Hateshinaki, Nagare no Hate ni...
(“At the End of Eternity...")
|Does humanity have the right to destroy an entire sentient race of beings, let alone an entire galaxy? These are some
questions asked but never elaborated on in the last episode of Aim for the Top! Gunbuster.
The year is 2048, fifteen years after the battle which saved the Earth from utter annihilation at the hands of the alien
forces. Mankind has shown it can defeat the alien scourge, but it has cost them a serious price. In the detonation of the
Exelion's drive system, Earth's solar system loses three planets and suffers a devastating adjustment in its planetary axis.
But humanity is not about to give up. Survival in this war is tantamount, and giving up is not excusable.
Kazumi Ota is standing at the grave of her husband, the late Koichiro Ota. Having made up her mind, Kazumi tells Ota's
spirit that she is going to go back into space where she can be of more help to the human race. She then has to break the
news to her class, for she had taken up the roll of head coach at the Okinawa High School. Her pupils gather around her,
tears in their eyes as she breaks the news. They give her an origami sculpture to remember them by. 18 year-old Takami
Akai asks Kazumi to give her Aunt Noriko a message from her mother. She tearfully agrees.
At the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, Noriko is on her way to the bridge of the Eltreum. The massive ship had been
converted from an evacuation ship to a ship of war. Mankind has finally decided to go on the offensive this time, to totally
obliterate the alien menace once and for all. Meeting with Captain Tashiro and Jung-Freud, Noriko is told that all of their
efforts and successes have been made possible by the Gunbuster. Tashiro also tells them that Earth is sending in a new
weapon, the Black Hole Bomb. The plan is to lure the alien fleet into a trap and finish them off once and for all. Jung
wonders if the weapon will have a pilot, and Tashiro says it will. Noriko wonders who it will be.
In Earth's orbit, flight preparations are under way to get the massive Black Hole Bomb ready for combat. Strapped inside
the cockpit, Kazumi is understandably nervous. Never before has man made anything so destructively powerful. To be
sitting on a weapon which could destroy an entire galaxy can be a little unnerving. But Kazumi is also anxious. She
realizes she will see her friend Noriko again, for the first time in 15 years. With the countdown commencing to its
conclusion, the massive vessel begins to move, where it finally makes the jump into warp.
At that very moment, the Terran fleet is moving into position. Captain Tashiro is speaking with his executive officer when
he is told of a gravitational disturbance unfolding. Looking out to space, the crew of the Eltreum watches as a warp gate
opens, dispensing the Black Hole Bomb. The humans in the fleet are shocked by the sheer size of the thing. It is larger
than a small planet the fleet is traveling by. Tashiro mutters in disbelief. Had humanity evolved so far in fifteen years as to
have created such a massive weapon?
With the initial shock over at the arrival of the Black Hole Bomb, a welcoming committee is stationed at the Eltreum's
docking facility. The doors open and out steps Kazumi Ota. Noriko and Jung are stunned to see her.
After Kazumi has reported in, she and Noriko share a moment of quiet time in Noriko's quarters. Kazumi looks longingly at
Noriko's collection of old photos. She hovers over a photo of her husband briefly. After some minor words, Kazumi gives
Noriko the package given to her by Takami. Opening it, Noriko finds that it is a letter from Kimiko, with a holographic photo
of Takami included. Reading it, Noriko's demeanor changes from joy to depression as she begins to let the feeling of time
catching up with her sink in once more. Kimiko states that she may be dead by the time Noriko returns to Earth, but to
please make time to come and see Takami. Noriko switches the power on to the holographic photo. Takami, 18 years-old,
jumps out and greets her. Breaking down completely, Noriko realizes that she is now utterly alone.
Operation Calnedius is now under way. The Eltreum fleet is now beginning to launch ships and scaled down versions of
the Gunbuster, called Sizzlers. While Captain Tashiro gives out orders over the intercoms, the pilots prepare for the
massive battle at hand. On the way to the flight decks, Jung catches up with Kazumi and calls out her name. Turning,
Jung slaps Kazumi, stating that she always got what she wanted, first the Coach, now the Gunbuster. Jung gives the flight
key back to Kazumi, stating that this battle will be the last. Kazumi tells this to Noriko as well when she reaches the
hangar. Noriko watches her friend leave, and looks to her father's spirit for strength and guidance, vowing to end the war
once and for all.
With the fleet at maximum battle stations, Tashiro talks with his XO once more on the subtleties of believing in miracles.
This conversation is interrupted as the alien fleet moves in to the attack and warps out in the middle of the Terran armada.
The aliens are heading for the Black Hole Bomb. Tashiro realizes this and orders the fleet to open fire on anything in its
vicinity. The massive bomb's shields are also turned up to full. The aliens hit the barrier relentlessly, determined to drill
their way through. Soon after, they explode against the barrier, ripples spreading across the Black Hole Bomb like
raindrops falling on a pond. Realizing this is a measure taken to weaken the shield, the human pilots engage the enemy
with the ferocity of hornets protecting their nest.
The battle is unbelievably savage. Casualties on both sides are staggering. The Cosmo Attack Fighters and Sizzlers take
down many of the alien soldiers, but for each ten they kill, thirty more move in. Unforgiveable losses of human life begin to
take their toll. The Black Hole Bomb's barrier has been breached, but the massive weapon is still intact. When all begins
to seem lost, the battle dies down. The aliens flee to regroup. The Terran fleet, whose ships once numbered in the tens of
thousands, are reduced to a mere few thousand. Twenty-two minutes remain until detonation.
However, after the alloted time has come and gone, Tashiro realizes the battle may have been fought for nothing. The
Black Hole Bomb has failed to detonate. Only 98 percent of the weapon's slave generators have activated. Humanity was
doomed to extinction after all.
Not wanting to give in to failure, Noriko devises a plan to use her Buster Machine's collapsing generator as the final
detonation device. Tashiro objects, but when Kazumi locks her own Buster Machine to Noriko's, the plan is under way.
Breaking through the bomb's shell, the Gunbuster begins it descent. Noriko is stunned to find that Jupiter's core was used
as the explosive medium. But then the pair receive a shock when Jung-Freud meets them. She states she wants to go
with them. Kazumi tells her they are not committing suicide. Jung doesn't care; she doesn't want to lose them to a different
time. Noriko assures her everything will be fine. Jung promises she will be there to welcome them home.
Finally reaching Jupiter's core after suffering massive systems' failures, Noriko pulls back the armored plating on the
Gunbuster's chest, revealing the collapsing generator. Turning it on to overload, Noriko thrusts it into the Black Hole
Bomb's failed slave generator. Systems begin to power up and the fleet realizes the bomb is going to detonate. Orders are
given to flee to the Orion Arm of the galaxy. Noriko and Kazumi, themselves fleeing, realize they will not get out in time.
With a impassioned cry of regret, Noriko screams out a farewell to Kimiko.
At that moment, Kimiko stands up and looks to the heavens. Takami, placing a prayer on a tree for Noriko, asks her
mother what is wrong. Kimiko tells her that she thought she heard Noriko call her name.
At long last, the Gunbuster has returned to Earth. Badly damaged and beyond repair, Noriko notices the time counter. The
year is July 06, 14,292 A.D. 12,000 years have passed since the battle ended. Earth is dark and looks deserted. Noriko
states that she can't find Okinawa. Kazumi wonders if humanity has perished after all. At that moment, lights begin to flash
across the planet, finally spelling out a message: "Welcome Home!" Jung had kept her promise. With heartfelt sorrow,
Noriko and Kazumi bid the Gunbuster farewell and return home within their escape pods.
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