Lord Help the Mister Who Comes Between Me and My Sister

galilei donna, hozuki ferrari, hazuki ferrari, kazuki ferrari, the ferrari sisters, galileo sisters

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home

-“Sisters, Sisters,” by Irving Berlin

Having grown up with only a younger brother, I can only imagine what having a sister (older or younger) would be like. In spite of this, there’s something incredibly resonant about the familial relationships portrayed in Galilei Donna. On the run from the powerful Adni Moon Company, the three Ferrari sisters participate in a plot that is similar to The Da Vinci Code in its convoluted nature, focus on blood descendents, and apparent scientific errors. However, if one can set all that aside – or enjoy it thoroughly in its ridiculousness – Galilei Donna offers its viewer a lovely portrait of three sisters, each struggling to find their individual roles both within their immediate family and in the world beyond it.

“My family’s in pieces but…if we could be close again like we used to be…”

-Hozuki Ferrari, Galileo Donna, episode 2

Hozuki Ferrari, the youngest of the three, takes center stage for the majority of the series’ first few episodes due to her outwardly quirky nature and prodigious talent. It is Hozuki who builds the airship that allows the sisters to escape, Hozuki who all-too conveniently discovers various keys leading them closer to the mysterious “Galileo Tesoro,” and Hozuki who is the most naturally curious about her family inheritance. She also displays a typical characteristic of a younger sibling in her lack of self-worth in comparison to her two older sisters. In spite of being a genius mechanic, Hozuki does not consider that she could be the one to save her family until outsider Anna Hendricks prods her. Unable to communicate her feelings clearly in words, Hozuki shows her love for her sisters through her actions (as shown by Hazuki’s inspection of Hozuki’s airship). Presumably, even with her immense talent, Hozuki has been left to her own devices for much of her life.

“It doesn’t matter which side it was! I can’t let them break the law using a large corporation as camouflage! I’ll act in the name of law and justice to deliver a crushing blow!”

-Hazuki Ferrari, Galilei Donna, episode 3

The familial pressure falls first on the eldest sister, Hazuki Ferrari – my personal favorite, perhaps because I am the eldest as well – who is urged by her mother to take her studies, and her family name, more seriously. Regardless of her scholastic marks, Hazuki cares a great deal for law and order or, at the very least, her ability to use it to her advantage. Unlike Hozuki, she is straightforward to a fault and uses verbal communication to inform others of her thoughts. As the eldest, Hazuki shows an innate ability to keep calm and assume a position of authority when needed, specifically in high-pressure situations. An interesting comparison can be made between Hazuki and Yaichirou Shimogamo, the eldest sibling in Uchouten Kazoku, with the former unconcerned with status or her family heritage, and the latter overly-occupied with his family’s station.

kazuki ferrari, kazuki, kazu-nee, galilei donna, galileo sisters

Kazuki Ferrari rounds out the dynamic between the three as the middle sibling. Unlike Hozuki, who lives the legacy of Galileo Galilei in her craft, or Hazuki, who cares only for how it directly affects the every day life of her and her sisters, Kazuki actively resents her inheritance. Along with displaying typical traits of middle child syndrome, Kazuki is the least like her two sisters in that she takes after her father as opposed to their mother. Like Hozuki, she doesn’t express her emotions well through speaking, but is very emotionally-driven and athletic, which is presumably at odds with being a descendent of Galileo. When their father offers to be a physical distraction, allowing the sisters to escape from prison, it is Kazuki who first inquires about his welfare. His response to Kazuki – he is the brawn and not the brains, although that doesn’t mean that he is useless to them – is also telling, and something that she should take to heart. Kazuki is different from her two sisters, but that should not mean that she is without a role in their family.

Lastly, Galilei Donna frames all of these relationships with commentary from the series’ resident Galileo Galilei nut, Anna Hendricks. Anna rounds out the cast perfectly, as she adds the impetus to go after Galileo’s inheritance (pushing the plot forward), and additionally steps on all sorts of landmines as she does not know the sisters’ various personal hangups. Where the Ferrari sisters still may have continued to avoid addressing their feelings towards each other and their family situation, Anna’s oblivious nature forces them to face themselves and each other. She also – if the goldfish mecha, horrible Italian, and silliness of the sky pirates weren’t enough for you – keeps the series lighthearted through her constant fawning over Galileo Galilei’s descendents. Anna is the key to seeing that Galilei Donna is as unconcerned with its own silly premise as you had presumed that it was, and that the success of the series relies on the characters of the sisters themselves.

Where The Da Vinci Code failed for me personally – aside from having a basic knowledge of art history – was in how seriously it took its own story, and therefore, how it required the reader to take it seriously. When I stepped away from its convoluted web of mysteries, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu weren’t all that interesting. Their interactions were serviceable, and anything that I had learned about them as people was only in direct relation to how their respective careers or families influenced the mystery. Galilei Donna takes a different, far more resonant, approach in making me care about the sisters over the mystery, and I couldn’t be more pleased to watch how their relationships with each other unfold.

6 comments

  1. The strength in Dan Brown’s storytelling, for me, is in his deliberate control of pacing and tension. The stakes keep rising throughout the story. His chapters are short and concise. He allows the plot to breathe by swapping between different perspective characters between chapters. He withholds the necessary plot details until the very end (which is more often sullied by the inaccurate trivial information that is scattered throughout). He knows how to write a decent thriller experience, but sacrifices so much of everything else that he doesn’t know how to get a good story to round it out.

    For me, where Galileo Donna goes through similar hiccups in story, as you’ve already mentioned, it doesn’t care much about it, which does not necessarily excuse it from having a better story. If you’re in it for the familial portait, then that’s completely fine. That’s what I’m watching this show for as well, but without rounding out its relationships within informed actions driven by plot beats and events, Galileo won’t be able to have the same emotional impact with its characters that Uchoten did. Where the former acknowledges how silly its premise is, the latter actually does something with it, and manages to do a reasonably good job doing so.

    To concede something as strong an emotional tool as story seems like a huge waste for me, but nonetheless I’m just as capable of enjoying “cheap sentiments” the way I do with Brown’s “cheap thrills.” Everyone has their own taste, and I certainly enjoy the taste of this show regardless of its faults.

    1. I would agree with those strengths and I believe that my problems with “The Da Vinci Code” stem more from what I personally look for in a story. I can forgive a sloppily-written action plot if the relationships between the characters (as well as their individual emotional narratives) are well-done. However, I have a hard time, even with a well-written thriller, if the characters are dull.

      One of the reasons for writing this post, as you are already well-aware of, is that all-too-often I feel that people focus solely on the action rather than the emotional characterization. Obviously, the most solid of series (or books) would have both, specifically if they (like Galilei Donna and The Da Vinci Code) are meant to focus on the thrill of a treasure hunt. ^ ^

      Thanks for always supporting me.

  2. Something feels off about Hazuki, almost as if she couldn’t care less about her familial responsibilities or reputation, and deliberately tries to make a mockery of her studies and career. Bear in mind that she intentionally keeps a fair bit of distance from her family, as briefly hinted at in her brief conversation with Kazuki in episode one, when Hazuki goes out of her way to tell her: “Don’t come live with me.”
    It may very well be that Hazuki is a lot more jaded and cynical a character than she appears to be at first glance.
    Naturally, it’s too early to tell.

    It might be the wrong environment to say this, but yes, Hazuki is best girl.

    1. Hnnn…from the conversation that you reference, and through her conversation with her mother, Hazuki presumably has distanced herself from her family name/heritage, and therefore distanced herself from the members of her family as well. Being the eldest, she probably went through something similar, but not quite as isolating, as Kazuki is going through within the scope of the series in terms of rejecting the name of Galileo Galilei. The thing I like the most about the characterization of Hazuki is that she is also shown to care about, and be aware of, the feelings of her sisters and parents. She may not care for the family name, but she cares about her family, and I love her for that.

      Thank you for the comment. ^ ^

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