- Titles: Maoujou de Oyasumi, MaouYasu
- Genre: Comedy, Slice of…Sleep?, Fantasy
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Doga Kobo
A long time ago, the kingdom of men struck a deal with the realm of demons and a blissful peace spread upon the land. A peace that remained undisturbed until one particularly spiteful demon lord decided that the time of change had dawned and kidnapped the human princess to be kept as a hostage. The poor princess was all alone in the dreary castle… well not really alone. There are tons of demons there and most of them are rather polite. Teddy bear demons are the cutest thing in the world. OK, maybe she wasn’t lonely but it was still a dreary existence as a hostage, devoid of comfort and pleasure. We’ll actually she got 4-star meals every day and a cell that rivalled her royal bedchamber in terms of comfiness. OK so maybe it doesn’t sound that bad on paper but she was still a prisoner and the psychological weight of confinement… OK, she could come and go as she wanted, but… but… oh I know, it was really tough to get a good night’s sleep in the demon lord’s castle, do you know how dreadful that is???
I completely skipped over the sleepy princess in the demon lord’s castle when it aired. I think I had pegged it for a fanservice show for some reason. I didn’t even read the summary. That is until a few days ago when I thought it actually sounded kind of delightful. So I watched it all over one weekend.
Visually speaking there’s nothing that special going on here. The character designs are simple but fun, and the backgrounds are equally streamlined but wacky. The colours are forceful and the line work is bold. It’s an esthetic I personally tend to associate with shows aimed at a younger audience but I have absolutely nothing to base that on.
Let’s just say it’s a specific look that I have seen a lot in lighthearted comedy anime. For those of you familiar with what I’m talking about, you’ll recognize it immediately from the screenshots.
I wouldn’t say that Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is a particularly impressive production or anything but it is a fairly consistent one that generally enhances the story and doesn’t detract from it. It might not be terribly ambitious but for your money, it’s definitely a successful production
Story & Characters
Sleepy princess in the demon castle was exactly what I wanted to watch at the time, namely a super light comedy that’s neither too engaging nor too demanding. It’s the type of show you can easily put in the background while doing something else and get a few snickers in. You don’t need to pay close attention to know what’s going on and you don’t need to parse deep conversations to get the most out of it.
When I first started watching it, I thought of Welcome to Demon School Iruma-kun. There are obvious parallels. Both are about humans living in the demon realm and finding out it’s not that bad. And visually I do think they are reminiscent of one another. But that’s about it. Sleepy Princess can be fun, there were scenes that made me genuinely laugh but it’s no Iruma-kun. I think that, for want of a better explanation, it lacks charm.
This is partly due to how Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle handles characters. For roughly half of the episode count, it’s more or less a one-man show. Other characters come in and out of scenes but the princess is really the only one with any agency (never thought I would write that) and the only one the story cares about. The rest are just extras.
After a while, the cast does expand a bit and the extras get fleshed out some, but they always feel a bit superficial. These are characters in service of a rather thin plot, or more often than not, in service of a joke.
And I do believe that this was a conscious decision on the part of the author. It’s one way to write comedy and under certain circumstances, it can work really well. But I think that it was actually a drawback in this case. At least, it was for me. I honestly never really cared about anyone and certain episodes would have played out better if I did.
By very far the most developed character is the princess but she is purposefully unrelatable. She is a princess, after all, it’s not like us mere peasants could properly understand her. The princess is spoiled, occasionally selfish bordering on evil, seems prone to murder and does the cute anime girl oblivious act at random times that makes it almost impossible t really follow her reasoning.
She does have a very cute character design.
I think that the princess as she is is a delightful character and a very good choice for a lead in an anime. However, without a proper straight man or foil, the character is a bit incomplete. She can’t really reach her full potential and comes off shallower than she is.
I am a person that really likes character-driven stories, so this may have affected me more than it would most.
In fact, Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is structured as a series of gag vignettes. Each episode is divided into two or three unrelated short stories, usually involving the princess trying to optimize her sleepy time or alleviate her boredom. The pace is brisk and there really wouldn’t have been much time for character development without reworking the season and structure a bit.
And it’s not like this type of easy humour needs complex characters. It pulls off most of its jokes well. A few get repetitive and a few just didn’t land for me but in general, I would say it does a pretty good job at keeping the tone and intent of the series on track.
One of my favourite running gags is the princess trying to get her way by making a cute face and a character has to explain that yes she is absolutely adorable but it has no bearing on the situation. Despite the fact that this joke was repeated across several characters, the delivery was great every time. There was something just a smidge subversive about it that I enjoyed a lot.
For the most part, Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is nothing special. It’s somewhat of a cute girl anime if you think the princess is cute but mostly just a straight-up comedy. There’s nothing ground-breaking about it. However, if you want a generally inoffensive little comedy about an imposing princess who will stop at nothing to get a good night’s sleep, this one is for you. I honestly had fun with it even though I know it won’t leave a long-lasing impression.
You might like this anime if:
You like Iruma already and you’re looking for something in the same vein
My favourite character:
I think it might be the Demon King but only because he balances out the cast.
- Every time the princess sews something – wonder where she learned to do that
- Every time the Demon King needs to speak to the princess – take a sip
- Every time the princess “escapes” – cheer!
- Every time the princess dies – pour some out
- Every time we see a demon teddy – take a sip
- Every time there is murder most foul – gasp
- Every time any demon is exasperated – take a sip
- Every time the heroes show up – raise your glass
- Every time the princess is rude – take a sip
- Every time Red (Big Big) tries to discipline someone – take a sip
- Every time the princess is bored – be scared
- Every time we see the royal maids – take a sip
- Every time the Demon King blushes – awwwww
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.