Banjo is a brown honey bear and one of the two protagonists on which the Banjo-Kazooie series centers. He is always seen wearing a pair of yellow shorts, a shark tooth necklace, and a blue backpack. He first appeared in Diddy Kong Racing alongside Tiptup as a heavy racer with a high top speed and low acceleration before starting in his own game several months later, and has since been the main character of every Banjo-Kazooie game yet. He has returned in the series's latest installment for the Xbox 360. 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. Banjo also has a younger sister named Tooty, who lives with him and Kazooie in a house at the bottom of Spiral Mountain. He also plays his namesake instrument.
However, Banjo wasn't born a Rare icon, despite being quickly loved by millions. He was originally planned to be a small time character in a Super NES video game, 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. However, this too was unsuccessful, so Rare tried a game based around Banjo himself, which became Banjo-Kazooie.
Banjo is a well-mannered, easygoing guy. He uses "Mr." or "Ms." when speaking to people and generally likes to help people out - which means a lot of damage control when Kazooie opens her beak. 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 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.
Banjo can't run very fast, and his jumping needs some bird-enabled help. But when Kazooie leaves the backpack, Banjo can use it in a variety of ways, such as an impromptu sleeping bag or a potato sack.
Banjo's first event of any significance in his life is when he found a not-very-well Kazooie on Breegull Beach in a blue backpack. For whatever reason, the two were fast friends. Banjo made his home in Spiral Mountain with Kazooie and his sister Tooty. He was content to live in his small neck of the woods, but the other two bugged him to go on an adventure sometime.
In 1997, just before Banjo was convinced to have an adventure, he got a phone call from a distressed Timber, asking for help in driving Wizpig off his 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. But the plans were quickly scrapped when 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.
The witch didn't stay dead, though, as a few months later Klungo transplanted her spirit into a time-altering suit. Grunty proceeded to capture Kazooie and mess up time, preventing the duo from meeting in the first place. 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. He had to deal with Kazooie being bored, however. Kazooie was convinced that Grunty wasn't done, and forced him to practice his moves for when the time came once more...while subtly altering his moveset such that he couldn't do anything without her. Banjo was partly relieved when, in 2000, Grunty returned and blasted his house down, killing Bottles. Still, he wasn't keen on the prospect of adventure. 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
second 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.
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 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.
Nowadays, Banjo sits at home as always, with some light exercise (Kazooie stealing his stuff) thrown in. He doesn't mind the quiet life but would like to have another game sooner than later. While Kazooie can't wait for a traditional Grunty-bash, Banjo enjoyed building vehicles and would like to see them return in some way.