14 CommentsGalilei Donna / By Inushinde /

Galilei Donna Episode 5: يولو غنيمة خليج الحياة في العربية

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Sorry for the subtitle in questionable Arabic. It’s been a long week.

With the sudden influx of work over the past week, writing about Galilei Donna kind of fell by the wayside. It doesn’t matter how many homeless former-doctors with plot-convenient Renaissance-era artifacts as placemats there are, desperately hammering out a 20 page term paper on the nature of vice crimes will always take priority. As will shelling little girls with artillery in dumb, battleship-themed Japanese browser games.

Tangentially relating that shitty Kancolle reference to something else that spends most of its time in the water, the significance of goldfish is getting a bit silly at this point; in a good way, not in an exasperating “Will they just stop with the fucking goldfish?” way. It’s just the right amount of desperately reaching for clues when Hozuki follows a stained glass goldfish’ silhouette to a stone slab that happens to contain another Renaissance-era artifact. It’s stupid enough to be ridiculous, but not taken seriously enough by the show to feel unintentionally so.

Keeping that general lightness in tone in mind, this episode deals with some surprisingly heavy shit very well. Granted, anything is surprisingly heavy in a show that proudly touts a goldfish AI that goes into combat mode by conjuring an M-16, but to its credit, the shift in tone doesn’t feel forced at all, even if it is noticeable. It’s a stretch to go from typical treasure-hunting fugitive hijinks to two children getting vaporized by missiles, but Galilei Donna makes it work. You heard it here first: Galilei Donna makes the indiscriminate slaughter of wartime orphans work.

Galidon503

Now, to say that several death flags weren’t tripped for Theo and Karen would be a lie; the show wouldn’t have a girl hobble around with a cane unless they wanted to kill her off for some easy pity points. It wouldn’t have a boy meticulously handcraft a gift for said girl unless it was meant to showcase his admirable, if ultimately futile drive to keep her alive and happy. It wouldn’t have Hozuki get to know the aforementioned boy if his death wouldn’t play a role in her emotional development. It dutifully, and shamelessly, does all three of these things, but it keeps from devolving into halfhearted emotional manipulation. Ultimately, the success of the characters’ presence lies in how they die, rather than the fact that they die.

Most of that lies with competent direction; their death scene is quiet and dignified, and it gives off the real sense that these are two people happy to die in each other’s arms. While we only see a few minutes of interaction between them, it’s enough to tell that they’ve been through hell and high water together. The fact that Theo can be so brusque with Karen without any sense of hostility betrays a familiarity between them that doesn’t require niceties 24/7. Karen doesn’t have much of a personality outside of her association with him, but he’s developed enough through talking to Hozuki that some residual attachment between them is formed.

It strikes me that this is exactly what Sword Art Online tried with the Sacchi episode, with roughly the same amount of investment in her character, but this just does so much better because it actually understands that side characters have to have lives outside of the lead for their deaths to be significant and impactful.

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With all that said, the issue of whether the show got across the necessity of their deaths is iffy. I have some trouble buying that the captain would sell out their base of operations for what was likely a pittance, without thinking to evacuate those in need first, like Karen. It tries to paint him as desperate, but the situation at base isn’t really painted similarly enough to make his actions seem like anything more than a plot convenience. I mean they clearly aren’t living in the lap of luxury, but you don’t have orphans gouging out other bandits’ eyes for nourishment either. There’s also concern as to whether it’ll actually follow up and have their deaths actually mean something to Hozuki. It would be a waste of a good, well-placed scene if it wasn’t incorporated into Hozuki’s development in some way. My confidence in Galilei Donna isn’t quite high enough for encouragement.

I know a show’s good when I can tell what’s going to happen, and even question its relevance, but it still manages to affect me. This is a series that knows exactly what it’s doing, though whether that’ll amount to much beyond goofy treasure hunting remains to be seen. It does have the capability for delivering on some powerful moments, and I’d like to see more of that in the future.

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14 Comments

  1. Fumoffu!!
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    In the final moments Theo looked straight at Karen, said something to her, they both smiled at each other and embraced each other as the death light saturated the screen…. That just hit me so well. I mean I was sure something bad was going to happen throughout, but it still got me. It’s the way they were so happy in those very final moments.

    The fact that they were happy in those last moments somehow makes it more sad than if they were in despair, and I’m not sure why.

    • Inushinde
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Well I don’t think they were exactly happy, but they found a way to alleviate the fear, if only for a few seconds. It’s affecting either way, though.

  2. Johnny Joestar
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Would you say this is better than the other currently airing noitaminA show, Samurai Flamenco?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Samurai Flamenco > Galilei Donna

    • Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Samurai Flamenco >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Galilei Donna

    • Inushinde
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      Samurai Flamenco is definitely the better show. I enjoy both pretty equally, but Samumenco is the more distinctive and charming of the two.

  3. Kian
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    And to think, you actually weren’t drunk when you came up with this post title. Although I am still confused at how this post spoils the Gulf of Life in Saudi.

    • Inushinde
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:49 am | Permalink

      Clearly you didn’t read into what I was really saying.

  4. Posted November 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I asked a relative to translate the title, and she was completely stumped at ‘يولو’. That is some very questionable Arabic, indeed.

    In any case, if the show did a few more episodes like this, and left side characters alive and with beefs against everyone else, we could end up with a colossal FFA.

    • Inushinde
      Posted November 11, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m ashamed to say that’s a perfectly transliterated ‘yolo’. Don’t ask how, but that’s the only Arabic that I can actually understand at a glance.

      • Kian
        Posted November 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        My eyes are tearing up right now thinking about that.

  5. Vincehwr
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I honestly thought this is a well-directed anime albeit with a few inconsistencies throughout the episodes but I’m also tired of other fans bitching and emphasizing the flaws of the show. I don’t know it’s shame this anime ends up one of those overlooked one because it was bit overambitious and unable to quite reach the mark due to its speedy pace and lack of planning.

    • Inushinde
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      The flaws are pretty damn glaring, so I can understand why people would harp on them so much. They don’t make it a bad show, but they don’t help it at all either.

  6. Someone Else
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    “It strikes me that this is exactly what Sword Art Online tried with the Sacchi episode, with roughly the same amount of investment in her character, but this just does so much better because it actually understands that side characters have to have lives outside of the lead for their deaths to be significant and impactful.”

    This. So much this. A very important element that it makes a show tell that there’s a lot going on in the world a story takes place in rather than forcing it to be related to the main cast for the sake of plot. But hey SAO is a mary sue story so everything has to be about him

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