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Sand Land

Viz cover

Sand LandサンドランドSando Rando

Genre Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction

Manga Series: Sand Land

Authored by

Akira Toriyama



Serialized in

Weekly Shōnen Jump

Original run

May 9, 2000 – August 8, 2000

No. of volumes


Sand Land (サンドランド Sando Rando) is a short manga series written by Akira Toriyama which ran during the year 2000 in the Weekly Shōnen Jump.



The main characters: Beelzebub, Thief, and Rao

Sand Land was a huge success in Japan. Toriyama worked without any assistant and depicted an arid world similar to that of Pink. The series creator intended for Sand Land to be a short story about an old man and a tank that he wrote for his own enjoyment. Once it came time to draw the tank, however, Toriyama had difficulty getting it to look as he had envisioned it. Although he became frustrated to the point of wanting to remove the tank from the story, he had already devised the plot and thus was forced to put up with it.[1] Despite Toriyama's complaints about designing the tank, the art style is praised as being highly detailed and imaginative.[2]


Dabura and Beelzebub

The king of demons talking to his son

In the far future, fifty years of natural disaster and war destroyed most of the Earth, leaving only a barren wasteland called Sand Land. The river that provided water to the land dried up long ago, and the supply of water is now controlled by a greedy king. This desolate wasteland is inhabited by humans and demons, who live in peace together. With the bottled water sold by the king's government becoming increasingly more expensive for the citizens to buy, the people of Sand Land thirst constantly and begin robbing one another for water and money. Tired of the king's greed, the old sheriff Rao goes in search of a long-lost lake presumably located south of the country, as seem to be proven by migrations of Water Finch. He informs Beelzebub, the son of the king of the demons, of the existence of the elusive lake which might meet the needs of the inhabitants of Sand Land. Along with a wise demon called Thief (シーフ), the trio goes in search for the Phantom Lake.


Beelzebub, Rao, and Thief travel in the desert

Soon after their quest begins, their car breaks down as they are attacked by a centipede-dragon, and they are forced to steal a tank from the king's army. This attracts the anger of the king, who mobilizes his forces to stop them. Sheriff Rao, who is a legendary, former general of the king's army, is able to quickly deal with all of the current army's attempts to hinder their progress. One night, while discussing with the two demons, Rao learns that the mysterious "weapon" destroyed by the king's army thirty years ago was in a fact a machine capable of producing water. The machine was built by the Picchi tribe (ピッチ 人, Pitchi hito), who were attacked because their creation could have stopped the king's monopoly over water. Rao, under his real name "General Shiba", led the assault without knowing the real intentions of the king.


The tank the trio steals from the king's army

On their way, the trio meets a family of gangsters called the Swimmers (スイマーズ): Papa (パパ), Pike (パイク), Shark (シャーク), and Guppy (グッピー). Wanting to earn a reward for the capture of Rao and his companions, as they know that Rao is in fact the legendary General Shiba, the Swimmers warn the king's army. Shiba's replacement in the king's army, General Are (アレ将軍), is now in charge of killing Rao. Initially, Are actively pursues Shiba in order to avenge his father who died during the raid against the mysterious machine led by Shiba thirty years ago. During the battle, Beelzebub discovers that some Picchi have survived in an oasis whose existence was kept secret for all these years, the elusive lake Shiba and his friends were looking for. Once they learn the truth about the Picchi and their water-producing machine, Are and the Swimmers eventually join Shiba in his quest. As the Phantom Lake belongs to the Picchi, Shiba decides not to take it over, and instead plans on bringing down the king and taking over his water supply.


The water back to Sand Land

Once the trio reach the water supply at the end of the now dried upriver bed, they find a lake that now acts as the king's private reserves. They are attacked by an insect-man sent by General Zeu (ゼウ大将軍), the aging commander of the king's forces. General Zeu is the one who decided and ordered the attack on the Picchi people, to both rid himself of Shiba's disobedient tank brigade and the threat to the king's monopoly. It is revealed that, in fact, General Zeu uses the king as a figurehead to rule Sand Land. Once Beelzebub defeats the insect-man, Are shoots Zeu with a tank cannon blast before the latter can attack Shiba, finally killing the aging commander. With the water sealed away behind a dam to give the king a monopoly over water, Shiba, the two demons, and those sympathetic to their cause, notably the Swimmers, tear it down. With the water returned to the land as a result, the king's oppressive rule is brought to an end and the king is now forced by Shiba to give his wealth to the people.




Akira Toriyama comments Sand Land (April 2014)

The manga is composed of 13 chapters and 1 epilogue, which were originally released in the Weekly Shōnen Jump #23 (June 2000) to #36/37 (September 2000), and later collected into a single volume released on November 2, 2000, in Japan. Sand Land was later serialized in North America in Viz Media's Shonen Jump magazine, spanning twelve issues in 2003, and released into a single paperback volume on December 24, 2003, in the United States, and digitally on June 4, 2013.

A Kanzenban edition was published on August 4, 2023. That same day, a "full color" version of the manga began serialization in Shueisha's monthly Saikyō Jump Magazine.


On December 8, 2022, Bandai Namco opened a website for "Sand Land Project" and uploaded a teaser video featuring Toriyama's art from the manga. The website features a countdown that would end on December 17, when more details about the project would revealed.[3] On that date, it was announced that it will receive a CGI anime adaptation co-produced by Sunrise, Kamikaze Douga and Anima, which will be released in 2023.[4] The film is directed by Toshihisa Yokoshima, with Hiroshi Kōjina serving as directing advisor, Hayashi Mori writing the screenplay, Yoshikazu Iwanami directing the sound, and Yugo Kanno composing the music.[5] Imase performs the film's theme song "Utopia" (ユートピア).[6] Sand Land had its world premiere at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, 2023, in San Diego, California. It was released in Japanese theaters on August 18, 2023, by Toho, with a North American release following in 2024.[7]

On November 14, 2023, it was announced that Sand Land would be receiving an original net animation (ONA) series, titled Sand Land: The Series, which will stream worldwide on Disney+, beginning in Spring 2024, and will also include streaming availability for Hulu users who are in the U.S. The ONA series will feature scenes cut from the original Sand Land film, add famous scenes that were originally featured in the Sand Land manga, and add a new story created by Toriyama that continues on from where the story left off in the Sand Land film. The cast and staff members from the Sand Land film will also reprise their roles for the upcoming Sand Land ONA series.[8]

Video Game[]

On June 8, 2023, during the Summer Game Fest, it was announced that Bandai Namco is producing an action role-playing video game based on the Sand Land series, which is being developed by ICLA. The game will use Unreal Engine 5 and is set to be released on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows.[9][10]



  1. Sand Land cover flap, 2000
  2. Sand Land review. readaboutcomics. Retrieved on April 5, 2004.
  3. Bandai Namco, Dragon Ball's Akira Toriyama Tease SAND LAND Project. Anime News Network. Retrieved on December 8, 2022.
  4. Akira Toriyama's SAND LAND Manga Gets Screen Adaptation in 2023. Anime News Network. Retrieved on December 8, 2022.
  5. SAND LAND Anime Film Unveils New Trailer, Cast, Staff. Anime News Network. Retrieved on April 3, 2023.
  6. Sand Land Anime Film's Trailer Previews Imase's Theme Song. Anime News Network. Retrieved on June 22, 2023.
  7. The First Slam Dunk, Sand Land Anime Films Win at Fantasia Int'l Film Festival. Anime News Network. Retrieved on July 31, 2023.
  8. Sand Land Manga Gets Anime Series on Disney+, Hulu in Spring 2024 (Updated). Anime News Network. Retrieved on December 21, 2023.
  9. Akira Toriyama's Sand Land Manga Gets Action RPG. Anime News Network. Retrieved on December 21, 2023.
  10. Dragon Ball Z Creator's Other Classic Manga Finally Gets A Game. Retrieved on December 21, 2023.