First Impressions – Galilei Donna

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Koyama Rikiya seems to be making a habit of playing weird-looking characters lately.

The other half of the NoitaminA block weighs in with Galilei Donna, which as I said earlier in my Samurai Flamenco post seems like a quite intentional complement to that series in order to appeal to a completely different demographic.  We didn’t all know that much more about this one going in than we did SF, and my overall take on Writer/Director Umetsu Yasuomi’s resume is that it’s kind of a mixed bag.  So it’s fair to say that my expectations for Galilei Donna were more muted than they typically are for a NoitaminA show.

All in all, I’d say this was a pretty interesting episode – a lot more conventional than it appears and a show that at one time I might have said was an odd fit for the NoitaminA block, but the block’s evolution over the last couple of years has essentially rendered that statement meaningless.  Much more so than Samurai Flamenco, GD seems to have the right boxes checked off for commercial success – two hyper-cute schoolgirls, said schoolgirls engaged in acts of violence, mecha, and lots of explosions.

There are three girls at the center of the story, in fact, and they’re all descendants of the legendary genius Galileo Galilei living under the name Ferrari.  Eldest is Hazuki (Shindou Kei), a hard-drinking law student.  Middle is high-schooler Kazuki (Ookubo Rumi), the only dark-haired sister and the one with the least to do in the premiere, where she mostly plays the sulking adolescent.  And the youngest is grade-schooler Hozuki (Hidaka Rina), who seems to have inherited her ancestor’s engineering genius.  There’s no explanation for why three Italian girls living in Italy have Japanese given names, but that’s the least of what isn’t explained here – and maybe scientist (or someone who works in a lab and dresses like a flower child) Dad Geshio (Koyama Rikiya) is supposed to be Japanese.  He’s separated from Mom Sylvia (Kuwashima Houko) who seems to blame him for all the ills of the world, not to mention breaking up the family.

One evening, all three girls are victims of attempted kidnapping at the same time, and while the cops can’t figure out why anyone would care about Galileo’s descendants in this day and age (whatever that’s supposed to be) there’s only one obvious connection.  Turns out supervillain and football (but not women and food) fan Ciccinho (Kamiya Hiroshi) is behind it, trying to get his hands on “Galileo’s inheritance”.  Oh, and he has a giant flying mecha, “Ganymede” (a satellite of Jupiter, largest moon in the Solar System and discovered by Galileo).  But so does Hozuki, which she keeps in the basement, except it seems that the mecha is actually her pet goldfish.  And it’s got big guns.

As wacky as all that sounds, there isn’t as much of a feeling of outrageousness to Galileo Donna as you might expect, at least for me.  It’s loud and a lot of weird stuff happens, but it still feels pretty orthodox in presentation.  Briskly-paced and quite entertaining at times, too.  There’s a ton of CGI – that seems to be the theme this season – but A-1 does better with it than most of the competition.  Despite a terrific track record Hamaguchi Shiro’s score is pretty forgettable and contributes to the sense that the whole is less memorable than the sum of the parts.  I’m mildly curious to see what happens next and whether any of this weirdness is going to be explained, but it doesn’t really seem as if Umetsu is going to take any of it too seriously, instead focusing on making the series a breathless thrill ride where the journey trumps the destination.  Galielo Donna is definitely worth a couple more episodes to see if these impressions are borne out, but at the moment it’s solidly in the “maybe” pile.

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  1. i

    I thought it was okay and had only one moe girl (who looks a bit too much like Uchida from Minami-Ke). Wasn't too bad and might even be good. That ED makes me think of an evolution (or de-evolution depending on how you think) of Eureka 7. It was on par with KnK's premiere for me and gets the same treatment. SF was way better though.

  2. t

    A1 know how to do 1cour anime. as long as they won't mess up with the ending'll be good. no, it is good even now.
    I really didn't expect Mecha stuff/battles…but I love good Mecha and I wanted one this season, GD came just in the nick of time.
    I like the characters and they gave us enough depth in the relationship between them for first episode. moreover, everything was just in place in terms of story, characters and stuff. there are still mysteries like the goldfish, inheritance's stuff and more…but it was established well along side relationship conflicts and characters. next mission is to start emerging between everything (and that unknown prolouge), seems like a tough task but possible consider that debut really did that.

    I don't understand the problem with the language or ethnicity…same goes to RC post (Kairi I think?). it's not like the first time we see anime that takes place outside japan…with characters who speak japanese and has japanese names…what's wrong? S:

    P.S 2
    I must say, now that almost all new anime series has already debuted. as for my first impression for all those new anime, this season really met my expectation(for now). there are good anime(also bad ones) with variety of genre – fantasy, sports, romance, drama, romcom, action. anyone can find at least a few good things (I found a lot more LOL).
    GE – it has probably been busy for u to work around the clock blogging so much FI posts in the last 2 weeks. I've already said it this week – thank you!
    mind me for asking…which anime are you going to blog weekly?it was written somewhere but I can't remember where..S: maybe you changed your mind about some of them…?

  3. Too early to say what the full list is going to be. The ones in the menus are pretty safe bets.

    It just seems odd to me to have a cast full of Italian names, set in Italy, and then have three girls with an Italian family name but Japanese first names. I don't think that's common in anime at all, and I just wondered if there was an explanation.

  4. i

    There are always new frontiers for a few anime girls to go. I'm sure of Uchuu Kyodai was called Uchuu Shimai or Uchuu no Imoutotachi it would sell like crazy.

  5. H

    I enjoyed this show, it was a lot of fun even if it was kind of scant on the explaining. Having Kamiyan as a villain and Koyoma as dad (with some kind of sketchy accent?) was a fun surprise. All three of the sisters got a little tiresome with their behavior, but I think that's part of the setup of the show, that they're not exactly the best of people, at least at the beginning.

  6. M

    I feel a retro vibe coming from this anime too.

  7. J

    I must have a Goldfish with Machine Gun T-Shirt!

  8. t

    The girls are 13, 17 and 20. Hozuki is in middle school, not grade school but she's still super cute!

  9. K

    Everytime I hear Koyama Rikiya's voice, I get an image of a ruthless assassin inside a pink bunny doll.

  10. With big lips?

  11. E

    I hope they travel the world on the goldfish mechablimp while dodging the fabulous sky pirate and engage in warm and fuzzy family antibonding.

    Lots of potential for the world-building part of the show, can't wait to see how this one goes.

  12. Z

    I'm assuming it needs more character drama to make it into the definite pile.

    The action scenes are good, as you would expect from Umetsu.

  13. H

    Overall I thought this show sold itself better of the Fuji block as an introduction to its world and characters. Hope they continue to build the sisters' relationship which felt quite organic. My hopes dropped a bit when final fantasy guy literally gate crashed. The art is nice but the CG during the chase was an eyesore for me.

  14. M

    Very very retro and steampunk. Love it.

  15. T

    If nothing else this was more entertaining than I thought it would be (As usual I decided to watch this show out of a pretty dumb reason via a bored browsing through tumblr…) Much like how with Samurai Flameco I was hoping this wouldn't be another stock yuri show with ROBOTZ but I wa relieved to find that the three girls were siblings and all of different age ranges. I'm curious to see what happens next too, but for me Ciccinho stole the show, that was one of the most nonchalant break-in's I've seen in quite a while… Well both Nomination A shows are added to my watch lists(for the moment), and I thought it was only going to be Kyousogiga (favorite sofar) Kill la Kill(Man I wish I could see this in HD) and KnK(Eh…Kyoani is doing action for once…)

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