When it comes to female characters, there's a wide range to go between 'completely exploitative' and 'gender equality.' Platinum Games' Bayonetta, as she was originally designed, straddles that divide, then winks knowingly at the camera. It's impossible to say for sure what makes her such a favorite in my mind--is it the stiletto sashay; the huge violet butterfly wings; the untouchable diva dialogue...? It's even possible to draw comparisons to Madonna's utterly unabashed sexuality in Platinum's protagonist, though the fact that the game's producer assumedly knows very little about drag does obscure the illusion somewhat.
There's a little less spandex and a lot more leather in the designs below, and for good reason: they were a little side-project by concept artist Wesley Burt, sometime around the game's launch. There are six characters in total, ranging from #1's 'Katy Perry with guns' to #6's 'steampunk harlequin' motif. I'm also in love with the liberal use of hair decorations here, as well as the positively Andersian piece on #3.
What's more interesting than Burt's redesigns, though, is what they say about the difference between Eastern and Western character art. These designs still have sexiness & sass, but with a lot more trappings and sturdiness. Bayonetta's boots actually look like they could hold pistols, and there's enough coverage on the old girl to evoke layers of armor. A game with this character would play less like Devil May Cry and more like Red Dead Redemption.
While the original, unbelievable design on Bayonetta fits the game's tone, it does leave one to wonder if Japanese developers will ever give a female character sufficient physical coverage to warrant going into battle alone. Part of me wants to bring up Samus Aran, but... well, we all played Other M.
So which Bizarro-Bayonetta needs her own game the most?