Cute Is Evil

"Oh, monster of so little size... is that a parasprite before my eyes?"

Cute is... disturbing and unnatural.

Cute Is Evil happens because people (both In-Universe and in Real Life) have a habit of sliding to the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. It is also related to the phenomenon of people losing the ability to think critically around cute things. In places where critical thought is vital, cuteness can be the cover for a Person of Mass Destruction.

Parents and older siblings tend to never trust the cute. "Real men" especially hate cute, as it is contrary to more manly forms of expression. Television companies who try to keep girls liking cute as long as possible are often portrayed as Corrupt Corporate Executives.

Cute is often evil in Darker and Edgier works. In extreme cases, cuteness is a sign of someone being an Uncanny Valley inhabitant or Eldritch Abomination.

A frequent component of Subverted Innocence tropes such as Cute and Psycho, Corruption by a Minor, Killer Rabbit, Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, and Crapsaccharine World.

Very often the core of morally questionable, if not outright malevolent, children types such as the Creepy Child, Kids Are Cruel, Deliberately Cute Child, Spoiled Brat, Evil Orphan, Little Miss Con Artist and especially the Enfant Terrible, who exists mostly to enforce this trope.

If they succeed at causing death and destruction, this trope will likely overlap with Grotesque Cute or end up showing that Evil Makes You Monstrous.

Contrast Beauty Equals Goodness. Compare Beauty Is Bad, a milder form. Also see Killer Teddy Bear.

Compare and contrast Adorable Abomination, which may or may not be evil. In some cases it can be played as a near-inversion of this trope, by creating a cute, friendly version of an Always Chaotic Evil creature.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler
    • Ciel is absolutely adorable & looks like a weak androgynous dandy, but he's straight-up from a long line of folks who refer to themselves as Evil Aristocrats. The boy sold his soul to a devil in exchange for a shot at a years-long spree of murder. His crimes include fraud, first degree murder, second degree murder, arson, kidnapping, threatening a child with a gun, child endangerment, & child murder. If you want to be Ciel's friend, you have to be subservient to him & be willing to die for him, or he will either abandon or kill you.
  • Majin Buu, the final major villain of Dragon Ball Z. The form that our heroes encounter first is an Ugly Cute, fat pink humanoid of mass destruction with the mentality of a toddler. He also has a massive craving for sweets. Sweets made by zapping his victims with his head antenna and transforming them into foodstuffs that are still completely conscious as they are being eaten.
    • On the other hand, this is the version of Majin Buu that does a Heel-Face Turn later on.
  • Iron Maiden in Shaman King, but her alignment is more Lawful Stupid than evil.
  • Pokémon has featured both an evil Teddiursa and an evil Togepi.
  • Digimon Frontier Lucemon anyone?
  • For all their creepy qualities no one can deny that Hansel and Gretel are cute.
  • Kyubey of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. When you first see it, it's the most adorable thing in the world, but the blank red eyes and unchanging Cat Smile just get creepier and creepier every time you look at it. There is a very good reason for this. This is also an invocation of this trope, as Gen Urobuchi specifically asked character designer Ume Aoki to make it "as cute as possible."
    • And there's Charlotte, who's incredibly adorable until you see her true form... Which is still kind of cute. It's just too big and has too many sharp teeth.
  • The Puchuus from Excel Saga.
  • Deadman Wonderland is set in a prison that is also a theme park. The inmates stage shows for the visitors. This is mostly promoted by the... er... Promoter, who seems to run the place and is a Psychopathic Manchild who loves to put cute, evil props everywhere.
    • Even the Sadistic way they restrain the prisoners is this, every prisoner has a collar constantly pumping poison into their body, the prisoners can't run away or else they won't get the "bitter candy" a foul tasting cure in a candy wrapper. Also they have to do menial or sometimes life threatening things to get the in prison currency to buy the candies. They can die in the bright and colorful carnival, from doing nothing! It makes you wonder what the guards think since they don't bat an eyelash, the whole thing is a sugary sweet and disgusting spectacle like death race, convicts dying and suffering for entertainment, mostly the promoter's.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the Millennium Earl and Road Kamelot seem to have a theme like this going on.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has at least 3 characters like this, or 2 if you consider an independent avatar and her master as a single being.
  • Popotan being what it is, it still provides an example in the form of the little girl from episode 4. She appears to be a normal child at first, but is actually a ghost who wishes to trap people where she can be with them forever.
  • Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist. He's an Eldritch Abomination that can effortlessly rip people apart with his Living Shadow, and he has the body of a small child.
  • Kohina Hiruko from Black Bullet, she's the most adorable evil loli you can think of to the point that you just begging that you want to be killed by her cuteness.
  • Nui Harime from Kill la Kill. She's a complete psychopath, but will never stop smiling and being bubbly about everything even as she tells the protagonist how she killed her father.
  • In Elfen Lied, if you see a cute thing (especially if it's a young girl with pink hair), it's generally a good idea to run screaming in the opposite direction.
  • Nobunaga The Fool have Nell and Bianchi. They act like adorable children, but their idea of playtime involves murdering people and causing chaos.

    Art 
  • While not "evil" per se, New York's Japan Society had an exhibit called "Bye Bye Kitty!!!", which is a reaction against the kawaii aesthetic.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has an Unglued card called Infernal Spawn of Evil. With a name like that, you're expecting some sort of demon, perhaps an Eldritch Abomination. It's...a mouse enjoying hot cocoa.
    • In the sequel set, Unhinged, they introduce Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil, which is the same mouse, holding its cocoa in one forepaw, and its baby mouse in the other forepaw.
    • On a more serious note, the non-joke set Ice Age included the Hyalopterous Lemure, which is pretty cute for a black card. Reportedly, the artist had never heard of a lemure (a minor evil spirit) and drew a lemur instead.
  • Very literally in the horror-themed Munchkin Bites, where a fearsome high-level monster simply titled "The Evil" looks a whole lot like... a fuzzy little kitty cat. It's a reference to the Sluggy Freelance entry below.

    Film 

    Live Action TV 
  • This trope is inherent to many a Power Rangers monster, but also some villains. If the Five-Bad Band has a small child, expect her to be The Starscream or something close to that (case in point: Mora in SPD).
  • Tribbles in Star Trek: fluffy cute balls of doom.
  • Played with on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, which had a recurring character called "The Evil Puppy." It's a golden retriever puppy that sits on a throne of skulls with red lights and "O Fortuna" playing. The puppy itself, rather than being a trained dog, is just sitting there, looking around, not doing anything, even falling asleep once. The audience usually "awwww" him to which Conan responds "Don't 'aww' him, he's evil!" Sometimes during sketches, special effects will give him "evil" powers.

    Literature 
  • Baby Veil in Outcast of Redwall sends Bryony into paroxysms of Cuteness Overload, even when he's actively in the process of biting her. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't work when he's in his teens and starts playing with poisons.
  • In Artemis Fowl, Opal Koboi belongs to the subspecies of Fairies known as Pixies, well-known for looking child-like and absolutely adorable. She also happens to be an Axe Crazy, greedy, deceptive, egomaniac Psychotic Womanchild and one of the major villains in the series.
  • Shortly before the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling released a teaser statement saying that the book included a character with "a personality like poisoned honey." This character turned out to be Dolores Umbridge, a government bureaucrat who ended up as possibly the most hated character in the entire series, up to and including Voldemort. Her many terrible traits are underscored by her self-expression: she wears pink at all times, has an office decorated in china kitten plates, even has an Alice band in her hair (and she's well into middle-aged at least), and talks in a simpering, sweet manner.
    • Hepzibah Smith, seen in Half-Blood Prince is a lesser example, an elderly, extremely vain woman who hangs desperately onto coquettishness and sweetness in an attempt to seduce Tom Riddle.

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Nermal in Garfield, sickeningly cute, and Garfield's mortal antagonist (Garfield keeps trying to mail him to Abu Dhabi). Nermal does tend to be downright mean to Garfield at times, and he admits in one strip that his is purposely stunting his growth with coffee and cigarettes in order to stay a baby, and admits to being a midget in another one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A few Dungeons & Dragons sources mention a monster called a julajimus created by Tharizdun. Its true form is clearly not cute (a huge demon that looks like a monstrous ape) but it has the ability to take the form of a cute kitten or other harmless animal. Humanoid races have legends of this creature that parents use to scare their children; the story starts with a child finding an adorable kitten, who his parents refuse to let him keep. The story ends with the child disobeying his parents and sneaking it into his room, only for it to transform into its true form of a julajimus and devour him. The moral is very clear, but the julajimus is a very real monster, as far as the game world is concerned.

    Video Games 
  • The flowers, teddy bears, and unicorns in Whimsyshire in Diablo III are every bit as vicious as the demons of Hell.
  • A lot of monsters in RPGs, but especially Tonberry (If you're in any way experienced, it can manage a One-Hit KO.) and Cactuar (not so bad when they can just do 1000 damage, but they often can do 10000) in Final Fantasy.
  • Lakitu in most Super Mario Bros. games. He rides around on a smiling cloud, has cute glasses, is harder than hell to kill, and drops eggs on you that hatch into spinies when they hit the ground. The obvious exceptions are Super Mario RPG, where he's just another enemy, and the Kart games, where he actually grabs you if you fall off the track.
  • The main villains of Razes Hell are an army of cute creatures that decide to wage a genocidal war against the ugly creatures of the world.
  • Marx from Kirby. When you think all of the good characters in Kirby are good and the baddies are ugly, you are all wrong. Marx starts from being a really cute, armless puffball. He bounces on a really colorful beach ball and has a jester hat. Later he turns out to a villain after the mistaken 'end' of the game. In the remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra, he turns to the freaky-looking Marx Soul.
    • Aside from Marx, there is also Scarfy, though Waddle Dee won't count, since they're just innocent, carefree creatures.
    • Magolor in Return to Dream Land looks cute, but he's the Big Bad. In fact, he seems to have taken his inspiration from the aforementioned Marx. Unlike Marx though, he is implied to make a Heel-Face Turn of sorts after you defeat him.
  • B.B. Hood from Darkstalkers.
  • The balloon Pokémon Drifloon looks cute, but it tries to kidnap children. (In fact, in one game, there's a park that you are only allowed to bring "cute" Pokémon into; Drifloon qualifies.)
    • Let's also not forget about Litwick, which is a sweet little smiling candle that pretends to be a helpful guiding light but in reality is attempting to steal your life energy. Its evolutions are still pretty cute and even worse.
    • Munna in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity until her Heel-Face Turn.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, one of the most evil, foul, reprehensible creatures of in the world is... seals. Adorable little seals. Naturally, one of the character classes is the Seal Clubber.
  • Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams has the power parasites. They are cutesy in appearance and they sabotage JB's Planetarium by leaving large gunk.
  • Model W in Mega Man ZX, the form that Dr. Weil from the Mega Man Zero series had been reduced to after his final defeat. Guess you wish you could collect it along with the other biometals, don't you?
  • The Chua of WildStar are as adorable as they are psychopathic, genocidal, and destructive. Which is to say, very.
  • Iris Zeppelin from RosenkreuzStilette, sure she's an Ax-Crazy psychopath, but she's adorable in a most twisted way you can think of.
  • Bob, the protagonist from Messiah is a cute little cherub; not truly "evil", but he's an Anti-Hero and Well-Intentioned Extremist at best, more than willing to commit murder to complete his mission.
  • Most of the enemies in the Kingdom Hearts series qualify to varying degrees, but the Nightmare Dream Eaters from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance are the worst of the lot, being merely slightly more evil looking versions of the very cute Spirit Dream Eaters.
  • A noticeable example is Courtney Gears of Ratchet & Clank. A beautiful robot diva whose music can brainwash robots into working for Dr. Nefarious.

    Web Original 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation