Let’s Discuss the Possible Future of JAM Project

JAM Project is a music band that stands for many things, but primarily they stand for what JAM stands for: Japanese Animationsong Makers. The philosophy that has brought together such musical greats as Mizuki Ichirou, Kageyama Hironobu, and Matsumoto Rica is a beautiful one: anime songs should be made for anime. In other words, while fine in moderation, opening and ending themes should not simply be a popular artist’s song tacked onto the head or tail of an episode. Anime music should be anime music.

JAM Project formed in 2000 and is currently approaching its 9th anniversary. Members have come and gone, so it’s only reasonable to think that as JAM Project continues along it’ll pick up new members. Keeping in mind the founding philosophy of JAM Project, I’d like to list possible future candidates for JAM Project, musicians who at least appear to understand what it means to make “anime music.” Keep in mind that the singer does not necessarily have to be known primarily for their anime music, or for them to have a large repertoire of anime themes. Former member Sakamoto Eizou is known more as the lead vocalist of hair metal band Anthem than anything else. They’re also chosen for how well I think their voices would mesh with the current members of JAM Project, and how well they sing live.

(In no particular order)

1) TM Revolution

While TM Revolution is more than successful enough on his own, I feel that I have to list him first. Listen to any of TM Revolution’s themes he’s used for an anime- it’s clear that the man knows what it means to sing for anime. Whether it’s Soul Eater or Rurouni Kenshin, his songs capture the spirit of the show. Lyrics make sense given the titles, the music is always passionate. Compare the appropriateness of his Gundam SEED work to that of the 4th Destiny opening by Chemistry. It’s really like night and day.


Sample: Invoke, Gundam SEED Opening 1

2) Mizuki Nana

The voice of Fate Testarossa and Hyuuga Hinata also frequently lends her vocals to the musical side of anime, and the results pretty much always make an impact. Say what you will about the quality of the Nanoha anime series or its fanservice, but there’s no denying that Innocent Starter, Eternal Blaze, Secret Ambition, and Massive Wonders all capture a sincerity for the show itself. Besides, she already has experience working with Okui Masami.


Sample: Eternal Blaze, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s Opening

3) Sakamoto Maaya

Like Mizuki Nana she’s both a voice actor and a singer. It’s not guaranteed, but I think that combination can lead a person to being able to better understand an anime and thus the music appropriate for it. She’s done a lot of work for some very different shows, and in every case, from Cardcaptor Sakura to RahXephon to Escaflowne to Lodoss, she manages to capture the tone of the show right in the opening.


Sample: Hemisphere, RahXephon Opening

4) Gojou Mayumi

One might say that the problem with a lot of today’s anime musicians making music specifically for anime is that they pull in primarily an otaku crowd, while a guy like Kageyama has much more mass-appeal. I think Gojou Mayumi, famous for her work on Pretty Cure, has this quality of being able to pull in those kids who just grew up watching anime and learned to love its music that way. Of course, that’s not the only reason I chose her. She’s got a nice, recognizable singing voice, and her recent collaboration with the other Precure singers for the Precure crossover opening shows that she knows how to collaborate to create even more powerful anime themes. The other Precure singers are also good potential members, but I think Mayumi makes for the best one.


Sample: DANZEN! Futari wa Pretty Cure, Futari Wa Pretty Cure Opening

5) Wada Kouji

Wada Kouji is the man behind every Digimon opening, and I think they bring him back every time for a very good reason. Like Mayumi, Wada Kouji is someone with more mainstream appeal at least as far as anime openings go, with the vocal strength to back it up. Each Digimon opening is very different from the previous one yet they’re all unified by Kouji’s voice. It can quickly go from soft to powerful, and leaves you with a sense that what he’s singing about matters. Also, if Matsumoto decides to return to JAM Project having the Pokemon AND Digimon singers on there would just be dandy.


Sample: Biggest Dreamer, Digimon Tamers Opening

As a last word, I want to say that I’m no expert on musicians, not even anime ones, so my list is limited. For that, I more than welcome your suggestions below.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss the Possible Future of JAM Project

  1. #1-3 do have a lot of non-anime, mainstream appeal to be certain, and they could survive off of that career and avoid anime entirely, but I still think that when they do anime themes they manage to achieve that JAM Project spirit, at least part of the time.

    Reading up on TM Revolution, it seems I’m mistaken on some of his songs, but at least for the Gundam SEED openings I think he fits the criteria.

    Those are some really good suggestions, though. Like I said, this isn’t my strong suit.

    Like

  2. GUTS is important, but I get the feeling that as time passes we have less and less traditional variety of GUTS and we’re gonna have to make way for new kinds. Or at least have Kageyama’s lyrics pound it into them.

    It’s like when I think about Mizuki Ichirou and just how DIFFERENT he sounds from the other JAM Project members, it’s clear that his version of guts and Kageyama’s are different, and so they are different from Endoh, Fukuyama, Okui, and so on.

    I’m thinking more into the somewhat far future, like say 10 years, which is why I was hesitant to put guys firmly from the 80s on the list. They have more of that JAM PROJECT SOUND to be sure, but will they be around later?

    Like

  3. It’s going to be interesting, no doubt. I have to confess, I’m not that impressed with Kageyama, not because he lacks GUTS (he has plenty) but because to my ears, his diction is so….mushy. Compared to Mizuki or Isao Sasaki, both who enunciate very very well, Kageyama sounds like he sings with a mouth full of marbles.

    Mind, I’ve grown to appreciate Kageyama’s ability, his cover of the Groizer X theme is better than the original for example, but he’s never going to be a Sasaki.

    Now, on the gripping hand, that mush sound makes Kageyama very easy to identify. For example, I’ve never seen a proper credit but I assume he was part of ‘Triforce’ which sang the Heat Guy J theme.

    And yes, I would see a JAM concert with Kageyama as the headliner in a heartbeat. :)

    But to the other point, it’s possible the whole Anison phenom might just die out when Mizuki passes away (or finally breaks down to the point they can’t find the replacement parts anymore) because I get the idea that behind the scenes, he’s STILL the single, main driving force.

    Like

  4. “For example, I’ve never seen a proper credit but I assume he was part of ‘Triforce’ which sang the Heat Guy J theme.”

    You are correct, if you needed verification for that. :P

    I do like how you have Mizuki Nana down here. \o

    Like

  5. Gonna throw in Yoffy from Psychic Lover. He’s a hardcore anison guy and man, can he sing. With Imajo (the other half of PL), he’s done Yu-Gi-Oh, Witchblade and a ton of Sentai and stuff. He also cohosts a show with Endoh and Kageyama. On top of that, I can vouch for him being an awesome dude in person. Truly epic and goofy on the level of Masaaki Endoh and Yoshiki Fukuyama.

    Like

  6. Just like omo, I laughed at #1-3 +4 for me. Srsly. It’s not only I can’t imagine them rocking the stage JAM way, but they gives different vibes. Nana reminded me of young Makkun in her early years (Yabuki Toshiro influence) but they have grown very differently.

    Wada Kouji has a chance, he’s been doing lives with them for years (Anime Japan Fes) but he’s not that active again.

    I’d say Misato Aki. She even belongs to SOLID VOX. I even saw her in No Border DVD behind the scenes. Her sexy voice resembles Makkun so it’d be a good match for the guys, heck they were great in Animelo 08.

    Chihiro Yonekura has a good chance too, she doesn’t release much things now, maybe joining JAM will give her back the anison spotlight. And she got history with them (r.o.r/s).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.