I was quite let down by this show to be honest. It's attempts to be subversive basically boil down to: "Oh, you thought this was the case? WRONG. now laugh at it and be merry." Which can work for some people, but I can't even call it a "cute girls doing cute things" show in good conscience. The show poses itself as a comedy, but I only managed to laugh every now and then. It was funny enough to keep my attention, but that's about it. Let's look at the numbers:
This is a story that very loudly and busily goes nowhere. There's no plot to speak of outside of "Just tryin' to survive in this crazy world." There's so little substance that I have nothing left to say except that the story does what it has to with whatever contrivance is necessary. There is one more thing I need to mention, but I don't think I will put it here.
Here is where I'll give the show its solitary gold star. The character designs are appealing and appropriately kawaii. The art is consistent with good variation to convey emotion. I especially liked their "freak out" faces. Where the eyes are just circles with dots on a moe blob, etcetera.Very cute and appropriate for their situations.
And I think that's being generous, but that's just my opinion. The characters are varied enough to be entertaining, but never evolves past that. This is also where one of my bigger issues comes up with the show's "comedy." A big part of the comedy that the show attempts revolves around the main girls' misfit personalities: the shut-in angel, the sadistic angel, the demon who acts like an angel, and the demon who is all bark and no bite because of her stupidity.
These characteristics are constantly played up for laughs, using the same gags ad nauseam. A recurring gag can be fun, but how many times can you laugh at a dog appearing out of nowhere to steal Satania's bread? They did try to explain that a little, having Raphiel (the sadistic angel) constantly encouraging the dog, but that doesn't keep it from becoming tedious.
There is also zero character development. Sure there were a few moments when characters showed a bit more character than their tropes, but still no-one changed, or grew, or learned anything after the first episode.
I think what offends me the most about these characters is that they're never adequately explained. Why do the angels go to earth? To learn about humans and "help people." Why do the demons go to earth? To....perform demonic deeds? To conquer the world? If either of those are true, then what is Vignette's purpose for being there?(the demon who acts like an angel) How does she feel about demons always being the "bad guy?"
Motivations and goals are so vague that they are meaningless. This is a just comedy show, right? who cares?..... I do.
A good comedy show is one that uses downtime to flesh out the world or characters and let your stomach rest between laughs. Take "Nanbaka" for example. It actively says multiple times that it's just a gag show and nothing more, but still takes its characters seriously enough to give them some background so that the jokes hit even harder.
The "downtime" in this show is just a thin veneer used to set up the next punchline. It works well enough though, I laughed a few times.
This next paragraph should probably go under the "story" section, but this was one of the biggest things that ruined the show for me.
As mentioned, there was never any true goal given for the angels and demons as a whole, but even worse was the relationship between Heaven and Hell. Nothing is explained, leaving only previous knowledge of the two places from religion to say anything about them, which does not work in their favor.
In the episode where the characters went home to their respective realms, they were right next door to each other, separated only by a fork in the road and a layer of black shadow over Hell's entrance. I understand that the real war between Heaven and Hell is too dark for a comedy show, but this is just ignorant. If you don't want to mirror the original places, then give us another reason that Heaven and Hell hate each other. They're treated as nothing more than rival countries trying to stake a claim on the human world without clarification. This means that anything goes in terms of interactions between the residents of the two places, characterized most fully by the fact that the main character (the shut-in angel) screams "GD", the most blasphemous curse word of them all, at the entrance to Heaven's gates and suffers zero consequences. It is never mentioned again. Was that supposed to be a subversive joke? That angels aren't supposed to do that but she did anyway?
This might have something to do with Japan's outsider point of view in terms of Christianity itself. Christmas is nothing more than a foil to Halloween in Japan anyway, so let's just have fun with the setting.
Overall, Gabriel Dropout was a cute little time-filler. It's like eating handfuls of sugar, it tastes good at first, but isn't really worth it in the end.
On a personal note, I demand a little more substance to my anime. I can respect a show that just wants to be a comedy, but the characters are the only thing to carry a show with no story, which means they need something more to them than just generic tropes. If none of these things bother you, then it's just fun little show that keeps the status quo.