On Jan. 3, UC 0079, the Principality of Zeon declares war on the Earth Federation, and a fleet led by Dozle wipes out an EFF fleet. Forces led by Kycilia attack the Moon and seize control of Granada and Von Braun. Char fights over the Moon in his Zaku I. At the same time, Zeon declares war on Side 2 Hatte, which is anti-Zeon in its politics. In a speech, Gihren declares that Side 2 is getting what it deserves for betraying Spacenoids. Hatte deploys its Vollhog space fighters, but they’re no match for Ramba’s Bugu and his Zaku IIs. Ramba watches the bombardment of a colony and declares that what they’re doing isn’t war, but slaughter. Musais then fire on the colony and destroy it. On Side 7, Amuro wakes up when Hayato Kobayashi rings the doorbell and tells him to come outside. Haro tells Amuro he shouldn’t go because Kai Shiden is a bad egg. Outside, Amuro meets with Kai and several other hooligans who have stolen a construction loader and want to check out the Development Sector. They joke about how Amuro’s father Tem is in charge of that and wonder if he’s secretly in the military. Amuro then recalls seeing the blueprints of a mobile suit in Tem’s office. Amuro doesn’t want to go to the Development Sector, but Kai goads him into it. Kai takes control of the loader and drives into the restricted area, which immediately sets off the security system. Sentry machine guns deploy and open fire on the loader. The passengers in the cabin are protected by the digger being raised. EFF soldiers take the teens into custody and smack them around. Amuro is set free when the soldiers confirm that he’s the son of Tem. The next day at school, a weeping teacher addresses students in school and tells everyone to work together in this time of war.
Ramba meets Dozle on his flagship Valkyrie and comments that he’d rather have fought in the fleet battle than against Hatte’s weak defense force. Ramba looks over at Hatte’s capital colony Island Iffish in the distance and wonders why they were told to leave it alone, so Dozle explains the details of Operation British. Ral is shocked to hear that Zeon plans to murder the citizens and drop the colony on Earth. Dozle tries to rationalize the plan by excusing it as being part of war. He wants Ramba to lead the mobile suits in the operation, but Ramba refuses and declares it as the work of the devil. Dozle calls Ramba a hypocrite and tells him the people in Hatte will die anyway. Ramba answers that Zeon Deikun wouldn’t have wanted this war, and he walks out of the room with Dozle still yelling at him. Inside Island Iffish, a young woman named Fang Li evacuates with her family by car and spots her boyfriend Yuki in an armed civilian militia. Yuki recklessly jumps over to her car and promises to escort her. Fang Li wonders if the other colonies fell, but Yuki is confident that the shelters will protect them. Outside, Mobile Workers coat the colony’s windows with heat resistant material. Yuki decides to skip out on his docking bay guard duty and instead protect Fang Li’s shelter. She tells him he should’ve gone to Earth sooner, but he answers that he was waiting for the blossoms to bloom in Japan in April. He declares that he wants to take Fang Li to Earth when the war is over, and they kiss. With the heat coating complete, engines are attached to the colony. A GG Gas Infusion Vessel lands on the colony’s surface and begins pumping poisonous gas into the interior. As the poison spreads, Yuki struggles to crawl over to the shelter door before dying. However, inside the shelter, Fang Li and the other evacuees are already dead. On Jan. 10, the rocket engines are activated, pushing the colony out of its spot in its Lagrange Point. The EFF fleet attempts to destroy the colony and fails. On the 16th, the colony breaks apart into three large pieces as it enters Earth’s atmosphere. The first crashes into Sydney and destroys a large part of Southern Australia. Another piece crashes into Canada, raining down debris on North America. The last piece crashes into the Pacific, setting off earthquakes and tsunamis that devastate East Asia. In total, the direct devastation of the colony drop plus starvation and disease kills half of Earth’s population.
At a Zabi family meeting, Gihren discusses the issue of how to deal with Side 5 Loum, which has been offered support by the EFF. He declares that Loum must be purged, and Degwin asks how many more have to die now that Gihren has killed billions. Gihren counters that deaths are irrelevant and that only victory over the enemy matters. Gihren thinks they still have to fight because Jaburo wasn’t destroyed, and Degwin notes that this is because their plan failed. Gihren intends to punish those who carried out Operation British, but Degwin lays the failure at Gihren’s feet. Gihren responds that they need his leadership if they want to win and avoid being branded as war criminals. Dozle returns home to see Zenna and Mineva, but he scares the baby by rocking her around and yelling. Later, Dozle looks at sleeping Mineva and starts crying when he thinks of how many hundreds of millions of Minevas he’s killed. He tells Zenna that he doesn’t want her to regret marrying into the Zabi family, so he wants to build a new future and have more children. He vows to protect them and declares that the underlying truth of all wars is that you have to protect the ones you love. Therefore, the people killed in Hatte were at fault for being weak. He yells that he won’t be beaten and wakes up Mineva. At Side 5’s capital colony Miranda, large groups of pro- and anti-Zeon protesters engage in violent clashes that are broken up by security forces. At the central hospital, Sayla works as a nurse and administers first aid to an injured child. Tachi visits the hospital and gets her attention by calling her Artesia and showing his Zeon I.D. He tells her on the roof that he participated in her and Casval’s escape from Munzo years earlier. She asks him to get to the point, and he asks if she knows Char Aznable. Tachi explains that he was expelled from the military academy, but has made a name for himself in battle with a red mobile suit. He tells her to watch out for him and adds that Casval is alive. Sayla wants to ask him more, but he slips away while she answers a phone call from Roger. He tells her that Teabolo has collapsed and that she should return to Texas Colony.
At Granada, a mobile suit mechanic shows the Black Tri-Stars their new Zaku R-1As. They then see a red Zaku II fly by outside, and Ortega is annoyed to learn that it’s Char. Char tells a mechanic to remove the thruster limiter on his unit, and Ortega becomes more annoyed. Mash comments on how Char has been promoted while Ramba has been busted down to the reserves. Gaia needles Char for violating regulations by not wearing a pilot suit, but Char explains that if his suit is destroyed, he’s dead no matter what he wears. Char insults them by saying that if they want to rise in rank they should do something to earn it. He thinks the upcoming battle at Loum will give them such an opportunity. Civilians desperately attempt to flee Loum, and Sayla returns to Texas Colony to see ailing Teabolo. Roger tells Sayla that he and his wife are relocating to Zeon because people in Texas are becoming hostile. He also wants to reach out to Char, who hasn’t written back to them since leaving for the military academy. Sayla tells Roger that she’s grateful for everything they’ve done, which makes him happy. Later, Sayla stands at Casval’s grave and wonders what he did to Char. On Jan. 23, multiple Salamis and Magellan ships take off from Jaburo and head for space to rendezvous with Revil’s fleet at Luna II. The combined fleet, which outnumbers the Zeon forces, sets course for Loum. On the flagship Great Degwin, Gihren tells the senior leadership that the battle at Loum will determine the outcome of the war. He then turns things over to Dozle for the operation briefing, who reminds everyone they’ll be executed as war criminals if they fail. He outlines the massive size of Revil’s and Tianem’s two fleets and their plan to attack Tianem. A special assault regiment from A Baoa Qu will focus on Revil. Elsewhere, Clamp and Cozun stop by Club Eden to say goodbye to Ramba before they ship out for duty. Cozun is disappointed because he volunteered thinking he could serve with Ramba again. Ramba drinks more alcohol and tells them they shouldn’t serve murderers like the Zabis. Tachi then shows up and tells Hamon that Kycilia’s agents are coming to arrest them. Said agents then appear, so Tachi sits down and pretends to be a customer. The three men demand that Hamon hand over Ramba, and she wants to know why Kycilia’s people have come to arrest Ramba for violating Dozle’s orders. The three agents then leave, and Hamon sits down to play the piano and sing.
Sayla nods off while sitting with Teabolo, and suddenly dogs start barking outside over a fire in the village. People flee the village and head for the hotel because of an attack by anti-Zeon outlaws. Armed men in cars drive toward the hotel, and Sayla tells everyone to set up barricades. Teabolo wakes up in a panic as his bed is moved and calls out for Sayla. As the outlaws approach, Sayla shoots one of them in the head with a rifle. People in the hotel uses rifles to defend themselves from the approaching outlaws. Sayla shoots a motorcycle rider carrying a Molotov cocktail, causing him to immolate himself. Sayla wonders what has driven these people mad and set off this violence. An outlaw slams a jeep filled with gas canisters into the hotel’s front door to destroy it. As Sayla gives people orders, a nurse tells her that Teabolo is dead. The doctor tells Sayla that the sudden commotion must’ve been too much stress for Teabolo to handle. Sayla cries as she looks down at Teabolo and says that he was a wonderful father. The sky suddenly lights up, but rather than being from the colony switching to daylight, it’s the light of Miranda’s bay exploding from a Zeon attack. A passenger ship carrying the Aznables is destroyed inside the bay by a blast from Char’s bazooka. Char hopes that Artesia isn’t in Miranda, and he then flies over and lands on the outer surface of Texas. Sayla looks up and happens to spot his Zaku, but it takes off and leaves. Tianem is informed that multiple Loum colonies have had their bays destroyed by Zeon. On the Ananke, Revil is informed of the attack at Loum and their request for assistance. Revil issues orders that Cunningham’s and Wakkein’s fleets be sent to Loum with supplies to aid the civilians. On the Great Degwin, Degwin is briefed on the fleet deployment while Garma complains about not being part of the battle. Degwin is informed that a portion of the EFF fleet has fallen for their diversion and is heading toward Loum. In Zeon’s Mobile Assault Force, Gaia addresses the mobile suit pilot and tells them to fight for glory. The Black Tri-Stars launch in their Zakus alongside the standard Zaku forces. Degwin tells Garma to calm down and says that there are some people whose deaths do not matter, and those who are not allowed to die. Dozle’s fleet spreads Minovsky particles to combat density and opens fire on the EFF fleet. Garma panics when he sees a Musai explode, and Degwin yells at him. As both fleets trade fire, Dozle orders the fleet to change formation. The EFF fleet advances toward the Zeon line as the Musais change formation. Char tells Dren that he’s going to launch and wants Denim’s team to follow after him. Char launches in his Zaku and decides to push its thrusters to the maximum. The high speed causes his Zaku to leave behind a red streak as he zooms past the EFF ships. He declares that God should bow before him as he targets a ship with his bazooka.
This episode is titled “Clash at Loum,” which is a bit of misnomer because the Battle of Loum only starts near the end. Most of the episode is concerned with the early battles of the One Year War, including Zeon’s infamous Operation British. The various Gundam series are no stranger to throwing big things at Earth, but seeing the original colony drop in context has a different feeling than the others. In the TV series, Operation British is a few seconds of animation in the opening narration featuring a nameless colony falling on a generic city (which was not yet established to be Sydney). There’s no focus on the people who died inside Island Iffish or the impact on Earth. But The Origin puts a human face on the colony drop by focusing for a few minutes on the doomed young lovers Yuki and Fang Li. If you’re watching this episode as a knowledgeable UC fan, you know from the start that they’re doomed, but it doesn’t make it any less tragic. A good amount of time is spent on the Zabi family and their guilt (or lack thereof) over causing so much death. Gihren is a monster, so obviously he doesn’t care. But it’s interesting to initially see Dozle have a mental breakdown when he realizes what he’s done. His conscience can’t process such a staggering level of murder, so he creates a cognitive dissonance by blaming the dead for their own weakness. There’s also a lot of talk of being branded as war criminals if they lose, Amuro has a small appearance in this episode, mainly to help show Kai’s level of delinquency. Sayla’s time in the episode is brief, but consequential. She learns that Casval is alive, which stimulates her desire to question Char in the TV series. She also fights to defend Texas and kills hooligans without hesitation, but she loses her adoptive father Teabolo in the process. As for Char, although he doesn’t have too much screentime in this episode, we see how he’s about to earn his famous nickname as the Red Comet. Also, it’s interesting how thoroughly he’s killed the Aznable family now. First, he sets up the real Char to die in his place, and now he unknowingly kills the Aznables, who were on a misguided mission to reconnect with their “son.” The pieces are in place to wrap up this OVA and lead into the TV series.