Angels have been known as servants of God, creatures who reside in the heavens and watch over those in earth to help pass judgment of those created in God’s eye. Demons are those who live in Hell, and attempt to make people fall to temptation, and subsequently bring them down into the fiery pits of Damnation. Despite having both of those creatures as its main four characters, Gabriel Dropout has nothing to do with what I described.
Gabriel Tenma White was a model student back at heaven, being given praise for her many accomplishments, and became the top graduate in her class. Now graduated from Angel School, Gabriel’s next line of education has her go down to Earth and perform duties and tasks to report back to heaven. Well, she would do her job but…there’s an on-going raid boss in this MMO, so she can’t do it.
Moe show, moe show, moe show. Gabriel Dropout has four main girls, a practically all-female cast, and the plotline involves the main cast of characters going about their daily lives with situational comedy and repeated gags in order to fill up its twelve episode runtime make its way to the end. Combined with one character that’s the straight man while the other three are the ones that generally create some kind of mishap, the one gimmick that separates Gabriel Dropout from the rest is the gimmick of the characters being Angels and Demons. More specifically, the Angels acting more like demons while the Demons act more like angels.
Despite being your typical moe show, the gimmick of Angels and Demons does get used quite often in the series. It’s a precursor for many of its episodes, and it adds a little bit more flavor to the story as the outlandish things such as giant pet familiars, a trumpet that can end humanity with one blow, and various items from Hell come into the story often enough to remind you that this show has something else to rely on aside from moe shenanigans for comedy. Though it adds flavor, most of the time the show will just remind the audience that the characters are angels and demons, and run with the characters’ innate ignorance on how Earth (specifically Japan) works.
The comedy comes in two ways. Either it’s about one of the demons, Satania, getting her sanity tested by how much the world hates her, or it’s about the whole role reversal with the angels being assholes and the demons being genuinely nice people. The show boasts these two situations very often, and it becomes the brunt of what the show is with varying degrees of success, as some of the jokes go out of their way to be crazy and absurd while others are largely what you would expect in any other show without any sense of originality. Despite that, the majority of the show’s comedy comes out snappy and quick. The characters never linger on one specific gag for long, so the investment for each one is very small. This works in the show’s favor, especially with the many of the jokes being rehashes of ones told or executed before.
Overall, Gabriel Dropout is a comedy that succeeds in some aspects, and fails in others. The main gag of Angels and Demons swapping their intended personalities, as well as beating Satania with the metaphorical large stick is largely what the show falls on when making the majority of its content. As such, its content can feel stale at times, and the use of its reused gags can be both entertaining, or lackluster when done more than once in a specific timeframe.
+ Uses its gimmick fairly often
+/- Situational Comedy
– Many reused gags
Like any moe-based show, characters are the key for success. No good characters, no entertaining show. Gabriel Dropout manages to give its audience very extreme versions of several common anime tropes in order to fill up its cast, that ultimately I feel works in the show’s favor. Mostly.
First are the angels, Gabriel and Raphiel. Gabriel, named after God’s messenger, and Raphiel, named for the angel who performs all manner of healing, are, as expected with the role reversal, don’t at all perform the tasks that their namesakes do.
Gabriel here is instead, a brash and irritated NEET who refuses to do any form of her work and instead lazes around the house playing games, and Raphiel is a hardcore sadist who finds joy in the suffering of others and prefers to stand in the background and smile while letting things, unfortunate or not, happen before her. The characters don’t change over the course of the series and, much like the demons, are characters made to get the audience to laugh.
Then there’re the demons, Vigne and Satania. Vigne named after one of Hell’s commanders, is ironically the nicest character in the series, showing compassion towards everyone (no matter how condescending they might be) and acts as the straight man to her friends’ crazy antics that would make anyone lose their sanity within the first week. Satania, a strange demonization of the lord of hell himself, is a chuuni who believes that she will become the queen of hell and, when accompanied by her organ piano sting, gives speeches about how all will fall to her grasp and she will rule over everything with an iron fist. While Vigne is largely designated to be the sane character to keep the absurdity from going too far, Satania acts the role of being the butt of all jokes. Her bread keeps getting stolen by a dog, she got shot once, she was left unconscious on a balcony, she got arrested for trying to enter heaven, etc, etc. It gets to the point that the show largely becomes the ‘Satania show’ because everything she is and does is so commonly the focus of many episodes.
The rest of the cast largely fall into one-off characters that’re either just normal humans with the occasional other angel/demon in the later episodes to show that heaven/hell isn’t occupied by two girls. They don’t really add much beyond creating a new scenario for the characters to react and fool around in, so they don’t really hold much weight in the series as a result.
+/- Gag characters that cement the show’s brand of comedy
Produced by Doga Kobo, Gabriel Dropout has a very clean and bright look to it as expected of a show featuring four girls. The color palette leans towards a lighter color scheme and the art and animation are consistent without many flaws. Though really, that’s just par for the course.
As far as comedy goes, the show largely uses exaggerated character expressions and various other common comedy gags like shifts in background, more exaggerated character expressions, and overall just things you would normally see in any other comedy show. It works, but there’s nothing really unique about it.
+ Good, clean art
– Standard fare without much actual variation for being different
The OP and ED are nothing truly special. You have the seiyuus of the four main characters sing the pop title songs with not really much to talk about. The only thing that I could say would be truly unique is how the OP has two different tones for whomever’s singing, aka a gentle tone for the angels and a more dramatic tone for the devils. Once again, they’re decent songs, but nothing really all that special.
As always, comedy is a subjective subject, as one’s funny bone can be tickled by one thing while it might not really affect another. Gabriel Dropout was this season’s guilty pleasure for me. Despite not being very creative and at its core, just being another moe show with a few added gimmicks to help it play out a bit more uniquely, I enjoyed the show and found it to be entertaining. I’m someone who gets amused very easily, so the slapstick was something that resonated with me.
Did I like this anime?
Probably far too much than I really should. I particularly like Gabriel’s character mostly because I’m a fan of nonchalant assholes who can do something without so much as batting an eye at the consequences. She’s straight to the point, she doesn’t give a damn, and I love it.
What didn’t I like about this anime?
Personally I wasn’t a fan of Satania. Mostly, I wasn’t a fan of her gags. The show really likes to make her the butt of every joke, and the consistent bullying on her got pretty old. Especially regarding her food constantly being stolen; that got old very quickly. Not only that, but her constant chunni speeches had me in a ‘meh’ state. But that’s just me. Everything in a comedy show is subjective from person to person.
Would I recommend this anime?
If you’re looking for a comedy moe show, Gabriel Dropout stands out as being a pretty decent choice. Thought it’s not as unique as it may originally lead on to be, it still is a show that many people have been able to enjoy. Again, comedy is subjective, and the show will not meet everyone’s tastes and expectations. But if you are a fan of some slapstick moe comedy, this show’s a pretty fun thing to watch.