Bayonetta (ベヨネッタ, Bayonetta), also known by her real name Cereza, is the titular main protagonist from the Sega and PlatinumGames game Bayonetta, its Nintendo-exclusive sequel Bayonetta 2, as well as the film adaptation of the first game Bayonetta: Bloody Fate.
Bayonetta is one of the last members of the Umbra Witches, an entirely female clan of black magic practitioners. Umbra Witches form contracts with Inferno, granting them immense strength, knowledge, and the ability to summon Infernal Demons, in exchange for losing their souls upon death. Bayonetta is bound to the mighty Infernal Demon Madama Butterfly, whose limbs she can conjure to attack. She can also summon other demons, using her hair as a power source; since she also uses her hair to form her outfit, her clothing, which happens to be her hair, disappears during summoning.
Bayonetta was born in 1411 as Cereza to Umbra Witch Rosa and Lumen Sage Balder. A law from both clans states that "The intersection of light and dark would bring calamity to this earth." The birth of Cereza breaks that law and causes a rift between with witches and sages that would eventually escalate into the clan wars. Rosa and Balder were ostracized from their respective clans, and Cereza was taken in by the witches. An outcast in her clan, Cereza had a lonely childhood. The only friend she ever had was a fellow child witch named Jeanne, who would often play with her. 20 years after the start of the clan wars, as series of events known as the witch hunts begin. Jeanne was selected to be the leader of the witches during the hunts. Her final test was to battle whoever she believed was the strongest witch, which she decided was Cereza. During their battle, they were interrupted by an angel attack. Balder was falsely accused of leading this attack, which led to the death of Rosa. After learning this, Cereza loses her will to fight and allows Jeanne to kill her. Understanding that that something is not right, she instead seals Cereza away in a red jewel and throws it into the bottom of the lake to hide.
500 years later, Balder, still looking for his daughter, hires Antonio Redgrave to search for the red jewel. He and his son Luka eventually find it in the lake and manage to resurrect Cereza, but is immediately killed by Balder and his angels. Luka, unable to see the angels, assumes that Cereza was the one that killed his father. Cereza, having renamed herself as Bayonetta, has no memories of her past except that she is the last member of the Umbra Witches. She then dedicates her life to killing angels and regaining her lost memories.
For the next 20 years, Bayonetta begins to battle angels from Paradiso, working as a nun in order to locate them. She spends most of her time in Purgatorio — a world that exists between Paradiso and Inferno, parallel to the human world. Beings within Purgatorio are invisible to humans, though the environment is the same as the human world. Using weapons forged by the weapon smith/bartender Rodin, Bayonetta faces Paradiso's Hierarchy of Laguna, her friendly rival Jeanne, and even the very demons she summons. During one of these missions, Bayonetta meets a little girl named Cereza, who is actually her past self. She also briefly reunites with Jeanne, but has no memories of her past, so assumes she is a threat and battles her a few times. Luka also appears frequently, as he is trying to prove the existence of Purgatorio and avenge his father's death. Bayonetta eventually tracks down the person that has been sending the angels, Balder. He reveals that he is her father and Cereza is her past self. He also reveals that she is the left eye of the world and he is the right eye. Both are required to resurrect Jubileus, the Creator. Jubileus is revived, but Balder is killed during the ritual. With the help of Jeanne, Bayonetta defeats Jubileus and throws her into the sun. Bayonetta regains her memories, properly reunites with Jeanne, clears the misunderstanding with Luka, sends Cereza back to her own time, and still vows to kill the angels that get in her way.
Some time after this, Bayonetta and the rest of the main cast are seen doing their Christmas shopping when angels attack the city. However, Bayonetta's summonable demons go rogue and attack her instead. Jeanne sacrifices herself to save Bayonetta and her soul is dragged into Inferno. The only way to retrieve Jeanne's soul is to go to Inferno themselves. They find a portal in Fimbulventr and travel to it. On the way, Bayonetta meets a young boy named Loki who has powers similar to herself. Loki has no memories, so Bayonetta agrees to work with him to get his memories back. They both eventually come across Loptr, a mysterious masked Lumen who seems to know who Loki is. Loptr shows Bayonetta a vision of the past, which reveals that Balder was not responsible for the witch hunts and in fact tried to save Rosa before her death. The real killer was a mysterious figure that looked like Loki, but the vision ends before the identity was revealed. Bayonetta makes her way through the real Gates of Hell and defeats the demoness Alraune, who took Jeanne's soul. As Jeanne slowly revives, she tells Bayonetta that something big is about to happen. During all of this, Loki is attacked by a masked Lumen, who is revealed to be a young Balder from the past. As they fight, Loki releases a big shockwave that sends everyone to the time of the witch hunts. Bayonetta meets an alive Rosa, and both fight of the angels. The true killer is revealed to by Loptr, who was the real mastermind behind the witch hunts. Back in the present, Loptr reveals that he and Loki are two halves of Aesir, the god of chaos. Loptr takes control of Loki and becomes Aesir. But Bayonetta and Balder defeat him, with Jeanne destroying the physical body of Loptr. The soul of Loptr attempts to kill everyone one last time, but Balder absorbs it. This would eventually turn him into his evil self, but before he corrupted fully, he told Bayonetta to kill him if it came to it. Loki, having fulfilled his purpose, fades away, but says he might return when he reincarnates again. Afterwards, Bayonetta and Jeanne continue with some after holidays shopping, but are interrupted by another angel attack.
Personality-wise, Bayonetta is strong-willed, cocky, and flirtatious, and she always has a snarky comment on any situation she finds herself in. She is also shown to be very impatient with foes who give long-winded speeches; she will often become irritated and interrupt especially long tangents. However, despite being a witch who uses the powers of Inferno to kill angels, Bayonetta has a strong sense of morality. She may appear caustic and abrasive, but she is very loyal to those she cares about, including Rodin and Jeanne. When Jeanne's soul is stolen away in the second game, Bayonetta physically enters Inferno to save her.
She especially has a soft spot for children. Upon meeting young characters such as Cereza and Loki, she initially treats them with indifference, but gradually begins to open up and keep them safe from harm. Due to her indirect role in the death of Luka's father, she also makes sure to look after him throughout his life, giving him the nickname "Cheshire" after her own childhood doll.
Bayonetta's signature weapons are a collection of 4 guns, 2 used in her hands, and 2 attached to her heels. In Bayonetta, they were red and name Scarborough Fair. In Bayonetta 2, they were blue and named Love is Blue. Using all 4 in combat is known as Bullet Arts. They have unlimited ammunition and are used to kill enemies at a distance or juggle them in the air. Bayonetta also has a plethora of Umbran witch abilities to use in conjunction with her weapons. The most famous ability is Witch Time, where dodging just before getting hit grants her super speed — causing everything around her to appear in slow motion. If the dodge is too early or too late, Witch Time will not activate, but Bat Within will instead. Her most powerful ability is the Infernal Climax, where she can summon demons to do her bidding in combat.
As a playable character
Main article: Bayonetta (SSB4)
Bayonetta appears as a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. 4, and is the seventh and final downloadable character announced. According to Masahiro Sakurai, she was the winner of the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, being the highest-voted character in Europe and among the top 5 in North America, making her the overall #1 worldwide among realizable characters. Her appearance is based off of her redesign for Bayonetta 2, while four of her alternate costumes are based off her appearance in the first Bayonetta, which is known as "A Witch With No Memories". She was confirmed during the Super Smash Bros. - Final Video Presentation on December 15th, 2015, and was released on February 3rd, 2016.
Bayonetta's playstyle involves use of mechanics from her original game, such as Bullet Arts that allow her to pelt opponents from a distance with invisible bullets after any attack, and Wicked Weaves that summon Madama Butterfly for enormous punches and stomps during her smash attacks. In a similar manner to Ryu, Bayonetta's fighting style involves heavy use of combos, although she specializes in chaining aerial attacks. To compensate for her strengths, her ground attacks have slightly more startup than most standard attacks, her aerials gain landing lag after each successful chained combo, and her smash attacks are slow and have low priority compared to their size.
Bayonetta is currently placed 1st out of 55 characters on the tier list, placing her at the top of the S tier. Bayonetta's most noteworthy attribute is her combo-orientated playstyle, with many moves reliably connecting into each other, even potentially scoring her a Zero-to-death. She can also deal damage easily from afar, as almost all of her attacks can inflict damage via Bullet Arts. She also possesses a powerful counterattack in Witch Time, which, if it connects, slows down the opponent, usually allowing enough time for her to strike them with a powerful attack that can easily KO them. Despite her strong positives, she does have some weaknesses, such as average frame data on the ground, and her tall and light build makes her fairly easy to KO. Although Bayonetta would go on to receive considerable nerfs in updates 1.1.5 and 1.1.6, the latter of which weakened her powerful combo game somewhat, she is still a highly regarded character by top competitive players, acquiring very strong tournament representation and results.
As a playable character
Main article: Bayonetta (SSBU)
Bayonetta returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a playable character, retaining both of her designs based on her appearances in Bayonetta 2 and the original Bayonetta. Unlike Smash 4, she is now available in the base game as an unlockable character. Likely due to her status as a top tier character in the previous installment, she was heavily nerfed in her transition to Ultimate (evidenced after MkLeo performed a ladder combo with her in front of Masahiro Sakurai during the Super Smash Bros. Invitational 2018). She now has much more lag on a lot of moves, a slightly less flexible combo game, and shortened reach on her Bullet Arts.
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