Johnny Sfondi didn’t enter the series until Guilty Gear X, but what I remember from that time he quickly became the favourite on many feminine guys who played the game. To some Johnny has always been part of the series, if you jumped in during the XX craze. Of course this was to be expected from an adolescent audience, but it does tell volumes of Johnny’s design overall. It may be rather simple without huge as hell belt buckle thrown into the mix, but his shades combined with that self-confident as hell attitude just works and has a balance to it. Johnny is, after all, an eye candy that works both in visual flavour and in gameplay.
Johnny’s base design might be one of the most 1990’s design in the whole series. Long black trench coat, that hat, a Japanese sword and suave posing doesn’t really fit modern aesthetics. You can see this how Xrd variant is posed, with left arm higher and more assured and stronger smirk. The sword is also right way this time. It wouldn’t take much to turn Johnny into Sketch Turner.
There really isn’t much changed about Johnny, but there are some points trickled around, which give him a slightly different accent overall. His hasn’t changed his clothes for grayer or browner variant, that’s difference in how black is rendered differently at times. Hell, even Spider-Man’s blue originally represented black, as black really is an expensive colour to use. Especially considering it’s not a colour. Anyway, from top to bottom.
Johnny’s hat has lost the cartoony skull. Instead, now it has a golden button on the opposite side with wide band going around the top. This band is probably just coloured silver, but knowing Guilty Gear, it’s really made from aluminium. The button has a J on it, and is seemingly riveted with in six points to the band. The glasses he wears have gone ever so slight redesign, but they’re mainly square in shape.
Johnny didn’t lose his skull motif altogether. The buttons with the little blade coming downwards on either side of his chest went through a solid revamp. Now solid with skulls and some scribbling around them, they would pop out more of the jacket was rendered darker.
With the skulls being moved to the chest region, that hat looks a bit silly with a big ol’ golden button on it. It’s not exactly terrible, but once you start paying it attention, it’s a sore spot. Using the redesigned skull on both hat and buttons would’ve probably been the best, leaving J for the belt, for example. The belts on the sleeves went through a redesign as well, now having an extra belt added to both sides and are connected by a steel grey connector. In the back, there’s a separate section that either keeps the belts from sliding or simply works as a through-connector.
His body definition got a bit more muscular in the sense that he has more muscles drawn on him. I doubt he wears pants under those trousers though.
Whereas his collar and buttons gained some heft, the main belt he has is now a normal brown leather belt with a golden buckle. I guess this is where the J on his hat came from, but why not move the skull to his buckle is beyond me. The giant decorative buckle he has with him has the basic shape, but this time two times the holes, and the giant white rimmed belt itself has a riveted end to it. An interesting thing about the while lining is that his sprite in-game has it, but it doesn’t appear in the original character illustration. It also appears in his GGX character selection portrait, meaning that it was added to further separate it from already black clothing. It appears on and off from illustration to illustration.
The buckle has some text to it, but as with others the text is barely visible. Whatever the text is, it’s probably a reference of Johnny being a womaniser, a hypocrite or a drunkard. It’s been alluded that his dad was a no-good alcoholic bastard and a lot of what Johnny’s attitude shows is just a charade. Johnny most likely bleaches his hair too, as his eyebrows are brown.
He wears one size larger pants compared to the balls crushing skin-tight ones from his initial appearance. Nothing else has changed, but strangely he got a completely new pair of shoes. They still have that black belt going from side to side, but instead of golden fasteners Johnny has opted for dull grey ones again. It seems he also prefers larger shoes this time around.
That’s pretty much Johnny’s design gone through. Nothing too drastic, just few accent points changed here and there. His design tweaks are similar to Faust or even to Ky, but due to the simple nature of his design, they don’t stand out as much.
Next time would be Baiken, whenever we get to see a better quality of her Xrd redesign, which is bombastic and much more than a tweak. Baiken has gone through revisions and tweaks in each iteration, her having widely different body design in the original game, gaining some volume in X, having some added grace and tweaks in XX, and even in AC there are some few notable tweaks. Baiken’s Xrd redesign is a massive combination of all the previous tweaks and updates to her to the point of her personality bursting out to the screen. But we’ll get to that whenever I can get around to that in the next two months.