"Oh, monster of so little size... is that a Cute is... disturbing and unnatural.
parasprite before my eyes?"
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
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius special "Attack of the Twonkies" is all about this — cutesy little fuzz balls morph into pointy balls of terror when they hear music.
- On Total Drama Island, Duncan is afraid of Celine Dion music store standees.
- On Robot Chicken, in a Dragon Ball Z parody, the characters go to the North Pole. Their enemies? Little Drummer Boy, the Nutcracker, and Composite Frosty/Santa Claus. But the Big Bad is Mrs. Claus.
- Baby Doll of Batman: The Animated Series looks like a cute little girl but is a really a psychopathic adult.
- In Hoodwinked, a Little Red Riding Hood adaptation, the villain is Boingo, that little rabbit that follows Red around all the time.
- In the sequel, those dang "innocent" children they were trying to find.
- Jimmy, the effeminate squeaky kid on Ed, Edd n Eddy, generally isn't the most affable sort. But he has on occasion demonstrated Chessmaster prowess — and ruthlessness — to rival Machiavelli.
- Kitty, a cute white cat who happens to be a minor villain, from The Powerpuff Girls.
- "Sweet 'N Sour" should probably be placed here .
- As does Beebo from "Pet Feud".
- The Woodland Critters from South Park.
- Adam Lyon from My Gym Partner's A Monkey has a run-in with the "Petting Zoo Kids" in one episode. These are a clique of doe-eyed miniature animals that use cuteness as a cover to pilfer unsuspecting victims who succumb to a "huggie". Adam loses all of his clothes following a few encounters and losing his good judgment around them. Eventually he turns the tables by cornering and shaving off their fur, removing their cute charm.
- The Adventure Time episode "Conquest of Cuteness".
- Lotso Bear from Toy Story 3.
- On Drawn Together, we have a Strawberry Shortcake expy, whose people almost completely exterminated Wooldoor's. Since nobody but the two characters had ever heard of this, we can assume they have been as successful at denying it as the Turks have been in denying the Armenian genocide. Oh, and she tries to kill Wooldoor.
- The Flores from the My Little Pony And Friends episode "Fugitive Flowers" look like cute and harmless talking flowers, but are really monstrous invasive weeds who trick Posey into protecting them from the creepy-looking Crabnasties who are trying to capture them, then proceed to suck all the life out of Posey's garden, transform, and go on a rampage.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the parasprites from "Swarm of the Century". While they don't seem to be actively malicious, they're still adorable, multicolored bug/fairy critters who breed rapidly and devour all the food they can find. Basically, they are the unholy hybrid of tribbles and Horde of Alien Locusts.
- A downplayed example in the same show can be found in Angel Bunny, who is, well, a bunny. While not evil he can often be an egocentric, spoiled Jerk Ass. A particularly low moment (which he will probably never live down) involved slapping Fluttershy and kicking her out of her house because the meal she made for him had no cherry on top.
- He has gotten a fair amount of Pet the Dog moments with Fluttershy (and has had Butt Monkey moments as well) since then, probably because of the fan backlash from the above-mentioned bullying of Fluttershy.
- Clare of Titan Maximum, whose bio states "she loves cute things and desires to be the cutest thing in the entire solar system! Oh, and by the way, she’s completely evil."
- The Gigglepies from The Fairly OddParents, who hypnotize people with their cuteness in order to sell their merchandise and destroy planets.
- Darla Dimple from Cats Don't Dance
- Arguably the worst villain on Krypto the Superdog is Snooky Wookums, an adorable kitten with an evil mind (and one of the few villains on the show that is not a pet of some human DC Comics villain).
- The Real Ghostbusters once adopted a potential Scrappy named Vincent, a blue imp that looked like it might have been drawn by Dr. Seuss. And then it turned into Mr. Hyde...
- Transformers Prime has these cute little bug-sized robotic critters... who turn into an all-devouring swarm of death when Cybertronians are around. Nothing tastier to scraplets than the metallic flesh of robots! Their cute exterior opens up to reveal a zillion razor-sharp piranha-like teeth. And they're still cute, in a way.
- Commander Peepers in Wander over Yonder. Some call him cute, and with a hilarious voice to boot (courtesy of Tom Kenny). But he can prove to be quite violent, especially when he thinks his job is in jeopardy.
- The Hugstables from Regular Show are adorable creatures with a death hug.
- In the Gravity Falls episode "Soos and the Real Girl", Soos buys a dating game whose love interest, Giffany, is an adorable Japanese school-girl... who becomes dangerously obsessed with anyone who plays the game.
- One episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries, in an obvious parody of E.T., had this as An Aesop: the cute cuddly alien is not only an evil intergalactic criminal, but he intentionally plays off his cuteness to take advantage of others. The "evil" aliens chasing him are actually cops.
- Berry from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, who's a pink, adorable imaginary friend who appears to be sweet and generous, but is actually an easily jealous and homicidal Stalker with a Crush.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot: Killgore, a pint-sized, big-eyed sentient wind-up toy with a high-pitched voice whose main problem is annoying Jenny... as well as calling the Cluster on her, and later resurrecting Armageddroid, a dangerous robot that can confiscate and dismantle any kind of weaponry . In-universe, he is considered one of the most adorable creatures ever.