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Bayonetta
Bayonetta series
Bayonetta-character
First appearance Bayonetta
Created by Hideki Kamiya
Designed by Mari Shimazaki
Voiced by (English) Hellena Taylor

Bayonetta (ベヨネッタ Beyonetta?) is a fictional character in the video game Bayonetta. Created by Hideki Kamiya for Platinum Games and designed by Mari Shimazaki, she has also appeared in promotions and other media related to the title. In all regions, she is voiced in English by Hellena Taylor.[1]

Conception and design

Sketch of two long haired, black-clothed women in two poses, side by side. To their left is a cat-shaped earring. Above the woman on the right are six circular items of gold jewelry. Around them is a white background with Japanese and English text throughout.

Mari Shimazaki tried to make the witch Bayonetta more appealing with longer limbs and adjusted proportions.[2]

Given the suggestion to create another action game by producer Yusuke Hashimoto, project director Hideki Kamiya decided to create a female lead for the title, having felt he had already done all that could be done with male protagonists.[3] To this end, he told character designer Mari Shimazaki to create her with three traits: a female lead, a modern witch, and to use four guns.[2] Her name was inspired by a bayonet, meant to imply there was "more to her than meets the eye",[4] while her four guns were named parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme after the old English ballad, 'Scarborough Fair', due to Kamiya's love of folk music.[5] The process, which took a full year, went through a hundred character designs and alterations, with early appearances resembling a traditional witch, with a frayed black outfit and a "veil-like look" on her head.[4] The outfit color persisted, described by Shimazaki as being her "theme color" due to being a witch. She was given longer legs and arms to make her more appealing as an action-game character, countering what Shimazaki felt was a trend of female characters in such games having short and thin limbs.[2] Her limbs and the rest of her design were appealing to Kamiya,[4] and development proceeded on the character's attire.[2]

Bayonetta's beehive hairstyle was an aspect Shimazaki insisted on, using it as an alternative to the usual pointed hat seen on witches. However despite concerns, Kamiya had no qualms about the hairstyle one way or another. She was additionally given glasses at Kamiya's insistence, intended to differentiate her from other female characters as well as give her a "sense of mystery and intelligence", though Shimazaki attributed it to possibly his preference for women with glasses.[2] Her guns were modeled after a derringer pistol, in order to remain convincing and familiar, as well as to give her weapons "capable of rapid fire; a simple, rugged gun". Kamiya approved the idea, on the grounds that he felt the weapon would look "hot" in a female hand.[6] Holsters were additionally considered for her feet, however the developers discarded the idea after feeling it wasn't feminine.[4] Despite the game's production in Japan, Kamiya was particular to insist that the character have an English voice actor, and had no Japanese voice actor assigned due to his belief that speaking Japanese would not suit the character.[7]

The concept of creating her outfit out of her hair was intended to fit into her design as a witch, which the development team felt meant she derived power from her hair.[4] It was designed to both be a "means of adornment and protection" while also giving her appear "fashionable" and accentuate the movement of her limbs. During this process it was decided that as she summoned creatures to attack her enemies during the game she would lose partial control of her hair and end up in more "comfortable" attire; Shimazaki noted this as one of the aspects of the character she loved.[2] Kamiya in addition wanted to avoid giving her large breasts and cleavage, feeling that normal sized breasts were adequate and that being mysterious was more attractive than "baring it all".[8] The character's model was created by Kenichiro Yoshimura, who observed non-Japanese models to keep her proportions authentic, giving particular focus to her backside which, as a result, led to it being made wider and more rounded than the typically slim-hipped female characters designed by Japanese artists.[9]

Appearances

Bayonetta series

As revealed in the first game, Bayonetta, whose real name is Cereza, was the child of a forbidden relationship between the Lumen Sage Balder and an Umbran Witch named Rosa. The union sparked off a conflict between the previously peaceful clans, causing Baldur to be exiled and Rosa to be imprisoned. The child, given the pseudonym "Bayonetta", was raised among the Witches. The two clans eventually clashed over wanting to control two powerful relics called the Eyes of the World, a battle which eventually led to their near-extinction. Imprisoned for five centuries after the conflict, she is eventually found by a diver, who is attacked and killed by Balder. The diver's son, Luka, eventually grows up to become a journalist obsessed with her secrets, believing it was Bayonetta who killed his father.

While Bayonetta tries to recover her memories, she is aided by a demon informant called Rodan and a rather comical human called Enzo. She also has frequent fights with Jeanne, an Umbran Witch enslaved to the four Cardinal Virtues, divine beings serving Balder. Once a childhood friend of Bayonetta's, Jeanne fought with and imprisoned her originally. She also encounters a grown-up Luka and her younger self, Cereza, who was drawn to the present by Balder so Bayonetta would recover her memories and become usable by him. It is revealed that Bayonetta holds the 'Left Eye', one of the two relics, within her, but was unable to use it because of the fear she had of her lost memories and her status as a hybrid. Cereza is eventually returned to her own time, with Bayonetta giving her an Umbran charm which still adorns her chest, though in a much larger form. This act prevents Bayonetta from losing her memories through Jeanne's attack five centuries before, causing a paradox and awakening the power of the Left Eye within her, which Balder tries and fails to use in his plan to revive the creator Jubileus.

Initially, Luka and Bayonetta are at odds with one-another, with Bayonetta calling Luka 'Cheshire' (in reference to Lewis Carols' Cheshire Cat) because of his annoying habit of appearing out of nowhere. Luka is determined to find and expose her as an act of vengeance for what he believes is her part in his father's death. However, as they learn to work together against Balder and the Angels, Luka seems to grow to like Bayonetta, and Bayonetta also seems to grow less antagonistic, calling him by his name. This feeling is magnified when Balder reveals the truth about who killed Luka's father and Bayonetta saves him from death. When Bayonetta is thought dead after the failure of Balder's plan, he attends the funeral and lays rosemary on her grave as a protection against demons, and is visibly glad when she reveals herself to be alive.

Other appearances

Bayonetta appears as a downloadable character in the multiplayer fighting game Anarchy Reigns.

Critical reception

To promote the character and the game, Playboy featured several models dressed as her for viewers to vote which they considered the best.[10]

IGN's Ryan Clements described the character as a "hardcore badass" that was also "brimming with sexual energy",[11] further describing her as an "immensely powerful protagonist".[12] However, associate editor Nicole Tanner disagreed, noting she didn't find the character's sexuality at all empowering, stating "Just because you give a girl an attitude and guns isn't enough to offset what she looks like".[13] Other members of IGN's staff named her their favorite video game character, describing her as "the playfulness and versatility of Dante" combined with "visually inventive combat". They further cited her constant nudity as a point of appeal, calling the mechanic of her hair serving as her clothing both one of the stupidest and one of the coolest elements of a character.[14]

Computer and Video Games praised her as more interesting than the game's storyline, describing her as the "sexiest collection of pixels [they've] ever seen", though not a character they considered a sex object. They further compared her to "Lara Croft without the prudishness, Rubi from Wet played with honest sexuality", and one of the most memorable characters they'd seen.[15] GamesRadar stated the character deserved plenty of respect, describing her as "sexy, witty and can certainly handle herself in a fight" and further named her one of the games most positive points, stating "She kicks all sorts of ass and is funny too".[16] GamePro felt that the character's "overt sexuality and frantic anime-inspired shenanigans" hampered the game's presentation, adding they would have enjoyed the character more if less focus had been put on her sexuality.[17]

See also

References

  1. "Hellena Taylor voice credits". Hellena Taylor.com. http://hellenataylor.com/reel_voice.html. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Shimazaki, Mari (2009-05-17). "Designing Bayonetta". PlatinumGames, Inc.. http://platinumgames.com/2009/04/17/designing-bayonetta/. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  3. Kamiya, Hideki (2009-04-01). "Greetings". PlatinumGames, Inc. http://platinumgames.com/2009/04/01/greetings/. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Staff (2009-07-27). "Sega/Platinum Games: The Making of Bayonetta". G4. http://g4tv.com/games/ps3/51781/bayonetta/articles/67921/SEGAPlatinum-Games-The-Making-of-Bayonetta-Comic-Con-2009-Archive/. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  5. "Bayonetta: Hair-raising". Game Informer (190): 63. February 2009. 
  6. Kotegawa, Muneyuki (2009-06-10). "The Weapons of Bayonetta". PlatinumGames, Inc.. http://platinumgames.com/2009/06/10/the-weapons-of-bayonetta/. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  7. "PGTV Episode 6: Hideki Answers Your Questions". PlatinumGames, Inc. 2009-07-07. http://platinumgames.com/2009/07/07/pgtv-episode-6-hideki-answers-your-questions/. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  8. Yip, Spencer (2009-06-15). "Bayonetta Director Discusses Bayonetta’s Sexiness". Siliconera. Crave Online. http://www.siliconera.com/2009/06/15/bayonetta-director-discusses-bayonettas-sexiness/. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  9. Yoshimura, Kenichiro (2009-04-24). "Modeling Bayonetta". PlatinumGames, Inc.. http://platinumgames.com/2009/04/24/modeling-bayonetta/. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  10. Robinson, Andy (2010-01-08). "Bayonetta does Playboy". Computer and Video Games. http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=231083. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  11. Clements, Ryan (2009-06-15). "Bayonetta Means Business". IGN. http://blogs.ign.com/clements-IGN/2009/06/15/123072/. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  12. Clements, Ryan (2009-11-06). "Bayonetta Preview". IGN. p. 2. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/104/1042947p2.html. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  13. "Bayonetta: Second Opinions". IGN. IGN Entertainment. 2010-01-08. p. 2. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/105/1059524p2.html. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  14. Shea, Cam (2009-03-19). "Bayonetta Progress Report". IGN. IGN Entertainment. http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/964/964203p1.html. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  15. Staff (2009-12-22). "Bayonetta Review". Computer and Video Games. http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=230324. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  16. Irvine, Nathan. "Bayonetta Review". GamesRadar]]. Future Publishing. p. 3. http://www.gamesradar.com/xbox360/bayonetta/review/bayonetta/a-2009122215515698373414/g-2008051422316843088/p-3. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  17. Kim, Tae K. (2009-12-21). "Bayonetta Review". GamePro. http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/213319/bayonetta/. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  18. http://www.gamepro.com/article/features/213466/bayonetta-empowering-or-exploitative/
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