Our heroine is a girl in her late teens. Her father, Admiral Takaya, commanded a starship and as a little girl she dreamed of following in his footsteps. His death only served to strengthen her resolve to one day go into space. She went on to attend the Okinawa High School for Girls where she received training in space robot combat. With advice from her "big sister" Kazumi Amano and Coach Ota she became part of the TOP squadron and defended earth from the aliens.
Kazumi Amano is a senior at the Okinawa High School for Girls and worked hard there to earn the title "Rose Queen," a symbol of being the top pilot in Japan. Kazumi goes with Noriko into space as the best pilots from Japan to combat the alien menace. She has a secret love for Coach Ota, which manifests itself as heated arguments when he spends all his time training Noriko and later as tear filled regrets when she learns he might soon die of space radiation sickness.
Coach Ota was a lieutenant on the Lukushiyon until it was destroyed. Ota has pledged to protect Admiral Takaya, but in the end it was Takaya that saved Ota's life by ordering him into an escape ship moments before the final alien attack. Upon returning to Earth, Ota became head coach of RX training at the Okinawa Girls School and singles out Noriko for intensive training. No ordinary instructor, Ota was an integral part of the Gunbuster project and came up with the daring plan to wipe out the aliens by creating a black hole. He kept his feelings for Kazumi and the true nature of his space sickness hidden so as not to weaken her fighting ability which was crucial to the survival of the human race.
Jung-Freud is a Soviet space pilot. With bright red hair and self confidence to match, she is one of the top space pilots, earning herself the title of Space Combat Genius. Though she starts as a rival for Kazumi in everything from title of top pilot to the affections of Coaqch Ota, she ultimately learns to work together and becomes good friends with both Noriko and Kazumi.
Admiral Tasiro leads the Earth space force against the aliens. Wise, he has seen many years of action commanding the Silver Star space station, the Exelion and later the Eltrium.
Kimiko was Noriko's closest friend while in school. While Noriko went on to defend Earth in space, Kimiko stayed behind and raised a daughter, Takami. Even after 25 years passed, most with Noriko in deep space, the two stayed close.
Next to Kazumi, Kashiwara was the best pilot at the Okinawa Girls School. Unlike the modest Kazumi, Kashiwara oozed arrogance and self importance. After Noriko put her in her place, she changed for the better, becoming first the new coach for RX training and later its principal.
A young space pilot, Smith meets Noriko and they quickly grow close. Unfortunately their love never has a chance to flourish as Smith is killed in their first engagement with the enemy. Noriko keeps Smith in her heart throughout the rest of the war.
Seen only in flashbacks and pictures, Noriko's father is at the heart of much of the story. It is his fleet that first encounters the aliens and marks the start of the horrible space war. His death motivates Coach Ota to choose Noriko and push her to be the best she can be. It is the memory of him that Noriko must live with, slowly coming to realize what the life he lived was, the life of a soldier in space that becomes hers.