Mecha Personnel Profile: JAM PROJECT – The Firekeepers Of Mecha

Despite having aged a lot, and undergone many periods of great change, the Mecha genre still contains one thing that remains constant: a burning and passionate spirit. In the process of preserving and spreading that spirit, an anisong band was inspired by this fire and spread it to millions of people who love Japanese culture. Whether you’re a fan of the Tokusatsu superheroes, of Mecha, or of anime in general, you’ve probably heard of the JAM Project, or at least of one of the members from this legendary band.

I. History:
– JAM Project is an Anisong band (short for anime song – referring to songs made primarily for anime and anime-like products such as games, manga, audio dramas, etc.) started in 2000 by “King of Anisong” Ichiro Mizuki (who performed the opening of Mazinger Z, Combattler V, Kamen Rider X, and more) with the aim of reviving the burning soul of early anisong songs. Initially, he recruited renowned singers in the genre:

– Eizo Sakamoto: the lead vocalist of heavy metal band Anthem.
– Rica Matsumoto: voice actor of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon anime series and singer of Alive A life (Kamen Rider Ryuki),
– Masaaki Endoh – “The Lion of Anisong”, famous for many extremely powerful anime songs such as Yuusha-Oh Tanjou (King of Braves Gaogaigar), Clear Mind (Yugi-Oh! 5ds), etc.
– Hironobu Kageyama – “Prince of Anisong”, best known through Cha-La Head-Cha-La (Dragon Ball Z).

– In 2003, Eizo Sakamoto parted ways with the band, and so did Rica Matsumoto in 2008. “Aniki” Ichiro Mizuki, after showing the younger generation the way, partly retired, becoming a non-permanent member of the JAM Project. However, after that, three other well-known singers joined, forming the iconic five-man lineup of the band to this day:
– Hiroshi Kitadani, who is beloved by One Piece fans for performing many of the classic openings for the One Piece anime,
– Masami Okui, best known for her songs for Revolutionary Girl Utena.
– Yoshiki Fukuyama, the voice of Basara Nekki (Macross 7) in the anime as well as in the songs of the virtual band Fire Bomber.

– In addition, JAM Project has another non-permanent member, which is Ricardo Cruz, a Brazilian singer. He was welcomed into the band after meeting Hironobu Kageyama in Brazil and convincing Kageyama with his demo. He regularly tours Latin America with the band and has been featured in many JAM Project songs such as Stormbringer, Shugoshin – The guardian, Transformers EVO, Seijaku no Apostle, etc.

– Under the guidance of “Aniki” Ichiro Mizuki, the five super singers, along with their non-permanent members, continue to spread the inspiring flame of 70s, 80s & 90s anisong to everyone, by imbuing that spirit in their songs. To date, JAM Project has released more than 200 songs, including 22 albums and 75 singles, performed numerous national and international concerts, most notably their first world tour in 2008 – “No Border” and the South America tour in 2012.

– JAM Project is still active until this day, with most of their members crossing into their 50s and 60s. But their energy hasn’t diminished one bit. They released a documentary about the band’s activity for the past 20 years called Get Over – JAM Project The Movie!

II. Notable Works:
– JAM Project’s songs are diverse and influenced by many different genres such as hard rock, glam metal, folk music, etc. But they all have one thing in common: each song is very powerful, full of energy, enthusiasm and spirit, not only in the lyrics, in the vocals, in the instrumental but also deep inside each member of JAM Project – they never go against the motto “Always give your best”, always putting all their ability and heart into their music.

JAM Project’s music always makes listeners feel like they can move mountains and fill the sea, giving them motivation and hope to move forward in front of countless challenges. For example, SKILL, a special song that is always used by JAM Project to end their concerts, because it is loved by fans and considered as the “national anthem” of the fandom, thanks to its inspirational and meaningful lyrics:
“We’ll go into the space over our future.
We’re looking for the place under the shining star.
We’ll try to sing a song for the new world.”

Thanks to this unique spirit, JAM Project occupies a special place in the Anisong genre and has an extremely loyal fan base all over the world, including the Mecha fan community.

Besides Garo, Mecha is probably the genre that JAM Project is most attached to and devotes the most to. This may be because many of the band’s members such as Masaaki Endoh, Yoshiki Fukuyama, and Ichiro Mizuki got their early fame thanks to the songs they performed for mecha anime, and when they became successful they decided to return the favor to the genre. The band is never absent when Go Nagai’s Dynamic Robots got a new series, and performed countless songs for many other mecha series such as Gravion, Transformers: Animated, Super Robot Wars, etc. In addition, JAM Project continuously performed the opening and background music for the Super Robot Wars – a classic game series for mecha fans, and for Muv-Luv, an equally classic mecha visual novel, and its spin-offs.

Not only that, each member of JAM Project also performed solo many songs for many other mecha works. Thanks to this band, the spirit of the Super Robot in particular and of Mecha in general has never been lost, remains intact and even more burning than before. JAM Project truly deserves the nickname “The Fire Keepers of Mecha”.

For me, and perhaps for many other Mecha lovers, JAM Project holds a special place in my heart – being the fired up band on this earth, and the ones who encapsulate the best the thing called the “Spirit of Robot” in modern times. Hopefully, one day, I will have the opportunity to watch them burn to the fullest, not through a computer screen, but with my own eyes, at a concert.

III. Gallery:

See Also: