I am truly at a loss for words this week. Galilei Donna is now a completely different show; the writing, the direction, the characterization, it is like a reborn product. I dare say that before the end of the season I’ll be considering it….good.
Not to say that it is as good as I am probably making it out to be. I’m sure in a couple months when I’m looking back for the series recap, it will stand as mediocre. But after what we have had to endure from this show, after the mess of problems that its writing has had, to suddenly find myself not just entertained, but interested….the phenomena alone is keeping me glued. I truly cannot believe that this is the same show that one month ago I was rabidly foaming at the mouth, swearing like a sailor at my bad luck in choosing it to follow this season, saving it until I was obligated by my schedule to NEED to watch it. I think I’m just blindsided. Not only as a critic but as a viewer as well. I feel dizzy and like the haze needs to lift before I can appreciate it fully.
We open on the final sketch. The mood is perfect. Dark. Nervous. Ambivalent. The girls have collected the sketches, but what now? We know Roberto has his own plans. And we see Anna trying to talk herself out of panicking. The entire atmosphere of this first half is nothing but dread. It’s effective, it’s stunning for this series to finally nail the mood right. Because that is the truth about this show: It was never about the scavenger hunt. Which may explain why all of the early episodes sucked on ice. And when the Galileo can’t fight because it’s out of fuel, I didn’t even blink at the thought that Anna sabotaged it. By this point, it only felt natural that the girls were on their last legs. Because that is the kind of “kick our darlings while they’re down” show this is. And I’m really loving it for that.
Anna is revealed as Adnimoon’s spy. I liked that Hozuki detected it, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was a tad sueish for our moe mech girl to do it. I’d have much preferred Kazuki, who is more used to viewing people “from the outside” and a practiced observer without getting attached, or Hazuki, who would certainly have detected the abrupt change in Anna’s mood, her lack of zany, mad genius that obsesses over everything Galileo. I’d think finding herself the most enthusiastic person on this little ship would have been detectable even to Hazuki’s thick skull.
But despite her love for Roberto, Anna can’t bring herself to kill the girls, and while giving Adnimoon the sketches, she starts a standoff. See, Roberto, never give the gun to the crazy girl you think might be compromised. Not without a backup plan at least.
This turns into the biggest shoot-em-up of Galilei Donna’s run. Missiles, combat drones, the Ganymede arriving to cover the girls’ escape (and quite possibly risking real death to do so), it’s a frantic firefight that just builds on that feeling of dread. Galilei Donna has mastered the art of letting you know that your main characters are fucked right up the ass.
Ah, time travel. Our resident genius Hozuki swapped out the Galileo Tesoro for a fake before Kazuki gave it to Roberto. Now that she has the frame back, she’s swapped the real one in, hoping desperately for some miracle.
Well a miracle she receives. She ends up thrown hundreds of years into the past, meeting who else but her ancestor, Galileo Galilei.
Of course this is where the show’s roots as a cheap DaVinci code rip-off bare themselves best. While the real Galileo was many things, genius mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, something he was NOT was an inventor of contraptions. The closest he got was the “modern” telescope. Certainly not a DaVinci style flying machine. So Hozuki is thrown through a storm that appears in the sky every 23 days. She must spent the next month helping Galileo build his flying machine.
An interesting bit of information, Hozuki makes note, twice, of how warm the breeze is. This world…the one the series has followed thus far, has always been shown as cold. I thought it was probably just winter…but when given a choice, when was the last time an anime was set in winter? I can think of Wolf’s Rain, which chose that climate for a reason. I don’t think it’s too big a stretch to assume that this is related to the Tesoro. Is this planet suffering from some form of entropy? (Whatever you do, Hozuki, DON’T MAKE A WISH) Is the current cold climate a result of whatever energy Adnimoon has been siphoning from the planet? We’ll find out.
When Hozuki left, she left her sisters moments from being killed. Will she return in time to save them…or will they ultimately die horribly?
I really want to find out. So good on you, Galilei Donna.