|“||My name is Descole. I am an artistic man of science, with rather lofty goals.||„|
|~ Jean Descole introducing himself.|
Hershel Bronev, better known as Jean Descole, is the main antagonist of the prequel trilogy of the Professor Layton video game series, being featured as the primary antagonist in both the game "Professor Layton and the Last Specter" and the film,"Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva", which was released shortly after. He returns as the driving force behind the Masked Gentleman, the main antagonist of "Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask" and later redeems himself by joining Layton after fighting him in "Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy".
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 has a butler called Raymond. Though he acts as Professor Layton's arch-nemesis, he is actually Layton's older brother, and also the first-born son of Leon Bronev.
|“||Be happy, brother. This is the start of your new life...Your life as Hershel Layton.||„|
Descole was born under the name Hershel Bronev, as the son of Leon Bronev and the older brother of Professor Layton, who was called Theodore Bronev at the time.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 SpecterHe 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 DivaTo 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.
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. However, the others 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 LegaciesDescole 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 disappeared 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.
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, without acting villainous.
Descole is very cunning, arrogant and especially manipulative, using other people to reach what he wants. 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. This side is also shown when 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.
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
While being highly intelligent and inventive, he is also skilled with martial arts, sword fighting. He is furthermore a talented archeologist and like Don Paolo in the original trilogy has the ability to disguise himself as everyone he wants.
|“||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.|
|“||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|
- In Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Descole bears a great 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, megalomaniac and well-dressed anime characters with glasses, who use firearms and are (as well as female protagonists of their stories) linked to ancient, advanced civilizations, whose legacies (in all four cases flying castles) they want to achieve.
- Like Jean-François whose prename he shares, he has once piloted a robot.
- Like Vidocq, he wears a mask and is the enemy of an archeologist.
- Like Colonel Muska whose movie's theme music resembles the one of Descole, he travels in an airship.
- 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.
- 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.