In UC 0079 the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon are in the midst of a long war. In the jungles of Southeast Asia, the mobile suit teams of the Kojima Battalion use the Gundam Ground Type in action. Old man Jidan Nickard asks Karen Joshua of the 08th Mobile Suit Team where her new commander is, and she says he’s late. Karen throws a wrench at fellow soldier Eledore Massis when he becomes distracted by his walkman. In space, an Earth Federation Forces transport ship heads for Earth. On board are Ensign Shiro Amada and Michel Ninorich, both assigned to the 08th M.S. Team. Shiro enjoys the view of Earth and vows that he will drive the Zeon off the planet. Michel writes a letter to his girlfriend B.B. and notes that Shiro doesn’t seem to be taking the upcoming battle too seriously. As Shiro jokes with the other soldiers, Michel spots a signal flare from space. Using binoculars he is able to identify a GM Early Type fighting with an experimental Zaku II RD-4 Type. The GM is heavily damaged, and its pilot Terry Sanders wonders if his luck has run out. Shiro asks the shuttle captain if they can help, and the captain tells him their ship has no weapons. Shiro remembers that the ship has a Ball Type K and asks for permission to go out. The captain reluctantly agrees, and Shiro says he can’t stand by while one of their men gets killed. Shiro gets into the Ball and maneuvers it outside of the ship. He uses the Ball’s arms to grab a piece of scrap metal and uses it as camouflage. Sanders hides behind a piece of junk and wishes he had more ammunition. Once Shiro is in place he throws the metal at the Zaku and attacks. Shiro tells Sanders to escape to the shuttle, and Sanders thinks he’s crazy for attacking a Zaku with a Ball. The Zaku shoots at Shiro, and he fires a towing line at the Zaku and wraps the Ball it. The Zaku pulls out a heat hawk, and Shiro fires the Ball’s guns at the Zaku. The Zaku and the Ball are both damaged, forcing Shiro and the enemy pilot to abandon them. Shiro sees that the Zaku pilot is a woman just before the Zaku and Ball explode. They both fly into the wreckage of an EFF Magellan battleship, and the woman hides with her gun drawn and ready to fire.
On the transport ship, makeshift repairs begin on Sanders’ GM. The captain tells Sanders that if Shiro survived he probably has about two hours worth of oxygen left. Sanders wants to look for Shiro, but no one thinks he survived. Michel says going out in the Ball was a stupid stunt, and Sanders tells him to shut up. Inside the Magellan, Shiro explores the ship and finds some corpses in sections of the ship that still have power. He spots the Zeon pilot, and she begins shooting at him. He outmaneuvers her and causes her to waste all her bullets. She says she won’t be taken prisoner and asks him to shoot her. He notices she is wounded and tries to inspect it. She backs off, and Shiro grabs her and pulls her into an oxygenated compartment. He tells her to conserve her oxygen and begins to examine the wound. After patching up the wound, Shiro tells the Zeon pilot that they have to work together if they want to survive. They go back out into space and decide to split up and search for equipment to signal for help. Shiro’s watch is broken, so the Zeon pilot lends him her fancy personal watch. On the transport ship, the GM is repaired and Sanders heads out to find Shiro. As Shiro explores the wreckage of the ship, he sees a missile and has an idea. He tells the Zeon pilot they can use the missile as fireworks to light up the area and signal for help. Shiro and the Zeon pilot adjust the missile and fire it at the Magellan. The ship explodes, but no one comes to rescue them. As they float in space, the Zeon pilot tells him he isn’t like what she expected for an EFF officer. Two Zakus approach, and as the Zeon pilot leaves she tells Shiro her name is Aina Sahalin. Sanders approaches with his GM, and Aina tells the Zaku pilots to leave them alone. On the transport ship, Michel is shocked that Shiro survived. He tells Sanders that his new assignment is to the 08th M.S. Team and that Shiro is their commander. As Shiro rests, everyone else watches Gihren Zabi give a speech mourning the loss of his brother Garma.
There ends the introductory episode to the series. As one of the One Year War OVAs, this series sports more militaristic mecha designs and older characters. In fact, Shiro is the oldest animated Gundam pilot at age 24 (if you don’t count Amuro’s return in Char’s Counterattack). As things are set up here, we see that Shiro is very idealistic for a soldier and perhaps a bit naive. We also meet the other members of the 08th M.S. Team: the wimpy Michel, jinxed pilot Sanders, serious Karen and music nut Eledore. We also get to see one of the more interesting battles here when Shiro takes on Aina with just a Ball. It is a pretty crazy idea, but luckily for him it works out in his favor. Of note here also is Gihren Zabi’s speech at the end of the episode. That speech places this episode parallel to the 12th episode of the original series. The thing is that GMs hadn’t been introduced yet in the original series, so this series messes with continuity a bit. However, it is an acceptable change because pilots in Balls or tanks aren’t very interesting.