Sand LandサンドランドSando Rando
|Genre||Shōnen, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction|
Manga Series: Sand Land
June 2000 – September 2000
Sand Land was a huge success in Japan. Toriyama worked without any assistant, and depicts an arid world similar to that of Pink, in which Dabura makes a cameo appearance. 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. Despite Toriyama's complaints about designing the tank, the art style is praised as being highly detailed and imaginative.
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 prove 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.
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 attention of the king.
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 in now 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 Pitches 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 Pitches and their water-producing machine, Are and the Swimmers eventually join Shiba in his quest. As the Phantom Lake belongs to the Pitches, Shiba decides not to take it over, and instead plans on bringing down the king and taking over his water supply.
Once the trio reach the water supply at the end of the now dried up river 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.
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 in November 11, 2000 in Japan and 2002 in France. 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 volume on January 21, 2004 in the United States.
- ↑ Sand Land cover flap, 2000
- ↑ Sand Land review (2004-04-05), Greg McElhatton for Read About Comics