So here we are at the action climax for the season. With Empel and Lila temporarily out of the picture, it’s up to Ryza and friends to take down the dragon before the horrendously under-equipped party led by Boz gets themselves killed.
This episode is built around showing us how much the party has grown over the past 11 episodes—from brats who almost got themselves killed into a cohesive team of adventurers. Ryza has evolved into a confidant powerhouse who understands not only the power she wields but how careful she must be while using it as well. Lent has become a seasoned front-line fighter—always aware of the battlefield and his companions’ places on it. Tao, for his part, has gone from illiterate to the only one of the team able to read ancient scripts and understand their magic. As for Klaudia, she has changed from a sheltered girl, forced to wait at home, to a support fighter on the battlefield—able to fill in the gaps where needed to ensure everyone’s safety.
The fight with the dragon shows everyone at their best. However, that doesn’t mean the fight is handled perfectly. They make mistakes—Ryza’s in particular could have got her killed. But thanks to the events of the series, they have become strong enough to cover for each other—even if they still have room to grow. So by the end of the fight, while they’ve each taken a tumble or two, they’re more or less unharmed—with a dragon dead at their feet.
Because of this, for the first time, the people on the island can see who Ryza and the others have truly become. They’re not some kids playing at being adventurers—nor are they just a group of handymen who can clear out some rocks. They’re literal dragon slayers and were able to do with a fair amount of ease what a group of trained guardsmen could not.
Some people can accept this, especially the people who were there and those whose loved ones were saved. However, others can’t accept their view of the group changing so radically. Boz’s pride and superiority complex refuse to allow him to be overshadowed by a group of screw-ups and both Ryza’s mother and Klaudia’s father can’t stand the idea of their children doing such dangerous work. But this is one of those moments where the genie can’t be put back into the bottle. Things are forever different from here on out. Ryza, the selfish, reckless child is gone and Ryza, the stalwart, powerful alchemist has taken her place.
• The party revisiting the location of their first (mis)adventure on the way to fight the dragon is a good thematic callback.
• I feel like there needs to be a more detailed explanation of the staff and what it can do. Like, why didn’t Ryza put the rose bomb in there so she could blow up the dragon multiple times?
• I enjoyed Ryza’s Card Captor Sakura cosplay a little too much I fear.
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is currently streaming on