Well, if you really want to talk turkey about the major differences in cultural mores…
Japanese kids shows have no problem with child endangerment, whatsoever. While the fight with Yamcha certainly isn’t as intense as the trials of flesh that Gon and Killua endure throughout HUNTER X HUNTER (which has 20 odd years of additional escalation, mind you), this episode still largely focuses on a grown-up man straight-up thrashing a little kid around the desert. It’s taken to such an excessive degree, there’s some brutal dark humor to it - - like an especially brutal Tom & Jerry slapstick routine.
The other half of that ol’ mores coin is lewd humor, of course. These J-kids-shows find an infinite amount of humor in panties. I guess it should’ve been obvious all along, but since I’ve always come at this franchise through the lens of DBZ, I never thought Bulma Briefs was this close to Little Annie Fanny in wordplay and intent. I mean, she’s actually going fishing with her underwear in this one. That’s… ribald.
I read the first volume of the manga, way back, so it’s funny to see them rearranging the chronology of events. As I recall, Goku and Bulma encountered Yamcha almost immediately in the comic - - well before they met Master Roshi or ran afoul of Emperor Pilaf. My guess is that, in the interests of pacing, the animation crew felt it’d hook audiences faster if they threw the hero against a real villain, right away, and established some stakes; as opposed to showing him go through some misunderstandings with a roguish n’er-do-well who eventually joins him.
It’s also odd seeing Puar have such an important role at this point. She ends up being kind-of… vestigial by the time DBZ rolls on. From distinctive antagonist to background filler.
Watch "Yamcha, The Strong Yet Cruel Desert Bandit" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.