[Episode Review] Galilei Donna Episode 1

Time for my 2nd series I am blogging for the Fall 2013 Season:
Galilei Donna

Director and Original Concept : Yasuomi Umetsu (Kite, Mezzo)
Original Concept: Yasuomi Umetsu
Character Design and Chief Animation Director : Shingo Adachi (Sword Art Online, Working!!)
Music: Shiroh Hamaguchi (Ah! My Goddess, Girls und Panzer, Hanasaku Iroha, Tari Tari)
Mechanical design: Niθ (Blassreiter, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse)
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures

Broadcast on Fuji TV’s noitaminA Block

Synopsis: (From ANN)

In 2061, global warming is a thing of the past as a new ice age covers the world. Hozuki, Hazaki, and Kazaki Ferrari, three descendents of Galileo, live in Tuscany. A mysterious organization is searching for the “Galilei Donna,” and put out an international arrest warrant for the three sisters. The sisters must put aside their differences to join forces in fighting the organization and learning their true destiny

Impressions:
WOW!

Just… WOW!

This show really impressed me. The opening scenes, which consist of a mecha attack, from a fish-shaped mother ship, on a methane hydrate plant that is not particularly connected to anything else in the story, yet. It continues with the simultaneous attempted kidnappings of three very different sisters:

Hozuki Ferrari – A middle-schooler, she is the youngest of the sisters. She appears to be a mechanical genius who would rather spend her time in her incredibly high security basement lab than socialize. She also has a pet goldfish with an attitude. (When I say high security, I mean the type of security you would expect at a high end government lab, with retinal scanners, weight verification, and keypad pin entry required to gain entry, only after knowing how to access the security system in the first place. I doubt that her parents or sisters could get into that lab!) Think of Hozuki as Skuld from Ah! My Goddess without being quite so annoying. She is just about as cute as can be, brilliant, and just pure awesomeness!

Hazuki Ferrari – The oldest of the sisters. She is a law school student who appears to be flunking out of school. She complains about paying money for classes but not getting the units and wonders if she should just go to class anyway. She also seems to have a bit of a drinking problem, being drunk in the middle of the day at the beginning and later admitting to the middle sister that she drinks to forget her problems. She has a very ‘litigious’ manner of behaving, frequently threatening to sue people or telling them what the penalty is for their transgressions if they are doing something like, oh, trying to kidnap her. She is spunky, gorgeous, and absolutely wonderful! (It is so nice to have a beautiful young woman as one of the main characters and not just the moe beyond belief little sister!)

Kazuki Ferrari – The middle sister. She is the least defined after the first episode. She appears to be a bit of a loner, preferring not to take part in group activities at her high school. She  is also a martial artist, and a pretty good one from the looks of things. She has a crush on a boy at her school, but I can’t tell if that is going to go anywhere or not. For the most part, she just seems kind of emo and whiny. I hope we get to know her better along the way.

The three sisters are descendants of the father of modern science: Galileeo Galilei. (On their mother’s side.) Each of them thwarts the kidnapping attempt either alone or with a little help from a friend.

Hazuki’s kidnapper is “scared away” when her friend yells for someone to call the cops. It is unclear that that friend is not actually working with the kidnappers at this point though…

Kazuki, who is accosted in the school infirmary by a thug with a knife, takes the guy out herself with some deadly looking karate skills. I really am not sure if her assailant is still alive at the end of the confrontation. Crushed windpipes tend to have lasting repercussions on one’s health…

Hozuki is probably the most impressive by far. She is being chased by a mecha of some sort while riding on a little pedal-driven scooter. That scooter is probably the coolest scooter ever dreamed up for any show! It not only has a rocket-powered mode, but it also folds into a convenient to carry briefcase sized box and then converts into a kick-ass stun gun capable of taking down said mecha.

As the story continues, we find that the three sisters not only appear to be quite different, they also don’t seem to get along very well. In addition, their mother and father are separated, with Hozuki living with dad in the messy family home with her lab in the basement and Kazuki apparently living with mom. Mom is a bit of a harpy, nagging the girls about their lifestyles and how they are a disgrace to their famous ancestor’s blood line. Meanwhile, dad is a bit of a hippy with a laid-back, messy but organized lifestyle.

Once the police determine that the girls need to live in a more consolidated manner in order to be protected, they go to pick up Hozuki’s things from the family home so she can move in with mom, who has better security at her apartment. However, the police don’t get the opportunity to protect them, as a smarmy red-haired guy invades their home quite violently and starts demanding information on “Galileo’s inheritance” which none of the Ferrari family seem to know anything about. There is some well done one-liners here, such as the red-head, holding them at gun-point,  saying ‘Let’s see you raise your hand before you ask any questions” when he pulls a gun out, as well as, “… let me add… If you make a single move, I’ll shoot.” To which Hazuki responds under her breath, “Then how can we raise our hands?”

Since he doesn’t want to miss the World Cup qualifier, he is going to drag the family away in his fish themed mecha. (The mecha all seem to be kind of fish shaped.) Sparks fly between the wannabe lawyer and the scumbag (her term) leading one of the flunkies to comment “They’re like oil and water.”

However, the would be abductor has not taken the smallest Ferrari into account. Hozuki has gone back down to her basement lab, where she had gone to feed her fish earlier, and activates a mecha that is one of the cutest, and most impressive, little homemade ships I have ever seen.

The action starts fast and furious, continues at that pace, slowing down only long enough to introduce our characters and toss a bit of verbal sparing back and forth between them. In a way, Hazuki’s verbal assaults are nearly as action filled as the mecha scenes or the attempted kidnappings. Apparently the director and creator, Yasuomi Umetsu, is known as a master of pacing for action shows and it appears that he is in good form here. In short, it is that rarest of beasts: A show that balances action, character development, world building, mystery, and humor without dropping the ball on any of them.

A truly promising start to what could very well be the best show of the season, or perhaps the year. (If you read my glowing review of Episode 1 of Golden Time, you will appreciate how surprising I found that! I really didn’t expect anything to impress me more than Golden Time, but then again, this is only 11 episodes, so it will be over long before the jury is out on the other show with law students as main characters.)

It is fairly clear that one of the primary themes of the show will be reconciliation, with this family of eccentrics who have trouble getting along learning to trust and rely upon one another in addition to remembering that they truly do love each other. (Sisters and parents alike.)

I look forward to more of the Galileo Sisters, a name they really don’t like, BTW!

Music:

Another series with extremely strong music! The OP (“Synchromania” by Negoto) reminds me quite a bit of the original OP from Majestic Prince. It has a nice, fast paced power pop rhythm with wonderful orchestration and a hint of mystery.

Slideshow of screen shots from the OP

The ED (“Innocent” by earthmind) is an upbeat J-Pop tune with a positive vibe that gives the impression that the show will not be too heavy or twisted. (This could be misleading, but that’s my take at this point.) The images in the ED, with the family working together at various tasks, then gazing at their destination, which certainly looks like Europa, one of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, suggests that the show is headed to space to find out what exactly is going on and why the three sisters are so important. It is also a very, very nice tune.

Slideshow of screen shots from the ED

The background music in the episode is extremely well done, ranging from hard driving action music in the chase and mecha battle scenes to ominous, mysterious, and suspenseful tunes for the mystery and abduction scenes to more lighthearted music when the three girls are being railed on by their mother. But more importantly, the director knows when to let the sound go to the background and let the characters carry the scene.

Overall, the series shows great promise.

Slideshow of screen shots from Episodes 1

{ Leave a Reply ? }

  1. CharlieZ

    “the best show of the season” hummm… I think the first minutes were impressive but when you saw the “talkative fish” I felt like this show gonna su*k for real…but I’ll watch more episodes. I’d say Kyoukai no Kanata is a serious candidate for the best show of the season.

    • Chuj

      Kyoukai no Kanata sucked all way till now… only few last episodes were interesting. And this “fuiukai desu” nonstop… ah man, i liked “yukki, yukki, yukki, yukki, yukki, yukki” from Mirai Nikki, i also like “Juudaime” from KHR but Fuiukai? Gimme a break

  2. MegaTuga

    I think I’m just going to love this show just for Hozuki… and her gadgets. Seriously. As a techno-geek, I am really impressed with how her bike converted into a suitcase and a missile launcher on the go, over everything else.

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