Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated As Yamcha! Review

Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha is an odd spin-off manga written by “Dragongarow Lee” (I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a pen name…) for the digital arm of Shonen Jump! known as Shonen Jump! +. Mr. Lee was just a fan drawing (admittedly spot-on looking) fan manga based on Dragon Ball before he was contacted by several of the Shonen Jump! editors who had this funny idea of doing a “reincarnated as” storyline in the Dragon Ball world and had it approved by Toriyama himself. Must have been quite the shocker for him, but good on him for having his unlikely dream of drawing Dragon Ball for Jump! actually come true!

The story starts with two unnamed Dragon Ball fans talking about an up-coming event they’re both heading to, then one of them spies a girl with a short skirt and runs down some nearby stairs to get a good look but ends up tripping down them and seemingly dying. Apparently the comedic nature of his “death” was one of the things Toriyama contributed to the story, which does make me wonder how his death went in the original draft… Anyway, he wakes up and he’s suddenly in the body of Yamcha just after the events of the original “battle” with Pilaf. Being the nerd he is, he immediately assumes he’s in a “reincarnated as” story, even saying it’s a popular trope at the moment, and then laments the fact that he’s ended up as Yamcha. That is until he realises that Yamcha hooks up with Bulma for most of the pre-Z story, so he’s suddenly fine with situation…

That is until he remembers that Bulma eventually goes with Vegeta and he becomes irrelevant, so he decides to use his knowledge of Dragon Ball to make Yamcha strong enough to kill Vegeta in the Saiyan arc and stay with the lovely fictional woman. Using methods like travelling to Namek and getting Guru to unleash his hidden potential, he gains the needed strength, but can he, as such a big fan, screw the plot up by that much?! That’s the… drama, I guess! There is also a plot about another person who was similarly reincarnated, but I’ll leave the details out of that one.

The core story is only three chapters long, and although there’s two much shorter bonus chapters that take the page count quite a bit past the triple digits, it’s not a long read. Dragongarow Lee also included a two-page extra comic depicting his journey from receiving the call to finding out it was going ahead, before exclaiming his shock that he has an officially released collected book on the shelves. He really does come across as a nice guy, it has to be said!

So do I recommend That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha? That depends entirely on how familiar you are with Dragon Ball as a whole. It’s a comedy story solely for fans of the story to get the references and to know how absurd some of the panels are, so if you have no idea about, it then you won’t get it! It’s that simple. So I do recommend it for a funny half hour read, but for diehard fans only…


7 / 10

Cold Cobra

Having watched anime since it was airing late night on the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90s, I consider myself... someone who's watched a lot of anime, and then got hired to write reviews about them. Hooray!

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