The Big Bad
has arrived, and he has with him, his teeming army of...tiny cuddly wuddly Mooks
who nonetheless do his bidding.
Instead of using Elite Mooks
or Eldritch Abominations
, the Big Bad
instead employs an army of adorable, mostly-harmless creatures who are only a threat via full on Zerg Rush
, which is OK, since he does have a rather large army of them.
A Hand Wave
is usually given, such as these adorable minions are simply practical due to being easy to produce (if they are artificial beings), work for practically nothing, or are enslaved.
Expect them to be fairly incompetent, and Hilarity Ensues
whenever they are left on their own. Despite knowing they're hardly dependable, expect their employer to moan at least once about how he's "Surrounded by Idiots
". When they do
prove to be quite dangerous after a fashion, this trope shifts to Killer Rabbit
Frequently overlaps with Mascot Mook
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Anime and Manga
- Standard operating procedure of ALL villains in Mahou Sensei Negima!, usually of cute girls:
- Evangeline has cute (murderous) puppets, cute robots, and, in her arc, cute girls.
- The villain in the Kyoto arc used cute monkeys and such, as well as cute kids: Tsukuyomi and Kotaro. Fate is cute, but he's not exactly a kid
- Count Willem had three cute slime girls.
- Fate, as Negi's Shadow Archetype, has his own Battle Harem of, you guessed it, cute girls. Which he took in and raised after the war destroyed their homelands.
- In Keroro Gunsou, The Keron galactic invasion (despite involving battleships, giant robots, and weapons out the wazoo) is more of an Affably Evil affair, but for the purposes of this trope, all Keronian soldiers count.
- This is the hat of SD Gundam Force. Every faction has its own half-pint soldiers, even smaller than the already SD characters. The Dark Axis has Zako Soldiers, the evil knights of Lacroa have Pawn Leos, and Kibaomaru's army has Zako Busshi.
- Ana and Yuna in Murder Princess.
- The Ninja Crows from Samurai Pizza Cats.
- Pokémon: Team Rocket's mons could be considered this, but in this 'verse, most mons are adorable.
- Dragon Ball Z has the Cell Jrs.
- Baikinman from Anpanman has Kabirunrun, little insect-esque blobs that spread mold wherever they go. Since most of the superheroes have heads made out of bread, they can pose a threat to them. However, they have a tendency to all jump out in one single grouped attack, meaning that they can be dodged as one projectile.
- The Teeny Meks in the 2000AD story, Robo Hunter.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: Features both the goblins and the Imps. Both provide comic relief and are, usually, very mischevious. Occasionaly, then can, in fact, act with cruelty, but it seems to stem mostly from the way the are themselves treated. Later on, Ami gets new, youma-empowered imps (basically baby youma) they come with overalls and tiny hard-hats...
- Gru's adorable minion thingies from Despicable Me. Word of God is that they're genetically engineered corn kernels.
- Their origins will be retconned in the upcoming Minions spin-off/prequel to "yellow henchmen who have existed since the beginning of time, evolving from yellow single-celled organisms into beings who have only one purpose: to serve history's most ambitious villains". Their previous masters include a T. rex, Genghis Khan, and Dracula. The downfall of all three can be directly attributed to the Minions' incompetence.
- In the Tim Burton's Batman Returns, the Penguin has an army of circus performers as his main gang, but also has an army of...penguins.
- Instead of a pool of sharks with Frickin' Laser Beams on their heads like he wanted, Dr. Evil ends up with a pool full of ill-tempered mutated seabass, because that's all his Beleaguered Assistant could get.
- The battle droids in the Star Wars prequels. Roger roger!
- The BrainBots from Megamind. It helps that they're floating robot puppies. With lasers.
- The Goblins of the Labyrinth even if their adorableness is a question of taste.
- Little Doris in Meet the Robinsons. As quote Bowler Hat Guy: ""It's so cute!" ... For a spider-like robotic hat that can take control of animals' minds, that is.
- A Fire Upon the Deep has a race of humanoid 'butterflies' with soft fur, colorful wings, huge anime eyes... who lead the charge in a pogrom against a human world, wiping out 25 billion people. One character describes them as "Butterflies in jackboots".
- Redwall's villains are all small fuzzy animals. They're not meant to be cute, but a lot of the fans find the scruffiness, pseudo-cockney accents, and bumbling incompetence of the Mooks more appealing than otherwise.
- After she turned heel in the summer of 2005, WWE Diva Torrie Wilson got herself a little white dog - a Maltese, to be precise - named Chloe to carry around. And after Torrie defeated an opponent, her very own Mister Muffykins would get to sit on the opponent's face.
- During his very brief heel turn in 2009, Matt Hardy began to show up ringside on Friday Night SmackDown! with a Jack Russell Terrier in his arms. The little dog never actually did anything evil, but its presence was meant to cause Matt's brother Jeff great anguish because it was a reminder that Matt had killed Jeff's own little dog when he burned down Jeff's house purely out of jealousy. (The burning of Jeff's house and the death of his dog actually happened, but Matt's involvement in it was Kayfabe; the real cause of the fire was faulty wiring.)
- After SmackDown! Superstar Alberto Del Rio injured Rey Mysterio and forced him to take time off from wrestling, he mocked Mysterio by bringing a Chihuahua dog wearing a luchador mask into the ring.
- Most of the enemies in Spiral Knights.
- Bowser's army of cute turtles and grumpy mushrooms in Super Mario Bros..
- The Meow-Bots in Super Paper Mario, albeit probably due to Francis being an obvious anime (amongst other things) nerd.
- Nearly every evil minion in the series counts. Shy Guys, Boos, Cheep Cheeps, Lakitus, even the Piranha Plants, Dry Bones, and Birdo...the only minions that aren't cute are the Sun, the Giant Cheep Cheeps, Chain Chomps, and Unagi the giant eel.
- Similarly, King Dedede's army of Waddle Dees in Kirby, who are easily bribed with food.
- The Minions in the Overlord series of games easily fall into the role of comedic relief and Ugly Cute.
- The Grunts from the Halo series are easily both this and Ugly Cute. It almost makes you feel bad for mowing them down while they're squeaking, "The Demon!!!" in a terrified voice.
- Prinnies in the Disgaea series.
- Also, the Catsabers from Disgaea 3, who take advantage of their cuteness for all its worth.
- The choco-cats in the Marl Kingdom series, who also make an appearance in La Pucelle Tactics and Disgaea 2. Because of the artstyle, any minion in the series is adorable. Yes, even the Hellspawn.
- The Metalls from the original Mega Man (Classic) series, and the Servbots from the Mega Man Legends series (and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) look like LEGO men, only with big cute eyes.
- The Wario Land series has the Pirate/Wandering Gooms and Spear Men in the first games that are like this, as well as the various minor enemies in the third and fourth games, the standard mooks from Wario World, and the Bandineros from Shake It.
- The Imps in Dungeon Keeper aren't your main fighters, but due to their gold mining and digging skills, they're the most essential unit in the game. There are plenty of other minions that are far more monstrous.
- The turrets in Portal and Portal 2. Especially the frankenturrets: Watching them tremble as you carry them is so adorable that you wish there was a "Pet and Comfort" button.
- Most of the Heartless in Kingdom Hearts are pretty cute, with bright colours, beady eyes and simplified, cartoony forms. The Shadows are cute, do the least damage, are the most common type of Heartless in the game, are the first type you encounter, and judging from the reports, probably the original species of Heartless...most of the scarier ones are manufactured. The exceptions (e.g. Darkball and Invisible) are mostly Purebloods.
- Some of the Unversed also fit. Especially the Killer Rabbit species.
- Looking a little similar, the Blotlings from Epic Mickey tend to be a type of Ugly Cute that makes them cooler to tame with paint than melt with thinner.
- Kingdom Hearts 3D introduces the Dream Eaters as the newest take on this. Subverted in that, unlike the previous Always Chaotic Evil species, it's possible to recruit your own adorable good minions as well.
- The "colorful penguins" from Mission In Snowdriftland. They're so cuddly, part of the game's encouragement to donate to its indie producer is so that the penguins can find better jobs.
- Kittens are recurring enemies in the Epic Battle Fantasy series of flash games. In the second game, one of the kittens, No-Legs, pulls a Heel-Face Turn.
- Slimes from Dragon Quest are so adorable that they've been the series Mascot Mook since the late 1980s.
- StarCraft Zerglings are close to this and Ugly Cute.
- Dungeons & Dragons Online does this with the kobolds at lower levels, especially now that you encounter them right after the significantly more monstrous sahuagin. Yark yark!!!
- Egoboo has COBOLs, which are fairly evil and nasty, but look like cute teddy bears, and lumpkins◊ look evil, but in an incredibly goofy manner, and are hilariously clumsy.
- Minions in League of Legends.
- The Final Fantasy series has a few, most notably the Cactrot / Cactuar and Tonberry families of monster.
- Anything evil in a Lego Adaptation Game will be significantly cuter than the original version. The Orcs and Uruk-hai in LEGO Lord of the Rings are a good example; besides the inherent cuteness of them being tiny LEGO figures, they need help from the player just like the good citizens do, and some have really silly requests. That's not in the actual story mode, though; you won't notice how cute the orcs are in Helm's Deep!
- The Servbots from Megaman Legends.
- In Adventure Time, the Ice King has cute little penguins as mooks. Marceline's dad refers to Gunter, the Ice King's personal penguin butler, as the most evil creature he's ever encountered. Marceline's dad is a soul-sucking abomination and gets slapped when he tries to suck Gunter's.
- The episode "Conquest Of Cuteness" has the Cute King and his Legion of Cuties.
- In The Batman, Cosmo Krank has the Zoo-Pets, adorable robotic stuffed animals modified for assassination.
- The Grubs of the Evil Emperor Zurg (Evil's analogues to the LGM's of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command) may fall into this category for some.
- The Urpneys of The Dreamstone are somewhat schlubby humanoid creatures with reptilian features, and not nearly as cutesy as the heroic Noops, but they are rather cartoony and harmless and hard not to sympathise with.
- In the show The Fairly Oddparents, Yugopotamia is overrun by the giggle-pies - cute bunny-like toys that come out of a cereal box.
- Yugopotamia has Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad as their hat. Giggle-pies are actually seriously disgusting, if not frightening, to them. They'll still be adorable to the audience. In the end, though, it turns out they taste like manure, a Yugopotamian delicacy, so they go from horrifying...to delicious.
- In Kim Possible, Dr. Draken once attempted to take over the world with an army of 6-inch tall robots.
- Though, once activated, they were anything but adorable.
- Monkey Fist has adorable trained monkey ninjas!
- The Shadowbolts from episode 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are often viewed this way, especially in fanart. Okay, they were Nightmare Moon, but they're just so cute!
- The Changelings from the end of season 2 are also adorable, even in their natural state, and it's clear they only pose a threat in massive numbers.
- In a medival episode of Phineas and Ferb, Malifishmirtz attempts to create evil minions by using a reanimation spell on the "most hideous substance known to man"...canned meat. And they were...cute little jumping bunnies. Well, until they got wet
- On South Park, when Butters becomes "Professor Chaos", he refers to his pet hamsters as his minions, but they don't really do anything minion-y.
- Tim-Tom and Kevin, the Murderous Moppets/Pupa Twins from The Venture Bros.. They may not be harmless, but they're adorable in those little Lord Fauntleroy outfits.
- The goblins working for Nox in Wakfu look like Jawas with horns and scarves. They sound just as cute.
- Hak Foo's tribe of Shadowkhan in Jackie Chan Adventures. Especially when they're eating cookies.