Many years ago, Ryoko sits atop her father’s shoulders, looking for the first star to appear as night falls. When she sees it, her father tells her that he wants her to find the first star that shines inside her–something she can be the best at, and shine brighter than anyone else. Back in the present, the Nadesico is on a very dull patrol around the Moon. Things are so dull, in fact, that Nergal is helping to sponsor a beauty pageant/talent show to find the next big idol. Yurika is annoyed at having not been told about this sooner, but Mr. Prospect tells her it’s to give the young crew of the Nadesico a chance to plan their futures after the war. This completely wins over Yurika, who decides that she may even participate herself. Mr. Prospector jokes that the winner can also become the new captain of the Nadesico. Misunderstanding, Yurika decides that letting the winner be captain for a day is a great idea, and makes the ship-wide announcement of the new prize herself. Thrilled by this new development, Hikaru and Izumi try unsuccessfully to get Ryoko to perform with them as a group. Izumi asks Ryoko what she plans to do after the war is over, causing Ryoko to look over at Akito, which results in Hikaru and Izumi teasing her about her unsuccessful crush. Meanwhile, Mr. Prospector is going over applications when he gets a message from one of Nergal’s marketers. It seems that Mr. Prospector wasn’t joking, the purpose of this contest is to choose a new captain for the Nadesico, with the idea of improving the ship’s tattered image and drawing attention away from certain recently exposed company secrets. After suffering through the man’s over-eagerness and hanging up on him, he gets another message from Yurika who is concerned that people seem to be under the impression that the winner will the the new captain instead of just captain for a day. Mr. Prospector attempts to dodge the question, but then tells her that with her feminine charm, she’s sure to win the competition, so it really doesn’t matter. The contest kicks off with Mr. Prospector acting as host and Uribatake and Akatsuki acting as commentators. Their first contestant is Hikaru, who sings the Gekiganger III theme song. Many other odd acts follow, including Izumi on her ukulele. Watching the show from the bridge, Akito notes that everyone is shining so brightly–they’re so much better than the Jovians who just think of fighting all the time. This comment depresses Ryoko, who is worried that fighting is all she can do right. The next contestant–Yurika–sings Nadesico‘s ending theme song. Everyone seems so riveted with her song, that nobody but Ryoko notices an incoming Jovian threat.
Unexpectedly, Ruri decides that she’d like to sing a song, and proceeds to do so with Omoikane’s help. Unsure of what she’s just seen, Ryoko decides to launch her Aestivalis, just in case. As Ruri finishes, Akito compliments her, causing her to blush wildly. Ryoko is unable to find any threat in the Nadesico‘s vicinity, and begins to wonder what she’ll do when the war ends. Suddenly, she sees a large missile, piloted by a human in a small support craft, flying at her. She manages to deflect the missile, but loses her Aestivalis’ left arm to the missile. The explosion alerts the rest of the crew, but talent show continues, with Inez displays her talent by wearing a swimsuit while explaining that the Jovians seem to be boson jumping human-guided missiles within range of the Nadesico as part of a low-cost, high-threat method of attacking. The rest of the Aestivalis pilots take off to support Ryoko, but aren’t able to get to her before the next wave of missiles appear. Ryoko rages that fighting is the only thing she can do right, but now she’s fighting other humans–so in the end, all she does is kill people. If fighting is really her ‘first star’ than nothing of value will be lost when she’s gone. The other Aestivalises catch up to her, and Akito assures her that if she died, he would be sad, and so would the others (who all chime in in agreement). As four more missiles approach, Akatsuki says that he fights because it is the only alternative he can see now. Hikaru and Izumi also believe that fighting is the only thing they can do right and Akito tells her that he’s sure she’ll find something else, someday. With her confidence renewed, Ryoko orders everyone to spread out and attack. The four missiles are destroyed with ease and Akito moves to help bring in an embarrassed Ryoko’s damaged Aestivalis. Telling her that it’s a shame she couldn’t participate in the competition–especially with the current cute look on her face. Not so surprisingly, Ryoko blushes and knocks Akito’s Aestivalis to the stars. Back at the competition, the results are being tallied. Back at Nergal, the board hopes that the new captain will be young and ditzy enough to take attention off the recent leaks. They believe that Yurika is just too homely and worry she might affiliate herself with the pacifist movement. Unfortunately, though Ruri wins, she abstains for personal reasons–so the winner via rock-paper-scissors is Yurika.
If you don’t find singing anime girls horribly entertaining, you’re not going to get much out of the episode. Outside of the competition, the only plot we get is Ryoko spending some time brooding about fighting. There’s not really much to say about this episode. You’ve got singing and fanservice with a small side of Ryoko brooding about fighting and still not getting anywhere with Akito.