Winter 2017 First Impressions: Gabriel DropOut – Episode 01 Review

What would it look like if a divine angel became a hopeless NEET?  Look no further than Tenma Gabriel White, who got suckered into the F2P MMO life when she came down to earth for the final stage of her angel training.  In fact, even her two demon classmates are more helpful and considerate than Gabriel, while one of her friends from heaven has a sadistic side of her own.  At least they can all be hopeless together.

Gabriel DropOut was my first big surprise this season.  When I’d been looking at the seasonal list prior to the start of the season I completely skipped over this show and hadn’t seen a lot of recommendations from manga readers either.  I went into the first episode with low to middling expectations and was blown away by how much it exceeded them!

If you liked The Devil Is a Part Timer, you will probably get a kick out of Gabriel DropOut.  Both series like to play around with your existing expectations of demonic and angelic characters, and do so to great effect.  All the jokes so far are based on that one premise but there’s enough content there to keep the gags feeling fresh, and the characters sell them excellently.

The cold opener does a great job of setting up the premise.  The first three minutes or so are dedicated to Gabriel’s life before she was sucked in by the promises of the dreaded free to play, pay to win MMO formula.  We see her bright and shining, a true angel dedicated to helping others, which just makes it even funnier when reality comes crashing down and we see her as a grubby NEET living in a foul apartment being cleaned up after by Vigne, a demon who thinks Gabriel has gone Too Far.

My favourite character so far has to be Satania, or Kurumizawa Satanichia McDowell, to give her full name.  She is a terrible, awe inspiring arch demon who is going to take over hell once she has the whole Earth trembling on their knees at her evil deeds, such as recycling plastic bottles without taking the caps off first!  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m shaking in my boots.  Really though, Satania is incredible because she is trying to be so bad and strike fear into the hearts of men but all of her evil schemes backfire on her and she gets owned by everyone, including a dog.  I could watch a whole show just dedicated to Satania’s villainy and not get tired of it.

It helps a lot that the show also looks great.  Doga Kobo have a history of adapting funny slice of life anime and you can tell that they’ve really honed their craft.  The character designs look pretty and appealing, as do environments.  There’s an attention to detail in Gabriel’s disgusting bedroom that really makes it look like a garbage fairy lives there.  The colour palette is well chosen: bright and pastel hues are used to great effect without becoming overly poppy and eye-searing.  The animation is working well for now and I hope that if there’s some more animation intensive content in future that it will look as good as some of the scenes in Love Lab, a previous Doga Kobo work, did.

Overall, I’m really pleased with Gabriel DropOut so far and hope that it keeps up the momentum.  Comedy is such a subjective thing, so this anime won’t be for everybody, but that’s okay.  If you like funny slice of life shows about cute girls then you won’t regret giving this one a try.

9/10

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