|“||This isn't a Lottery. Make your choice, Nitta Shinemon!||„|
|~ Esuka Hibino|
Esuka Hibino is a major character in the Cardfight Vanguard!! Shinemon spin-off. She's a former swimsuit model who later became a businesswoman and professional cardfighter and the owner of the Esuka Corporation which owns a large amount of card shops across Japan. She is the Vanguard of Isabelle.
Esuka is initially believed to be a greedy corporate woman attempting to takeover Card Capital and turn it into a hollow part of her chain of card shops after the Capital's owners died in a car crash, prompting the owner's nephew Shinemon Nitta to begin a campaign to push Esuka away and defend Capital.
It was later revealed however that Esuka was a long time friend of Capital's owner and she wants to save the store from shutting down just like Shinemon. Once the misunderstanding was cleared, Esuka and Shinemon agreed to work together to keep Card Capital alive and Esuka became a mentor figure for Shinemon.
Esuka is initially depicted as a cold calculating businesswoman who was only interested in taking over Card Capital to expand her corporation. Esuka has a severe phobia of cats, to the point that even hearing a cat meow on the phone causes her to panic, however she can put her fear of cats aside and allow others to have cats. Esuka has a strong dislike towards teenagers, she considers them to be immature, irresponsible, and unprepared to face the real world of adults. However, it was revealed that Esuka's harsh attitude comes from her troubled past where many of the her life directions were forced upon her against her will such as swimsuit modeling or being a Cardight idol.
Once Shin and Esuka came to realize that both want to save Card Capital in order to keep the legacy of Misaki's parents, they put their differences aside and work together. Ever since Esuka took Shin under her tutelage and trained him to be a responsible manager for Card Capital while she became the owner of the shop. Esuka is a rather harsh and strict mentor often calling out Shin on his blunders, nevertheless she still genuinely cares for Shin and always looks after him. 14 years later Shin and Esuka's relationship became more professional as the two are now adults running Card Capital together, although Esuka is still annoyed at Shin's antics.
Esuka's deck of choice Great Nature reflects her past where she was always forced to take career choices outside of her control, just like how Great Nature's Lottery effects give out random effects based on luck. However her boss monster Holy Great Sage of Black Shadows, Isabelle removes the random factor out of Lottery effects and makes it so all the effects always resolve without relying on luck, reflecting how Esuka took control of her life and no longer allows luck to dictate her life choices.
Esuka started as a swimsuit model who was forced by her agents to become a Cardfight!! Vanguard idol as the game became very popular worldwide Esuka quickly became fascinated with the game and legitimately enjoyed it, only to learn that her opponents were being bribed to lose on purpose to push the image that she's supposedly an expert player. Upon learning that Esuka immediately quit modeling and vowed to become a powerful cardfighter by her own merit, one day she walked into a card shop named "Card Capital" and befriended the owners of the store. Esuka soon became a popular cardfighter and started her own Vanguard organization as well as a chain of card game shops. The owners of Capital at one point asked Esuka to be a mentor for their nephew Shinemon Nitta who is a talented cardfighter but also rather scatterbrained and struggling with his education.
When Esuka learned that the owners of Capital died in a car crash she attempted to purchase the store and merge it into her own chain of stores only to find that Shinemom was barricading himself inside Capital and proclaiming himself to be "the new manager". Esuka began a campaign to try to get rid of Shinemon, including hiring some of the top fighters of her organization to try to defeat Shinemon and his friends. Eventually Esuka took to challenging Shinemon herself, she won the cardfight using her Great Nature deck based around the unit Holy Great Sage of Black Shadows, Isabelle which has the ability to manipulate luck so that Esuka always gets positive results from usually random effects. Having won the fight Esuka then forced Shinemon to leave and lectured him over how his so-called attempts to "save" Capital were doing nothing but barricade himself inside the shop and keep it from re-opening.
Shinemon begged Esuka to give him a second chance to prove that he could be a responsible manager, Esuka reluctantly agreed under the condition that he wins her Vanguard tournament the Es-Cup. Esuka hired three professional cardfighters, Yuichirou Kanzaki, Ruga Kaizu, and Ryotaro Oyama, to form a team to participate in the tournament and eliminate Shinemon's team. Shinemon's team would ultimately win the event granting him the chance to battle Esuka again. Esuka and Shinemon began their rematch fight to once again determine who should be the manager of Card Capital, during the fight Shinemon learned about Esuka's past and realized that Esuka is in fact a close friend of Capital's previous owners. When Shinemon won the rematch him and Esuka came to the conclusion that both have the same goal; keeping the memory of Capital alive, so they decided to put their differences aside and work together instead of fighting each other over the ownership Capital.
Over the next 4 years Esuka trained Shinemon to be a store manager and funded his education while Shinemon joined the national Vanguard championship. During one of the fights of the tournament Shinemon's team mate Rive Shindou used a deck that featured a clan named "Gear Chronicle" whose existence was unknown to anyone up to that point. Esuka immediately began an investigation over Gear Chronicle and learned of a scientist named Ryuzu Myoujin who was conducting some suspicious experiments, she also learned Rive is a close friend of Ryuzu and Ryuzu is the one who provided him with the Gear Chronicle deck.
Esuka discovered that Ryuzu is conducting a research to prove that the Planet Cray described in the lore of Vanguard really exists and wants to summon Units from Cray to Earth, she also discovered that Ryuzu is responsible for a mysterious explosion that had killed several people as the explosion was the result of one of his experiments. Shinemon also learned of Ryuzu's experiments, him and Esuka infiltrated Ryuzu's laboratories after figuring out that Ryuzu's real motives behind summoning Units from Cray is to abuse the power of Gear Chronicle, which can manipulate time and rewrite history. Ryuzu confronted the two and defeated Esuka in a cardfight using his own Gear Chronicle deck, at that moment one of Ryuzu's assistants and Shinemon's friend Tatsuya Tachibana hijacked Ryuzu's experiments and defeated Ryuzu himself.
Esuka witnessed Tatsuya successfully summon the Unit Arch-Aider, Malkuth-Melekh during a cardfight against Shinemon. Shinemon managed to defeat Malkuth-Melekh and force the Units that were summoned to return to Cray, Esuka called a helicopter to evacuate everyone from the area but Rive jumped into the portal to Cray to save his son Chrono who was about to be absorbed into it, but Rive then was lost into the portal after it shutdown. Esuka decided to keep secret what actually happened that night leading Chrono to believe that his father had died.
10 years later Esuka and Shinemon continue to be business partners running Card Capital together.
- Despite being the main antagonist of the first half of the Shinemon arc, Esuka is the least villainous antagonist in the series.
- Ironically she's also the most successful antagonist, as she did indirectly succeed in her main goal of taking over Card Capital and mentoring Shinemon to be a more responsible person.