After spending the first third of this post series trapped in the 2000s it’s time to take a break and acknowledge that I did in fact watch some new stuff this year.
Every now and then something comes along that appears to be laser targeted at my specific weaknesses. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is very firmly in that camp. Possibly because of my own dreadful sleep patterns I have a pronounced weakness for sleepy characters, so it was sort of a given I’d end up watching this one. Fortunately it turned out to be one of my favourite shows of the year. After the first episode I wasn’t sure if the concept had enough depth for an entire season but it’s handily proved me long. It helps that the titular princess is just awful.
“The kidnapped princess is worse than her demonic captors” isn’t exactly the most creative premise but the show sells it pretty hard. The Princess’s single minded focus on enhancing her sleep experience at any cost is just a joy to watch. And it helps that the demons themselves are all super likeable as they struggle to deal with this terror child they’ve unexpectedly brought back to the castle. Eventually shifting from a state of perpetual exasperation at her antics to essentially being doting parents who very occasionally remember that she’s meant to be their prisoner. It’s one of those situations where you’re rooting for everyone (Except the hero, that guy sucks).
The fact that the princess could easily escape at any given time and only refrains from doing it because it turns out captivity is way more comfortable than dealing with royal duties. After the first couple of episodes nobody even remarks on her breaking out of her cell for the dozenth time because there’s no real risk that she’ll actually escape for good when it’s much easier to terrorize the castle’s residents for some new sleep enhancement scheme. She essentially turns into the local cryptid, appearing out of nowhere to inconvenience and/or (temporarily, death is very non permanent in this setting) murder some unsuspecting monster as part of some new sleep enhancement scheme before retreating to her cell for another nap. In spite of all this the demons all come to treat her as part of their own family, for all the trouble she causes them they still care about her a lot and want her to be happy, even as she kills the Ghost Shroud for the seventh time for new sheets. For her part Sya’s actions are never carried out out of malice, she’s just that focused on her goals that she never stops to think of the consequences, consequences which often end up sabotaging her own rescue party (not that she’d mind) as much as they cause trouble for her captors.
I can’t call it a surprise because as I said before this thing is very directly targeted at the “me specifically” demographic but I like this one a lot and I’m definitely going to miss it when it finishes next week.