19. You’re the Next Captain of the Nadesico

When Ryoko was a little girl, her father gave her some important advice. If she can find her ‘special star’, the thing she is best at, then her life will be filled with happiness. The trouble is, all these years later, Ryoko still doesn’t have a clue just what her special star is.

Following a rash of “be a star” posters taped to the corridors of the Nadesico, Yurika has her own run in with special talents when Prospector tells her that Nergal wants to organise a talent contest. Showcasing the special skills of the crewmembers might help kick start whatever non-military career they have in mind when the war is over. Hearing this, Yurika becomes enamoured of the idea, and even accepts Prospector’s suggestion that the winner of the contest gets to take over the captaincy of the Nadesico for a day.

What Yurika doesn’t realise is that the Nergal executives don’t want there to be new captain for a day- they want the talent contest winner to take on the job permanently. The truth about the Jovians has led to disaffection and low morale amongst the crew, and Nergal hopes that a beautiful new ‘pop idol’ captain will be just the person to keep the crew happy.

In the meantime, everyone is happy to have something to take their minds off the Jovians- everyone, that is, except Ryoko. Whilst the others plan and their acts, she announces that she has no intention of getting involved.

The night of the talent contest soon arrives, and first up on the stage is Hikaru, dressed as a Gekigangar fangirl and ready to sing the Gekigangar V theme song. Contest commentators Akatsuki and Uribatake are duly impressed- and become even more so when, at the end of the song, Hikaru whips off her costume to reveal a sexy swimsuit underneath.

Following that strong opening are various other acts, including Minato’s sumo impression (finished off by revealing a swimsuit underneath), Izumi’s guitar playing (ending with a swimsuit reveal), Megumi’s nurse act (wearing a bikini underneath) and the Howmei Girls song and dance piece. Watching from the hangar bay, Akito is impressed by their talents, and remarks to Ryoko how awful it must be to a be a Jovian, and be trained in nothing except fighting. Hearing his words, Ryoko turns away- for her, fighting is the only thing she can do well.

Back on stage, Yurika is next up, singing the song “Being Myself” (better known as the show’s ending theme). As the announcer for her act, Jun cheers his beloved Yurika throughout her performance, which is, of course, topped off by a swimsuit reveal.

Dressed only in her underwear, Ryoko sits quietly in her Aestivalis, wondering just what her own special star is. Distracted by a distant flash, Ryoko signals the bridge, but when the Nadesico’s sensors fail to pick anything up, the alert is cancelled, and the talent show moves on.

Ruri takes to the stage next, and her soulful rendition of “I Want to Be Your Number One” quickly captivates the audience. Clever use of dry ice to quickly take off her dress and reveal a cute blue swimsuit secures Ruri a high score. Rather than basking in the praise she receives, however, Ruri seems more embarrassed about the performance than anything else.

Still in her Aestivalis, Ryoko cannot shake off the feeling that there is indeed something going on out in space, and decides to go out and investigate. At first it seems that she was mistaken, until a manned missile appears out of nowhere and cannons straight into her Aestivalis.

Picking up the explosion, the crew finally realise that the enemy is indeed present, and Akito, Izumi and Hikaru head out to back up Ryoko. As more missiles continue to show up, Inez provides her customary explanation. The Jovians are attaching the missiles to manned modules so that they can boson jump them right on top of the enemy, reducing the chances of interception before they reach their target.

As the Jovians continue to boson jump missiles, Ryoko takes the lead in the counterattack- after all, fighting is the only thing she does well. Depressed, Ryoko wonders if not living would be better than only being good at killing others, but the other pilots convince her otherwise. She is their top pilot, the glue that holds the team together, and even if that is her forte right now, in the future she may discover that she has other talents as well.

Whilst the Jovians drop their next wave, the others move to join Ryoko, and together the team takes out all the missiles. When the Jovian pilots request retrieval from their ship, the Aestivalis pilots make their way back to the Nadesico. A little reluctantly, Ryoko accepts Akito’s help in getting back to the ship, but quickly pushes his Aestivalis away when he comments on her ‘cute’ lingerie.

Back on Earth, the Nergal executives eagerly await the announcement of the talent show winner. Whilst Uribatake and Akatsuki tally up the votes, the executives beginning planning their new image and slogan- until finally the long-awaited results come through…

Ruri came in first place, but when she abstained, the default winner was chosen by a rock-paper-scissors contest amongst the runners-up. This means that the winner and new captain of the Nadesico is- yes, you’ve guessed it- Yurika Misumaru…