Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle ?
Well, it's official: the princess is a terrible hostage. Even without the mayhem that she routinely causes because of her lack of proper hostage etiquette, the fact that she shows exactly zero awareness of the fact that she's supposed to be the demons' captive is starting to really bother them. Yes, it's bad that she's busy breaking and stealing things, but really, it's the blow to their egos that's causing them so much grief. How are they failing so badly as evil captors? And more importantly, can they turn this mess around?
The answer to that is something along the lines of, “Well, you can try.” After all, the issue is perhaps less that they're bad jailers and more that Syalis is a rotten prisoner. But after she broke the phone fuming that the home, er, human shopping channel won't deliver to the Demon Castle, they really did have to do something. And since paying attention to the princess doesn't seem to be working, what if they try ignoring her?
Of course, the obvious flaw in this plan is that even when they say things to her (such as “please stop doing that”) she ignores them. So simply depriving Syalis of attention is unlikely to have the desired affect, because no matter how good they are at ignoring her, she'll always be better at ignoring them. This is amply demonstrated by her oh-so-clever plan of just throwing leashes on everyone who crosses her path and doesn't respond to her – Great Red is one thing, but somehow putting the Demon Cleric and Twilight on leashes and making them walk with her is a solid blow to the old dignity. Plus, how are they supposed to ignore her when she does things like trip and scrape her knee? It's like the demons are trying to ignore a particularly destructive kitten by turning their heads whenever she starts to scale the drapes only to rush over when she falls, cooing blandishments. Only it gets worse, because in the end they're basically helping her shred those drapes themselves because they feel so guilty. (And please, let us take a moment to think of Neo Alraune's clipped vines. Poor woman.)
Part of the problem is that, generally speaking, the demons' plans all involve treating Syalis like a small child. While she is small of stature and definitely young compared to the longer-lived demons (manga readers can back me up on this fact; I don't think the anime has really delved into it), she's also almost certainly not a little kid. She's probably somewhere in the latter half of her teens if I had to guess, so well past the age of picture diaries, safety posters, and the other sort of kindergarten busywork the demons' next plan has her doing. What's interesting is that if they hadn't given her what one of the other demons calls the equivalent of summer homework, this plan may have actually succeeded. Syalis is clearly used to having to do piles of paperwork from her job as a (crown?) princess, so if Twilight had assigned her actual work about running the Demon Castle instead of loading on the math problems and book reports, he might have gotten an aide and the princess out of his hair. Given the record amount of time she gets her stuff done in, he really missed out on an opportunity here.
At the end of the day, all the demons' efforts give them are bruised feelings, damaged dignity (poor Twilight being used as a plug), and a princess with a terrible new trick up her sleeve. Just like when I taught my childhood dog to “slap me five” and she began scraping her claws down everyone's legs when she wanted a treat, the attempt to make Syalis a better hostage backfired horribly. Clearly, she's better at this whole quest business than they are. Maybe they should just give up and crown her Demon Queen.
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