Pop music and anime voice acting are two separate areas of Japanese show biz, but Mikuni Shimokawa manages to more or less bridge the two (while staying on the J-pop side). Beginning her career in several minor girl bands, Shimokawa found her niche as a performer of anime theme songs, the most notable of which are her contributions to the Full Metal Panic! series. She records original material as well, although her chart success is moderate.
The Hokkaido-born Shimokawa made her pro debut in the 21-strong idol group Checkicco that challenged Morning Musume in 1998-2000, but failed to compete with them. In 1999, Shimokawa also sang and played trumpet in the Checkicco's spin-off Chees, but soon she opted to begin a solo career, debuting with the single "Believer Tabidachi no Uta" b/w "Adrenalin" (1999), which reached number 30, setting her personal chart record for singles. The first full-length 39, out in 2000, scored number 23 -- again better than any subsequent album, most of which didn't climb higher than 80th place. Some even landed outside of the Top 100, but Shimokawa still continued to record, totaling fiv original albums in the 2000s, not to mention four releases with covers of anime themes and her own songs. Three Full Metal Panic!-related singles came out in 2002-2003, all of them reaching the Top 50. In 2006, Shimokawa also teamed up with Hiroyuki Matsugashita and Takayuki Ito in NapsaQ, which released the album NapsaQ Seishun Song Request, comprised of theme song covers requested by fans.