Grotesque Cute

"...and he kept stabbing them, again and again... He's a halfling, he's supposed to be jolly... Why isn't he jolly? WHY ISN'T HE JOLLY???"

Generic Cuteness is taken for granted. You have all manner of strange things depicted as cute. But way past the vampire girl, you have the deliberately over-the-top depictions, where Sickeningly Sweet saccharine cuteness is depicted with wild, graphic violence.

For obvious reasons, these situations are more common in shows dabbling in satire.

See also: Cute and Psycho, Enfant Terrible, Killer Rabbit, Girl with Psycho Weapon, Cute Monster Girl, Ultra Super Death Gorefest Chainsawer 3000, Art-Style Dissonance. Can be a pretty deep well of Nightmare Fuel. Based on the same principle as Fan Disservice.

Compare with Kawaisa.

Not to be confused with Ugly Cute or finding Joseph Merrick intensely lovable (see What Measure Is a Non-Cute?).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Alien Nine, the manga gets worse.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan
  • Carnival Phantasm: Grail-kun is an adorable Super-Deformed representation of Angra Mainyu as All the World's Evil, the corrupted Greater Grail. It appears in a series of running gags where various characters ask it for advice and it offers the same solution to their problems: a kitchen knife.
  • Excel Saga
  • Elfen Lied. The Diclonii are, to a one, completely adorable girls with a pair of small horns on their head that make them look something like catgirls. Unfortunately, they are, with only a single exception, also heartless, murderous, superpowered psychopaths who can (and frequently do) forcibly and violently separate anyone nearby from their limbs and/or head with their telekinetic vectors.
  • From Fullmetal Alchemist, Pride. Aww, look at the cute little boy. Say, why are the shadows moving towards me and why do they have eyes and sharp teeth? Wait... ARGH!
  • Road Kamelot in D.Gray-Man certainly qualifies. She looks no more than twelve - yet in one of her first appearances she stabs the main character's eye with a candle, then licks the blood off afterwards.
  • Doubt - if you read later on... Grotesque cuteness indeed.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry, with the latter being even worse
  • Cat Soup and related animations.
  • Black Lagoon's Creepy Twins, Hansel and Gretel.
  • Dai Mahou Touge
  • Narutaru, once the Mood Whiplash kicks in. Things keep getting worse from there.
  • The main School Days series was already infamous for its bloody finale... And then comes the Magical Heart Kokoro-chan OVA, with the eponymous young lady helping pilot a giant Hello Kitty, chainsaw-wielding Combining Mecha, ripping apart the enemy and drowning the city in a sea of blood. Yeah...
  • The giant milk-bleeding stuffed animals in AKIRA.
  • Karakuridouji Ultimo has elements of this. Especially with characters like Ultimo, Mizho, and Hana.
  • Franken Fran veers back and forth between this and horrific.
  • Many of the creations by Henmaru Machino, where Hentai and extreme sexual pathology meets Kawaii.
  • The manga Death Panda by the notorious Gorn artist Uziga Waita.
  • The theme park from the Mad Pierrot episode of Cowboy Bebop uses this a lot. Some scenes of the destruction of cutesy park mascots, and their use as weapons, are terrifying.
  • Everyone in Future Diary, mainly thanks to a certain Yuno Gasai...
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Third episode.
    • The same scene in the manga version is even worse.
  • Shizuku from Hunter × Hunter embodies this trope, being essentially a childish collection of moe tropes who happens to be a member of the most bloodthirsty group of criminals on the plannet.
    • Her first appearance has her acting completely moe and scatterbrained, losing a round of arm wrestling to Gon because she forgot that she's left handed. Her second appearance has her smashing two named characters' heads into paste with a completely stoic expression.
  • Pandora Hearts. EVERYONE works with this trope, but the ultimate would have to be Lily. She's an adorable little girl....who has a demonic dog who can and will rip your throat out. And that's ignoring the fact that she made THIS FACE.

    Comic Books 
  • Roman Dirge's comic book Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Max in Sam & Max: Freelance Police — threatening cruel and unusual punishments while extolling his own "marketability".
  • Marvel Zombies Returns #1 has Zombie Spidey in a world that is like a late 60's- early 70's Spider Man comic. Everything's so happy UNTIL SPIDEY RIPS OUT KRAVEN'S THOAT WITH HIS TEETH!!
    • Everyone (except Zombie Spidey and Sandman) ends up infected and killed or just eaten alive.
  • I Hate Fairyland is a series in which an Ax-Crazy woman trapped in the body of a child in a Sugar Bowl world brutally destroys everything in her path in her quest to find the key that will get her back home. The protagonist herself counts in a way, as she looks like a little girl, but has a maniacal and ragged air to her.
  • New 52 Harley Quinn on several occasions, especially in the covers of issues #2 and #3.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Returns. Psycho clowns, rocket-mounted penguins, PVC bodysuits covered in weird stitches, Danny Devito's makeup, and... Christopher Walken.
  • There's a certain element of this to V in V for Vendetta. Round, pink cheeks; Eyes Always Shut; huge smile; little upturned nose (at least in the comics); silky, shoulder-length hair... and he kills people with his bare hands!

  • In Dean Koontz's book, Brother Odd, the title character encounters a manufactured animal who is the epitome of mindless cuteness. Mindless, in that it has no mind or soul and is therefore profoundly disturbing rather than cute.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The puppets in the Angel episode "Smile Time".
  • The suicidally depressed giant teddy bear in the Supernatural episode "Wishful Thinking".
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Uncanny Valley" was aiming for this as a general feel. It was an episode where the Unsub, who had her dolls taken away from her by her father kidnapped humans to serve as her dolls. It came complete with very kid-friendly music throughout.

  • Invoked in the music video for "Bloodline" by Slayer, where a kitten can briefly be seen lapping up a pool of blood.
  • Music/Vocaloid: Too many Rin and/or Len songs to count. A few examples? Any [[Music/Mothy Evillous]] video where they play an incarnation of Hansel or Gretel, Trick and Treat, Karakuri cetera.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The titular Mons in Pokéthulhu are cute. Eldritch Abominations, granted, but cute Eldritch Abominations. They'll also attack you and try to devour your soul if you're not careful.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade's vampires keep the looks (and age) they had at a moment of their death and vampiric transformation. So, it's possible to meet (or play as) a hundreds of years old undead monster, who looks like an angel-faced 10 years old.
    • Pushed Up to 11 in the old (and VERY disturbing) Montreal sourcebook (made by White Wolf's "Black Dog" imprint, which in itself should be considered a warning), where not only is there an angel-faced 10-year-old vampire -who's her pack's warrior- but the local vamps' unofficial mascot is a limbless dwarf Samedi (vampires who look like rotting corpses) who they use in a variety of gory "games", like "bob the apple" but with humans stuck up to their necks in a flour silo. No points for guessing the place is a Sabbat stronghold.
  • Pathfinder goblins can fall into this, when their funny little songs and childish antics crash hard against their general violence and destructiveness.

    Video Games 
  • Portal turrets are a combination of this, More Dakka and Psychopathic Manchild, but without the blood or gorn shown.
    • "Dispensing product."
  • Gears of War (a game widely known for its Gorn) has the Big Heads mutator, which gives everyone a near-Super-Deformed appearance plus a higher pitched voice.
  • Peggle Extreme, a demo of the Pop Cap game included with The Orange Box, features Peggle's lovable unicorn mascot Bjorn being eaten by a headcrab.
  • Child Alma from First Encounter Assault Recon.
  • SD Snatcher, despite the Super-Deformed characters, is just as gory as the original Snatcher. There's something strangely beautiful about seeing an adorable chibi with his head grotesquely twisted off.
  • The player characters in the Playstation Network game Fat Princess are adorable chibi fighters, wizards, and such... who bleed copiously when injured or killed.
  • Freeware game Yume Nikki has this in spades.
    • Even more so does the spinoff game .flow.
  • Meowcenaries
  • Cannon Fodder is a(n in)famous example—it's the trope namer for War Has Never Been So Much Fun, but it also attempts to avert Do Not Do This Cool Thing, with bloody results.
  • Robbie the Rabbit, the mascot of the Silent Hill Amusement Park is a pink bunny wearing a blue overall whose most prominent feature is the blood-stained mess on his mouth and clothes. Heather from the third game says that "it is more creepy than it is cute". Coming from a girl who has deadpan snarked her way through the eponymous town, without batting an eye to the overall gory insanity around her, this says a lot.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day and Conker Live and Reloaded.
  • American McGee's Grimm seems to have taken this direction in its art design.
  • Ms. Fortune in Skullgirls is a cute Cat Girl, in more ways than one. Then she attacks with High Pressure Bloody Murder and Detachment Combat.
  • Dahlia Hawthorne in Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations is extremely cute and beautiful, even with pure white butterflies flitting about her. However, at the end of the first trial, after she's been proven guilty of murder, she actually incinerates her butterflies with pure rage.
  • PETA's Cooking Mama ripoff. The cute jingly music doesn't make it any less hilariously Narmful.
  • Eversion: An adorable little orange flower brutally splattering his enemies when he jumps on them.
  • Both of The Behemoth's games, Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers.
    • Dan Paladin's artstyle in general. See Dad 'n Me.
  • The Creeper from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Flowers are pretty. Which makes a bio-weapon that makes flowers sprout from underneath and fatally turn you into a floral display in a most painful manner all the more disturbing.
  • Fairytale Fights.
  • Kingdom of Loathing's Iiti Kitty, a mummified Hello Kitty.
    She wrenches open the lid of a nearby sarcophagus, and countless articles of stationery, toiletries, and household goods with her face on them pour out. My god, she's everywhere! Aargh!
    • In the Kingdom of Loathing universe, seals aren't adorable fuzzy flopping creatures as in real life; they're hideous, shambling, bloodsucking monstrosities that happen to look like adorable fuzzy flopping creatures, one of which looks more like a mutated leech than any land mammal. That said, one familiar you can acquire as a Seal Clubber is an Adorable Seal Larva, which intersperses descriptions of it sucking the blood from your opponent and bursting into an enemy's corpse so it can regurgitate a healing fluid into your body with gushing about how adorable the thing is.
  • Considering how cartoony the characters in the Metal Slug series are, some of them die in fairly bloody ways.
  • Messiah has the contrast between Bob, a sweet, chubby cherub who looks like a winged baby in a diaper, and the violence and brutality throughout the game (a lot of it inflicted by Bob himself.)
  • The Nephilim in El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron are surprisingly adorable. Then they start swallowing each other whole, becoming insane gigantic fiery beasts.
  • Spooky's House of Jump Scares uses this as a large part of its premise. At first the game seems cute, until you encounter the legitimately creepy monsters. Even the cute cardboard cutouts can get pretty terrifying. Spooky herself provides a lot of this. The mini games all star her, and also feature bloody murder. It's revealed that the entire reason for her gathering a house full of monsters is so she can raise an army of ghosts from the people who died in it. Why? Because she hates it when people call her cute, of course.
  • The Elder Scrolls has Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness, associated with all things revolting, decay, disfiguring diseases, and cannibalism. She usually associated with things most would consider disgusting or repulsive, such as slugs, insects, or disfiguring diseases. In fact she only allows those considered ugly to summon her, and she hates attractive people.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Nana's Everyday Life, has the art style of a manga for little children; plays the mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of an underaged girl for laughs. Very dark laughs. Until it stops being funny.
  • This Something*Positive strip.
    • If you think that's bad, try this one..
    • The Little Blue Thing, aka Fluffmodeus. He's like an '80s cartoon character who Care-Bear-Stared a little too long into the abyss...
      "It only takes seven pounds of pressure to break a human skull... FROM THE INSIDE. Kisses now!"
  • Kiki playing with No Content from Sluggy Freelance: it gets bloody quick.
  • Ursula Vernon's Little Creature.
  • Charby the Vampirate is described as an ultra-violent Saturday morning cartoon, with adorable characters who will occasionally eviscerate or suffocate their many victims, brutally, with no Gory Discretion Shot. The combo is especially obvious with Mye, the zombie girl who smells sweet despite 315 years of decay, plus the unhealed slit in her chest where she got a sweet heart transplant. Her Evil Eyes are bubblegum pink.
    • Mye isn't decaying,(she is a traditional zombie, not a Hollywood/Romero zombie)the sweet smell is candle wax and gummy bears, two things she spends a lot of time with. And her brother's eyes are pink, too!
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship. Where to even begin?
  • Erf World, with the incredibly cute and adorable-looking, child-like midgets engaged in brutal, unending wars for no real, discernible reason.
  • Double Happiness
  • Arcturus Winrock from Suicide for Hire is downright ADORABLE with those big Puppy-Dog Eyes of his but he DOES have a dark side to him.....
  • Drowtales presents the amaceing Mili'ani!
  • The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) is a Lighter and Softer look at the Cthulhu Mythos—for instance, its cartoonishly-drawn "Cthulhoo" says "yum yum" every time he eats an unfortunate cultist. But it's still the Cthulhu Mythos, and the gore factor actually goes up compared to Lovecraft's work. It'd be Mood Whiplash if the death and dismemberment weren't so heavily integrated into the comic alongside the silliness.
  • Homestuck starts off simply being about a kid who is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by playing a new game. Then the game turns out to cause The End of the World as We Know It and summon monsters wearing jester hats to torment the protagonist, and it only gets worse from there on out.
    • It becomes more clear later on, with an army of anthropomorphic chess pieces being slaughtered by Jack Noir, a children's show's characters turning out to be representations of "Horrorterrors" and comic relief character Gamzee going Ax-Crazy and deciding he needs to kill all his friends.
    • Among the Trolls, Nepeta Leijon from is a Moe Cat Girl who kills wild animals for food with her Wolverine Claws. The other Trolls qualify as well, albeit to a lesser extent. This seems to be a fact of which they are both aware and proud, given that they decide to call themselves "Team Adorabloodthirsty."
      • The diaries of Vriska's ancestor suggest that this is not only normal, but expected and encouraged of trolls of Gamzee's rank; in troll society, such traits are considered the mark of strong leadership skills.
    • Also, Caliborn. One of the first things we see him do after his proper reveal is gnawing off his leg, causing him to get covered in his own blood. As for his personality, he's a sociopathic Jerk Ass who seems to find the sight of his sister's friends dying/being knocked out hilarious. And he likes firing rounds into people until they look like a bloody mess. All that being said and done, he still has large, rather adorable eyes with doll-like eyelashes, and as a cherub, he's the pinnacle of Ugly Cute.
  • In an attempt to tone down the violence and make the strip more viewer friendly (or so we are told), Kagerou brings us "cute chibi blood".
  • The Order of the Stick: The stick figure art makes everything look much cuter than it would in a more realistic style. And yet you still get characters like Xykon and Belkar and quite a bit of violence. In particular, Tsukiko sleeps with an adorable Xykon plushie, and Belkar is a fuzzy-footed halfling of chibi proportions who gleefully stabs everyone who crosses him or has something he wants.
    • And, then you get the Implosion spell shown in its full gory glory. Or Familicide: just... everything about it as the implications just snowball. If you don't shudder at those strips, something's wrong.
  • Sonichu unintentionally falls into this. It looks a lot like something your seven year old child would draw, with creatures that are a combination of Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon, with an Author Avatar that is the mayor of the town and cartoon-y villains. However, it features graphic sex scenes and true to this trope, scenes where a bunch of Internet trolls are tortured to death, including one getting drilled in the groin by a little girl.
  • Serenity Rose, in its currently ongoing second issue, makes the entire plot revolve around this.
  • Considering how cute most of the doctors at Sparklecare are, it's easy to forget that almost all of them are Mad Doctors who torment or kill their patients with no remorse.

    Web Original 
  • Ruby Quest is more or less about taking some cute animal people and then breaking them physically and mentally in horrible, horrible ways.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Agorable