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Cute Mute

The Cute Mute has an appearance that's innocent to a fault. Whatever situation that causes their inability to speak also gives them that clueless, childlike demeanor. Unlikely to know or grasp social conventions, they will often be found innocently doing awkward things that spell trouble for the other characters.

Lack of speaking alone does not qualify a character for this trope. Someone who can't speak but otherwise doesn't fit the trope is The Speechless. Someone who can speak but is never shown to do so onscreen is The Voiceless.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Chii from Chobits. She learns to speak soon enough, but is still an exemplar of the trope (her first word aside from "Chii?" is "Panties").
  • Chibi Chibi from Sailor Moon, named for the only sound she could produce. She literally was otherwordly in the sense of Not of This Earth. In the anime she was a child but in the manga she older than she seemed.
  • Suzuho Hasegawa from Macademi Wasshoi is mute when her Midnight Blue Vampire personality is dormant. This makes her appear even shyer than she normally would be and forces her to use signs to communicate/
  • Rin from InuYasha had been mute since the trauma of losing her parents, but she grew out of this quickly when she became Sesshoumaru's Morality Pet.
  • Oshino Shinobu, the tiny ruined vampire from Bakemonogatari is supposed to be voiced by Aya Hirano. Whether or not this is true we have no idea, as she hasn't uttered a sound. She spends most of her time sitting in a corner, apparently sulking. She's adorable, especially when drinking blood. In episode 4 of Nisemonogatari, she broke her silence and revealed herself to be talkative. She was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto.
  • Hatsumi from Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito is a subversion; she can talk at times, and is nowhere near as innocent or cute as she first appears.
  • Berserk: Poor Casca went insane after Griffith raped her during the Eclipse and was reduced to the mental capacities of a two-year-old. Interestingly, "mental capacities of a two-year-old" extends to more than just her speech; she had a tendency to put things in her mouth, like pearls and Puck. She also has a bad tendency to wander after anything that catches her eye, making her former lover's task of protecting her much more difficult, though as Guts learns in the Millennium Falcon arc, she's still capable of defending herself to some degree if she needs to, as a group of bandits that tried to rape her learned the hard way. It might depend on what translation but she seemed to be able to say only one coherent word: "no" whenever someone tries to have his way with her like during the trauma of the Eclipse.
  • Subverted by Meru Otonashi from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Innocent-looking and too shy to talk, she communicates by using her cellphone to send people horribly abusive text messages. On one occasion when her phone lost its signal, she began jabbering in a way that another character interpreted as Demonic Possession.
  • Shion, the lead character of Shion No Ou, lost her voice after her parents were killed in front of her, communicating via a notepad and pen she carries around with her. She regains her voice after she defeats the murderer in the finals of the shogi tournament Hani-meijin.
  • Rita Rossi from Ashita no Nadja. She lost her voice after seing her parents' death in an horrendous fire that consumed their circus, which also left her with a phobia of anything fiery, even stoves. Halfway in the series, Rita recovers her will to speak when Nadja was trapped in a fire and Rita was the only one able to tell her how to get out of the burning place
  • Lirio from El Cazador de la Bruja. She only talked in one scene, and in that she was possessed by a witch so that the witch could communicate with the heroes.
  • Elaine from Genocyber was the mind of a feral animal and therefore can't speak. She is very friendly and protective towards those who show her kindness, at least in her human form.
  • Mizuna Kuraki from Moonlight Lady apparently cannot speak, although she tries mouthing her name.
  • Kisa Sohma from Fruits Basket is mute when she first appears in the story, as a side effect of school bullying. This contributes to Tohru's mother duck fawning over her. She recovers from this with the help of Tohru and Yuki.
  • Moeka from Steins;Gate. She is uncomfortable speaking to people directly, and prefers to use her cell phone to communicate. Turns out she's The Mole, and is killed for it.
  • Pokémon Heroes: Latias in human form fits this trope much better than any other Pokemon. She's very pretty, acts strange and childlike, and doesn't speak at all (not even Pokemon Speech), Though she does make crooning and trilling noises and occasionally says "la" in Pokemon form.
  • Egypt from Axis Powers Hetalia is often mistaken as one by other nations, since he's very quiet. This is strange considering the country's real life history but Hetalia has never been about historical accuracy.
  • Potemayo's vocabulary mainly consists of "Honi, honi", but she picks up a few words as the series progresses. This is better than Guchuko, who can't form words.
  • Nill from Dogs: Bullets & Carnage. Her being mute is the result of being genetically engineered to have features that appeal to certain fetishes and make it easier for her to be sold as a whore (in this case, a pair of tiny wings), but the method is inexact and often leaves the subjects missing something (in her case, her voice).
  • Flandre of Princess Resurrection only says "Huga", but Hime understands what she is saying. Likewise with the rest of Flandre's "siblings". Played straight wither a "Mermaid" character (No name given, she simply called that) who lost her voice and got stuck on a ship until she turned into a Blood Warrior after saving one of the characters (she could only use her voice once and would've dies afterward).
  • Double Subverted in Cyborg 009. 0013 is a chubby but still kinda cute-looking boy with Hidden Eyes who speaks through telepathy and acts cheerful and innocent... until he has to fight 009 and reveals himself as a Kid with the Leash of a HUGE robot. He still reminds kind (saves an Innocent Bystander, punishes a bunch of assassins, releases the Distressed Dude professor) and ultimately commits suicide.
  • Chane Laforet from Baccano!!. Her fiance, Claire Stanfield, lists her muteness as one of her Charm Points — though he carries on impressively long conversations with her regardless, thanks to the frequent use of yes/no questions and an apparent ability to read her mind.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force: Lily Strosek, a Mysterious Waif that appears to be something similar to the first Reinforce. She's only capable of communicating through telepathic thoughts. Flashbacks later reveal that she used to be able to speak, but the trauma during her time confined as a lab experiment rendered her mute. In other words, a woobie who can't talk, i.e cute.
    • From the same manga brings a subversion with Stella Irvine of the Huckebein. She seems like this and seems to be incapable of speech, as well as checking off the marks of this trope. But once she is connected to the ship and is able to speak, her show that she is anything but cute.
  • Tomoyo Daidouji temporarily becomes one in the Cardcaptor Sakura anime, under the magic of a Clow Card. Shaoran and Sakura have to team-work to seal the card and dispel its effects..
  • Ren from DearS is on the same approximate wavelength as Chi from Chobits, above.
  • Celty from Durarara!! is an interesting take on this one. Because she doesn't have a head, she can't speak or communicate using facial expressions, but she can communicate well enough by typing things out on a cellphone or computer. (Her roommate and later fiancé Shinra can tell what she's thinking or trying to say from her body language, though – as Celty puts it, he "can read the expressions on the face I don't have.") Celty also averts the "clueless or childlike" stereotype; she's very intelligent and fully understands what's going on around her, and her twenty-odd years spent in Japan have given her a thorough understanding of Japanese social norms. She is very cute just not in the innocent, childish way you would normally expect.
  • Deaf-mute Sasaki Kojiro from Vagabond has that child-like innocence...which turns from cute to a bit unsettling once he gets into combat. While he's not Ax-Crazy or evil, she is a Blood Knight who will sport his best Slasher Smile in the midst of dismemberment and death.
  • Nishimiya in Koe No Katachi is deaf and as such communicates, or at least tries to, with a notebook. This failed early on, because her fellow students saw her muteness and the notebook as reasons to mock and torment her. She is able to speak, but her deafness leads to her words being extremely strained and extremely hard to understand.
  • It's implied that Ran Mao from Black Butler doesn't know much English (she's only spoken about four words thus far). She usually just stays silent and lets Lau do all the talking.
  • The eponymous and Token Mini-Moe Shirayuki from Snow White And Seven Dwarfs, who is incapable of speaking due to the strain of her powers on her body and so resorts to enthusiastic charades instead.

    Comic Books 
  • The female Scarecrow from Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow from Big Dog Ink comic books publisher. While it's mentioned that, in universe, animated scarecrows are deaf, mute and dumb until they gain a brain, and thus devoid of any will and ability to interact meaningfully with people, the female character in the comic book is still mute, but she's fully able of coeherent thought and she can understand spoken language. She's just cheerfully cute, overtly friendly, cutely expressive and sickengly sweet.
  • Artie Maddicks, mostly seen in Generation X and other X books in the 90s is telepathic, but functionally mute. Even with telepathy, he's unable to use words or language, but instead speaks in mental pictograms.

    Fanfiction 
  • An obvious reference to his namesake, Harpo, a harp-playing pony in Room 213, though it's stated he can talk. Also, Chirp from Silent Knight. Possibly a first as HIE fics go.
  • Rolling in Beaches: Wavedancer is this when Spike and the Mane Six first meet her, due to the Rainbow Pearl — which transformed her from hippcampus to Earth pony — being stuck in her throat.
  • In A Snowflake In Spring, Elsa hasn't said a word - or even acknowledged anybody's existence - for ten years, the result of an unknown trauma. Around Anna, however, the so-called Ice Queen becomes an adorable, shy girl.

    Film - Animated 
  • The title character of The Little Mermaid is one of these (magically-induced) for much of the story and film. This can be seen as a defiance of this trope by Ursula because the prince fell in love with Ariel's singing voice. In Andersen's original story, the loss of her voice is permanent and counts as a aversion because Ursula is not a villain here.
  • Boo in Disney and Pixar's Monsters, Inc. is a toddler and so has learned few words. Otherwise, she's small, adorable and adoring of Sully.
  • Dumbo, the eponymous character from the Disney movie, is a mute protagonist. It works since he's particularly expressive and he has talkative friends. It also helps that the little guy is essentially an infant/toddler for the so it make sense for him to be The Voiceless.
  • Dopey, the cutest of the (Disney) Seven Dwarfs. It's noted that they aren't sure whether he's mute.
    Snow White: You mean he can't talk?
    Happy: We don't know — he's never tried!
  • WALL•E can manage only a few sounds and words, and is indisputably cute! He used to be the page image for woobie.
  • Tack and the Thief from The Thief and the Cobbler was this in the original story. When the film was purchased by another company before the original creator could finish it, it was turned into a musical and Tack along with the Thief were given voices.
  • In Disney's Peter Pan, Tinker Bell doesn't speak, but only jingles like, well, bells. It is later revealed in her own movies, Tinker Bell does speak, but to humans it sounds like the jingling of bells It's quite clever if you think about it - we don't know her language, that and there are is a lot of comedic potential for her miming as well. It's a Running Gag in Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson's adaptations.
  • A Monster in Paris has Francœur, who is a giant flea and therefore only speaks in chirps and bleeps. It's adorable.
  • In Brave Identical triplet princes Harris, Hubert and Hamish are adorable little scamps who never speak.
  • The reindeer Seven in Frozen is silly, snarky, lovable, and yet he does not say a single word the entire movie.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Burt Lancaster had a childhood friend, Nick Cravat, who appeared in several of Lancaster's movies. Cravat was never able to get rid of his thick Brooklyn accent, so he communicated by mime when in a movie where the accent would be inappropriate. He often seemed on the verge of stealing the show — one review described him as miming his way into the audience's hearts.
  • Harpo Marx, pictured, most notably in Duck Soup. He can't talk at all, and instead talks in horns, which leads to the most clever scene he's ever done where he is able to carry on a phone conversation by honking horns in such a way that it sounds like replies. In real life, Harpo spoke with a Brooklyn accent, and occasionally swapped places with Chico in their stage act.
  • From Sweet And Lowdown Hattie is mute and somewhat passive, seemingly happy to be led around by the more dominant and talkative Emmet Ray. When she does try to communicate a specific thought, it's often only Emmet who gets to understand it fully.

    Literature 
  • Exploited in the sci-fi Greatwinter Trilogy. One character sees Darien as this kind of character and she uses it to her great advantage. In reality, she is strong-willed, intelligent, powerful, and competent woman, who simply happens to be unable to speak.
  • Errand, the little boy in the Belgariad, is initially capable of only saying the word "Errand", which is why the party takes to calling him that. It's explained that when Zedar found him, all he said was "I have an errand for you, boy"; Errand repeated the one word and followed him. Over the next two books, he learns more words, but he can only say one-word sentences. After the Time Skip between the Belgariad and the Malloreon, he learns how to speak properly. In the Malloreon his real name is revealed to be Eriond; he explains that he picked up the word 'Errand' from Zedar because it sounded familiar to him.
  • Subverted by Flute in Eddings' Elenium trilogy; she appears to be one of these at first but is really the goddess Aphrael, and perfectly capable of talking (at great length) when it suits her.
  • Lise Acquin in the French novel Sans Famille by Hector Malot (and the media coming from it, like the movies and the two anime series). Remi, the vagabond child protagonist, who becomes close to her, learns that it's not permanent and she'll eventually recover if she's, for example, faced by a violent emotion. They get separated a few months later as the Acquins is scattered after her father is put in a debt prison, and Remi going back to wandering as none of Lise's uncles and aunt can take him with them. And near the end, Lise recovers her voice when hearing Remi, whom she thought she'll never see him again, singing his trademark Napolitan song. Years later, she and Remi get married..
  • Miette from Malevil. A birth defect made her mute and she is young, beautiful, and exceptionally kind. She doesn't know any sign language so all of her communication comes from pantomime.

    Live Action TV 
  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory isn't mute, but he can't talk to women unless he's drunk. Women seem to think this is endearing. Later, Howard and Penny decide to hook him up with Emily, a non-verbal deaf-mute friend of Penny, with Howard acting a Translator Buddy. They both reason that Emily is cute enough to be endearing and likeable, and being a pre-verbal deaf girl wouldn't be bothered by Raj's own condition. This doesn't work because Emily ended up being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, a really talented Gold Digger knowing that Raj is the richest guy in Penny's social circle and hoping to siphon a whole lot of his fortune, turning against him as soon as his family threatens to strip them both of his cospicuous allowance
  • The slave girl Eirene from Rome is this in her first few episodes. Justified because she doesn't speak Latin (yet) and is understandably terrified of her masters. The trope plays a big part in Titus Pullo's attraction to her, and is the reason why he doesn't treat her like he usually treats women.
  • Cassie Chan, the Pink Ranger from Power Rangers in Space. Usually your average Action Girl and Asian Airhead, she turns into that in the aptly named "Silence Is Golden" episode, because she's forewarned that her enemies and trope namers Psycho Rangers are pursuing her by tracking the sound of her voice. A weird and long series of unfortunate events force her to keep communicating by pantomimes and cutish expressions, until a falling Baby Carriage forces her to break her self-imposed vow of silence.
  • A brief example in Cassandra from Stargate SG-1, who first appears as the only survivor of a plague unleashed by the Goa'uld Niirti. Her inability to talk combound with her age and situation made Samantha Carter dote on and want to adopt her. Once she gets over the trauma enough to start talking again she's been able to talk just fine.
  • The Indian telefilm Shorr has Kankoo. The youngest member of a traditional Indian family, Kankoo is a young adult woman, cute as a button and mute. Not voiceless, but she uses only a lot of Voice Grunting and made up Hand Signals to get along.
  • In Disney's 1957 Zorro TV Show, Don Diego's manservant Bernado, played by Gene Sheldon, counts as this, mostly keeping a cheerful and innocent demeanor and using his own style of signing when interacting with people.

    Video Games 
  • 'Lady' from Shadow Hearts: From The New World. She never speaks, is an Emotionless Girl, can inspire love in the heart of a sociopathic psycho named 'Killer', and was not so much Raised by Wolves, as not raised at all. She can also kill you with a flick of her wrist just because you happen to be there. She's like this because she was originally the sister of The Protagonist and during a ritual to bring them back from the dead, she gave up her "will" (life force) to save her brother, which turned her into a "pure mass of malice" — a being with no memories or humanity.
  • Nina from Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. When the hero asks for her name, it takes all of Nina's strength and energy to squeak out "Ni...na." Makes sense when you realize her lungs were replaced with a fancy air filter, and her tongue cut out.
  • Keria from Harvest Moon DS (and DS Cute) is mute. She communicates by writing messages on a sign (in the English version, she writes in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe). However, one event between her and the Witch Princess lets her speak briefly; in his Internal Monologue, the hero remarks, "It's nice to know Keira talks like that."
  • In Mitsumete Knight, Sophia gets hit hard by this trope near the end of the game, as she suffers a psychological trauma caused by being in the middle of the terrorist bombing of the Theater. She can get partially better if the Asian stays by her side and visits her each week-end at the Hospital : she'll then get her voice back, but won't be able to sing as her voice is too rough and low. But if you manage to get her Happy Ending after that, she shows signs that she'll fully recover, as she manages to sing beautifully for him.
  • Marc, Ed Brown's adopted white son in Policenauts, was traumatized after his real father, a drugged-up ex-cop, murdered his mother in front of him.
  • Claudia, from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Cute and innocent as the trope allows. She can't speak, but she can use telepathy to express herself. And she does. A lot.
  • In Planescape: Torment there's Ecco, a Platonic Prostitute with some very important information that you must learn to get through the game, who unfortunately has her voice permanently stolen. You must cure her muteness by giving her a Fiend's Tongue, but its original owner keeps using it to make crude insults and not letting her get a word edgewise. Fortunately, there is also an antidote.
  • Christine Royce from Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money not only had her vocal cords cut by an Auto Doc, but prior to that was lobotomized leaving her unable to read or write, and is reduced to communicating with hand signals.
  • Chelinka in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates loses her voice after an uncontrolled use of her power and communicates by telepathy instead. She eventually gets it back when her vocal chords heal.
  • Sona Buvelle, the Maven of Strings of League of Legends. A cute Hatsune Miku-lookalike with big boobs that can only speak via telepathy (only for the summoner, allegedly) and otherwise plays a melody that supports her allies or disrupts her enemy.
  • The main protagonist of Chibi-Robo.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shizune from Katawa Shoujo is an aversion; while she is cute and mute, she has a very forceful personality and is even the Ms. Fanservice of her game. Evidence seems contradictory on whether or not Shizune is physically mute (as the developers claim) or would rather avoid speaking since it'd make her sound bad (being deaf), as some scenes seem to hint at her being able to vocalize after all. During a sexual encounter in the student council room, it's revealed that Shizune can audibly groan. So her vocal cords are fine, it's just that, being deaf since birth, she has no concept of spoken language, and thus "mute".
  • Len from Tsukihime speaks a grand total of twice (one of those a single word) in the 2 games she's been in.

    Web Animation 
  • Several episodes from Neurotically Yours featured a character who never said a word, but is one of the few characters that Foamy does not have a problem with. Her first appearance is titled Cute Mute.

    Webcomics 
  • Dawn of Time: The titular Dawn is a slight variant, in that we rarely understand what she's saying when she does speak. Her Speech Bubbles are simply filled with Peanuts-like tick marks.
  • Emm from The Wisdom Of Moo. The title "character" is the cow hand puppet she uses to do all her talking.
  • Little Dee from the eponymous comic. She's young, but not that young.
  • Faye Eolande from Amya is so much this that she must carry paper and pen with her, and apparently loves visiting the odd stationary shop to get more.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Amaya never talks for us but Apparently, she can talk to others. Still cute.
  • Fefetasprite, aka "dear, sweet, precious Fefeta", is cute and is never depicted talking, although Roxy and Jane have spoken to her at some point. They seem to see her as a combination gal pal and super-cute pet.
  • Touhou Journal's version of Reimu is mute, but is exceptionally cute and kind, a very different depiction from her usual portrayal as a Jerk Ass. Despite her silence, other characters seem to be able to understand her just fine. Other Cute Mutes include Sanae, who also boasts Tareme Eyes; Kisume, who always has the same indifferent look on her face; and Miko, who communicates via written text her scroll and makes friends with Reimu mere moments after they meet.
  • Zombie children Bridget and Alphonse in Far Out There are incapable of speech, but otherwise intelligent. And definitely cute. So very cute.
  • The Mongrelfolk of Dominic Deegan are apparently a race of them; the only two that we come across are Bort - a peaceful, Non-Action Guy farmer who communicates by crudely carving words onto stone slabs and wooden signs - and a mongrelfolk girl with No Name Given who has a crush on him. Bort does have a scene where he speaks, but it's implied that it's the nature of the Eldritch Location he's in that's allowing him to do so.
  • Canta from Sire is the lineage child of Christine Daae and was born without the ability to speak. She communicates via sign language and is often depicted smiling sweetly, optimistically ignoring tales of caution or stalking on the Erik-Child, Leif.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Gadgeteer Genius (and Genius Cripple) Bernardo from Zorro Generation Z, named for a character by the same name in old-school Zorro, like many characters. He communicates via actual sign language, though he rarely uses it with Diego - they know each other so well it's not needed, and it takes a couple of episodes to realize that Bernardo can't talk, as opposed to there simply being a Running Gag of Diego answering his own questions and not letting Bernardo get a word in.
  • Phineas and Ferb had Meap, an adorable alien whose language consisted only of the word "Meap". He eventually gets his hands on a Universal Translator Mustache.
  • In Transformers Prime, Bumblebee takes after his movieverse counterpart. However, while movie Bumblebee speaks in canned sound clips from TV, radio, etc., Prime Bumblebee speaks in electronic sounds in a manner similar to R2-D2 (or perhaps a Mini-con.) The genius 12-year-old can understand him.
    • Unlike his more sociable G1 version, Soundwave from the same series provides a deep mystery on if he really can talk besides his recordings. No face, no voice but alot of potential to the point of even topping Starscream (according to characters like Megatron).
  • Jericho from Teen Titans is physically unable to speak, but he sure is cute.
  • A very obscure cartoon that Jerry Beck has featured in his Worst Cartoons Ever festivals at San Diego's Comic-Con International was Sam Basset, Hound For Hire. Sam's assistant was a mute, guitar-playing chihuahua named Chapultapec.
  • Subverted in Futurama: Nibbler appears to be this, but it eventually turns out he can talk and is intelligent. The Planet Express crew remains oblivious to this because he erases their memories every time he reveals the truth.
    • Though as of late, he seems to have quit caring. Now he talks whenever he wants.
  • Gus, the adorable new kid in the gang from Recess becomes this in the episode "Jinxed" after the Ashleys jinx him into not being able to talk for most of the episode.


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