearly as powerful as Goku when he just landed on Planet Namek. When Goku is thought to have been killed in the destruction of Namek after defeating Frieza, Yamcha relays the information to everyone through Bulma. He is returned to life 130 days later in the first batch of wishes from Porunga and continues to live at Capsule Corporation with Bulma and now Vegeta. During the saga, Yamcha attempts to train in 300 times the gravity of Earth to prove to he is as adept a fighter as Vegeta, but activating this gravity in the Capsule Corporation shuttle, Yamcha finds himself completely overwhelmed and on the verge of being crushed to death by the gravity. He ultimately manages to shift his hand to the control deck to restore the gravitation level.
Garlic Jr. Saga
He makes an appearance in the Garlic Jr. Saga at Master Roshi's house. He becomes possessed by the Black Water Mist and becomes a mindless zombie who is loyal to Garlic Jr.. He is afterwards brought back to normal with everyone else after the Sacred Water is poured into the Seven Air Currents.
When a rebuilt Frieza and his father invades the Earth, Yamcha is one of the defenders who prepares to confront him, though he is overwhelmed by the tyrants' power. He is just as amazed as everyone else though when a mysterious youth suddenly appears and quickly destroys Frieza and his force. He listened to the youth, who claims that Goku will be arriving shortly and, after waiting for Goku's return, witnesses their sparring in awe. He was then filled in by Piccolo, who could hear the entire conversation between the two, that in three years powerful androids will appear and kill everyone if they are not fully prepared; Goku invited Yamcha to train with him, but Yamcha refused, saying that he liked training at his own pace.
Nevertheless, he spent the next three years in training for the Androids' arrival. During this time, he and Bulma breakup once and for all. After the three years, Yamcha meets Goku, Gohan, Piccolo and Tien at the location of the androids arrival. Realizing that they can't sense the androids, the group splits up and searches the city for them. Yamcha is the first to find them, and unaware that the two are the Androids is quickly grabbed around the mouth by Android 20 (later revealed to be Dr. Gero), draining his energy and preventing him from calling for backup or battling them. Yamcha is then incapacitated after Android 20 punches a hole clean through his mid-section; the sudden drop in his ki alerts the rest of the group though, and they arrive shortly after.
Krillin quickly takes Yamcha away from the battle and gives him a senzu, causing him to recover to full strength. Though he doesn't want to fight the Androids again, he then tags along to watch the fight and, after Goku succumbs to his heart disease, takes him home to get him his medicine. Yamcha soon after transports Goku to Kame House to hide him from Android 16, Android 17 and Android 18.
Imperfect Cell Saga
From watching the news he hears of the new threat, Cell, a monster that goes around absorbing people. He aids Piccolo on the search for Imperfect Cell by piloting a plane so it won't detect their ki, but it continuously evades them. When the Androids later arrive on Master Roshi's island looking for Goku, Yamcha stays behind while Piccolo goes off with them to fight on a deserted island.
Cell Games Saga
When Perfect Cell broadcasts his intentions to hold his Cell Games, a tournament of sorts with himself as the only opponent, Yamcha decides to enter. Yamcha does not get the opportunity to fight until Perfect Cell creates his Cell Jr.'s, who attack the Z Fighters and quickly take most of them, including Yamcha, out. He quickly recovers after eating a senzu once Gohan destroys the Cell Jr's and spends the rest of the match as an observer. (Though in the anime he, along with the rest of the Z fighters, help in distracting Cell long enough for Gohan to raise his power level and destroy the android.)
Once Gohan finally destroys Super Perfect Cell, he carries Gohan back to Kami's Lookout and then makes the wish to resurrect everyone killed by Cell. When the group has difficulty thinking of a second wish, he jokingly contemplates asking the Dragon for an expensive diamond necklace for the girl he's going out with. He and the rest of the group see Future Trunks off as he leaves for his own time and then they go their separate ways.
World Tournament Saga
Seven years later, Yamcha attends the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament as a spectator since he gave up fighting. Soon the tournament is interrupted though as the other Z Fighters leave, and then return with Vegeta now possessed by an evil wizard.
Majin Buu Saga
After Vegeta attacked the crowd, Yamcha went with Bulma and a few others to ask Shenron to resurrect all non-evil-doers who were killed that day. He then heads to Kami's Lookout to take refuge from the assault of the new terror, Majin Buu, and witnesses Goten and Trunks first attempts at Fusion.
When Super Buu eventually finds them and attacks, Yamcha is quickly turned into chocolate and eaten with the others.
Kid Buu Saga
After being resurrected, Yamcha's last real action in the series is giving Goku his energy to help form the Spirit Bomb that defeats Kid Buu.
After that he is seen along with the rest of the Z Warriors at 28th World Martial Arts Tournament and witness the emergence of Uub, the good, human reincarnation of Kid Buu.
Yo! The Return of Son Goku and Friends!
Yamcha is among the group attending Mr. Satan's party. He sits on the sidelines during the battle against Aba and Cado, although this is due in part to that they were decided weak enough that Goten and Trunks would be enough to defeat them. Gotenks uses his Fist of the Demon Wolf Fang against the fused version of Aba and Cado, and after he unleashes his Super Wahahaa Beam no Ha, Yamcha himself briefly enters action and uses a Sokidan to destroy the top of a large building that was about to crush Bulma, Puar and Oolong, as well as the various pieces of rubble. Despite having apparently given up on fighting, he is shown to be wearing his gi under his suit.
Dragon Ball GT
Yamcha makes cameo appearances in Dragon Ball GT in episodes 40, "Piccolo's Decision".
Shadow Dragon Saga
By the end of Dragon Ball GT (In the final episode) Yamcha is seen fixing his car in the middle of the desert and probably returns to his vagabond life roaming the desert with Puar.
Yamcha will appear in the upcoming live-action film Dragonball: Evolution. He will be played by Joon Park.
- Spirit Ball: A controllable energy ball of great precision.
- Extra Large Spirit Ball: Has much more power than a regular Spirit Ball, and is even bigger than Yamcha himself.
- Kamehameha: Yamcha is able to pull off the basic Kamehameha attack as well as some variations.
- Wolf Fang Fist: Yamcha's trademark attack, it is a very fast series of powerful punches, swipes, and kicks.
- Wolf Fang Blowing Wind: An upgraded version of Wolf Fang Fist.
- Wolf Fang Whirlwind: An even stronger adaptation of Wolf Fang Fist.
- Levitate (Skydancing Technique): The ability to fly using one's ki.
- Fusion Dance Yamcha can fuse with Tien Shinhan to create Tiencha, (Budokai 2 only).
Notes and references
- Japanese voice cast. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- American voice cast. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Yum cha culture article. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Dragon Ball Z name puns. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Experiencefestival article on Yum cha. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- All about Akira Toriyama. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Saiyan Chronicles on Journey to the West. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Toriyama World. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Yamcha clothing guide. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- DBZGT Legacy's clothing guide. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Dragon Ball Hair Style Guide. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Android 19's readings. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Biography for Akira Toriyama. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2007-12-14.
- Symbol Guide. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
- Dragon Ball Z manga Vol. 06, p. 119, King Kai states to Goku that Yamcha, Chiaotzu, Piccolo and Tien all want tougher training than he had. ISBN 1569319359
|Puar • Bulma • Goku • Tien • Krillin • Tiencha|