In recent months, I've begun to appreciate comedy anime more. They provide a welcome respite from a mundane and tiring day and a good laugh was just what I needed before heading to bed. The previous season had several titles which kept me holding onto my sides, namely Konosuba 2, which I've already reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed, and Gabriel DropOut.
For the latter title, I binge-watched it before the current Spring anime season started. What caught my eye early on were the character designs that screamed 'moe', much like 2016's New Game. Both Gabriel DropOut and New Game were produced by Doga Kobo, hence the similarities. The plot on the other hand, could not be any more different.
Gabriel DropOut follows Tenma Gabriel White, an angel who topped her class in Heaven's version of high school. She, along with other angels, were sent to Earth to guide and teach humans before they can become full-fledged angels, much like an internship for college students. Just one problem; Gabriel discovers video games and becomes addicted to them. Cue a 180-degree character change and a refusal or attend high school, or even take a shower for that matter. Her friends at school aren't exactly normal as well, with the main cast comprising of two demons who are anything but evil and an angel with a sadistic streak.
It is a trope bordering on cliche by now but I enjoy how the roles are reversed in Gabriel DropOut. Responsible and well-behaved demon Tsukinose Vignette April picks up after Gabriel's mess time and again. Sadistic angel Shiraha Raphiel Ainsworth has no qualms about using a glass cutter to break into homes on multiple occasions and the final member of the gang, Kurumizawa Satanichia McDowell (no prizes for guessing her race) is the Wile E. Coyote of the group, often failing to prank Gabriel and Raphiel when attempting to prove her superiority.
The anime has an episodic format, with no overarching plot other than a minor one that highlights the risk of Gabriel becoming a 'faillen' angel due to how lazy she has become. Doga Kobo's adaptation has expanded on several chapters of the original manga, namely one that had Gabriel leeching off her classmates, who happened to be in the cooking club, for a free meal.
Like the other two background characters, the class president also received much more screentime compared to the manga, being Satanichia's muse for art class in one episode. The end result was hilarious of course and Satanichia's usual ineptitude meant that the class president's efforts at inspiring her were for naught. She even caved in to Satanichia's request for her to strip before promptly being stopped by Vigne.
By this point, you can probably guess that Satanichia is usually the butt of the joke, more often than not. Gabriel's deadpan and snide remarks to Satanichia's idiocy takes the cake for me. What's equally hilarious are the rare times where Satanichia actually wins. She also has the more heartwarming scenes in the show, proving that she isn't just target practice for Gabriel and Raphiel.
It's a shame that it might be a year or two before a second season of Gabriel DropOut is announced, with the first one adapting all current manga chapters available. It subverted your usual idea of what an ideal angel and demon should be and turned the 'moe' appeal up to 11 with its amazing character designs. It also happens to be one of the few anime where the opening and ending themes were worth watching and not just listening to.
Written by ET