A catch-all term for characters who, while being absolutely adorable, are also extremely capable at kicking ass. As said on a certain website, they make you break down and go "Aww, who's a widdle asskicker? Who's a widdle asskicker?"
Significant overlap with Cute Bruiser and Little Miss Badass can occur. What distinguishes Badass Adorable characters from their peers is the adorability. Particular emphasis is placed on their inherent vulnerability (emotional or otherwise), which is at odds with the abilities they can access.
Underneath the irrepressibly cheerful demeanor, behind the innocent wide-eyed gaze, lies an astonishing capacity for kicking your ass, leveling a city, or why not, leveling an entire country. Perhaps you've threatened their loved ones. Maybe you've offended their inviolate sense of justice. No matter what shape the grievance against you takes, they will give you an entirely new set of benchmarks to define hurt. Their destructiveness is directly proportional to their cuteness. Thus, Beware the Nice Ones.
Compare and Contrast with Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, who may not even be cognizant of their own badassery. Often exists as a subversion of the typical Tag Along Kid and Team Pet. See also Tyke-Bomb, for when the Badass Adorable is reared for the sole purpose of serving as living weaponry. A badass little critter can also be a Killer Rabbit. When the cute character is not only badass but also malevolent, then Cute Is Evil.
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- Real Life
- The banana in this Wrigley Gum commercial. Forget James Bond, this cute little fruit should be the next 007!
- The little girl from this Haribo advert. The other guy should have given up as soon as the door opened.
- The Supermen from Happy Heroes are all cute little Robot Kids, but don't let that fool you - they are very capable of combat and regularly give the designated Monster of the Week a good beating in most episodes.
- Peanuts: Linus van Pelt is an adorable, shy little boy who carries a baby blue security blanket with him wherever he goes. He is also highly intelligent, well-read, and philosophical (religious texts being his forte), preferring passive-aggression and wit to deal with people who are being jerks to him. However, he is proficient in using his blanket as a whip, a skill that carries over into the animated adaptations and which he won't hesitate to use if you insult his blanket habit or bully a girl in his presence. His most extreme example is the Very Special Episode Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, where, devoid of his blanket for the whole episode (to stress the seriousness of the subject), nearly clobbers a kid who was bullying his cancer-stricken friend/crush for her chemo-induced baldness.
- Baby Blues: Wren MacPherson is a very cute, little toddler and is always like this. And when her brother teases her, she always hits him with a ball they were playing off-panel.
- In Dennisthe Menace(UK), Dennis, Gnasher, Curly and Pie-Face are very cute and very badass, especially in the tv series.
- The Book of Life:
- Even as a child, Manolo was able to effortlessly perform amazing feats of bullfighting.
- Since she was a child, Maria has always been upbeat and adorable. Ten years later, and she became a certified badass.
- Both Flint and Samantha from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs can qualify, both having cute innocent faces but still being able to fight or get really mad at someone without looking too scary. They're more like this in the second part, though.
- The eponymous character of Coraline. A look that invokes Big Brother Instinct? Check. Underfed? Check. Having more balls than most healthy adult males? Um... check.
- Emily from Corpse Bride is pretty cute for an animated corpse and proves just how badass she is during the finale in the church against Barkis Bittern.
- Margo, Edith, and Agnes from Despicable Me. Three absolutely adorable and adopted girls who are also intelligent and ACT tough as hell. Gru, the minions, and Lucy also apply, but for Lucy it's more in a dorky way.
- The Equestria Girls movies essentially translate the Badass Adorable tendencies of MLP:FIM characters into their human counterparts, leading to moments like the motocross.
- Happy Feet Two has Boadicea pulling off Le Parkour moves and Erik standing up against some freaking Elephant Seals.
- Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, who takes cues from Stitch, is capable of going from badass to Adorable in the blink of an eye. It's all in the eyes. When he's happy to see you and wants to play, his pupils are HUGE, making him look adorable. If he doesn't like you or if you present a danger to him or his rider, those pupils will narrow to vertical slits and will make you instantly regret becoming the target of his wrath.
- Even though he's a 50-foot-something robot, the Giant from The Iron Giant is an endearing Gentle Giant, with a childlike naivety about the world he's come to. Just don't point a weapon at him...
- Kung Fu Panda has at least a few of these.
- First there's Protagonist Title-guy, Po, who has badass kung-fu skills by the end of the first film. The adorable is, of course, the fact that he's a chubby Panda.
- There's also Master Shifu, who is a small red panda, but he can kick just about anyone's ass.
- Believe it or not, Viper is pretty cute too. Plus, she's voiced by Lucy Liu.
- Uni-Kitty from The LEGO Movie is, as her name implies, a half-kitten, half-unicorn. She's pink and has a very sweet personality. If provoked far enough, however, she is capable of effortlessly defeating micromanagers unarmed, the only character to demonstrate this trait.
- The protagonist of Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants is a ladybug. A small, friendly, adorable ladybug who breaks out of The Siege in an Ant War to get her friends, the besieged ants, the weapon they need. Also, outwits the flies.
- Susan Murphy/Ginormica from Monsters vs. Aliens is a nearly 50 foot tall woman who managed to help stop a genocidal alien from destroying humanity and her big blue eyes make her look very cute.
- San in Princess Mononoke. Granted she is pretty badass but she does have her moments of being adorable whenever Ashitaka catches her off guard.
- The spinoff Puss in Boots introduces another Badass Adorable cat character by the name of Kitty Softpaws, who is skilled and tough on a level fit to rival Puss himself. And a literal "cat burglar."
- Maruti from The Return of Hanuman is adorable yet badass. Once he avoided bullets Neo-style. You could see his badassery here.
- The Sandman from Rise of the Guardians, because you do not want to get on his bad side.
- Gidget in The Secret Life of Pets. She's a big-eyed white Pomeranian who is generally pretty upbeat and friendly. She also kicks the tails of a small army of the Flushed Pets in short order to protect Max, including taking down a sewer alligator by herself.
- In the Shrek movies Puss-in-Boots takes serious advantage of this, weaponizing Puppy-Dog Eyes to catch opponents off guard.
- From Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse we have Miles Morales, a dorky high school student able to stand against villains twice his size, Peni Parker, a cutesy young girl piloting a spider-based mech, and Spider-Ham, a Funny Animal version of Spiderman who uses Toon Physics to fight and easily takes down Scorpion.
- The Jethro Tull song "Hunt by Numbers" is a driving prog-metal piece that sounds like it should herald the arrival of a badass. Paying attention to the lyrics quickly reveals that it's about kitties and how lethal, uncanny, and downright cute they are.
Hey little buddies
Soft and silky night walkers
Tiptoe menace, long grass stalkers...
- Ne-on in the Cool Kids Table game Star War is an Ewok Jedi whose chest is covered in battle scars (but his head and limbs are still fluffy) and wields lightsaber nun-chucks.
- The first star the Sequinox girls face, Antares, is cute, small, pink, and also almost destroys them.
- Flotsam the adorable bomb filly from Fallout Is Dragons. She serves as the team's moral core... and has no qualms about throwing grenades at her enemies, bowling for undead with explosives, or mining an entire dune to wipe out a raider encampment. Her best friend is a necromancer and together they pioneered the concept of Bombies, zombies loaded with explosives and sent after their foes.
- Tannikin the Pinglet in Hello, from the Magic Tavern is a tiny flying piglet who nobody can meet without discussing at considerable length how adorable she is. When she gets trapped in the mirror universe, she corrals a rebellion which turns the tide on the Dark Lord after just a couple of years, and was about to force the podcast crew to surrender when Usidore the Black returned her to her own universe.
- Let's take My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, give it a grimdark spin, and make it into a Play-by-Post forum. Equestria Chronicles is what you get.
- Just like their respective games, Paula, Viridi and Tails are this in Super Smash Brothers Life Itself. The Pokémon characters are also this... Along with Pac-Man and Amaterasu.
- In Les Misérables, Gavorche, who joins the revolutionaries, even when they don't want him to get hurt.
- They turn up in the KeyAni adaptations, of all places.
- Mai Kawasumi from Kanon. Even if the demons she fights every night are emanations of her own powers resulting from her reluctance to embrace them, you have to admit she's pretty handy with a sword.
- Tomoyo Sakagami from CLANNAD. Just ask the local biker gangs. Or Sunohara.
- From the same series, Kyou Fujibayashi also qualifies as this.
- Ace Attorney:
- Pearl Fey is a powerful candidate, since she's saved the day quite a few times by channeling Mia.
- For someone who is ostensibly the series' main Damsel in Distress, Maya certainly makes herself useful under the direst situations.
- An evil example of this trope would be Dahlia Hawthorne. Not everyone has the guts to jump from a bridge into a river known for its deadly speed just to steal a jewel.
- Athena Cykes is a Cute Bruiser, being super cheery but also strong enough to judo toss an adult male from behind her.
- Ambassador Colias Palaeno from Investigations, who manages to really grow on a lot of players, and who shows up with a small army near the end and pressures the other country’s ambassador, Quercus Alba, into staying put with thinly veiled threats. And he keeps smiling while doing it.
- Higurashi: When They Cry: Most of the cast counts, really. (Mion and Shion fall into Cute Bruiser territory.)
- Rena, whose primary prerogative on a normal day is to find cute things to take home. When pushed to protect herself or her friends, she can (non-fatally) swing around a cleaver like no one else.
- Satoko, appropriately dubbed 'The Trap Master' by the rest of the cast, is somewhere between 9 and 12 years old and very frequently The Woobie, yet she can trap, confuse or outright take out trained, fully grown men with minimal effort on her part.
- Rika, whose very presence in early arcs was basically to say something cute for Rena to Squee over, proves herself to be this when she goes it alone and tries to take out Shion with mace and a syringe. She failed, but it was still Badass. She's also Really 700 Years Old and eventually becomes determined to Screw Destiny.
- Hanyuu, a little girl around Rika's age, cute enough to be kidnapped by Rena three times in two minutes, who is also Oyashiro-sama, a Physical God who is promoted from The Voice and The Scapegoat to a full cast member during the final arc.
- The entire point of Koihime†Musou, but especially Kan'u. Even more so in the first game.
- The Nasuverse is peppered with this trope.
- Arcueid from Tsukihime is more well known for being a bit adorably ditzy than being sexy. Also known more for her outrageously broken strength.
- The Fate/stay night girls all have their moments.
- Ilya is probably the most prominent there. Of course, she also happens to be a complete (but intensely sympathetic) psychopath loli who isn't as young as she looks.
- Some would even regard Shiki Ryougi as one.
- Rosemary from Rose of Winter is this in spades. She's a hopeless romantic, flusters easily, thinks "this is a bit of a pickle" is coarse language, and wants to be a knight not for the thrill of battle, but because she sees it as a way to help people. Which she does by swinging a sword that would make Cloud Strife jealous at any and all gigantic wild animals that try to harm the prince she's sworn to protect.
- Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow has the Player Character Saori Shishido, a doll-like bifauxnen who arrives to Nagasaki as an Action Survivor who needs to hone her ninja skills fast so she can avenge her brother's death, but at the end of each route has grown into as a full-fledged Action Girl whose boyfriends LOVE how strong she has become AND how adorable she is.
- Veridadia from Yumina the Ethereal, who can turn herself into a BFS capable of destroying anything in a single strike.
- Whateley Universe: Several, which shouldn't be too surprising given that it is set in Elaborate University Superhero High School, with some students as young as nine.
- Of these, the most notable is probably Jade Sinclair (Generator), one of the original main character. Cute as a button, looks like she's only eleven... and has scared the holy <censored> out of violent villains like Bloodwolf and Killstench. Bloodwolf controls a werewolf spirit and likes hurting people. He got stapled to a tree with railroad spikes. Do not make Generator mad at you. And then there's the Syndicate hardsite she destroyed... after being tortured nearly to death, stabbed through the heart, then gives herself CPR and plays dead until her regen kicks in, then she goes about killing half the base herself with jagged metal objects and raising her victims as "zombies". It starts to cross the line into Grotesque Cute, really.
- Team Wondercute, an entire team of Adorable Badasses dedicated to 'defending cuteness' and are the terror of the combat simulation exercises. Not surprisingly, Jade is pretty much their de facto leader.
- Ribbon, a Cute Bruiser with high end regeneration, Nigh-Invulnerability, a 5 ton deadlift, and the ability to create cloth out of nothing.
- Diz Aster, a junior high student with dramatic Super Strength and a Force Field, but suffers from Power Incontinence which she is only just starting to overcome in Fall 2007.
- The Lambsbridge Gang in Twig, a team of TykeBombs who act as the enforcers for an Academy of Evil, yet who remain childlike and playful with one another.
- Mirror World: Wiggy is a young bat-like beast creature known as a day-vamp and is a very optimistic, all-loving girl. She also helps Vita on her journey to try and stop an all-out war, and violently mauls a giant monster known as a Brood by herself, with no weapons aside from her claws.
- Rosanna Pansino in Season 3, Episode 4 of Escape the Night. Deemed the sweet cinnamon roll by the fandom even before Season 3 began, she evolved to Badass Adorable in episode 4 after finding out the name of the Man With No Name in the elimination challenge she was sent into and being able to retrieve the blood stone, beating out arguably another The Cutie Teala Dunn. Her persistence and capacity for badassery surpassed the fandom's expectations, as cinnamon rolls in ETN usually don't become Badass Adorable.
- Rebecca Stone from Demo Reel. Sweet and pretty, but will slam your head into something hard if you're sexist to her or just outright beat you to death if you hurt her friends.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd's pet cat, Death Kitty (real name: Boo) chased away the Atari Jaguar logo when it invaded the Nerd's room and proved impervious to his light guns. As the Nerd himself puts it, Death Kitty is "the real Jaguar".
- Nips from "The Casebook of Nips & Porkington". While not as badass as the other examples, he's pretty intelligent and smart for a detective.
- Campaign 2 of Critical Role introduces the adorable Tiefling Cleric Jester. She's a sweet Cloud Cuckoo Lander with a massive Sweet Tooth who likes pretty clothes and pastries. She also has a Lollipop as her Spiritual Weapon...and it's actually quite effective. Also, she has the second highest strength in her party, and as a Cleric she has access to some pretty potent spells. She even managed to land the final blow on a few tough enemies, including the campaign's endboss, the Nonagon.
- Nurse Worse from Dr. Crafty. She's quite a Cute Monster Girl with a cheerful disposition and a sweet voice (courtesy of Megami33 from Team Four Star). However, she's quite strong when she needs to put up a fight, often clobbering her opponents with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure-style.