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Banjo holds a checkered flag in Diddy Kong Racing
Artwork from Diddy Kong Racing
Full name Banjo the bear[1]
Species Honey Bear[2][3]
First appearance Diddy Kong Racing (1997, overall)
Banjo-Kazooie (1998, home series)
Latest appearance Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Challenger Pack 3) (2019)
Portrayed by Chris Sutherland (1997–present)[4][5]
“I'm Banjo!”
Banjo, Diddy Kong Racing

Banjo is one of the two protagonists of former Nintendo partner Rare's Banjo-Kazooie series, along with his best friend, Kazooie. He is characterized as a honey bear with light-brown fur, tan skin, blue eyes, and a black nose, and he wears a shark-tooth necklace, yellow shorts, and a blue backpack that houses Kazooie. Banjo made his debut, both overall and in the Super Mario franchise, as a playable character in Diddy Kong Racing, and he and his series were owned by Nintendo up until the acquisition of Rare by Microsoft in 2002, with Banjo characters making some appearances in the Mario franchise during that period.


Diddy Kong Racing[edit]

Banjo, as he first appears in Diddy Kong Racing

Banjo incidentally made his first appearance 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 still exceeds 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.

Mario no Bōken Land[edit]

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 him participating in a race with his friends, with him being in sixth place.

4-koma Gag Battle[edit]

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.

Banjo appears in the 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.

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.

Mario Artist: Paint Studio[edit]

Banjo appears in some of the character stamps in Mario Artist: Paint Studio, along with other characters from Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo-Kazooie.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Super Smash Bros. fighter
Banjo & Kazooie
Banjo & Kazooie artwork for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Game appearances
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (downloadable)
Special moves
Neutral:  Egg Firing / Breegull Blaster
Side:  Wonderwing
Up:  Shock Spring Jump
Down:  Rear Egg
Final Smash:  The Mighty Jinjonator
Battle entrance
Banjo appears from a Jiggy-shaped portal with Kazooie, bowing.
SmashWiki article: Banjo & Kazooie (SSBU)

Banjo, alongside Kazooie and the heroes of Dragon Quest, were announced as playable fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct on June 11 (PDT). Banjo & Kazooie were released on September 4, 2019 (PDT) as part of Challenger Pack 3. The duo's moveset and appearances are directly pulled from their first two games, 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. 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. Their special moves are Egg Firing / Breegull Blaster, Wonderwing, Shock Spring Jump, and Rear Egg and their Final Smash is The Mighty Jinjonator.

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.

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 had not been considered for Super Smash Bros., many Rare franchise trophies were originally in Super Smash Bros. Melee.[6] 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.[7] He doubled down on the comments in 2018, a year before Banjo and Kazooie's reveal in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.[8]

Classic Mode route[edit]

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.

Perfect Partners
Round Opponent(s) Stage Song
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

Unused appearances[edit]

Donkey Kong 64[edit]

The Banjo and Kazooie poster originally found in DK's Tree House in Donkey Kong 64.
Banjo and Kazooie's cameo in an early build of 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.

Profiles and statistics[edit]

Diddy Kong Racing[edit]

  • Character stats
    • Weight: Heavy
    • Acceleration: 2/5
    • Handling: 2/5
    • Speed: 3.5/5
    • Color: Turquoise
  • Instruction booklet bio: "(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."[9]
  • 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."[10]
  • Nintendo Power Volume 103: "Like Conker, Banjo is sort of hanging out on Timber’s Island while his own game gets polished for release. The happy-go-lucky honey bear has good handling for a heavy guy, but his acceleration is what you would expect from a bear. On the other hand, Banjo has excellent top-end speed for straightaways."[11]
  • Diddy's Drivers Ed: "Banjo is another heavyweight racer, but his acceleration and handling are acceptable. He's a great choice for piloting a hovercraft. In many instances, Banjo will have to use the sharp turn technique to take corners cleanly."[12]
  • Nintendo 64 Game Secrets, 1999 Edition Prima's Official Strategy Guide: "Banjo is one of the harder characters to control, and his acceleration is low. Of course, his heavier weight also means that, once he builds up some momentum, his top speed is second only to Krunch. On a tightly turning course, however, there’s little chance for his extra speed to come into play: He’s always in the process of accelerating, and then skidding through the next turn."[13]
  • Rarewhere: "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, the Honey Bear stuffs a few things into his trusty backpack and takes to his heels."[14]

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

#1337 Banjo & Kazooie
Banjo & Kazooie spirit from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Series/game Banjo-Kazooie Series
Type Fighter
How to obtain Classic Mode as Banjo & Kazooie
  • Official website: The missing piece of the puzzle is found as Banjo & Kazooie join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a playable fighter! With Banjo’s bare hands to bruise rivals up close and Kazooie’s egg-cellent shooting skills, your rivals will be singing the blues in no time. For their Final Smash, these perfect partners call upon a flock of Jinjos and the Mighty Jinjonator to deal the final blow to any “feeble jerk” that may stand in their way!

Palutena's Guidance[edit]

Banjo & Kazooie share this stock conversation with all other Fighters Pass characters. It was originally used for Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, Ryu, Cloud, Corrin, and Bayonetta in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, who are downloadable fighters in that game.

  • Pit: Who is THAT?
  • Palutena: I have no data on this fighter. I can't believe it!
  • Viridi: It must be an intruder from another dimension!
  • Pit: Whoever it is, the goal remains the same: to fight and win!

List of Super Mario appearances[edit]

# Title Role Release date Format

1 Diddy Kong Racing Playable character 1997 Nintendo 64
2 Mario Artist: Paint Studio Character stamps 1999 Nintendo 64DD
3 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Playable character via DLC 2019 Nintendo Switch


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Banjo.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese バンジョー
According to Gregg Mayles, Banjo's name is based on the name of Banjō Yamauchi (やまうちばんじょう), Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandson; both names have the exact same pronunciation.

Chinese 班卓
阿邦 (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)

In Chinese, adding an 「阿」 in front of a given name makes it a diminutive form.

French Banjo
German Banjo
Italian Banjo
Korean 반조

Russian Банджо

Spanish Banjo


  • A portrait of Donkey Kong appeared in prototype versions of Banjo-Kazooie.[15]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Diddy Kong Racing. Nintendo of Australia. Archived February 18, 1999, 06:05:58 UTC from the original via Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Nintendo. Banjo-Kazooie | Nintendo 64 | Games | Nintendo. Nintendo of UK (British English). Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  3. ^ North American Diddy Kong Racing Manual, Page 24
  4. ^ Christopher Niosi. Talkin' Rare & Playtonic Games w/ Chris Sutherland (feat. Shadyvox) - Kirblog 6/17/17 (00:06:37). YouTube (English). Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  5. ^ Credited in the sound test menu in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  6. ^ Lerako (September 18, 2009). Rare Scribes. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  7. ^ Campbell, Evan (April 3, 2015). Xbox Head Xbox Head Phil Spencer Says 'It Would Be Cool' to See Banjo in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. IGN. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  8. ^ Winslett, Ryan (March 21, 2018). Microsoft Is Willing To Put Banjo In Smash Bros.. Cinemablend (English). Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  9. ^ Nintendo (1997). Diddy Kong Racing manual. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 24.
  10. ^ Swan, Leslie (1997). Diddy Kong Racing Player's Guide. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 7.
  11. ^ December 1997. Nintendo Power Volume 103. Nintendo of America (American English). Page 14.
  12. ^ Diddy's Driver Ed. Nintendo of America. (Archived December 6, 1998, 06:57:14 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
  13. ^ April 7, 1999. Nintendo 64 Game Secrets, 1999 Edition Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. ISBN 0-7615-2103-7. Page 37.
  14. ^ DKR Cast List | Banjo. Rarewhere (British English). Archived September 2, 1999, 20:55:40 UTC from the original via Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  15. ^ TCRF contributors. Prerelease:Banjo-Kazooie. The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved May 12, 2024.