Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
Episode 11

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle ?

It had gotten to the point where I was afraid that it was going to go the way of the Poison Apple Gang, but then this week we got it: the animated adaptation of one of my favorite chapters of the Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle manga – practice for the sleepover. As an anxious child I was never a fan of pajama parties, which may give the first third of this episode an even greater appeal – Syalis is so very firmly entrenched in her own world (on two counts, as a princess and as a sleep fiend) that she's woefully ignorant of what a slumber party is supposed to be. Her assumption that she needs an escort, who of course must be of a social standing to match her own, leads her to confront poor Twilight in his den, by which of course I mean bed. There he is, getting ready to snuggle down under his blankets, when all of a sudden Syalis charges into his room, climbs on his bed, and announces that he's got to help her practice.

What the demon king thinks they'll be practicing isn't really stated, but we know exactly what the Demon Cleric thinks they're getting up to when he happens to drop by. It doesn't help that he manages to walk in at the worst possible moment, when Syalis is questioning why Twilight thinks she'd have developed a crush on anyone at the Demon Castle since she's been there, which to the Demon Cleric sounds awfully like Twilight's trying to convince her that demons and humans can be together romantically. Whether you interpret the Demon Cleric's interest in Syalis as romantic or paternal, either reading would make it a very inopportune conclusion for him to be leaping towards, especially since it also looks like Twilight's been plying the princess with sweets. I love that the image the Demon Cleric forms in his mind is done in stereotypical 1970s shoujo artwork, too, because not only does that show us precisely where his mind is going, but it also reminds us that everyone refers to him as “the old man,” meaning that he associates illicit romance with that style of art because that's what was popular when he first learned about romance. (Kind of – this is a fantasy world.)

Things only get weirder from there in the third segment, when Syalis comes to the 10 complaining that her sleep isn't restful only for Hypnos to reveal her dreams to everyone…and they turn out to be full of Dawner. Only the Demon Cleric knows why the Hero is haunting Syalis' dreams, and in keeping with the way the rest of the anime has handled his feelings for her, his reaction seems to be more about feeling badly that she's stuck with someone who appears to be a grade A moron when she should be getting her rest, although that could be interpreted as him not feeling threatened by Dawner in the same way as Twilight because Syalis clearly hates the Hero. Still, it's probably a good thing that Twilight doesn't reveal that he's the one who screwed up and let Dawner grab the artifact that allowed him into Syalis' dreams in the first place.

Another great part of this whole scene is how aghast the demons all are at Dawner and his antics. It was one thing when he was causing trouble as a little kid, but the guy's a full-grown adult at this point – he should not be doing the same things to Syalis now! Fire Venom Dragon trembling in horror as they watch Syalis' dreams unfold beautifully illustrates the true terror of Dawner: his astounding lack of clue and inability to read the room. Well, that and he's kind of dumb. Who just believes the villain when they show up and point you in a specific direction? At least he makes Twilight's job a little easier…

Sandwiched between these two very funny segments is one that doesn't work quite as well, wherein we finally see Cubey do something besides pop in and make a comment no one cares about. It's not that the idea of Syalis training a body double isn't funny, it's that the show seems to save its humor energy for the bits on either side of this part, and Cubey's adventures just aren't quite as funny as the rest. It almost would have been better to skip over her and spend more time with Harpy's sleepover invitation.

There's only one episode left, though, so perhaps they felt they had to try. Next week we'll see how everyone knowing the truth about who the Hero is works (or doesn't work) with Twilight's plans. I can't be the only one thinking that a real happy ending would be to let Syalis stay right where she is, snug in the Demon Castle?


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