Final Impressions: Galilei Donna


Time travel first, objections later

It's been a rough ride on board the home-made goldfish airship along with the three descendants of Galileo Galilei. It's also a learning experience; Galilei Donna is a textbook example of both what you can do with suspension of belief, and some examples of what not to do to mess with that magical realism many anime rely on to make fantasy work. If anything, however, Galilei Donna is consistently inconsistent--the final episode puts a pretty ribbon on top, but leaves me wondering what it has left on the table.

Following their arrest, the three sisters ended up in custody, and what happen in this week's Galilei Donna is an episode of Hazuki Ferrari: Ace Attorney. [Editor's Note: I kept waiting to hear that Law & Order "Chu-CHUNG!" sound.] Both the Adni Moon group and the Galilei Donna throw evidence every which way in an attempt to reveal the truth. It feels like one of those "replay" novels where authors play a tabletop RPG, complete with thick narratives about what each character does, why they do it, and how it's done. Except it's done using a legal trial instead of swords and spells. Our law student sister gets her day in the sun, or at the defendant's table in this case. How many times can she scream "Objection!"? I lost count.


Let us address the biggest problem I have with this series: Galilei Donna engages with serious issues with all the weighty intensity of a feather. It isn't a comedy, but the adventure is as exciting as a bunch of clowns in an airship. Granted our clowns are all kinds of cute, emotional and dynamic, and one of them is even a traitor-turned-good-girl. I guess that's the thing--on paper, this is a grand adventure in the making. In reality, there isn't any driving motivation behind it, even after learning that Galileo Tesoro is the cure for the ice age. Or maybe we should learn about that first? Or rather, the problem isn't that the ice age is coming, but that there's an evil company hounding them and trying to make money at the expense of people's welfare? And the way to beat them has nothing to do with the trip itself, but everything to do with exposing the evil deeds of this company. Humanity might have been okay even without the Galileo's miracle compound.

Yes, obviously

I mean, why is the last episode spent inside a courthouse? Do the rule of law and human decency counting for nothing in Galilei Donna's world? Clearly, that's not the case. So why this treasure hunt? I'm not sure if it's closer to Ace Attorney or My Cousin Vinny; I'll give it the benefit of doubt and say it's both. I hope Kei Shindo, the voice of Hazuki, is a fan of the Ace Attorney series, especially Phoneix Wright's dramatic objections. They sure sound fun to sound off, overruled or not.

Ultimately, the finale episode was well-executed. There are all these clumsy hand-waves, both in terms of the trial, the somewhat-biased judge, and ultimately how Mom, Dad, Anna and Mr. Black Ganymede were able to turn the tables on Adni Moon by using the sister's exploits as a spotlight for the public. It's almost funny how easily Kazuki's crush totally lost faith in her during the trial, causing her to give up on him, given all those emo stares we had to sit through throughout the series. While not every loose end was wrapped up, generally things ended on a good note. I think at the same time they could've gone further and let the viewers really swim in the afterglow of the series, though. I mean, that's really the most enjoyable thing about Galilei Donna; that everything is ultimately a feel-good trope.

Galileo is the father of moe

Galilei Donna is a silly and fun series on noitaminA, but it also deals with some serious themes such as the nature of energy use in Japan and how we should take responsibility for it. In light of Japan's post-3/11 energy issues, it's quite serious. It's even quite meticulous when you examine the various plot details and elements. But at the same time the creator of Mezzo plays things loose in the way he has been known to do so, and the plot meanders like a run-on sentence. Perhaps in the end, it did end well (and all's well that end's well), but I expect more out of a noitaminA show that looks this good. The opening animation is still a treat 11 weeks later, after all.


[Find the inheritance on Crunchyroll!]

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Jeff Chuang
Jeff ChuangAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Yet to be the oldest kid on the block, this East Coast implant writes cryptic things about JP folklore, the industry or dirty moe. Attend cons and lives the "I can buy Aniplex releases" life. ... more + disclosures



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