Gabriel DropOut is a 12 episode anime adaptation of the comedy manga by Ukami. The director for the anime was Masahiko Ohta, whilst it was written by Takashi Aoshima. The studio that produced it was Doga Kobo.
The anime aired as part of 2017’s winter season, and it is available on Crunchyroll.
When an angel graduates from school in Heaven, they are sent down to Earth in order to learn more about humans and guide them on a righteous path. One angel, Gabriel White Tenma, passes at the top of her class. When she descends to Earth, she ends up becoming addicted to video games and leading a slovenly lifestyle. Gabriel DropOut focuses on Gabriel and other angels and demons who have arrived on Earth and started to attend high school.
Since the premise is pretty much just a slice-of-life/comedy anime starring angels and demons, let’s start by focusing on the four main characters.
The main character in this anime is Gabriel White Tenma – who we are initially introduced to as a purely angelic… well, angel. However, as stated previously, she quickly becomes addicted to an MMO which results in her becoming a lazy and unmotivated slob who tends to boss others around. Whilst it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch for particular people to relate to her, that’s all the characterisation she really gets. Gabriel is lazy, and that doesn’t change throughout the entire series. Considering that she doesn’t really have much more to her personality, that probably goes some way to explaining why there are entire episodes where she’s practically nothing more than a side character.
The Crunchyroll subtitles refer to her as a ‘faillen angel’ – the ‘faillen’ obviously being a portmanteau of fail and fallen. It seems like fallen angel would have been sufficient, particularly as it still invokes the same idea.
Raphiel Ainsworth Shiraha is Gabriel’s fellow angel, and again, she has something of a one-note role: Raphiel is a bully. Often the demon Satania (more on her in a moment) is the victim, though she tends to take delight in anyone’s suffering, be they angel or demon. Raphiel teasing Satania gets pretty stale quickly.
Gabriel isn’t a terrible character, but she’s not exactly amazing either. She’s a lazy angel, and she does get some genuinely funny moments. Raphiel, on the other hand, is pretty predictable – if she’s involved, then someone (usually Satania) will suffer some kind of misfortune. These two angels are a mixed bag, which is frustrating when the show introduces other angels who are genuinely likeable.
Whilst the angels may not be the best part of the show, the demons happen to be far more enjoyable to watch.
Ironically, the most angelic member of the cast happens to be a demon. Vignette April Tsukinose, or just Vigne for short, is without a doubt the nicest character in the entire cast. She and Gabriel are polar opposites – Vigne is actually responsible. She seems to possess a soft spot for Gabriel, as she looks after her.
Arguably the best character in the entire show, Satanichia McDowell Kurumizawa is an archdemon – or that’s what she loudly proclaims at almost every opportunity. Known as ‘Satania’ for short, she is committed to performing evil acts such as not doing her homework or recycling plastic bottles without removing their lids. At least she’s committed to the whole ‘next queen of Hell’ bit…
The demons certainly have more going for them then the angels in terms of entertainment. Vigne’s behaviour is far more befitting an angel despite the fact she is a demon, and Satania’s ego creates some pretty great moments.
Satania is certainly at her best when she gets to do her thing, which makes her being the target of many jokes a pretty unfortunate thing. To be fair, though, she does have moments where she gets back at Raphiel – they are few and far in between, but they are certainly satisfying.
The comedy is hit and miss for this show. Running gags quickly outlive their humour, and there are times when the show can be a little too predictable. Whilst not every joke is a winner, some do manage to hit the mark. The same can be said about the episodes as well – there are some less than stellar episodes throughout the series.
The soundtrack for the shows serves its purpose, though almost none of the songs will get stuck in your head – with the possible exception of Vigne’s counting song.
Towards the end, the show also makes quite a bizarre choice – an episode ends on a cliffhanger that suggests Satania will sneak into Heaven with the help of Gabriel and Raphiel. Absolutely nothing comes of that, as the next episode shows that everyone is back on Earth.
Apparently it’s the same in the original manga – perhaps Ukami intended to do something more with it, but just never got around to it. The decision to adapt that scene when there’s absolutely no pay-off whatsoever seems like a strange one.
Ultimately, it’s a waste of a potentially interesting scenario. The two episodes that follow that odd cliffhanger are admittedly a couple of the better ones, but it’s annoying knowing what could have been.
Almost everything about Gabriel DropOut is either hit or miss. Whilst the hits tend to be fairly enjoyable, the misses have a negative impact on the overall viewing experience. The good does manage to outweigh the bad, but only just.