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Witch Time

Witch Time in action during the first game.

Witch Time is the name of an ancient art used by powerful Umbra Witches to slow down time to a fraction of its normal pace. This allows the user to bypass their opponent's defenses and execute combinations of attacks and other feats that would otherwise be impossible to do in normal speed.

The Lumen Sages also have an ability that mirrors Witch Time called Light Speed which they developed seperately as a form as Temporal Control (see Antonio's Notebook extract below).

Notes On The Topic Of Magic - I

The word witch usually conjures up images in our head of an old woman using strange magic, but peruse the history of Vigrid and you find a vastly different picture of the incredibly brave women who once inhabited the area.

They were known as the Umbra Witches. While these witches are said to have manipulated magic, there remains very little recorded history to back these claims. Yet, they shared many powers with their opposing counterparts the Lumen Sages, and from their records, we can gather a better view of what magic entailed.

As “Overseers of History,” they possessed the ability to literally see everything in an instant, also known as Temporal Control. This technique sharpened all of the five senses, and pushed one’s emotional energy to its very limits. It is a world where a falling drop of water can become a crown, and a humming-bird slowly and elegantly flaps its wings. Temporal Control is not just simply being able to recognize this world, it also enables one to boost their physical abilities and move freely within that single moment.

Temporal Control requires a sound body and mind, and complete grasp of Spirit Energy. While quite similar, the witches and sages each practiced this art differently, leading to different names for their respective techniques, Witch Time and Light Speed.

Witch Time... It seems that the witches on this earth fell victim to our world’s passage of time and vanished into the abyss of eternity. - Antonio's Notebook

Gameplay

Bayonetta

When activated, Witch Time slows down the passage of time during combat, sending out a ripple of purple energy from Bayonetta and reducing the movement of her surrounding environment to a near halt whilst also slightly increasing her overall speed. This allows the use of easy counterattacking against enemies as they are left helpless by Witch Time's effects. During Witch Time, combo points gain a 1.5x point bonus towards the player's score and will be tagged with a violet insignia in the combo meter.

Witch Time is activated for a set amount of time each time it is triggered, regardless of the particular attack or enemy. The exceptions to this are the extended Witch Times created from the Golem wall puzzles or the sucessful headbutt counter of the Moon of Mahaa-Kalaa.

Bayonetta 2

Though maintaining the same function, the mechanics of Witch Time have been slightly altered in the sequel. Even though it is activated in the same ways as the first game, the amount of Witch Time that is generated varies depending on the particular method of activation or enemy attack. For example, avoiding Glamor's flurry of attacks in Chapter III only generates half a second when compared to regular enemy attacks. Playing as Rosa allows the use of Witch Time in the same manner as Bayonetta.

Jeanne

When playing as Jeanne in either of the games, Witch Time functions in the same manner but differs in terms of activation and is impossible to activate by using standard dodging. Jeanne's variation of the Bat Within technique, Moth Within, is the only way she can activate Witch Time using a method of evasion. As a reward for this higher level of execution, Jeanne's combo point bonus is increased to 2x compared to Bayonetta's 1.5x when Witch Time is activated.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS

Witch time

In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Bayonetta uses Witch Time as her down special. Like in her home series, the technique allows Bayonetta to slow enemies down and strike them when vulnerable. Unlike in the Bayonetta series, Witch Time only slows down whoever hit Bayonetta. Witch Time's duration depends on the amount of damage the enemy has, the strength of the attack, and how many times in succession the technique has been used.

If Bayonetta uses Witch Time too late, Bat Within activates instead. She can trigger Witch Time and Bat Within at the same time if hit when both techniques' trigger frames occur, though the duration of Witch Time is slightly shorter this way.

A more Bayonetta-faithful version of Witch Time appears in her Final Smash, Infernal Climax, where she slows down the entire arena as opposed to a single opponent to fill up her Climax Gauge.

Activation

Witch Time B1

Witch Time in Bayonetta

Dodging: Witch Time is most commonly and most easily activated by dodging an enemy's attack at the last possible moment. However, not all attacks activate Witch Time regardless of the player's timing. Certain enemies and bosses in both games do not activate Witch Time with some of their attacks and must still be dodged in order to avoid taking damage.
Bat Within: Pressing the dodge button the frame Bayonetta takes damage will cause her to transform into a flock of bats for a moment before reassembling herself. When this happens, Witch Time will also be activated and have a slightly increased duration. 
Selene's Light: As long as Bayonetta has sufficient Magic stored, this will activate Witch Time whenever Bayonetta takes damage from an enemy. The duration of the Witch Time triggered is slightly shorter than normal.
Moon of Mahaa-Kalaa: Parrying the frame before Bayonetta would take damage causes her to perform a specialized counter-attack that will deal damage, and then trigger an extended Witch Time.
Bracelet of Time: Allows the player to trigger Witch Time whenever they wish providing they have sufficient magic. In the first Bayonetta, holding down the button down allows the player to determine the duration of Witch Time, though it consumes Bayonetta's magic quickly. In Bayonetta 2, the Bracelet of Time activates Witch Time for a set duration and consumes far less magic, though a minimum of 4 orbs is required to use it.
Whilst equipped, the Bracelet of Time disables all other methods of gaining Witch Time except through the use of a counter attack with Moon of Mahaa-Kalaa. Additionally, having the Bracelet of Time equipped prevents the use of taunts.

Restricted/Disabled Instances

Witch Time B2

Witch Time in Bayonetta 2

Equipping certain accessories, fighting certain enemies, or during specific parts of the games, Witch Time can be disabled.

Evil Harvest Rosary: With this equipped, Witch Time's dodge-trigger is disabled and a successful dodge will instead leave behind an explosive mine which damages enemies in the blast radius. Witch Time can still be triggered using the Bracelet of Time or with a counter attack from Moon of Mahaa-Kalaa.
∞ Climax: When playing on this difficulty in the first game, known as Non-Stop ∞ Climax, Witch Time is disabled automatically and can only be triggered by means of the Bracelet of Time or Selene's Light. All other methods are disabled, save for those instances where Witch Time is triggered cinematically, such as the final phases of the Fortitudo battle or during "Use Witch Time" Alfheims.
Note that on Non-Stop ∞ Climax, magic depletes twice as fast while the Bracelet of Time is activated than it does on all other difficulties.
Father Rodin: During this fight, all instances of Witch Time are innately disabled. Using the Bracelet of Time will still activate Witch Time and it's combo point bonus, but will cause no slowing effect to Bayonetta's environment or to Rodin himself.

Trivia

  • Bayonetta and Jeanne sometimes use Witch Time during cinematics, suggesting that Umbra Witches can slow down time whenever they please to either get to an area faster or defeat an enemy faster.
  • Witch Time is referenced in The Wonderful 101, which is also made by PlatinumGames and directed by Hideki Kamiya. A skill can be purchased from Wonder-Mart called "Hero Time", which has the same exact function as Witch Time.

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