Jun 25, 2010
A lot of mid 90's anime, especially 45 to hour-long one shots and OAV series, relied a lot on their nonsensical, rapid fire styled humor loaded with references that most U.S. anime viewers probably wouldn't get and very little cohesion from one scene to the next. I can say, without any doubt, that Compiler is by far the strangest, off-the-wall, most bipolar comedy I've ever seen in my life, and yet so entertaining. Nothing about this show makes any real sense, but you feel that it would lose it's charm if it were explained to you.
Two 2-D droids, Compiler and Assembler are sent to
earth in part of a plan to take it over. However, somewhere along the line, they get side-tracked and wind up moving in with two brothers Naachi (dubbed by the awesome Brett Weaver), and Toshi (voiced by Spike Spencer). Compiler and Assembler's higher-ups from the digital world aren't pleased with this and sends two assassin droids Upload and Download to destroy the two. This is all explained in about 45 seconds by a John Swasey voice-over. I remember ejecting my VHS to check if there was a misprint on my copy to make sure I wasn't watching a sequel, but no, this was the staff's intent!
So, once the birds stop chirping in your head after being hit with this expostitional onslaught, you would think that they would begin to devulge on the information they just presented you with. Nope, even more wackiness ensues as our heroes seemingly take a day off to go to Osaka! This hiccup method of writing keeps comedy in anime fresh and entertaining as you never truly know what to expect next as opposed to, say, Nerima Daikon Brothers, which started out really funny, but nestled into a routine and I knew what to expect every time, and if you see the joke coming, it eradicates anticipation. Compiler just is off the wall from start to finish and leaves you very little wiggle room to fall into a state of complacency. The strangest part of this endeavor is episode two follows a COMPLETELY different style of humor opposite the fast paced, goofball slapstick, but I'll let you check it out for yourself, it's so surreal.
The animation is not perfect, but pretty solid and full of life. The visuals remind me of City Hunter, which is a good thing, and the physical comedy and action plays out as more a parody of the genre than to be taken seriously. The nudity and fan service is pretty harmless, and probably played more for jokes than to titilate. The English dub is pretty goofy, and worth tracking down on VHS unless you're fortunate to find it streaming. Brett Weaver brings his A game as loudmouth Naachi, Spike Spencer plays a great patient little brother Toshi, and Jessica Calvello (Mink in Dragon Half) is very impressive as the puffy little doormat Assembler.
Overall, there isn't too much you'll get storywise out of Compiler, but I think the more you know about the story, the more of the magic you take away from it. It's meant for jokes, not really anything else more, it's definately a treasure worth checking out if you're in the mood for a wacky comedy from the 90's.
Overall: 7 out of 10
PROS: Over the top, bipolar humor, the English dub
CONS: Might lose you early, not on DVD
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