According to the Old Testament, Gabriel was an archangel who served as God’s messenger, and was also a dude. (I think. Do angels have a gender?)
But, if we’re going by new anime series Gabriel DropOut, the title character is a teenaged girl who has just graduated from angel school at the top of her class. She is the most angelic of all the angels. Until, that is, she is sent to earth to live among humans and learn their ways.
Based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ukami, the anime adaptation from Doga Kobo began airing this year.
When the truly angelic Gabriel White Tenma (voiced by Miyu Tomita) is sent to earth, her fall from grace is as swift as Lucifer’s. When she arrives in the human world, this sweet, naïve magical girl promptly becomes addicted to video games (MMOs, to be precise) and abandons her previous training. She stops completing her angel homework, displays very little interest in helping others, and doesn’t even see the importance of recycling. The horror!
This slice-of-life anime follows Gabriel in her new, slovenly life, along with other angels and demons who attend her high school.
They are Vignette (voiced by Saori Ōnishi), a sensible and responsible demon who spends a lot of her time looking after the video game-addicted Gabriel; Satania (voiced by Naomi Ōzora), who dreams of being a feared demon but spends most of her time formulating failed pranks; and Raphiel, (Kana Hanazawa) the angel who ranked second in Gabriel’s school, and has since turned into a sadist who takes pleasure in tormenting others.
A lot of the humour in the series comes from this central twist: the angels aren’t actually very good, and the demons aren’t all that bad. Gabriel is selfish and lazy, and Raphiel is a bully who covers it up with a sweet smile. Satania is completely ineffective at carrying out evil deeds, and Vignette is always hassling Gabriel to clean her room.
With barely any plot to speak of, and nary a cliffhanger in sight, you won’t be tuning into Gabriel DropOut to watch the emotional arch of the characters unfold. This anime operates strictly in sitcom territory, where events from previous episodes have little-to-no effect going forward. Each episode is effectively three shorter skits, which lean heavily on how adorable the main characters are to create comedy. There’s slapstick and cute in spades.
Gabriel DropOut doesn’t display the most, shall we say, advanced humour, with girls acting against type, crudeness, and underwear jokes the punch lines of many of the skits so far. But that’s not necessarily a criticism – whether or not you will enjoy the show just depends on your tolerance for those three things.
The strongest gag in the earlier episodes of the season sees Gabriel trying to teleport to school – only to teleport her underwear into the classroom, while her body remains firmly behind. Seeing Gabriel’s underwear hover over her school desk, shimmering under a divine light, gets the laughs – thanks to comedic timing and expressive animation.
The animation is colourful and cute. It’s all very easy viewing. This is a show to watch at the end of a long day, eating takeaway on the couch; or to have on in the background while you do your ironing. If you are the type of person who does a decidedly un-Gabriel activity like ironing, that is.
Gabriel DropOut is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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