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Cute Is Evil

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Cute, cuter... Oh No!

"Oh, monster of so little size... is that a parasprite before my eyes?"
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Cute is... disturbing and unnatural.

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 vs. 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, older children, and teenagers 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 secretly an Eldritch Abomination.

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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 = Goodness. Compare Beauty Is Bad, a milder form. Also see Killer Teddy Bear.

Compare and contrast Creepy Good and 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 creature. Also compare Adorable Evil Minions, where the cute critters serve as Mooks for the Big Bad or another villain.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Iron Maiden in Shaman King, but her alignment is more Lawful Stupid than evil.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has the witches, who are either cutesy or cute in a sexy way, but they’re undoubtedly attractive, and undoubtedly Trolls. In particular the 4 major antagonists, or 3 if you consider an independent avatar (Erika) and her master (Bernkastel) as a single being.
  • The titular character of the Anime, Manga and light novel series 'Youjo Senki', better known to English speaking audience as The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Tanya Von Degurechaff. She joined the military at age 9 and spent the next 3-4 years becoming one of, if not the most frightening soldiers in the entire Imperial Army (terrifying both allies and foes alike). She is a blond-haired, blue eyes little girl, who looks almost like a doll. Despite her cherubic appearance, she is an absolute nightmare on the battlefield (able to slaughter entire battalions/squadrons single-handed). She is cold, calculating and ruthless above and beyond the call of duty. She has a personal grudge against God (not figuratively, but literally). And she has demonstrated on more than one occasion to have no problems using her childlike appearance and qualities to gain tactical advantages that typically result in bloody victory. As one of her commanding officers says, "She is a devil/monster in the form of a little girl".

    Art 
  • 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.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In Cuddlesome, the Cuddlesomes were the hottest must-have toys of the 80s: cuddly pink talking hamsters, sold as the perfect toy for children of all ages. They are also the product of a Wicked Toymaker and designed to kill any adult who had not loved them enough.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Unglued set has a 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.
  • 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 Sluggy Freelance.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Galaxy Quest, the crew stumbles upon a cuddly group of child-like aliens, which they watch from afar. They almost fall for it... until the creatures show their true colors and eat a wounded member of their own species. Of course, tag-a-long crew-member Guy Fleegman doesn't fall for it for a second, but that's because he watched the TV show and knows the drill.
  • The title creatures in Gremlins start out as cute furry little things, but if fed after midnight, they become green monsters.
  • In the first Scooby-Doo live-action movie, the villain is Scrappy.

    Literature 
  • 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 Ax-Crazy, greedy, deceptive, egomaniac Psychotic Womanchild and one of the major villains in the series.
  • A Fire Upon the Deep has the Aprahanti species. They are humanoid with soft features, big round eyes, butterfly wings, soft downy fur, and cute sing-song voices. They are also militaristic fascists who make their first appearance pushing around a shopkeeper and later take a flimsy pretext to attempt genocide on humanity.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Shortly before the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling released a teaser statement saying that the book included a character with "a personality like poisoned honey." This character turned out to be Dolores Umbridge, a government bureaucrat who ended up as possibly the most hated character in the entire series, up to and including Voldemort. Her many terrible traits are underscored by her self-expression: she wears pink at all times, has an office decorated in china kitten plates, even has an Alice band in her hair (and she's well into middle-aged at least), and talks in a simpering, sweet manner.
    • Hepzibah Smith, seen in Half-Blood Prince is a lesser example, an elderly, extremely vain woman who hangs desperately onto coquettishness and sweetness in an attempt to seduce Tom Riddle.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Pting from "The Tsuranga Conundrum".
  • 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.
  • This trope is inherent to many a Power Rangers monster, but also some villains. If the villainous group has a small child, expect her to be The Starscream or something close to that (case in point: Mora in SPD). It goes both ways. Super Sentai, has had kid villains too, like Tran in Choujin Sentai Jetman (who, before his Plot-Relevant Age-Up into Tranza, was only second to Radiguet in bastardry) and Akomaru in Gosei Sentai Dairanger (who hated Kou so much that even death wouldn't stop him). Then Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger took the trope to its logical extreme in Brave 19, with a Monster of the Week so sickeningly cute that she can force people to do her bidding just by making puppy-dog eyes at them. Kyoryuger also had a recurring villain that fell under this.
  • In Stargate SG-1, Reese is a childlike android who gives rise to the greatest threat the galaxy has ever faced: the Replicators.
  • Tribbles in Star Trek: fluffy cute balls of doom. Though they can be pretty heroic when called into action.

    Music 
"I'm sick of you little girl and boy groups
All you do is annoy me
So I have been sent here to destroy you..."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One Bloom County arc features an Alien Invasion by creatures called Zygorthians, who blast cities with death rays, enslave women, serve the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir as hors d'oeuvres, and lock Pat Robertson in a room full of AIDS activists. When one of them is finally seen, he looks like a cute little puppy. (With antennae.)
  • 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.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In 2017 Candy Cartwright and her "Cutie Pie Club" caused this trope to apply to SHINE Wrestling. Their earliest efforts to stink up and sabotage The Nova Tournament resulted in SHINE being the only WWN member where Priscilla Kelly was a face, and Kelly's opposition was not cute. While she doesn't care for Kelly's biting or weaponized pubic sweat, Cartwright's definition of "cute" is otherwise broad. She associates with the Ax-Crazy brute Dementia D Rose.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • One of the tasks Marceline gives to Finn in "Henchman" is to slay a cute, harmless-looking Dimple Plant. Finn is reluctant... until the Dimple Plant turns into a vicious Man-Eating Plant.
    • "Conquest of Cuteness" sees Finn and Jake being harassed by the belligerent Cute King and his army of "cuties". Subverted in that the cuties turn out to be more of a danger to themselves than to our heroes.
    • Me-mow, the cat assassin from "Jake vs. Me-mow", who tries to blackmail Jake into helping him murder Berry Princess.
    • The piglets from "The Pods", who go on a rampage with magic wands after tricking Finn into thinking they're harmless.
  • 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. And they're ''still kinda cute even then.
  • 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.
  • Baby Doll of Batman: The Animated Series looks like a cute little girl but is a really a psychopathic adult.
  • While not "evil", just very possessive, Courage the Cowardly Dog had "The Precious, Wonderful, Adorable, Lovable Duckling", who decided to Murder the Hypotenuse (Muriel) in order to make sure Eustace only paid attention to it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Gigglepies from The Fairly OddParents!, who hypnotize people with their cuteness in order to sell their merchandise and destroy planets.
  • 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.
  • In Freaktown, the Freaks are the good guys while Princess Boo-Boo and her lackeys, who want to scrub the freakiness out of Freaktown and make it as cutesy as the rest of Sweetlandia, are the antagonists.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In the episode "Soos and the Real Girl", Soos buys a dating game where the love interest, Giffany, is an adorable Japanese school-girl... who becomes dangerously obsessed with anyone who plays the game.
    • Gideon Gleeful is a Deliberately Cute Child who projects an air of sugary adorability while psychologically abusing his parents, summoning demons, and attacking his crush's brother for "getting in the way."
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has Mandy, who is evil on the inside and cute on the outside.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Flores from the My Little Pony 'n 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:
    • This show 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 Jerkass. He has gotten a fair amount of Pet the Dog moments with Fluttershy and has had Butt-Monkey moments as well.
    • Cozy Glow is an adorable little filly with disturbingly sinister plans.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Kitty, a cute white cat who happens to be a minor villain.
    • The Fluffy Bunch from "Sweet 'N Sour".
    • Beebo from "Pet Feud", although he's really more Obliviously Evil since he had no idea what he was doing was bad.
  • 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...
  • The Hugstables from Regular Show are adorable creatures with a death hug.
  • 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.
  • The Simpsons: Maggie Simpson, maybe. Depends how one interprets that look she had at the end of "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part 2)" and Master and Cadaver segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXI."
  • The Woodland Critters from South Park, especially during the Imaginationland arc.
    Jason: Man, I do not want to meet the kid that dreamt those things up.
  • 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."
  • On Total Drama Island, Duncan is afraid of Celine Dion music store standees.
  • 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.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • Commanders Peepers looks fairly small and harmless, with a hilarious voice to boot (courtesy of Tom Kenny). He's the leader of Lord Hater's Watchdogs for a reason, however, and he can prove to be quite violent (as seen when trying to protect his job in "The Bounty") and ruthlessly cunning (as seen in "The Greater Hater" and "The Axe").
    • In "The Stray", Wander encounters a sad little kitten named Li'l Bits, who proceeds to cheerfully exploit Wander's hospitality and helpfulness at every turn, like forcing Wander to repeatedly rescue her headless teddy bear from a ferocious monster. Sylvia grows suspicious, and rightly so when it turns out Li'l Bits is not an orphan, but a bounty hunter who has literally hypnotized Wander with her cuteness in order to collect a big reward from Lord Hater.
  • Nom Nom from We Bare Bears is an adorable little koala who stars in viral videos. Behind the scenes, he's an egomaniacal diva who loves to antagonize and manipulate the bears for his own schemes to stay in the spotlight.
  • Mayoi in Big Hero 6: The Series are adorable little green critters which everyone in San Fransokyo falls in love with, except Hiro, who is convinced they're a Sycorax ploy. And then it turns out they're Planimals, and direct sunlight will make them get bigger and bigger. And then it turns out Mr Sparkles has the power to command and weaponise them. Their monstrousness gets reversed (by Sycorax, the whole thing being designed to cement Liv's Villain with Good Publicity schtick), but Mr Sparkles continues to control them, even in cute form.

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