Ichigo Hoshimiya is a regular, ordinary middle school girl. But when her best friend Aoi invites her to join the idol training academy, Starlight Academy, her whole world is turned upside down. As she encounters all kinds of rivals and learns what it takes to be an idol, she uses her Aikatsu Cards to challenge countless auditions.
During a rainfall, the roof in Akari's dorm room starts leaking, resulting in Akari and her roommate, Yuu, having to move into separate dorms, with Akari moving in with Sumire Hikami, who she met by coincidence that morning. After receiving new Aikatsu Phones and cards from Orihime, Akari and Sumire try to break the ice between each other, though Akari doesn't get to learn much before Sumire has to go off to her lessons. Akari is soon alerted about an audition to become Ichigo's manager for a day, inviting Sumire to audition alongside her and spend the day training with her, despite the fact it would increase the number of rivals she would have. Sumire, who had mostly practised by herself and considered all the other students rivals, felt happy that she could spend time practising with a friend. In the end, Sumire wins the audition, while Akari, despite not winning herself, feels happy that she has become closer friends with Sumire.
On the day before her job with Ichigo, Sumire gets a less than favorable horoscope, but finds a way to twist it into something positive. Later, Akari helps Sumire read up on Ichigo, with Ichigo herself giving her a bag of things to look over. The next day, Ichigo allows Akari to join Sumire as they both serve as her managers for her day of activities. After a few recording sessions, the girls soon partake in Ichigo's more unique idol activities. At the end of the day, as Akari and Sumire are invited to Ichigo and Aoi's room, Sumire laments the gap between her and Ichigo, but Ichigo assures her that she's been though the same thing, encouraging her to keep trying even if the gap never closes. As thanks for her duties, Ichigo gives Sumire some special Romance Dress Aikatsu Cards for her performance, which her older sister comes to see.
Akari meets Hinaki Shinjyo, a child actor from Sumire's class, who has been interested in her ever since her entrance audition where she inadvertently introduced herself as Ichigo. The two of them decide to enter for the Pon Pon Crepe Girl audition, with Hinaki suggesting they practise their ability to express how delicious something is. Hinaki later reveals she's been lacking confidence in her own expressions, having done so many gourmet reports during her work that she feels her comments haven't been fresh lately, and states it was Akari's audition that lit a fire in her. Hinaki gives Akari a hair accessory card for their audition, which gives Akari the edge needed to win.
As part of her role as the Pon Pon Crepe Girl, Akari needs to come up with a pose for a promotional poster. With help from Hinaki, Akari manages to come up with a variety of poses, but also notices Hinaki seems to be downhearted about something. After getting some sound advice from Ichigo, Akari is invited by Johnny to attend Hinaki's event following her poster shoot. After impressing the poster staff with her unique poses, Akari, along with Sumire, goes to visit Hinaki, who explains that, following an accident four years ago when she slipped on stage, she had been holding back her own enthusiasm in order to keep people from worrying about her, sticking with what staff decide for her instead of staying true to herself. Inspired by some of Akari's draft poses, Hinaki decides to take a step forward and wear a coord she chose herself for her performance.
With Halloween approaching, Johnny tasks students with collecting as much candy as possible in order to star in the annual Nightmare Party. On Halloween Night, Sumire's cuteness manages to get her a lot of candy, especially from Aoi. Johnny then presents a series of trials for students to earn even more candy, one of which involves determining who Ichigo is among a group of students dressed as Jack-o-Lanterns. After using process of elimination to bring down the numbers, Akari manages to use food to lure out Ichigo and earn a reward that brings her into the lead. While choosing a Halloween dress for her performance, Akari decides to try out the new Dreamy Crown brand, which turns out to be a perfect fit for her, while the brand designer watches on.
Akari is informed about her first solo concert, which will take place in a shopping mall. Feeling that this could be a decisive moment for her, Akari decides to try and obtain a Premium Dress from Dream Crown's designer, Tsubasa Sena, who is wrapped in mystery. Akari travels to Dreamy Crown's headquarters and is surprised to discover Tsubasa is actually a boy. Tsubasa shows Akari the Premium Dress he has been working on, stating it would probably take him a month to complete. With her concert in three days, Akari decides to search for the berries he needs to dye the dress' ribbon and speed up the process, searching several times in order to find berries that match the color Tsubasa wanted. Thanks to Akari's efforts, Tsubasa manages to finish the Odette Swan Coord Premium Dress in time for her concert, earning a great reputation for the both of them.
Wanting to get a Premium Dress herself, Sumire and the others visit Yurika for advice on how to appeal to Loli Gothic's top designer Maya. Following the Snow White theme his upcoming dress is based on, Sumire decides to make some baked cinnamon apples for Maya. Arriving at Maya's mansion, Sumire faces many trials, which Akari and Hinaki help her overcome. Impressed with Sumire's capabilities, and her treats, Maya bestows Sumire with the Snow Princess Coord.
As an audition is held for the starring role in a new drama alongside Ichigo, Aoi, and Ran, a new transfer student, Juri Kurebayashi, expresses her passionate desire to win the role. Hinaki reveals Juri was once a child star like her, who has much gentler and sweeter before she mysteriously quit acting a few years ago, becoming curious as to why she returned. On the day of the audition, Juri becomes irritated when her famous actor mother, Karen, comes to spectate and starts attracting attention. Juri later explains that, having seen her mother practise so hard for her own roles, she decided she didn't want to ride on the coattails of her mother's success and instead take time off from acting in order to train herself to become a true actress with her own power. Receiving encouragement from Akari to show her own strength, Juri performs confidently in her audition and wins the role.
Juri feels downhearted as she isn't satisfied with her own performance for an upcoming episode. Karen explains to her that when she was in an acting rut, it was a premium dress from her favorite brand, Sangria Rosa, the helped her overcome it. As such, Juri goes off in search of Sangria Rosa's top designer, Atsushi Encierro, who has been out of contact for a few weeks, with the others deciding to help her with her search. After checking a few places, Juri manages to find Atsushi, only to find he is also in a rut over his designs and can't help her with a premium dress. Wanting to help him reignite his passion, Juri and the others try giving him his favorite things, but it is not until Atsushi sees Juri's passionate flamenco dance that he understands what he had been missing. As thanks, Atsushi makes Juri the Rose Glass Princess Coord, which helps to reignite her own passionate acting.
Raichi and Noelle's classmate, Asahi Azuma, who is a big fan of Akari, learns that she'll be appearing in her first handshake event alongside Sumire. Meanwhile, Aoi invites Akari and Sumire to watch her appearance on a variety show to observe how she interacts with her fans. Aoi asks them to think about things from the fan's perspective, with Akari looking back on her own fondness towards Ichigo. On the day of Akari and Sumire's event, Asahi catches a cold and is unable to attend, so Raichi sends Noelle to let Akari speak to him over the phone before helping him set up a virtual avatar for her performance.
After Ichigo announces her own Great Starmiya Ichigo Festival, which is being produced by Aoi and Ran, Akari decides she wants to help with the preparations. Tasked with coming up with ideas to promote the festival, Akari and her friends become the GoGo Ichigo Cheer Squad complete with strawberry hats. Later, they help to give an opening talk at a guerilla concert, where they manage to handle themselves when faced with unexpected questions about the festival from the press. Impressed by her courage, Ichigo decides to sing Akari's favorite song for her performance.
With a week until Christmas, Sakura is put in charge of preparations for the Christmas Party, which includes a special Aikatsu Christmas Stage. Aiming to audition for the stage alongside Akari and Sumire, Hinaki decides she needs to get a Vivid Kiss Premium Dress so she can perform a Heroine Appeal. While trying to find out top designer Kayoko's whereabouts, Hinaki reveals she was previously rejected by her three years ago as she felt she was missing something. Orihime informs her of a party Kayoko is holding, which only the most fashionable people can attend, so the girls take Hinaki clothes shopping, managing to pick out some fashionable coords. On the day of the party, an accident leads to the girls' clothes becoming ruined, but Hinaki manages to find a way to make them even more fashionable in the process. Feeling that Hinaki has found what she was missing; a fashion sense of her own, Kayoko allows the girls into their party and has Hinaki perform on stage, deciding to make her a Premium Dress.
After Hinaki receives her Premium Dress from Kayoko, the girls focus on the preparations for the Christmas Party. Both Akari and Juri reminisce about three years ago, when Ichigo and her friends cut down a large Christmas tree to cheer up their fellow student, with Akari taking up the challenge of cutting down another tree in the same way. With help from Tsubasa, Akari and the others get permission to get a tree from Angely Mountain. Much like Ichigo did before, Akari and co. manage to cut down the tree and ride it down the mountainside while Karen, who was filming there at the time, helps to carry it back to Starlight Academy. The girls then decorate the tree before performing together on the Christmas Stage.
With her family on vacation, Juri joins Akari and her family in celebrating the new year, where Akari becomes a little embarrassed by her parents' obsession with soil. After reminiscing over some childhood photos, the girls visit the local shrine, where Juri notices Akari is more like her father than she is willing to admit.
With the start of the new semester, Akari makes a new year's resolution to find something she is good at. To this end, Akari decides to audition to become a weather girl, with Sumire and the others helping her to train. Later, Aoi arranges for Akari to meet up with TV weather girl Ayaka Kohashi, who teaches her about what goes on behind the scenes of a weather report and how different types of weather mean different things to different people. Despite knowing how tough being a weather girl is, Akari decides to give her best in her audition and ends up winning the job.
As Akari begins her job as a weather girl, Sumire decides she needs to find her own speciality too. However, she gets a throat cold just as she receives word of a shampoo girl audition, which seems to favor her beauty rather than her singing talent. Whilst wondering if she should really become a model instead of a singer, she learns of a CD debut audition being held on the same day as the shampoo audition. Worried about Sumire, Akari meets with her sister, who tells her that Sumire should make her own decisions. With Sumire still conflicted over which audition to go for, Akari brings back her sister's special herbal tea recipe to help Sumire with her cold. Encouraged by Akari's words, Sumire turns down the shampoo audition and instead goes for the singing audition, which she passes.
Yuu goes off on a month-long exchange program with Himezakura Girls Academy in Kyoto, who send one of their own students, Miyabi Fujiwara, to Starlight Academy in her place. Whilst skilled in various Aikatsu activities, Miyabi seems concerned by her teacher's words to observe the other idols and discover her true self. After spending time training with Akari and the others, Miyabi states her main concern that she hasn't been able to find any other idols that are like her. However, Akari points out this is a good thing, as her unique personality is what makes her a one-of-a-kind idol, which helps Miyabi realise what her teacher meant.
Miyabi meets a fan of hers named Tomoyo who feels downhearted because of her boyish looks, feeling she can't be 'cute' like she considers Miyabi to be. Wanting to help her out but not knowing how, Miyabi and the others look into the history of idols. Later, Miyabi is asked to perform in a Yamato Nadeshiko Idol Festival alongside Sakura, who tells her about how becoming an idol expanded her horizons. The next day, Miyabi watches Akari's weather report, where she talks about how grateful she was to have taken that one courageous step. Inspired by her peers, Miyabi sends out a social post encouraging Tomoyo to take a step forward. After her performance at the festival, Miyabi is greeted by Tomoyo, who was able to bring herself to wear a girlish outfit, becoming grateful to have become an idol.
With literally truckloads of chocolate arriving from fans for Valentine's Day, Orihime announces a "Thanks, Valentine" event to show not one piece goes unappreciated, with cafeteria chef Shun Yotsuba put in charge as head patissier. Later, Akari and the others learn from some of Yotsuba's fans that he was once a male idol who retired to become a chef. Inspired by his fans' appreciation, Yotsuba decides to make a large chocolate tower, while Akari tries to think of a way to let his fans know how he is doing. At the event, where Kayako gives Hinako her Premium cards, Ichigo, who was approached by Akari the previous night, brings Yotsuba up for an interview for his fans, who feel happy that he is accomplishing his dream.
With only three days remaining before Miyabi must return to Kyoto, Akari and the others make plans for a proper send-off. Meanwhile, as Miyabi is offered a stage for her final day, she decides she wants to compete against Sakura in order to challenge herself. Struggling to come up with what to write for Miyabi's farewell banner, Akari comes across Miyabi and Sakura doing some naginata sparring. As Akari becomes downhearted about Miyabi's pending departure, Sakura tells her about the experiences she learned when Ichigo went abroad three years ago, assuring her that their hearts will always be connected no matter how far apart they are. On the day of the concert, which Miyabi wears Starlight's uniform to, Sakura ends up winning the concert, but the crowd remains impressed by Miyabi's performance. After the send-off party, Akari and the others send Miyabi off with a banner assuring her that they'll meet again someday.
The girls get together to watch a mystery movie that they all starred in together. When Sumire Gelato is abducted by the vampire Yurika, vampire hunter Jurius Caesar Salad is sent to Starlight Academy to investigate. Meanwhile, Sumire, who has been made into a vampire by Yurika, targets her friend Akari Sunshine, inviting her and reporter Hinaki Twister to a secret party. There, they are attacked by even more vampire idols, with Orihime explaining that she had hoped the idols would become eternal, only to learn they can never enter the spotlight. Just as Akari is cornered, Juri and Orihime arrive with garlic-flavored donuts that turn the vampires back into regular idols.
As Tsubasa struggles to come up with a design for his next Premium Dress, Akari's popularity as a weather presenter earns her a stage during a concert being planned by her TV channel, feeling she needs to up her game to earn the right to wear the Premium Dress. After getting some inspiration from Ichigo, Akari brings along her favorite book, Thumbelina, to her weather report to compliment the tulips her partner Ozorotter has been growing. This in turn inspires Tsubasa to make a Thumbelina Bouquet Coord dress, which he shows to Ichigo and Amahane before giving it to Akari to use in her concert.
The Starlight Queen Cup is moved up to Spring, with the entire middle school section eligible to participate. As the girls are asked by Otome to help her move out of her current dorm, which is reserved for the next Starlight Queen, Sakura, who had previously lost against Otome, keep her distance, feeling she doesn't yet have the right to enter the dorm just yet. While training hard, Sakura receives some encouragement from Otome to bloom like a flower. On the day of the Cup, Akari and the others are eliminated in the first round while Sakura goes on to become the Starlight Queen, after which everyone throws a celebratory party for her.
Soleil announce they will be launching a half-year long nationwide tour in the spring, setting up a project room at Starlight Academy to plan the tour. Hearing about how they've worked hard to arrange their schedules so they can find time to plan together, Akari and the others decide to help out with what they can. As planning and training continues, Ichigo and the others reveal their true dream beyond the tour itself: to keep Soleil going as a unit for as long as possible. With Akari focusing on her own dream to become as great an idol as Ichigo, Soleil kick things off with their opening concert and soon set off on their dream tour.
With Akari, Sumire, and Hinaki on their long-awaited off-time, Akari suggests they go on a camping trip at the Dreamy Lake near Tsubasa's headquarters. Upon arriving, the girls are greeted by Tsubasa, who ends up helping them with pretty much everything. As the girls discuss how they are all aiming to be Starlight Queen, they become downhearted when Tsubasa points out how that makes them rivals. Wanting to know what it means to be rivals, the girls compete against each other in various activities, finding that there is even fun in competition. Upon returning to the academy as second-year students, the girls are asked to perform in a concert for the new freshmen.
As the second year begins, Akari and Sumire are assigned as the respective mentors of two new freshmen; Rin Kurosawa, a skilled dancer who admires Johnny, and Madoka Amahane, the granddaughter of Angely Sugar's Suzuha Amahane, while Naoto becomes the freshmen's new homeroom teacher. Rin and Madoka becomes roommates and instantly hit it off, deciding to enter together in a pair audition for the freshmen. As the pair practise, Rin tells Madoka about how she got into street dance, stating the most important thing is to have fun rather than focus on the difference in skill. Enjoying their audition together, Rin and Madoka manage to win, starting off their idol activities.
When Rin gets an offer to appear in a dance event, she decides to get a Premium Dress from her favorite brand, Dance Fusion, whose top designer, Sonny, used to be in a dance unit with Johnny. Rin goes with Akari go to meet with Sonny, who becomes impressed by her dance moves and gives her the Soul Marionette Premium Coord, though Rin becomes upset when he tells her he won't be dancing with Johnny again. After Johnny tells her to think about what makes a team, Rin observes Akari and the others, understanding that even though everyone has different careers and paths, they are still friends who help each other out. As Rin performs with renewed determination, Sonny comes to watch her performance and reunites with Johnny.
Akari, Sumire, and Hinaki are set to appear together on a popular talk show. However, after meeting the show's host, Maguro, Akari has doubts she'll be able to keep up a conversation with him on the real thing. In preparation for the show, the girls help each other fill out pre-questionnaires for the show's topic, while Otome teaches them how to keep their conversations short but impactful. On the day of the shoot, the girls notice how hard Maguro works to keep his talk show fresh. With the show mixing the pre-planned topics with some of the conversation held just beforehand, the show proves to be a big hit.
When asked to form an idol unit for her next single, Sumire decides to ask Rin to become her partner, feeling that the new song fits Rin's dancing ability perfectly. As the pair train for their single's debut concert, Rin tries too hard to live up to Sumire's expectations and ends up spraining her ankle, resulting in Johnny forbidding her from further dance training until it heals up. Feeling guilty for dragging Sumire down, Rin suggests that she choose someone else to partner with. Not willing to give up on the unit, Sumire decides to perform the concert by herself and have Rin coach her on her dancing, carrying both of their spirits on stage, after which she announced Rin as her partner to shine alongside with.
After Sumire and Rin name their new unit Dancing Diva, they are approached by the same shampoo company who approached Sumire before, who want to use their song for their next commercial. The girls soon begin a hectic schedule, with Sumire giving Rin plenty of advice for her recording and vice versa. Later, Sumire helps out some more as an autograph session proves more popular than expected. On the night before their promotional concert, Sumire comes to understand that the full magic of a unit comes from shining alongside your partner. As Dancing Diva makes a great impression with their first true concert, Juri wonders who her partner will be.
Juri tries to search for a partner for her own unit, but finds herself turned down by everyone she asks. As Hinaki helps Juri search for partner that contrastly compliments her like a chocolate-covered potato chip, Akari and Madoka notice that the two seem perfect for each other. After receiving a push from them, Juri and Hinaki realise they are ideal partners and form their new unit, Jōnetsu Jalapeño.
With Sumire busy with Dancing Diva, she asks Akari to watch over Madoka, who is offered a gig. Madoka wants an Angely Sugar Premium Dress for her performance, but is reluctant about asking her grandmother for one as she doesn't feel she is worthy enough. Akari decides to spend the next week training with Madoka to build her self-confidence, assuring her that even the pros aren't perfect when it comes to being confident. Strengthening her resolve, Madoka decides to climb up to Angely Sugar's headquarters the hard way and makes her request to Suzuha, who recognises her resolve and gives her the Angel Alice Coord.
Deciding she wants to be in a unit herself, Madoka asks Akari to become her partner, to which she immediately accepts. Jumping straight into meetings to decide the nature of their club, Akari takes Madoka with her as she goes about her daily work schedule, seeing how she interacts with her fans and learning about why she chose her as her partner. Inspired by Madoka's spontaneous skipping, Akari decides to name their unit "Skips". On the day of Skips' debut concert, Tsubasa gives both Akari and Madoka some new cards and special Aikatsuel Bracelets to celebrate their new unit.
Yuu goes on another exchange program, this time to Etoile Academy in Kobe, who send over their student, Kokone Kurisu, who is friends with Miyabi. Upon arriving at Starlight Academy, Kokone, used to being the center of attention, becomes downhearted that she's not as well known outside her hometown. She soon cheers up when she encounters Yotsuba, who she admired during his idol days and was her inspritation to become an idol. Upon hearing Yotsuba struggling to come up with a new donut idea, Kokone uses ingredients from her family's sweet shop to create one made using chestnuts and dried fruit, earning respect from her classmates. Afterwards, Kokone holds a concert for her restaurant's new branch opening, looking forward to the vast idol world lying ahead of her.
Following the formation of so many units, Orihime announces a Unit Cup for both existing and new units. Wanting to enter the event herself, Kokone invites Miyabi over to be her unit partner, naming their unit Fluffy Sweet Nadeshiko. However, the two get into an argument when Miyabi has qualms about Kokone trying to push cute dresses on her, feeling don't suit her. As the others hear each party out, they learn about what they thought of each other during their first meeting. Afterwards, the two apologise to each other, with Miyabi agreeing to wear the cute dress for their debut performance.
As the Unit Cup gets underway, it is revealed that, in addition to their stage performances, the participating units will also be ranked on backstage reports inbetween performances. After Dancing Diva interview Passion Jalapeno following their performance, Kokone ends up getting hiccups, so the other idols get together to cure them in time for Fluffy Sweet Nadeshiko's performance. Meanwhile, some underclassman working behind the scenes mistake a delivery of cards from Tsubasa for a gift from the fans, leaving Akari and Madoka with no dresses for their upcoming performance.
With only a matter of time til their performance, Akari and Madoka search their room for their missing cards with no such luck. When Hinaki and Juri come over to do their report on Skips, they deduce that the cards got mixed up with the gifts, which were taken back to the Academy. Sorting through the presents with the help of everyone else, which is filmed as part of the backstage report, Akari manages to find the cards just in time for their performance. Following everyone's performances, Skips are announced as the winners of the Unit Cup, managing to outshine Dancing Diva thanks to the points earned from their backstage dedication.
After Akari and Sumire are requested for a wedding-themed event, they overhear Johnny discussing an upcoming wedding over the phone, jumping to the conclusion that he's getting married. Curious about Johnny's assumed bride, the girls follow him to Dream Academy, where they meet with Seira and the other DreAca students and hear about how their careers have been going, before spotting Johnny dancing with Tiara, assuming she is the bride in question. Wanting to congratulate Johnny, Akari and Sumire agree to perform a concert at the wedding. There, they discover the one getting married is actually Johnny's younger sister, Elisa, with Johnny having merely taken lessons from Tiara in order to dance with her.
Akari and the other idols all star in a broadcast play, in which Juri and Madoka run a failing restaurant that is struggling to get any customers. It is then that Kokone, a super waitress, arrives offering to help the restaurant get back on its feet, calling in the fortune teller Sumire, who prophesises that the restaurant has forgotten something important. After Akari the detective is called in, Juri confesses that the restaurant's most popular menu item, omelettes, was removed because she can't match her father's recipe. The next one called in is food critic Hinaki, who tests Juri's honor as a chef before trying her food, offering to write and article about them. As Juri that removing the omelettes might be what caused her to lose her customers, Akari finds a bell originally used for her orders that was given to Minabi, who asks Juri to make an omelette for her, finding it tasting the same as her father's. With the omelettes returning to the menu, the restaurant once again becomes packed with customers.
Hinaki and Juri are hired to be image girls for a Mexican food booth at a world food festival. While helping with the booth's preperations, Hinaki suggests calling in Juri's father, Kamino Serio, to make a special dish using jalapenos, among many other ideas. Later, after giving Kayako suggestions on how to improve her new Premium Dress, Hinaki reflects on how much she has changed in terms of expressing her ideas thanks to meeting the other idols. On the day of the festival, Hinaki's ideas prove to be a great success for the Mexican Booth, which wins the festival.
As the end of her transfer program approaches, Kokone seems defiant about Akari and the others holding a send-off party for her, leading them to think that she doesn't want to leave. Working with Yotsuba, Kokone holds her own thank-you party for everyone at the Academy, stating that she wanted to be the one to give her thanks to everyone. Nonetheless, Akari and the others use what they had planned to make the party a special farewell for Kokone.
After Orihime gives Akari and the others a day off for summer vacation, Naoto arranges for them to spend a day on an island, which turns out to be the same island Akari faced her hellish boot camp. While camping out under a squall, Sumire shares a rumor about a mysterious ape man, which the girls start to believe after both Naoto and the boat go missing somewhere. As the girls go on a search for Naoto, finding several of his items along the way, they eventually find a group of monkeys who had rummaged their luggage. Naoto safely returns afterwards, having taken the boat to retrieve a beach ball Akari had left behind.
Akari and Hinaki participate in a hidden camera show in which they must try and spring a surprise on Sumire. After their initial pranks fail to provoke any kind of reaction from Sumire, the girls try using raw fish to spook her, only to discover that she had learned how to manage them. Just as the girls prepare their final trick, a booby-trapped bench, a sheep breaks loose from a petting zoo, prompting Sumire to stop it before it hurts itself. After explaining everything to Sumire, Akari inadvertedly lands on the booby trapped bench herself, which turns out to be what provokes a reaction from Sumire, who was worried about Akari's safety. Afterwards, Sumire receives a new dress and a bracelet from Maya as a final surprise.
Rin and Madoka look forward to attending a summer festival wearing yukatas designed by Suzuha, also being joined by Juri. As the girls enjoy the sights of the festival, Rin and Madoka become curious when they overhear Juri talk about going on a date and decide to follow her, eventually learning she is just meeting up with her father, while Tsubasa and the teacher enjoy a guy's night out.
With the Aikatsu8 Election results drawing hear, Akari speaks with Ichigo, who had just returned to Starlight Academy, hearing about her desire to get all of Soleil into Aikatsu8 this time around, whilst also stating those who don't get chosen still have a chance to shine on their own. The next day, the eight chosen idols are announced to be Ichigo, Mizuki, Ran, Aoi, Sakura, Yurika, Sumire, and Akari. Afterwards, Soleil announces the Great Starlight School Festival, a special event for three-person units.
Hinaki decides to join Akari and Sumire for their three person unit, wanting to become more passionate after losing out on the Aikatsu8. After doing some model shoots for Kayoko, Hinaki is a bit concerned when she is asked to retake them, only to learn that Kayoko wants her to demonstrate a new Fine Drum Coord that she made just for her. The next day, the girls find Hinaki's photo used on a giant billboard and praise how bright she shines, inspiring Hinaki to name their unit Luminas.
As PowaPowa Puririn prepare for the Great Starlight School Festival, Shion learns that the recording schedule for the movie she is starring conflicts with their concert, but becomes determined to attend both. Hearing how hard Shion is working, Hinaki decides to show her support and goes to the mountains, where Shion is training for her role as a ninja. On the day of the festival's first round, Otome and Sakura place their faith in Shion and wait for her to arrive, allowing them to perform as a trio as planned. During their performance, they are joined by Seira and the other Dream Academy idols, who give a video performance.
Madoka, Rin, and Juri all decide to form a unit together, but soon become concerned that their preferences and styles clash with each other. Looking for a way to feel united, the girl meet up with Encierro's disciple, Atsurou Muleta, who offers to make them unit dresses. However, Atsurou struggles to come up with a design that unifies the girls all together. While having different meals for their lunch, the girls realise that its their differing personalities that make their unit special, also encouraging Atsurou to be more calm and cool rather than force himself to be passionate. Using this, Atsurou is able to make a design that unifies the girls while also highlighting their differences, while the girls name their new unit Vanilla Chilli Pepper.
As Luminas work to improve themselves before the festival, Kaede approaches Yurika about entering the festival as Tristar. While initially believing it to be impossible, Yurika eventually realises from spending time with Powa Powa Puririn that she wants to reform Tristar too. After being approached by Kaede and Yurika, Mizuki feels the same way and gets Orihime's okay to reform Tristar. Before Tristar's first performance following their reunion, Mizuki spends some time reminiscing with Ichigo before being greeted by Mikuru. Awed by their concert, Luminas becomes even more determined to perfect their unit appeal before their concert.
Both Soleil and Luminas are lined up for the final day of the festival, with Akari and the others struggling to nail their unit appeal. Nonetheless, with Akari's optimistic outlook, the girls train until the last minute, finally managing to perfect their appeal. On the day of their concerts, Luminas manage to pull off their until appeal while Soleil once again stun with their performance. With the festival at its ends, Vanilla Chilli Pepper is ranked fifth, PowaPowa Puririn fourth, Tristar third, and Luminas second, with Soleil declared the overall winners. After the event, Akari, despite feeling frustrated over not winning, feels the experience was worth it and looks forward to what awaits her and the others.
Wanting to challenge themselves, Akari, Sumire, and Hinaki decide to take Luminas on a nationwide tour. After they manage to get Orihime's approval, the girls receive help from their friends to decide on the theme of their tour; encounters. Getting permission to use the academy's private wagon van for their tour, the girls ask Vanilla Chilli Pepper to join them in a special concert to kick off their tour as thanks for all their help. Luminas soon sets off on their tour, setting their sights on becoming the next Starlight Queen.