Falsely accused of doing attack runs on power plants, the three Galilei sisters go on the run. As descendants of Galileo Galilei, they also undertake a journey to find the Galilei Tesoro, a solution to the severe power shortage that's sending the sisters' home planet into a severe cold season. On their heels, though, are the organisation that framed the sisters, and they have their own ambitions about the Tesoro.
"It gets better". I've been told that often enough. Sometimes, it's even true. The debate of the "it gets better" excuse is also one that can possibly be argued on whether it can save a show from a terrible first impression. It's not easy.
Considerably easier, however, is the statement "it gets worse". That's the sort of thing that can really break a show, and there is no salvation for a show once it jumps the shark, regardless of who is to blame for the absurd disaster on display. Sadly, Galileo Donna is such a disaster, and there is no saving it from itself once that giant boulder starts rolling down the mountain side.
Galilei Donna starts off pretty damn exciting; the family starts off being attacked by... presumably government agents?... right off the bat, and the sisters meet up with their mother and father, deep in the throes of separation arguments, just as their home is attacked by air pirates. One episode, and everything just goes to crap for the three girls. Can you blame me for thinking the show might be interesting?
The second episode kept up the pace from the first with an arrest followed by a rescue mission where youngest sister Hozuki gets to show off her engineering chops to full extent, and even her parents get a chance to shine. The whole thing is tense and exciting, and leave the girls heading out on a treasure hunt, while thinking their parents are dead. Though the show itself negates this pretty quickly, it also plays the dreaded amnesia card with one of them. Should I have realized it then? Maybe.
Or maybe I should have realized it when the following treasure hunt turns a good deal more sedate compared to the opening episodes. While it makes sense from a logical perspective -- our evil corporate villain does, after all, want the girls to find the Galilei Tesoro -- it feels a little bit like the show is running out of steam, which is kind of appropriate in an ironically amusing way.
Various first impressions aside, one of the consistent upsides to the show is the main characters, primarly the sisters. While the oldest, Hazuki, made a bad one for being a terrible drunk (partially excused since she WAS attacked), she really made up for it by being one of the driving forces behind the sisters' actions and almost being the mom their real mother kind of failed at being. Kazuki, the middle sister, wavered a bit. Despite being very adept at martial arts, she spent most of the time whining and wanting to give the villains what they wanted, despite the obviousness of how much of a bad idea that is.
But it's Hozuki, the youngest, who really steals the show. Granted, I'm not going to deny part of that is because she's adorable as sin, but she also does a lot of amazing things during the show itself. She built the ship the sisters are travelling in, and she's the one who actually figures out most of the riddles regarding Galilei's inheritance, from the sketches to the Tesoro itself.
The main problem of Galilei Donna still ends up being the story. Once the treasure hunt gets started, it turns into a fragmented place-to-place adventure that seems to have little bearing on each other save for the "now we have X number of pages" roundup at the end, and each of the episodes have little to nothing to do with Galilei's inheritance save for the whole energy shortage crisis hanging over the world they live in. Some subplots just feels phoned in, like the one where a whole city of refugees is sacrificed because of the selfishness of one man, punctuated quite heavily when we get to bear witness to two of the children being evaporated in the ensuing missile storm that blows up the whole place.
It also doesn't help that the villains in this series is the worst and most illogical representation of corporate sleaze; the hoarding, cackling kind that will kill potential customers for the chance of running a monopoly. The (im)moral posturing gets especially bad with their hired hand; a ruthless assassin who shoots anyone point blank range just before his sob story that supposedly explains his motivation. And don't even get me started on the courtroom sequence in the last episode.
And yes, the show ends with a full courtroom scene, immediately following a two-episode time travel arc. The Galilei Tesoro, being the amazing gadget that it is, apparently has the power to throw its wielder back in time, conveniently allowing Hozuki the chance to meet her namesake ancestor. I'm going to ask for your forgiveness for spoiling this, but really... it was one of the biggest "you have got to be kidding me" moments in the entire show, and after a magnificent Evil Knievel moment straight into a shark mouth, the show never really recovers.
Word on the grapewine has it that Galilei Donna was supposed to last for two cours on the noitaminA time slot, but got shafted with only one. This would go some way in explaining the downright terrible ending of this show. The decision to have one of the characters arbitrarily travel back in time was bad enough, but the way the show settled everything after that is just insulting. Yasuomi Umetsu has my sympathy -- really, he does -- but I can't in good conscience give my recommendations to a show that falls apart in such a spectacular fashion at the end.
Gets off to a good start on the strength of the three sisters and the exciting beginning, but really falls apart in the last half. Hence, two stars. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Aside from typical action violence and deaths, there is a scene somewhere in the middle of the show where one of the main antagonist literally executes a lot of people by basically shooting them point blank range, often directly in the head. There is a shower scene at the beginning of the series, but I don't really remember any major fanservice taking place. It's a relatively clean show in that regard.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (11/11)
Galilei Donna © 2013 A-1 Pictures, Aniplex.
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