Akira Toriyama's Legacy Continues with Sand Land
By Yung Namahage • 1 month ago

Pretty much everyone who's heard of anime is also aware of Dragon Ball, but as we discussed earlier, it was far from the only thing the late, great Akira Toriyama created. He's also known by gamers as the character design for the Dragon Quest franchise since 1986, but relatively few people have heard of Sand Land. With a new anime adaptation starting imminently and a game based on it dropping next month, that may change soon.

Originally meant to be a short story about a man and a tank, Toriyama apprently struggled with drawing the tank, but persevered with the plot he originally planned. The final version of Sand Land was released as an action comedy manga in Shonen Jump back in 2000 that ran for only 14 chapters, Sand Land tells the story of the demon prince Beelzebub in a post-apocalyptic world, as he leads a fight against a tyrannical king who hordes precious resources. The art style is very Toriyama, cute but rough around the edges in a way that feels almost halfway between Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest

While it didn't make nearly as big a splash as his other work, in 2022 Bandai Namco announced a Sand Land Project. This turned out to be a CGI anime movie adaptation co-produced by Kamikaze Douga, Sunrise and Anima. This released back in August in Japan and is set for release in the west some time this year.

But that's not the only Sand Land anime: a 2D anime series with the same cast and crew as the movie is launching on Disney+ and Hulu today, March 20. This version will cover an expanded version of the original manga's plot in the first 6 episodes, while the latter 7 will be a brand new arc written by Toriyama, featuring new characters he designed. 

But that's still not it: a video game for Windows, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S from One Piece Odyssey developers ILCA is also in the pipeline, set for release on April 25 in Japan and the rest of the world the following day. Like the series, this also expands on the original story as players take control of Beelzebub and fight against the forces of the evil king with mechs, tanks and melee combat. A demo for the game is currently available if you want to check it out for yourself, featuring bonus items you can take to the full game.

It may not be his most well-known work, but the Sand Land anime series and video game were some of the last things Toriyama worked on, and as such deserve to be celebrated as part of his legacy just as much as Dragon Ball.

Have you guys come across Sand Land before? Will you be checking out the movie, series or game? Let us know below as always!