- "B" refers to "Bitou" (Isamu) and the Beast Dopant.
- #31 is titled "Chase the Beast"; #32 is "Now, in the Light"
Meet Isamu Bitou, a stone-faced, hardened ex-con, walking on the street for the first time in ten years - although he doesn't seem that happy for being released, since the first thing he remembers about the outside is "the stench of corruption in the wind". Apparently the winds don't like him that much either; the most greeting he gets is some old newspapers blown into him. At least there's something he can take away from this - the newspaper headline mentions something about "the return of the beast-man", which Isamu finds familiar...
At the same time, Phillip is still being tortured by Shroud's last words to him, an becomes uncharacteristically restless. Unfortunately Terui Ryu, all business as usual, needs Phillip's help on a case he's had to work on - the same 'beast-man' thing from the newspaper. Shotaro remembers hearing about the original incident, roughly ten years ago
, and just to make things weirder, Isamu Bitou himself shows up at the door of Narumi Detective Agency. Unfortunately things get off on the wrong foot, as Akiko simply freaks out at this "scary old man"'s face, and Shotaro attempts to intimidate him back to whence he came... and earns one in the face for his trouble, in the form of a finger snap between the eyes
. It turns out Isamu knew Narumi Soukichi personally, and was hoping to see him... but for obvious reasons
, it won't be possible, and the fact that they can't even find any record of Isamu in the detective agency's files doesn't help. Knowing there's nothing they can do since the matter was entirely in confidence between himself and Soukichi - and primarily because he doesn't believe Shotaro is up to it - Isamu decides to leave anyway.
Shotaro, knowing it's his job to handle everything
Sokichi's left behind, decides to follow Isamu... who knows he's there anyway, dealing him one in the face for lack of effort, but is more concerned with catching up on the times via checking out his old stomping ground, where he once had a traditional food stall. It was left to his old friend Maru, aka Maruo Arima, before Isamu went in... but for some reason the remaining food vendors are reluctant to talk about him. Which is where Shotaro proves oddly helpful, as Watcherman happens to overhear them, and provides the straight dope on Maru - he's not only abandoned the paltry food stall business, but risen up the ranks to become a construction president that rules over the area with an iron hand, essentially becoming a landlord.
Isamu gets the idea to find Maru for himself, whereupon we meet a third player - Suzuko, also known as Belle back in the day, who was not only co-owner of that food stall of theirs, but now married to Maru. Maru himself pretty much confirms all the buildup to his appearance - he's not looking to catch up with Isamu at all, even mocking him for depending on a dead man (Sokichi). Another piece to the puzzle appears, as Isamu all but states that he and Maru
already know the truth behind the 'beast-man' incident - whereupon Shotaro plays along, claiming that he does
know about what Sokichi and Isamu talked about in confidence, to Maru's face even, before he and Isamu take their leave.
Back at Narumi Detective Agency, Ryu elects to let Phillip settle the case of Isamu Bitou first, but they realise the cases are connected somehow - ten years ago, Isamu Bitou was involved in an armored truck robbery, becoming the only suspect to be brought in - and indeed the only thing they could find, as the whole truck and all the money in it had gone. And the police records state that the collateral damage reached 'super-human' levels... tying it rather neatly to the original 'beast-man' incident.
At the same time, Isamu and Shotaro leave Maru's place, whereupon Shotaro reveals that no
, he didn't actually know what it was Soukichi left behind, and merely did that to gauge Maru's next reaction - which earns him one in the face again, as Isamu states that he's put himself in more danger than he can handle. And sure enough, that danger manifests itself in the Monsterof The Week
, the Beast Dopant, who goes straight for Shotaro's throat, demanding that he hand over 'the bear'... and giving him his next lead. It's Rider Time at last, and Isamu is proven wrong for once as Shotaro goes into Double right there and then...
Except there's something wrong with the Cyclone Memory, it's letting off some kind of power surge that causes Double's attacks to go wide due to a power imbalance. Switching to CycloneMetal doesn't help either, as Double can't put enough power behind his staff strikes to leave a mark. Fortunately Ryu as Accel is on hand... but the Beast Dopant has another trick up its sleeve, a Healing Factor
that even renders Accel's Finishing Move
useless. Only when Isamu speaks up on Shotaro's behalf is the truth brought to light - not only was Maru the Beast Dopant, but Isamu knew the whole time
. Except there's nothing they can pin on him at this point, since the evidence is technically gone and Maru has risen well beyond pinning range in any case.
He makes his escape, and Shotaro deactivates the Double Driver...
Whereupon Phillip awakens in an empty Gaia Library
instead of normally. All he can see is a vision of Kamen Rider Double, but with a gleaming band of light down the middle of his body... just as Phillip awakens properly. Shotaro is still pondering over the one lead he does have, something about a bear, which reminds Akiko of those quaint bear carvings with salmons in their teeth. Which in turn reminds Shotaro that Sokichi did have such a bear carving, at this little bungalow he has up in the mountains. At the same time, Maru has gone into hiding, leaving Belle alone as Ryu and Makura wind up interrogating her... leaving only Isamu to stand by her, as Maru sits in a shady little piano bar
as he vents his frustrations to the two ladies who've been helping him out with this Dopant business, Saeko and Wakana
. They introduce him to the guy behind the piano - Dr Isaka again - who offers to track our heroes down, in exchange for examining the Beast Dopant's abilities.
The next day, Shotaro leads Akiko and Isamu up the mountains to that old bungalow, leaving Phillip back home... without ever knowing that those odd power surges from the right-side Gaia Memory were coming from him the whole time
. All he knows is it's after the time he was beamed into the Xtreme Memory, which is enough of a mystery on its own... but possibly not as big a mystery as how Shroud just strolled into the secret Rider bunker like she owned the place.
Rather than give a straight answer to that, Shroud just explains what's really been happening with Phillip - the Xtreme Memory is the key to giving Double even greater power, but Phillip will be unable to use it unless - surprise, surprise - Shotaro is removed from the equation.
While Akiko goes off on her own to find the bear carving, Shotaro makes the obvious assumption - that Isamu still had feelings for Suzuko even after she's married to Maru. And for once Shotaro doesn't earn one in the face - because he's right. The whole business about Isamu going in for ten years was all because he took the heat for Maru, just because of the sorrow it caused Suzuko, and this was the reason Isamu started keeping all his feelings to himself and became the stone-faced man he is today. And he believes this is something he needs to pass down to Shotaro, who's always believed in being upfront about the truth and his own feelings... just as Soukichi would have wanted. At least Akiko manages to find the bear carving...
...just as Isaka as Weather Dopant finds them
. Without any warning, he lets off a cold front attack that gets Isamu, taking the bear for himself and forcing Shotaro to go into Double - or at least he would if Phillip wasn't still in doubt about Double and everything. Rather than Rage Against the Heavens
or anything, Phillip takes action instead, taking the RevolGarry out of the secret Rider bunker and straight to the scene, hoping to get around the power surge predicament by enabling FangJoker for a change...
It still doesn't work
. But Shotaro doesn't care, insisting that they attempt a Finishing Move
on Weather first... but the power surge throws Double off balance and causes him to revert back. Fortunately Ryu as Accel manages to zoom in just in time - except he's more concerned about his revenge as usual. And it's no surprise that he's not that effective against Weather by himself... until Phillip elects against trying to form regular Double again, and instead hands the Cyclone memory to Accel
, giving him a new Finishing Move
that causes Weather to beat a retreat, losing the bear carving in the process. All this brings Phillip's doubts back to the forefront, as he figures out that Shroud had intended for Terui Ryu to replace Shotaro the whole time... but Shotaro, already hit hard with losing Double, never learns this. In fact he can't even move from the spot
as Ryu elects to leave him and get Isamu to a hospital.
As Phillip ponders over whether Shroud was right the whole time, Shotaro breaks out of his funk in his own way - at least he was a detective before this Double business, and by god he's going to stick with that. So he gets off his ass and tries to find the bear carving on his own. Thanks to the Memory Gadgets, he finds it by dawn... and true enough, it's got a secret compartment with the real
Akiko, Phillip and Ryu leave Isamu in the hospital's hands, just as Shotaro finds them. He hands over the bear carving and leaves them, not willing to stick around for some reason - and Phillip asks Terui Ryu if he'd like to join up in Shotaro and Double's absence. Ryu is still hung up on his own agenda though, and Akiko just rails at Phillip for taking his Straw Vulcan
behavior too far this time. But it's not his choice either - the power surges were simply Phillip's own growing strength as Double, leaving Shotaro behind as he slowly reached a level that the Xtreme Memory could accept. Akiko simply maintains that this "weakness" Phillip keeps needling at is the very reason Shotaro is needed as a part of Double, turning it into a force of justice and not a tool of destruction. And it's precisely this sense of justice that reminds Phillip that Shotaro was so eager to leave because he was after something big
Turns out the secret compartment in the bear carving had the final piece to the puzzle, and Shotaro figured out where to fit it - Suzuko, who already had a Dopant memory tattoo
on her person, which only showed itself after Shotaro found a second
Dopant Memory. Finally it all fell into place - Isamu had taken the heat not just for Maru, but Suzuko as well
, going to the extent of getting Sokichi to hide her Zone Memory. Believing that he could talk her around somehow, Shotaro went to Suzuko on his own, trying to convince her to talk to Isamu and apologise...
Except Shotaro made the mistake of putting the Dopant Memory back in her hands. Alone. WITHOUT DOUBLE.
Suzuko laughs at his naivete and jacks in immediately, turning into the strangely tetrapod-shaped Zone Dopant, who immediately uses her passive teleportation to send Shotaro out of the building, but not to ground level
. Fortunately, he's directly over a canal at the time...
the Sonozaki mansion, Wakana is called by Ryuubei to meet him in that massive underground archaeological dig, specifically to that circular structure housing an ominous yellow glow. It's really a valve regulating the access to the center of the earth, and Ryuubei believes that the presence of Xtreme Memory means that it's about to be cranked open... by Raito. Or as we know him, Phillip
. At the same time, Ryu's managed to track down Maru on his own, and at the very location of that robbery ten years ago no less - but Maru is ready for him. And so is Suzuko, whose Zone Dopant ability allows Beast Dopant to Teleport Spam
and basically brutalise
Ryu as Accel.
Somewhere up the river, Phillip and Akiko manage to find Shotaro in the water, soaking in brine and regret. Phillip points out that there was something else hidden in the bear carving that Shotaro somehow missed entirely... or thought it was intended for Isamu, since that's his name on it. A note Sokichi left behind with a simple message: Nobody's Perfect
. And regardless of who he signed it to, it was intended for everyone - Shotaro tried to talk Suzuko round because he was ready to believe in her, while forgetting that he himself didn't need to be the perfect one
. And it was this that reminded Phillip of the whole reason they needed Shotaro for Double - because Double was never intended as the perfect weapon
. Just a good
Our heroes start making their own way downriver, as we listen to a little something else that Sokichi left behindnote
. And they get there just in time, as Accel got beat pretty bad this time, and regardless of the power surges and whatever else is bothering them, it's Rider time at last. And Beast has no problem with directing his wrath at them instead - whereupon our heroes learn that the power surges were really the result of Phillip trying (unsuccessfully) to limit his energy output, and the only real solution was for Shotaro to grit his teeth and take it all
Which is the very thing that draws the Xtreme Memory to them, beaming Phillip into itself like the last time, but then slotting itself into both Gaia Memory slots on the Double Driver at once - this not only connects Phillip and Shotaro
to the Gaia Library, but turns Double as CycloneJoker into CycloneJokerXtreme! The effect even ripples as far as the Sonozaki mansion, as Ryuubei and Wakana both witness the effect of CycloneJokerXtreme's Gaia Library connection - the valve to the center of the earth turns all the way, spewing a glowing geyser of raw data.
Combat-wise, CycloneJokerXtreme not only anticipates the Teleport Spam
, but manages to hit Beast Dopant with an attack that negates the Healing Factor
. With the new Prism Bicker weapon, Double can not only hold off Zone's energy attacks, but jack in up to 4 Gaia Memories
and take down Zone with the Bicker Illusion
, after which he uses them to charge the Prism Bicker sword and end it for Beast with the Bicker Charge Break. It's all over for Maru and Bell as Ryu brings them in, while deactivating Double as CycloneJokerXtreme has the added effect of re-materialising Phillip right beside Shotaro like he was always there. At the same time, Shroud, having hidden in a corner to witness everything, realises that the only 'tool of destruction' present here is Shotaro himself, the Spanner in the Works
Our story ends with Shotaro wondering if Isamu is really better off, with his two best friends literally in the same place he'd been all these years. And earns one in the face, because it's not that kind of ending at all. Isamu is quite all right with getting his old food stall back, with a little help from Queen and Elizabeth in drumming up a clientele. The last thing Isamu tells Shotaro is "make sure the agency your boss left you doesn't close down".
And he deals Shotaro one in the face again. Except this time it's meant as a well-intentioned nudge, the universal gesture for "well done".