The official website for the forthcoming Sand Land animation project updated today with a short question-and-answer session with original creator Akira Toriyama, alongisde confirmation of the project being a theatrical film set for release in Japan 18 August 2023 with animation produced by Sunrise, Kamikaze Douga, and Anima.
When and how was Sand Land born?
Dragon Ball had ended, and I had tried my hand at a few different short series and one-shots, so I figured I’d draw a work that poured everything of who I was at the time into it, which I intended to be one last hurrah. Thinking back on it now, even with it being limited to a single volume’s worth of material, it was quite a feat to have drawn all that myself, without an assistant, in a weekly series. I’m amazed at it myself.
(Knowing that COWA! is number one,) are there any parts of Sand Land that you can definitively say are your favorite work?
When I draw comics myself, the contents tend to be rather plain, lightweight fluff, which doesn’t lend itself to finding an audience. The truth is that even here, I held back on the fluff, and worked hard to make it a proper, serious story. Reasonably speaking, my favorite comic should be my most recent one. Thinking back on it now, though, I do feel that, at least in terms of the quality of the art and the vitality of it, the stuff I was drawing around the time of Sand Land was incredible.
Are there any unique charms or characteristics of this work that only you yourself would know, Toriyama-sensei?
For Sand Land, I scanned the inked paper manuscripts into my computer, then using software, I did the blacking and applied tone I made myself to finish it up. I think probably got almost no sleep…. After I’d finished drawing the whole thing, I lost the wooden penholder I had been using ever since before my professional debut. That penholder was one I had whittled down here and there with a knife and sandpaper, and which had worn in perfectly to the shape of my hand through years of use. I bought a new one and tried whittling it down here and there as before, but it just didn’t feel quite right. Since then, I’ve been using it as an excuse for why I hardly ever draw comics anymore. (laughs)
How do you feel about this work being evaluated as one with your “Toriyama-sensei-ness” packed into the characters, machines, world, and story?
Certainly, that might be the case. I feel that I really ought to have given more thought to the readers, but instead, I let my own preferences take center stage. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a professional.
What do you think about its being made into a movie after 23 years?
To me, anyone who tells me that this is fun is truly a god-tier fan who really “gets” me, I suppose is how I feel.
How did you feel when you saw the current in-progress visuals?
The video I saw still had a lot of unfinished bits, but even then I could see well enough that the quality was extraordinarily high. I never dared to think it would ever be animated, so for it to have this kind of quality, it’s already a dream come true.
Toriyama’s comments are in line with his past reflections on the series — for new obi (wraparounds) produced in 2014 for manga reprints, Toriyama stated of Sand Land:
This is a man’s comic. Even reading it now, I admire how hard I worked on it. Next to COWA!, this is my favorite.
Following Dragon Ball‘s completion, Toriyama produced various one-shots and short works for Shueisha including Alien Peke and Tokimecha in 1996, and Bubul of Demon Village in 1997. Series with longer runs — serializations that would ultimately comprise a single tankōbon — were also produced, including COWA! in 1997, Kajika in 1998, and Sand Land in 2000.
Sand Land was originally serialized within the pages of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan from May to August 2000 spanning 14 chapters. The series was compiled into a single volume that November. Sand Land went on to act as a debut series within Viz’s Shonen Jump print magazine in America in 2003, both running to completion and receiving its own collected volume later that same year.