Recently, anime adaptations of western culture have become somewhat of an outlandish trend. Not only are these adaptations capitalized by world-building over historical accuracy, but they are also filled with unremarkable plot twists that occur spontaneously. Instead of quality writing and a substantial narrative, one will find uninspired executions of characterization and pretentious attempts at making grandiose, explosive scenes seem more than they really are. Regrettably, Galilei Donna is an anime that exhibits the very shortcomings of this trend.
In retrospect, Galilei Donna had it all: gorgeous sceneries, splendorous mecha battles, and a bizarre but spectacular synopsis. It had the makings of a great sci-fi tale, an epic journey about finding and reconciling with personal insecurities, and an innocent slice of life series. However, because it lacked the patience to blend these elements together harmoniously, Galilei Donna ends up having something of an identity crisis.
Set in the future of metropolitan Italy, Galilei Donna starts by introducing us to the three sisters: Hazuki, Kazuki, and Hozuki. As descendants of Galileo, they are a trio of the Ferrari family, each bearing her own distinct personalities. One day, agents from an enigmatic organization show up to chase after the three sisters, supposedly seeking for a family treasure called the Galileo Tesoro. By the time these agents have encircled the Ferrari family, we find out that the youngest sister Hozuki, a prepubescent girl, just so happens to have a flying goldfish machine to save them from the perpetrators. Before we’re given any other information, we learn that she also miraculously constructed the entire machine by herself. And very conveniently so. Thus begins a traditional game of cat and mouse and treasure hunting.
A story composed largely of coincidences is just a sorry excuse for poor writing. For some reason, this is an inference that Galileo Donna doesn’t seem to understand. See a missile flying towards you?—No worries, a deus ex machina will nullify the belligerence. Stuck in the past?—No tears, an unexplained chemical storm will drain you back to the future. It is ludicrous how, by being so painstakingly unpredictable, this series has become so very predictable.
Moreover, it tries very little to explicate the premise beyond its plot elements, and even when attempted, Galilei Donna does it in a fairly half-baked and frivolous manner. In a way, Galilei Donna could be trying to immerse the viewer in another dimension, however, this usually works atrociously. For instance, whenever Galilei Donna introduces details or tries to add depth to its plot, it’s done so very capriciously, and due to there being little purpose to these gimmicks beyond their initial use, they become arbitrary rather than significant contributions—recyclable instead of irreplaceable characters and causes.
Likewise, there’s also a lavish amount of gratuitous scenes. In general, there are lots of events that occur nonsensically. One scene could present some semi-humorless drama with a dark overtone, while the next would present something completely irrelevant or dissonant with the mood. From one frame to another, Galilei Donna would jump from the cute sisters doing cute things, to a sequence of imposing mecha fights. Unfortunately, this not only creates many discrepancies, but also discredits the overall seriousness of the plot.
Following the lackluster plot, a vast majority of the characters are two-dimensional. Their personalities are mostly caricatured; and their backstories often hackneyed. Out of the three sisters, Hazuki acts dramatically; Kazuki acts conservatively but at times speaks derisively; and Hozuki acts impulsively, yet is given the heaviest duties of the three. Most side characters chiefly serve as caricatures or comic reliefs, and though as humorous as they are, their antics get old by the third—fourth—until which time? There is a decent amount of time spent developing Hozuki’s character, but all of that is annulled each time she regresses back due to her insecurities. Sure, the last episodes provide her with some flair, but even marrying Galileo couldn’t convert a duckling into a swan.
In comparison, the animation is simply splendid. Altogether, the background frameworks and scenery presentations paint a stellar landscape of the setting, and while perhaps overly extravagant, they provide the audience with a stimulating backdrop.
Additionally, there are a decent amount of mouthwatering mecha sequences in Galilei Donna. Poor concepts and designs (a goldfish mecha, really?) aside, the action frames are usually coherent, fluid, and pleasant for the eye. Mecha and action junkies will unlikely be disappointed. In fact, this should be one of the only sensible reasons one should watch Galilei Donna: for the stellar animation.
Similarly, the music delivers some relaxing and vigorous tones. The background music is silent when no sound is required, and switches back on when appropriate. However, the voice acting cast appears to be lacking in some aspects, as there weren’t many outstanding voice talents. Not that there needed to be prominent voice actors or actresses voicing the characters, but the lack of tonal variances and fluctuations made some scenes feel unexpectedly dull and underwhelming.
Mindless entertainment—this is essentially what Galilei Donna is. A farcical story accompanied by insipid characters, Galilei Donna is a series meant to be taken at face value. Cheaply written narratives, convenient story resolutions, and lip-smacking visuals: these are what defines Galilei Donna. Be prompted to witness an in-cohesive mix of mecha battles, pseudo-mystery solving, and cute girls doing cute things. However, if any of those doesn’t sound appealing, avoid Galilei Donna like the plague.