While it has some standout comedic moments, Gabriel Dropout Volume 2 doesn't take advantage enough of its unique setup.
Title: Gabriel Dropout
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
Publisher: ASCII Media Works (JP), Yen Press (US)
Serialized in: Dengeki Daioh G
Translation: Caleb Cook
Release Date: January 30, 2018
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
All cute girls doing cute things series has at least one beach scene, and just because the “girls” in Gabriel Dropout are angels and devils, they aren’t excluded. (Gabriel wishes she could be though, as she just wants to spend her summer vacation playing games.) But after spending a chapter on Satanya not-so-subtlety trying to nab an invitation, the beach trip is just a simple day trip. No overnight or hotel hijinx here, so that could be a plus or a minus depending on your preferences. For me, I think the author missed out on some golden setups. Raphael provided a lot of laughs in her demonstration of watermelon splitting (using Satanya as the target), and I could only imagine what she would do if they were in the same room overnight.
But despite the quick trip, Gabriel Dropout finally features other humans besides Gabriel’s work boss. I’ve wondered if the main four were ever going to interact with any of their classmates, but they still don’t. Instead, the class president overhears a very disturbing conversation, and her straight man reactions are so naturally hilarious. Gabriel asking to copy Vignette’s homework is the type of comedy found in just about every high school manga. Hearing someone talking about getting rid of all the men in the world and then their friend replying that they “don’t do that anymore”? The funniest moment in the entire volume thanks to its utter bizarreness to a normal person.
Speaking of the magical aspects, I remember the hilarity of Gabriel trying to use her powers to go to school in the first volume and failing badly. I was a little disappointed we don’t see more of her magical slacking attempts. Instead, volume 1 focuses a bit more on who she used to be when she first met Vignette. The story still doesn’t explain how four angels and devils ended up at the same school, but perhaps this will be touched upon in the next volume.
Either way, I want to see more of their (or at least Heaven’s and Hell’s) powers being used. Satanya makes a purchase on HSN (the Hell Shopping Network of course) and shows up to school waving a gun. But don’t worry — it’s basically loaded with laughing gas, and the future Queen of Hell and has her dastardly plan turned around. THAT’S what I want to see more of. Showing up to a teacher’s house in Halloween costumes just feels like it could be done with any group of girls and a group with role-swapped angels and devils.
Also, Raphael’s weakness is revealed inside the back cover. It’s easy to miss if you don’t flip the page after the author’s notes. I don’t know why Satanya discovering her weakness is revealed in a one-page short. I can’t imagine Satanya not using this information on her quest to, presumably, defeat the angels. Gabriel may be the titular character, but it’s Satanya that really makes the story. She’s like the Osaka (Azumanga Daioh), Kagami (Lucky Star), or Karen (Kiniro Mosaic) of Gabriel Dropout, if only because she has the best reactions. I mean, the art and the characters look good throughout, but Satanya has the best haughty and hopeless facial expressions.
Finally, while I am normally supportive of honorifics, I think this is one series that they don’t really fit. I know the girls are attending a Japanese school, but only Raphael really uses them anyway.
There are a lot of comedy series involving a group of girls living their everyday lives. Most of those have involved a slacker and an idiot, but these types of manga usually only involve humans. Gabriel Dropout Volume 2 doesn’t take advantage enough of its unique setup, so hopefully Satanya dials up HSN and loads up on devil-approved humor for the next volume… which will probably be more like devil-hurting humor, but that’s the best part!