Gabriel DropOut Review - Heaven or Hell?


Heaven or Hell?


  • Episodes : 12
  • Genre : Supernatural, Comedy, School
  • Airing Date : January 2017 – March 2017
  • Studios : Doga Kobo

Contains Spoilers


Gabriel DropOut Introduction and Story (Spoilers)

Gabriel White Tenma is the perfect angel, graduating at the top of her class in Heaven and acting as a role model for all of her fellow students. In order to finish their education though, angels must go down to Earth and study amongst humans to learn about and understand us. This, as it turns out, was to be Gab's undoing. Now a shut-in otaku with a serious and concerning online game addiction, Gab is well on her way to becoming a fallen angel, with a disturbingly grimy looking halo.

On the flip side, however, Vignette Tsukinose April might be in danger of ascending to Heaven the way she's acting. A devil from Hell, Vignette has taken it upon herself to look after, nag, and generally mother the now incompetent Gab, because despite her demonic upbringing, the little devil can't bear to watch a friend squander her life away. Although her well-placed efforts appear to be largely in vain. Now add to this our second angel Raphiel Shiraha Ainsworth whose sadistic nature may be enough to make her fall herself, and chuunibyou devil Satanichia Kurumizawa McDowell who despite her best efforts, is just not very good at being evil, and there we have a pretty interesting group of supernatural misfits.

Despite their differences, the four of them have found common ground enough to hang out together after school, during summer break, and even at Christmas. One might go as far as to say they've become very good friends, though some of them likely wouldn't admit it. So get ready for plenty of stupidity with some angels and devils who are simply terrible at what they do.

What I Liked About Gabriel DropOut

Overall Gabriel DropOut is a really solid comedy series. It's got plenty of running gags that will keep making you laugh (plz don't bully the Satanichia), a cast who are simultaneously functional and completely dysfunctional, and despite having cute girls, it rarely resorts to using that fact as a comedy device. Basically, it's family friendly fun (though the ED is a bit fanservicey), similar to series like Himouto Umaru-Chan or Lucky Star, which is refreshing after a long day of watching ecchi and action shows.

Each of the characters has some kind of unlikeable, or perhaps trope-based, trait, and it feels like the show pushes these just far enough for them to be funny without going over the edge into annoying. For example, Satanichia is a terrible chuunibyou, rambling on about how she's going to be the Queen of Hell, but most of the time she's actually relatively normal, so you're okay with her devilish outbursts. Same for Raphi's sadistic nature, it's funny but she's not actually a psycho (probably). Personally I don't like her character type but still found her appearances really enjoyable. Trope-based characters often get taken too far, to a point where while fans of that trope like them, everyone else grows tired and disinterested, but Gabriel DropOut handles this pretty well.

One other thing we really like about Gabriel DropOut is simply the angel/devil premise. Quite a lot of cute girl series try to spice up the school comedy formula a bit with interesting clubs or bizarre hobbies, but many simply don't succeed. Although it's not a hugely original concept in itself, the angel and devil theme feels surprisingly fresh and keeps things interesting. For example, the girls just go about their normal lives at school but then summer break hits, and they're back in heaven and hell for the holidays, and you think "Oooh okay, this is new". Gabriel DropOut doesn't really tread much new ground but it takes us down a path we're familiar with and points out some cool stuff that we hadn't noticed before along the way.

Discussion Time

That's all for our best bits, so now it's discussion time! We're going to look at three reasons why you should check out Gabriel DropOut, along with three reasons why you might want to give it a miss. We'll be covering the characters, the setting, the overall show quality, and also a little bit about the subtitling of the series.

So, is Gabriel DropOut worth your time? Or will it not even be getting added to the "plan to watch" list? We definitely enjoyed it, but for something a bit more detailed, read below and decide for yourself!

Why You Should Watch Gabriel DropOut

1. Simple is Best

So what do we mean by "Simple is Best"? Well, there are actually only a few questions you need to answer if you want to know if you'll like Gabriel DropOut: Do you like comedy? Do you like cute girls? Do you like cute girls doing comedy?! If you answered yes to any of those questions then simply put, you will enjoy Gabriel DropOut. We can't say for certain, but we'd feel comfortable saying that there's a 90% chance that you'll like it. If you enjoyed shows like Himouto Umaru-chan, Yuru Yuri, or the more recent Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, then you'd be hard pushed to find something to really dislike about Gabriel DropOut.

This works as well when thinking about things that people generally don't like. Don't like a large amount of fanservice cute girl shows often have? You won't find it in Gabriel DropOut. Big fan of cute girls? They're still awesome even without the fan service. Gabriel DropOut's keeps things simple, taking nothing too far, and sure that might not sound hugely exciting, but a well balanced, fun series is exactly what you need sometimes.

2. Waifu Material

Now if it wasn't already obvious, we should inform you that a large number of Gabriel DropOut fans or potential viewers aren't just there for the comedy, they're there for the cute girls. Ourselves included. Perhaps more importantly though, several of the main girls make excellent waifu material. You will love them when they're acting cute, feel sad for them at bad times, and root for them when they've got their game face on. You might even miss their presence when you're done watching.

The girl who hit a homerun in the waifu category is for sure Vignette, who despite her devilish roots is, in fact, an absolute angel. Kind, caring, polite, and pleasant, she only wants what's best for you, and can do no wrong even when she's trying her best to do so. She also gets flustered surprisingly easily despite her strict demeanor which is a cute plus. The other popular waifu of the series is Satanichia, though partly out of pity. Loud and seemingly arrogant at first, Satanichia is actually just putting on a front and gets upset quite easily when things go wrong, which they all too often do. Once again, please don't bully the Satanichia.

Although oddly not popular waifu candidates themselves the two "real" angels of the series are worth a mention, particularly as Raphi has the one and only Kana Hanazawa voicing her, which by itself doubles her waifu potential. So if you weren't sure about the series due to the lack of a slice-of-life or ecchi tag then you need not worry, the Gabriel DropOut girls are still downright adorable.

3. #relatable

The easiest way to bring an audience closer to your characters is to simply make them relatable, give them traits, problems, dreams that a real person might have. Now obviously in whackier anime series, this becomes a bit harder to pull off, and comedy series often have characters so ridiculous that making them relatable is out of the question. This is something that Gabriel DropOut does manage to do, however, with all four of the girls having something that you may feel at home with.

Gab is the obvious one to start on, with her gaming addiction, laziness, and disdain for school being traits that we imagine a lot of anime fans may have shared at some point. Maybe you're more like Vignette though, with a good school record, and a nice clean apartment. They're two sides of the same coin really, so if you're not one, you're probably the other. Raphi personifies the joy many of us find in teasing and messing with our friends for no real reason other than our own amusement. Lastly, Satanichia feels like an overexcited friend, or perhaps the one that things always go wrong for. With the simple and bright character's in Gabriel DropOut, it's easy to see how you might be able to relate to at least a couple of the girls on some level.

Why You Should Skip Gabriel DropOut

1. Umaru 2.0

So you may or may not have heard the comparison between Gabriel DropOut and Himouto Umaru-chan floating about online, in fact, we've mentioned it ourselves in this very review because it's at least partly correct. Gab and Umaru bare a striking resemblance to each other, bar Gab lacking a chibi form, from their video game addiction to their general desire to do nothing, and their "perfect" other personality.

Now, you may be thinking "why is this a bad thing?" And it might well not be for you, but here's the thing: Gab and Umaru are kind of terrible people. One of the biggest complaints about Himouto Umaru-chan was that people couldn't stand Umaru herself: she's whiny, lazy, and has little to no charm points. Gab is the same in this regard, to a point where it can sometimes get a little tedious. There's zero character development in this regard as well, so you get the same lazy, otaku Gab the whole series. So if you're not a fan of those selfish, slacker characters, you might find Gab's astounding ability to complain at every opportunity and never clean her a room is a bit much for you.

2. Them Subs Tho

So this isn't exactly about the show itself, but it's pretty important considering the number of viewers who will watch the series with subtitles. As most anime fans will know, different companies or fansub groups tend to have their own style of subtitling. Some are more literal, some are more liberal, and some are simply better or worse than others. As for Gabriel DropOut: the will-not-be-named simulcaster of the series did a frankly shocking job with the subs.

Not only were a number of puns and other jokes simply ignored, or given some questionable translations, but jokes sometimes appear in the subtitles when characters aren't making any in the first place. Quips about heaven and hell randomly appear, despite the characters speaking very regular Japanese, which sound cheesy as well as actually making Satanichia sound a bit more normal, given that now every character has a couple of chuunibyou lines. The one that probably stood out the most was seeing "Itadakimasu" translated to "Through the Dark Lord. Amen.", which is not only needlessly liberal but doesn't really suit her personality or regular speaking manner at all. It's certainly not all bad but if you struggle with poor subtitle quality Gabriel DropOut may give you a rough time.

3. Well That Was Fine

Gabriel DropOut is good. It's okay. It's fine. We mentioned before how the series was simple and enjoyable, how it doesn't rock the boat or really tread any new ground. And that's all just...fine. It's not hugely exciting, but it's fine. Sometimes fine isn't enough though. Was it one of Winter 2017's better shows? Yeah, we'd definitely say it's up there. Will you remember it in two or three seasons time? Err…

And therein lies the problem, amongst the plethora of anime, and more specifically comedy and moe series, Gabriel DropOut just doesn't stand out enough, or at least it won't in a few seasons time. So if you're someone who's a bit short on time, you may find yourself asking the question "Is Gabriel DropOut worth watching over any other reasonably good show?", and you may find that the answer is no.


Final Thoughts

It might not be perfect, but we certainly enjoyed Gabriel DropOut and will miss the little angels (and little devils) now that they're gone. It's a series that feels unlikely to get a second season, but with the English manga due out later this year you should be able to catch up with the girl's latest antics in a more paper format in the near future. Along with that, there's still one more OVA to come out as well, so there's still plenty to look forward to from our winged sweethearts.

But now we'd like to hear what you thought! Was Gab's laziness too much for you to bear or did you feel just at home in her video game lair? Or if you've not watched it yet, are planning to pick it up now, or perhaps you've been put off for good? Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know down below!

Kristian

Writer

Author: Kristian

British guy doing student things in Tokyo. Slice-of-life and moe anime are my speciality, though I think something good can be found in almost every show. Outside of anime I spend most of my time feeding on DotA 2 or studying Japanese in a quest to one day watch cute girls without subtitles.

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