Summary: A franchise based on Kamen Rider is born in Fuuto... without the man's knowledge. Shoutarou demands answers.
"Tadaima!" Akiko cheerfully bounced into the Narumi Detective Agency.
Shoutarou looked up from his detective novel. "Oh, Akiko. What's that?" He asked, cocking an eyebrow at the shopping bag she was carrying.
"Ah, I picked these up at the mall earlier. They looked too cute, I just had to get them!" Akiko proceeded to take out boxes containing figurines.
They weren't just any superhero either, as they had strong resemblance to...
"KAMEN RIDER!" Shoutarou screamed as he held a box in front of his face.
There was no doubt about it. The box had a big title which said "KAMEN RIDER" and had a plastic window, providing a peek at its contents. Shoutarou ripped the box open and dumped the figurine ungracefully on the table. A green and black half-and-half toy bounced out, sporting not very accurate details of his alter ego.
Philip peeked over Shoutarou's shoulder and examined the figurine. "The proportions are wrong and the colours are strange. Whoever designed and sculpted this probably didn't have a good source of images to work with."
Shoutarou continued to stare at the figurine. Without looking away from the offending piece of plastic, he held out a hand. "Akiko. Give me the receipt."
After snatching the receipt from the chief's hand, Shoutarou grabbed his black fedora hat from the door to the hanger and stomped towards the main door. "I'm going to get to the bottom of this." With that, he left the agency, slamming the door in his wake. His furious footsteps could be heard echoing throughout the staircase outside the agency.
Philip looked back and forth between the figurine and the door which Shoutarou had just slammed. Finally, he decided to follow his partner. "Aki-chan, take care of the agency." He said, before chasing after the detective.
Left all alone in the office, Akiko sat down at the coffee table and unboxed another figurine. "Why are they getting so worked up? You guys are cute! Ne?" She asked the miniature Kamen Rider. Just then, she had a stroke of inspiration. A wry smirk slowly spread across her face.
Shoutarou parked the Hardboilder at a nearby parking lot, before entering Fuuto Shopping Centre with Philip in tow.
"According to this receipt, Akiko bought them at... Toys R Us." Philip concluded, storing the receipt in his parka.
"Right, let's go. Our reputation is at stake." Shoutarou pulled the rim of his fedora lower over his eyes and marched into the mall. What he saw caught him by surprise.
The huge empty area on the first floor of the giant building was currently occupied by a huge crowd of children from all over Fuuto. It would seem they were waiting for a stage show to start. Such stage shows were rather common in Fuuto Shopping Centre; just the other week, a group of 5 'angels' had turned up on the same stage in their brightly coloured costumes, fighting monsters with fairly horrible fight choreography. The loud sounds effects had Shoutarou cursing back then, especially when the 'angels' used a card. Shoutarou remembered shaking his head as he watched the free entertainment. Such a manner of fighting seemed highly ineffective, with all the cards to fiddle around with and the huge, chunky card reader to hold. 
But what surprised him was not the upcoming stage show. Instead, it was what had been printed on the background of the stage. A cartoonised version of W stood in his signature pose, next to a... bowl monster?
"A stage show? How could they have a stage show about us!" Shoutarou nearly shouted. Philip laid a hand on Shoutarou's shoulder, reminding him not to reveal their identities to the public.
"Well, with the amount of attention Kamen Rider has been receiving through the media recently, I'm surprised they haven't started chasing Kamen Rider for interviews yet." Philip said.
"But this is taking it a little too far. I'm going to talk to the manager." Shoutarou stalked off to the customer service counter. Philip watched as he walked away, shrugged then picked up a pamphlet from a promoter. Flipping through he pamphlet about the stage show, he headed towards the crowd of chattering children and sat down, waiting for the show to begin.
"Hmm... this might be interesting."
"Excuse me, ma'am, but could you tell me who's the organiser of this stage show?" Shoutarou leaned against the counter. The lady behind the counter searched around a small pile of documents, before handing a business card to Shoutarou.
"The organiser, Soji Kusakabe, should be backstage." She gestured towards the stage. Shoutarou dipped his head in gratitude, before sprinting back towards the stage.
Upon arrival, the sharp-eyed detective spotted his target. He had black, curly hair and wore a wine-red short vest with an untucked black long-sleeved shirt and grey sneakers - hardly an outfit one would identify with an event organiser. 
"Are you the organiser of this event, sir?"
The man turned to face Shoutarou with an unimpressed look on his face. "What do you want?"
"I am Shoutarou Hidari, private detective. I have reason to believe this event you've organised is a rip-off of me- (ahem) this city's protector."
Soji, unfazed by Shoutarou's accusation, held up the forefinger of his right hand. "The messenger is not responsible for the message delivered. I merely did my job by organising this event. I don't own the franchise. Now get out of here." The same hand hovered over Shoutarou's chest, before a sudden push sent him stumbling backwards and out of the backstage area.
Said person approached Soji, still in the middle of putting on a costume. "Yes?"
"Get dressed. It's time for the monster to appear." The man shoved a giant monster head into Kagami's arms.
Back in front of the stage, Shoutarou spotted Philip. "Oi Philip, what do you think you're doing?"
"Yo, Shoutarou! The show's starting soon!" Philip shouted back over the screams of the young children around him.
"Great..." Shoutarou brought his hand up to his forehead in a gesture akin to a facepalm. He trudged through the crowd of children, being careful not to walk straight into anyone. When the odd teenager was finally within reach, Shoutarou grabbed a fistful of his parka and dragged Philip out of there.
"Philip, we have to show them what the real Kamen Rider looks like. I won't let this... thing... ruin our image!" Shoutarou hissed. Pulling his partner into the nearest washroom, he looked around for an available cubicle. To his luck, the whole washroom was empty. The 2 detectives went into separate cubicles and initiated the familiar transformation.
When W emerged from one of the cubicles, he gently nudged the door of the adjacent cubicle.
"Don't worry, Shoutarou. I locked the door."
"Alright, let's go!" W sprinted out of the washroom.
However, the moment W was within sight, the impatient children waiting at the foot of the stage rushed forward and surrounded the half-and-half man, screaming at the top of their voices.
Unable to bear the shrieks of excitement, Philip covered the sides of W's head with both hands. "I'll never understand why you like kids, Shoutarou. They're irritatingly annoying."
At the same time, Shoutarou spotted something peculiar on the forgotten stage. "Philip! There's a Dopant!" W sprinted up the stage, Philip breathing a sigh of relief at the thought of finally escaping from the mob of children.
"Dopant! Now, count up your crimes!" Shoutarou pointed at the Dopant, mirroring the poses of the cartoon cut-outs and the background image unintentionally. The rallied children, who had followed their hero back to the stage, cheered upon seeing Kamen Rider getting ready to fight the big bad monster.
Without hesitation, W began an assault of strikes at the Dopant. Strangely, the Dopant didn't make any effort to fight back nor defend itself. Instead, it seemed to be trying to yank off it's head...
Within the suit, stuntman Alata Kagami knew he was in trouble. This certainly wasn't what they had rehearsed. Heck, Kamen Rider wasn't supposed to appear until AFTER he had destroyed the props on stage! What if this was the real Kamen Rider? He tried to remove the monster head, but his costume severely restricted his movements, thus he couldn't even reach the head, let alone remove it.
Eventually, the Dopant collapsed on the stage in exhaustion from dodging W's attacks. Philip eyed the Dopant. Something wasn't right with this one.
Just then, a green and black figure appeared on stage, oblivious to what had transpired earlier. "Hold it right there, mons-" As he pointed in the rehearsed direction, instead of seeing Alata in the monster costume, he saw another Kamen Rider' with a costume similar to his own.
"Wait, who are you?" He walked up to the 'imposter' and demanded.
"Me? I'm the real Kamen Rider, imposter!" Shoutarou replied.
The man in the costume removed his helmet, before attempting to remove W's. He pulled hard, but it wouldn't come off.
"Oi! What are you doing? That's my head!" Shoutarou tried to remove the stuntman's hands from his v-fin. Unknown to many, that was one of the more sensitive parts of W, and the way this guy was pulling said part hurt. A lot.
With a burst of strength, Shoutarou pinned the man on the stage. "Who are you? And why are you posing as me?" He demanded. Below the stage, the children continued to cheer, thinking that everything was part of the show.
"Haven't you heard of Kamen Rider: Protector of Fuuto?"
Suddenly, it hit Philip. "Ah, Shoutarou! That's the name of the new cartoon on TV!"
An awkward silence.
"Philip, why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"
"It slipped my mind."
Shoutarou slowly got up from his position on the floor, brushed the dust off his armour and walked out of the mall.
"So now we need to search for the creator of this cartoon, right?" Shoutarou confirmed, undoing the transformation. Philip hummed an affirmative, before joining Shoutarou at the Hardboilder.
Later at the Narumi Detective Agency...
Shoutarou returned to the agency and dumped his helmet on the basketball net next to the door. "Akiko, what do you know abo- AHHHHH! WHAT DID YOU DO!"
Akiko was sitting in Shoutarou's black chair at his desk, crossing her arms and grinning back at the distraught detective in glee. "Like it?"
Everything on Shoutarou's desk had been removed – stationary, typewriter, stacks of paper and even his beloved Fuuto-kun keychain. In their places stood multiple Kamen Rider: Protector of Fuuto figurines in all sorts of strange poses, ranging from action poses to mundane actions like sleeping. Akiko had even sewn a miniature fedora hat to place on the sleeping Cyclone Metal Kamen Rider's face.
"Of course I don't!" Shoutarou fought the strong urge to hit his head against the green wall next to him. Getting a headache would not solve this situation.
"I'm going to get to the root of all this." Shoutarou picked up a discarded toy packaging from the trash bin. "Banrai and Tora... So these companies made these bootleg figurines?"
"Actually, Tora is the company which created Kamen Rider: Protector of Fuuto. Banrai is the company which produces and distributes the merchandise." Philip replied as he examined the Heat Metal figurine. "Hmm, the v-fin is a little too big..."
"Then it's decided. I'll be out for a while. I need to meet the person responsible for this atrocity."
Akiko and Philip watched as Shoutarou left the agency once again. "That half-boiled guy has no sense of humour," Akiko grumbled.
Outside the Tora Building...
"So this is the place..." Shoutarou muttered to himself. A huge poster of Kamen Rider: Protector of Fuuto was pasted on the flat surface of the building. He glared at it, before passing through the sliding glass doors of the building.
After stopping by the reception table to pick up a visitor pass, he quietly slipped past security guards and went straight into the elevator. Using the input from Philip over the phone, he pressed the button labelled '7' and the lift began its ascension.
In the lift, there was only 1 other passenger; a typical middle-aged businessman. To break the tense silence in the enclosed room, Shoutarou coughed.
"Do you know about Kamen Rider? The cartoon, I mean."
The businessman smiled. "Of course. I'm the creator."
Shoutarou froze. He opened his mouth to speak, but decided to wait until they reached the 7th story, which was the office of the production crew.
Upon arrival, the businessman gestured towards his own office. "Come in, I'll answer any questions you have."
Once the door was closed behind them, Shoutarou took a seat and swivelled the chair around to face the 'creator' of Kamen Rider.
"Why did you create the cartoon?"
The 'creator' looked at Shoutarou. "You don't seem to be a journalist. Who are you?"
"I am Shoutarou Hidari, private detective. I'm erm, here on the behalf of Kamen Rider." Shoutarou answered, reminding himself not to reveal his other identity.
The man behind the table widened his eyes. "You know Kamen Rider?"
"We're erm, pretty close friends. He wants to know why you're doing this without his permission."
The chair creaked as the man leaned his weight against the back rest. "I guess I wanted to pay tribute to the man who saved me and my family. A few months ago, I was a regular at Million Colosseo. I didn't realise back then how I could have lost everything if I had continued gambling... Until the casino suddenly closed one day. The news reported that it had been a mysterious motorcycle-riding masked man who had shut down the casino for good. I cursed this Kamen Rider for days, until I realised just how much my family suffered because of my gambling problem. Since then, I've been a fan of Kamen Rider."
Shoutarou was stunned. "So the cartoon... was a tribute?"
The man nodded. "If the real Kamen Rider wishes to file a lawsuit, it wouldn't be a problem. But please allow me to spread the message of justice to the children of Fuuto."
Shoutarou flashed a smile. "I'll be sure to convey your message to him."
"Tadaima!" Akiko bounced into the agency with a full shopping bag.
"Okaeri, Aki-chan. What's in there?" Philip prodded the shopping bag, curious to know the contents.
"Here! I picked these up at the mall earlier!"
She unceremoniously dumped everything on the table. Shoutarou picked up the red packaging. "Looks like Terui has his own action figure now," he chuckled.
Meanwhile, at the Fuuto Police Station, Mikio walked into Ryu's office, his trademark backscratcher hanging off his shoulder. "Chief, check out what they were selling at Toys R Us." He tossed the red box at Ryu, who caught it smoothly. Ryu took a quick glance.