- “I'm Banjo!”
- —Banjo, Diddy Kong Racing
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate artwork
|First appearance||Diddy Kong Racing (1997, overall)|
Banjo-Kazooie (1998, home series)
|Latest appearance||Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Challenger Pack 3) (2019)|
|Latest portrayal||Chris Sutherland (1997–present)|
Banjo is one of the two protagonists of the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, along with his best friend, Kazooie. Before debuting in his own franchise, Banjo made his first appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, in which he is a playable character. His inclusion was to promote his then-upcoming title, Banjo-Kazooie. Banjo is a brown honey bear with light-brown fur, and he wears a shark-tooth necklace, yellow shorts, and a blue backpack that houses Kazooie.
Diddy Kong Racing
In Diddy Kong Racing, when Wizpig invaded Timber's Island, Timber calls for Diddy Kong's assistance. In turn, he sends Squawks to contact his friends, one of whom is Banjo. All the characters compete in a variety of racing challenges to liberate the island and decide who would race Wizpig. Eventually, the eight racers, with the help of Taj and T.T., drove Wizpig back to his home planet, Future Fun Land. However, Wizpig returns, and the racers go to his homeworld. At the end of the world, the winning character races Wizpig again, who rides on a rocket missile for the rematch.
On the character selection screen, Banjo's theme instrument is the banjo. The menu's theme is re-composed in a banjo when the player highlights him. Like the other characters, Banjo says his name when he is selected.
As a heavyweight racer, Banjo has slow acceleration, which is compensated for a high top speed (57 MPH without Bananas). His handling is below average, but is nevertheless better than Krunch's.
Since Microsoft had direct ownership over Banjo and Conker, both of them do not appear in Diddy Kong Racing DS. Instead, they were replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong, respectively. Despite this, Banjo's theme instrument was left intact, and it plays both on the character selection and the game's introduction sequence. Banjo's statistics were also retained for Tiny Kong, who was likely redesigned for Banjo's heavyweight feature.
In Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo and Kazooie go on a journey to rescue Banjo's little sister, Tooty, after she had been kidnapped by Gruntilda, who was jealous of her looks. Just before starting their journey, the duo stumble upon their long-time friend, Bottles, whose role is teaching abilities to the duo. After learning a few moves in Spiral Mountain, the duo cross over a drawbridge to enter into Gruntilda's Lair, where most of their adventure 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 tower. With the help of The Mighty Jinjonator, Gruntilda collapses from the tower, crashes into the ground, and becomes trapped beneath a large boulder.
In the game intro, Banjo is shown to be 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 witches and tries warns the others to escape from Banjo's House. Gruntilda, after noticing Mumbo, starts to chase him and fires a powerful spell, 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
In Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, set between the events of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, the intro cutscene starts with Banjo and Kazooie setting up a barbecue, but meanwhile, Klungo manages to transport Gruntilda's spirit from underneath her boulder and into a mechanical suit he designed for her, Mecha-Grunty. Mumbo Jumbo catches wind of this plan and immediately rushes to alert Banjo and Kazooie, but right before he can react, Mecha-Grunty kidnaps Kazooie and travels back in time to try and 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 during the first world, Cliff Farm.
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 parachutes. Banjo's Top Speed is 3/5, his Acceleration is 3/5, and his Handling is 2/5.
Banjo replaced Funky Kong from the 2003 iteration of Diddy Kong Pilot.
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.
Mario Artist: Paint Studio
In Mario Artist: Paint Studio, Banjo makes a cameo in his artwork from Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo-Kazooie, along with other characters from those games.
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 Banjo-Kazooie: 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 Mumbo's Wrench to rain Jiggies down from the sky.
Originally exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of the game, Banjo and a few other Microsoft-exclusive characters (including Conker) appear as playable skins in the Wii U and Nintendo Switch versions of Minecraft through an update on January 30, 2018. This technically marks Banjo's first appearance on a Nintendo console since Banjo-Pilot on the Game Boy Advance, and additionally, technically his first appearance alongside Diddy Kong since his debut.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Banjo & Kazooie are included together as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as a part of the Challenger Pack 3 DLC, released on September 4, 2019 (PDT). Banjo & Kazooie are the first fighters from a Western franchise to appear in the Super Smash Bros. series. The game marks the duo's first non-cameo appearance in a new game since Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie, released for the Xbox 360 in 2010, and their first appearance on a Nintendo console since Banjo-Pilot for the Game Boy Advance in 2005.
Banjo & Kazooie's moveset and appearances are directly pulled from their two Nintendo 64 titles, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, though they also sport a few original attacks. Spiral Mountain, the location of their home, serves as the representation for their stage of the same name. Regarding weight, Banjo & Kazooie are collectively a heavyweight, being heavier than Link, Yoshi, Captain Falcon, Mii Gunner, and Min Min, but lighter than Wario, Ike, Ridley, Simon, and Richter, while having the same weight as Snake and R.O.B.. Banjo's stage entrance involves him appearing from a Jiggy-shaped portal with Kazooie, bowing.
The duo were revealed as playable fighters during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct on June 11 (PDT). The reveal trailer for the duo heavily references King K. Rool's original reveal trailer, with Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and King K. Rool looking outside the window of DK's tree house and seeing a silhouette of Banjo & Kazooie. It is then revealed to be Duck Hunt playing a prank, much like how the K. Rool reveal trailer had King Dedede pretending to be King K. Rool. Banjo & Kazooie then appear from the sky and knock Duck Hunt out of frame, with Banjo holding his namesake instrument.
The trailer references the connection between the Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong franchises, as both were managed by Rare in the 1990s. The trailer could also be referencing the fact that Banjo's first in-game appearance was in a Donkey Kong game, Diddy Kong Racing. The English tagline "Banjo-Kazooie are Raring to Go!" is a reference to Rare as well.
Banjo and Kazooie appear in Sephiroth's reveal trailer, and are shocked to see him descend from the sky.
Classic Mode route
Banjo & Kazooie's Classic Mode route pits them against fighters that work as a team. Their final bosses are Master Hand and Crazy Hand, who both work as a team and are fought in any difficulty.
|1||Duck Hunt (brown/red costume)||Spiral Mountain||Main Theme - Banjo-Kazooie|
|2||Rosalina & Luma||Tortimer Island||Treasure Trove Cove|
|3||Ice Climbers||Summit||Freezeezy Peak|
|4||Link, Zelda||Mushroomy Kingdom||Gobi's Valley|
|5||Fox (dark costume), Falco (dark costume)||Luigi's Mansion||Mad Monster Mansion|
|6||Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong||Jungle Japes||Donkey Kong Country Returns|
|Final||Master Hand, Crazy Hand||Final Destination||Master Hand / Crazy Hand|
- Standard: Egg Firing / Breegull Blaster
- Side: Wonderwing
- Up: Shock Spring Jump
- Down: Rear Egg
- Final Smash: The Mighty Jinjonator
- This section is a stub. You can help the Rareware Wiki by expanding it.
Donkey Kong 64
Both Banjo and Kazooie made a cameo in early versions of Donkey Kong 64, but were ultimately cut from the final game. Their faces were going to appear on a shower stall in DK's Tree House.
Appearances in other media
Mario no Bōken Land
Banjo makes a small, non-speaking cameo in the Diddy Kong Racing story segment of Mario no Bōken Land, titled "Go Go Diddy!". The comic shows Banjo participating in a race with his friends, with him being in sixth place.
4-koma Gag Battle
Banjo appears throughout the 4-koma Gag Battle manga adaptation of Diddy Kong Racing. A certain four panel comic provides an explanation for what was in his backpack during Diddy Kong Racing, since Kazooie was absent: the backpack was filled with a beehive full of bees.
Banjo and Kazooie make a brief cameo at the end of the N-Gang comic "Freeze Frame", where they are seen celebrating alongside many other Nintendo characters.
"N-Gang vs. Nintendo"
Banjo appeared in the 2000 N-Gang comic, "N-Gang vs. Nintendo", where he played on the same soccer camp team with Kazooie, Wario, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, and Lanky Kong. Mario refereed the match.
"Die Hexe lacht um Mitternacht"
Banjo makes an appearance in the N-Gang comic "Die Hexe lacht um Mitternacht". After Gruntilda transformed Toni and VIP into hot dogs and leaves to reek havoc into the city, Big B. and Gecko arrives and devise a plan to defeat Gruntilda. They then use VIP's machine to bring Banjo into the real world, and then launches eggs at the witch to defeat her. After that, they all celebrate.
Profiles and statistics
- Main article: List of Banjo profiles and statistics
Diddy Kong Racing
- Diddy Kong Racing instruction manual: "(Low acceleration, heavy weight, good handling, high top speed) Even before the start of his future partnership with Kazooie, Banjo isn't one to turn down the chance of an adventure. So when Squawks brings the message from his pal Diddy Kong, the Honey Bear stuffs a few things into his trusty backpack and takes to his heels."
- Diddy Kong Racing Official Nintendo Player's Guide: "When Squawks brought Diddy's call for help, Banjo didn't hestitate–he strapped on his trusty backpack and hit the road immediately. He has also agreed to take on a totally different adventure with his partner, Kazooie, so this busy bear will have a lot to keep him occupied for some time to come."
- Character stats
- Weight: Heavy
- Acceleration: 2/5
- Turning: 2/5
- Speed: 3.5/5
- Color: Turquoise
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate spirit
|No.||Name||Image||Series / game||Type||Class||Strength / effect(s)||How to obtain||Spirit battle|
|1337||Banjo & Kazooie||Banjo-Kazooie Series||Fighter||N/A||N/A||Classic Mode as Banjo & Kazooie||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
- “Is it just me or is your nose square? The fans will hate it, you butt-ugly bear!”
- —Gruntilda, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
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 Banjo-Kazooie: 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 having stitches. This design was worked on by Ryan Stevenson, alongside Steve Mayles.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Banjo was redesigned with a mix of his design from Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie and official 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 was made by the same person who originally designed Banjo in Diddy Kong Racing, Paul Cunningham.
- “Leave sssarcasssm to bird, bear not good at it.”
- —Klungo, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Banjo, in contrast to Kazooie, is a courteous, heroic bear who enjoys relaxing. He is often polite to the characters he meets and generally likes to help them out, unlike his Breegull partner. While he, most of the time, means well, Banjo sometimes comes off as a bit dimwitted and gullible. Throughout the series, many characters, including his own allies, refer to him 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 attitude, as he occasionally uses insults and makes sarcastic remarks (mostly in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts).
Banjo's relationship with Kazooie is tightly-knit, as the two are nearly inseparable, despite him at times feeling exasperated by her attitude and brash remarks towards others. 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 the favorite character in Banjo-Kazooie after he was killed by Grunty's spell in Banjo-Tooie.
While Banjo often needs the help of Kazooie to perform actions such as jumping or attacking, he has many moves he can use himself when his backpack is empty, such as the Pack Whack, the Snooze Pack and the Sack Pack. Unlike Kazooie, Banjo can climb structures and stairs, and hang onto edges. When paired with her, however, the two have a much wider variety of moves at their disposal, such as the Breegull Blaster and the Rat-a-tat Rap.
In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Banjo and Kazooie have forgotten many of the moves they had learned in previous games and considerably gained weight due to not having any adventures for eight years. While the Lord of Games puts them in shape, he does not give the duo their moves back and instead forces them to use vehicles instead, gifting Mumbo's Wrench to Kazooie.
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 below. 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 assistance from Kazooie), and the ability how to roll and dodge in the air, and guard against attacks. 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.
List of game appearances
|Diddy Kong Racing||Playable character||1997||Nintendo 64|
|Banjo-Kazooie||Playable character||1998||Nintendo 64|
|Mario Artist: Paint Studio||Cameo in artworks from Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing||1999||Nintendo 64DD|
|Banjo-Tooie||Playable character||2000||Nintendo 64|
|Conker's Bad Fur Day||Cameo as a mounted and stuffed head||2001||Nintendo 64|
|Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge||Playable character||2003||Game Boy Advance|
|Grabbed by the Ghoulies||Cameo in various Banjo-Kazooie artwork and as a stuffed and mounted monster head.||2003||Xbox|
|Banjo-Pilot||Playable character||2005||Game Boy Advance|
|Conker: Live & Reloaded||Same as in Conker's Bad Fur Day||2005||Xbox|
|Viva Piñata||Cameo as a purchasable Statue. There is also a bear seemingly based on Banjo shoots out Jiggies when attacked.||2006||Xbox 360|
|Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise||Same as in Viva Piñata||2008||Xbox 360|
|Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise||Same as in Viva Piñata||2008||Nintendo DS|
|Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts||Playable character||2008||Xbox 360|
|Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie||Playable character||2010||Xbox 360|
|Minecraft: Wii U Edition||Playable skin via update||2018||Wii U|
|Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition||Playable skin via update||2018||Nintendo Switch|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||Playable character via DLC||2019||Nintendo Switch|
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Banjo.
Names in other languages
|According to Gregg Mayles, Banjo's name is based on the name of Banjō Yamauchi (山内万丈), Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandson; both names have the exact same pronunciation.|
阿邦 (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)
In Chinese, adding an 「阿」 in front of a given name makes it a diminutive form.
- Prior to Banjo's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he and Kazooie were among the most requested Super Smash Bros. characters of all time. A Rare employee wrote on their website back in 2009, that although they hadn't been considered for Super Smash Bros., many Rare franchise trophies were originally in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Vice President of Microsoft's gaming division, Phil Spencer, made a Tweet in 2015, stating "it would be cool" to see Banjo and Kazooie appear as DLC fighters in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. He doubled down on the comments in 2018, a year before Banjo and Kazooie's reveal in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- When asked about his shorts, Banjo stated that they "are a family heirloom" and that he needs "to patch them up every so often when bits start to fall off," and as a consequence of this, "there’s not much of the original material left." 
- Banjo stated he developed "a bit of a washing phobia" after being transformed into a washing machine in Banjo-Tooie.
- Banjo, along with Mumbo Jumbo and Tiptup, were considered playable for Diddy Kong Racing Adventure, a rejected pitch made by Climax Group for the Nintendo GameCube.
- ^ Ryan Stevenson 🌿 on Twitter: "@Facts_About_BK It would be flattering to think I designed these versions of Banjo @Facts_About_BK but I can’t. I’ve only ever worked on the one version of Banjo & that was for Nuts & Bolts & with Banjo’s dad himself, Steve Mayles. As for the other games I was on 2d backgrounds." / Twitter
- ^ Rare - Rare Adventures at E3 2019
- ^ Rare Scribes. Posted September 18th, 2009. Accessed October 30, 2020.
- ^ Xbox Head Phil Spencer Says 'It Would Be Cool' to See Banjo in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U IGN. Posted April 3, 2015. Accessed August 30, 2020.
- ^ Microsoft Is Willing To Put Banjo In Smash Bros. Posted March 21, 2018. Accessed August 30, 2020.
- ^ a b Archive on Reddit of the Banjo-Kazooie Facebook Q&A
- ^ PtoPOnline. Diddy Kong Racing Adventure : The Undeveloped Gamecube Racer. YouTube.