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|Game(s)||Diddy Kong Racing|
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Xbox Live Arcade:
Banjo is one of the two eponymous stars of the Banjo-Kazooie series, along with Kazooie, and is a playable character in every game. Banjo is a brown honey bear who lives in a house on Spiral Mountain with his friend Kazooie and younger sister Tooty. He is named after the banjo, a musical instrument which he also plays. However, Banjo could possibly be named after former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandchild, Banjo. He is voiced by Chris Sutherland.
- 1 History
- 2 Other appearances
- 3 General information
- 4 Gallery
- 5 Names in other languages
- 6 References
Dream: Land of Giants
Banjo was originally planned as a supporting character in the cancelled Super Nintendo Entertainment System game, Dream: Land of Giants. Shortly shifting development to the Nintendo 64, the developers felt the main character, Edson, was "losing his edge". One of their considerations for a main character was a rabbit, but they eventually decided on Banjo. Early sketches showed Banjo with a sword and another in a sleeveless shirt.
Diddy Kong Racing
Banjo's official debut was as one of the playable characters in Diddy Kong Racing. He was among the characters who responded to Timber's call for help in banishing Wizpig out from Timber's Island. Banjo competes in races and world challenges to decide who can ultimately compete against Wizpig. Banjo is in the heavyweight class and has slow acceleration, but compensates it with a high top speed. He also has average handling capabilities. Banjo's top speed without bananas is 57mph.
Banjo's theme instrument is the banjo, which is also his theme instrument in his own series. Banjo and Conker did not return in Diddy Kong Racing DS as a result of Microsoft's 2002 acquisition of Rare, although the remake's main theme still features his theme instrument, the banjo. Statistically, Banjo was replaced with Tiny Kong.
Banjo's first debut as the protagonist of the main series was in the Nintendo 64 title Banjo-Kazooie. Jealous of Banjo's younger sister, Tooty's good looks, Gruntilda steals her away, wishing to steal her beauty for herself. Banjo and Kazooie immediately head out to rescue her, but before heading out to save her, the duo stumble upon their long-time friend, Bottles, whose role is teaching abilities to the duo throughout the game. After learning a few moves in Spiral Mountain, the duo cross over a drawbridge to enter into Gruntilda's Lair, where most of the game takes place, leading into the nine levels hosted within.
Along their journey, aside from learning more moves from Bottles, the duo meet a shaman named Mumbo Jumbo, whose role is transforming Banjo into another object or creature in exchange for Mumbo Tokens. The main collectibles are Jiggys, which are required for Banjo and Kazooie to unlock later levels. They must also free five Jinjos in each level, and collect Musical Notes to access paths in Gruntilda's Lair that were previously blocked off by Note Doors.
Banjo and Kazooie slowly travel up higher into Gruntilda's Lair as they unlock new levels. After finishing all nine levels, Banjo and Kazooie engage in a final battle against Gruntilda from the Top of the Tower. With the help of The Mighty Jinjonator, Gruntilda collapses from the tower, crashes into the ground, and becomes trapped beneath a large boulder.
As shown in the game intro, Banjo is capable of playing the banjo instrument.
Two years later, in Banjo-Tooie, Gruntilda is freed from under her boulder by her sisters, Blobbelda and Mingella. Meanwhile, Banjo and his friends are playing poker. Mumbo finds out about the HAG 1 and warns the others to escape from Banjo's House. The HAG 1 then fires, destroying Banjo's House and killing Bottles.
Because Gruntilda is skeletal due to the amount of time she spent trapped under the boulder, she and her sisters use their newly-invented Big-O-Blaster to suck the life force out of the residents of the various worlds in the Isle O' Hags to restore Gruntilda to her former appearance. Banjo and Kazooie head on another adventure to stop Gruntilda. Since Bottles died, Banjo and Kazooie learn new abilities from Bottles' brother, Jamjars. They can enter new worlds by returning Jiggies to Jiggywiggy's Temple. Banjo and Kazooie also make use of the Split-Up Pads, which allow them to explore areas by themselves.
Before engaging in a final battle against Grunty, Banjo and Kazooie use the Big-O-Blaster to revive King Jingaling and Bottles. Eventually, the duo defeat Gruntilda and destroy the HAG 1 in battle. The ending shows Banjo and Kazooie celebrating at Bottles' House with the other characters.
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge takes place two months after the events of the original game, Banjo-Kazooie. Banjo and Kazooie are setting up a barbeque, but meanwhile, after unsuccessful attempts to free Gruntilda, Klungo designs a new mechanical suit, Mecha-Grunty, transporting Gruntilda's spirit into it. Mumbo Jumbo catches wind of this plan by hiding behind a bush nearby, and immediately tells Banjo - but right before he's able to react, Mecha-Grunty kidnaps Kazooie and travels back in time, in an attempt to prevent Banjo and Kazooie from ever meeting. Mumbo Jumbo then uses his magical power to send Banjo to the same point where Gruntilda traveled, to save his friend Kazooie. Banjo would relearn his moves from Bottles' ancestor, Bozzeye, since he forgot them while traveling to the past, and travels by himself for the first world of the game.
In the second world, Breegull Beach, Banjo found Kazooie imprisoned by Mecha-Grunty. After defeating her, Banjo reunites with Kazooie, and they work together to prevent Gruntilda's scheme. The duo eventually enter Grunty's Castle, where they fight Mecha-Grunty for a last time. Collaboratively, Banjo and Kazooie destroy Mecha-Grunty's suit, causing her spirit to return back into her normal body, under the large boulder.
Banjo appears as the titular character of the racing spin-off title, Banjo-Pilot. He has arguably the most average stats in the game, aside from possibly Mumbo Jumbo. Banjo is the champion of Beehive Cup, where the player competes against him at the end, in the dogfight match "Banjo Brawl". Like the other characters, when Banjo is flying in front in a dogfight match, he drops behind a unique object that functions similarly to Ice Eggs. In his case, he leaves behind Washing Machines, which are each hanging from a parachute. Banjo's Top Speed is 3/5, his Acceleration is 3/5, and his Handling is 2/5.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
In the eight years leading up to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Banjo and Kazooie become obese, as they spend most of their days eating pizza, playing games, and sleeping. Eventually, they get in a feud with Grunty over who claims ownership over Spiral Mountain, in which L.O.G. starts a competition over. Unlike his previous adventures, Banjo would utilize vehicles for most of his adventure, instead of using the abilities he forgot over time. Banjo eventually wins the challenge and gains access to the deeds to Spiral Mountain.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie
Both Banjo and Kazooie appear as playable racers in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie, making it their second appearance in a crossover game, after Diddy Kong Racing.
Banjo and Kazooie race together in a vehicle named the Bolt Bucket, which is based on the vehicles in Nuts & Bolts. They have an All-Star Move named "Jiggy Rain", where Kazooie pokes her head out of Banjo's backpack, pecks on Banjo, and utilizes the Magic Wrench to rain Jiggies down from the sky.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Banjo and Kazooie were released as the third DLC character for Fighters Pass, and the fourth DLC character overall. This is the first game since Banjo-Pilot where Banjo and Kazooie appear on a Nintendo system.
- An early screenshot of Donkey Kong 64 revealed that Banjo and Kazooie's heads would appear on shower stalls in Donkey Kong's Treehouse.
- Artwork of Banjo's Diddy Kong Racing appearance was featured in Mario Artist: Paint Studio.
- In Conker's Bad Fur Day and its remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded, a mounted head of Banjo appears over the fireplace in The Cock and Plucker.
- In Minecraft, a skin based on Banjo was added alongside 44 other skins in the Skin Pack 1 DLC released on July 16, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $2.99 USD.
- In Viva Piñata, there are multiple references to Banjo. The Fizzlybear species attacks using golden puzzle pieces, which are similar to the Jiggies that Banjo collects in the Banjo-Kazooie franchise. Also, an accessory called the "Breegull Carrier" is modeled after Banjo's backpack he usually wears (which can be worn by the Fizzlybear species), and also references Kazooie's species, the Breegull.
Banjo is a brown, stocky honey bear with blue eyes, a large round nose and a bare chest. He is always shown wearing a pair of yellow shorts with a black belt, a shark tooth necklace and a blue backpack, even while under the spell of a transformation. The Rare logo appears on his backpack, as shown in various artworks.
In Nuts & Bolts, Banjo was redesigned to have a more block-shaped appearance, and his fur became animated. His backpack's design was also overhauled, now opening with a zipper across the top, and stitches to reflect age.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Banjo was redesigned with a mix of his design from Banjo-Kazooie/Banjo-Tooie and official Rare artwork. His body is now back to a rounder appearance and his body ratio has been tweaked to make his head slightly smaller. His backpack now has red accents and a bottom flap, per concept and promotional artwork from those games, and is crested with a Rare logo pin. The design is meant to better fit Rare and Nintendo's original design used in Diddy Kong Racing.
Banjo's personality is very different from that of Kazooie's. Banjo is a well-mannered, easygoing bear with a fondness for an easy life with little hardships. He uses "Mr." or "Mrs." when speaking to people and generally likes to help people out, which contradicts Kazooie's brash attitude. While he always means well, he sometimes comes off as a bit dimwitted and gullible. Banjo wanes a bit when it comes to his bravery - at times he will jump into a situation quickly, but other times he acts timid and doesn't want to commit. In all cases, however, he would much rather sit down and have either honey, pizza or a nap, suggesting he is somewhat lazy and is not searching for trouble. Throughout the series (mostly in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts), many characters including Banjo's allies have referred to Banjo as "stupid" and "fat", to which Banjo does not seem to mind due to his patience and manners. Banjo seems to have also picked up some of Kazooie's personality, as he occasionally uses insults and will sometimes makes sarcastic remarks. (In Nuts and Bolts for the most part.)
Banjo's relationship with his younger sister Tooty probably hints that he cares for her deep down inside, since he did ask about her whereabouts when she was captured and the fact that of all the prizes won at the Furnace Fun in Banjo-Kazooie, it was her he cared the most about taking. Banjo doesn't at all seem to mind Tooty's company, since he saw no problem when she began her flute solo in the opening of Banjo-Kazooie.
Banjo's relationship with Kazooie is tightly-knit and nearly inseparable, despite at times feeling exasperated by her attitude and brash remarks towards the rest of the game cast. He can sometimes get fairly annoyed by her constant heckling and lets out small bursts of temper against her, such as when he growls angrily and attempts to pull her out of her pack during an idle animation in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, though he's always quick to forgive her and apologize or shrug it off as an accident. He is constantly either apologizing to others on Kazooie's behalf or scolding her for being insensitive, (Most of these times exclaiming: "Kazooie!") such as when Kazooie remarked that Bottles wasn't a favorite character in Banjo-Kazooie after he had died by Grunty's magic hands.
Banjo very clearly has a dislike for Gruntilda, as she has attempted to murder, kidnap and torture him for the sake of completing her own selfish goals. He remains calm and level-headed, though often can be cocky in later games when seeing her. Banjo seems to have a mutual respect for Gruntilda and her powers, but is not afraid to stand up to her in most situations.
Banjo cannot run very fast and his jumping often requires some bird-enabled help. When Kazooie leaves the safety of his backpack, Banjo can use it in a variety of ways, such as an impromptu sleeping bag or a potato sack, not to mention his Pack Whack. The backpack also seems to have an infinite storage capacity, containing most items with ease. Banjo, being a bear, is an excellent swimmer and has learned how to paddle faster and hold his breath longer. Unlike Kazooie, Banjo has the ability to climb structures and grasp ledges with his fingers, allowing access to difficult to reach spots on the duo's adventures.
When Banjo is paired with Kazooie, he has a lot more skills at his disposal. The duo can perform a Forward Roll while running to attack enemies; Kazooie can use Banjo as leverage to perform the Rat-a-tat Rap; they can fly through the use of flight pads and utilize Kazooie's ability to fire different types of eggs.
Banjo receives assistance from two shamans, Mumbo Jumbo and Humba Wumba, who are able to transform him into various creatures and objects. Each transformation has its own skills and purpose depending on the level. Notably, in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, Banjo can use any transformation he's unlocked in a previous level in any stage, unlike previous installments, where he could only use the transformation in the level he unlocked it in.
In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Banjo and Kazooie have forgotten their abilities and have become obese over time. If Banjo attempts to jump in this state, he creates a small shockwave, causing the camera to shake a bit as he drops onto the ground. L.O.G. refuses to grant their abilities back, and rather has them compete against Gruntilda by creating awe-inspiring vehicles for all sorts of terrain and conditions. Kazooie is also given the Magic Wrench, which can be used for attacking enemies, carrying objects and turning pipes.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Banjo is sporting a wealth of moves he and Kazooie had learned from the Mole family, including an upside down Bill Drill to attack opponents from above and transitioning from shooting eggs to the Breegull Blaster to become a mobile turret. Banjo has also learned new moves not recognizable against previously learned from Banjo-Kazooie or Banjo-Tooie. These include the ability to grab a hold of enemies with his claws, a forward haymaker punch, a grounded body slam which attacks from both sides, a high-rise kick (which requires a bit of bird assistance), and learning how to roll, dodge in the air, and guard against attacks. With Kazooie's help he even gains a third mid-air jump and can use Talon Trot or Wonderwing to get around far quicker than Banjo alone. They utilize The Mighty Jinjonator as their Final Smash, which barrages the opponents with Jinjos and finally crashing into the Jinjonator to send them flying.
Names in other languages