Sleeping beauty is a holy terror for the demons who have taken her captive.
Story/Art: Kagiji Kumanomata
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adaptation: Annette Roman
What They Say
Kidnapped by the Demon King and imprisoned in his castle, Princess Syalis is… bored. She decides to while away the hours by sleeping, but getting a good night’s rest turns out to be a lot of work! She begins by fashioning a DIY pillow out of the fur of her Teddy Demon guards and an “air mattress” from the magical Shield of the Wind. The princess’s hapless demonic guards soon discover that their captive expects to be treated like, well, a princess. Things go from bad to worse—for her captors—when some of Princess Syalis’s schemes end in her untimely—if temporary—demise and she chooses the Forbidden Grimoire for her bedtime reading…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Somewhere between Sleeping Beauty and the Princess and the Pea lies Syalis, the Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle. Her full name of Aurora Sya Lis Goodereste tells you exactly how seriously this story is taking its subject matter. This is a comedy told in short ten-page chapters as Syalis takes her captivity with a good-natured patience, but she is still a princess and demands the finer things in life.
Like sleep. Woe be to anyone who interrupts her sleep.
Her captors have to put up with her Martha Stewart DIY activities as she plunders the castle looking for creature comforts. Cutting down ghosts to make sheets from their skins, stealing sleeping potions, adopting demon teddy bears as cuddly pets, attacking the Michelin Man (oh wait, off-brand Michelin Man) she remains unfazed by the denizens of the demon lord’s castle. The story does point out that once upon a time demons and humans lived together in harmony so maybe she’s just used to their appearances, which are more on the cute and whimsical side than scary.
The story doesn’t just pull from fairy tales but video games as well, as a kidnapped princess is a classic motivation for a hero. Syalis does have a hero trying to reach the castle to rescue her, and the Demon King is less of a tyrant and more of a dungeon master whose trying to craft the best campaign for his hero. It’s just that the princess keeps inadvertently screwing up all his best-laid plans for her rescue.
In fact, every time the princess accidentally kills herself the Demon King tries to set down new rules to keep her and his minions safe. Like many older video games, many of the monsters of the demon realm don’t even have names of their own and are simply called by their generic species or title. Syalis is the most dangerous creature in the castle by far, but even she is no match for a pit of lava. Luckily the Demon Cleric is there to keep resurrecting her.
This isn’t a fire and forget style of comedy. There is a throughline to the events as they happen in the series, sometimes with unmarked time passing between chapters, but it’s clear that situations are setting up later situations. Speaking of time, I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly how old Syalis is supposed to be. Her perpetual half-lidded look and intelligence don’t mesh with her childish looks. They purposefully leave her age as two question marks. The fact everyone is being run ragged by this petit princess just adds to the hilarity.
The bite-sized chapters make for swift reading, but each one is jam-packed with small details in the art. This is seriously some of the most detailed manga artwork I’ve read in a while. Syalis’s dress is quite complicated and that alone must take up a lot of time to constantly draw. This series runs in Weekly Shonen Sunday in Japan, and thus it’s a bit more free-form than the stuff we usually see Viz publishing. I had to keep checking to make sure this wasn’t from certain other English publishers.
A damsel in distress doesn’t have to take it lying down, but Syalis does it with style. Sleepy Princess is a lot of fun tucked into a compact rolling catalog of comedic situations. For a story where most of the characters don’t even have proper names, they certainly are a charming bunch. I don’t know how long it will be able to keep up the comedy without a tighter plot, but as of now it’s an amusing and goofy sitcom, and fun harmless comedies like this don’t seem to come over in English very often. Especially not ones with a fantasy theme.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: June 12, 2018
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CN / £6.99 UK