Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle seems like the logical progression of the current trends in anime. Isekai series featuring JRPG mechanics in fantasy worlds are everywhere, and “cute girls doing cute things” will hopefully never stop as a genre. This series combines both these things into a single plot; where a princess kidnapped by the Demon Lord, and simply wants to get a good night’s sleep.
Starring the voice talents of Minase Inori, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, and Shimono Hiro; Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle keeps with the formula set by Dragon Quest and every Isekai series it’s spawned. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
Studio: Doga Kobo
Director: Yamazaki Mitsue
Release Date: September 8, 2020
The series opens with Twilight the Demon Lord descending on the United Nation of Goodereste. He kidnaps Princess Syalis for ransom, telling the humans to cede their territory to the demons if they ever wish to see her again. The hero Dawner steps up and tells the villagers not to worry, as he’ll embark on a quest to rescue the princess. But this series is not about the quest of the hero.
Princess Syalis receives surprisingly good treatment in the Demon Lord’s castle. But despite being left to her own devices and fed promptly, she’s particular about how she sleeps and finds the pillow too coarse for her liking.
This desire for a comfortable rest sets off a chain of events where Princess Syalis frequently escapes her cell, and causes trouble for the surprisingly affable demons that live in the castle.
First thing I noticed is the pun of the names- the United Nation of Goodereste sounds like ‘Good Rest’, the Demon Lord Twilight and hero Dawner are named after times of day around sleeping.
These puns are actually present in the original Japanese, the Demon Lord Tasogare named for Twilight and the hero Akatsuki named for the dawn. It’s a relief to see that Funimation doesn’t seem to be trying to localize unnecessary jokes into the series.
On the topic of jokes, the humor if Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle relies on absurdity and slapstick. The frail and petite princess frequently bullies demons that are much larger and scarier than she is.
Her surprising penchant for violence to achieve her goals puts even the Demon Lord’s advisors on edge, and the reliance on physical comedy makes the jokes easy to understand. But if the entire season is just the same jokes repeated over and over, this series is going to quickly go stale.
This may not be the case however, as a plot going on behind the scenes is constantly hinted at with side dialogue and asides showing how things are going with the kingdom and the hero’s party. Though a comedy series at its core with a plot doesn’t take itself too seriously, this break is enough to stop the jokes from getting to repetitive too often.
The voice cast does a fantastic job, particularly Minase Inori as Princess Syura. Minase is largely known for her roles as Kafuu Chino in Is The Order a Rabbit? (including the current season BLOOM), Hestia in Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, and Rem in Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World.
Visually nothing is too impressive so far; save for scenes that focus on the Princess herself. Her sleeping form is panned over in multiple circumstances as a form of fanservice, and it’d be surprising if this doesn’t continue.
Character designs range from silly to bland (again, save for the princess herself), with demons ranging in shape and size from humans with horns, to haunted sheets, to pudgy hedgehogs. But this gives the story a lot of creative freedom, as the princess hunts down and pillages supplies and tools from the bodies of her captors.
Ultimately Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle sets the tone for a cute comedy series, but ultimately feels shallow. Unlike slice-of-life series, the characters aren’t given enough depth to become invested in them, albeit at this early stage.
Even some comedy series are given more depth to their characters like Astro Fighter Sunred. But this is noticeably lacking from Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle.
While this lighthearted series looks to be a fun watch, those looking for any kind of depth or investment into the characters might be disappointed. We’ll have to see in future episodes.
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle was reviewed via the reviewer’s anime streaming service account. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
Images: Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle official website