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Jean Descole

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My name is Descole. I am an artistic man of science, with rather lofty goals.
~ Jean Descole introducing himself

Jean Descole (real name: Hershel Bronev) is the main antagonist in the prequel trilogy of the Professor Layton video game series and its movie, being featured in the games "Professor Layton and the Last Specter", "Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask", "Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy" and in the movie "Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva". While acting as the main antagonist in his first appearances, he is the secondary antagonist in the sixth and last game, and in the end he takes the role of a tritagonist, when Emmy Altava changes parts with him by turning into the secondary villain.

He wants to take control over the three legacies of the Azran Civilization to prevent them from falling into Targent's hands. To achieve this goal he stops at nothing. He not only competes with Professor Layton, but also with Leon Bronev, as he has the same goal. He has a butler called Raymond.



Descole was born under the name Hershel Bronev, as the older brother of Professor Layton, who was called Theodore Bronev at the time.

Good-bye, brother

Hershel Bronev, saying good-bye to his little brother, Theodore.

Their parents were kidnapped by the criminal organisation Targent, and leaving the brothers as orphans. When Roland and Lucille Layton wanted to adopt Hershel, he gave his name to his brother, so he wouldn't be left alone.

A while later, another family was found, and they adopted the remaining child, giving him the name Desmond Sycamore. Researching the Azran Civilisation, the reason for their parent's loss, he eventually became a famous archeologist. He spent most of his life under his new name, and eventually got married and had a daughter. However, when Targent encountered him again to take use of his knowledge, they killed his wife and daughter, making him desperate for revenge, turning him into Jean Descole.

The Last Specter

Descole and layton specter 1

In Misthallery

He wanted to find the Golden Garden, the first legacy of the Azran Civilization, in the town of Misthallery. To dig it up he designed robots which look like the specter of the town's legend and used them to search for the garden during some nights.

His accomplice was Chief Jakes, who helped him just for his own personal glory. He also disguised himself as Doland Noble, the butler of the Triton family, to blackmail Mayor Clark Triton, a friend of Professor Layton, as he also needed his help.

When Professor Layton foiled his plan he combined the robots to one giant machine and tried to destroy Misthallery. After he was stopped by Layton he escaped and left the town.

The Eternal Diva

To raise the town of Ambrosia, the second legacy of the Azran, he needed two songs: the song of the stars, which he found on the Ambrosian seal, and the song of the sea, which was only known by Melina Whistler. However, as she had a terminal illness and wasn't able to sing he designed a machine, the so-called Detragan together with her father Oswald Whistler.

You must sing if you want to save your friends

Descole tells Melina to sing if she wants to save everyone.

It was able to copy a dead people memories into the brain of a living one. To find the right person he designed a puzzle game and trapped some people (including Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke) in an opera house on a ship. They were told that they had to participate and that the winner would receive eternal live. The others, however, would have to give their lives. Despite that threat they were actually sent back to the coast in submarines.

When Professor Layton raised the kingdom instead of him, after Descoles tried to dig it up with another robot, he became angry and attacked him with his sword. In the fight he fell from his own robot.

The Miracle Mask

To get the Infinite Vault of Akbadain, the third legacy, he had to raise the Akbadain ruins first. To do that he needed two masks, the Mask of Chaos and the Mask of Order. He wrote a letter to Randall Ascot, the former best friend of Professor Layton, who was believed dead after he fell into a pit during an expedition in the ruins, but had actually just lost his memories. Through the letter he regained his memories and was persuaded to take revenge on his former friend Henry Ledore. Descole told him to use the Mask of Chaos to disguise himself and become the Masked Gentleman, who terrorised Henry's hometown Monte d'Or with terrifying miracles, which were actually tricks and illusions created by Descole. While he told Randall he would do it just to help him, he actually wanted Henry to bring the Mask of Order, as he believed that was the only way to save Monte d'Or.

This time he won against Layton and gained the Infinite Vault himself, but then Leon Bronev took it away from him with his organisation Targent.

The Azran Legacies

Love being evil

Descole in "The Azran Legacy"

Descole reappears to solve the mystery of the Azran Civilization once and for all. In his identity as Professor Desmond Sycamore, he writes a letter to the Professor to take use of him while travelling around the world in the airship Bostonius with the Azrans' ambassador Aurora, who was frozen in ice for one million years and discovered by Professor Sycamore.

In Targent's town, the Nest, he revelaed his true nature after getting the key for the Azran legacy, and flew by jumping off the tower in the middle of the city. He was followed by the Professor and ended up in a sword fight with him, However, he was saved by his butler and travelled to the town Froenborg to enter the Azran's legacy.

To stop Bronev, who also went there and took the key from him, he joined forces with the Professor and was even willing to sacrifice his life for humanity. Like the others, he was restored to life and disappered between two rocks in the collapsing legacy of the Azran after the defeat of the Azran Dolls. He was able to escape to his airship and joined Raymond on a brand new journey when leaving Froenborg.


Jean Descole in the manga

Jean Descole in the manga.

As Don Paolo is the primary antagonist of the manga series, Professor Layton and the Cheerful Mystery, Descole has only minor appearances on the fourth and last book.

Basic Information


Descole is very mean, greedy, cunning, arrogant, scandolous, and manipulative, so he often uses other people to reach what he wants. He is skilled with martial arts, sword fighting, inventing, disguises and other abilities. While he seems like a complete ruthless enemy, he actually has the noble side, as his true goal was to stop the criminal organisation Targent. His noble side also shown as he saved Luke from a booby trap in Azran Legacy and injured in process, which is ironic as he once tries to kill him in Eternal Diva. And thus, making him more like an anti-villain.


He wears a suit, about which he wears a cape. His eyes are hidden behind a white mask and he's wearing a hat and a wig that hides his hair except one part at the occiput. His real face hasn't been shown until now.

Powers and Abilities

Descole has high intelligence and scientific skills, making him able to build all sorts of machines. He is also a talented archeologist and has the ability to disguise himself as everyone he wants. Furthermore he is skilled at martial arts and sword fighting.


Long ago, in a lawless age, a pack of bandits invaded a small village. A midst the chaos, a terrified young farm girl played her flute to drown out the madness. As the music spiraled high into the sky, a giant specter appeared above her. She begged the specter to destroy the bandits, and it swiftly obeyed. The town was saved; the specter vanished as quickly as it appeared. But the farm girl knew that in times of danger, she needed only to play the flute, and the specter would appear again.
~ Jean Descole reading the Specter book
Layton! Ambrosia is mine and mine alone!
~ Jean Descole's last words in the Eternal Diva
Yes... It is as it sounds. Our father... is Leon Bronev
~ Jean Descole

As a child

By happy, brother. This is the start of your new life... Your life as Hershel Layton.
~ Hershel Bronev after giving up his brother, Theodore, to the Laytons.




  • Like Don Paolo, Descole is also a master of disguise as shown in both Last Specter and Miracle Mask.
  • In all of his appearance in the game, Descole bears a resemblance to Jean-François from the game Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure, Vidocq from the game Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights and Colonel Muska from the movie Castle in the Sky: All four of them are male, power hungry and well-dressed anime characters with glasses, who use guns and are (as well as female protagonists of their stories) linked to ancient, advanced civilisations, whose legacies (in all four cases flying castles) they want to achieve.
    • Like Jean-François, he has once piloted a robot himself and his name is Jean.
    • Like Vidocq, he wears a mask and is the enemy of an archeologist.
    • Like Colonel Muska, he travels in an airship and his theme music resembles the one of Laputa.
  • Because of his appearance, his talent in organ music and the fact that he hides in an opera in The Eternal Diva, Descole seems to be based on The Phantom of the Opera.
  • "Professor Sycamore" is a name that was also used for the Pokémon professor in the Pokémon X and Y games.
  • Descole's first name, Jean, isn't mentioned until Eternal Diva, thus, it's not heard in Last Specter; nor is it heard in Miracle Mask.
  • In Last Specter, it is revealed that Descole has terrible handwriting.
  • Professor Layton, Anthony Herzen, Randall Ascot and himself are currently the only characters who are known to be able to sword-fight/fence.
  • His Japanese voice actor is Atsuro Watabe. His English one in the games is Tim Curry.
    • However, his English actor in the movie is Jonathan Keeble.

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