Phillip's condition has not improved. And he's certainly not helping things, having resolved, so to speak, to take down Museum and even Wakana with it. Maybe a break from that business is needed here... like say, a new case.
And one comes through the door as if in cue. Meet Nijimura Ai, employee of the T-Joy Fuuto cinema, where something unusual has been going down. Apparently some of the theaters are screening the same movie regardless of schedule - a movie starring Ai despite her never being involved. And once it starts rolling, nobody can leave. Of course, Shotaro is immediately on the case - which hits a snag when they aren't even allowed on the premises (being private investigators, though a warrant might not have helped).
Meet Kawai Toru, Ai's co-worker at the cinema - which they can only catch by inference, as he's not telling them anything. At all. Not in that way mind you, he's just... not the talking type. More of the writing type, to put it one way. And not in very big letters either. What really has Shotaro's attention for the moment is a new standee advertising The Movie of Kaze no Saheji, now showing! Which gives Akiko the idea to get the both of them into the premises... as paying customers. That extra minute spent laughing in the jerkass manager's face? Totally worth it.
As the movie intro's with an unfamiliar mountaintop, Shotaro and Akiko come to the realisation that this is the mysterious movie: "Jessica's Entranced Wandering: Why is the Mysterious Girl Going West (Adrift Edition)". Phew. And there's no mistaking Ai in the movie. 'Jessica's' lackluster performance proves the last straw as Shotaro gets up and leaves... and realises what several people already have, as the door is gone...
Meanwhile at the Sonozaki mansion, Ryubei and Wakana are discussing their next move, and it turns out Ryubei has already made some big plans for her. At the same time, Saeko is still in semi-hiding in that hotel, where Jun Kazu admits that he's gone behind Foundation X's back this time, giving Saeko a shot at taking her life back - all because he loves her. Possibly. It's hard to tell with that face...
After well over seven hours, people with stronger bladders would have called it quits at the supposed 'movie' still screening, but Shotaro and Akiko do make an effort to dissect it - until the movie ends on a To Be Continued. Which proves to be the second last straw, in a manner of speaking, as Shotaro yells blue murder to the general area... and finally spots the culprit. A Dopant, as expected, which makes its escape by turning the sealed exit into shrubbbery and squeezing through. Turns out this is all it takes for Phillip to break out of his funk, by running a search.
The Gene Dopant has the unique ability to manipulate DNA temporarily, not only turning organic material into other things, but even distorting his own appearance - but the profuse sweating on the jerkass manager is all it takes for Shotaro to break the con. It's Rider time once again, but Gene Dopant proves quite effective in battling Double by turning anything at hand into nasty weapons. Despite all that, turning Double's right hand into a cow (no, seriously) is only temporary as going into LunarJoker breaks the effect and allows him to stop Gene in his tracks...
Revealing him to be Toru the whole time. It all fits together now - Toru was responsible for shooting that movie, and thanks to the Gene Dopant Memory, he even played all the characters. Ai is reasonably freaked out at this, and Shotaro elects to hand him over to the authorities, while Phillip is seriously not helping, having reverted to his cold resolve again... which causes Akiko to intervene.
Over in the Digal company front for Museum, Wakana is settled into her new role, so to speak - so much that she never neven noticed Saeko sneaking into her old premises. She's got one ace left in the hole - the Nazca Memory she'd held onto after Kirihiko was gone. What was Wakana busy with, you ask? Well, it's this glowing green... organic... thingy, which Ryubei calls the Gaia Progressor, intended as an Upgrade Artifact of sorts for Wakana herself. And how exactly can she use it? Well, turns out that's where Gene Dopant is involved, as Ryubei has been doing some experimentation of his own.
So what was Akiko's big plan anyways? Turns out she'd dissected the movie enough to created a short draft, and as part of her Dopant Memory cold turkey program, Toru's going to shoot the whole thing properly this time, not just with Ai herself but with Terui Ryu, Makura and Watcherman dragged into it. Even those green slippers are off limits for now, as Akiko is out to make sure the movie is reduced to proper-length and done right. By Toru shooting it we mean "Toru as the puppet director while executive producer Akiko is really calling the shots" shooting it - because her real plan, predictably enough, is to get Toru to break out of his funk (remind you of anyone?) by getting him together with Ai. How could it fail?! True enough, the guys actually have a ball making the movie, particularly Ai... but Toru himself is starting to lose interest.
Which is precisely when Museum makes its move, as Wakana herself locates Toru at the filming location. There's not much that can be done now, especially when she goes straight into Claydoll, and what Phillip considers his 'resolve' only falters for a split second as he and Shotaro go into Double immediately. Without that Gaia Progressor behind her, Claydoll is no more effective against Double, especially when he goes Xtreme and figures out how to hurt her by delivering non-shattering blows. Could this day get any worse?
Hell yes it can, as Saeko finally shows herself. Her thirst for revenge has pretty much pushed her over the edge, as not only has she gotten her own Dopant tattoo to use the Nazca Memory, but her version of Nazca immediately turns burning red! Even CycloneJokerXtreme is caught unawares, as the Red Nazca not only has Taboo's old plasma-flinging ability but moves and hits at blinding speed, and Ryu as Accel Trial fails to level the playing field. Making matters worse is the fact that the movie equipment and everything they'd shot up to that point is within range of the battle, and Akiko tries to go after it... until Toru reveals (in writing of course) that he'd rather trash it and do things his own way. As Gene Dopant.
Saeko finally decodes she's had her fun and leaves, even as Phillip forgets himself and pleads with her. It's evident by this point that Phillip's resolve was basically despair that's been pushed past the line. At the same time, Toru claims he's never had feelings for Ai of any sort... which only serves to fuel Akiko's resolve. Plan B - shoot a new scene with Ai kissing someone else (in this case, Terui Ryu whether he wants to or not), hoping to agitate Toru into action. Result - Epic Fail, as Ryu mentally goes into Accel Trial and flees the scene.
Toru does get incited to action though - he takes Akiko aside and tries to tell her what it was all about. Except it was just an attempt to pickpocket the Gene Memory back from her. Surprise, surprise - Wakana as Claydoll Dopant reappears, and with Toru and the Gene Memory within reach, the Gaia Progressor already in her hands, and only Akiko to hold her off, she gets what she's been after.
At least Akiko manages to follow her back to the Digal Corporation building. Without bothering to put two and two together, she barges in and learns about the Gaia Progressor, moments after the process is complete and Claydoll, having gotten what she wants, casts Toru aside. This proves to be THE last straw, as Akiko finally delivers the epic Slipper Slap to Toru AND Wakana.
It does make sense if you think about it - both have been relying on this Gaia Memory junk all this time, turning Toru into an utter hermit and Wakana into an utter monster. While Toru finally has some sense knocked into him, Wakana masters the Gaia Progressor and triggers her own Gaia data geyser, destroying Toru's notebook, forcing Akiko into a corner and leaving only Toru to get help. Which he finally does - but not before chiding Ai for her completely inaccurate portrayal of Jessica.
With that out of the way, our heroes finally reach Akiko, who's become the incoherent one for a change from the shock... fortunately Phillip figures it out on his own. Which won't be enough, as Claydoll has grown powerful enough to battle both Double and Accel to a standstill... it's time at last for Phillip to develop some genuine resolve, as they go into CycloneJokerXtreme and deliver the killing blow.
Result - Epic Fail, as Ryubei explains to Jun Kazu. Turns out all of Double's Dopant battles, and even making Jun turn Saeko into a shell held together by revenge, have only contributed to Museum's progress, giving Ryubei the very thing he needs. Not the Gaia Progressor, not Wakana, but the hideous new form they have together - Claydoll Xtreme, a thing that resembles a vase with a face and arms, not only armed with Taboo's old attack ramped Up to Eleven, but Combat Tentacles that flatten Saeko as Red Nazca with an apparently stray hit. It's do or die time as Shotaro figures out a new Memory configuration, swapping out the Joker Memory for Metal and creating a new Bicker Final Illusion, deflecting Claydoll Xtreme's biggest hit... and protecting Akiko and Toru. Wakana slips away though... but this is not her defeat by a long shot. And this incident only serves to fuel Saeko's 'resolve' further, that's a good thing... right?
Toru's finally done with the Gene business, but Phillip's Gaia Library search on Claydoll Xtreme only manages to uncover why the 'Xtreme' was apparently borrowed from CycloneJokerXtreme... because Wakana can now enter the Gaia Library too. Except she can't peruse the books like Phillip does... At last, Phillip finally finds his true resolve, and swears to turn Wakana around along with the rest of his real family. Which only earns him her laughter in his face... but isn't that always the case, though?
Our story ends with Toru going back into filmmaking, but without our heroes' involvement this time... which may not be a good thing, as Ryu finds his own resolve as well, having studied romance genre media on his own time (carrying the DVDs with him like Jesus and that cross), and finally ready to do the kissing scene. Except there's no need for it anymore, but nothing, by which we mean NOTHING, can stop Ryu now. Not even Shotaro trying to get him off Akiko, and getting dragged in himself...
- Breather Episode: Subverted.
- Call-Back: To the Nightmare Dopant arc.
- I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Shotaro and company realise this about moviemaking.
- Ms. Fanservice: Par for the course when you've got Kodai Shojo Dogu Chan on the show.
- No Social Skills: Toru like anything.
- Shipper on Deck: Akiko is back in full form for a nonstop Toru/Ai.
- Squishy Wizard: Gene Dopant turns out to be one of these.