Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Vol. 1

By Kagiji Kumanomata. Originally released in Japan as “Maou-jou de Oyasumi” by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Sunday. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki. Adapted by Annette Roman

Yes, it’s another entry in what’s turning out to be a long series of “it only has one gag, but it’s a great gag” manga. Actually, the last one I wrote up that had a similar feel was Satan’s Secretary, and the two series are not dissimilar: human is kidnapped and taken to demon lord’s castle, where they proceed to have the run of the place, much to the frustration of some of the demons. But where the secretary in the other title took over by simply competence and hard work, Princess Syalis just wants to sleep. And she’ll do anything to ensure that she can get a good night’s rest. That “anything” is what drives this comedic title, which despite its fantasy-sounding name is actually in shonen Sunday, one of the three big weekly magazines for boys. That said, this would not be too out of place in one of the Big Comic titles, or even Betsucomi. Its comedy is sui generis.

So yes, Princess Syalis, who appears to be somewhere between six and eighteen, as with a lot of manga characters, has been kidnapped by the demon lord. The people of the Kingdom are horrified, and the hero and a few other folks make the occasional attempt to rescue her. They fear for what horrible tortures she’s undergoing. In fact, she’s merely locked up in a room with nothing to do but sleep. Sadly, for the demon lord, torture may have been a better option: Syalis really likes her sleep, and gets annoyed when anything makes it less of a perfect experience. And so, in a demon castle surrounded by horrifying monsters, she sets out to get a fluffier pillow, softer bedding, a mosquito net, and other amenities that ensure she gets a good night’s rest. She also, by bribing her guards, has the run of the castle to obtain such things, which is unfortunate as while she’s the heroine she’s not invulnerable.

I think it was around “Oh, princess, you must have fallen in the molten lava again!” that I really began to seriously enjoy this title. Syalis is incredibly selfish and hyperfocused, but is also fairly emotionally “stoic”, so it comes off more as cute social ineptness rather than pure evil. Plus the reactions of the demons around the castle (the lord is mostly absent except for one or two chapters) are what really make the title. The guards are teddy bears, the demon king’s secretary is a dog man with a fluffy chest Syalis can sleep against, and even the Michelin Man shows up, though everyone is very careful to dance around the fact that he’s clearly the Michelin Man. The chapters are only about 8 pages long, so it’s definitely in the ‘gag manga’ category. That said, as with other titles of this ilk, the main worry is how long it can keep up its one gag. It’s seven volumes and counting in Japan, so it’s managing it so far, but I hope Syalis doesn’t wear out her welcome. Well, any more than she already has in story.

If you picked this up based on the title and were expecting a quiet fantasy, you’re out of luck. But if you wanted something funny, then this is the title for you. Enjoy watching Syalis sleep By Any Means Necessary.

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