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I'm a very busy man with half the world's population counting on me...

Johnny Sfondi in Guilty Gear XX Accent Core

Johnny Sfondi (ジョニー·スフォンディ, Jonī Sufondi)[1] or simply called Johnny is a playable character in the Guilty Gear franchise. He made his first appearance in Guilty Gear as a central character in May's storyline, and debuted as a playable character in Guilty Gear X. Johnny is the captain of the Jellyfish Pirates, a group of sky-pirates sworn to help those less fortunate, which happens to consist mostly of very young girls. Johnny's flirty, debonair, swordslinging demeanor hides a man dedicated to the noble idea of caring for others.

Character Design

Johnny is tall, muscled, and tan. He sports a black outfit, sparsely adorned with golden beads. The outfit consists of long, well-fitting pants, a large gunslinger-style belt worn diagonally, and a long collared trench coat, left unbuttoned to ensure his chest remains visible. Johnny has long blond hair, which he usually keeps in a pony-tail. He wears a wide-rimmed Cowboy-style hat which bears a skull insignia, and a pair of dark sunglasses complete his outfit. In battle, he wields a wooden-handled Katana, and is a master of the Iaido style of swordsmanship.

Gallery

Johnny's Image Gallery

Personality

Johnny is a daring, suave, and passionate man, who often appears somewhat aloof, carefree, and a bit self-absorbed. A self-proclaimed ladies man, Johnny appreciates his own beauty, frequently commenting on it to other characters throughout the series. He is a compulsive womanizer, hitting on nearly every female character he encounters, plus Bridget (who he had mistaken for a girl). Beneath his swash-buckling, somewhat surly persona, Johnny has a good heart. He founded the Jellyfish pirates in order to help those less fortunate than himself, and he cares for May, Dizzy and the other members of his crew very deeply, often going to great lengths to protect them from harm, and reassuring them on numerous occasions that they are as family to him.

Story

Background

Johnny was heavily influenced by his father, a noble man always eager to help those in need, caring for anyone who might enter their home, even strangers. When Johnny was young, his father was killed by a Gear. Johnny was left orphaned, the loss of his father paining him deeply. Through this loss, Johnny grew to know the pain of loneliness, of a world without love, yet he was not consumed by revenge, nor did he develop a hatred of the Gears. Instead, he was inspired by the example with which his father had left him. Through this example, he realized that love is something which must be given, not only desired, and he resolved to follow in his father's footsteps by helping those less fortunate, be they Man or Gear. He founded his band of Sky Pirates, and began running his Robin Hood operation aboard a stolen hover-carrier later re-named the Mayship. The majority of the Jellyfish Pirates are orphans whom Johnny adopted and raised, among them May, the namesake of the pirates' airship. May harbors very strong feelings for Johnny, viewing him as both a father and brother figure, and even as a boyfriend.

Though the extent is uncertain, Johnny is known to have "connections" ,to Ky Kiske, as well as Gabriel. In Accent Core, it appears he is acquainted with Crow in some way.

Guilty Gear

Though Johnny is not a playable character in the original Guilty Gear, he is present in May's storyline. Prior to the game, Johnny was caught and imprisoned for his Robin Hood-like escapades. May enters the tournament, hoping to use the prize to free Johnny, but he escapes before she can rescue him (by charming the female guard, though he tells his crew he "fought" his way out). May secretly desires for Johnny to see her as a woman, so she and he can be together romantically.

Guilty Gear X Drama CD's

The Story begins with Johnny and May shopping for clothes; May wants a wedding dress. However, Johnny denies her request, and while the Shopkeeper is trying to swindle Johnny into buying things, he mentions some newly discovered ruins from the old world nearby and Johnny and May pay the ruins/tourist attraction a visit. May is excited, thinking of this as a date with Johnny, though he seems oblivious, and she is disappointed to find the insides of the ruins to be less romantic than she might have hoped. Ky shows up shortly afterwards, investigating the ruins himself, and the ticket-taker is quite upset about his intrusion. Ky takes note of Johnny, and attempts to arrest him in spite of being in his debt for Johnny's aid in defending villagers during an early incident (The Blackard Incident, detailed in the Novel Lighting the Argent).

The imminent fight begins, and May fights Ky's subordinates, easily defeating them, before engaging Ky himself in Johnny's defense. Johnny comments that it is too dangerous to be fighting in a place like this, but May unleashes a powerful attack against Ky, causing the Ruins to start crumbling. The commotion causes an ancient piece of Blacktech to activate, displaying a holographic projection from a golden disk, which contains all kinds of information about old world technologies. Ky and May rush towards the disk, and thinking quickly Johnny slices it in half, so as to prevent Ky from obtaining the entire thing. He and May escape with half of the Blacktech.

After escaping, May relays the story of what happened to April, complete with flattering imitations of Johnny. April then speaks with Johnny that she's heard a rumor: these sorts of gold tablets being found before. He tells her to go to where they were found, and April sets a course for the Thor Museum. These rumors were, however, false; they were planted by Venom and the Assassin's syndicate to lure the Pirates into a trap in an attempt to gain their half of the Blacktech. However, Johnny and May manage to defeat Venom, foil their back-up plan and escape together on the Mayship.

Back on the Mayship, Johnny decides that the Blacktech is too dangerous to be kept, lest it fall into the wrong hands. He destroys it, and fashions pendants for May and the other girls on his crew from the golden disk. Since it is close to his Birthday, they all decide to get him something nice in return, but May forfeits this group effort, hoping instead to earn the money and get Johnny something special just from her, 'as a woman'.

Guilty Gear X

Johnny spends the entire game hitting on the female characters on his way to rescuing Dizzy from the 500,000 World Dollar bounty on her head. He has two endings: one in which, having been distracted by a fight with May, he comes home to find that Dizzy had been already brought back to the Mayship as a surprise "birthday present". This is probably not canon because it would imply that May met Testament, who she did not recognize in Guilty Gear XX. In the other, he meets Dizzy directly, and takes her home to the Mayship.

Guilty Gear XX

After an initial battle in which I-No attacks the Mayship, the story splits. In one path, Johnny runs off to rescue Dizzy; in his first ending, he rescues her and defeats I-No, and then carries Dizzy back to the Mayship because of slightly injured legs. In his second ending, Testament got to I-No first, and is reluctant to let Dizzy continue to live with the Jellyfish Pirates until Johnny defeats him.

The other story path involves other people coming to the May Ship, and ends with a fight against a group of Robo-Kys, and Ky Kiske joins the fight as they wonder what the Post-War Administration Bureau is up to...

Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core

Johnny has been growing rather concerned, for he senses May might be beginning to wonder about her life before Johnny. Conflicted about whether or not to explain May's Japanese heritage, Johnny senses that Dizzy misses Testament, and goes to find him in order to persuade him to visit her. Johnny persuades Testament to visit Dizzy, and depending upon the players performance the story splits.

In Path 1, Johnny seeks out Baiken in order to find out more about the Japanese, but he is found by May who misinterprets the venture as Johnny flirting with Baiken (which he was). May runs off, angry. She is attacked by Eddie, but saved by Johnny. Johnny then prepares to launch an attack on the Post-War Administration Bureau, and calls April to pick up the unconscious May so she will be safe. Crow and Johnny have a conversation, and after defeating Crow's Justice Copy, May shows up, having followed Johnny without his knowledge. As Crow flees, he mentions May's Japanese heritage, which appears to deeply affect May. She meekly asks Johnny if it is safe for her to be with him and the others. He responds by indignantly brushing off the question, and assuring May that she is a part of his family, and he will protect her from anything.

In Path 2, Anji Mito shows up, and Johnny instead discusses his May dilemma with him. He finds branch of the Post-War Administration Bureau, before hearing a loud sound and rushing off to help Ky calm an enraged Dizzy. He is successful, and Ky, Dizzy, Johnny and May board the Mayship and head towards the P.W.A.B branch. Johnny decides to leave the P.W.A.B to Ky when his ship is attacked by Zappa. However, the insuing conflict causes the ship to crash into the P.W.A.B. Here, Johnny and May encounter Crow, who lets the secret of May's origins slip. Johnny struggles to comfort May; however, this time, his efforts are insufficient, and she disappears in search of answers. After searching for May, the crew gathers back on the May Ship. Johnny remarks that he is certain they will find May, since she is family. This lifts the spirits of his crew and the set sail. Johnny quietly remarks to himself a much less confident hope, that May will return, for the Jellyfish Pirates are her true home.

Guilty Gear Dust Strikers

Throughout the story, it seems Johnny is doing nothing but getting caught up in random fights. Johnny also flirts with the female characters of the Guilty Gear cast (excluding May and Dizzy). It is soon revealed he was searching for Gig, and while fighting Gig, Johnny shows some restraint towards it. After defeating Gig, Johnny reveals how he did not want it to end this way. Judging by the way he speaks to Gig, it can be assumed they once new each other with Johnny saying 'Old friend' before Gig dies. In his ending, Johnny returns to the Mayship, where May hugs him and ask where he has been, Johnny doesn't reply, and tells her he needs to relax because of such a long and busy day.

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

When May begins to get headaches after her encounter with Ramlethal Valentine, Johnny sets off to find Dr. Faust with hopes of curing May's headpain and to learn more of her Japanese heritage.

After Johnny returns to the Mayship, he learns that May vanished, with the intention of keeping her crew healthy. Johnny and his crew begin searching for May. Thanks to Chipp Zanuff, May is found and returns to the Mayship, around the same time Faust arrives. However, Bedman then arrives with an unconscious Millia Rage and Venom, as Slayer arrived to warn how dangerous Bedman is, just as Faust is defeated. While Chipp tells Johnny to get everybody away from Bedman before he finds out where the Mayship is. Johnny is seen escorting the unconscious Doctor safely to the Ship. as the ninja holds the Bedman off.

In the last chapter, Johnny assists Leo in his battle with Bedman.

Gameplay

Overview and History

Johnny is a very awkward character to the untrained player; he cannot run, and his normals have a lot of lag, but decent priority and range to make for good, yet decisive pokes. However, a thing about him is his Mist Finer (236P/S/K), which appears to be a more offensive version of May's Mist Finer (from the first Guilty Gear game) in the form of the traditional 3-way delayable special, in that it can be delayed while each button used at the end of the motion determines whether it aims up, mid, or low, thus creating mindgames (said delaying can be canceled to even create feints: 236P/K/S, then HS while delaying to cancel). This is not unlike most SNK character's attacks, such as Ryuuji Yamazaki's Hebi Tsukai (Snake Tamer) attack from the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series, as well as the Oboro (Haze) sword technique seen by Moriya Minakata of Last Blade and Kyoushirou Mibu from the Samurai Deeper Kyou fighting game on PlayStation, alongiside Kamui Tokinomiya's Kanna (Medium Flow) and Sazarashi (Nine Stones) from the Arcana Heart series. Oddly enough, Johnny's 3-way delayable attack also has a "mist/fog/haze" naming motif like those aforementioned variations. The slashes can even negate projectiles with good timing, but sees not much practicality. Also, Johnny can walk around while delaying Mist Finer, and in later installments, he can even phase dash, giving him some interesting options during most situations.

Johnny can throw coins at his foes via his Glitter Is Gold move (236HS), and he begins each round with eight coins. While a very impressive move in its own right for possible zoning and pressure set ups like for all projectiles in terms of competitive usage, coins are also used to power up Johnny's Mist Finers. The effects of Mist Finers vary with coin level; with level 2 increasing combo possibilities and damage, and level three being a multi-hit combo in its own right of multiple Mist Finers in succession. These moves were key to Johnny's famous "Mist Loops", possible in most versions of the game, though different loops are used in different games. In earlier installments, his level 2 low and mid Finers "popped" the opponent up, allowing for a devastating follow-up. His Bacchus Sigh (214P) can be used during corner traps and wakeup, as it despite being a slow-moving cloud that does no damage, it makes his Mist Finer unblockable while it latches onto the target, enabling Johnny many devastating combo setups. Overall, Johnny is a character that requires execution and hefty setups, but once such setups are placed, Johnny can be very hard to stop in the hands of a good player, especially if one has a thing for utilizing a gratuitous amount of mindgames.

The speed issue can be circumvented through a technique known as "Mist-Canceling," by attacking with any move which can be special canceled, going into Mist Stance, and quickly canceling the stance (this is a technique usually used for mindgames from a defensive position but also for offense on a riskier level, as well as spamming it for meter gain, but in a more combo-oriented game like Guilty Gear, this benefits Johnny greatly). This circumvents the recovery animations of many of Johnny's attacks, and enables him to apply pressure more effectively, though his attacks must connect in order to be canceled in this manner. In Guilty Gear X, his Mist Cancels were incredibly fast, enabling him to execute some of the highest damage Tension-less combos in the entire game; they have since been considerably nerfed, but are still a crucial part of Johnny's gameplay on both combos and defensive mindgames.

Johnny's Ensenga (Swallow Drill Fang; 41236HS in air) in the XX games can be TK'd (Tiger Knee'd; motioned with an up-forward/up-back command at the end to jump just before the attack executes via the button press), serving as a situational overhead, and his primary aerial combo finisher. The attack hits twice, with the first hit being untechable. Many of Johnny's more advanced options revolve around corner traps involving these "one-hit" Ensengas.

In past installments, Johnny's Divine Blade (623S then S, or aerial 236S) was his staple air combo move, with "Jump-Installed" Divine Blade Combos being some of Johnny's fiercest options. However, as of Accent Core, Divine Blade has been nerfed and comes with an alternate version known as Killer Joker (421S then S, or aerial 214S) as his primary tool for extended aerial combos; like Divine Blade, it can be FRC'd, and it also restores Johnny's jump/AD. His single overdrive, What is my Name? (632146HS), does solid damage, and despite it being close range-oriented, it is useful for escaping tough spots due to its invincibility frames and high/upper hitbox.

In Slash, Johnny's new Jack Hound (214H in Slash, 214D in Accent Core) move made him quite dangerous, in that it is a quick distance-closing slash that can pass through the foe and causes stagger, making it great for interrupting several of his foe's strategies. Not only that, Johnny can clash with attacks as well as phase through a majority of them via its invincibility (this even includes projectiles) to bypass foes to set up for powerful punishes. The can even be done during his Mist Finer delay stance with faster startup, giving him even more mindgame potential. What's more, Jack Hound can even be Roman Cancelled, making it hard to punish on block, or even for a quick meaty combo.

In Accent Core, his Mist Finer effects have been changed. Level 2 Mid now causes ground slide, and Level 2 Low launches the foe backwards; both still open up options for Johnny, with Mid being crucial to his AC corner traps, and Low allowing for an air combo. The damage dealt, both by the Finers and their follow-ups is lessened, however, and his earlier Finers are generally preferred by Johnny players. In Accent Core, Johnny's Bacchus Sigh suffered greatly, as it is now among the game's slowest moves, making his old mist-traps much more difficult to execute. His throw, though simple, is perhaps the game's best, as it guarantees an air combo/coin. Also in Accent Core, Jack Hound may have been nerfed by making it a Force Break (and thus, making it cost meter). However, Jack Hound has gained a nice buff, the Jack Hound Return (236D during Jack Hound): an Overdrive attack followup that not only does extra damage, but enables Johnny's Mist Finer to level up per time that Jack Hound Return connects, and thus, giving Johnny a second option should his coins run out or better yet, a way to level up Mist Finer even faster when used in tandem with his coins.

The latest version of Guilty Gear XX, Accent Core Plus R, has given Johnny a number of incredible buffs. He is now regarded as one of the game's stronger characters. For starters, his original 2H from the first GGX returns as his 3H, which has plenty of active frames to use as a meaty wake-up tool; this also ties into his buffed Bacchus Sigh - crucial to his deadly corner unblockable traps, which has been restored to its Slash speed, and once again makes his corner traps lethal. His Mist Finers have had their untechable time increased, give him his Upper Mist Finer loop back, and opening up/easing the execution of a great number of combos. He once again has reliable one-hit Ensenga combos from midscreen on most of the cast, and improved proration on a number of moves have buffed his damage output. Buffs to both the speed of his Mist Cancels and his dash speed have strengthened his maneuverability and ability to pressure (as well as tension-less combo possibilities). Glitter Is Gold has no doubt improved on its zoning, for he gains a new command for it (214H) that makes him toss it up in a more upward arc via his throw animation, enabling anti-air control. He has also gained a different version of his EX form's second Overdrive, Unchou no Iai (Cloud Peak's Re-sheath; 236236HS in the air; the latest patch gives it more range to hit with), but compared to his other buffs it is somewhat inconsequential.

Command List

Main article: Johnny's Command List

Powers & Abilities

Johnny is one of the strongest and swiftest human fighters in the series. Storywise, he has fought evenly with the likes of both Testament and Ky Kiske, and it is implied that he did not utilize his full strength in either encounters. When he fought against the copy of Justice that Crow created, the scientist had his creation set to optimal combat settings in order for it to serve as adequate challenge (though it was defeated regardless). He even subdued Dizzy when Undine and Necro went out of control. He is also able to hold his own against the powerful Bedman, with assistance from Leo Whitefang.

Like any swordsman should have, he possesses fast reflexes and a quick hand as fast as his mind, with his Ensenga technique having him toss a liquor bottle filled with flammable substance and cutting it in half with a turning slash, all in one motion. This is mainly icing on the cake compared to his skills in quick drawing with his blade, and vice versa. He is also able to dash at short distances with high-speed movement, much like teleportation, and is able to make improbably-stylish use of certain non-weapons (such as his coins). His swordsmanship is so quick and precise that he can swing his blade fast enough to displace the air around him, creating vacuums in space that can tear an opponent to shreds. He uses this tactic to prevent Bedman from teleporting during their battle.

A lot of his sword's strikes also cause some cloud-like smoke to emit, especially with his style of Iaidou, the Unchou Shihan Jikiden (雲頂師範直伝, lit. "Cloud Peak Instructor Initiation") which accounts for much of his focus on "mist" motif in his techniques.

Musical Themes

  • Liquor Bar & Drunkard - Guilty Gear X and Guilty Gear XX
  • Desert Dust - Guilty Gear XX: ♯Reload Korean OST
  • Exceptional Routine Work - Guilty Gear Isuka
  • Original Bet - Guilty Gear Xrd

References and Allusions

  • Johnny wears all black, a possible reference to country/rock legend Johnny Cash, who was known as "The Man in Black." It is also likely that Johnny's appearance, namely his hair and outfit, is a reference to Johnny Winter.
  • One of Johnny's attacks, "Glitter Is Gold", is a reference to the opening lines of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."
  • Johnny might also be a reference to Jimi Hendrix, whose birthname is Johnny. His theme, "Liquor Bar & Drunkard", shares a similar riff to Jimi's, "Foxy Lady".

Trivia

  • Because of his Ensenga (Swallow Drill Fang) special move, many players mistake Johnny as a fire magic user, when he is actually just slicing a liquor bottle midair.
    • Ensenga via its swallow naming may also be a take on Tachibana Ukyou's (from Samurai Shodown/Samurai Spirits) variation of Sasaki Kojirou's famous Tsubame Gaeshi (Swallow Return) technique, especially since Ukyou's version is also a flame-based sword-drawing attack that is done only in midair but can hit overhead and be Tiger Knee'd with its input. This may as well be an SNK shout-out by Ishiwatari's proxy.
  • Johnny shares his name, many of his personality traits, and even his appearance with cartoon character and fellow ladies man, Johnny Bravo.
  • In the same vein of I-No, Johnny's voice is done by Norio Wakamoto, a man who is known for his roles as various villains in other anime/video game titles (or strange and absurd entities made to solely fit Wakamoto's voice tone). In this case, however, Johnny is merely a rebellious, but good-hearted man, rather than completely evil.
  • His attitude is somewhat similar to Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat series.
  • Johnny and Axl Low both share the same English voice actor, Liam O'Brien.

External Links

References

  1. Guilty Gear X Drama CD Volume 1, Daybreak

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