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Deathbringer the Adorable

Hobgoblin Cleric: Sir, your odd talking skull is speaking of the Perilous Path of Crushing Doom.
Redcloak: Please tell me it's actually filled with cute fuzzy bunnies, and they just named it that to be ironic.
The Order of the Stick #190 (Which is not an example; it's as dangerous as the name suggests.)

Here it comes. The Harbinger of Death, the Ultimate Evil, It Which Devours Your Soul, Your Worst Nightmare.

...Or so it's called.

Turns out, the creature in question is just a cute animal, with a scary name but completely harmless. Upon further inquiry, you'll learn that it was named by a child, or a trickster.

The polar opposite of Fluffy the Terrible. Also compare to Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear. If it does have the destructive power despite the innocent appearance, it is a Killer Rabbit.


Examples

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    Advertisment 
  • A British TV ad from the eighties about "Natural good taste" has a guy in horrible colours with yellow and purple wallpaper, who likes The Birdie Song and has a toy poodle called Rambo.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has Chimamire Hana-Tamago (Bloodstained Flower-Egg), a cute, little, white doggie who gains the ability to talk during Christmas specials, in which she vehemently denies the "Chimamire" part and wishes that she had been named something nice like Charlotte.
  • This guy from Majin Devil.
  • This little guy from Natsume Yuujinchou (It's actually a Youkai possessing a snow-bunny Natsume made). D'awwww! (And then of course he transforms.)
  • In One Piece, Iceburg, the mayor of Water 7, has a pet named Tyrannosaurus. It's a cute little white mouse that lives in his shirt pocket.
    • Though after the Time Skip it's grown to size of a dog...
    • You wouldn't expect someone named "Chopper" to be an adorable (not to mention kind and amiable) reindeer, right? note 
  • Hellwolf from Tentai Senshi Sunred, as long as the light of the full moon isn't touching him.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The "Incredibly Deadly Viper" from A Series of Unfortunate Events is totally harmless - the name was given to it as a practical joke, as it is instead playful and as cute as a sewer-pipe sized snake can be.
  • Hagrid's dog Fang in Harry Potter, ironically one of the only animals he tends to that isn't vicious or dangerous. Unlike, say, Fluffy or Norbert.
    • Lampshaded when Hagrid is splitting people up in groups to venture through the Forbidden Forest.
    Malfoy: I want Fang.
    Hagrid: Alright, but I'll warn yeh, he's a bloody coward.
  • And then there's Killer the Rabbit from Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles novel Calling on Dragons, who is anything but a Killer Rabbit.
  • In Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, the emperor of Chandara has the imposing name of Hugo Khan. Turns out that he's a Microraptor, which is one of the smallest dinosaurs known. Even the name of the dinosaur sounds puny.
  • In the Chalion verse, the Viking-esque prince Jokol "Skullsplitter", who it turns out was given that appellation due to his talent at poetry: he makes "heads burst with his tales". (Not literally.)
  • In Louis Sachar's The Boy Who Lost His Face, Mo builds a doghouse in shop class with a sign that says Killer, hoping to get a dog to go with the house. She does, but Killer ends up being a small puppy.
  • According to Children of the Jedi, Leia named one of her aunt's pet pittins (kitten analogues) AT-AV (short for All-Terrain Attack Vehicle). Not hard to imagine a kitten acting like that...
  • In the children's book series for How to Train Your Dragon, Fishlegs has a dragon named Horrorcow. It's vaguely cow-like, but not at all horrifying.
  • In one of the books in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, a family hears that having a dog named "Killer" will deter robbers and change the name of their aged and harmless dog from "Muffin" to "Killer".
  • The cat, "Dragon", in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH got his name as a joke when he was a kitten, pretending to be fierce. The name became fitting when he grew up.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, subverted with Lady Eleanor's dogs, Hitler, Satan, and Killer. They're tiny little fluffy dogs, not what you'd first expect the breed to be if you'd only heard the names. They are quite aggressive at first, but once Savannah starts treating them kindly, they're rather friendly to everyone.
  • The Wings of Fire series has a dragon literally named Deathbringer. He's actually a very lighthearted and comical dragon, which is part of why Glory starts to fall for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dońa Clotilde from El Chavo del ocho likes to adopt puppies and baptize them as "Satan" and "Lucifer". Her poor pets also have a tendency to run off, so she tries to bring them back by calling their names loudly. Add this to the fact that her neighbors doesn't always know she has a pet, and Hilarity Ensues (she's called The Witch of Apartment 71...)
  • Subverted in an episode of That's So Raven which featured a Yorkshire terrier named Monster.
    Raven: Aww, they named it Monster because it's so cute?
    Chelsea: No, they named it Monster because it'll rip your arms and legs off.
  • The GIANT DEATH RAY from That Mitchell and Webb Look. It's actually an oversized barcode scanner named after its creator, Professor Death, who is himself is something of an example: an ardent pacifist whose inventions are intended for peaceful endeavours, who happens to have the surname Death.
  • In Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the gang is plagued by Gachnar, a fear demon. Buffy is overzealous and breaks his giant symbol, freeing him to the revelation that he was only a couple of inches tall. After some cooing, Gachnar then gets squashed by the slayer's boot.
    Giles: Don't taunt the Fear Demon.
    Xander: Why? Can it hurt me?
    Giles: No, it's just tacky.
  • Same joke, way different execution occurred in Angel when Cordelia, as a princess, and to her vocal disgust, is coerced to mate with a hideous, destructive monster called the Groosalugg...until she finds out 'Groo' is only hideous by demon standards; he's actually an incredibly handsome and skilled human warrior and really quite sweet in temperament. (She still doesn't mate with him, but for different reasons.)
  • In a live action skit spoofing God of War, X-Play had Kratos's final opponent be the God of Chaos, which happened to be a cute little puppy.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Closing Time", Craig's son introduces himself to the Doctor (fluent in Baby) as Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.
  • On Corner Gas, Brent gives his baseball pitches intimidating names like "Hammer of Thor", but since he's in a slow pitch league, they are all identical, slow-moving arcs. Lacey advises him to change their names to things like "Rainbow" and "Pregnant Lady's Belly".

    New Media 

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations:
    • While the man himself also looks imposing, Detective Tyrell Badd is a lollipop-sucking and rather good mannered cop.
    • The complete fluffball Colias Palaeno, whose original Japanese name is Damien Hinge. The name in the English version averts this, as colias palaeno is a species of butterfly, making it more of a Meaningful Name.
  • Apparently Creator/Nintendo thought Franchise/Kirby's name was this, and that's one of the reasons his name was chosen as such. But he still has his Badass Adorable moments.
  • The mission in Brütal Legend where you meet The Killmaster, who looks suspiciously like Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead for some reason... Anyway, the man is, in fact, a healer. And a damn good one. This whole mess with his name is justified, however, as Killmaster intentionally chose the name to scare people off, because otherwise they would Shoot the Medic First.
  • The Fallout games have a faction known as the Followers of The Apocalypse. With a name like that, you'd expect them to be really evil or at least really metal. Instead, they're probably the setting's most altruistic and harmless factions, being essentially the post-apocalyptic Red Cross. The name stands for the fact that they seek knowledge of the Old World so that mistakes like the Great War can never be repeated again. Of course, one of their former members happens to be the founder of Caesar's Legion, though he's considered the Black Sheep of the faction.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, there's a Super Mutant by the name of Mean Sonofabitch. He protects the slums of Westside from raiders and is a Gentle Giant at nature (though somewhat unintelligible due to having his tongue cut out by some Sociopathic Soldiers).
  • One of Rin's cats in Little Busters! is named Hitler. Most of the cats are named after historical individuals, including Isoroku and Tezuka.
  • Used to hilarious effect in Mercenaries 2. There's a mission that tells you to get something called the Devastator. At first, the pointer seems to lead you to a gigantic tank...but then, after you get in, the pointer shows the Devastator is a cute little scooter.
  • Captain Dread of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Remember that "dread" is a word with more than one meaning. Bonus points for being the only Jamaican in the series so far.
  • Pokémon's nickname function lets you have this, Fluffies, and Deathbringers that grow into their name when they evolve.
    • There is also Gorebyss, which immediately bring to mind "an abyss of gore," unless you know what it looks like. In all fairness though, it is "gorgeous," and does live in an "abyss", as in "the bottom of the sea". However, that's just a facade. Its actually very aggressive and hunts by Mind Raping its prey, shoving its extremely sharp mouth into their unconscious bodies, and sucking their fluids out. Yes its beautiful, but the name fits.
  • Paarthurnax in Skyrim. Admittedly, he is a dragon, but for someone whose name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty", he's really nice. As in, Actual Pacifist levels of nice. In the old days he really did live up to his name, being The Dragon to the Big Bad. His current state is a self-imposed penance.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, there is a character named Spider. She is a kindly, maternal medic and absolute pants at everything killing-related. She got the nickname from her brothers, who teased her about her fear of bugs. Of course, thanks to her high wisdom stats, she gets better at everything killing-related scarily fast. Which the developers fully intended and added lots of Break the Cutie moments into her dialogue. Statements like: "How can anyone see that and not question what we do for a living?" are only the beginning.
  • In Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Gundam Tanaka has a group of hamsters he named "The Four Dark Gods of Destruction". Of course, they're not completely harmless, as one of his hamsters makes him possible to kill Nekomaru Nidai by sneaking and pressing a button to shut Nidai off, until he ties Nidai up in a place where a struggle will get him killed.
  • Wasteland 2 has the Night Terror, who you can free from a guarded cell in the ruins of Darwin Village. Doing this merely causes your squad to become his new best friends, and he starts following you around and asking you for candy (although his definition of "candy" definitely falls into Squick territory).

    Webcomics 
  • In Motherly Scootaloo, a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Tumblr comic, apparently Lightning Blitz fits this, as the Ask Discord Hooves crossover shows (see Baby Language).
  • In the Housepets! universe, wolves traditionally name themselves. Babylon Garden's resident wolf has half-a-dozen kids who can't wait to name themselves. Among current suggestions are "Deathaxe" and "Space Laser".
    Miles: ...We try to put this off as long as possible.
  • This trope is named after DMFA 's "Deathbringer", an incredibly cute bubble-gum creature. While she picked out her own name, she has so far demonstrated absolutely no aggression nor offensive capabilities whatsoever. The four characters that know she exists also call her Deebs for short.
  • Casey and Andy has the PLANET DEVOURER! However, it does eat Mars. A model of Mars, not the actual planet. Later on, it proves able to chew through Satan's most powerful magical artifact. The Planet Devourer actually can devour anything... it just has to do so one dainty nibble at a time.
  • PvP features an adorable kitty cat named Scratch Fury, Destroyer of Worlds. It could be called subverted—Scratch actually wants to conquer the Earth—but he's so easily distracted by cat things that he's ultimately (mostly) harmless.
  • Flintlocke vs. The Horde has Bun'kar, the warrior bunny. Being a hunter's pet, it might become Killer Rabbit later, though. While Bun'kar, the warrior bunny, never fights, he and his hunter manage to overpower at least three characters, one of which was significantly stronger. The healer(Doc) remarks "That rabbit was dynamite."
    "Please do not nuzzle the instrument of my vengeance."
  • When 8-Bit Theater's Light Warriors had Drizzl surrounded and down for the count, Drizzl attempted to summon the "True Guardian" of the cave, which he had bought from Con Man Akbar based on its description as a fierce chimera with claws, fire breath, and potent venom. Drizzl discovers at the worst possible moment that the creature was just a platypus with a makeshift flamethrower strapped to its underbelly.
  • Strange variation: there's a song on one of the Homestuck soundtrack albums titled "Walls Covered in Blood." Where the title might imply a murderous rampage, it's actually the leitmotif of moe catgirl Nepeta Leijon, whose bedroom walls are indeed covered in blood because she uses it to draw charts shipping all her friends, and the song itself is a painfully cutesy upbeat Mario Paint track.
  • In Mokepon, Elle uses a Diglett named "Gutripper".
  • Invoked by June with Leopold's nickname, Spiders, in Princess Chroma. It's not the deadliest name, granted, but this is the name given to a fluffy winged lop-eared magical bunny Mentor Mascot.

    Web Original 
  • Usagi-Kaiju is a very realistic stuffed animal rabbit but, as she a mostly called, another name for her would be Deathbringer.

    Western Animation 
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has Killgore. Name that sounds like something that would rain destruction, but actually just a cute little wind-up toy who insists he's unstoppably evil.
  • Planet Sheen: Boh-Rok, a rainbow-colored pony, was thought to be a destructive monster. Sheen manages to remove a nose hair that was bothering Boh-Rok and it turns out that he isn't as evil as the aliens thought, but rather, a cheerful, happy pony.
  • Ruby Gloom has the Doom Kitty, an otherwise normal, if intelligent and expressive, black cat.
  • Chainsaw from Goof Troop. Despite her dangerous name, she's a mostly harmless cat-sized lapdog with a bow. The worst thing she ever does is chase the neighbors' cat.
  • The title characters from The Chubb Chubbs.

    Real Life 
  • The Great Shrike-Tyrant. Sounds like some sort of Lovecraftian shark, right? Nope — it's a cute little bird. The whole genus is called 'tyrannus' because they aggressively chase other birds out of their territories.
  • Actual shrikes are also cute little birds whose Latin name means "butcher", and they're often called "butcher birds." Why? Because they impale their prey on thorns. It sounds nastier than it is. They're really just saving prey for later. It should be noted, though, that some shrikes' diet includes other birds, so they do live up to their fearsome name.
  • Bloodhounds are among the gentler dog breeds. They actually got their names because they are hunting dogs with the main purpose of following blood trails.
  • The death's head hawk moth, which has a badass name not only in English but in Latin as well. Acherontia atropos (which does geniunely sound omnious if you know your Greek Mythology) has also a skull motif on his back. But yet it's a butterfly, and it can't even hurt anything. Despite its Real Life reputation as a harbinger of death and evil. All that it does which is harmful that is raiding beehives for honey.
  • The ominously named Purgatorius was a small mammal that was one of the first species to emerge after the death of the dinosaurs, and the ancestor of the primates.
  • Due to the company's Goth aesthetic, many of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's perfumes have ominous names, although few of them smell particularly menacing. For instance, Shub-Niggurath smells like incense and gingerbread, and Al-Shairan has the demonic reek of spiced oranges with a hint of peach.
  • The tiny and adorable pygmy marmosets at Edinburgh Zoo are named 'Terminator' and 'She-Ra'.
  • The Slavic name "Dragomir," to English speakers. Despite sounding like it means something about dragons or vampires, it actually means "He who loves peace." Whether individual Dragomirs (Dragomiri?) are this, Fluffies, or anywhere in between is up to them, obviously.
  • The caterpillar of moth species Citheronia regalis is so-named hickory horned devils because of their spikes, but unlike most spiky/fuzzy caterpillars, these 'devils' ' spikes are not that dangerous to humans (as in, not loaded with venom etc). Plus, they grow up into moths, which are usually not nasty insects (although regalis moths are relatively large insects).
  • The Eastern Kingbird, known in Latin as Tyrannus tyrannus. What kind of mighty, badass predatory bird could bear that name? It is actually no bigger than a sparrow, which, to boot, looks adorable.
  • Admit it. You either know a pet named with this trope, have a pet named with this trope, or would do so if you could get away with it.
  • Pogona aka Bearded Dragons are adorable little lizards that are popular pets since they are very easy to handle. Their diet consists solely of insects and greens, with a preference for the latter in adulthood. They are harmless to humans, a rarity among species native to Australia.
  • The Komodo dragon is about the only "dragon"-named lizard that is harmful to humans. Water Dragons, the aforementioned Bearded Dragons, Frilled Dragons, and even Flying Dragons (perhaps especially Flying Dragons, which are less than a foot long) are all much less intimidating than you'd expect from a dragon.
  • Vampyroteuthis infernalis translates to the "vampire squid from hell". It's a harmless animal that eats plankton. It's also kinda ugly cute.
  • There's a lizard called in Latin Moloch horridus and known in English as "thorny dragon" or "thorny devil". It does look sorta intimidating, as it is covered in nasty spikes, but otherwise it is completely harmless and feeds on ants.


A Lizard Named LizNaming ConventionsFluffy the Terrible

alternative title(s): Small Puppy Fearsome Name
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