Despite the risks in doing so, Nagisa, Orine and Yuuka are on their way to the AKB0048 auditions - a journey which seemingly involves a trip on a rather luxurious looking spacecraft.
It probably goes without saying that this trio aren't the only ones headed to the auditions, and lo and behold we soon meet up with some more wannabe idols on the same flight - energetic stowaway (and failure in the first round of auditions, but she's still tagging along anyway regardless) Sonata, quiet but smart Suzuko, and easily worried Makoto Yokomizo. As it turns out, there's one more would-be idol on the flight as well - our main trio's old friend Chieri, who has done a runner from her family to attend, in turn causing a massive search operation given her place as the heiress to the Zodiac Corporation.
That said, Chieri seems like a rather different character from the chirpy girl we met in episode one, with a steely-minded focus on her goal and an insistence than anyone else taking part in the auditions is nothing but a rival. This philosophy is well and truly put to the test as their ship is invaded and boarded by the DES, who seem to have no qualms at firing machine guns at little girls in the name of crushing the entertainment industry (these guys make the MPAA seem even-handed). Luckily, who else but AKB0048 themselves are on hand to save the day, repelling the attackers with their patented Taser hair ribbons and lightsabers, while they perhaps teach Chieri a little lesson in the importance of working with others in the process.
As per much of its first episode, the vast majority of this week's AKB0048 is undeniably daft, with plot holes you could drive a bus through - indeed, it seems that you could run over Chieri with that exact same bus and she'd come out unharmed judging by how she makes it through this episode. Its characters are dumb, its plot is dumb, and there's quite clearly nothing you should even consider taking seriously about it - and that's exactly why it kind of works. As pure, popcorn entertainment, AKB0048 is currently scraping by on the skin of its teeth as a piece of colourful, jaunty and mostly well presented piece of fluff - whether it can last the course on that alone is another matter entirely, but despite finding myself pointing and laughing at it (rather than with it) on a semi-frequent basis I can't find it in my heart to deride it too heavily. Maybe I just have heart shapes in my eyes or something...