REVIEW: ‘Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle,’ Episode 11 “The Princess and Troubling Dreams”

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Princess Syalis meets Cubey, a succubus who looks awfully similar...

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is one of many Fall 2020 anime adaptations beefing up the roster this year. Billed as a slice of life, high fantasy comedy, Sleepy Princess continues to change the game by showing just how funny an episodic, high fantasy-comedy anime can be. While there’s just one episode left in Sleepy Princess‘ cour, it’s safe to say that this might be one of the most hilarious anime of the season. However, we’re not quite to the end of this season, nor the end of this show. That said, let’s dive right into Sleepy Princess episode 11.

Sleepy Princess episode 11 kicks off with yet another return to Sir Dawner. Only this time, it’s news about him, rather than appearance. What’s the latest? Well, the news is that he’s getting closer to the Demon Castle. Despite Twilight’s best efforts, Sir Dawner has somehow managed to evade all the traps laid before him and is close to rescuing the princess. We make it close to the castle and also see the return of Harpy, a character featured way back in episode 5.

Excitingly, she comes bearing news of a pajama party! Syalis eagerly accepts her invitation, specifically because Harpy promises a “uniquely pleasant and cheerful” bit of sleep. However, Princess Syalis needs to practice for the pajama party. After all, as a Princess, she’s never had the luxury of attending such a casual event. So, it’s off to Demon King Twilight’s bedroom for a practice session ahead of the event.

This first third is genuinely interesting, in large part because we get to see Twilight and Syalis’ bond grow deeper. They work really well as friends, though there’s still the obvious captor-captive dynamic at play. In the beginning, Twilight was much more dead set on avoiding the Princess, but by episode 11, it’s become incredibly clear that it’s impossible to avoid any level of friendship with her. This is only furthered by their interactions in episode 10, though Twilight tries to be somewhat surly with the princess. So, it’s quite sweet to see Twilight try so hard to help Syalis learn about pajama parties.

The next third of Sleepy Princess episode 11 focuses on a new female character that viewers have noticed around the castle: a succubus named Succyun, or Cubey in the subtitles. She’s the polar opposite of Syalis, both in manner and color palette. The most obvious is that Syalis is laid back while Cubey is quite cheerful. Syalis is also quite charming -though not by her own efforts- whereas Cubey barely gets noticed. All of this is not helped by her uncanny resemblance to the Princess.

Envious of Princess Syalis’ popularity, Cubey decides to learn how to be as popular as the princess, not realizing that Syalis immediately misunderstands Cubey’s presence, and thinks she’s filling in as her body double. Instead of training Cubey on how to be popular, she’s going to train her up to be an elite body double capable of mimicking the princess down to her destructive tendencies. Thus starts a chain of misunderstandings that only grow the longer Cubey sticks around the princess. From her perspective, Cubey thinks she’s learning how to be popular through some pretty exhausting training. On the other hand, Syalis thinks she’s training up her shadow and preparing her to literally fall on the sword.

It’s… funny enough, though not game-changing. In fact, it feels a lot like Syalis’ interaction with Harpy, which, unfortunately… means Cubey isn’t such an exciting character. Worse, because she comes right before the end, she’s not even an interesting character. She simply feels extraneous, even if she is central to a lot of this part’s gags.

Princess Syalis dropkicks Sir Dawner with no hesitation in her eyes.

The last third of Sleepy Princess episode 11 takes us back to the Ten Elder’s war room. Typically, when Syalis joins them there, it’s a fairly pleasant experience on her end. Yet this time, Syalis can’t get any restful sleep. Exhausted, fatigued, and irritated, she demands that the Ten Elders give her an explanation and help her get some restorative rest. Unable to think of a solution, they decide to delve into Princess Syalis’ dreams using Hypnos’ powers. 

It quickly becomes apparent what -or rather, who- the cause of her poor sleep is. It’s Sir Dawner, the hero! Comedically, he’s still known as D-whatsit to Princess Syalis, until she connects the dots and realizes that this is her hated childhood friend! He is also the root of her childhood problems. Without any hesitation, Syalis dropkicks the hero and dashes away, leaving him to eat her dust. Unfortunately, Sir Dawner is the type to never give up…no matter what’s being done to him.

Sir Dawner has been an interesting character throughout the entire series. He’s basically lucked his way through the Demon Castle’s defenses, though there’s a lot to be said about his upbeat persistence. Still, Syalis wants nothing to do with him, which is where a lot of this part’s comedy stems from. In fact, it’s actually quite funny to see Syalis so strongly dislike her would-be rescuer. Hopefully, if Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle receives a second cour, we’ll get a bit more of Sir Dawner.

It’s shocking to Twilight and the Ten Elders, in large part because they expected Syalis to like Sir Dawner. Instead, it’s clear how much she can’t stand him! From her perspective, he’s just the same kid who caused her trouble as a child. Only now he’s older and just as persistent! It’s easy to see why Princess Syalis does everything she can in her dreams to evade Sir Dawner. Yet the bigger question is how Sir Dawner invaded her dreams in the first place.  In the end, Syalis is able to evade her bad dreams and get good rest. Even better, she unwittingly delays her rescue for a bit longer. It looks like our princess will be staying in this particular castle in the penultimate episode of this series. 

At the end of the day, this was a pretty solid episode, though not much happened. It was a lot of the same foibles and gags, but… honestly felt like filler. While that’s not bad necessarily, it might make viewers anxious, especially considering that the final episode airs the week of Christmas. If this episode came earlier in the season, it might get a pass. However, having such a “weak” episode so late in the season feels underwhelming.

Sleepy Princess episode 11 is another solid entry in what has, thus far, been a truly lovely series. While it’s definitely more filler than anything else, it’s still pretty satisfying as far as comedy goes. Viewers might feel like this is a bit of a weak episode ahead of the finale. However, I think Sleepy Princess episode 11 is a solid breather before whatever episode 12 -the penultimate episode- will bring. 

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is streaming now on Funimation.

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle Episode 11 “The Princess and Troubling Dreams”
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    Rating - 7/10
7/10