At the start of the 21st century, an interplanetary war broke out. Earth’s ecosystem was severely damaged, and humanity was forced to flee the planet, hence begin a new history with the Star Calendar starts from the year 0000. In several planets of this new society led by a totalitarian government, the Deep Galactic Trade Organization [DGTO], things that “disturb the heart” like music and art are forbidden. The legendary idol group AKB48 is later resurrected as the interplanetary troupe AKB0048, made up of girls who carry on the title and spirit of the original members. With the government see the existence of the idol group as illegal, the idol group could not held their concert officially. AKB0048 also changed their concept from “idols you can meet” to “idols who see fans”. Held as heroines by some and labeled as terrorists by others, they take up arms to bring their music to their fans wherever they are. The story follows a group of young hopefuls as they train to become the next generation of AKB0048.
Four years prior to the story, Chieri Sono, while visiting Lancastar with her father, invites Nagisa Motomiya, Orine Aida and Yuuka Ichijo to watch the AKB0048’s dangerous performance at the planet’s mining site as they battle the DES soldiers which attracts and inspires them to join the idol group. Four years later, Star Calendar Year 0048, Nagisa, Orine and Yuuka passed the idol group’s first found audition and thus embark on a journey to Akibastar, the homeland of AKB0048 despite Nagisa’s father disapproval to join the idol group. Meanwhile, Chieri escapes her father who does not approve her the same way as Nagisa’s father and joined Nagisa, Orine and Yuuka. Also followed are Makoto Yokomizo the timid girl, Suzuko Kanzaki, a bespectacled girl and Sonata Shinonome, a blonde hair girl. All of them passed the second round audition conducted by Tsubasa Katagiri, the manager of AKB0048 and are chosen as the 77th generation trainees.
Arrived at Akibastar, the chosen 77th generation trainees settle down. Joining them are 75th generation trainees, Kanata Shinonome who is Sonata’s sister and Mimori Kishida who is Kanata’s teammate. Kanata’s relationship with her sister at first is hostile because she do not want her to risk her life, but soon come to accept her as part of the idol group. And so, the trainees undergo a life of concert performance training, singing and dancing, although sometimes they have a monthly day off. All the choreographies are planned by Mr.Ushiyama, a cross dressing man. Inside AKB0048, the trainees come into close relationships with successors Minami Takahashi the 5th (Shiori Arisawa), Yuuko Ooshima the 9th (Hikari Kimishima), Mayu Watanabe Type 3, Sayaka Akitomo the 10th (Akira Igarashi), Yuki Kashiwagi the 6th (Ayako Kuroki), Haruna Kojiharu the 8th (Chiharu Sakuragi) and Sae Miyazawa the 10th (Youko Asamiya) as they training and performing concert together, meet fans at both handshake events and concert held at entertainment-banned planets. Orine met her hater who at first hostile to her but slowly gave her constructive suggestions to make her improve.
Takamina once begin to self-doubt when the kiraras chosen Kanata as the successor of Minami Takahashi. So she loses her form and injured fighting the DES machine. The group performs at Tundrastar, but Takamina forces herself to perform although being forced to be replaced by Kanata and at the end of the concert catch the succession fever in the process. After AKB’s meeting, a gravure shoot for all the members, including the understudies is held at Atamistar. Tsubasa meets up with the camerawoman, Mikako Minamino, who is the former successor of Minami Minegishi and a former Center Nova. Minami declares she is against the idea of the Center Nova position being resurrected. When the idol group held its concert at Lancastar, the DES knew that earlier enforces stronger control over Lancastar and the WOTA protects the idol group along the way. Nagisa’s father was caught by the DGTO authorities at the same time. Nagisa becomes worrying about her father and soon loses her voice. The concert was held but was interrupted in the middle by DES attack. Nevertheless, with Acchan’s voice persuaded the idol group to fight on, the group decided to do as being encouraged. WOTA rescued Nagisa’s father and Nagisa has later regained the voice back after she found confidence in herself, meanwhile Takamina regained her title back after she was chosen by the Kirara again. But as the DES attack becomes immense, the concert ends earlier, and the group forced to move out of Lancastar headed to their next stage.