Kycilia hears that Casval has left Texas Colony to enter Zeon through Loum and issues an order to kill him without it looking like an assassination. Char and Edouard arrive at a spaceport and are watched by Kycilia’s spies. Edouard plants a gun in Char’s luggage, which gets him flagged at a security checkpoint. Char whines that he’ll miss the matriculation ceremony at the Zeon military academy, so Edouard asks him to come to the bathroom. Edouard offers to switch places so that Char can make his flight, and the two change clothing. Char leaves for Edouard’s flight and is mistaken for Edouard by the spies. Edouard stays behind to catch a flight to Zeon tomorrow morning. Char’s shuttle takes off and explodes soon after leaving port. Edouard reports late to the matriculation ceremony and passes himself off as Char Aznable. Gihren gives a fiery speech as Revil watches with displeasure. Dozle introduces himself as the academy’s superintendent and vows to whip all the students into shape and make them into true soldiers and officers. Char’s friend Lino Fernandez notices something different about him, but he plays it off as taking his role as a student seriously. Garma is appointed as the class representative and makes a pledge before his family. Later, the students are transported to the Space Defense Military Academy at Side 3’s Guardian Colony. Char excels at running and surpasses the rest of his class, while a group of sycophants known as the “Royal Guard” stay behind with Garma. Char later gets a slam dunk in a basketball and wins a fencing match, attracting more attention to himself. In class, Garma slips up when trying to write out a scientific formula and is furious when Char announces the answer. Lino thinks to himself that he was the better student than Char in high school. After class, Garma and his lackeys confront Char and demand an apology. He intimidates one of the lackeys and apologizes before walking off, and Lino thinks to himself that Char is like a different person. At target practice, Garma is intimidated by Char’s skills and can’t hit the target. Dozle reviews Garma’s mixed grades and isn’t impressed by them, but he takes notice of Char’s straight As and sees on his record that he has an eye pigment abnormality. Lino gets out of the shower and asks Char about his eyes, and Char explains that he has to wear a visor due to cosmic ray damage or else go blind. Lino has a close look and realizes that this man is not his friend.
At Side 3’s Dark Colony, Gihren tells Dozle that he’s cancelling the MS Project. Dozle objects because they’ve come so far, and Gihren ridicules the Mobile Worker Final Type for having its engine bolted onto its back. Dr. Torenov Y. Minovsky introduces himself and promises Gihren that he can solve the problem and shows off the specs for his new fusion reactor, which can be miniaturized to fit inside a mobile suit. He runs a computer battle simulation where the Waff mobile suit destroys multiple EFF ships on its own. He notes that Minovsky particles block radar and radio waves, which will make mobile suits the new star players in war. Minovsky states that he can have the reactor ready by year’s end, so Gihren rescinds his previous order and allows the project to continue. By UC 0076, Char and Garma’s class is sent out on a 30 km survival course with the objective to return by sundown. Char pulls out ahead of the ranks and is the first cadet to reach the 10 km checkpoint, followed by Garma. Scheduled rainfall begins over a rocky area, forcing students to seek shelter. Char offers to let Garma share his space under a rock, but Garma refuses. Garma gets up when he believes that Char has fallen asleep and tries to sneak off ahead of him. Garma traverses a narrow path and slips, sliding down the steep rock face. Char descends to Garma’s location and hears him whine about how he wants to die because he’s so pathetic. Char pulls out his knife and starts carving pieces of wood into supports for a tent to shield Garma from the rain. As night falls, Dozle orders his staff to look for Garma. Char examines Garma’s injured leg and concludes that it must be broken, so he decides to leave for help. Garma insists on coming along because he’ll wash out if he can’t complete the course on his own. The men at the 25 km checkpoint hear a report about Garma and Char and find them walking in the dark with a makeshift crutch to support Garma. Back at the dorm, Char finds that Garma has pulled strings to eject Lino from the room and make himself Char’s roommate. Sayla returns to Texas Colony and hears from Roger that Char never visits them and stopped writing letters entirely. Sayla leaves flowers at the graves for Astraia, Casval and Lucifer, and she addresses them all by announcing that she’s going to be a doctor. She wonders if Casval really is dead because she can’t quite believe it.
Back at the academy, Char and the other cadets ride in an Armored Vehicle as part of a mock battle against EFF Type 61 Tanks. The cadets fare poorly in the battle, and Lino asks Char if this reminds him the lunaball finale in high school when he led the charge. Char answers that it does, and Lino knows that he’s lying. Char’s group fires paint rounds at some EFF soldiers stationed outside a pillbox, while another pillbox is captured by Zenna Mia’s group. Char and Zenna provide spotting for Garma’s Mobile Heavy Mortars, allowing them to fire accurately at the other EFF targets and win the battle. Dozle is impressed by their performance, and afterwards the cadets are rated as acceptable by the EFF military advisor. The advisor states that their future duty will be to stop agitators trying to separate the colonies from the Federation, and Char interrupts with a question. The advisor allows it, so Char asks what enemy they’re expected to face while being so underpowered, and he also asks if the Zeon self-defense force is just a sham to remind the colonies how weak they are. The advisor declines to answer and accuses Char of insubordination. He then demands that Char remove his sunglasses and slaps him while he’s trying to explain his medical condition. The cadets complain that Char isn’t breaking the rules and demand that the advisor apologize and pick up the sunglasses. Garma steps forward and demands that the advisor comply, which puts him in an awkward position. The advisor nervously picks up the sunglasses and returns them to Char. At night, Garma mumbles in his sleep over his books, so Char covers him with a jacket. A Salamis class ship approaches a Side 3 colony on a crash course with a civilian ship because it refuses to give way. The two ships collide, causing the Salamis to go out of control and crash into an agricultural block. At the Zeon parliament, a representative denounces the Federation and declares that Zeon must have its independence. A large group of protesters marches through Zum City, and EFF soldiers respond by opening fire on them. Char and Garma are assigned to a Minesweeper to help collect debris from the accident, and Char spots several Mobile Workers cleaning up debris. Garma explains that Dozle is in charge of them and reveals the secret that they’re being repurposed into mobile suits for military uses. The Minesweeper picks up something on radar and moves out of the way of a large EFF Assault Landing Ship, which Char assumes is being sent to pacify Zum City. As EFF troops fire at guerilla fighters, Degwin tells Gihren to rein his people in, lest the situation escalate into a full scale war. He reminds Gihren that if a battle broke out, the EFF garrison at the Guardian Colony would mobilize, and Garma would be their hostage. Degwin declares that he won’t forgive Gihren if anything happens to Garma.
Char tells Garma that he has a plan to attack the EFF barracks and disarm their soldiers. Garma is hesitant, so Char goads him into action by asking how he can be scared of something small like this when he might one day lead Zeon. Char pumps Garma up by saying he’s the star of the academy and could lead them all in battle. He reminds Garma that the EFF troops on that landing ship are probably slaughtering Zeon citizens in Zum City. Char then pulls out a map showing that the EFF garrison has 2,000 men, but he lays out a plan to attack them and prevent Dozle from interfering. The cadets gear up for action, but Garma is nervous about Char not coming with him. Zenna volunteers to stay behind and deal with Dozle. Lino confronts Char in a stairwell and reveals that there was no lunaball final in high school. He’s done his research and knows that Char is actually Casval Deikun, come back to get revenge on the Zabis. Lino wants to help Char, but Char says he doesn’t know what Lino is talking about. Lino gives Char a piece of modified lunaball headgear to use so that he can disguise his blue eyes. Garma addresses the cadets and tells them that their actions may well spark a war, but they’re defending the lives and rights of Spacenoids. Char’s group mobilizes in Armored Vehicles and heads for the EFF garrison. Dozle gets a late night visit from Zenna, who claims that she needs counseling about school problems. Dozle looks out the window when the room shakes and sees the cadets mobilizing. Zenna pulls a gun on Dozle, but he runs over and grabs it. He demands to know who instigated this, and she tells him it was Garma, which catches him by surprise. Char’s squad launch with jet packs as the Mobile Heavy Mortars open fire with live ammo. The EFF soldiers scramble to respond, and many are killed by explosives planted outside the barracks. The cadets land a direct hit on the control tower and begin advancing toward it. A Type 61 shows up and opens fire, so Char orders Lino to commandeer it. He tells Lino to use a different radio channel before taking off with the other cadets and firing smoke rounds. The Type 61 pilot opens his hatch to get a clear look, so Lino charges forth and tosses a flashbang inside. Lino reports to Char that he’s commandeered the tank and needs a gunner. Char lies to his men that Lino was killed by the tank, so they line up and fire their bazookas at him, destroying the tank. Char reaches the command center and orders the regimental commander to surrender. Dozle shows up at dawn and cries as he runs over to see Garma. The uprising is later dubbed the Dawn Rebellion. Char watches the sunrise and comments that red is a good color. Later, Tem and Amuro take a shuttle flight past Luna II on the way to their new home at the colony under construction on Side 7. Tem tells Amuro that he’s going to be very busy, so Amuro will be the man of the house. They take a train to the colony interior, which is still under construction.
This episode finishes off volume 5 of the manga and adapts the first part of volume 6. The story is mostly the same, but the biggest change is the inclusion of Lino Fernandez as a friend of the real Char and roommate to Casval. In the manga, Char/Casval’s roommate was a minor character named Murata, but the anime goes with Lino to create a threat that could expose Char’s plans. Although Lino professes to be on Char’s side, he doesn’t seem like someone who could keep a secret, so Char arranges his death to bury that secret. It’s interesting how the episode opens with Casval engineering the death of the real Char by mistaken identity, then ends it with the death of Lino. The real Char isn’t the first person to be killed by Casval, but up to this point he had mainly been fighting to keep himself and Sayla alive. But you could say that the real Char is the first victim of Casval’s ambition, because he’s willing to kill a completely innocent person to get his revenge, and the same goes for Lino. This episode also shows us more of the history of mobile suit development and finally puts a face to the character of Minovsky, whose name lives on for millennia even into the Regild Century. The original series showed that Char and Garma were friends back in their school days, but this episode makes it explicitly clear on how much of a one-sided manipulation it was on Char’s part. It also shows what a sniveling wimp Garma is, which is why Char has such disdain for him. With the series now extended beyond its initial four episodes, we’re marching ever closer to the events of UC 0079.