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Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon

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Splint, by LittleTLK
Image used with permission of the artist, LittleTLK and the character creator, Ka1dus.
"He'd stand there amid the carnage, blood on his hands and stolen jewelry in his pocket, and with an expression of injured innocence declare, 'Me? What did I do?'
And it was believable right up until you looked hard into those cheeky, smiling eyes, and saw, deep down, the demons looking back."
Description of Carcer Dunn, Night Watch

Much of the time, in keeping with Black-and-White Morality and Beauty Equals Goodness, we expect to be able to tell good and bad characters apart just by looking at them. We assume someone's good if their face looks innocent, compassionate, virtuous, or honest, while we assume the worst of someone who looks mean, untrustworthy, immoral, or threatening. Therefore, it makes for an unsettling contrast or even a shocking revelation when a character looks benevolent on the outside, but turns out to have a malicious personality. On the one hand, because they look just like you'd expect a good character to look, they could try to inflict more harm by deceiving others about their real intentions. On the other hand, they could be completely upfront about being evil and allow their enemies be spooked by the discrepancy between their appearance and their actions.


This is different from Beauty Is Bad or Evil Is Sexy, because looking attractive and looking innocent or virtuous are not necessarily the same thing. A Killer Rabbit is someone or something who looks weaker than they are, but not necessarily more innocent. A Bitch in Sheep's Clothing is someone who pretends to be nice but is actually a Jerkass; being nice or mean isn't the same as being good or evil, which is why we have tropes like Affably Evil and Good Is Not Nice. Very close to this is Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, when someone disguises themself to look less threatening, but who might be anti-heroic or misunderstood rather than pure evil. Another related trope is The Fake Cutie, who likes to act cute, but whose real personality is anything but. They Look Just Like Everyone Else! is a similar idea, but refers to villainous characters who look ordinary and unremarkable.


This is the parent trope to Enfant Terrible when applied to children, since a common assumption is that Children Are Innocent. Compare Divinely Appearing Demons, when the inhabitants of hell superficially resemble creatures of heaven, and contrast with Obviously Evil, which is when a bad character looks as evil on the outside as they are on the inside. The inverse is Face of a Thug, when a character looks evil on the outside but is either good or neutral on the inside. Frequently combined with Light Is Not Good, since light is usually equated with holiness, as well as Pure Is Not Good, since purity is usually equated with innocence.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Romanian Twins from Black Lagoon could almost be the Trope Namer for this. They are hugely appealing children with platinum-blonde hair, big blue eyes, dressed in very respectable clothes... and are assassins so ruthless and indiscriminate that even the worst people in Roanapur look good in comparison.
  • Ieyasu from Battle Girls: Time Paradox may look sweet and nice but she is much more malicious on the inside.
  • Lucemon from Digimon Frontier, specifically his rookie form, fills this trope to the letter. While he is technically a Holy Angel Digimon with the appearance of a child, he is cruel, manipulative, and not above backstabbing his most loyal subordinates, as shown when the Royal Knights (who had spent the entire half of the Season attempting to free him from his prison) ended up near death due to their fight against the Digidestined, instead of assisting them he stole their fractal code for himself.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Zamasu, especially Present Zamasu. He looks like an older, green version of Shin, Supreme Kai of Universe 7, with pretty boy features. He even looks downright innocent when serving tea to Gowasu in Episode 53. That is before he suffered Sanity Slippage after meeting Goku who shattered his world. After that encounter, he began his fall to the dark side. Evil Makes You Ugly rears its head once Goku Black and Future Zamasu fuse and Merged Zamasu starts taking a beating, as his nature as a half-immortal means the Future Zamasu's Healing Factor starts screwing up and replacing injuries with some sort of purple gelatinous substance.
    • Barry Khan is a handsome, charming man, and an absolute Spoiled Brat who will resort to trickery, blackmail, and even kidnapping babies the very instant something doesn't go his way or he isn't the center of attention. When he's possessed by Watagash, all of his inner evil and darkness is brought to the surface, turning him into a Kaiju-sized monster who's able to overpower Gohan in his base form.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • After Father swallows God he gains a more angelic looking face.
    • Similarly, the homunculus Pride takes the appearance of a young child... well, except for the fact that his true self, puppeteering that child's form is the giant, sentient shadow.
  • Johan Liebert from Monster has a pleasant, almost angelic face, but is The Sociopath who embraces his complete lack of morals.
  • El-Hazard 2: While Kalia may look sweet and innocent, don't be fooled. In truth, she's an instrument of revenge, created by the lost tribes and civilizations who felt wronged by the Eye of God. Thus, she exists to wipe out all existence, and we mean ALL OF IT.
  • Dietrich Von Lohengrin from Trinity Blood. In-universe, he's described as having the face of an angel but the heart of a devil.
  • In Gankutsuou, this is done with Andrea, as is the case in the original The Count of Monte Cristo (see Literature below). While Generic Cuteness is in play, Andrea is still the most Bishōnen cast member, and has blond Ojou Ringlets. The only hint of his true nature as a depraved psychopath is the fact that he has rather slitted eyes which reveal themselves as Hellish Pupils when his affable mask drops.
  • Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a strange, cat-like creature that looks like a cuddly stuffed animal. Whether or not it really feels malice is up for debate but once you learn that its entire goal is to lure young girls into a life of Magical Girldom so they will become the bizarre, insane monsters called witches those cute little eyes become terrifying.
  • Glemmy Toto of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is a charming 17-year old with a goofy personality and the face of the bishiest pretty boy you ever did meet, complete with big Innocent Blue Eyes and light blond hair. He's a clone of Gihren Zabi, the UC version of Adolf Hitler and is in the running for the title of "most evil person in the show".
  • This is said, nearly word-for-word about the recently-deceased daughter of a couple who buy a rabbit from Count D in Pet Shop of Horrors. It turned out that said daughter had been absolutely adorable, but grew up to be a shoplifter, a drug addict, and generally a horrible person thanks to being spoiled throughout childhood. This comes up when the parents spoil the rabbit (who magically looks exactly like their daughter) and it promptly begins to act the same way, manipulating them into feeding it things that let it rapidly reproduce.
    • Count D himself arguably qualifies as well. He's a very beautiful man who has been mistaken for a woman by more than one person and has a disturbing tendency to show little to no concern over customers who get mauled, killed, or otherwise destroyed by the pets he sells them. Given that he's implied to be sort of a Fair Folk breed, he really suffers from a case of Blue-and-Orange Morality. The end of the series shows that his father is exactly the same, but is considered depraved even by D's standards.
  • Misa and Light of Death Note are both attractive and insane murderers. Averted when their memories were temporarily erased.
  • Lucy of Elfen Lied is a major qualifier. She's immensely beautiful and also Ms. Fanservice. Also, she has a little tendency to kill people meaninglessly, often leaving a massacre at her wake, and desires the extinction of the human race.
  • Inverted with Kitano from Angel Densetsu who has a face of a demon but mind of an angel.
  • Krad of D.N.Angel embodies this more than most. Long blond hair, flowing white robes, associated with light, to the point of always manifesting in a soft glow in the anime. Magnificent white wings, symbolic of good. Regularly torments his host by forcing a full transformation from human, complete with sprouting said wings from a human body, and making a really good try at killing his sort-of twin whenever they're anywhere near each-other, trading what should be lethal injuries with disturbing regularity.
  • Griffith of Berserk is a very beautiful man with long white hair and wears shiny armor that even evokes an angelic appearance. He's also a Manipulative Bastard, a rapist, and a member of the Godhand who got to where he was by taking a Deal with the Devil and sacrificing his most loyal soldiers.
    • Interestingly, the Godhand are called the Five Angels, which would make Griffith an Angel with the Mind of a Demon.
    • Rosine looks like enchanting fairy and unlike most Apostles she expels light, but Rosine is truly insane wanting to "save" all children like her by turning them into terrifying insect creatures and she herself becomes more horrifying when Guts starting damaging her for real.
  • Gyokuen Ren from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic is a kind and loving mother to her children and has very polite mannerisms. Actually, she's a Evil Matriarch who usurped the throne, is a member of an evil organization, and in the past her actions lead to her first husband and two older sons's deaths.
  • In Project ARMS, Keith White is an attractive, charismatic man who has no compunctions over performing painful experiments on children. Or mowing large numbers of them down with machine guns. Or using a nuclear weapon to destroy all life on the planet, leaving him to rule as a god.
  • Huey Laforet of Baccano! is an angelically beautiful man in white who's unfailingly polite and never so much as raises his voice. He's also a Manipulative Bastard, Card-Carrying Villain, Mad Scientist, terrorist, emotionally abusive father, troll and unrepentant all-around asshole.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Russia, the resident Psychopathic Manchild, looks very cute and sweet despite his size.
  • Kill la Kill: Nui Harime wears an all-pink dress, tons of bows, and an everlasting cute smile.She's also the murderer of the protagonist's father and later episodes show that she is completely sadistic underneath her bubbly exterior.
  • Nidome no Yuusha Princess Alessia had a powerful air of "innocence and elegance" about her, but she's sadistic, sinister, and supremely racist to the core. It takes four years in the original timeline for Kaito to realize it, and he hates himself for it.
  • Toyed with/Zig-Zagged with Furuichi Teraoka from Xam'd: Lost Memories. Although he's a villain, in every respect he looks, acts, and talks like a good guy in his early appearances, and while he's physically no more attractive than any other major character he has an appealing, innocent-sounding voice (particularly in the English dub, where it's almost hauntingly beautiful). However, in the early part of the story he is a good person, and it's the events of the series that cause him to become a villain. He still looks, acts, and talks the same as he ever did even after becoming a borderline-abusive Crazy Jealous Guy for his friend Haru—at least until he goes into One-Winged Angel mode.
  • Ash Lynx in Banana Fish isn't a villain, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. He's a 17-year-old blonde-haired Pretty Boy who also happens to be a genius tactician and ruthless killer. Many, many characters make the mistake of underestimating him. Most of them end up dead.
  • Shyamalan from the first season of Birdy the Mighty: Decode is fairly sweet-looking and friendly, but is also the main villain of the season and plotted to unleash a super weapon that had been shown to destroy whole planets.
  • From PandoraHearts, Jack Vessalius. "Ho-oh boy."
    • Other examples include:
      • The Intention of the Abyss (later subverted because she's not evil, just lonely and unstable).
      • A comedic one in Sharon Rainsworth
      • To an extent, Xerxes Break.
      • Oswald Baskerville, or Glen, again, to an extent.
      • Vincent Nightray, somewhat.
      • Lottie, but she gets better after some character development. That doesn't mean she completely drops it, though.
  • Juuzou Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul. His strange fashion sense and body stitching aside, he's noted to be incredibly beautiful and more than one character actually describes him as "angelic". He's also a Psychopathic Manchild prone to extreme acts of violence and was raised by a sadistic Ghoul as her personal executioner. As his Character Development kicks in, this trope becomes subverted, but still as terrifying as ever.
  • Akoya from Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!. He's beauty! He's grace! He's a complete narcissist and by far the most likely of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council to stab you in the back.
  • The Saga of Tanya the Evil has Tanya Degurechaff, an angelic-looking young girl with golden hair and large blue eyes. Don't let her looks fool you, however, for that is the face of the Fatherland's most dangerous Military Mage Child Soldier with a devious acumen for wartime strategy who will bend the rules of engagement to accomplish her goals, whether it's tricking the workers of an enemy munitions plant into not evacuating before bombarding it, or reinterpreting laws to allow her army to launch artillery strikes on cities and kill civilians!
  • Todomatsu, the youngest and most effeminate of the Osomatsu-san sextuplets, speaks softly and wears a constant cat smile but is even more conniving than his older siblings. When the brothers manage to obtain a telepathic cat, it reveals the self-serving nature hidden behind a few of Todomatsu's seemingly compassionate comments.
    Todomatsu: Someone could use him for evil. Let's keep him here.
    Cat: "The cat's gotta be worth some money!"
  • One Piece:
    • Sugar looks like an adorable little girl; looks deceive on both counts. A special officer in Doflamingo's army, she's actually 22 years old when seen, kept eternally a child by her Hobi Hobi no Mi Devils Fruit, and is shown to be cruel and merciless, enjoying using her power to turn citizens into toys and subjugating them into slavery, deleting memories of them from their families and friends. (This comes back to bite her and Doflamingo in the end, of course due to the No Ontological Inertia nature of Devils Fruit; when finally bested, and every single victim over ten years is cured, the mass panic it causes results in Doflamingo's criminal empire crumbling, almost overnight.)
    • Charlotte Pudding, the 35th daughter of Big Mom and fiance of Sanji. When first introduced, she was perfectly friendly to the Straw Hats, and seemed to be the Token Good Teammate in her family. It reached the point where Luffy was prepared to accept her as a new crew member, and Sanji was willing to go along with their marriage. But on the eve of the wedding, she visited the now-imprisoned Luffy and Nami and gloated about how she was going to kill Sanji during the wedding (while her crewmates would kill Sanji's family). Pudding also captured and tortured Reiju while telling her the plan, which led to Sanji discovering the truth when he happened to overhear. The realization of her true nature left him utterly heartbroken. And then it's subverted when Sanji compliments her third eye for the first time in her life, leaving her unable to go through with betraying him. It's then revealed that she really was the Token Good Teammate of her family, but constant bullying about her third eye caused her to hide her kindness and become cruel. Sanji complimenting the eye brought her original sweet nature back to the surface, and she falls in love with him for real.
  • Tsukuyomi of Negima Magister Negi Magi 0 is a cute girl always dressed in frilly outfits, speaks politely, and comes off as any other character you'd find in a story filled with such girls. What separates her from the other girls is that she actively enjoys murdering people, stalks the girl she's in love with, and nearly rapes her. The characters who come across her are appropriately horrified.
  • Gabriel Dropout takes this trope to its logical extreme with Raphi. An actual angel. Who uses her sugar sweet personality to be a weapons grade Troll for kicks.
  • Aji Tae, the Big Bad of Shin Angyo Onshi is quite almost a literal example - outwardly he appears as an angelically handsome blond-haired young man with an unfailingly kind, wise, sweet-natured personality (he even has hidden wings, although they have black feathers). As it turns out, Aji Tae is a genuine demon of the worst possible sort, and as the story progresses he reveals himself to be an utterly malicious, sadistic, psychopathic monster who once slaughtered an entire country in a fit of rage.
  • Michael from Innocents Shounen Juujigun is a beautiful, earnest church boy who appears to not be the sharpest tool in the shed. He also kills two of the main cast members, betrays the Children's Crusade, leads hundreds of innocent boys into being sold as slaves, is possibly the most self-centered and bitter character in the story, and favors impalement with a large, wooden stake through the midsection for killing people.
  • In Future Diary we see Yuno Gasai. She is described by most male classmates as very pretty, but at the same time she is also a very brutal yandere.
  • Ryo Asuka from DEVILMAN crybaby. Blond, good-looking, soft-spoken, charming, intelligent, well-dressed (inevitably in white), drives a fancy car, clearly a devoted friend of main character Akira Fudo... and a complete sociopath who's rarely found without a submachine gun under his expensive jacket. Even early on, it's clear that he's a Manipulative Bastard and Poisonous Friend at best. Then it turns out that he's actually Satan, the Fallen Angel, with amnesia. Once he remembers, he becomes the Big Bad, and assumes his true, angelic form.

    Comic Books 
  • One such character named "Angelface" (guess what he looks like) appears in a Blueberry story, as part of a plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. He ends up getting his face shoved into a locomotive's furnace.
  • Word of God says that Kroenen from Hellboy was a choir boy before he became a self-mutilating psychopathic Nazi ninja zombie.
  • The Thessalian from The Sandman is a witch born in the Stone Age, who's managed to spend the past few decades disguised as a harmless little Meganekko. A variant; she's not needlessly evil, but seems to live in a perpetual state of I Did What I Had to Do.
    Thessaly: [after snapping the neck of a cute little dodo-creature] Nothing is too cute or sweet to be dangerous.
  • An inversion appears in the Legion of Super-Heroes story The Computer Conqueror. When one of Triplicate Girl's three "selves" is killed, the Legionnaires think that she is dead and send a memorial rocket to a certain planet. We see the rocket landing among many other memorial rockets. One of them is dedicated to "Hate-Face", who is described in the memorial as having had "the face of a demon but the mind of an angel".
  • Steve Ditko used this trope with the teenage criminal Angel in his objectivist crimefighter comic book Mr. A. Fittingly enough, Angel uses his innocent good looks and young age to get people to sympathize with him and ignore his true violent nature and sociopathic personality.
  • Comes up in a few ways during The Movement with Burden and his brother. Burden has the power to transform into different types of demonic beings, while his brother was capable of growing angel-like wings and had powers his family thought were divine in nature. It's still not clear if Burden really is demonic or if he only manifested abilities like that because everyone believed he was a demon. Why? His brother, who was very young when Burden was born, told his parents "God" said his brother was pure evil. In reality, Burden's brother is a complete sociopath who purposefully let everyone believe he was evil in an effort to make his brother's life hell, later on framing him for killing their dad. Like with Burden, it's likely his brother's powers only manifested as they did because everyone kept saying how "Angelic" he was.
  • Marvel 1602 has Count Otto "the Handsome" von Doom, ancestor of the modern era's Doctor Doom and a complete ass in his own right.
  • During Red Robin Cass asks Tim for help tracking down a notorious Hong Kong serial killer known as Cricket. When they do find him he's revealed to be about twelve and he takes fighting and killing all to be a good fun. He's also an excellent martial artist and low level speedster that easily breaks Tim's arm and defeats Cass, laughing all the while.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: The "Silver Wings" actually look like Angels, complete with wings, but their purpose is to help Gah lak Tus to destroy planets.
  • Lucky Luke: A variation of this trope appears in Lucky Luke vs. Joss Jamon. One of the members of Jamon's gang, Sam the Farmer, is a man who looks to be in late-middle age, and has a folksy, down-to-earth appearance, which he plays up by dressing in farmer clothes and using a country accent. People just assume he's trustworthy and honest because of his looks, even though he's just as dangerous and criminal as the rest of the gang, allowing him to lie and cheat with ease.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics also show the two half-demons Nash and Pearl. They look beautiful, but they are psychopathic mass murderers.

    Fan Works 
  • Machi in Dirty Sympathy is an unrepentant smuggler and murderer. Lampshaded by Apollo, who admits that he pictured the latter looking like a rat based on the description of his crimes and personality.
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Case 5: Turnabout Substitution has Rhea Wits, a brutal, psychopathic Serial Killer with the outward appearance of a cute female assistant for Apollo in a similar vein to Maya, Ema and Athena.
  • In Pony POV Series, Queen Chrysalis's complete form Queen Cadenza becomes this, as she now is no longer simply masquerading as Cadence but genuinely became her Evil Twin. While the Elements force a heart on her, she's still a psychopathic monster with her new heart only serving to drive her more insane due to the conflict between her wicked nature and the ability to now feel guilt for her actions.
  • Brigit Stark from My Name Is Cinder is described as beautiful and is the one where Cinder gets her good looks from. However, Brigit is really a selfish, manipulative, sociopathic, gold-digging, abusive mother. She is willing to drive her husband to suicide for money and beat her daughter for little to no reason other than the fact that Cinder trying to expose her mother's true nature. Cinder even describes her as "a demon wrapped in an angel's skin."
  • In Glitchtale, this trope describes Betty from Dust to My Promise. In this time frame, she murders Sans, Asriel, and Alphys, steals the souls of several children and feeds them to Akumu, and later revives Sans and Asriel as puppets. This trope does stop applying to her, however, when she and Akumu are revealed to be two halves of Bete Noire, and subsequently fuse.
  • In But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci, Superman has all his conventional looks, being a hunk with a Heroic Build and his iconic cowlick hair. The mind in control of that body? Lex Luthor.
  • King Nikolas in Yin-Yang has the conventional looks associated with royalty and is noted to be rather handsome. He's also a Manipulative Bastard who pulls a Frame-Up on Adam and Adora's ancestor, King Ro, to make it look like he murdered Mara's lover.
  • Raised by Jägers: Heterodynes are apparently genetically predisposed for this. Historically, they've all been violent marauders and insane conquerors, but they've been great at putting on an innocent face. Agatha isn't actually evil, but she still has a tendency to look suspiciously innocent whenever she's broken any rules.
    Footnote: The best innocent mien had been perfected by Iscarriot Heterodyne, who could look downright angelic even while in the act of physically stabbing someone in the back. He was a real people person.

    Films — Animation 
  • Cats Don't Dance: Golden-haired, cherubic Darla Dimple is considered the most adorable thing in Hollywood, which helps her get away with hiding her sociopathic, sadistic nature.
  • Frozen has Prince Hans, who only pretended to love Anna so he could take over the kingdom.
  • In Toy Story 3, Lotso Bear has an adorable appearance and seems plushable and hugabble, but he is a complete tyrant, and arguably the vilest character of the Toy Story franchise.
  • The Hidden Villain of Zootopia cranks this trope beyond eleven. Assistant Mayor Bellwether is a cute and very innocent-looking sheep, and has a kind, helpful and somewhat goofy personality....on the surface. Deep down inside, she's a ruthless and scheming manipulator who has ordered her minions to turn innocent predators savage to allow her to rise in political power, and she's willing to murder both Nick and Judy in order to silence them once they discover she's responsible for everything. She even goes so far as to stay and watch what she thinks is a savage Nick chomping down on Judy's neck, giving a Psychotic Smirk afterwards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Halloween (1978), when Michael Myers appears onscreen as a child, we see that he looks completely innocent. It may seem hard to believe he's pure evil, a psychopathic Ax-Crazy Serial Killer. We also get a glimpse of his adult face near the end, and sans the eye he got poked in earlier, he looks like the reasonably-handsome actor playing him.
  • Jack Merridew from Lord of the Flies, at least as represented physically in the two films. With his blond hair and physical appearance, as well as being a child, he looks very innocent. What can we say about his personality? Dear God...
  • Fyodor Basmanov in Ivan the Terrible is angelically beautiful, he is also Ivan the Terrible's fanatically loyal right hand man and happily sings about murder and burning in hellishly lit banquets
  • Andrew Robinson was chosen to play the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry because he had a "face like a choir boy." Scorpio is a murdering psychopath.
  • Macaulay Culkin plays a Creepy Child with murderous tendencies in The Good Son. South America even lampshaded it in their Market-Based Title: The Evil Angel.
  • Case 39: Emily Jenkins is a social worker who - on her 39nth case, meets Lilith - a ten year old girl with suspicous parents who she caught trying to shove Lilith into an oven. After adopting Lilith herself, Emily finds out Lilith is a demon who has been learning people's worst fears and using those to make them kill themselves.
  • Sightseers: Tina looks harmless, but turns out to be even more callous than Chris, who kills a man for littering.
  • Jacob Goodnight's mother in See No Evil. At first, she seems to be completely oblivious to her son's crimes. Then we learn that she's the one who forced him to commit them.
  • The title character in Mikey he may look cute and innocent most of the time, but he is a psychopathic murderous child.
  • Trance: Don't be fooled by Simon Newton's very pretty, innocent visage; he's a hideous Green-Eyed Monster underneath—more specifically, a homicidal Domestic Abuser.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse:
    • Archangel's face may look cherubic, but his personality is anything but that. He's Apocalypse's "angel of death," and he assists his leader in bringing about the worldwide extinction of humans and mutants alike.
    • It lasts for only a couple of minutes, but when Professor X is briefly "seduced" by Apocalypse's immense power while connected to Cerebro, Charles makes no attempt to oppose the invader inside his mind at first, and Xavier's Black Eyes of Evil signify that he has surrendered to the dark side. Although his eyes are eerie in this state, he remains a Pretty Boy, and because the character's looks are closely tied with his personality throughout the First Class trilogy (i.e. youthfulness = naïve), Professor X at his most evil would still be beautiful because he was such a good person to begin with (he is the Christ figure of the franchise), and this evokes the image of a Fallen Angel.
  • Holocaust 2000: Angel Caine is a suave English gentleman whose boyish good looks hide the fact that he's actually a chilling sociopath and The Antichrist himself.
  • Primal Fear: Aaron Stampler is a young altar boy described by others as looking "like a Boy Scout", who is actually an unrepentant murderer who successfully manipulates his attorney into helping him play the justice system and get away scot-free.
  • Rhoda Penmark from The Bad Seed fits this to a tee. A psychopathic eight year old little girl who was born to do evil.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: Loki has a boyish, youthful, innocent-looking visage, and he's a Boomerang Bigot who attempts to annihilate the entire Jötunn species. After Thor has thwarted his plans and they're both hanging off the edge of what remains of the Rainbow Bridge, Loki glances up at Odin with Puppy-Dog Eyes; in spite of the genocide that Loki had just tried to commit, his facial features are still childlike, which conveys visually that deep down, he's a love-starved boy who wishes for nothing more than to earn his father's respect and affection. When Odin expresses his disappointment at his adopted son's actions, a heartbroken Loki then releases his grip on Gungnir, and he almost literally becomes a Fallen Angel—he's a god who has fallen from grace and from the heavens (Asgard), and plunges into an abyss (a hell of sorts).
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ego the Living Planet was referred to as an "angel" by his lover Meredith on her death bed, and he has the look of a handsome, iconic '80s hero courtesy of being played by Kurt Russell. It's revealed that he is a megalomaniac evil Celestial that plans to absorb all planets in the universe and turn them into an extension of himself and to this end, he fathered countless alien children over the centuries so he could complete this process. Whenever it was revealed the children had no Celestial powers, he killed them and deposited their remains in a cave. Also the reason why Meredith was dying in the first place? He implanted a brain tumor to kill her because he felt like his love for her was holding him back. It's even subtly lampshaded in Avengers: Infinity War.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio looks like your typical handsome superhero, but in actuality is a fraud willing to endanger innocent lives just to look like a hero.
  • In Hellraiser, before solving the Lament Configuration, Frank Cotton looked like a typical romance novel cover model. However, underneath this facade, he was a hedonistic sadist at heart that was too despicable, even by the standards of the cenobites who dragged him to hell in the first place.
  • Ghost Ship: Jack Ferriman has a very meek, boyish appearance and comes across as shy and non-threatening. In reality he is a demonic, shapeshifting entity responsible for the gruesome deaths that took place on the ship.
  • Psycho: Norman Bates might look and act like a boyish, meek country bumpkin, but he's actually a psychopath with a murderous split personality called "Mother". Anthony Perkins was specifically chosen by Hitchcock to invoke this trope, as Bates is described in the original novel as middle-aged and overweight, but Hitchcock wanted to use Perkins' non-threatening, boy-next-door looks to contrast against his true nature.
    • A common complaint about the Psycho remake was the lack of this trope, with a sallow-eyed Vince Vaughn as Norman. It's not that he wasn't creepy; it's that he was too obviously creepy.
  • Ross Lynch as a teenage Jeffery Dahmer in the film (based on the Graphic Novel) My Friend Dahmer. He may be awkward, shambling and creepy ( the movie ends...about to become one of the most gruesome serial killers to date) but he's still quite the Pretty Boy with his babyface and shiny light-blond hairnote .
  • Red Eye's first act resembles the Meet Cute in a romantic comedy, before revealing that its handsome male lead, Jackson, is a sociopathic criminal, and his baby blues turn into Icy Blue Eyes without a moment's notice. In The New Yorkers review, David Denby specifically commented on actor Cillian Murphy's "angelic looks that can turn sinister," calling him "one of the most elegantly seductive monsters in recent movies".

  • Nightfall: Platimun-haired, grey-eyed Tristan is the most angelic creature Myra has encountered, and one of the most wicked. She lampshades this at a few points and calls him 'an angel of death.'
  • A Brother's Price has blue-eyed, blond-haired Keifer Porter. He looks so innocent that he got away with torturing a thirteen-year-old girl, even though he was caught doing it by her eldest sister. Apparently he managed to convince the eldest sister that the kid was mean to him and it all was her fault, really. He's repeatedly described as acting childlike, too.
  • Discworld:
  • Redwall: Ferahgo the Assassin from Salamandastron has baby blue eyes which make him look completely innocent. In case the latter part of his name wasn't enough of a hint, he's not. His son Klitch shares his looks and villainy.
  • Done by Alexandre Dumas in at least two of his novels.
  • In the original Battle Royale, Femme Fatale Mitsuko was repeatedly described as an "angelic beauty". She convinced several of her classmates that she was in fact completely innocent and vulnerable. The movie upgraded her to Evil Is Sexy, while the manga turned her into an improbably buxom, demonic Broken Bird.
  • John Ringo gives us a memorable one in the Paladin of Shadows series with Katya, a teenage Russian prostitute in rural Georgia (the country, not the state) described as having the face of an angel and the soul of Jeffrey Dahmer. Katya has a massive Freudian Excuse, despises anyone with a Y-chromosome, and becomes downright scary when Mike pulls some strings to get the CIA to give her some... "augmentations" that she picks out herself, like retractable claws in her fingers (hence her Fan Nickname "Whoreverine") and an implanted combat drug dispenser that allows her to enter an artificial Rage Mode at will.
  • This crops up from time to time in the Bloody Jack series. Case in point, Flashby. A classically handsome man who attempts to spirit away the (dead-drunk) protagonist from a party to rape her in a spare room.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Joffrey Baratheon is repeatedly described as being beautiful, with gold curls, emerald-green eyes and full lips. He's also The Caligula, the alternate Trope Namer for Royal Brat, and an all-around sadistic Stupid Evil psychopath.
    • Tyene Sand has golden blond hair and blue eyes and an innocent appearance and manner befitting the daughter of a Septa, but she takes after her father in personality, being a cruel, calculating Master Poisoner.
  • The dandyfied young criminal Mountparnasse in Les Misérables is described by Hugo as being one of these: "scarcely more than a child, a youth of under twenty with a pretty face, cherry-lips, glossy dark hair and the brightness of Springtime in his eyes... The gamin turned vagabond and the vagabond become an assassin... A fashion plate living in squalor and committing murder."
  • Harry Potter: Tom Riddle / Lord Voldemort during his Hogwarts days. His charisma and the looks he got from his father allow him to trick almost everyone. This ends after his dangerous transformations.
  • Dorian Gray of The Picture of Dorian Gray starts the novel with a beautifully innocent appearance that matches his good/naive personality, and thanks to his Soul Jar painting, maintains that look even as he embraces a life of depravity and continually betrays those who love him. Thanks to an in-universe belief that Beauty Equals Goodness, other characters tend to disbelieve all of the terrible (and true) rumors they hear about him.
  • In Rebecca, the title character is described by everyone as being incredibly beautiful, intelligent, cultured, loving, and basically the perfect wife. The end has Maxim reveal that she was actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who was excellent at getting people to adore her, and delighted in emotionally tormenting him.
  • Done with an entire nationality in K. J. Parker's Sharps. The Aram Chantat are a Barbarian Tribe who serve as mercenaries with a well-earned reputation for brutality and a skewed morality that means they are only loyal as long as they are paid and inclined to fight each other when not paid to fight someone else. They are described as angelic looking (one character compares them to saints on an icon), and are rather short and have high pitched, melodious voices, which gives them the manner of children playing around during the moments where they aren't slaughtering people.
  • Agatha Christie references this trope in At Bertram's Hotel when it comes to identifying the killer. As Miss Marple muses:
    "The children of Lucifer are often beautiful — and, as we know, they flourish like the green bay tree."
  • Peter Hayes from Divergent looks naturally kind and innocent, but is actually a bully and Ax-Crazy.
  • The Bible: In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul mentions that Satan himself would often appear as an angel of light to deceive people and lead them astray.
  • Bright Yilling introduced in the third book of The Shattered Sea series is so-called because of his shinning, silver armor. He's a handsome man with a boyish face and charming manner... who is a death worshiping Psycho for Hire who loves combat against a worthy opponent, but is equally happy to massacre civilians and kill his own men when bored.
  • The Silmarillion: Have you met Annatar? No? Good. Annatar is an angelic being and known as the Bringer of Gifts. He gives also guidance and always has something brilliant to add. His more famous name is Sauron, also known as the abomination who wants to control everything in the world. So in short Face of a Maiar, mind of an Umaiar.
  • In the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are described as being "beautiful of face, but vile and black of heart." This trait usually isn't carried over into many adaptations of the story, with the notable exception of Into the Woods.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • It is explicitly stated that the fairies are the descendants of angels and demons. For that reason, they would be very pretty, but at the same time very evil. However, you also see fairies that are not very pretty during the plot, as well as fairies that are really good.
    • There is also Johnathan Morgenstern, who is the Big Bad of the second trilogy.
  • In Forgotten Realms there are the drow. Like other elves, they are very pretty. But at the same time, almost all of them are very evil.
  • In the Sidney Sheldon novel Master of the Game, matriarch Kate Blackwell outright refers to her granddaughter Eve as an "angel-faced monster", having just learned how evil she is behind her beauty and sweet, innocent facade.
  • Played with in Limbo by Bernard Wolfe. 'Babyface' is the nickname the protagonist gives to Teddy Gorman, a veteran of World War Three who has destroyed more cities than any other Air Force pilot. However Babyface really does have an innocent, politically naive nature.
  • Hetty Feather: In Little Stars, Samson is described as extremely handsome and charming, but goes onto sexually harass multiple members of the music hall cast and Hetty herself.
  • Fate/Requiem: The Servant version of Louis XVII looks like an innocent child (he died when he was ten) and Erice Utsumi describes him as like purity sculpted in alabaster. He's a murderous psychopath.
  • Night Over Water: Frankie Giordono is a mobster being taken back to America by plane to stand trial for rape, murder, and arson. Still, multiple characters comment on how he looks so nice and innocent. This trope is subverted with the reveal that the passenger using his name is really a cop acting as a decoy while the real Frankie is transported by another route.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the UnSubs in Criminal Minds was a 13-year-old boy who used his innocent looks to get closer to people and then kill them.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: One of the titles/nicknames given to Angelus, "The One with the Angelic Face", sounds pretty nice. Then you find out just how incredibly cruel, manipulative, and vicious Angelus was.
  • The Flash (2014): After the reveal in Season 2, Zoom definitely qualifies. His real, 'angelic' face? Hunter Zolomon, aka Jay Garrick.
  • CSI: The episode "Las Vegas" had Justin Bieber star as a psychopathic teenage murderer.
  • Fringe does this in the episode where it appears that two men are forcing people to harm or even kill themselves, but it actually turns out to be the boy that is in the car with them. He is assumed to be the victim until it is revealed that he is the one perpetrating these crimes.
  • Gotham: Both Jerome Valeska and his identical twin brother, Jeremiah Valeska, who are played by the same actor, qualify before they go through their various physical transformations. Jerome, particularly, since when he is introduced in the first season, he appears to be an innocent 17 or 18 year old kid who is grieving his mother's death... that is, until he cracks up laughing while confessing that he killed her for being a "nagging, drunken whore" who asked him to do the dishes and then went to have sex with one of her many partners in the next room. He goes on to become a mass-murderer after he escapes from Arkham not even a year later, and is one of the show's two main expies for the Joker. His brother is the other one, and also looks relatively innocent before his transformations, even though he's a few years older by the time he's introduced.
  • One of the immortals in the Highlander TV series is an 11 year old boy who claims to have recently had his awakening (and consequently is stuck as a 11 year old forever). Turns out he is actually more like 811 and has been using his clueless new immortal act to get close to and murder other well-meaning immortals for centuries.
  • Todd Alquist in Breaking Bad


  • There's the lyrics to the Elvis Presley song "(You're the) Devil in Disguise":
    You look like an angel
    Walk like an angel
    Talk like an angel
    But I got wise
    You're the devil in disguise
  • There is also "The Ballad of Cat Ballou":
    She has the eyes of an angel
    She fights like the Devil!
    The smile of an angel
    She bites like the Devil!
    The face of an angel
    I say she's the Devil!
    She's mean and evil through and through!
  • The G.R.I song "Ugly Heart" is centered around the joy the singer feels upon leaving someone who was this trope.
  • Macabre's "The Ted Bundy Song" was a handsome Serial Killer who used his good looks to gain victims.
  • The Sheryl Crow song "There Goes The Neighborhood" has the line "We can't be certain who the villains are 'cause everyone's so pretty."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In 2019 the bury bearded Satu Jinn renounced facial hair and began "wearing the face of an angel". This was not a Heel–Face Turn. The best of Jinn is still like the worst of men (although baby face appearances aren't out of the question).

  • During the exhibition number of 14-year-old Stephen Gogolev at the 2019 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, the male commentator invokes this trope when he calls the prodigy a "baby-faced assassin." Gogolev won the silver medal in the Senior Men's event note  at Canada's biggest national competition for this sport, so he had to "slay" his opponents (all of whom are older than him, and most of his top rivals are adults) to reach the podium, yet he looks like a cute, innocent blond boy. The other competitors are intimidated by him, not the other way around.

    Video Games 
  • In Darkstalkers, Baby Bonnie Hood looks like a sweet, happy-go-lucky version of Little Red Riding Hood, but is actually an Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire who is out to slaughter all of the monster characters. Word of God is that she is meant to show that humans can be monsters too.
  • With the Shin Megami Tensei series, we get Alice, an undead human girl raised by two greater entities of chaos, who acts cute and adorable while frequently using the most powerful instant-kill curse in the series.
  • Alexia Ashford in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. Beneath her facade as a young, beautiful, elegant princess lies a monster. She's even worse in The Darkside Chronicles, where she loses any redeeming qualities and her evil is cranked up even higher, though she still has the same sweet appearance.
  • RosenkreuzStilette gives us the two-faced Iris Zeppelin. She may look sweet and innocent, but underneath her cheerful demeanor lies a gleefully-sadistic Manipulative Bitch who isn't above lying to and/or murdering others for her own personal, selfish gain.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim we have Babette, an over 300 year old vampire in the body of a 10 year old who uses her innocent appearance as a way of lowering her prey's guard.
  • Undertale:
    • The player themselves can choose to be this by going down the Genocide Route, which culminates in completely wiping out the monster race and all of humanity. Moreso, the end of the run ends with the player character being possessed by the Fallen Child. How does this manifest? The neutral expressioned player character's features are replaced with the Fallen's facial features; a wide, innocent smile and rosy dimples.
    • Furthermore, Flowey is this when he's not pulling off his various Nightmare Faces.
  • Ellen from The Witch's House was a cute young girl who changed bodies with another cute girl named Viola. She was also an absolute Ill Girl psychopath with a Freudian Excuse who murdered both of her parents, killed many people as sacrifice to a demon, and maimed her own body before switching with Viola.
  • Dan Barrows after being reborn as Edward from Clock Tower. He may look like a harmless and charming ten year old boy but he's every bit the murderous monster he was when he looked like a giant purple baby. He's also the second Scissorman.
  • In ClockUp's Euphoria, Keisuke often comments on Nemu's beauty that contrasts extremely with her cruelty. In the Betty and Veronica Switch that applies in the True Route, this trope applies to Kanae instead.
  • The non-canon Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters weaponizes this trope by having The Dragon, a warship and puppet named Luna, be built in the form of an adorable little girl. When first encountered, Ratchet couldn't resist Luna's cuteness to help "her" with a school project, and save "her" from a supposedly-fairy tale race called technomites. In reality, the Luna puppet's purpose is to use its appearance to lure enemies into a trap, where they're captured and cloned.
  • Far Cry 5 has Faith Seed. On the exterior, she looks like a sweet, shoeless girl in a white dress who skips, dances, giggles, and is seen with butterflies. On the inside, however, she controls the manufacturer of a wonder drugs called Bliss that the cult uses to control its followers, and she heavily manipulates people through these images, driving them to murder or suicide. Just as seen with Marshall Burke. However, there is ambiguity to this; as Faith mentions during her boss fight that she was Forced into Evil, although she is a well known liar, so it may not be true.
  • Drakengard 3 zigzags the trope. Zero's delicate, ethereal features are probably why she was sold to a brothel as a child, and are usually covered with blood from the hundreds of Mooks/monsters/innocent bystanders she's slaughtered. Whether she is evil is not explicitly answered by the story (she only kills people brainwashed into fighting for the villains, a brainwashing which is incurable and fatal anyway), but Zero herself readily accepts the designation of "monster".
  • In Sevens Code, HARZiNA is an group of seven girls who all seem like your usual charismatic Japanese idols and are actually the embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Dahlia Hawthorne exploits this for all its worth in every one of her appearances.
    • Matt Engarde is a good male example. A gentle Bishōnen airhead who's the star of a beloved kid's show and has been known to attract plenty of ladies. Yet he eventually reveals himself as a cruel sociopath who drove his ex-girlfriend to suicide, caused her protégé to try to kill herself, killed his rival via an assassin, and attempted to blackmail the aforementioned assassin. It's extremely satisfying when you finally manage to make him sweat and squirm on the stand before taking him down for good.
    • Apollo Justice gives two. The first is Alita Talia, a seemingly sweet girl who hires Apollo to defend her fiance. It turns out she was only marrying said fiance to get a hold of his money, and was hiding that he had a life-threatening injury that was due to kill him any day at that point. Oh, and she hired Apollo in the hopes of him bungling the defense and getting her fiance thrown in jail (though that doesn't work out). The other is Kristoph Gavin, a blond-haired, peaceful man who, as it turns out, got Phoenix humiliated and debarred, murdered a man, and tried to poison a little girl to hide that he paid her to make forged evidence.
    • And Dual Destinies gave us one of the most hard hitting: Detective Bobby Fulbright, the friendly, goofy, justice-centered police detective focused of rehabilitating murder convict Prosecutor Simon Blackquill, is actually the phantom—the sociopathic spy responsible for murdering Athena's mother, killing Clay Terran, ushering in the Dark Age of Law and almost becoming responsible for the highest death count of the Ace Attorney universe yet. However, the Detective Fulbright who's really the phantom isn't actually the real Fulbright; the real deal was actually long dead before the game's story even began, and the phantom was merely impersonating him. And assuming that the phantom's impersonation of him was accurate, the real Fulbright was definitely not an example of this trope.
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Kokichi Oma appears younger than he really is, and uses his looks to his advantage. He plays up his appearance by speaking in a cutesy manner, calling everyone "-chan", and going out of his way to act like a kid. He often displays a child-like excitement over things like the Exisals and the morphing Trial Grounds. Kokichi communicates his seeming fascination and enthusiasm about his classmates murdering each other with the same childish enthusiasm that he uses for harmless pranks. His inhuman sprites only add to the creepy effect.

    Web Comics 
  • The Greatest Gift has Venus for the fifth story arc, "What Happens in Haygas". She is a white-furred, beautiful (civilian, meaning she's not a Physical Goddess) Alicorn who maintains a calm, soothing smile most of the time, but is quite possibly the most evil character in the entire comic thus far. This was intentional on the part of the author:
    Dekomaru: I named Venus after ancient astronomers' perception of the planet Venus in their time, which they thought was a sister planet to Earth and was beautiful like the Roman goddess. But modern studies show underneath its clouds is a chaotic, unlivable wasteland. Much like how I tried to portray Venus in my comic, as under her beautiful goddess looking exterior is a monster.
  • In Misguided Light, Albert Speer returns from the dead looking like an angel, and nobody recognizes him as that guy who enslaved 5 million people during World War II unless it's explained to them.
  • In Satan and Me, Satan can change forms to seem more innocent.
  • Girl Genius has both Bangladesh Dupree and Zola. Both are attractive young women, but their beauty conceals minds as dark and twisted as can be.
    • Bangladesh Dupree's preferred way of handling an enemy ranges from "stab it" to "drop a bomb on it". In one of the novels, Klaus always finds himself looking for human bones among the collection with which she decorates her quarters. She's not supposed to have any, but... However, Bang is also incredibly loyal if she feels someone deserves it, serving Klaus and then Gil faithfully, and regarding the latter as a younger sibling.
    • Zola, on the surface former dancing hall girl and frequent damsel in distress. Also the daughter of Lucrezia's sister, sneaky, manipulative, very smart, and a master actor. If you don't do what she wants, she will maim or kill you. Both sides of her family are considered incredibly evil, even for the setting.
  • Mieruko-chan: When the lead character and her friend are waiting for prospective owners for a kitten they found, the first person to show up is perfectly charming — well-groomed, well-spoken... and empty-eyed and surrounded by the restless spirits of a dozen or so cats. Two of the cat-ghosts have partially-severed heads, one of them with two knives in its back. They trail blood when he walks away rejected. The second prospective cat-owner looks like a gangster but has the playful, happy ghosts of his two previous cats riding his shoulders. Although this is actually a subversion. Those restless spirits are actually cats that the man tried to save, and they were actually being murdered by someone totally different. They linger with him because he feels responsible for their deaths.

    Western Animation 
  • Jessica Lovejoy from The Simpsons is seen like this for Bart Simpson.
    Bart: She's like a Milk Dud. Sweet on the outside but poison on the inside.
  • Maryann from The Fairly OddParents fits very well to this trope, proving to be one of the most evil character in the series. She apparently wished for Archduke Ferdinand to be assassinated and started World War I, despite looking cute and innocent.
  • Batman: The Animated Series has two examples, both Canon Foreigners:
    • In the episode "Critters", Farmer Brown's daughter Emmylou could almost pass for an Expy of Daisy Duke, and seems just as sweet. (Heck, Farmer Brown himself could pass for a friendly old Quaker if his expression wasn't so grim.) But not only was she a willing accomplice to her father's terrorist schemes, she was much stronger than her almost petite frame would appear, being more than a match for Batgirl. (She claimed it was due to beef steroids, clearly another of her dad's experiments.)
    • Baby Doll, who appeared in two episodes, was an actress born with systemic hypoplasia, a rare condition which kept her from ever growing, meaning that she spent all of her life looking like a young toddler. Though she looked like Shirley Temple, she grew bitter because of her condition, quickly becoming sociopathic. (And, even worse, more than willing to use her cute appearance to fool a potential victim.)
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Gideon Gleeful sure can pull off some adorable faces for a guy bent on world domination.
    • .GIFfany from "Soos and the Real Girl" looks as sweet as can be, but don't let it fool you. She's actually an insane Yandere who's not above murder to keep her boyfriend.
  • Jeremy's little sister Suzy is this to Candace in Phineas and Ferb. Sweet, cute, has her big brother wrapped around her ringer... but leave her alone with Candace, and—Cue the "Psycho" Strings!
  • This was how Lilo & Stitch: The Series introduced Experiment 624, an experiment designed to charm reformed experiments to turn them back to evil with a siren song. She was actually working for Gantu and Hämsterviel at first. Lilo even named her "Angel" as sarcasm and a likely reference to the aforementioned (in the Music folder) Elvis song, "(You're the) Devil in Disguise". However, she drops the demon side of her at the end of her episode.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Navy is definitely this, revealed in the episode Room for Ruby. From her debut, she was portrayed as sweet and innocent, with the cutest little voice and face. That is, until she stole her ship back from the Gems and led them on so she could see their betrayed faces when she did so, all with the same adorable smile and soft voice. Although not without reason as well...
    • Aquamarine, being sent by Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond to capture humans for the zoo, is also this. She's cruel, cold, arrogant, and looks even more like a child than Ruby or Peridot.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, we have Cozy Glow, the ponyverse's expy of Darla Dimple. During her first episodes, she acts like a precocious, well-meaning and innocent little filly. Come the Season Finale, she reveals her sadistic, sociopathic self as she reveals she's pen pals with Tirek, was responsible for giving Twilight's lesson plans to the Flim-Flam Bros., and drained the magic from Equestria with the purpose of ruling it as "Empress of Friendship". Unrepentant and gloating of her actions even after caught, she is incarcerated in Tartarus at the end.


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