Exploring Dragon Ball Z: Yamcha

Continuing the spirit of exploring topics, and trying to psychoanalyze things at a deeper level, I have decided to explore something that was essential to my growth as a child, and something that remains essential to how I talk to myself.

Just yesterday, when I was doing my Muay Thai training, in order to push myself and let everything out, I let out a scream, and thought of Goku, and going Super Sayian. These thoughts commonly run through my mind whenever I am trying to break my limits, and so there must be something more to Dragon Ball Z, then just fighting and screaming.

And to start, I decided to begin with Yamcha.

Now Yamcha is without a doubt one of the most made fun-of characters in the whole series. Most of you guys will probably only think of Yamcha through this image.

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However, I am here to argue that if you followed the series from Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z, there is so much more to the character, and the level of depth given to this character will teach a lot. Far too much for me to try to attempt to write down in a single post, but I will try, and if it gets too long, I will divide the post into 2.

Humble beginnings…

Yamcha was first introduced in the first volume of Dragon Ball as a bandit. He tried to steal capsule corp capsules from Goku and Bulma, and he showed up with his side kick Puar.

Yamcha-970x545.jpg

On his chest is the Kanji symbol for comfort and relaxation, which symbolized Yamcha’s character of preferring comfort, and wanting to relax and have the good life.

Yamcha symbolizes a true Rags-to-riches story. He literally started out as bandit, the only way he could survive and get food was by stealing from those who came across his path. The significance in that is, the individuals who do not have paths, who do not have direction in their lives, will often torment those who do, hoping to get meaning, a sense of worth into their own lives. Because Yamcha had no path to follow, he would intercept others on their own paths, and then take everything away from them, thus switching places with them in terms of position.

This reveals the mindset of the hopeless or the lost. The lost, without any sense of direction, look to those that seem to have some, and then try to mooch off of them. This does not mean it is always done violently like Yamcha, sometimes they are just friends that will try to hang out with you more. Yamcha gives an essential insight to the lost individual.

I was lost but now I’m found

After encountering Goku and Bulma, he joins them on their journey, and due to his physical prowess, he trains with Goku, makes him stronger, and in the process, makes great friends with the main character and all the other side characters.

And by the end of the story, Yamcha becomes a professional baseball player, and an honorary member of the Z Fighters.

Let’s take a step back.

Yamcha goes from being a bandit to becoming a professional baseball player, and a member of the strongest fighting team in the Universe. I think Yamcha deserves more respect than we give him. Yamcha is the definition of direction.  He was a lost soul, not knowing how to get to where he wants to be. However, once he was given direction, then he was able to put the determination he always had, but never knew where to place, into action, and made himself a huge success.

And another huge part of his character in Dragon Ball was his fear of women.

yamcha 3.png

He had a deathly fear of women, where whenever he saw one, it would incapacitate him, and he would be forced to retreat. Bulma being the cause of his incapacitations, do we know what happens to them in the end? They get together(I know that in the end Bulma leaves him for Vegeta), but there is still a huge lesson to learn.

Perhaps there is a reason why Yamcha is depicted as one of the weakest characters in Dragon Ball(Z). Despite his flaws, he was still able to make it. It took him a lot of effort, got him killed, and nearly killed a countless number of times. And a lot of us, when we think of Dragon Ball Z, we compare ourselves to the strongest characters like Vegeta or Goku,  but in reality, we are like Krillen or Yamcha. We aren’t blessed with Alien DNA, but through their deathly work ethic, they were able to push themselves and join the one team in the universe that will never be beaten.

Despite his obvious flaws, Yamcha was able to change his life completely. This is Akira Toriyama telling you, “Hey, you can laugh at Yamcha, but take a good look at yourself first, and compare yourself to him, and ask yourself if you are really doing better than him!”.

Most people never truly get over their fears. Yamcha conquered them. And whenever there was danger, even though he knew he would not stand a chance, he went. There is always a part you can fill, and no matter how insignificant it might be, you go and fill it.

Rise to the occasion. Despite your weaknesses. No matter how apparent they are, they can be defeated. It will kill you, and you will have to face death regularly, but if you really want the best out of life, that is the cost.

So get after it.

Wolf Gang Fist Style~

-Sam

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