Syobon is a character from Happy Tree Friends.Think about it. He is forced to go through dozens of horribly creative deaths, and he's an anthropomorphic animal. (Except his deaths involve no blood!)
Alternatively, Syobon is The Kid's pet.That explains why he has to go through such a nightmare of a platformer.
The Bowser expy near the end of stage 4 is Syobon's brother.But the evil chicken man brainwashed him into helping steal the artichoke/melon.
Alternatively, Syobon is a reincarnation of The Kid.Having died too many times, The Kid is officially dead. But he reincarnates...as a cat who dies in one hit!