Galilei Donna – Shades of Dan Brown
October 18, 2013 Leave a comment
Grand conspiracies have a habit of sounding incredibly far-fetched, and often just silly. Theories to do with the pyramids, or Stonehenge being linked to aliens, or a great, long lost power pepper popular fiction, appearing almost everywhere. They can be used to create interesting films or television series that are as far fetched as the stories they are based on. In many ways Galilei Donna fits neatly into this particular sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy – a story about the Galileo discovering something extraordinary, and hiding it from the world, possibly because he feared the consequences of it being discovered. And now a mysterious organisation is after this amazing discovery, quite possibly for nefarious purposes that may, or may not involve world domination.
As stories go, the idea that Galileo produced seven sketches of the moon and hid the secret to some great discovery in them is about as far-fetched and as ridiculous as anything found in a Dan Brown book. The evil organisation is almost comical in how bad they are, with Roberto Materazzi conforming to the classic ‘bad guy’ image – well dressed, wearing a white glove, finely folding an origami crane while also threatening to hurt the Ferrari sisters. The entire setup, and introduction of the antagonists reminds me of Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code, something that almost puts me off watching this series since Dan Brown is a rubbish writer and the Da Vinci Code is a coma inducing, badly written book. And this is the problem with grand conspiracies, they have a tendency to come across as ridiculous, bringing together historical figures and events in a vague, perhaps even tenuous fashion in order to create an over arching narrative.
However, the world that Galilei Donna presents is fascinating, combining a steampunkesque aesthetic (or at least elements of steampunk, since there isn’t any ‘steam’ or older technology involved) with a futuristic look, and even throwing sky pirates into the mix. The airships in the series look interesting and follow a tradition in anime where airships/planes aren’t the sleep, streamlined creations seen in western fiction (mostly, although there are always exceptions), but are instead unique, and often organic in concept. And its this world, full of sky pirates, fish inspired airships, and interesting looking flying cars, all set in a world that looks a little like 19th century Europe (assuming you ignore lots of the holograms in the sky) that draws me in.
We also have a rather complex family, a set of fractured relationships and different people all focussing on their own individual lives, almost oblivious to everyone else. It’s interesting to see these three individual sisters who cannot, or perhaps are unwilling to work with one another, all coming together in a time of crisis. That it is the youngest sister Hozuki who seems to push them into action may not be all that surprising as is the case with such stories the older characters may be the most stubborn. Similarly, it seems certain that it is Hozuki who holds the key to Galileo’s discovery (perhaps literally since she is wearing a goldfish necklace with a small hourglass inside), although what that great discovery is remains to be seen. While it is a wonderful looking series, I remain wary of a series that tries to create a conspiracy surrounding Galileo’s discoveries, maybe linking it to a weapon of some kind.