After Dragon Ball Super, Yamcha is the anime’s biggest power level mystery. The show’s handling of his character left some big unanswered questions about where he sits on the franchise’s power scale. The debate over how strong he is differs much from what it was during Dragon Ball Z.
At the end of Buu Saga, Dragon Ball Z confirmed that Yamcha was as strong as Krillin. That was fairly consistent with how he was depicted throughout the anime, as he, Tien, and Krillin were all thought to be in the same league. However, Dragon Ball Super hinted that his situation has changed drastically since then. For a reason that hasn’t been mentioned onscreen, Yamcha was omitted from Goku’s Universe 7 team. That, as well as his absence from the Golden Frieza Saga, provided many with the impression that the Z-Warriors have left him behind. Now, Yamcha is often referred to as the second weakest Z-Warrior, with only Chiaotzu being on a lower level of power.
Much of what’s been said about Yamcha’s strength in Dragon Ball is based on unproven assumptions, when in fact his power level is actually a huge mystery, which is different from the situations with all other Z-Warriors. Tournament of Power performances of characters like Android 18, Piccolo, Krillin, and Tien help fans identify how strong they are and also allowed for some meaningful comparisons and insight into where they currently stand. Conversely, the anime offered no such clues about Yamcha’s power level. Because he didn’t do any fighting in Dragon Ball Super, there is no fair way to judge how powerful he is.
While it may very well be true that Krillin and Master Roshi have surpassed Yamcha, at the same time there isn’t any actual in-universe evidence that supports this point. Unlike the rest of the franchise’s heroes, Yamcha would be a completely unknown factor if he were to take part in a second Tournament of Power or a battle with a future villain. He’s obviously a long way from the Saiyans, Piccolo, and Buu, but he wouldn’t necessarily do worse than his fellow humans. Yamcha supposedly gave up on training at some point after Dragon Ball Z, but that alone confirms nothing about his place in the show’s power structure. After all, Krillin stopped training too, and Roshi may not have done enough to get ahead of Yamcha.
All things considered, he could be the weakest link on the battlefield or the show’s most underestimated fighter. A lack of concrete answers about how Yamcha compares to the others in Dragon Ball Super sets up a scenario where the show can really do whatever it wants with him in the stories to come. When Yamcha finally gets back into action, the anime has the potential to deliver a massive surprise – or an immense disappointment.
More: How Dragon Ball Quietly Avenged Golden Frieza Movie’s Yamcha Insult