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Grotesque Cute

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

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

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

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

Compare with Kawaisa.

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


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Alien Nine, the manga gets worse.
  • Carnival Phantasm: Grail-kun is an adorable Super-Deformed representation of Angra Mainyu as All the World's Evil, the corrupted Greater Grail. It appears in a series of running gags where various characters ask it for advice and it offers the same solution to their problems: a kitchen knife.
  • Elfen Lied. The Diclonii are, to a one, completely adorable girls with a pair of small horns on their head that make them look something like catgirls. Unfortunately, they are, with only a single exception, also heartless, murderous, superpowered psychopaths who can (and frequently do) forcibly and violently separate anyone nearby from their limbs and/or head with their telekinetic vectors.
  • From Fullmetal Alchemist, Pride. Aww, look at the cute little boy. Say, why are the shadows moving towards me and why do they have eyes and sharp teeth? Wait... ARGH!
  • Road Kamelot in D.Gray-Man certainly qualifies. She looks no more than twelve - yet in one of her first appearances she stabs the main character's eye with a candle, then licks the blood off afterwards.
  • Doubt prominently features rabbit masks, which have cartoonish proportions but also blood-red eyes and stitches.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry, with the latter being even worse
  • Cat Soup and related animations.
  • Black Lagoon's Creepy Twins, Hansel and Gretel.

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

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • From A Bug's Life, we have the baby birds that eat Hopper alive.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is illustrated in a cute art style in the original light novels as well as the anime and manga adaptations, but it thrives on Black Comedy and has a Running Gag of an adorable angel brutally murdering a boy with a club, then resurrecting him to do it all over again.
  • In Dean Koontz's book, Brother Odd, the title character encounters a manufactured animal who is the epitome of mindless cuteness. Mindless, in that it has no mind or soul and is therefore profoundly disturbing rather than cute.

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

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

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

    TV Tropes Wiki 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • The Sock Series artstyle is quite at odds with the apocalyptic scenario and carnage, which is to be expected when the main antagonist is a satanic hamster.

    Web Comics 
  • Everything is Fine's story revolves around a bunch of characters with cute big cat-heads living in a pastel-colored suburbia. But every now and again, the comic shifts to show the reader intensely creepy moments, like the cut to Winston's dead, rotting corpse in episode 1.
  • Nana's Everyday Life, has the art style of a manga for little children; plays the mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of an underaged girl for laughs. Very dark laughs. Until it stops being funny.
  • This Something*Positive strip.
    • If you think that's bad, try this one..
    • The Little Blue Thing, aka Fluffmodeus. He's like an '80s cartoon character who Care-Bear-Stared a little too long into the abyss...
      "It only takes seven pounds of pressure to break a human skull... FROM THE INSIDE. Kisses now!"
  • Kiki playing with No Content from Sluggy Freelance: it gets bloody quick.
  • Ursula Vernon's Little Creature.
  • Charby the Vampirate is described as an ultra-violent Saturday morning cartoon, with adorable characters who will occasionally eviscerate or suffocate their many victims, brutally, with no Gory Discretion Shot. The combo is especially obvious with Mye, the zombie girl who smells sweet despite 315 years of decay, plus the unhealed slit in her chest where she got a sweet heart transplant. Her Evil Eyes are bubblegum pink.
    • Mye isn't decaying,(she is a traditional zombie, not a Hollywood/Romero zombie)the sweet smell is candle wax and gummy bears, two things she spends a lot of time with. And her brother's eyes are pink, too!
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship. Where to even begin?
  • Erf World, with the incredibly cute and adorable-looking, child-like midgets engaged in brutal, unending wars for no real, discernible reason.
  • Arcturus Winrock from Suicide for Hire is downright ADORABLE with those big Puppy-Dog Eyes of his but he DOES have a dark side to him.....
  • Drowtales presents the amaceing Mili'ani!
  • The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) is a Lighter and Softer look at the Cthulhu Mythos—for instance, its cartoonishly-drawn "Cthulhoo" says "yum yum" every time he eats an unfortunate cultist. But it's still the Cthulhu Mythos, and the gore factor actually goes up compared to Lovecraft's work. It'd be Mood Whiplash if the death and dismemberment weren't so heavily integrated into the comic alongside the silliness.
  • Ghost Eyes has rather simple and cute character designs and the horror storyline goes side by side with a very Slice of Life -esque story of gay teenager boys developing crushes on one another much to their dismay. Hilarity Ensues. It would be a cutesy Coming-Out Story if said boys weren't all mentally disturbed in one way or another and if one of them in particular wasn't being followed around by a sadistic being who calls himself a "Grey Man".
  • Homestuck starts off simply being about a kid who is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by playing a new game. Then the game turns out to cause The End of the World as We Know It and summon monsters wearing jester hats to torment the protagonist, and it only gets worse from there on out.
    • It becomes more clear later on, with an army of anthropomorphic chess pieces being slaughtered by Jack Noir, a children's show's characters turning out to be representations of "Horrorterrors" and comic relief character Gamzee going Ax-Crazy and deciding he needs to kill all his friends.
    • The various trolls all tend to qualify as this. Mindfang's diaries suggest that it is not only normal, but expected and encouraged of trolls of Gamzee's rank; in troll society, such traits are considered the mark of strong leadership skills. It's so prevalent that the main 12 trolls outright decide to call themselves "Team Adorabloodthirsty". The most spectacular example among them is Nepeta Leijon, who is a Moe Cat Girl with a fondness for shipping and cutesy roleplaying... and who kills wild animals for food with her Wolverine Claws.
    • Caliborn. One of the first things we see him do after his proper reveal is gnaw off his own leg, leaving him spattered with his own blood. As for personality, he's a sociopathic Jerkass who seems to find the sight of his sister's friends dying/being knocked out hilarious. And he likes firing rounds into people until they look like a bloody mess. All that being said and done, he still has large, rather adorable eyes with doll-like eyelashes, and as a cherub, he's the pinnacle of Ugly Cute.
  • In an attempt to tone down the violence and make the strip more viewer friendly (or so we are told), Kagerou brings us "cute chibi blood".
  • The Order of the Stick: The stick figure art makes everything look much cuter than it would in a more realistic style. And yet you still get characters like Xykon and Belkar and quite a bit of violence. In particular, Tsukiko sleeps with an adorable Xykon plushie, and Belkar is a fuzzy-footed halfling of chibi proportions who gleefully stabs everyone who crosses him or has something he wants. Then you get the Implosion spell shown in its full gory glory. Or Familicide: just... everything about it as the implications just snowball.
  • Ruby Quest is more or less about taking some cute animal people and then breaking them physically and mentally in horrible, horrible ways.
  • Sonichu unintentionally falls into this. It looks a lot like something your seven year old child would draw, with characters that are a combination of Sonic The Hedgehog and Pokémon, an Author Avatar that is the mayor of the town, and cartoony villains. However, it features graphic sex scenes and true to this trope, scenes where a bunch of Internet trolls are tortured to death, including one getting drilled in the groin by a little girl.
  • Serenity Rose, in its currently ongoing second issue, makes the entire plot revolve around this.
  • Considering how cute most of the doctors at Sparklecare are, it's easy to forget that almost all of them are Mad Doctors who torment or kill their patients with no remorse.

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    Western Animation 

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Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Agorable


Nails the Spider

Nails has a phone conversation with Frank and Lonette, while being and looking like this. Of course, him being voiced by Charlie Adler also helps.

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / UglyCute

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