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In a remarkably three-dimensional "2D Universe," female agents are dispatched to destroy the 3D Earth. Instead, they decide to stay with two Japanese boys and live a happy life of unwedded bliss and teen angst. One day, they decide to go on holiday in Osaka, a city long-neglected in anime since being buried under a mass of tentacles and spooge in Urotsukidoji. In this anime based on Silent Möbius-creator Kia Asamiya's 1991 love-comedy in Comic Afternoon, Osaka becomes the venue for two naked female assassins sent from the 2D universe to terminate the turncoat terminators. They attempt to blend in by loading Osaka language chips, which turns them into a pair of bitchy game-show hosts, but their gags will fall flat on an audience ignorant of Osaka's manzai comedy tradition (see Jarinko Chie).

Much of the humor rests on the unique attitude and accent of Osaka's people-which could be described as Chicago gangster-talk and New York sarcasm combined with a ludicrous love of yen. The dubbing script tries to approximate the Osaka accent as a mix of Valley girls, Jersey longshoremen, and cretins, but, although there is a lengthy discourse on the history of Osaka baseball, this episode is almost incomprehensible without a set of liner notes, sadly lacking in AD Vision's translation.

Once the shapely Terminators ("We put the ass in Assassins!") have been defeated, the unfeasibly thick-haired Compiler fights with would-be beau Nachi about his flirting ways. Meanwhile, the innocent Assembler tries (unsuccessfully) to seduce Nachi's brother in a simple tale of Tokyo marital discord that was originally the first episode, switched by the U.S. distributor with the zanier second presumably to hold viewers' attention.

Redeeming features include a score from Golgo 13's Omori that pastiches the Godzilla theme as Osaka food franchise logos turn into giant monsters and smash up "famous" landmarks, including the Hanshin Expressway, that would be destroyed for real in the following year's Kobe earthquake. Hummingbirds-director Murayama also provides clever moments such as background fountains that spurt in time with Compiler's anger and rubber-necking passers-by that add a really human touch to her argument with Nachi. But even these finesses can't rescue a show whose original raison d'être was not to entertain so much as to advertise.

A marketing tool designed to re-mind Japanese viewers of a manga that remains untranslated in English, Compiler has little purpose in the U.S. market. It follows late on the heels of Music Clips in Trackdown, a 1990 music video also designed to promote the Compiler characters but without the pretense of a plot. Sections from this early work are used in the closing credits to Compiler Festa (released as just plain Compiler 2 in the U.S.), the final episode in which the 2D universe sends White Compiler, a deadly upgrade of our heroine, who is defeated again by homespun Earth boys and wisecracking alien girls. N

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Original US Poster Art

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Name: Compiler
Release Date: Jan. 1, 1994
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Rating: None
Runtime: 45 (mins)
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