Gabriel DropOut – Mid Season Review
Original Air Dates: January 9th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Gabriel White Tenma was an angel at the top of her class in angel school. Having graduated with high marks, she descended to the human world to learn about us and bring good nature to our world. Trouble is once she got a taste of life in the human world, it corrupted her. Gabriel is now a self-indulgent, skipping school, absorbed in video games “NEET.” That goal of making the world a better place? Yeah, not happening.
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Despite having been introduced as the lead, and her name existing as part of the show’s very title, Gabriel is easily the show’s most boring character. She’s exactly as you’d expect for an angel who’s gone bad. Little is done to give her unique character traits, or play with expectations. She feels exactly as one might expect for this now all too common subversion of expectations. That’s a really bad thing, because it only helps to generate predictable comedy. The rest of the cast isn’t much better, but there’s one stand out who single handedly manages to elevate the show, for what that’s worth. Satania, a wacky, crazy character who seeks to be/believes herself to be the greatest of all the devils. The idea behind her character isn’t even all that more original than Gabriel, but her vivacious personality, her absurd demeanor, and misplaced confidence make her an enjoyable watch compared to the rest of the cast.
Linny: It’s pretty understandable that Satania has emerged the clear crowd favourite. She’s adorably idiotic, overconfident and steals the show every time she pops in. Even though the show does sometimes feature a new character every other episode or so, the opening and ending credits make it clear that Gabriel, Vignetter, Raphiel and Satania are the main stars. The problem I have with the show is that since the girls all seem very limited to their single, defining cliche, it’s going to be a problem to enjoy the show if you don’t take to them. The comedy is very predictable and limited to the cliches associated with their stereotypical, one note personalities.
Tom: Even with Satania picking up the slack, Gabriel DropOut doesn’t always know what to do with Satania, often utilizing her as a catch all for more wacky gags and plots. She basically exists to embody the more insane, abnormal behavior. This usage begins to erode her character, as if her defining trait is just to be weird and perhaps bossy.
Linny: It also doesn’t help that the change of focus from Gabriel to Satania is very blatant and obvious. Rather than coming off as a natural progression or even a clever twist, it feels like the product of a rushed edit on the heels of the results of a character popularity vote.
Tom: The big underlying problem for Gabriel DropOut is how every element of the series compounds to rob the effectiveness of its own comedy. The music is often times far too laid back, failing to match the action or comedy on screen. This disjointed nature extends into the dialogue, often giving us the most predictable lines, failing to write its characters in clever, humorous ways. The voice acting feels uninspired, particularly for Gabriel, even if she’s meant to be a run down NEET angel. The visual direction, the animation, everything feels like it’s conspiring to keep Gabriel DropOut’s comedy from really shining. Even Satania suffers from this, but her vivacious personality seems to shield her from the full effects of this plethora of missteps.
Linny: To put a positive spin on it, the jokes in Gabriel DropOut do a good job of covering every kind of joke you would expect from this cast set up. I’ll admit that I can hardly ever tire of adorable kids in anime no matter how familiar or cliche their personalities are. Similarly, Gabriel DropOut is sure to please and amuse any of you who are big fans of the tropes it contains as almost every joke in it has been done by other, similar series and is most likely going to make you laugh just as hard as it did before. For anyone else, the jokes might feel too tired or not executed as well as others. Even the somewhat unique angel and demon set up ends up as nothing more than the most basic of a vehicles to set up a joke. Gabriel DropOut can easily just be reduced and defined as an average comedy about a bunch of ‘cute’ school girls with contrasting and contradicting personas.
Tom: And Linny brings up a good point: Even without all the missteps I listed above, the comedy is entirely lacking. It’s nothing to write home about, with all the classic and simplistic subversions of your expectations. It’s not to say the comedy is bad, if perhaps worn, and even the most tired of jokes can become funny again with the right execution. But Gabriel DropOut drops the ball, its execution far and away incapable of injecting life into even the most predictable of its gags.
Linny: Gabriel DropOut has earned itself a dedicated fanbase and though it wasn’t for me, it’s not hard to see why it has gotten popular. It has all the right ingredients to appeal to most of the anime audience aka cute girls being weird and funny. Unfortunately for us, the execution of the comedy itself doesn’t quite hit the mark. If you’re a newbie to the anime scene or just a devoted fan of the quirky and cute school girl comedies, Gabriel DropOut is a must try. But it might be a skip or ultimately a letdown for everyone else.
Tom: I’ve said some harsh things about this series. And I guess I should make it clear that I don’t believe Gabriel DropOut is awful. I’ve seen far worse over the year we’ve been running this website alone. But Gabriel DropOut is a perfect example of when execution fails. Execution, the ways ideas, themes, comedy, characters and more are presented, is absolutely key to taking decent or even great material and making it something fun and engaging. But because of all these missteps its hard for me to see how Gabriel DropOut could be enjoyable, save for Satania.
Gabriel DropOut is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com