Skullgirls Wiki

Big Band (JP: ビッグバンド Biggu Bando) is the alias of Ben Birdland (JP: ベン・バードランド Ben Bādorando), a former policeman from New Meridian, before he was turned into a cybernetic weapon by Dr. Avian of Lab 8.

General Information

Big Band is a DLC character for Skullgirls Encore. Because Lab Zero Games reached their requested donations for Big Band, he was a free DLC character for all to acquire for a limited amount of time (the first 3 months after his release), but since has been added to the store for purchase.

Big Band started development when the fundraising reached $375,000. The fundraising managed to raise over $400,000, so he was able to have his own stage and Story Mode.[3]

Big Band was the first male playable character added into Skullgirls.

In the background of Anti-Skullgirl Lab 8 Stage, Big Band can be seen watching the players fight. However, if either or both players select Big Band he will not be present in the stage background. 


Ben Birdland, aka "Big Band", is an observant detective who is committed to using his abilities to stop Skullgirls. When he was working as a police cop, he was one of the few (another being his former partner Irvin) who follows the rules and regulations while the others were corrupt. While he maintains himself to be calm and collected and prefers to talk things out, he will not hesitate to fight back when he has to. He is also fatherly towards the younger members of the Anti-Skullgirl Labs and shows consideration to others, such as Painwheel. Another example of his consideration is when he refused to kill Marie, who is carrying a part of the Medici Tower, under orders from Brain Drain since it will cause major damage to the area.


Ben Birdland has seen a lot in his time, including the worst of the Grand War. But nothing was worse than what he saw as a beat cop in New Meridian. When he ran afoul of his crooked unit, he was given a violent early retirement, and his broken body was left to spend the rest of its days in an iron lung. His good friend, Irvin does not betray him however.

That would have been the end of Ben’s story if it hadn't drawn the ears of the Anti-Skullgirl Labs. With little left to lose, he agreed to be rebuilt with their experimental procedures. Melded with the machinery that allows him to breathe a powerful array of pneumatic weaponry, he was reborn as “Big Band.”

Now a senior member of Lab 8, he’s become a father figure of sort to the younger ASG soldiers. A firm believer in their cause, he has stayed with the project through its controversies and still sees his place on the front lines against the Skullgirl. His technology may be dated, but he more than makes up for it with experience and fortissimo.

He fought the previous two Skullgirls, Selene Contiello and Nancy Renoir, alongside Ileum.

Based on some of his dialogue, it can be assumed that he knew Squigly before she died. Even enough to refer to her by her real name.

He also knew about Valentine's group, The Last Hope, based off his victory dialogue against her, including their fate since he will start singing the "The Last Hope Blues."

Character Basis


Big Band references a type of jazz ensemble that usually consists of ten or more musicians playing saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section.

The character's last name is a reference to "Birdland" a famous jazz club in New York City, named after saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker.


He wears striped boxers with musical notes on them.

Although he has large arms with brass knuckles, he usually uses sets of small arms with cushioned tipped claws to hold small items.

Big Band was originally intended to have a robotic voice, but the team felt the filter took away from Rich Brown's smooth voice and filtered with a smooth metal echo to go with it.


After recollecting his past as a cop prior to receiving his current state in an iron lung; musing how inconceivable the New Meridian police force were to take a hit from the Medici Mafia and having him beaten and left for dead, he opts to put an end to the current Skullgirl by destroying the source of her power - the Skullheart - as part of his new career at the Anti-Skullgirl Labs. Knowing the current Skullgirl's intent for the death of the entire Medici family, he begins his goal of tracking her down by investigating the River King Casino, a notorious hangout for the Medici Mafia. There he is greeted by Cerebella, wrongly believing his intent was to cause harm to Medici's. Despite Big Band's attempt to leave courteously having noted there was no evidence of the Skullgirl, he is forced to fight Cerebella. After winning, he comments how he no longer wishes to waste the Medici's like he used too.

Big Band then retrieves a distress signal from Dr. Avian alerting him that Lab 8 is under attack. Realizing how this was likely a set-up by the Skullgirl, he returns to the lab immediately to find the place destroyed in the presence of a mysterious doppelgänger of himself. After fighting them off he discovers it was Double, who leaves posthaste. After discovering that Dr. Avian was killed in the incident he briefly searches for evidence regarding who infiltrated the lab - finding a scalpel which isn't the doctor's and reflecting on how the person in question must have known their way around a lab.

Leaving to find the Lab 8 survivors via an escape route, Big Band finds an ordeal amongst the Lab 8 group involving Peacock attempting to leave and defeat the Skullgirl singlehandedly. Despite Big Band's offer of taking out the Skullgirl together, Peacock and Avery rudely dismiss him and attempt to fight him off. Losing, Peacock manages to escape anyway by ordering Tommy to knock him out. It then becomes Big Band's mission to track down Peacock, the Skullgirl and Dr. Avian's killer.


Big Band manages to find the Skullgirls whereabouts after a tip off from his old co-worker, Irvin. Here he meets Brain Drain, an affiliate of Lab 0 who had also come to witness the reveal of Skullgirl. Requesting that Big Band join his services in order to defeat Marie, Big Band declines the offer due to seeing the potential casualties caused by Brain Drain's plan. In his rage, Brain Drain orders Painwheel to attack Big Band, with the latter of which emerging triumphant. Big Band contacts Leduc while Brain Drain is lecturing Painwheel on her loss in order to rescue the girl from Brain Drains' control and rehabilitate her at Lab 8.

Now knowing the Skullgirl's location (and thus Peacock's too), Big Band heads towards the Grand Cathedral and confronts Valentine - confirming his suspicions that she was the perpetrator who killed Dr. Avian, with Double acting as a mere distraction. After defeating them, Big Band heads into the catacombs below to face Marie and retrieve Peacock. Despite defeating Peacock, Marie admits she was unable to kill her due to their strong friendship in the past. Peacock, now accepting Big Band's previous offer, opts to fight alongside him against Marie, to which he agrees.

After Marie's defeat, the twosome escape the crumbling catacombs with Big Band informing Peacock to learn from her initial defeat - having the need to be more cautious with the arise of the next Skullgirl which could potentially be more powerful than the last.

At ease that the next Skullgirl won't come until another 7 years, Big Band, with Peacock by his side, realizes he has learnt something new. He apprehends that Peacock, Painwheel and him are possibly the future of Anti-Skullgirls Labs, and in due time will be the ones that will end up defeating the next Skullgirl.

Abilities & Fighting Style

While it is said that his equipment is outdated, Big Band makes up for it in experience. He has an array of musical instruments that he can use in various ways. He is a slow character that packs a very mean punch. Another element to his fighting style is the Sound Stun, a musical element in which stuns his opponents a little longer than usual.  Once the opponent is hit with an attack that causes Sound Stun during a combo, another attack with Sound Stun cannot produce that effect also unless the combo is dropped.

Because of the armor in some of his attacks, Big Band has shown himself to be a very sturdy fighter. What also supports his sturdiness is his unique ability to parry attacks. While the attacks still causes damage to Big Band, the damage has been moderately decreased. However, parrying is risky since some attacks can be hard due to varying speed and it does not work against grabs. If used correctly, Big Band can turn the tide of any battle to the surprise of his opponents.

He was given musically themed powers as Dr. Avian was a fan of jazz music. In the same way to how Peacock employed her extensive knowledge of cartoons when creating unique weaponry for herself, a better understanding of the mechanics of jazz instruments meant that Avian could create mechanisms based on them more effectively.



Skullgirls on PS3 -- Big Band Trailer

Color Palettes

  1. "Bassline" - Default colors
  2. "Epic Sax" - Carl Kolchak (Kolchak: The Night Stalker)
  3. Red Q (Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike)
  4. Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson music video)
  5. White Ranger (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
  6. "G.I. Jazz)" - Big Zam (Gundam Battle Assault 2)
  7. "Treble Maker" - Sepia-tinted films
  8. "Private Dick" - Dick Tracy (Dick Tracy)
  9. "Resonant Evil" - Sturm (Advance Wars)
  10. Symphony Regalia (Kill la Kill)
  11. "Vintage Virtuoso" - Famicom (Japanese NES)
  12. "Megasonic" - Sega Mega Drive
  13. The Question (DC Comics)
  14. "Dream Band" - King Dedede (Kirby's Dream Land)
  15. Original colors
  16. "Robocopy" - RoboCop (RoboCop)
  17. Big the Cat (Sonic Adventure)
  18. Gato (Chrono Trigger)
  19. Big O (The Big O)
  20. "Beat Box" - Original colors
  21. Original colors
  22. Negaduck (Darkwing Duck)
  23. Metal Flotsam (Dark Cloud 2) - Indiegogo backer color
  24. Captain Spaceman (Spaceman: Unarmed and Ready to Launch)
  25. Robo-Ky (Guilty Gear series)
  26. "Heavy Metal" - Jotaro Kujo (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) (Unlocked by finishing 26 matches with Satchmo Death Blow)
  27. Potemkin (Guilty Gear series)
  28. Super Nintendo Entertainment System North American model
  29. Wario (Super Mario series)


  • Big Band's move "Brass Knuckles" alludes to the weapons by the same name, and the fact that most band instruments (and his arms) are made from brass.
  • Big Band's walk animation when moving backwards has him replicating Michael Jackson's Moonwalk.
  • Big Band has a grab-and-punch move where he says "Beat Extend!", which is a reference to Guilty Gear's Potemkin, who uses a similar move called "Heat Extend".
  • Several Special Moves in Big Band's moveset reference popular Jazz Standards or Albums
    • "Take the A Train" is a prolific Jazz Standard composed by Billy Strayhorn, which was a signature tune of Duke Ellington's jazz orchestra in the first half of the 20th Century.
    • "Giant Steps" is the lead single for John Coltrane's album released in 1960 of the same name, and is famous for its use of the unique chord progression often called "Coltrane Changes."
    • "Take Five" is an uncommon Jazz Standard written by Paul Desmond, and most famously recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for the 1959 album Time Out.
    • "Strike up the Band" is a 1920s Broadway Musical by the Gershwin Brother's, who were very influential in the development of early Jazz.
    • "Super-Sonic Jazz" is an album recorded by the freeform Jazz Pianist Sun Ra.
    • "The Best is Yet to Come" is a 1959 song written by Cy Coleman and Caroline Leigh, and later recorded by Frank Sinatra, making the song popular.
  • Big Band's "Satchmo Solo" (his Level 5 Blockbuster) way of input is derived from a Street Fighter character Akuma and his special attack "Raging Demon" (Also known as Shun Goku Satsu in Japanese), including 2x LPs, 1x LK, 1x directional input and 1x Hard Button (which is changed to LP+MP)
    • "Satchmo Deathblow" is inspired from the 1998 Capcom Fighting arcade game JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future, where the characters Jotaro Kujo and DIO are able to stop time and are also able to hit their enemies within the frozen time. Jotaro has another Special Move that summons his "Stand",  which pummels on the enemy multiple times.
      • While performing "Satchmo Deathblow", Big Band shouting "TUBATUBATUBA...!" while pummeling the enemy is another reference to the series as the characters Jotaro Kujo and DIO's Stands have their own battlecries, with Jotaro's being "ORAORAORA...!" and DIO's being "MUDAMUDAMUDA...!". This kind of punching flurry attack, however, didn't originate from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, but rather another anime titled "Fist of the North Star".
      • The way how the player's Meter after using "Satchmo Solo" slowly depletes and time resumes after it hits zero is also inspired from the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure video game, Heritage for the Future.
      • Coincidentally, in the Japanese version of Skullgirls, Big Band's voice actor Tomokazu Sugita has also voiced the character of Joseph Joestar in the second part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure known as Battle Tendency. Daisuke Ono, the Japanese voice of Jotaro himself, also dubs Beowulf in Japanese.
  • Big Band is nicknamed Detective Sax (サックスでか) by the Japanese fanbase.
  • One of the musical instruments seen in Big Band's IPS/Undizzy burst animation is an ocarina, most likely in reference to the Legend of Zelda series. Though it bares little similarities with the titular Ocarina of Time, it does resemble the in-game sprite of the Ocarina item found in Link's Awakening.
  • Big Band is the only character so far to have an extra palette unlocked through special means.
  • Sanshee manufactured a "Lil' Band" plush with the description: 'Forged in the depths of Lab 8 comes the newest in plush A.S.G. unit technology: "Lil' Band". All the slick design and power of the original Big Band but "littler".'


  1. Skullgirls 2nd Encore Instruction Manual from the Limited Run Games physical releases for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Big Band « Skullgirls. Archived from the original on 2016-03-26. Retrieved on 2021 July 9.
  3. Indiegogo, Keep Skullgirls Growing


Main Editions SkullgirlsSkullgirls EncoreSkullgirls 2nd Encore
Spin-offs Skullgirls Mobile
Initial Roster Filia (Samson) • CerebellaPeacock (Avery) • ParasoulMs. FortunePainwheelValentineDouble
Encore DLC Squigly (Leviathan) • Big BandFukuaEliza (Sekhmet) • BeowulfRobo-Fortune
2nd Encore DLC Season 1: Annie (Sagan) • UmbrellaBlack Dahlia • ???
Other AdamAeonAileenAlbusAmeliaAndy AnvilBeatrixBrain DrainDelilahDogDr. AvianDr. GeigerFengFlorenceGeorge BombGrendelHiveHoraceHubrechtIleumIrvinIsaacKing FranzLawrenceLeducLonesome LennyLorenzoMarcusMarieMinetteMollyMotherMrs. Victoria (D. Violet) • OttomoPanzerfaustQueen NancyRachel WongReginaRiccardoRobertoRoxieScythanaSeleneStanleyTaliesinTommy Ten-TonsVenusVitaleYu-WanMisc.
Terminology SkullgirlSkull HeartParasiteLiving WeaponMedici MafiaAnti-Skullgirl LabsBlack EgretsCirque des CartesFishbone GangThe Last HopeThe Trinity
Stages Streets of New MeridianRiver King CasinoMedici TowerNew Meridian RooftopsRooftops AssaultNMO Arena | (Empty)Bath of Tefnut | (Sekhmet)MaplecrestNightmare CrestGrand Cathedral | (Empty)Final AtriumGehennaUnder the BridgeMeridian Area Rapid TransitLittle Innsmouth | (Night)Lab 8 | (Empty)Glass CanopyClass NotesNo Man's LandSound Stage 15Boardwalk
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Game Modes VersusArt GalleryMarie 300%The Typing of the Skullgirls
Music Skullgirls Original SoundtrackSkullgirls The Original SoundtrackSkullgirls: The Complete SoundtrackSkullgirls Special Selection SoundtrackSkullgirls Deluxe Vinyl SoundtrackIn a Moment's TimeHitomi No Kioku
Character QuotesScriptsGalleriesRelationshipsMove Lists
Other Media SkullgirlSSkullgalsKeep Skullgirls GrowingDigital Art Compendium