Estranged sisters make for awkward family photos.
Every season, there are always a handful of shows that, thanks to a solid and interesting premise, start off in a very promising way, but then quickly fade after a couple of episodes because the execution fails to live up to the expectations set by the premiere. Galilei Donna so far seems to have flipped the script with a weak premise but promising execution so far.
Galileo Donna’s premise three episodes in is still too incomplete to consider as anywhere close to solid. The main problem is that the series still hasn’t addressed why all these factions are fighting tooth and nail over a treasure whose identity is almost completely unknown. For example, the sky pirates from the Black Ganymede are looking for Galileo’s treasure without knowing anything about it – and we all know how nearly impossible it is to look for something when you don’t even know what it is you’re looking for. Along the same vein, Franchesco Materazzi, the CEO of the Adnimoon Company, has dedicated considerable resources to finding the treasure based solely on a whim/gut feeling of, “Since everyone is looking for it, so must I.” The stakes to finding the treasure are extremely high but the reasons are completely vague, which can make it harder and harder for some viewers to remain interested.
Much of the weakness in the premise is due to the significant lack of any urgency whatsoever. The implications of the treasure being found remain almost completely unknown, other than the imminent danger facing the Galileo gals. For all we know, the treasure could turn out to be something inconsequential, like a scientific discovery made obsolete by centuries of advances, or something of the utmost importance, such as a discovery that threatens the entire world or reveals a new energy source to wean the world off of methane hydrate. Even the aspect of Adnimoon creating a monopoly by bankrolling sky pirates doesn’t seem very menacing, probably because there are still at least 100 years of energy reserves left. This lack of urgency has the effect of making an emotional investment in the world of Galilei Donna difficult.
Such a weak premise could very well possibly be an intentional decision by the showrunners, as it shifts the focus of the story onto the plight of the Ferrari daughters instead and makes them easier to become emotionally invested in. On this front, the execution has been a bright spot in the series thus far. Although many of the Ferrari girls’ personalities and backstories are nothing new, the bits and pieces we have learned are pretty compelling and were delivered quite well.
Hozuki’s wish for her family to get back together was handled in a refreshing manner, with the reveal coming from her sister Hazuki’s observations around the Galileo instead of being expressly stated as is commonplace. The youngest Ferrari daughter appears as a character who speaks through her actions rather than her words, which is unusual when so many characters do just the opposite. In any case, it will be interesting finding out how the family became separated as well as how they will get back together, a task made even more difficult because of Sylvia’s (strangely convenient for Adnimoon) amnesia.
Kazuki’s story as the girl who wants nothing to do with adventure and only wants the comforts of home actually doesn’t come off as spoiled but as realistic instead. She doesn’t have the calm temperament of Hozuki or the cheerful demeanor of Hazuki, but Kazuki is how I envision many people would behave in her situation. Her desire to go home makes even more sense with revelation of her inferiority complex whenever she is around Hazuki, and definitely understandable/relatable. Kazuki’s eventual development as the reluctant hero adds an intriguing ingredient to what is shaping up to be a well-rounded cast of characters.
All in all, what’s promising about this series is that there is a clear path laid out for its characters, which is a lot more than can be said about the story itself. Like the best adventure shows, Galilei Donna seems to understand very well that the journeys made on the inside are just as important as the ones made on the outside.