At the start of the new year, it is announced that Musashino Animation's next project will be an adaptation of the manga series The Third Aerial Girls Squad. With Honda having just left Musashino and Erika still checking on her hospitalized father, Watanabe assigns Aoi to production manager and Tarō to chief production assistant. Faced with numerous responsibilities and a tough schedule ahead of her, Aoi first starts making sure Seiichi has a clear idea of what he wants to do with the project without making any last-minute changes as he did in Exodus!. When the two ask Rinko to be the series' character designer, she declines the offer as she wants to improve her basic animating skills following her experiences animating the cuts of Exodus! 's final episode. She then recommends Yumi to take her place, and after some reluctance, Yumi agrees to take the job. Next, Aoi and Seiichi talk with art director Yūji Atsumi, who goes into a serious conversation about what kind of clouds should go into the backgrounds in order to fit the scenes. Later, while trying to research on fighter jets for inspiration, Aoi meets up with Midori, who offers to do the research for her and write up an overview of the information. Meanwhile, Shizuka learns that she will be auditioning for The Third Girls Aerial Squad anime, while Yumi and Ema learn some advice from Rinko about the ethics of character design. Elsewhere, Seiichi, Watanabe, Katsuragi, and Shimeji meet with the publisher, but their meeting is finished very quickly when the editor Shinsuke Chazawa approves everything without the author present. Later, as Aoi, Seiichi, and Shimeji do some research, they ask Aoi to have Midori commit to her research on fighter jets while discussing how to go about the ending.