Many video games have recently found new mediums of entertainment with orchestras performing music from their titles. The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy are two of the most popular franchises to receive fully orchestrated recordings and performances. Most recently, Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie has been given a symphony makeover as well. All these reworkings of classic and fun games from the past made me search for any type of recording related to one of the most successful franchises– Pokémon.
I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called Pokémon Reorchestrated: Kanto Symphony by the user Skotein. His videos are all musical renditions of moments from Pokémon games new and old. What I found on this channel was an amazing playlist that I listened to nonstop from start to finish. Though uploaded back in November, I found it recently and became an instant fan.
The first video on the list is a short introduction. Skotein lets viewers know who his is, a gamer and composer. And like many of us, he grew up watching and playing anything Pokémon. He’s been working on this project for months even distancing himself from friends and family to complete it. The challenge turns triumphant when any fan of the series immediately receives chills, goosebumps or even a tear in their eye when listening to each beautifully crafted work of art. I felt a slight lump in my throat when the Pokémon Red and Blue opening theme started playing.
There are 35 tracks lasting nearly 80 minutes. The entire album was put together by a small team with big time talent. It’s available on iTunes for ten dollars– well worth the price of feeling those childhood and/or adulthood memories of Pokémon come flooding back. Every sound makes you want to set out on your own Pokémon adventure. Accompanying each video is an illustration representing a moment from the game fitting that specific location or event. All the images are reminiscent of the old Ken Sugimori style using soft colors. If you can recall the progress of the game you’ll be able to follow the music as it ventures throughout the Kanto region. Encounters with wild Pokémon, bike riding, town themes and battles with gym leaders are just some of the moments Skotein and team assembled.
Kanto Symphony truly is a sweeping masterpiece and deserves recognition. I enjoyed every selection and am astonished with the level of skill every team member has. There are only a handful of people who could love Pokémon this much. Hopefully Skotein’s dedication will inspire full orchestral performances like that of Zelda. This is something Junichi Masuda and Satoshi Taijiri would be proud of, a pure fan-made dedication to what they created. By visiting this video first, it will set in motion the entire game through its music. Please enjoy every track as much as I and thousands of others have. Relive those Pokémon memories in a unique and beautiful presentation.