AKB0048 is a group of illegal idols that try to bring music into people's hearts throughout the universe. They are the successors to the idol group AKB48. The producer of AKB0048 is the mysterious entity, Sensei Sensei. All of the members have a heart shaped mark in their eyes and on their hair, and all of the graduates have diamond shaped markings on their eyes and hair.
AKB0048 is an idol group whose main purpose is to fight against the entertainment ban imposed on many planets throughout the universe. Each year, it holds auditions for a new batch of trainees who will one day succeed its current members. Each member of the group takes on the persona of their favourite idol from AKB48. Due to the small number of members, there is no need for the girls to be split into teams. Their home planet is Akibastar. To date, there have been 74 different teams of AKB0048.
It can also be assumed that the number of members AKB0048 is not set, as during the attack on Lancastar, the group consisted of at least ten members, including Tsubasa.
When it comes to fighting the DES, they use micro sabers and some members have personalized weaponry, mobile suits and their own unique fighting techniques. They can also count on the help of their own bodyguard group, the WOTA, when things get rough.
AKB0048 was formed right after entertainment was banned throughout the entire universe.
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 visit Lancastar with her father, invites Nagisa Motomiya, Orine Aida and Yuka 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 it's 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.
In the year since the 77th generation trainees joined AKB0048, the Deep Galactic Trade Organization [DGTO], a totalitarian galactic government and its national armed force, Destroy Entertainment Soldiers [DES] have stepped up their attacks on entertainment. AKB0048 continue their next stage and performs the concert at Atamistar. Manager Tsubasa announced to bring back the general elections and the Center Nova position. The same night after the concert, Chieri, Ayako and Sonata were caught by the DES to be tried in a High Court in Kasumigastar, the DGTO's capital, but was later freed by the rest of AKB0048 with the help of WOTA. The trial itself made Chieri famous throughout the galaxy and has been getting more work. Cheri's father started developing artificial Kiraras with Tsubasa becomes curious as to how were able to break into Kasumigastar so easily earlier. The understudies are now thrust into a new competition directly against the successors especially when the general elections is approaching.
Soon later, the results of the general elections was announced with Hikari (Yuko) announced winner of the top 10 list along with other successors in their respective rankings. Also included in the top 10 list were 77th generation trainee Chieri Sono in 6th place and 75th generation trainee Mimori Kishida in 10th place. The elected members are chosen for a concert on Baltistar, a planet completely under the entertainment ban. Meanwhile, the 77th generation of trainees are chosen to infiltrate a nearby military base undercover in order to investigate reports of people visiting the base and discovered a hidden illegal casino there. The girls targeted the nuclear reactor hidden in the base and shut down the casino and escape with Higashino, the DES guard helped them in the process. Some time later, the Kirara of Succession show the original Atsuko's image, foretelling that someone may succeed her soon. Mikako is brought in as the group's official camerawoman as the group rehearse for a concert. After the rehearsal, Mimori comes down with a succession fever, Nagisa is chosen to stand in for her in the concert.
Mimori recovers from her fever and debut as a successor, inherited the name of Mariko Shinoda the 8th. Mikako unknowingly informs Chieri's father of the three conditions required for initiating the Center Nova phenomenon. Knowing this, the latter order his company Zodiac, under the DES to go after an element known as Dualium that is hidden in Akibastar by launching a DES Force attack there one day when AKB held another concert, putting the city into chaos and forcing AKB to struggle against the DES. AKB retreat from Akibastar due to escalating battle. During DGTO's occupation of Akibastar, AKB0048 barely manage to escape the DES in their ship and arrive above a strange planet to be repaired because it sustained the DES attack. The trainees are sent to gather data on the planet they landed on and in the process met with the creatures there with a sign of new friendship was made as they defend the planet together and defeat the Zodiac machines that came out of the blue to attack the planet for dualium but sacrificing the nature there. Chieri and Nagisa later sneak on board Zodiac's a ship taking them to Sagittariusstar so that Chieri can confront her father face to face. Chieri finally reached her father and was told to exhibit her singing skills but witnessed her father assassinated by a person unknown in front of her. Nevertheless, Chieri and her teammates show their fighting spirit to reclaim back Akibastar. Back in Akibastar, the people there shows sign of hatred towards AKB because of been felt betrayed by their retreat and turned against them and the DES is strongly controlling the planet. Despite these, Chieri, Nagisa and the others combine their feelings with the nameless emotions across the galaxy and fight back with love and music, getting the DES withdraw, returning peace to Akibastar with Nagisa promoted as Atsuko Maeda the 14th and Chieri as the new Center Nova. What remains unknown to viewers of this anime, is that a new more powerful enemy other than DGTO is quietly moving behind the scenes.
- Atsuko Maeda (Acchan, Former 77th Generation understudy, Nagisa Motomiya), 14th person to hold this name.
- Mariko Shinoda (Mariko/Maririn, Former 75th Generation understudy, Mimori Kishida), 8th person to hold this name.
- Sae Miyazawa (Sae), 10th person to hold this name.
- Tomomi Itano (Tomochin), 11th person to hold this name.
- Haruna Kojima (Kojiharu/Nyan-Nyan), 8th Person to hold this name.
- Yuko Oshima (Yuuko), 9th Person to hold this name.
- Yuki Kashiwagi (Yukirin), 6th person to hold this name.
- Mayu Watanabe (Mayuyu), 3rd cyborg/android to hold this name.
- Sayaka Akimoto (Sayaka), 10th person to hold this name.
- Minami Takahashi (Takamina), 5th person to hold this name.
- Rie Kitahara (Kitarie), 9th person to hold this name.
- Haruka Shimazaki (Paruru), 8th person to hold this name.
- Ayaka Umeda (Ume-chan/Kyura), 7th person to hold this name.
- Yui Yokoyama (Yuihan), 7.5th person to hold this name.
- Aika Ota (Lovetan), 12th person to hold this name.
- Aki Takajo (Akicha), 10th person to hold this name.
- Haruka Katayama (Haa-chan), 5th person to hold this name.
- Asuka Kuramochi (Mocchi), 9th person to hold this name.
- Miho Miyazaki (Myao), 7th person to hold this name.
- Shizuka Oya (Shii-chan), 6th person to hold this name.
- Chieri Sono (77th Generation, Center Nova)
- Yuka Ichijo (77th Generation)
- Orine Aida (77th Generation)
- Makoto Yokomizo (77th Generation)
- Suzuko Kanzaki (77th Generation)
- Sonata Shinonome (77th Generation)
- Kanata Shinonome (75th Generation)
- Megumi Wanibuchi (76th Generation)
- Hazuki Yanagikawa (76th Generation)
- Mizuho Shirai (76th Generation)
- Himeko Ichioka (76th Generation)
- Umi Dozima (76th Generation)
- Rie Hasumi (76th Generation)
- Akira Shirado (76th Generation)
- Furea Hoshina (Acchan, Former Atsuko Maeda, Former Center Nova, Graduate), 12th person to hold this name.
- Atsuko Katagiri (Acchan, Former Atsuko Maeda, Former Center Nova, Graduate), 13th person to hold this name.
- Tsubasa Katagiri (Mariko/Maririn, Former Mariko Shinoda, Graduate, producer and general manager of AKB0048), 7th person to hold this name.
- Mikako Minamino (Mii-chan, Former Minami Minegishi, Former Center Nova, Graduate, photographer), 5th person to hold this name.
- Rino Sashihara (Sashiko/Sasshii, Graduate), 7th person to hold this name.
- Tomoka Itano (Tomochin, Graduate), the 10th person to hold this name.
- Tomomi's Mother (Tomochin, Graduate), a previous person to hold the name of Tomomi Itano, possibly the 9th person to hold this name.
- Tomomi's Grandmother (Tomochin, Graduate), a previous person to hold the name of Tomomi Itano, possibly the 8th person to hold this name.
- Yui Yokoyama (Yuihan, Former Center Nova, Graduate), 6th person to hold this name.
- Yuuko Ooshima (Yuuko, Former Center Nova, Graduate), 7th person to hold this name.
- Ayaka Umeda (Ume-chan/Kyura, Graduate), 3rd person to hold this name.
- Haruka Shimazaki (Paruru, Graduate), 3rd person to hold this name.
- Aika Ota (Lovetan/Ai-chan, Graduate).