In October 1999, three years have passed since the Gradosian subjugation of Earth. In an impoverished New York City, a hooded Eiji wanders the streets and is nearly run over by several Gradosian hovercraft. Anna, now 17, works at an underground sewing factory where people secretly read outlawed books. A young boy named Matthew is tired of reading and runs off with his dog, Gaw. An old man comments that others feel the same way, but his goal is to memorize a book and pass it down to the next generation. He’s afraid because it’s forbidden to think about things, so you can get brainwashed by the Gradosians and not even notice it. A younger man chimes in and says they have to find another way to keep fighting, even if it isn’t through armed conflict. Matthew runs back to report that Gradosian soldiers are coming, so everyone hides the books underneath the floor. The soldiers search the factory for contraband, and Giulla comes in and looks over Anna. A man is shot outside for carrying books and then set on fire with the books. Giulla warns everyone to not have any books, tapes, videos, film or pictures in their possession if they want to live. Giulla steps on the false floor tile, and Matthew starts a commotion. Giulla plays a tape on a cassette player, which discusses how European citizens went underground to fight the Nazis during World War II. Matthew and Gaw run away while Anna and the others are arrested. The soldiers then come under fire from David and several other guerillas. The guerillas are surrounded by hovercraft, and Giulla announces that they’ll all be executed in the future. Matthew and Gaw show up to cause more trouble, and Gaw is shot while trying to attack Giulla. Giulla orders his men to open fire right now, but they’re interrupted when Eiji stumbles in and begs for money. Giulla decides to see if he’s really Eiji and offers to give him money if he punches Anna. Eiji then slaps Anna and punches David, but Giulla demands that Eiji lick his boots for the movie. Anna and David plead with Eiji to stop, and Giulla concludes that Eiji isn’t who they claim he is. Giulla kicks Eiji in the face and notices that Matthew has slipped away, so he orders his men to round up the prisoners. Anna is sure it was Eiji, but David doesn’t think so.
Anna and David are taken to a prison, while Eiji finds Matthew and Gaw in the sewing factory. Matthew demands that Eiji leave, but Eiji pets Gaw to calm him down before leaving. Roanne, now a Gradosian collaborator, visits David and Anna to inform them of their execution. David doesn’t want to speak to him, and when Anna asks for an explanation, Roanne answers that he tossed aside his boring human pride to become a Gradosian. He then explains that they can be saved if they do the same, but when David tries to punch him, Roanne activates a force field. On his way out, Roanne gives bribe money to one of the guards. Anna cries over how people can change so much and become weak in just three years. The next morning, David, Anna and other prisoners are tied up and hoisted on a crane in front of a skyscraper. Matthew begs the crowd to help them, but nobody steps forward. Across the street, several soldiers with machine guns open fire around the prisoners without hitting them to terrorize them. Giulla tells the crowd that a public execution is a warning, so there’s no point in rushing it. Matthew keeps begging people for help and shames them for selling their souls to Grados. He runs over and jumps on one of the ropes to climb up to Anna, but the soldiers start shooting at him. Giulla gives the signal to open fire, but just then Eiji reveals himself and attacks soldiers with a pair of tonfas. The soldiers open fire, but Eiji gets close enough to Giulla to beat him up and take him hostage. Layzner emerges from the water and flies toward Eiji’s location. At the same time, several unmanned Terminator Police smash through buildings and swarm around the area. Layzner kicks one of the Terminator Police from behind, and Eiji jumps into the cockpit. Eiji destroys the Terminator Police and the gun emplacement used to shoot at the prisoners. With the threat cleared, Eiji grabs the prisoners in Layzner’s hands and flies them to safety. David runs over to hug Eiji and asks him where he’s been the last three years. Eiji answers that he came to New York two days ago to see them. Anna cries and hugs Eiji, and he apologizes for what he had to do yesterday. Matthew runs over and is happy to see Anna.
Wow, talk about a major shift in story and atmosphere. Episode 24 ended with Eiji running off to fight the good fight and clearly losing. In the intervening three years, Earth has been completely subjugated by the Gradosians. Books and any other cultural items have been banned, and the burning of books recalls Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451. This part of the series has also been compared to the early 20th century Japanese occupation of Korea, with Earth’s cultural identity suppressed by the “superior” Gradosians. Things have also changed for the characters. Anna fights the occupation through knowledge, while David fights with guns. Roanne has become a collaborator, and Eiji is now a close combat fighter using tonfas. Everyone’s character designs have been updated to reflect their older age, and Eiji now bears a strong resemblance to Chirico Cuvie, star of Takahashi’s earlier VOTOMS. We have yet to see Simone, Arthur or Elizabeth, and it’s an open question how Eiji survived the last battle and what he’s been up to for three years.