Professor Hershel Layton, real name: Theodore Bronev, is the main protagonist of the video game series by the same name. He is a stereotypical English gentleman, who enjoys solving puzzles and drinking tea. He is a professor of archaeology at London's Gressenheller University. Because of his prowess at solving puzzles and mysteries, he is well known throughout London. He also has a recurring quote, being: 'That's what a gentleman does'.
During the present time in the Professor Layton series, he wears a top hat, a brown coat over a dark orange shirt, brown pants, and a pair of dark green shoes.
Layton is an English gentleman. He is incredibly brave, intelligent and athletic, as shown in all the games. He is always calm and is polite to everyone he meets. Harboring a great love for tea, and an even greater love for puzzles, he is the ideal gentleman. He has strong logical skills, which come into play on a regular basis.
As well as being brave and heroic, Layton also has a soft side. Most of his mysteries start out with him trying to help people.
Layton's pastWhen he was born, his original name was Theodore Bronev. He was one of the two sons of Leon and Rachel Bronev and the younger brother of Hershel for several years. However, when he was still very young, the Targent agency came and kidnapped both his parents for their knowledge of the Azran Civilization. Leaving the young Theodore and his big brother as orphans. Shortly after he had been adopted (at the age of six) by his adoptive parents, Roland and Lucille, whom he considered to be his real parents up to his mid-thirties, having involuntarily suppressed the memories of his past. Since Roland and Lucille wanted to adopt Hershel, but never met him, Hershel give his name to Theodore, in an effort to keep him away from the Azran Legacy and live an happy life with a loving family.
When he was 14, he and his parents moved to Stansbury, where he met Randall Ascot. He and Randall both had a great interest in fencing. Randall was very interested in archaeology, and his love of it rubbed off on Layton. One day, Layton accompanied Randall on an investigation of the Akbadian ruins. During this, Layton accidentally stepped on a trap and Randall fell through the resulting crack in the ground. Layton made it out of the ruins, but his grief at being responsible for the loss of his best friend caused him to move to London. Layton attended and graduated from Gressenheller University, where he later became a professor of archaeology. During his time there, Layton was taught by Dr. Andrew Schrader.
At Gressenheller, Layton met Clark Triton and Claire Foley, whom he dated and planned to ask for her hand. Claire is the one who gave him his trademark hat as a congratulatory gift for being hired as a professor. However, that same day, when the time machine she was working on was tested, it exploded, killing her. It seems that before this, he had lost contact with another classmate of his named Paul, who is later revealed to be Don Paolo. During the events of the third game, Layton comforts a young Clive, whose parents had also been killed in the explosion, and keeps him from running back into the building to find them. Since then Hershel never stopped wearing the hat that Claire gave him, as a constant memento. Layton, who discovered that the events of that day had been censored, undertaken an investigation until he is beaten by thugs (presumably Bill Hawks'). He restarted his investigation multiple times but it ended always to a dead end. But he vowed to never give up. One year after the tragedy, Layton saved Emmy Altava from being wrongly arrested for a crime she did not commit. Although she remembers this encounter, he does not.
At the start of "Professor Layton and the Last Specter", Professor Layton receives a letter from a friend of his, Clark Triton, who asks for help regarding a spectre terrorizing his town of Misthallery at night. On the way to Misthallery, Professor Layton is stopped by Emmy Altava, a 22-year-old woman who has just been hired as his assistant at Gressenheller University. She joins him, and the two proceed to Clark's house, where Clark's 10-year-old son, Luke, tells of the end of the world. Luke sneaks out of his house to assist Professor Layton, and the three of them investigate the spectre, eventually finding it to be an excavation machine created by Jean Descole, a scientist searching for a set of ruins (known as the "Azran Legacies") left by an ancient civilization. In an attempt to stop Descole's attacks on the town, Loosha, an unidentified sea creature, drains the lake at the top of Misthallery by destroying the town's dam, flooding the town and destroying the machines. Within the lake, Professor Layton finds the gate to the Golden Garden, the first of the Legacies, which makes him famous across the world. Following this, Luke Triton asks to become his apprentice; Layton obliges.In "Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva", Layton received a letter from a former student of his, an opera singer named Janice Quatlane. She wrote that she would be performing at an opera house called the Crown Petone, and there have been many strange things happening: her deceased friend Melina Whistler appeared and has claimed to be reborn in the form of a seven year old girl. In addition to this, a child from the London area has been reporting missing, and Janice thinks it is related to what is happening at the opera house. She included two tickets with the letter, Layton and Luke attend, while Emmy decides to stay in London with Dr. Schrader in search of the missing girl. Layton and Luke arrive at the enormous Crown Petone opera house, which was built on the Atlantic Ocean. Layton and Luke take seats in the front row, and enjoy the opera. It is a story about a lost civilization, a city called Ambrosia. The people of Ambrosia hailed their beautiful queen, who loved music above all else, but one day she grew terribly ill. The people tried everything to save her, but they did not succeed. The queen died just as a remedy was discovered, the Elixir of Eternal Life. The people decided to drink the elixir, and wait thereafter for their queen to return. When the opera finished, Layton and Luke began to clap, but the rest of the audience seems bored. As the stage clears, a masked man emerges and began talking about the opera's Eternal Life. He says that they will all play a game, and whomever wins will receive Eternal Life. He continues to say that the losers will die. The audience breaks into panic, leaving Layton and Luke to stop the masked man, while the Crown Petone, which is actually a massive ship, breaks away from the shore and sets sail for places unknown. An unseen voice begins with the passengers having to solve riddles to win the game. The first riddle is to find the oldest thing on the ship. Layton correctly deduces this to be the open portion of the ship, where the stars were visible. The losers are surrounded by masked men, then fall through a hole in the ship. Meanwhile, Inspector Grosky is pushed off the ship by a mysterious girl who "wants to go home." The second puzzle is to find the largest crown. Luke thinks that this must be the large crown in the entrance to the passenger portion of the ship, but Layton finds the correct answer. Traveling from the ship in two lifeboats, the correct passengers see the large frame of the ship in the shape of a crown. Grosky climbs back on after this, only to have to jump ship once it explodes. When he falls in the water, after battling sharks, he sees two submarines emerge from the shipwreck. After the second puzzle, the boats reveal gasoline engines, and the passengers take a nap. Layton asks how Amerlia, a mere college student, got tickets to the performance. Oswald Whistler hesitates, then states that he bought the tickets for her. The boat grounds, and Layton and the others get off. They find a banquet prepared for them. Marco, an passenger who is an archeologist, recognizes the seal of Ambrosia on a large stone. While resting after the meal, Luke converses with the seven year old girl, Nina, and she disappears. Luke discovers there are wolves on the island, and they find the third puzzle. They have to escape the wolf pack with three cages. One group tries to trap the wolves, but fails. The two other groups trap themselves in the cage and find shelter inside a small shack. They have to get off the island and onto a castle in the distance. They use pieces in the shack to create a flying machine, which Luke, Janice, and Layton fly away on. Emmy picks up Grosky and she figures out that the creator of the game had sent the losers in one submarine and escaped in the second submarine. The others took a boat onto the island. They find their fourth and final puzzle on a pillar with four doors that say K, I, N, and G. Luke deduces that they should go between I & N, for IN. Layton goes through the wrong door on purpose, and is followed by two others who think he has found the right answer. The floor collapses beneath them, and Layton manages to escape this fate. He finds Nina's room. Meanwhile, the other men who went through the right door are trapped by a metal gate. Amelia is taken by the mastermind behind the game, revealed to be Descole. The others follow them, trying to fight them. Emmy appears and eradicates the masked men. They follow the path Descole took, and Layton explains the whole plot. Oswald Whistler could not bear having his daughter dead, so he preserved her life inside the Detragan. He had conspired with Descole to create the Detragan. He does not realize that Melina had already been "downloaded" into Janice, and tries to connect Amelia to the device. Amelia escapes, and in a fit of rage, Oswald puts the downloading helmet on Luke, only to find that Janice has taken the key. Descole uncovers his own scheme. Melina was the only girl who knew the Song of the Sea, which was half the procedure to uncover Ambrosia. Descole grabs Janice, and the Detragan rips away from the castle. Descole plays the second half of the procedure on the Detragan, the Song of the Sun, and forces Janice to sing the Song of the Sea. When Ambrosia does not rise, Descole rages and activates a mechanical monster called the Detragigant, obliterating the castle. He declares that he will tear apart the island to make Ambrosia rise. Layton uses the flying machine to land on the machine. WIth its drill tail, Descole tries to destroy the machine. Janice jumps on him, but is thrown to the edge of the machine.
Luke jumps off the flying contraption to land on the Detragigant and saves Janice. The drill finally impales Layton's machine, and it explodes. Layton jumps off and is saved. He reveals that there is a Song of the Stars, and together with Janice, Layton raises Ambrosia. Outraged, Descole sword-fights Layton, while Layton has a pipe. One of Descole's strikes impales the Detragan, and it starts to malfunction. The machine drills into itself with its tail, and Descole falls off. It is not known how he survives. The Detragigant falls off the cliff, while Layton, Luke, and Janice jump onto the cliff. The Detragigant impales itself on an Ambrosian building, explodes, and sinks. Melina decides she can no longer inhabit another's life to live her own, and departs from Janice and Nina. Oswald plays one last song, and is then taken to prison for the nefarious scheme.
In "Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask", Professor Layton is called to the town of Monte d'Or by one of his high school friends, Angela Ledore, to investigate the self-proclaimed Masked Gentleman who has been performing terrifying 'miracles' using the power of the Mask of Chaos. Eventually, Layton deduces that the Masked Gentleman is none other than Randall Ascot, who had fallen to his apparent death in the Akbadian ruins eighteen years prior, but had actually survived (albeit with amnesia). Jean Descole appears, however, and reveals that the Akbadian ruins were the last of the Azran Legacies, and as Professor Layton has solved its mystery, the power of the Azran Civilization would be revived.
In "Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy", which wraps up the prequel trilogy, he is called to the city of Froenborg by another archaeologist named Desmond Sycamore. This time, he and his companions investigate a 'living mummy' who appears to be a teenage girl named Aurora. He is put in opposition to the organization Targent, led by his biological father Leon Bronev. The later events also reveal the name Descole to be an appropriation of the name Desmond Sycamore, the latter of which is Descole's real identity. In the climax, he remembers that he and Sycamore are brothers, with Layton being the younger one. Also, the human race is put in jeopardy when Bronev's uncompromising attitude unleashes a horde of golems on the world which tear Froenborg apart. However, Layton and his companions are able to stop the golems before any more damage is caused. His original name is revealed to be Theodore Bronev. However, he denies this, claiming his wish to keep his false name, and that he does not consider Bronev to be his real father, but is hoping that they can meet again as friends and fellow archaeologists. Back in Layton's office, an ashamed Emmy decides to leave her role as the Professor's assistant as her mission has concluded. Layton states that their is still room for an assistant in his office but this does not change her decision to leave. She states that she may return eventually, but only if she feels worthy of having such a title. She embraces the professor in a goodbye before exiting Gressenheller.
Shortly after, in "Curious Village", Layton and Luke go to St. Mystere to solve a mystery involving a will. In St. Mystere, they meet a girl named Flora Reinhold, who is the daughter of the man whose will needs deciphering. After discovering the secret of the village, Flora decides to leave her father's fortune alone so the village people could continue to function as normal, and Layton adopts her.
Months later, in "Diabolical Box", he visits his old mentor's home, only to discover him (presumably) dead. With a ticket to the Molentary Express as the only clue, he and Luke set off. This voyage would ultimately lead them to discover the troubled past of an once sparkling city and free a man from an unending illusion and sorrow.Months later, in "Unwound Future", he and Luke are invited to attend an event demonstrating a time machine, and witness the prime minister Bill Hawks disappearing, along with Dr. Stahngun . Soon he receives a letter by someone who claims to be Luke but from ten years in the future, telling them to head to a clock shop. Upon heading there, a time machine is activated, and he and Luke are transported to Future London. While on his quest in Future London, he repeatedly sees a woman similar to his former love, Claire. In the end it is revealed that the time machine was an elaborate ruse all the time, created to avenge the injustices behind the original time machine's incident. But the mysterious woman was indeed Claire: the original time machine worked for a short time before exploding sending her in the future. But due to the incomplete nature of the machine, she was doomed to return to the past, back to the moment she died. Layton was left heartbroken by being separated from her again, but at the same time he was able to finally accept her death. In the post-credits cutscene, Luke sends a letter to Layton about another mystery in Luke's new home. Layton smiles after reading the letter and looks up out the window afterwards.
In "Layton Brothers: Mystery Room", the professor does not appear in this game which instead features his son Alfendi Layton. He is however mentioned a few times. He appears to be an old friend of Scotland Yard's Commissioner.
In the up-coming game "Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone's Conspiracy", he goes missing. Katrielle Layton, his daughter, takes the role as the protagonist. Being a "riddle-solving detective" who takes on various cases in London and hopes to find her father.
In "Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney", he and Phoenix Wright must team up to solve mysteries in Labyrinth City, a medieval town emphasizing "witch trials".
He is one of the main heroes the manga series, Professor Layton and the Cheerful Mystery. However, unlike his personality in the games and the anime, his personality in the manga is completely out of character. He seems to stay cool and calm, as of his usual nature; sometimes, when talking to Luke (who is also out of character), he gets angry and fierce, to the other's disbelief.
- Hershel may come from the German surname "Herschel", which in turn possibly comes from "hirsch", meaning deer. It was normally given to hunters or those "nimble like a deer", perhaps referencing Layton's hunt for puzzles or his nimble mind. It may have been chosen in reference to John Herschel, an English astronomer who wrote to William Lassell after Neptune's discovery to suggest that he search for possible moons. Lassell did so and discovered Triton. If so, this would link his name with that of his assistant Luke Triton.
- Layton is a surname derived from various place names in England, possibly coming from "settlement by the watercourse", from Old English "lād" ("watercourse") + "tūn" ("enclosure"). Presumably it was chosen for its "English-ness". It could also possibly be a play on "Latin", as a reference to his intellectualism.
- Theodore,(his real name), as a boy's name is pronounced THEE-a-dor. It is of Greek origin, and the name Theodore means "God's gift" or "Divine Gift".
- His Japanese voice actor is Yō Ōizumi and his English voice actor is Christopher Robin Miller.
- His height (including hat) is 5'9"/176 cm, according to official guide books.
- Professor Layton also drinks red wine, though he seems to prefer tea.
- A recurring joke in the Cheerful Mystery manga is the fact that his hat is a part of his body.
- The Gentleman range in London Life is based around his attire.
- Layton's beloved hat was given to him by his sweetheart Claire.
- Before Layton's top hat, he had a small, red cap.
- In Cheerful Mystery, it is revealed that Layton wears his hat in the shower.
- While battling Anton in Diabolical Box, Layton's hat leaves his head for a split second, although the top of his head is not visible due to him ducking.
- Unwound Future is, so far, the only game in which the professor takes off his hat.
- In Unwound Future, when you click on the hat on the crate in Layton's office, Layton responds that "a gentleman always keeps an extra spare".
- In Eternal Diva, Layton is shown being able to play the piano to a high skill level.
- Layton has a son, whose name is Alfendi Layton. He is the protagonist of " Mystery Room". The two have yet to appear in a game together, and the mother remains unclear.
- Also, with the game called "Layton Brothers" and everyone saying Alfendi has a brother, The Professor may have another son. But so far, we don't know.