Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout Season 1 Review – A Charming Adaptation With Room To Grow

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1: The Alchemist -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2: Taking the First Step  -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3: A Memorable Scent -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4: Sunken Mine -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5: The Best Idea -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6: Let’s Make a Hideout -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7: Klaudia’s Courage -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8: Alchemy is an Explosion -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9: The Final Test -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10: Chasing Down the Hunting Party -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11: The Final Battle at the Castle -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12: The Changing Days -| Review Score – 2.5/5


In the era of phenomenal video game and anime adaptations we live in today, many are ecstatic to see what other fabulous series will receive the same treatment as Cyberpunk 2077 and Castlevania. Many questioned if Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout would produce similar results as Netflix’s anime renditions of these series. While the anime doesn’t reach the same caliber as Netflix’s Castlevania or Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, it’s a wholesome anime that can be enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike. 

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is based on the popular Atelier series developed by Gust, a division of Koei Tecmo. It follows Ryza, a girl who wants to abandon her ordinary life for an adventurous one. She finds a boat and sets out on an expedition with her pals Lent and Tao. After Ryza and her allies meet the alchemist Empel and his companion Lila, Ryza develops a fondness for alchemy, leading to many interesting quests ahead.

For the most part, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout offers a fine mix of adventure and fantasy with a dash of slice-of-life aspects to give viewers a chance to connect with our cast. They embark on many productive endeavors akin to side quests found in JRPG. From Ryza gathering minuscule items to achieve better alchemic recipes to Klaudia improving her combat skills to appease her father, the anime gives our characters things to strive for and gives viewers reasons to stick with it. 

Not only that but the story has some heartfelt, comedic, and action-centric beats to excite viewers. From the emotional scenario involving Mrs. Barbara and Mr. Pat to Ryza and her friends battling a fierce dragon, the anime had some entertaining and dramatic highlights no viewer should write off. These, along with what the anime sets up regarding our characters’ goals and future experiences, help give viewers motivation to stick with Ryza and her friends’ endeavors in a potential follow-up season. 

While this anime’s plot had its ups, it also had many downs. For example, the anime’s pacing and content weren’t all that enticing in the beginning. LIDENFILMS opted for a 48-minute premiere instead of your typical 24-minute introductory episode. While it did a fine job of introducing fans to Ryza and her friends, the pacing wasn’t stellar. The content inserted into episode one became dull midway through its airing. If LIDENFILMS opted to split that chapter up into two separate episodes, more viewers would’ve been on board.

Moreover, the episodes that preceded the premiere didn’t offer much variety either. They were typical fetch-quest-themed chapters that focused on Ryza’s rise from an inexperienced alchemist to a novice one. Many would’ve preferred seeing Ryza and her allies explore more locales away from Rasenboden’s radius. While the Sunken Mine and Atelier Ryza (Ryza’s hideout) were nice additions, the series failed to deliver on its “adventurous nature.” In addition to having our characters grow off-screen instead of showing their maturation in real-time, this story is far from perfect. 

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout’s characters were fun to observe on a weekly basis. From our cheery protagonist Ryza to the muscular Lent, many folks will find a character in this story to adore. Moreover, LIDENFILMS decently gives our characters specific goals and interesting backgrounds to help them stand out. From Lent’s desire to become stronger and travel to a Tower to Klaudia’s wanting to gain her father’s approval and play her flute in front of him, there are reasons to root for our cast. 

While the story provides its characters with interesting goalposts, many came off as a tad bland despite their potential. For instance, many will be disappointed that Tao, Empel, Lila, and Lent weren’t explored as much. Simply giving us a chapter focused on Lila and Empel’s past endeavors or focusing on strengthening Lent’s relationship with his father would’ve given fans something new to chew on. Instead, the anime opts to give viewers silly outdoor activities involving Ryza and company.  Although most of these scenarios were touching and entertaining, the anime had the potential to give fans more engaging and thoughtful character-driven content to sit through.

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout’s animation and visual quality carried mixed baggage. Thankfully, the first season didn’t have many bizarre visual errors. However, the action sequences could’ve been handled better. Considering it’s based on a stellar JRPG, you’d think LIDENFILMS would make this season’s fights pop more. Instead, most of the budget went into sharpening Ryza’s body features, which many won’t find appealing. On the other hand, the background designs were nice on the eyes and captured what fans love about JRPGs. 

Additionally, the soundtrack was pleasing to the ear. From the series’s opening theme “Golden Ray” to its pleasant environmental sound effects and background OST, Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout delivers a nice production that’ll help audiences unwind after a difficult day. Coupled with excellent voice work from its actors and actresses, fans will appreciate and love the sound team’s effort for this game’s anime adaptation. 

Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s your typical adventure series whose purpose seems to comfort audiences with its cast’s joyful ventures through life. Although it has the grounds to become something deeper and eventful in the future, it offers a decent amount of substantial content currently to hold any anime fan over. While it lacks the darkness it claims to have based on its title, this is a commendable ray of sunshine worth checking out. 

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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