Atelier Ryza Character Designer & Voice Actress Reflect on the Series

We recently had the opportunity to interview the character artist for the Atelier Ryza trilogy, Toridamono, and the protagonist’s voice actress, Noguchi Yuri. The two integral individuals reflected on the three games they have worked on, the ways they themselves grew and changed over the years, and more. It’s an insightful duo of interviews that any fan should give a read.

You can read both of our interviews below:

Toridamono Questions & Responses:

Azario Lopez: You’ve shared previously that you doubted your ability to create girly designs and frills when you were first offered the chance to develop Ryza. Over the years, have you overcome this, or do you still have that doubt?

Toridamono: I have been drawing girls all throughout the Atelier Ryza series, but I still find it difficult to draw cute, frilly, girly designs. However, I have progressed a bit more compared to before. I would like to continue to learn more.

AL: Following the first entry, were you surprised to hear that Ryza will receive a sequel? I’m sure it came with a bit of stress.

T: I was surprised. I had heard of past protagonists appearing in sequels, but there has never been a case where the protagonist has been continued. Since this was the first attempt in the series, there was a lot of pressure.

AL: What are your thoughts on her design for each entry in the series? Do you have a particular favorite?

T: Throughout the series, it was very challenging for me because I had to seriously face Ryza while chipping away at my spirit. In the end, I think I was able to properly incorporate the growth due to her age and surrounding environment into the design.

I like all the designs, but I think it’s the design in the first game because it matches the game world settings, and I invested a lot into it.

AL: You’ve put a lot into designing each of these characters across three games. Is it hard to say goodbye? And what are your plans for the future?

T: It’s not so hard now. After all, I was able to face Ryza and her friends with all my strength and worked hard to get through the series. I think I can send them off with peace of mind. I believe that both Ryza and I need to move on to the next step. However, I may suddenly become overcome with sadness once I clear the game.

As for the future, I’ve been so focused on work for the past several years that I’ve barely had time for personal activities. I would like to increase my personal activities, such as original illustrations and events. I like figurines, so I would like to get some work in that field as well.

AL: Is there a story you can share that stands out in your mind when reflecting on designing these characters? Perhaps a bad design idea, a moment you overcame an obstacle, or maybe just a time you missed a deadline (laughs).

T: There are many, but one particularly memorable episode was when I was struggling with the design of Tao, Ryza’s childhood friend, in Ryza 3. We were significantly behind schedule, and I was becoming overwhelmed mentally. I decided to put priority on just finishing my work, so just once, I decided on his design with a half-hearted attitude.

I have feelings for all the characters I design.

Despite this, I took this extremely disrespectful attitude towards him, so I felt guilty about it, and yet this was the best I could do with my capabilities at the time. I was so disappointed that I could not make a great design for him that I cried alone while drawing. After that, I reconsidered it and was able to change the design to the current one that I am satisfied with. This was probably the first time I shed tears while working on a series.

AL: Is there anything you’d like to share with fans awaiting Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key?

T: I would like to thank everyone who has supported me so far. I felt like giving up many times, but thanks to the support of the fans, teams, friends, and many other people, I managed to finish the series.

Ryza’s journey ends in this game. I hope that you will witness Ryza and her friends’ journey with your own hands, eyes, and ears until the end.

Noguchi Yuri Questions & Responses:

Azario Lopez: When first taking on the role of Ryza, were you surprised to learn that you will be voicing her for three more adventures?

NY: I was already surprised learning she would be the first protagonist in the series to have a sequel, but I never imagined that it would continue for three games.

AL: Ryza has overcome many obstacles but is often optimistic, if not a bit impulsive, when taking on new tasks. Do you feel like you’ve learned anything from her over the years, and what pieces of yourself have you put into shaping her personality?

NY: I believe that because I was in the position of the main character, I was able to learn a lot about how to handle an enormous amount of dialogue and carefully follow the subtleties of emotion. I myself have some similarities with Ryza, so I tried to act honestly without trying to create a character.

AL: As Ryza ages in each game, how have you approached showing that age through her voice? I’m sure it’s more complicated than just making it raspier or deeper (laughs).

NY: The words she delivered and the way she interacted with the people around her clearly changed, so my acting naturally adapted to the energy and feel of the dialogue. So I didn’t need to make any special effort, but I would be glad if it resulted in you or others thinking I have grown by hearing my voice.

AL: If given the opportunity, would you play Ryza again?

NY: Definitely! I would like to continue playing her!

AL: Is there anything you’d like to share with fans awaiting Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key?

NY: Although it is sad to say that this is the “final summer,” I hope that many people will enjoy the adventures of Ryza and her friends even more! I wish that Atelier Ryza 3 will become a page and memory in everyone’s youth!

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Azario Lopez

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