Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.
This time: Sand Land, by Akira Toriyama
Hey, it’s me again! After three consecutive weeks of guest posts, I can only assume you’ve missed my dry wit and hatred of bad manga. I’m back with a fun little miniseries from the creator of Dragon Ball himself, Akira Toriyama!
The eponymous Sand Land is a country covered by a seemingly endless desert. There’s been a drought for nearly 50 years, and all of the rivers and springs dried up after the war. The King is the only one who still has access to a source of fresh water, but he keeps its location top secret (to the point of banning all forms of aircraft) and sells it back to the populace at exorbitant prices. The people are rightly upset with this, but what is there to do? Tank brigades patrol the desert, protecting water convoys and crushing resistance.
Sheriff Rao is convinced that a secret spring exists somewhere out there in Sand Land. As a last resort, he approaches the demons, led by King Satan and the crown prince Beelzebub, known for ambushing convoys to steal water to give back to the poor. Beelzebub jumps at the chance to go on an adventure and brings along an old demon thief named Sheef. Together, the three of them set out to find the secret spring, possibly toppling the corrupt regime and restoring Sand Land to its former glory while they’re at it.
The plot is simplistic and doesn’t have any interesting twists, but it still has the sense of fun and whimsy characteristic of Akira Toriyama’s less serious works.
The art is solid, and the climactic scene is of course the requisite battle between Beelzebub and a spindly-legged insect creature – it just isn’t Akira Toriyama without that, now is it? Even Jiya had plenty spindly-legged guys. Still, the best thing about Sand Land is that it’s short and can be read quickly, which meant I could procrastinate on this post! Also I guess that means it won’t take up too much of your time. Give it a shot if you’re looking for a quickie.