Banjo is a brown honey bear created by Rareware and one of two major protagonists in the Banjo-Kazooie series. He is always seen wearing a pair of yellow shorts, a black belt, a shark tooth necklace and a blue backpack.
Banjo made his debut appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, alongside Tiptup and Conker, as a heavy racer with a high top speed and low acceleration before starring in his own game several months later. Since then, he has been the main character of every Banjo-Kazooie series game yet. A while back, Banjo adopted a breegull named Kazooie who is often seen seeking shelter in his backpack. The pair has gone on numerous adventures together, the purpose of most of them being to stop the sinister plans of the evil witch Gruntilda. He has returned in the series' latest installment for the Xbox 360. Banjo also has a younger sister named Tooty who lives with him and Kazooie in a house at the bottom of Spiral Mountain. She also plays her namesake instrument.
However, Banjo was not born a Rare icon, despite being quickly loved by millions. He was originally planned to be a small time character in a Super Nintendo video game titled Project Dream. After the Nintendo 64 was released the game was moved to the new console. However, it was found to be too generic and a rabbit was planned to become the new main character. This too was unsuccessful, so Rare tried a game based around Banjo himself which ultimately became Banjo-Kazooie.
Banjo's name is based on a musical instrument of the same name: the banjo. Incidentally, Banjo himself is known to be an experienced banjo-player, although the only time Banjo was ever seen playing his banjo was during the introduction theme in Banjo-Kazooie.
Banjo's personality is very different from that of Kazooie's. Banjo is a well-mannered, sweet-natured, easygoing bear. He uses "Mr." or "Mrs." when speaking to people and generally likes to help people out - which means a lot of damage control when Kazooie opens her fat mouth. While he always means well, he sometimes comes off as a bit slow. He tries to say something witty every now and again, but he usually isn't any good at it. Banjo flip-flops a bit when it comes to his bravery - at times he will jump into a situation quickly, but other times he acts timid and doesn't want to commit. In all cases, however, he would much rather sit down and have either honey, pizza or a nap, suggesting he is somewhat lazy but he at least does not have the issue of shoving food into their fat mouth constantly while thinking up new lies and imaginary situations to produce. Throughout the series (mostly in Nuts & Bolts), many characters including Banjo's allies have referred to Banjo as "stupid" and "crazy", but this is a trait not shown in other games in the series. The real issue is mental instability and basically compulsive lies, once come to terms with just maybe a happy life may be possible.
Banjo's relationship with his younger sister Tooty probably hints that he cares for her deep down inside, since he did ask about her whereabouts when she was captured and even accepted the fact that of all the prizes won at the Furnace Fun in Banjo-Kazooie, it was her he was thinking on taking along. Banjo doesn't at all seem to mind Tooty's company at times since he saw no problem when she began her flute solo in the opening.
Banjo cannot run very fast and his jumping often requires some bird-enabled help. When Kazooie leaves the safety of his backpack, Banjo can use it in a variety of ways, such as an impromptu sleeping bag or a potato sack, not to mention as his sole offensive weapon. The backpack also seems to have an infinite storage capacity, containing most items with ease. Banjo, being a bear, is an excellent swimmer and has learned how to paddle faster and hold his breath longer. Unlike Kazooie, Banjo has the ability to climb structures and grasp ledges with his fingers, allowing access to difficult to reach spots on the duo's adventures.
When Banjo is paired with Kazooie, he has a lot more skills at his disposal. The duo can perform a Forward Roll while running to attack enemies; Kazooie can use Banjo as leverage to perform the Rat-a-tat Rap; they can fly through the use of flight pads and utilize Kazooie's ability to fire different types of eggs.
Banjo also has access to the powerful magical abilities of his allies Mumbo Jumbo and Humba Wumba. Depending on the game, one of the two will grant Banjo and Kazooie the ability to transform into different creatures, each with its own unique skills and powers.
In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, the Bear and Bird have forgotten their abilities and instead must battle their arch-nemesis Gruntilda the Witch by creating awe-inspiring vehicles for all sorts of terrain and conditions. With an almost unlimited assortment of weaponry and gadgets to add to these machines, Banjo and Kazooie will no doubt be ready for whatever challenges their new adventures may bring. Kazooie is also given a magical wrench used to smack enemies as well as magically carry objects and turn pipes. She attacks with it from the safety of Banjo's backpack.
Banjo is voiced by Chris Sutherland.
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In 1997, just before Banjo was convinced to have an adventure, he got a message delivered by  Squawks the Parrot from  Diddy Kong, asking for help in driving Wizpig off Timber's Island. Banjo gladly helped, but didn't think that racing really agreed with him.
A year later, Banjo finally caved in and planned an adventure with Kazooie and Tooty. The day they were to go on an adventure, Tooty was kidnapped by Gruntilda for her beauty, leading to a rescue operation. Normally Banjo wouldn't bravely storm into a witch's lair full of bear-smiting traps, but the capture of Tooty and the prodding of Kazooie lead him to go. Using teamwork and a series of moves taught by Bottles, Banjo saved his sister and buried the witch.
However, two months later the witch's minion Klungo transplanted Grunty's spirit into a time-altering suit. Gruntilda proceeded to capture Kazooie and mess up time, preventing the duo from meeting in the first place. But with the help of some Mumbo magic, Banjo was able to give chase, rescue his friend and beat down Grunty a second time.
In the peaceful period that followed, Banjo mostly enjoyed life. However, two years later the witch returned in Banjo-Tooie when she was set free by her sisters and she destroyed Banjo's house, killing Bottles. Banjo sets out with Kazooie once more to stop the witch and her two sisters from zapping the whole island of its life-force to give Gruntilda a new body and hopefully finding a way of reviving Bottles as well as the now undead Jinjo king. Using Bottles' brother Jamjars as a teacher, Banjo learned how to operate with an empty backpack and use Kazooie as a handgun - which was the definitive moment in stopping Grunty for the third time.
With no witch to worry about any more, Banjo started to fix up his house (but gave up halfway through) and live the carefree life. He ate pizza all day and slept all night, leading to him becoming temporarily obese.
After a while, in 2008, Grunty came back again. But this time, she was followed by a mysterious being called L.O.G., who devised a competition to see who will own Spiral Mountain. With his quadruple-chins and obesity magically removed, Banjo was anxious to earn the rights to his home and got to work. After a long test of vehicular combat, he won the challenge and Spiral Mountain's deeds.
Then in 2010, Banjo got word of a racing tournament of some sort. He decided to put his old racing skills to the test, so he and Kazooie fixed up the 'Bolt Bucket' and went out racing with Sonic and friends.Template:Endspoiler
- in Super Lincoln Loud&Ronnie Anne's Channel Bros. Series he is Played By Boog
- In Nuts & Bolts, Banjo seems to have picked up some of Kazooie's personality, as he occasionally uses insults and sometimes makes some sarcastic remarks.
- When Banjo uses the Breegull Bash, he can be heard letting out a small laugh.
- If Banjo tries to jump in the beginning of Nuts & Bolts, he'll cause a small shockwave, causing the camera to shake a bit.
- At the beginning of Conker's Bad Fur Day and Conker: Live and Reloaded, when Conker walks into the bar, Banjo's stuffed head can be seen over the fireplace.
- The only time Banjo ever spoke English properly was in Diddy Kong Racing. When you select him, he says, "I'm Banjo!"
- This also reveals that Banjo has a Texan accent.
- In various artworks, Banjo's backpack bears a pin of Rare's logo, due to the fact that Rare made Banjo.
- In Minecraft, Banjo is a skin the player can use. This skin is most notably used by popular Let's Player and actor Michael Jones of Rooster Teeth Productions and its gameplay division, Achievement Hunter.
- Banjo is the only character that can swim underwater when he is separated while Kazooie and Mumbo Jumbo cannot.
- Banjo makes a cameo appearance in Grabbed By The Ghoulies as a dismantled head mounted on a wall.
- Kazooie also makes an appearance.
- His appearances in the Stephen Squirrelsky and Friends' Movie Spoof Travels are Bubblesrella 2: Dreams Come True, The Brave Little Piglet, Kung Fu Owen, Nikki's Adventures of Sing Along Songs Episode 8, The Thomas O'Malley Movie, Kermit Returns, Fievel the Red Nosed Mouse and The Island of Misfits, Nikki's Adventures of Sing Along Songs Episode 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Finding Alvin, Animated Tale, The Forest Book 2, Nikki's Adventures of Sing Along Songs Episode 10, Madagascar, and Sleeping Beauty and will even be in more movie spoof travels.