For fighter info, see Banjo & Kazooie (SSBU)

Banjo and Kazooie are the eponymous protagonists of the Banjo-Kazooie series from Rare Ltd. and Xbox Game Studios.

They joined Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the third fighter in Fighters Pass Volume 1 and the fourth downloadable character overall.

Character Description

Banjo is depicted as an easy-going and well-mannered bear who loves to eat honey and play his banjo. He is typically nonviolent, preferring peace and quiet and will help anyone in need, though he is strong enough to defend himself when the necessity arises.

On the other hand, Kazooie is depicted as a very brash and snarky loudmouthed breegull, with a quick, deadpan wit and absolutely no filter; something that often gets them into trouble with others. However, she is still willing to help anyone in any situation and is fiercely loyal to her best friend Banjo, whose backpack she resides in. The two live together with Banjo's younger sister Tooty in a house at the base of Spiral Mountain.

Banjo made his first appearance on the 1997 Nintendo 64 game Diddy Kong Racing alongside fellow Rare mascot Conker. Banjo is one of the game's eight default racers and is the second-heaviest racer. While Kazooie doesn't make a physical appearance, she is mentioned in the instruction manual.

Banjo-Kazooie

Both characters wouldn't have a proper starring role until a year later with the release of Banjo-Kazooie on the Nintendo 64. The game begins with the evil witch Gruntilda kidnapping Tooty, upon hearing that she is the prettiest girl in the land, and plans to steal her youth and beauty for herself. Banjo unfortunately sleeps through Tooty's kidnapping and Kazooie's many attempts at waking him up. The two then begin their journey as they navigate their way through Gruntilda's Lair and its connections to different worlds. While the player controls Banjo, he is merely a platform for Kazooie to perform her various abilities and attacks; all Banjo can do is run, walk, swim, and talk to the inhabitants of each world. As the game progresses, the duo meet several helpful characters including Bottles (a mole who teaches moves) and Mumbo Jumbo (a shaman that can magically transform Banjo into various objects to get past obstacles). Eventually, Banjo and Kazooie confront Gruntilda at the peak of her Lair and are able to defeat her by summoning the Jinjos and The Mighty Jinjonator, who push her off the peak to her doom below.

Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge

Set two months after the first game, Gruntilda is "revived" with her soul possessing a robot created by her ogre minion, Klungo, and assumes the identity of Mecha-Grunty. She returns to kidnap Kazooie, time travel 20 years into the past, and prevent the two from meeting, thus altering her fate. Banjo goes in pursuit of her, with the help of Mumbo Jumbo's magic, to try and stop her. Compared to the first game, the pair have a lot more actions to do, with Banjo being able to defend himself a lot better and Kazooie being able to perform her moves independently (though she must re-learn them, with the assistance of Bottle's grandfather Bozzeye, due to the time displacement). The two eventually reunite, send Gruntilda's spirit back to the present, and restore the timeline.

Banjo-Tooie

Set two years later, Gruntilda's sisters arrive to exact revenge on the duo, attacking their home and killing Bottles. Banjo and Kazooie then set out on their new adventure to prevent the witches from reviving skeleton-Gruntilda's flesh by quite literally sucking the life out of the Isle O' Hags. The pair are this time assisted by Bottles' brother Jamjars, who instructs them in techniques they can do independently; for Banjo, his now empty backpack gains some utility such as attacking with it, lifting cargo, and protecting him from poisonous waters, as well as gaining the ability to sleep to regain energy; for Kazooie, she can now jump higher and have increased move speed on top of performing new techniques including FPS-style egg shooting, egg laying, wing-based attacks, and free gliding. The duo eventually prevail against Gruntilda and the witches again, and use the B.O.B. device to revive Bottles.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Eight years later, the duo have become lazy and overweight, having now forgotten all of their moves. Gruntilda also returns, now as just a skull, to once again start conflict with the two when they are stopped by the sudden appearance of the Lord of Games (or L.O.G.), the supposed creator of video games. L.O.G. sets Banjo and Kazooie on a set of vehicle-based challenges and levels while he puts Gruntilda in a new robot body. For Banjo, he serves as the driver of the vehicles and can also improve his physical attributes through training; Kazooie on the other hand has been reduced to carrying objects and performing simple attacks, which spawns a running gag in the game where she continuously (and rightfully so) complains about her very limited role compared to previous titles. The duo triumph over Gruntilda once more, now doomed to work in L.O.G.'s game factory, and earn back their old moves.

Appearances in Smash Bros.

In Super Smash Bros.

While neither Banjo nor Kazooie appear, they were included in a poll on the Japanese website to gauge interest for potential newcomers in a sequel.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee

The results of the poll revealed that Banjo & Kazooie were the second most-wanted characters to represent Rare (surpassed by James Bond as he appeared in GoldenEye 007), though despite this were not included in Melee's roster; according to Masahiro Sakurai, they couldn't get in due to "a variety of legal and financial reasons."

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

BanjoKazooieRender.png

Banjo & Kazooie were announced to be included in Ultimate at the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct on June 11, 2019, confirming them to be the third fighter in Fighters Pass Volume 1.

They fight together as a team and, just like the original games, Banjo is a platform for Kazooie to perform her moves, including Breegull Blaster, Wonderwing, and Rear Egg.

They were released on September 4, 2019, alongside the stage Spiral Mountain, 10 music tracks, and a Banjo-Kazooie-themed Spirit Board as a part of Challenger Pack 3.

Trivia

  • Ultimate marks the first physical appearance Banjo and Kazooie have had in almost a decade, as they last appeared in the Xbox 360-port of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. It's also the first time they have appeared on a Nintendo console in 15 years, last appearing in Banjo-Pilot for the Game Boy Advance.
  • Banjo and Kazooie are the first third-party characters:
    • To previously have been second-party
    • To be a duo
  • Banjo and Kazooie are one of two characters to originate from a Western-made franchise (as Rare Ltd. is localized in the United Kingdom), to be owned by a Western company, and be owned by one of Nintendo's rivals in the console and publishing markets, the other being fellow Xbox Game Studios representatives Steve and Alex.
  • Banjo and Kazooie are one of five characters to be made outside of Japan, the other four being Diddy Kong, King K. Rool, Dark Samus, and Steve & Alex.
  • According to Masahiro Sakurai, fan requests for Banjo and Kazooie have consistently been very high throughout the years, especially among Western fans. The duo would've been a natural inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Melee due to their popularity in the official website poll, but Microsoft's impending purchase of Rare in 2002 might've complicated plans.
    • During the initial announcement of the Fighter Ballot for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Phil Spencer (the current head of Microsoft's Xbox division) expressed his support for Banjo and Kazooie's inclusion, something he would reiterate three years later following Ultimate's teaser reveal.
      • After the announcement of Banjo & Kazooie's inclusion at E3 2019, Spencer noted that this was in part due to the strong relationship Microsoft has with Nintendo's third-party team, stating “There wasn’t anything kind of CEO-to-CEO that had to happen[...]the reason it’s not some interesting, deep conversation is because with us owning Rare and the history between those two things, there are a lot of conversations over the years about, ‘Hey, we want to do “X” is that okay?’"
      • During their presentation, Sakurai acknowledges the collaboration between Nintendo, Microsoft, and Rare that resulted in bringing Banjo & Kazooie to Ultimate. He also openly mentions that the only way to play Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Nuts and Bolts is through Rare Replay on the Xbox One. This resulted in "Xbox One" being a trending topic among Japanese users on Twitter.
  • Kazooie is fourth playable avian character, following Falco, King Dedede, and the duck in Duck Hunt.
    • Of the four, she is the first to be female and third-party.
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