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 disappears during summoning.
After awaking from centuries of hibernation without any memories of her past, 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 between the human world, Paradiso, and Inferno. 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.
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.
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 a unlockable character. 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 2018 Super Smash Bros. Invitational). She now has much more lag on a lot of moves, a slightly less flexible combo game, and shortened reach on her Bullet Arts.