Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle ?
Last week my cat Carmine had to go to the vet. Despite the fact that, due to malnutrition before I found him, Carmine has very short little legs on his, ah, rather hefty cat body, he was able to outrun and outfox multiple humans attempting to get him into his carrier. In fact, it was not unlike the demons' attempts to capture Princess Syalis at the start of this week's episode of Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, only the demons were significantly more successful at capturing their runaway. Also Carmine did not jet ski across a poison swamp using a giant pair of scissors and a magic shield.
But what could make Sya want to run away from the castle that she has referred to as “home” multiple times now? Naturally the answer has to do with sleep, although the special massaging pillow she's lusting after doesn't sound particularly conducive to slumber to me. Thanks to the Humans Shopping Channel, the fair princess learns of a very fancy scientific pillow that she just has to have, and since we learned that she can't get things delivered to the Demon Castle, that means that she'll just have to go into a human town herself to buy one. That she doesn't realize this could be viewed as an escape attempt perhaps says something about what she thinks her role is at said castle.
And you know what? I don't think that the thought of escaping and going back to Goodereste has recently, if ever, crossed her mind. She's perfectly happy living in the Demon Castle, she's got more-or-less friends there in the form of Quilladillo and his three buddies, and they basically just let her do what she wants, which was definitely not the case back in her kingdom. So what's not to love about her living situation? As a princess she was pretty much on display all of the time anyway, meaning that the open plan of her bedroom may not even bother her that much. The demons are a bit surprised that Sya is willing to just pop into town with some demonic chaperones, buy the pillow, and come back, but perhaps they shouldn't be.
The fact that Twilight, Demon Cleric (he does have a name, but I don't think we'll learn it in the anime), and Great Red are all kind of tickled to make the trip should be a clue as to where this episode is headed thematically. While we don't know for certain that none of them have ever been to a human town, their actions speak of a combination of nerves and fascination, and Syalis appears perfectly willing to help them enjoy their excursion. She covers up their (regrettable) costume issues, has fun feeding them human-realm treats, and when she sees that something is bothering them, namely the anti-demon tenor of the fireworks and other festive goodies, she goes out of her way to show them that she doesn't think they're awful people before saying, “Let's go home.” It's clear that, in her own understated way, Syalis wants them to have a good time, even going so far as to bring souvenirs back for the other demons who didn't come with. (Poseidon's blue skin probably wasn't the barrier to entry that he thought it was, but after Syalis freaked him out on their chase, it's hard to blame him for wanting some time away from her.) She really does care about the demons, and it's becoming evident that they care for her as well, no matter what way you want to take that affection.
This idea is what leads into the surprisingly serious segments of the episode. As the demons watch the violently anti-demon fireworks burst across the sky, Twilight remarks that it is because of humans that the demons have to live in the underworld, and that kidnapping Syalis was the only real way that he could tempt the humans into any sort of dialogue. The sense we get from this is that Twilight isn't a bad guy; he's just trying to figure out the best way to negotiate with humans for his people. That Syalis can see this too, as her doodle of a friendly demon to counteract the monstrous images shows, means that maybe there's another way. It's not quite what Twilight was expecting, but Sya's stay at the Demon Castle has come to represent another way to talk with the human realm and the hope that there are humans who will look past horns, tails, and blue skin.
It's a nice dream. Maybe they can make it reality.
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is currently streaming on Funimation.
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