The Exelion and the Earth fleet prepare to engage the enemy forces, and Noriko discovers romance in the form of pilot Smith Toren. Kazumi and Noriko's relationship becomes strained as Kazumi loses confidence in Noriko's abilities. Noriko is faced with the uncompromising reality of war in her first battle!
Noriko tries to cope with the loss of a friend as the final phases of her training are completed and she is given command of the Earth Space Force's top-secret ultimate fighting machine: the monolithic Gunbuster. With an impending alien attack, uncertain feelings, and Earth's survival at stake, Noriko must face her greatest challenge!