Ive been playing the games since before they came to the US. I am very aware of who plays them. The games were on a downward spiral since Meruru where the only attempt to bring in a new audience was changing to a new artist every few games while gameplay, story, and characterization fell to the wayside, and that is exactly what happened here as well.
The only difference is that the artists for 10 years continually tried to emulate the style of the Arland games, where the lead was petite with very frilly outfits. They've struggled for years to try and recapture that peak of the series while doing nothing meaningful. The game prior to Ryza was Lulua, which was an already uncharacteristic move for the series in that it was the 4th game in the Arland series, the series which peaked in sales, as a desperate attempt to bring people back.
Ryza was nothing more than the same type of lateral move to draw people in. They changed the thematic approach to their lead character and thats all. The story and characterizations in Ryza are absolutely dreadful compared to old games, which is the general consensus among a lot of people who have been playing the series for years. The gameplay is different, but still extremely weak.
The reactions from people and their advertising are solely about Ryza's design. KT knows it and is absolutely leveraging it as well. Look at his Keychain in 2's deluxe edition for god's sake https://gonintendo.com/stories/370884-atelier-ryza-2-lost-legends-and-the-secret-fairy-s-cafe-and-batt There is absolutely not more to it than this. The gameplay, story, and characters are shallow. The advertising and merchandising is shallow. Please, if there is "absolutely more to it than that", enlighten me.