The descendants of Galileo Galelei are finding their lives turned upside down as Ferrari sisters may have the key to saving the world.
What They Say:
Galilei Donna follows the three Ferrari sisters who are descendents of the astronomer, Galileo Galilei. The year is 2061 and the world is in the grips of another ice age. With a mysterious organization hunting them down and searching for the “Galilei Donna”, the three sisters must work together to fight against the organization and discover their true destinies.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the things I look forward to every season is to see what kind of original series step up to the plate. There’s a lot to like with manga adaptations and definitely a lot to like with light novel adaptations, but the real passion I have is when it comes to original works since they tend to have a beginning, middle and end to them and will take more chances. Even more so when it comes to the noitaminA block since they take even more chances and work with sometimes smaller episode runs. Such is the case with Galilei Donna, which brought Yasuomi Umetsu back to the directors chair to help this A-1 Pictures production. It’s like a mini dream team come together for me. I had missed the show in its weekly simulcast run and instead marathoned after it finished. And came away absolutely loving it.
The show takes us to a near future alternate world where it’s 2061 and we’re introduced to the three Ferrari sisters, who are the descendants of Galileo Galilei. The eldest is Hazuki, a smart young woman who is working to become a lawyer, the middle is Kazuki, a dark haired young woman who fits into the action mold of the trio while the youngest is Hozuki, a thirteen year old genius girl who can seemingly build anything and is ahead of her time in many ways. The girls live with their mother, Sylvia Ferrari, who works for the worldwide company Adni Moon, which is based out of Italy. She’s estranged from her husband Geshio, a man she met in Japan in her youth and totally fell for. He’s involved in their lives to some degree but lives elsewhere in the city. Hozuki is kind of similar in a way as she has her own warehouse that she does a lot of her work out of that’s part of the family structure that contains a lot of old family materials.
We get the usual kinds of introductions, but it shifts to action quickly as it turns out that the sisters are being sought after by a number of different factions because of their lineage. Though they don’t really play it up themselves or connect with it outside of Hozuki being an inspired genius herself that comes across as a slightly shy and introverted young woman, their connection to the past is key here. The world is starting to experience an energy crisis as the type of methane that they use to power things has been the subject of a variety of attacks from sky pirates and it’s throwing everything into chaos. And those sky pirates, or at least one group of them from the Black Ganymede, are following up on the rumor that the Ferrari sisters have the secret to a new energy source. Similarly, Adni Moon is orchestrating their own hunt for the sisters with a secretive black ops group known as Messier. And there’s also a young woman named Anna Hendricks who stumbled upon some secret passages in the Paradise Lost novel that got her to research Galileo a lot, which brought her down to Italy as well to find the sisters.
Naturally, the show turns into a road trip on the run kind of series since all these things hit at once and that means the sisters have to flee. Anna ends up coming along with them and ends up kind of serving as the adult of the group, which they definitely need. Luckily for the sisters, Hozuki has sort of been planning on a trip and has designed herself a wonderful airship of her own, shaped like a goldfish, that’s also fully weaponized. She had intended to go to Japan at some point because of her own interest in the land but also because of their heritage there though her father as she wanted to visit her grandfather that she’s never met, unlike her sisters. The ship, which gets named the Galileo, is an interesting mix of technology as it almost feels like steampunk in some ways but with some polish and some Japanese quirks to it. The best part is that the AI she’s built for it comes out as a virtual goldfish that flies around the interior of the ship and interacts with everyone in a mostly serious way. It adds an extra voice to the group and a confidant for Hozuki to interact with since her sisters have a difficult time interacting with her.
The structure of the show is straightforward as the girls try to discover Galileo’s secret, to find the Galileo Tesoro that could provide the answer the world needs, and they have to do it through finding six sketches of his that have been scattered throughout the world since his time in the late 1500’s. With a couple in hand, the journey takes them both north and to Japan, so we get a few different locations, some new characters that pop up for individual episodes and the overall growing bond that comes from being on the road, which also extends to Anna as they spend so much time together. The travel aspect has its moments of action since you have the two groups after them, with the darker Messier group that has aims to eliminate them after acquiring what it needs while the sky pirates are almost interested in a bit of romance in a way between its leader and Hazuki. It has all the classic elements of a sister-group on the run like this and while familiar, it manages to endear nicely.
The series does take an awkward approach towards the end that does admittedly feel a bit weird and rather Japanese, as we get a two episode time travel piece that throws Hozuki to meet the young man Galileo who is struggling with many things. It’s not an outright romance, but there’s a certain level of feeling and attraction that comes up there that ties well to other areas. It’s just not what I expected, though obviously there’s no real squick factor in terms of relationship since it’s been nearly five hundred years between them and the genetics are very, very different. It’s a fun little paradox piece too since a lot of what Hozuki does in the past influences the future in many ways, including the path they’re on in general. That can make for a few headscratchers and moments where it just gets weird, but it surprisingly manages to work in a light and rather engaging way.
Ending the show with an episode spent in court in 2061 to answer for crimes they’ve been framed with? That’s just odd, but again, it manages to work by tying everything together. What got me with this series is just how smooth it flowed when marathoned like I did. The characters are fairly standard, though they avoid wild takes and being overly flamboyant or problematic, and that allows you to enjoy a mostly normal group of people in a difficult situation struggling with it as the answers are slowly teased out through the adventure itself. It naturally gets a bit praise-worthy of Japan as it moves towards that part of the series, but beyond that it provides a very nicely executed and rather appealing show in terms of style and execution. I didn’t have high expectations going into this show because it does sound like an odd premise, but I found myself really enjoying it a lot as it went on.
I can’t imagine the kind of pitch session that went on to get a series created about three young women that are descendants of Galileo in 2061. The show has an unusual concept to be sure and that’s a big part of the hook that can draw you in because you want to see what they can do with it. With A-1 Pictures animating it and bringing Yasuomi Umetsu back into the directors chair, we get a series that moves quickly and smoothly across the main story it wants to tell, giving us a beginning, middle, dip into the past and then an end while still being open about where it could potentially go. I liked the show well enough at the start for its quirks and what it brought into play, but the more it went on the more I got caught up in it, enjoying the characters, their personalities and the way the story comes together. It’s serious in its own way but it’s a light kind of serious that keeps it breezy and engaging with style and a polished execution. I already feel like I want to watch it again.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.