Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a demon lord abducts the fair, young, pure princess, and the hero of the story must embark on a long, perilous quest, alongside his companions, to rescue the princess and slay the demon lord. Eventually, after fighting their way through countless foes, overcoming many obstacles, and facing many dangers, the hero arrives, all the greater and stronger for his struggles, all the better to defeat the demon lord and save the damsel in distress, whereupon they return, marry, he becomes king and she becomes queen, and they live happily ever after.
It’s not just a trope. It’s a veritable standard of the fantasy genre, and variations of it can be found in almost every genre. But while the hero is out annihilating monsters, what is the princess doing? Well, apparently, with nothing else to do… they sleep. By any means. At any cost.
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle takes that one question, and this one answer, and uses it to turn the entire story right on its head. The results are hilarious! Part fantasy, part slice of life, mostly comedy and satire, with just a sprinkle of poignant commentary, this anime had me tearing up with laughter. There are some comedies that, in all honesty, can drag on or wear themselves out, but Sleepy Princess is not one of them! I started laughing at the start, and I almost never stopped throughout the entire show! It was great!
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough of a breath of fresh air, the humor was super clean, too! No innuendo, ecchi, or anything like that. It was all wit, and no vulgarity! Fantastic!
The plot, such as it is, follows one Princess Syalis on her eternal quest for a good night’s rest. One might think that would be a fairly simple, straightforward goal, but in her case this means maximizing the comfort of everything involved: pillow, mattress, bed sheet, comforter, and so forth. Luxurious materials generally not being readily available in a demon lord’s castle, she improvises with what she has to worth with, and, in the process, generally terrorizes the demons, upends their routines, and incidentally destroys a number of those sacred artifacts that heroes are always finding when they quest through demon castles.
In short: the demons got a whole lot more than they bargained for with this princess!
The princess is uncommonly capable when she’s actually motivated, she is ruthless in a way that undermines the angelic reputation that princesses have, and she is brutally self-centered. Actually, in a strange way, she fits right it with the demons! This leads to a certain endearment of princess and demons to each other as they learn how to deal with one another. The demons come to enjoy how lively life is with her, and she sees their better qualities, that they are, in their way, good and kind people who are feared because they are very misunderstood. That fear is actually why the demon lord is doing all of this, including carefully constructing the hero’s quest, in the hopes that their confrontation will resolve the conflict and bring peace between the two peoples.
Contrasted with that is the princess’ relationship with the hero. Said hero is her childhood friend, but he is also loud and dumb, possessing a resilience that turns hazardous perils into slight inconveniences, and lacking any comprehension of just how reckless he really is. His happy-go-lucky antics have accidentally endangered and inconvenienced her in the past, such that she has nightmares about him, and really does not like that he is her fiance. The two of them together is a bit like that king in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the one who’s always trying to kill his spouse, but she keeps surviving out of sheer dumb luck and unnatural ability to just not die. Just swap the genders, and that’s them. She would happily be rid of the hero, but he’s more durable than a roach so he just keeps coming back. He is the ultimate loud-mouthed, obnoxious extrovert who won’t ever shut up and go away.
The moment the demons realize this, they coincidentally just happen to make the hero’s journey that much harder and more time-consuming. Heh.
Oh, and the princess dies a few times. Like, once a week. But that’s ok, because as long as she’s in the demon castle when she dies, they have a cleric who can restore her to perfect health. And once the bite is taken out of death… well, it becomes a recurring joke that is surprisingly funny. Much like how her first thought, upon finding herself in a coffin, is to make herself more comfortable and close the lid so she can have a quiet place to sleep.
And if death literally cannot stop the princess from having a good rest, you better believe nothing else will either! She nearly gives her “captors” a heart attack when she escapes a couple of times. Not that escaping, somehow, ever gets harder, since she gets so much practice at it. Heck, the first thing she does in the series is to brush some teddy bear demons to use their fluff for a pillow, instead of cutting them open and getting all the fluff that way (which she very nearly did), and the teddies loved this so much that they bring her the key in exchange for a brushing anytime she taps the brush on the bars of her room. From there, her antics just increase a little bit more and a little bit more, until she practically has the run of the place, and without any pesky managerial duties! It is gloriously comical to behold that particular progression, where the demons go from trying to keep her prisoner to eventually caring for her like one of their own, one catastrophe at a time. It is uproarious.
Basically, I don’t really have anything bad to say about this anime. Oh, it might not be what one wants if one wants a serious adventure, or a romance, or a horror story, but if you just want to laugh awhile, then look no further! Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle has got you covered!
Rating: 10 out of 10!