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Semyon "Simon" Brezhnev (サイモン・ブレジネフ, Saimon Burejinefu, Russian: Самия "Семён" Брежнев) is one of the owners of Russia Sushi along with his old friend Dennis. He is known as one of the strongest men in Ikebukuro; according to Izaya Orihara, if it was just a fist fight, Simon would be the strongest, although Shizuo Heiwajima is the strongest if "anything goes."
Simon is a large black man born and raised in Russia to American parents. His most notable features are his size, towering over all the people who pass him in the street, and his bizarre accent, which seems to be exaggerated. He is most often seen standing outside Russia Sushi handing out pamphlets and trying to attract customers, although his appearance and manner of speaking usually scares people away.
Simon is a pacifist and has a gentle, friendly manner. He often tries to stop fights, or convince people to abandon their conflicts, often appearing before distraught characters and telling them to eat sushi to satisfy their hunger and calm themselves down. This is most likely due to his past in the Soviet Union; he came from a cruel world, into the relative peace of Ikebukuro, and he believes that young people in Japan should not have to fight and die like they do in Russia. Despite appearing simple in his normal, day-to-day life, Simon is shown to have a lot more to his character that rarely shows. When talking to Izaya Orihara about his antics in the city, he usually speaks in Russian to avoid others hearing what he is talking about and being frightened.
Simon is extremely strong, often showing up to stop Shizuo Heiwajima when he goes on destructive rampages. He once jumped off the top of a tall building to catch a vending machine that Shizuo hurled at a fleeing Izaya Orihara; although he has been shown to hold his own when Shizuo takes his anger out on him, he is usually seen with bruises and swellings afterward.
Simon and Dennis, the current owners of Russia Sushi, used to work together in the Soviet special forces, until the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving them out of a job. Dennis later migrated to Ikebukuro and opened up Russia Sushi; Simon later followed to help him out. His real name is Semyon but everyone calls him by the English name "Simon".
Despite the fact that he usually scares customers away, Simon is known to be a great sushi chef who makes good sushi, and Russia Sushi is known as a good place to go to resolve conflict; Masaomi Kida and Kyohei Kadota went to Russia Sushi to discuss the upcoming Yellow Scarves vs. Dollars war and whether or not the Slasher was part of the Dollars, and Saki Mikajima called Russia Sushi to tell them about what Izaya Orihara was up to, since "she didn't know who else to go to."
Simon and Dennis also often try to break up fights, either physically, as is usually the case when Shizuo is involved, or by stopping them before they start, threw a knife into the wall of his shop, barely missing his customers, to break up the conversation about gang violence between Masaomi and Kyohei's group.
Simon is a member of the Dollars and is a good friend of Shizuo's, despite their occasional fight.
Dollars/ Mika Harima ArcEdit
Masaomi introduces Simon and Mikado on Mikado's first day in the city. A few days later, two Russian girls on spring break ask him for directions. Later that day, he jumps from the top floor of a building where he was delivering sushi to intercept a vending machine thrown at Izaya by Shizuo. He proceeds to fight Shizuo and is next seen with a black eye and bandages on his face. He serves sushi to Kyohei's crew and Masaomi.
During Shuji Niekawa's interviews on the street, Simon is debated to be the strongest man in Ikebukuro.
While serving sushi to Mikado, Masaomi, and Anri, who are discussing Mika Harima, he assures Anri that there is no human meat in the sushi, even on half price day. Mikado and Masaomi convince Simon to check on his banner outside, which they claim had fallen, so that he would not say anything to worry Anri more.
Simon attends the Dollars meeting.
Simon greets Shizuo but is ignored, then asks Tom if Shizuo is acting like he is going through puberty. Later, he greets Shizuo again by asking if he is finished going through puberty. Shuji visits Russia Sushi to inquire about the strongest man in Ikebukuro, asking specifically about Shizuo Heiwajima. Simon only says that Shizuo is a good man and a friend and serves him the most expensive sushi on the menu.
Yellow Scarves ArcEdit
Simon saves some young Dollars members from the Yellow Scarves. Later, he listens to the gang chat between Masaomi and Kyohei's crew and tries to convince them not to fight. The next night, he tries to stop Masaomi from fighting the Yellow Scarves, but Masaomi cheerfully waves him off. Simon seems to recognize the face of a man who has decided to die, and he is forced to tell Celty to save Masaomi. Later that night, after the climax of events between the Dollars and the Yellow Scarves, Simon punches Izaya and gives him both a black eye and a lecture about human lives and about how he has killed people in the past and that manipulating people into killing each other makes Izaya no better.
Simon and Dennis are revealed to be the ones who taught Varona how to fight, having been hired to do so by her father, Drakon. Varona improved faster than they anticipated and eventually were requested to teach her how to handle weapons. They initially refused but gave in after Varona proved herself to be capable of assisting her father with his work.
Dollars and Blue Squares ArcEdit
Simon, along with Dennis and Egor were called in to retrieve Varona after the Awakusu had neutralized her and Sloan. Simon carries the unconscious Varona on his shoulder and expresses delight at being reunited with his old pupil but expresses sadness at having met under such stressful circumstances. Like Egor, Varona decides to take a break from her job as a mercenary and Simon introduces her to Shizuo's debt collections agency to help support herself in the mean time.
- Simon is Russian, and despite what the subtitles show, he can understand Japanese just fine, but is rough when he speaks it, with rather broken and poorly constructed sentences, sometimes just repeating a phrase. His most famous of phrases include "Eat Sushi," "Eat Russian Sushi," and "Sushi good for you."
- On Simon's DVD card his hobby is listed as river fishing.
- He, along with his friend Dennis, run a Russian sushi shop that does not attract many customers, which is the reason they overfeed the few who come, yet they don't charge much. The reason for this can be seen in the types of sushi they serve, rather odd, and not what one would regularly expect in a Japanese restaurant.
- Because of his height and appearance, many people fear him. And because of his individuality, he is another notorious figure in Ikebukuro, along the lines of Shizuo Heiwajima, Celty Sturluson, Izaya Orihara, and the slasher.
- He is said to be one of the only few in the world who can match Shizuo's strength. The word 'few' came in, when in the novel, a character who was briefly shown in the anime also had inhuman strength due to their bloodline. And perhaps also Izaya, who is capable or fleeing, and causing harm to Shizuo without trying much.
- The anime and story indicates that Simon fled from Russia and went to Japan to live as an immigrant in an attempt to run from his old and violent life, in which involved war and mass murder. When he moved to Japan, or what event he refers to depressingly, are unclear.
- From the way he describes his past life in Russia, it seems that he came from a very poor upbringing.
- He was an operative in the Soviet special forces (Spetsnaz).
- Supposedly, Simon came to meet most of the concentrated characters in the series through an array of events, including the fights he had to stop Shizuo from continuing with a variety of people, primarily Izaya, and then dragging them into his restaurant for a meal. He gained his name due to his interference, and was later known for who he generally was - the black sushi chef at the street corner handing out flyers to his shop.
- Simon is one of the preferred people to avoid, or not to piss off (along with Shizuo and Izaya), as Masaomi states when informing Mikado about Ikebukuro.
- While the first light novel states that his Russian name is "Semyon" and he is called by "the English version of that, Simon," the English version of "Semyon" is actually the name "Simeon."