JAM Project’s 20th Anniversary Film More than Just a Celebration

The main promotional image of “GET OVER — JAM Project THE MOVIE”

A documentary film celebrating the 20th anniversary of JAM Project, the internationally acclaimed anison (anime song) unit led by Hironobu Kageyama, has been completed and will be shown in theaters, including Toho cinemas across the country, for a limited period from Feb. 26 to March 11.

I saw the media screening of the film “GET OVER — JAM Project THE MOVIE —” in early January and was pretty surprised because it was quite different from what I had imagined after hearing it was an anniversary movie.

The film uses a rich cache of video footage to look back on the history of the group from its formation in 2000, while also depicting what each of the five members was up to in the anniversary year.

JAM, which comprises five independent anison singers, was formed to create anison that suit Japanese animation films and TV shows that continue to evolve. They write music and lyrics for new anison, and, on top of that, they never make compromises when it comes to their songs — even down to a single note in a chorus, which they also sing themselves. They have grown into professional sound makers in a class of their own. The film shows that process as well as backstage episodes.

The coronavirus pandemic hit just before their 20th anniversary tour. Concerts were canceled all over the place, and while they have been deprived of opportunities to go on with their activities as they would like, they continue to discuss anison and music.

It’s good that this film doesn’t quite look like a conventional anniversary movie I think, because it is more than just a success story. It shows how they reached a pinnacle of sorts as anison singers, how they were struck by an unexpected disaster (the pandemic) yet have remained relentless, and instead of succumbing, they reach for another pinnacle. There is no conclusion. The film simply shows how they are getting over the setback.

Watching the film, various comments by the members hit home with me. I hope you will watch it, too, and maybe you will feel the same. I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but let me give you one example, “Being a musician is not a business, it’s a spirit.” These words by Yoshiki Fukuyama rang true in my heart.

A scene from “GET OVER — JAM Project THE MOVIE”