Written by Jonathan Wojcik
THE THIRTEEN CREEPIEST BAYONETTA ANGELS
Those demons were fun enough to look through, sure but the "villains" of Bayonetta are on heaven's side, as is increasingly common in modern media. I guess we all just recognize how menacing religion can be when it's taken too far, and we're all still pretty tired, probably forever, of the "pretty" ones only ever being "good guys" in anything. The lowest-ranking, simplest angel enemies in the first Bayonetta were little more than flying heads, but in Bayonetta 2, they were replaced by these slightly more elaborate creatures that basically tell you almost everything you need to know about Bayonetta angels at a glance: they're covered in gold and porcelain armor and they've got eerie as hell, statuesque human faces. We picked the demons based on "coolness," but the Angels are the ones who exude pure uncanny dread!
CACHET & COMPASSION
We're not necessarily going in any particular order here, but now that you've seen the most basic angels, here's how extreme they can actually get. "Glamor" taks the form of an absolutely titanic cobra, encrusted with the gaudiest assortment of jewelry and lace and golden inlays and doo-dads you could ever imagine, and the whole freaky package is topped off by the eerie position of its human mask, upside-down on the underside of its hood.
All this would be fascinating enough, honestly, but thanks to concept art, there's an opportunity here to show you what's really neat about Bayonetta's angels:
What we see of all these angels is, in fact, nothing but their outer shell. On the inside, they're magnificently alien, psychedelic creatures of pulsing, colorful flesh and otherworldly eyes, which does get exposed in-game as certain angels sustain damage, but rarely does is frantic combat allow us to stop and admire an angel's guts. That's just as well, really; the effect is all the more exciting in quick, jarring glimpses.
Even without the space-coral guts, you already get the impression that "angels" are pretty ghastly, inhuman abominations trying their best to look more dazzling and more "relatable" to us mortals. Despite an almost humanoid first impression, the massive "BELIEF" clearly isn't anything at all like us, with its dinosaur-like legs and single, fleshy tentacle arm. Its official description says that this feature was meant to be "a divine whip for binding evil," but did indeed give humans the impression of it as a "hideous" creature.
This is one with an "authentic" feel to it, like the wheel-shaped angels described by Ezekiel and constantly hyped up by Ancient U.F.O. theorists, though this design is actually more like an angelic version of the classical demon, buer, who was also depicted like a face surrounded by a wheel of legs.
Enchants were supposedly given this form in order to "compel humanity to continue its struggle and feel no satisfaction at surpassing others," whatever the heck that means. Are we supposed to feel inspired to invent things, like wheels, but not get too cocky because the angels already beat us to it?
One of my favorites, this angel is only eighth in the angelic hierarchy, yet it's said to be "the oldest angel to have ever existed." A sort of sorcerer-like character that sits back and commands other angels, it takes the form of two fused, humanoid bodies with unsettlingly featureless domes where their heads should actually be....and a pair of oversized, penetrating red eyes where the torsos meet, looking especially deranged when they first pop open for its introductory sequence. It's an angel with an especially freaky, alien feel to it and a lot of personality, whether or not we get to see its real innards.
Many enemies in this game come in more than one variant, and we have to show you both varieties of this four-legged, griffon-like beast to demonstrate what makes them interesting. The official art of "Fearless" shows their default look, with what seems to be a featureless, tiny white head surrounded by a golden mane. In actuality, however...
That little, white beak is just the tip of these thing's chins, and the entire metal neck piece is concealing a horrific, crocodile-like maw with gnarly purple flesh and filthy yellow teeth! What were we saying about terrifying, inhuman monsters just kind of dolling themselves up to look fancier?
Another snake-like angel! These huge, flying serpents are apparently the angels originally mistaken for the "burning wheels" that carry the chariot of god, and their real purpose is to patrol the skies for intruders, swallowing whole anything that challenges heaven.
I'm especially liking what these look like under the armor. It's not as totally surreal as Glamor, but those little eyestalks have a lot of personality to them!
I love the absurdity of an angel that just looks like a car...and of course, we're told that it actually existed before humans ever invented something similar. That sort of thing is always such a neat concept to think about, isn't it? That something we take for granted as completely modern might have much stranger, much older origins. Irenic can't do much but transport other angels and fire missiles, but it's a lot of fun that it exists at all.
This is at least the second thing in Bayonetta to look like a stingray, not a bad thing at all to keep drawing inspiration from. They apparently appear to mortals as nothing but a shining light, but if you can see their true forms, you'll see them enveloping people in their big, broad wings. I like how the ray-shaped part of Harmony is sort of draped over it like an umbrella, with its clawed humanoid arms and elaborate tail hanging straight down. Not much else to say, just a really neat look!
This is actually a type of angel called an Auditio, but Fortitudo is a single, specific Auditio who appears as an antagonist several times in both games. Coupled with its dragonlike appearance, I can't help but find myself thinking of Fortitudo as basically the Ridley to Bayonetta's Samus. Again I don't have much more to say, but I definitely appreciate that an "angel" in this game is just a big, fat, two-headed reptile wearing an upside-down doll head as a shell.
One of my favorites, Fidelity is said to have been an aquatic angel that left the sea "to impart humanity with primeval memories," and drags mortals to the bottom of the ocean if they "disrupt the serenity of life by forgetting their past." HARSH!
Fidelity's official description calls it "fish-like," but with its bulbous central body and long tentacles it really comes across more as a jellyfish or octopus. It's also another one whose inner workings have complete concept art for us to gawk at:
On design alone, Lustitia is easily the most terrifying creature in this entire game, which is certainly impressive for an angelic being in a game that also features the legions of hell, but you're probably used to that at this point. This gargantuan boss has a central body that's just a fused ball of faces, an additional baby-like face on th end of a long, eel-like "tongue," and a couple of spiny, golden pods that can split open like tooth-lined flowers, none of which is as terrifying as how it looks after Bayonetta's finished with it:
How hideous is it to fathom just a dripping, bleeding ball of gore just silently, impossibly hovering through the sky? And then it starts talking with its fake baby face.
We end on this one because it's the single largest angel in the game, so immense that you can't really fight against it at all in any conventional sense. It's practically an angelic starship, but it's still really just one massive, organic monster, as shown once again by this conceptual art. With its central eyeball and circular ring of fangs, this has to be the most monstrous angel yet, if only we really got to see it that way in the game itself!
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