The very last scene of Galilei Donna’s eleventh episode is the Earth with the word “Fine” hovering in view. Sure it’s Italian for “end”, but I can’t help feel like it was an exclamation from the production team along the lines of “Fine! Whatever! See if we care!” That’s certainly how the series comes across after such an unsatisfying ending and what feels like ten episodes of build-up - about the same sort of rate that a full twenty-four episode series would take - and a single episode of utter ridiculousness.
The setup is nuts and bolts basic: little genius girl builds a futuristic aircraft and goes off on adventures with her sisters while being chased by a sinister energy conglomerate and sky pirates. Oh and they’re all descendants of Galileo Galilei which is only important because they’re hunting for MacGuffins that used to belong to him. Ostensibly because he created an energy source and that’s the thing that can break the evil energy corporations grip on the world except this is more or less forgotten about as soon as it’s introduced.
It’s not the only thing swept under the rug either. The rhythmically strange opening puts each of the three lead sisters into their respective career pigeonhole, the middle child’s karate expertise is used only twice, both within the first two episodes. The rest of the time she spends whining like a over-privileged brat without respite or, critically, without comeuppance. It’s perhaps the series’ first major misstep but certainly not its last.
For instance, after the audience is subjected to his trite back story, the lead antagonist institutes an up-close and personal massacre and shows little to no remorse and suffers no consequence for it. Even the leading cast members are somewhat unmoved, gliding through a story of equal parts horror and trauma as wonder and goodness with only a fleeting wince towards those they’ve left behind. Not surprising really when despite a beautifully snowy world, events feel disparate and ham-fistedly cobbled together rather than gelling together into a coherent story.
All of this culminates in a court showdown between the three sisters and the nefarious mega-company that takes all of its cues from Phoenix Wright games rather than actual court procedure. The result is a pants-on-head stupid conclusion that ties off none of the ongoing storylines and resolves none of the ongoing relationships. The flamboyantly dressed sky pirate boss with romantic overtures towards the eldest Galileo sister? He was just after a pendant! That energy crisis facing the world? This Galileo nonsense can maybe, probably, kind of sort that.
It’s disappointing when behind the muddled treasure hunt, the scrappy and wildly varying animation and the constant plot gaffes (why does the antagonist extraordinaire steal the only method for finding the last treasure?) is some well hidden feeling. Feelings about family and connecting with people with a David and Goliath setting that are unfortunately so poorly constructed as to be worthless even if you care to look.
Galileo Donna is disappointing for not fulfilling any of the stories it set out to tell. The production budget was likely blown on a visit to Italy for reference material to create some sumptuous if underused backdrops; the writers then told two thirds of the way through airing that they had only three episodes to tie everything up. Haphazardly presented in all aspects and a dramatic damp squib, the series promised little and delivered even less. It doesn’t even make use of the band Galileo Galilei, with a name like that it would seem almost a requirement…