Ralph Schuckett, the composer of the original Pokemon anime, has died at the age of 73. In addition to the anime, Schuckett composed the first three Pokemon movies, as well as music for several other anime shows.
His cause of death has not been announced, though the public already knew Schuckett was ill in the years leading to his death. In 2018, Schuckett was scheduled to go on tour with Utopia, one of his old bands, but suddenly withdrew shortly before rehearsals began. Schuckett kept the details of his illness private.
Schuckett died on April 4, but his death was not publicly announced until yesterday. He spent 17 years composing music for Pokemon, but that was only one aspect of his impressive career. He also helped compose music for several other shows, including Yu-Gi-Oh, Sonic X, and the 2003 iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Schuckett was known in the industry as a prolific keyboard artist, and even worked on early anime dubs.
Schuckett’s career began long before he began composing the music for Pokemon, however. His career began in the 60s, when Schuckett played in a number of psychedelic bands. He would go on to contribute to multiple albums by Carole King, a popular American singer-songwriter. In the 1970s, he joined the prog-rock band Utopia, which featured him on its 1974 debut album. Schuckett also worked with several other artists throughout his career, including Daryl Hall and John Oats, Cher, and Whitney Houston.
Schuckett helped create some of the most iconic moments in the Pokemon. Every Pokemon fan knows the music that scored tense battles and emotional moments between Ash and Pikachu. Fans are mourning the late composer by reminiscing about how his compositions helped multiple anime shows become the iconic brands that they are today. Anime fans are not the only ones mourning Schuckett, as fans from across his musical career have taken to social media to celebrate the composer’s life.
Of course, the composer’s music in Pokemon had a lasting impression on people’s memories, as many hope that future Pokemon movies take more inspiration from the original anime, including Schuckett’s score. Pokemon recently had its 25th anniversary, where it celebrated by announcing multiple games that will release later this year. Those titles include Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, and Pokemon Shining Pearl. A new Pokemon Snap is also set to release later this month, and may even shed some light on the Pokemon food chain.
Netflix's adaption of Castlevania may have helped to bring video game anime into the mainstream, but anime adaptations of video game series have been around for almost as long as home video games themselves. There have been hundreds since the late 80s, many of which have garnered huge fanbases.
Castlevania's success has, however, paved the way for adaptations of some of the more niche video game series. A Dragon's Dogma anime premiered on Netflix just last month, and a Shenmue anime is currently in production. Anime series are no longer reserved for best sellers or visual novel games, and that is a good thing for both gamers and anime fans alike.
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