How would you rate episode 9 of
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout ?
Community score: 4.4
After two weeks of performing hard labor around the town, Ryza and friends finally get their last test to prove that they are capable of protecting Klaudia while on their adventures. Luckily, this time, the said trial has something to do with adventuring as the three friends are tasked with traveling to a set location and then returning. In truth, this little adventure does a great job of showing how far the trio has come and how far they have yet to go.
The old Ryza would have heard the challenge and run off at full speed right into danger—desperate to show up Bos in any way she could. However, the new Ryza has learned her lessons well since the near-disaster in the cave. Instead of rushing towards the goal, the three move at their usual pace—quick but careful. They fight only when they have to—and fully understand that helping those in danger is more important than their little race with Bos. Because of this, they manage to easily close the gap with Bos, even after taking rest breaks.
Likewise, Lent and Tao have grown by leaps and bounds. Lent is always weary, even when the others aren’t, and is always aware of where both his friends and the enemies are at any given moment. He even one-hit kills an enemy before anyone else needs to do anything. Meanwhile, Tao is complaining less and helping more. In the brief snippet at the start of the episode, we even see him taking out any enemy alone while Lent and Ryza deal with their threats. Simply put, the three have become a cohesive unit—however, that only means that they are competent, not unstoppable.
The appearance of the dragon is a simple way to show us that while they have become large fish in the small pond that is their town, in the wider world, they are still guppies. The trick here is they know they need to run and have little chance of beating the dragon. The problem is they don’t want to leave Bos and his companions to die. Yet, even the simple plan to have Ryza distract the dragon while Tao and Lent get everyone out of danger proves to be too much. Ryza expected that she could get the dragon to chase her, then throw a bomb at it and escape in the chaos. The problem is that Ryza’s strongest bomb doesn’t even scratch it. The only reason she lives through this encounter is pure dumb luck.
Thankfully, while the old Ryza wouldn’t have realized that, the new one does. Moreover, she knows that her town is powerless before the dragon. The only hope she has is to create an even stronger explosive—to put all of her talent into a single bit of destructive alchemy. Meanwhile, Lent has realized that his skills have outgrown his hand-me-down sword, and he’ll need a much better weapon if he hopes to fight alongside Ryza if worse comes to worse.
So, in all, this is a solid character-building episode. Our heroes are both triumphant and humbled. We also get nice little hints about their past and relationship with Bos while Klaudia finally joins the party. There’s a good bit of tension heading into next week’s episode and, while I don’t expect the dragon fight to happen right away, I look forward to seeing how each of our heroes acts in the face of doom—and how they work to overcome it.
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.