On October 3, 1996, students from the UN’s Cosmic Culture Club arrive on Mars via space shuttle and land at the UN Mars Observation Base. Dr. Elizabeth Clabery leads the group of students, which includes Anna Stephanie, David Rutherford, Simone Reflann, Arthur Cummings, Roanne Demitrich and Juno. One of the UN personnel gives the first flower grown on Mars to Anna as a goodwill present. Later, the base rocks from explosions when the super powered tracer Layzner comes under fire from three Gradosian Bravers. The base goes on high alert, and a cave-in of the ceiling kills multiple students, including Juno. Elizabeth tells the remaining students to seek shelter in the basement. Soviet jet fighters attack the Bravers and are quickly destroyed. A tripod carrier enters the atmosphere and launches the Grimekaisar. Layzner continues to fight, but the Bravers pull back when Ahmos Gale’s Grimekaisar lands on the surface. Gale calls out to Layzner’s pilot, his future brother-in-law, and asks him to surrender. He then issues orders for the Bravers to eliminate any survivors at the UN base, so Layzner intervenes and blocks their path. Gale recalls that Layzner’s pilot is half-Earthling and has his men open fire on the base. Gale then attacks Layzner and is surprised when the pilot exits and begs them to kill him instead. Gale temporarily cancels the attack and orders his men to withdraw. The pilot then enters the basement and introduces himself as Albatro Null Eiji Asuka, who has come with a warning about the Gradosian Empire’s plan to attack Earth.
The students and remaining UN personnel escape in buggies and attempt to reach the American base. Their spirits rise when they spot the base in the distance, but relief turns to horror when the base launches nuclear missiles just before being destroyed itself in a nuclear attack. Their search of the shelter turns up no survivors, as no one managed to reach the fallout shelter in time. On the Gradosian flagship, Read Admiral Zuhl reports to Admiral Gresco that their intervention caused the American and Soviet bases to destroy each other with nuclear weapons. Gresco addresses his officers and warns them not to underestimate Earthlings since they’ve already developed nuclear weapons. The students are left with no hope of rescue until Eiji picks them up in a tripod carrier he stole before coming to Mars. In Mars orbit, Gale’s shuttle launches his Grimekaisar plus several Dimarges and Dtols. Gale tells his pilots that there’s no need to hold back this time. Eiji informs everyone that if they can’t successfully leave the atmosphere, there isn’t enough fuel to try again. The shuttle’s sensors pick up the incoming SPTs, but Eiji launches anyway and speeds past them into space. Gale’s forces return to the shuttle, and Anna thinks to herself that no one expected to return to Earth this way. Gale looks at a picture of his fiancé, Julia Asuka, and thinks to himself that he can’t be with her once he kills Eiji. The tripod carrier eventually makes contact with an American fleet, which deploys its space fighters against Gale’s forces. However, the fighters prove no match for the SPTs and are easily destroyed, along with their motherships. The students are shocked by the swift destruction of the American fleet.
Eiji launches in Layzner and asks Elizabeth to take care of everyone. Gale and Eiji open fire on each other, and Gale manages to sneak up behind Eiji and damage his right leg. Eiji refuses to target Gale directly and suffers more damage, which puts Layzner in danger of destruction. Another computer program takes control from the Rei AI and projects a blue energy field around Layzner. Moving at high speed on its own, Layzner inflicts heavy damage upon the Grimekaisar, mortally wounding Gale. As he dies, Gale looks at Earth in the distance and sees how beautiful it is. Egiel Karla fires the shuttle’s weapons at Eiji to keep him away from Gale, and Eiji cries out in agony. Later, the tripod carrier finally reaches Earth and lands at the Edwards Air Force Base, where Eiji is immediately placed under arrest. American technicians attempt to scan Layzner and study it, while Eiji is stripped naked and tossed into a rubber room for observation. Layzner’s protective system activates again, and the SPT smashes out of the hangar on its own. Layzner easily destroys the attacking forces, so the Americans ask Eiji for help. Eiji points a pistol at the computer console and demands that the other program reveal itself. He starts firing into the console, which forces the hidden AI Fouron to reveal its existence. The Americans open fire again on Layzner, so it takes off and flies away. Gresco’s flagship arrives at Earth and deploys satellites to devastate the planet’s ozone layer. Having reached space, Eiji dares Fouron to shoot him because he doesn’t want to pilot a murder machine. Eiji recites the secret history of Grados, which involved ancient Gradosians using human DNA from Earth to revitalize their species. Fouron’s mission is to keep that secret, but Eiji insists that his existence is proof of the connection between Earth and Grados. Fouron accepts this and returns control of Layzner to Rei. Fouron leaves behind a message entrusting control of the V-MAX system to Eiji.
Julia appears in the remodeled Bloodykaisar and vows to eliminate Eiji for killing Gale. Eiji pleads with Julia not to fight and tries to explain that Earthlings and Gradosians are the same race, but she doesn’t care about that. Julia chases Eiji into the atmosphere, and he tries to explain that Fouron killed Gale, not him. Eiji punches the Bloodykaisar with a knuckle shot, sending it plunging into the ocean. Gresco gives the order to activate the attack satellites, which destroy most of the ozone and inflict heavy damage on large cities. The Americans fire nuclear missiles into space, but they’re all destroyed by the satellite defense systems. The students take off in the tripod carrier and head into space with Eiji. Gresco’s flagship deploys a large SPT force that destroys the American and Russian space fighters. Simone pleads with Eiji, David and Roanne not to go out and die since they stand no chance by themselves. She blames Earth’s leaders for their current situation, and David suddenly kisses her, declaring his love. Anna gives Eiji a flower so that he can experience something beautiful from Earth. Eiji then launches in Layzner, followed by David in Baybull and Roanne in Buldy. When the Gradosian resistance proves overwhelming, Eiji tells David and Roanne to fall back and protect themselves. He takes off on his own and uses V-MAX to break past enemy lines and charge toward Gresco’s flagship. Eiji vows to protect the beautiful Earth and tells everyone he was glad to meet them. He asks Anna for the flower’s name, and she tells him the story of a woman who loved a man and transformed into a daisy. Gresco orders his forces to concentrate their fire on Layzner and destroy it. Thanks to the power of V-MAX, Eiji dodges their attacks. He vows that he won’t die here, and a massive explosion is set off. On the ocean floor, Julia wakes up and is amazed by the marine life around her. She thinks about the recording of Gale’s last words that Eiji played for her.
Well, that’s quite the ride to compress 24 episodes into a compilation that runs just under one hour. A lot of things are obviously removed, with some events also being reshuffled. Eiji fights his first battle and also encounters Gale before ever meeting the UN students. All the stuff with Gosterro, Danny Carks and David’s anger toward Eiji have been removed. The group’s capture in space by Gale is gone, and the stop on the Moon has been excised entirely. The group’s time on Earth is similarly cut down to almost nothing, and Eiji never has a conversation with Gresco about the secret origins of Grados. The editing flows surprisingly well for most of the compilation, but it gets a little rough once the group reaches Earth. This compilation is fine if you just want a quick refresher on the story, but I would not at all recommend it for a first time viewer. Stick with the series proper instead.