After Sand Land completed its run, all fourteen chapters were collected into a single tankōbon that was released on November 11, 2000. Sand Land was later serialized in North America by Viz Media in the United States Shonen Jump magazine, spanning twelve issues in 2003. Viz released a graphic novel of the series on January 21, 2004.
Creation and conception
Toriyama, the series creator, intended for Sand Land to be a short story about a 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.
After enduring years of natural disaster and war, the world of Sand Land is left without its main supply of water; the river that provided water to the country dried up long ago. With the greedy king of the land's personal water supply becoming increasingly more expensive for the citizens of Sand Land to buy, the people begin robbing one another for water and money. Sheriff Rao, tired of the king's greed, approaches the demons of Sand Land for help in searching for a new water supply. Demon prince Beelzebub and his friend Thief agree to join Rao.
Soon after their quest begins, their car breaks down and they are forced to steal a tank from the king's army. This attracts the anger of the king and he mobilizes his forces to stop them. Sheriff Rao, a former legendary general of the king's army, is able to quickly deal with all of the current army's attempts to hinder their progress. Once they reach the supposed 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. With the water sealed away behind a dam to give the king a monopoly over water, Rao, the demons, and those sympathetic to their cause tear it down. With the water returned to the world as a result, the king's oppressive rule is brought to an end.
- Beelzebub (ベルゼブブ Beruzebubu?) - The main protagonist, Beelzebub is the son of Lucifer and thus the "Prince of the Underworld", he is usually referred to only as "Prince" by his fellow demons. Beelzebub (named after the biblical demon of the same name) lives in relative harmony with the humans. Although he regularly steals water from them, he only takes as much as he and his fellow demons need to survive. Joining Sheriff Rao in his journey to give him something to do, Beelzebub lends his enhanced sight and demonic strength to fight against the king.
- Sheriff Rao - An elderly man, Rao seeks to free the people of Sand Land from the king's pocket. Formerly known as General Shiba, Rao disappeared after his forces died years earlier trying to destroy a weapon on the king's orders. As he travels with Beelzebub and Thief, he learns that the weapon was actually meant to produce water. Regretting what he was tricked into doing, Rao sets out to bring down the king and help those whose family died due to his actions.
- Thief - An expert at stealing and one of the wisest of demons, Thief is recruited by Beelzebub to accompany them in searching for water. He gains an affection for driving during their quest, and often fights with Beelzebub for turns driving their tank.
- General Are - Rao's replacement in the king's army, Are is the son of one of the men that died trying to destroy the supposed weapon. Although he actively pursues Rao to avenge his father, he joins Rao in bringing down the king after learning the truth surrounding his father's death.
- King of Sand Land - The current ruler of Sand Land, the king makes great profit by selling bottled water at high prices. He tries to eliminate Rao to make sure nobody finds out about his personal water supply or the water-creating machine he had destroyed. He was, in truth, being manipulated by Commander Zeu. After water is returned to Sand Land, he is forced by Rao to give his wealth to the people.
- Commander Zeu - The true antagonist of Sand Land, Zeu is the aging commander of the King's forces. Due to his failing body, Zeu is confined to a floating robotic lift. He was the one who ordered the attack on the Picchi people, who were creating a machine to produce water, to both rid himself of Shiba's disobedient tank brigade and the threat to the king's monopoly. He uses the king as a figurehead to rule Sand Land. Ultimately, Are shot him with a tank cannon blast, killing Zeu.
Sand Land has been called a light story that, while not necessarily deep or memorable, does well to explore the fictional world and the unique characters that inhabit it. Despite Toriyama's complaints about designing the tank, the art style is praised as being highly detailed, imaginative, and of more consistent quality than Toriyama's previous works (Dragon Ball).
- "SAND LAND" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
- "Amazon.com: Sand Land (Sand Land Series): Books: Akira Toriyama". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
- Toriyama, Akira (2003). Sand Land. Viz Media. p. 1. ISBN 1-59116-181-9.
- McElhatton, Greg (2004-04-05). "Sand Land". Read About Comics. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- Sand Land (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Jakala, John (January 2, 2003). "Shonen Jump Volume 1". Anime News Network.
- Jakala, John (February 2, 2003). "Shonen Jump Volume 2". Anime News Network.
- Jakala, John (February 13, 2003). "Shonen Jump Volume 3". Anime News Network.
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