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Kill the Cutie

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The problem with being so sweet is, sometimes, the world will eat you up.
Javier: This is for Mariana. She was a sweet little girl, just minding her own business!
Badger: Not anymore. Fuck her, and fuck you too.

A series introduces a character as sweet and lovable, a fountain of Heartwarming Moments, more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to pet little creatures. They make you adore them, root for them, love them and want to hug them. And yes, you may even be looking at The Heart of the lot.

Then they proceed to put them into a battle against an antagonist and they wind up brutally killed off. Further, the awful deed is done on camera to make sure we know it. Usually they get a few moments to show their ability to keep a warrior on his toes, but their deaths are all but certain once they decided to pick up a weapon (or not) and go through trial by combat. As for the audience, what comes next is obvious.

Like Breaking the Cutie, such deaths provoke the lead character to an unprecedented level of bloodlust from watching the cutie die in such a gruesome manner and he is driven to kill the bastard at fault alongside everyone else complicit. At best, characters who witness this will enter an Unstoppable Rage. At worst, they may very well turn evil from the depravity of the act. A lesser grunt will either die in futility challenging the murderer or die a redeeming death for their beloved cutie. Expect an Anti-Villain or Noble Demon who witnesses the act to get pissed off at the offender, possibly with an Even Evil Has Standards rant. Moments like these are especially harsh for someone with a no kill code, so any villain who does this had better hope that the hero regains his composure before he becomes a bloody corpse on the ground.

As if it needs to be said, the above example is not the only circumstance this trope kicks in for. Essentially, any time the least deserving and absolute last character you wanted to see die horribly— by combat or otherwise— ends up dying horribly will likely be a Kill the Cutie moment.

Occasionally coupled off with Break the Cutie for extra gruesomeness. Too Good for This Sinful Earth is often used to justify this trope.

See also Death by Newbery Medal, Gut Punch, and Player Punch. Contrast Final Girl. Sub trope of Moral Event Horizon as characters who are guilty of this tend to cross it. Related to Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.

This is a Death Trope, so beware of spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Monochrome Factor: Good Lord, Kengo. After suffering as the punching bag and butt monkey of nearly the whole gang (although it's mainly because of his puppy-like behavior), he ends up being killed gruesomely by Homurabi, who lets the kid suffer while outlining his plans before violently ripping out his dark inshi to use it against Akira. it totally ruined the ending for most people, partly because of their reactions.
  • Elfen Lied: In the first episode/chapter, you are shown an adorably ditzy secretary during the alert. Within minutes, she meets Lucy. Before the secretary even realizes she's in trouble, Lucy twists her head off and uses her body as a meat shield. Her death is even worse in the manga, what with Lucy using her as a shield first and Kisaragi actually speaking to her sweetly before getting her head cut.
    • When you get right down to it, Elfen Lied is just a series of cuties breaking and killing/trying to kill each other.
    • In the manga, Diclonius Number 28.
  • Blood+: Riku... Oh, god Riku. It doesn't help that one of the crates fell on his crystallized corpse, smashing it into many pieces.
  • Code Geass: Euphemia and Shirley. Dear God, poor Euphie and Shirley. One was accidentally brainwashed by her beloved half-brother to slaughter hundreds of innocent people that she herself had gathered together for a plan to bring peace between the warring states before being shot by said brother and dying in the front of her love interest. After that, she ends up being universally hated. The other learned that her love interest killed her father. She was Mind Raped, almost killed her love interest, lost her memory, got it back, and then had her love interest's mentally broken and psychotic wannabe little brother shoot her because she wants to reunite her love interest with his sister. She then dies in his arms while being repeatedly commanded to live. Heck, even the way they died is very similar (a gunshot that pierced a blood vessel in their upper abdomen, causing fatal bleeding). And to further twist the knife, both of them suffered a Break the Cutie before.
    • The Recap movie solves Shirley's problem through Spared by the Adaptation.
    • Few fans are also none too amused when minor hot looking Knights of the Round got killed off. Some hope that in the SRW game they debut in, they will not die similarly to the Astray Girls in Alpha 3.
      • They did appear one level, are fightable and disappear altogether when defeated. Whether or not they were saved is unknown. The Valkyrie Squad was replaced in-game by men instead.
  • Elemental Gelade loves this trope to death. Any Edel Raid that wasn't a good guy will be pretty much dead meat as in one notable issue, Gladius cuts down a bunch of Edel Raids of one guy after he failed to defeat Coud. The anime had more G rated death but it is still killing cuties by the handful.
  • Aqua from MÄR was a victim of the trope. Girom, a fellow Chess bishop, kills her after her draw against Nanashi. Later on, Nanashi is shown placing Aqua's corpse in the water as burial.
    • To really twist the knife, she's given a Hope Spot. She plays Rock-Paper-Scissors with Rapunzel with the promise of being spared if she wins. She does beat Rapunzel, but Girom beat her.
    • Towards the end of the anime, Snow fulfills this role, especially for Ginta. Her death sends him into a deep depression, though he tries to reject it. Luckily she fuses with Koyuki in the end, so she technically doesn't stay dead.
  • Fuuko, the cute, adorable little air elemental from Doraemon: Nobita and the Windmasters who looks like a living cotton candy ball, is actually one of three elementals required to form the Mafuga, an eldritch monster capable of destroying entire worlds. And in the finale, Fuuko sacrifices herself to ensure Mafuga will never be re-created ever again, with her death played out for drama and tears. The aftermath had a tearful Nobita cradling Fuuko's "shell" like one would hold a dead pet, before the final scene - a Time Skip several weeks later - have Nobita seeing a random mini-whirlwind in the streets of Tokyo while walking home from school, mistaking it for Fuuko, and reminding himself Fuuko's not truly gone, for she's everywhere with him now.
  • Gilbert from Kaze to Ki no Uta had a really, really horrible life. Abandoned by his parents, raped by a friend and later by his uncle who is really his actual father (repeatedly), abused in every way possible by said uncle, conditioned into some major Stockholm Syndrome, raised without any understanding of the real world and left to fend for himself at a boarding school where he is either bullied, ignored or used sexually, he's not really all that sound of mind. Eventually, he does manage to find some form of happiness in a relationship with Nice Guy Serge, but the school rejects them and the two boys are forced to flee to Paris. There, he's gang-raped, drugged, and returns to prostituting himself before running into the street while hallucinating where he's run over by a carriage and killed.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, Narancia gets killed by Diavolo. Also, Doppio qualifies despite being a villain just because of how endearing he is, unlike his Hate Sink alternate personality.
  • In Rozen Maiden, Hinaichigo, the most deliberately cute of the dolls, is killed off in the second season. The anime version will have you crying for hours. The manga version will have you crying for days.
  • In Texhnolyze, Ran's death causes main character Ichise to go berserk and punch off the Big Bad's head in a single blow.
    • Also, Ichise himself at the end of the anime after spending the entire anime in one long Break the Cutie process.
  • Chiriko in Fushigi Yuugi is a rare male example.
  • Naruto:
    • Haku was very much a kind, loving character. He wanted nothing more than to pet bunnies and enjoy life. And protect the Demon of Red Mist, murderous ninja Zabuza, whom he owes his life to. That aside, he was killed rather abruptly and violently to protect Zabuza. Kakashi is horrified since Haku was NOT his intended target, but the event causes Zabuza's eventual redemption.
    • Poor Rin Nohara, Kakashi's kunoichi teammate and one of the nicest characters in the entire story. Not too long after the two of them watched their third teammate, Obito, (apparently) die, she was abducted by Mist Ninja and forcibly made into a Jinchuriki, with the intention of turning her into a human nuke to destroy her village. In order to prevent that from happening, she forced Kakashi to kill her by jumping in the way of his attack. This was basically the last straw on the Trauma Conga Line for both Kakashi and Obito (who was actually still alive and secretly saw the whole thing). Everything went to hell afterwards, since this event indirectly kicked off the entire plot by causing Obito to make a Face–Heel Turn, thanks to Love Makes You Crazy and Love Makes You Evil.
  • Aruru in Utawarerumono tries standing up for Hakuoro. It doesn't turn out well and turns him into GODZILLA! or something. But she gets better because Godzilla is actually a god/demon of some sort. This has also happened before.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Carly from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. Twice. The second time, she pulls a "Dying as Yourself", but she gets better, even after that.
  • Baccano! has a unique example due to the effects of the elixir. Czeslaw Meyer inevitably becomes a victim of this trope over and over again by his beloved guardian. Strangely, it is through Kill the Cutie that Break the Cutie occurs and results in Czes turning into a Jerkass Crazy Survivalist. He gets better, but only after this cycle is repeated many times.
  • Knight Hunters is pretty fond of this trope. The clearest examples appear in Weiß Kreuz Glühen: first Nozomi-chan, after befriending Sena, is given the Break the Cutie treatment and Driven to Suicide within the first few episodes. Then, in the second half of the series, Asami is rewarded for her effort to be a good and caring teacher by getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Tsuji, and dies in Aya's arms. Sena isn't immune either, he survives to the second-to-last episode before getting shot by his mother and also dying in Aya's arms. Seems to be a trend.
  • Kotori from X/1999, after a prolonged stretch of Break the Cutie.
  • Pretty much every teenager used by the National Scientific Welfare Foundation in Witchblade, and Wadau's secretary he used to test the ultimate blade. Also, the main character which resulted in a Break the Cutie for her daughter Rihoko.
    • Pseudo Big Bad Maria, especially once Masane kills the only friend she ever had. It seems that up until that point she treated the power of the witchblade and fighting as a game, her only non-childish moment prior when she was driven mad with rage and killed her mother for rejecting her. (Lets just say she's had a similar upbringing to Shinji but responded to it as Asuka would have.) Once her friend dies, the flash of emotions over the next 60 seconds could only be described as a Heroic BSoD for the neutral anti-hero.
  • Lichty and/or Christina in Gundam 00. Louise almost joined them, and it got worse for the kid onwards. And then, she got better.
    • There's a cute little girl in Gundam Seed who is introduced early in the story and gets killed along with the settler ship by Duel Gundam. Thanks a lot for that, Yzak Joule.
    • The most recent victim comes from Gundam AGE. Yurin's death is this and Fram being the last casualty. Not that guys get much better, specially if their name is Woolf Enneacle — he first witnesses how a Vegan soldier is the cutie being killed, and one generation later he is the cutie that kicks it, much to the anguish of the Asunos..
    • To be precise, this is often called the Lalah Named after Lalah Sune, a female Newtype who provides Amuro and Char their first true emotional bond with and then died. Since then, if the girl is on the enemy side and is a psychic. Start buying some life insurance of her.
    • All Gundam stories love this, especially Victory Gundam, with mass amounts of persons of all kinds (and especially cute Action Girls) getting killed. War Is Hell indeed.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino's shows are overloaded with this. Non-cuties die plenty too, though.
  • Rin from Inuyasha suffers a subversion of this trope on two occasions. The first time, she is killed by wolves and brought back to life by Sesshomaru's Tenseiga. The second time, she dies after being abducted to the Underworld but is revived by the Meidou Stone.
  • Done brutally in RahXephon to Hiroko Asahina. What makes it worse is that Ayato Kamina, The Hero, does it to her while trying to protect her, not knowing that she was linked to a golem he was fighting, thus every damage done to the golem was equalled to an injury in poor Hiroko's body. It's a Tear Jerker deluxe with pain flavored sprinkles.
  • Though not a particularly "cute" child in-looks due to having been experimented on for years, Takashi is suddenly shot in the head by a would-be hero with bad aim, causing his friend AKIRA's catastrophic meltdown that levels Neo Tokyo in the manga version.
    • What makes it even worse is that right then, Takashi was happily going towards Akira, walking up to him while all "Hey, Akira! Remember me? I'm Takashi! I used to be your friend! Come with me, let's go home, Kyouko and Masaru are waiting...". It seems that it will get better... And then? Boom, Headshot!. For no real reason at all. WAAAAAH!
    • Kaori also dies in both the manga and anime, but two different ways. In the manga she's shot to death by the local Smug Snake and the grief-stricken Tetsuo carries around her lifeless body afterwards and in the anime she dies much more horrifically when Tetsuo's mutated form crushes her to a pulp.
  • The 1980 Astro Boy series thrives on this. More often than not an episode will introduce a sympathetic robot character only to kill them off, leaving Astro to bemoan why humans had to make robots that way.
  • Marco Bott from Attack on Titan ends up Dying Alone, as a reminder of how cruel and senseless death often is for the Red Shirt Army the cast belongs to. He was a kind and patient young leader, well-respected by his comrades, and absolutely vital in holding the trainees together during the Battle of Trost. In the aftermath, his mangled corpse is discovered by his best friend, Jean.
  • Happens a couple of times in Battle Angel Alita, even to the lead character. But the worst example is probably Haruka: a sweet, flute playing girl who wouldn't hurt a fly runs into an ancient vampire and bravely reaches out to him to make peace. The self important scumbag then just bites her, infecting her with his "curse" to show her that humans and vampires will NEVER be able to exist together (and because he hates "poisonous innocence"). We now have to watch how the poor girl dies in excruciating agony while also succumbing to absolute despair since she had been told before that infected humans have less than one percent chance of survival. After this, Haruka's beloved, who is the man destined to restore human civilization, is permanently hardened and the entire future of the world turns out much more dystopian then it normally would have been. An cruel example of "Karmatron dynamics" in action, really.
  • Berserk, being the grimdark setting that it is, likes to kill and break cuties all the time. The first instance is that of a cute, adolescent girl named Colette who seems to develop a crush on Guts when she and her father offer him a ride in their wagon. When night falls, the evil spirits that are attracted to Guts' brand animate the skeletons from an old battle and first make their presence known by running Colette through with a spear. It's then taken a step further when they animate her corpse and force Guts to cut her in half.
  • Black Lagoon: Hansel and Gretel are quite the variation on the trope. They are portrayed as soulless killers with no mercy, but then we get to learn that their shared Back Story involved almost unspeakable horrors (Parental Abandonment, Orphanage of Fear, rape, murder, snuff, etc.), which shaped them both into the killers we meet. So their whole life is a long, bloody, slow Kill the Cutie process...
  • Alois/Jim from Black Butler II.
  • Saya from Black Cat, when Creed finds out Train doesn't want to live a life of assassin and wants to be free, and finds out its because of her.
  • Bleach: Almost happened to poor Momo Hinamori. Nice Job Breaking It, Hitsugaya. Now, since Hinamori is a protagonist, the likelihood that she will die? As if. (Nobody Dies In Bleach, anyway.) But it's heartbreaking all the same. " Shiro...chan...why?" Aizen is a sick bastard, that's why.
    • Did happen to Hidetomo Kajoumaru, as he's sliced into two by the Stern Ritter Leader. Now, the likelihood that he will kick it? He doesn't have Plot Armor and Kubo seems to be pulling punches less in this particular arc, so the poor dude is surely a goner.
      • Following this last bit of logic, Kira Izuru is pretty much done for. Only a miracle can save him now. And while he didn't start as a cutie, Byakuya Kuchiki has gone through a cycle of Character Development and was very cute as a kid... and now he's few more than a splatter on a wall after a massive Curb-Stomp Battle. Then he lives on... but barely.
  • In Blood-C we have Nene and Nono GOD DAMN!! And to twist the knife even more? They weren't exactly cuties, their deaths were faked, and then their definitive demises were even worse.
  • The 10031st MISAKA in A Certain Magical Index and it's not pretty. The 9982nd MISAKA in the A Certain Scientific Railgun suffers a slightly less brutal death, but hits even harder because she spent the episode having funny and heartwarming moments with her original Mikoto Misaka beforehand, and Mikoto gets to see her death happen right in front of her eyes rather than just see the aftermath.
  • With a name like Corpse Party, it was probably inevitable, but Seiko's death is still devastating due to what leads up to it.
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has one in Rebecca who is a Pint-Sized Powerhouse who mostly wields BFGs and has the physique of a 14 year old girl. During the second half of the series, she became the lancer to David's crew and, during the mission to rescue Lucy from Arasaka's clutches, she got stepped on by Adam Smasher as he falls to catch David. The results were not pretty, to say the least.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School gives us Chiaki Nanami in Despair Arc episode 10. While many saw it coming due to the arc's status as a prequel, the kill itself, being the chronological first execution in the series, took half the episode and was filled with so many hope spots that both Class 77 and the viewers alike fell into Despair. The kicker is that Chiaki hangs on long enough to have some final words with Izuru which drive even him to tears.
  • Devilman:
    • Miki Makimura, outside of the somewhat Lighter and Softer TV anime adaptation, is usually killed brutally.
    • Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman has both her and underaged brother killed right off onscreen by a group of madmen. Akira realizes it, and snaps. Too bad we don't see him tearing those bastards apart.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 has Wormmon. Poor, poor Wormmon. After being verbally and physically abused by Ken for over 20 episodes, he sacrifices himself by giving Magnamon all of his remaining energy in order to destroy Kimeramon. He ends up dying in Ken's arms, which combined with Ken realizing the awful things he has done finally sets Ken on the path to redeem himself and join the good guys. Thankfully Wormmon gets better a few episodes later.
    • Digimon Adventure has a minor example in the form of Patamon. By far the cutest of the partner digimon, after agonizing over his inability to evolve he finally manages to evolve into Angemon only to end up dying in a last-ditch effort to kill Devimon. Like Wormmon, he gets better in the next episode. This event would serve as a catalyst for Takeru's character development, with Angemon's death haunting him three years and even six years later and making him absolutely despise anyone toying with the forces of darkness as a result.
  • In the Dragon Ball movie Path to Power, the pacifistic, gentle Android 8 dies after fighting as hard as he can to protect an unconscious Goku from Officer Black and his giant robot, and Goku wakes up just in time to see his friend's last moments. Heartbroken, he begins screaming his head off from grief and rage... and then Black just ''has'' to be stupid enough to mock him for his loss, which causes Goku to reduces him and his robot to ashes with a rage-fueled Kamehameha.
  • Lisanna from Fairy Tail is presented this way as a character in a Flashback. Adorable, sweet, and a Love Interest for Natsu, she was quickly liked by everyone... until she goes on an S-Ranked mission with her Sibling Team and is killed by her older brother Elfman when he loses control of his Take Over magic. Subverted for she's just hiding in a parallel universe where said counterpart died
  • In Fang Of The Sun Dougram, when Rita's naivete gets her killed, it doesn't just send George, who was quite obviously in love with her, into an Unstoppable Rage, it actually turns him into a cynical asshole for much of the rest of the show.
  • The manga and movie versions of Kimba the White Lion ends with Kimba's and Lyra's deaths.
  • Happens in the second chapter of Limit (2009). The cute, "perfect", but cruelly judgmental Sakura dies while on a bus accident. It's ironic since she said that another girl, who she deemed pathetic and worthless, should die; but that girl ended up surviving.
  • Made in Abyss: Bondrewd the Novel has made something of a specialty of this. The most notable instance has to be Mitty; in the later chapters of the manga and the final episode of the anime, we're introduced to Mitty, a happy little girl who befriends Nanachi right away. Due to Bondrewd's experimentation, however? Mitty is graphically reduced to little more than a tortured blob asking for death in its last conscious moments — turning a cute little girl into something out of Silent Hill. Mitty is left alive as a tortured, voiceless, mindless blob for a while, but Reg eventually fulfills this trope all the way by giving her a Mercy Kill.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Mami. Some episodes later, Sayaka and Kyouko. In Episode 10, We see everyone but Homura die multiple times in different timelines. What makes this worse is that they need to die to save the universe.
  • Re:CREATORS: Of all the fictional characters that appear on the real world, Mamika Kirameki is the sweetest and nicest. She even takes the opportunity to hear Altair's story and tries to appeal to her better nature and get her to let go of her sadness and grief. Unfortunately, Altair is too angry to listen to reason and brutally murders her.
  • The Rose of Versailles:
    • Charlotte, after going through a long stretch of Break the Cutie, kills herself by falling down the balcony.
    • Later, Marie Antoinette herself being sent to the guillotine, after also going though the same thing mentioned above. But considering history, this is bound to happen.
  • Saint Seiya had Esmeralda, the daughter of Ikki's master.
  • Years later, in Saint Seiya Omega, Aria, the fake Athena, went through a demise just as heartwrenching.
  • Umino from Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai is the Cloudcuckoolander foil to the depressed protagonist. The manga ends with her being killed by her father.
  • Sekirei is a big battle royale with teams mostly made up of cute girls, so this is pretty common. It's suggested that losers can be brought back, though.
  • Both Cosmo and Molly in Sonic X kick the bucket near the end of the third season of the anime (though in the case of Molly in the English version, she survives off-screen) and their deaths were both Heroic Sacrifices.
  • Yuuki of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is Mirai's happy-go-lucky, optimistic Cheerful Child of a brother who dies due to being hit by rubble due to an earthquake. We don't learn this for a while after his death though.
  • Wolf's Rain: The youngest character, Toboe, is the first to die. And Toboe's death is just the START of it.

    Comic Books 
  • Dreamkeepers has a rather disturbing version of this trope, where a cute little girl is, for lack of a better term, butchered off-screen.
  • The Walking Dead has this trope to an effect, with Rick's wife and daughter being shot but it's hardly noticeable due to the fact that half the cast dies.
  • Fray doesn't kick into high gear until the brutal murder of Loo.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana doesn't have the proper motivation to actually set out with the intent to kill Medusa until Medusa gleefully murders Martin while he was saving his even younger brother from the gorgon.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Probably western animation's first attempt — and possibly earliest example in American cinema — to portray the "damsel in extreme distress" by literally killing the most beautiful girl off. The scene: A seemingly kindly elderly peasant woman (the disguised Evil Queen) convincing Snow White to take and eat an apple, not telling her (of course) that it is poisoned. She falls in a deep sleep, seemingly never to awaken ... and the dwarfs have kept eternal watch over their friend, when the "Kill the Cutie" moment is finally reversed with the Prince's kiss.
  • Manolo after going through some harsh Break the Cutie moments in The Book of Life, the worst one is when he thinks that he indirectly lead to Maria's "death". He thus asks (indirectly) from Xibalba, to help commit suicide.
  • Inside Out gives us a rather depressing example with Bing-Bong, Riley Anderson's closest imaginary friend who is destroyed when helping Joy to escape.
  • 9: Poor, poor 5. It's just not enough that he dies, oh no, he has to have what fans call the saddest death in the whole movie.
  • The Princess and the Frog delivers a rather harsh one with Ray, who's swatted to the ground by Facilier and then stepped on quite coldly. Only, that's not all. Louis finds him, and we later see that Ray's still alive - but only barely. Louis brings him to Tiana and Naveen, who tell him they're staying frogs and getting married. He expresses his happiness with the news right before he finally passes on, eyes growing blank and tail light fading out. Somewhat mitigated by Ray's ultimate fate being incredibly heartwarming - he winds up becoming a star in the sky, right next to Evangeline - a star he was in love with.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Accidental Spy: Yeung, the sweet, innocent Nice Girl, turns out to be a drug carrier and ends up succumbing to an overdose.
  • Chad in Burn After Reading.
  • Rachel in The Dark Knight.
  • Revenge of the Sith:
  • British indie actress MyAnna Buring is naturally adorable, and this tends to carry across to her characters. She also has a tendency towards horror films and characters with suicidal tendencies, so this happens a lot.
  • The Condemned (2007) had a horrible scene of a woman being raped and killed (behind a tree, for what that's worth) while her husband was forced to listen. Wikipedia shows the character of Rosa (played by Dasi Ruz) to have "stood by her man during the duo's merciless killing spree, which landed her a seat next to her husband on death row. Charges of prostitution flesh out her mile long rap sheet." Nevertheless, it was one of the scenes which established The Dragon.
  • Jamie Lloyd from the Halloween series, who winds up impaled on and ripped open by tractor harrows courtesy of uncle Michael in the sixth film. This is made even worse in the Producers cut where Jamie initially survives the attack at the farm house, only to be killed by a gunshot by the man in black while recovering in the hospital.
  • The main character's Love Interest in the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) is rather pointlessly executed after being kidnapped by the Big Bad.
  • Marlena in Cloverfield. Especially the way she dies. Not that anybody else is getting out of this alive, though.
  • Newt was killed off pretty quickly in Alien³, and the audience is given an sickeningly just-out-of-shot autopsy scene to confirm this.
  • Eusebios in the 2010 Clash of the Titans, clearly the youngest of the group of heroes. He is turned to stone by Medusa after watching his companion die, and his body is then smashed to pieces at Perseus' feet.
  • Lorna in Hostel Part II. Being played by Heather Matarazzo only made it that much worse.
  • Josh in the original Hostel. The fact he gets the most painful death in the entire movie just makes it much, much worse.
  • Karen from Cabin Fever The closest thing to a nice character gets infected, locked in a shed, has her face eaten by a dog and is beaten to death with a shovel.
  • Randy Meeks from the Scream films is the lovable and excitable movie geek who gets mutilated beyond belief in the sequel and before that plays the general role of the underdog with many Break the Cutie moments occurring. As an adorable common relief character whose only crime is making constant tongue-in-cheek remarks he certainly didn't deserve that to happen.
  • Boltie (Elliot Page) in Super gets a third of her head blown off with a shotgun. Even though she's a psychopath, you can't help but like her and the brutal nature of her death hits hard.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth, Captain Vidal, after taking his baby son from his step-daughter Ofelia, coldly takes out his pistol and shoots her in the stomach. Thankfully, it's followed by one of the most satisfying death scenes in recent memory.
  • Su-in from Dead Friend. Just poor, poor Su-in.
  • Legend of the Wolf: Wai-yee, the gentle, innocent Nice Girl and Love Interest of the titular Wolf ends up losing her head in a disturbingly graphic manner right before the final battle. In comparison, many villains and killers in that movie didn't die nearly as horribly as she did.
  • Mercenaries from Hong Kong: The young daughter of Sergeant Tai, a little girl suffering from cancer, who have a remaining lifespan of less than a year and clearly loves her father... and she gets kidnapped and shot in the final confrontation.
  • The Avengers: Agent Phil Coulson. Though he not only got better, but ultimately got his own TV series out of it.
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, even though we know that he’s going to appear in future films, we get to watch Peter Parker – the youngest of the Avengers – become an onscreen victim of Thanos’ fingersnap of doom.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: The sweet and innocent Nina accidentally dies at the hands of the Polish police.
  • The Expendables 2. The new recruit Billy the Kid is killed by Jean Vilain.
  • Sweet, innocent little Carlo in Hornets' Nest. He won't get out of the way of his older friend Aldo's line of fire when Aldo wants to shoot an onrushing carload of German soldiers, and Aldo, sociopathic little snot that he is, cares more about killing Germans than the lives of his friends, so he guns down the younger boy to remove the obstacle to his target.
  • In Daybreakers, the fate that awaits Big Bad's cute daughter.
  • Escape from New York: Cabbie. He spends most of the whole movie as a happy-go-lucky, overly friendly wide-eyed optimist who looks out for Plissken (even to the extent of throwing a molotov cocktail at some thugs, driving him for free and coming back for him just in time). Then, despite being in an explosion that leaves the others inexplicably unscathed, he dies horribly. Thankfully, Snake gets some justice for his unnecessary death by screwing the ungrateful president.
  • Subverted in Pixels - it looks like Q*Bert is killed by Donkey Kong's barrel, but it turns out he's just Squashed Flat and he manages to get back on his feet.
  • In Lawrence of Arabia, the sprightly teenage orphans Daud and Farraj accompany the title character in his adventures, only for Daud to be lost to quicksand, and Farraj is mortally wounded by enemy fire and mercy-killed by Lawrence.
  • Rambo: Last Blood: Gabrielle dies of a drug overdose after Rambo rescues her, sparking Rambo's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the second half.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions , the lovable child Sati is infected by Smith early on. Thank god we didn’t see it. Don’t worry, she gets better at the end.
  • Royal Warriors is an action film where the heroes have to battle a vengeful mob of ex-Vietnam veterans-turned-convicts. One of the heroes, Peter Yamamoto, have a Cheerful Child, an adorable little daughter who constantly dotes on her dad and begs him "not to leave mommy again" after Peter gets sent on another assignment, at which point Peter kisses her forehead and assures he'll be back in no time. The child gets blown up one scene later in a Car Bomb explosion set by the villains, meant for Peter.
  • Special Female Force: Honey is the chubby, bubbly Fat Comic Relief of the team, who is shown doting over her little sisters waiting for her at home, being caring over her teammates, and often blaming herself whenever things go wrong. So naturally, she is the only member of the girls to die before the third act, for the rest of her team to stay together in order to thwart Big Bad's plans and avenge her death.
  • Mowgli: Bhoot, the adorable little albino wolf pup is introduced as Mowgli's close friend and supporter. After they have a fall-out, the next time Mowgli sees Bhoot is his taxidermied head in a hunter's collection. This makes Mowgli swear revenge on the hunter.
  • All of the children in Nope. All of them.

  • American Dirt: Two-thirds through the novel, the group meets a plucky ten-year-old boy, Beto. Though wreckless and naive, he is quickly welcomed thanks to his goofy and lighthearted nature, providing a source of levity for the suffering migrants. During the trek of the desert, however, Beto's asthma finally catches up to him, and he chokes to death. His demise stays with the others long after.
  • Rilla of Ingleside loses her favourite brother, Walter, in World War One. Made worse by the fact that Walter desperately didn't want to go, and had spent half the novel in a state of torment because he thought himself a coward. And he was always the kindest, gentlest of the children.
  • In Stephen King's Cell, Alice is the only character that one can really love, due to her innocence and naiveté. She dies suddenly via being bludgeoned to death by a brick, and with no foreshadowing or reason. Thankfully, her killers die a much more excruciating death via being forced to crucify themselves, completely aware.
  • Dracula: Lucy Westenra. The book goes out of its way to showcase she was a kind and caring individual if just a little flighty. Then Dracula starts feeding off her and she weakens until she eventually dies. Then she comes back as a vampire, an utter corruption of her former self. Her staking is treated very solemnly.
  • Bheth Halleck from Dune: House Harkonnen: The gentle younger sister of Gurney Halleck's Bheth is first kidnapped by the Harkonnens for trying to protect her brother. Next they cut out her larynx so she can't do more than scream wordlessly. Then she is subjected to 6 years (starting at an innocent 17 years old) of sadistic rape and torture by a recorded 4620 Harkonnan soldiers. The Beast Rabban finally kills her in retribution of Gurney's attempt on his life.
  • In Gone, the preteen Brianna is killed in combat.
  • Nancy in Dickens' Oliver Twist and its musical adaptation, Oliver!.
    • Dickens does this a lot. Paul Dombey in Dombey and Son, the infamous death of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop, Dora in David Copperfield, Smike in Nicholas Nickleby. He plays with the trope in A Christmas Carol, in the Christmas Future scene where Tiny Tim is dead, but Scrooge's repentance averts the death.
  • Kianna goes out in contorting, flaming ruin in the second book of Douglas Niles's Watershed Trilogy.
  • In the Strugatsky Brothers novel Hard to Be a God, the concluding Roaring Rampage of Revenge is caused by the deaths of the Hero's Love Interest and Kid Sidekick - possibly the only pure characters in the story.
  • Lavan's Companion followed by Lavan himself in Brightly Burning. As bragged by Mercedes Lackey:
    "The Lackey patented formula for success—make your audience identify with and care deeply for a character then drop a mountain on him!"
  • The German book The Land Of Oblivion has a particularly gruesome variation. Technically, The Shadow Child is already dead by the time of introduction, but in the end, she ends up Deader than Dead, condemned to nothingness, and there is nothing to do about it. Ouch.
  • Laura and the Silver Wolf, meanwhile, has the death of The main protagonist. But at least she Died Happily Ever After.
  • Lonesome Dove:
    • While moving cattle from Texas to Montana, Sean O'Brien, a novice cowhand and lovable young Irish immigrant wades into a nest of water moccasins while crossing a river, where he is bitten several times by a group of them before being hauled out of the water and dying painfully on the shore. Even the most grizzled, experienced cowhands of the group are shocked and disturbed by the sudden, unusual, and brutal nature of his death.
    • Deputy Roscoe, along with the two kids Joe and Janey, are all brutally murdered by Blue Duck, simply because they happened to be nearby while he was looking for a horse to steal.
  • Emilio in JC Hutchins' Personal Effects: Dark Arts is another rare male example.
  • The Poisonwood Bible: Ruth May, the youngest of the Price sisters, is killed by a venomous snakebite. Her death marks a major turning point in the novel.
  • Qualia the Purple: Yukari dies off-screen, and serves as a catalyst for her best friend Hatou to then use her abilities to search for anything about her death in the infinite possibilities of possible worlds.
  • Martin the Warrior has Laterose die at the end of the book, causing Martin to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Survivor Dogs:
    • How do we know that Alpha is a dangerous wolf-dog? In the first chapter of the second book, he kills Alfie by just slamming him with his paw only once. Barely older than a puppy, Alfie was the plucky comedic relief and was well-liked amongst the pack. His death is the first major one of the series.
    • Wiggle was the shyest and cutest of the Fierce Dog pups, lacking the cockiness and pomp of his two littermates. He's also the one that gets brutally mauled to death just hours after Blade comes to "reclaim" them. His sister Lick narrowly escaped thanks to a sudden burst of mist, while his brother Grunt groveled for his life and was spared.
  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito's girlfriend Sachi dies because Kirito didn't warn their teammates about the trap they were about to trigger. The trap sealed off all escape routes and summoned hordes of monsters to attack them. While she didn't know the exact reason that Kirito didn't want to open that chest, she knew there was a good reason, but couldn't talk the others out of opening it. Kirito wasn't able to save any of them, with Sachi dying last, after hearing the screams of impending death from her friends. The whole thing pushes Kirito past the Despair Event Horizon.
    • Kirito gets better only to cross the Despair Event Horizon again after his fiance/in-game wife Asuna is struck down taking a fatal blow meant for him. He was about to resign himself to dying with her until he thought of all the people who were counting on him and pulls off a dramatic Taking You with Me. The Big Bad was so impressed, he decided not to apply the rule that if you die in the game, you die in real life to them.
  • In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tom, a slave, meets a cute little girl named Eva, saving her from drowning and resulting in Tom gaining the respect of her father, Tom's new owner. However, two years into Tom's life with the family, Eva gets an illness and dies a short time later. The illness is never explicitly stated, but is implied to be tuberculosis, which is very painful.
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara has Ryer Ord Star, who...
    hung from the yardarm of Black Moclips, swaying gently at the ends of the ropes tied about her wrists. Blood coated her arms from the deep gouges the ropes had made in her flesh, and sweat ran down her face and body in spite of the cool night air. Her pain was all encompassing, racking her slender body from head to toe, rising and falling in steady waves as she waited to die.
  • Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats. If there is a cutie, expect them to end up broken, if not dead. One of the first examples is Spottedleaf, the protagonist's First Love and ThunderClan's kindly medicine cat.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Moon Lovers: Wang Eun is the most cheerful and innocent of the princes. Naturally he's one of the first to die, in especially horrifying circumstances.
  • Strangers From Hell: Poor, poor Seok-yoon. He's one of the nicest, sanest characters in the show, so naturally he becomes yet another murder victim.
  • Bonanza: Seemingly every episode that featured a Cartwright becoming romantically involved with a young woman.
  • Joss Whedon is positively obsessed with this trope.
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Examples include Jenny Calendar, Tara, Amanda, and Jonathan.
    • Cordelia Chase and Winifred Burkle in Angel
    • If there's one blessing in the short lifespan of Firefly, it's that Whedon didn't get a chance to do this to us. (Which he planned to do, though; Inara's reason for leaving the crew would've been revealed — if the show had continued — as being that she was terminally ill.) Though he made up for it by killing Wash in The Movie.
    • He also poked fun at his penchant for this in the pilot of Firefly, with Kaylee's "death" (it all turns out to be a psychotic joke by Mal). The only reason that the joke was as effective as it was is because of Joss's track record.
    • Dollhouse:
      • Bennett Halverson in "Getting Closer" (2x11). That is all.
      • In "The Hollow Men" (2x12) Mellie kills herself to protect Ballard.
      • In 2x13, Topher performs a heroic sacrifice and gets blown up.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Poor, poor Shireen Baratheon from the Season 5 episode "The Dance of Dragons" - one of the most pure, innocent, good, sweet and selfless characters on the show, is brutally executed by fire by her father.
    • And an episode later — poor Myrcella dies horribly after being poisoned by Ellaria. Not to mention her brother Tommen one season later, who ultimately kills himself after being in the Despair Event Horizon for so long...
    • Lady is the most mild mannered of all the direwolves and the first one to die.
  • House of the Dragon: Queen Aemma was a beloved and loving consort to King Viserys and a good mother, and she got butchered with a Traumatic C-Section that she didn't consent to in order to save her child (who died shortly thereafter anyway).
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • Cally. Dualla. Boomer. Athena. Repeatedly, in the latter two cases.
    • Billy. Oh, sweet, sweet Billy.
    • The irritatingly cute chicken-eating munchkin in the original miniseries. Introduced in one scene, playing with her doll and talking to Laura Roslin about how she's going to have dinner with her parents. Blown up by Cylons in her very next scene.
  • Alice from The Haunting Hour episode "My Old House" is a shy girl who has no friends other than her house. When she fears that she'll lose her so-called friend, she runs away from home to be with him forever. However, she sees that her parents are worried to death over her whereabouts and desperately are searching to find her. When she realizes what a big mistake she made, she attempts to part ways with her best friend peacefully to return home. However, her house doesn't want to let her go and murders her when it can't convince her to stay. The last we see of Alice, her face is mounted on the wall of her home so her former best friend can remember her forever.
  • Kutner, possibly the most likable character on House. Cause of death? Suicide.
  • Ianto in Torchwood.
    • Owen and Toshiko, as well.
    • From Miracle Day, we have Esther. At this point, we can all agree that if you're nice, likable, and a fan favourite, you can expect to die by the end of the season.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The daughter in "The Doctor's Daughter". Thankfully, she got better.
    • Katarina
    • Adric, although frequently cited as a case of Alas, Poor Scrappy. Peri is a much straighter example unless you believe that "warrior queen" business, which was put in at the last minute.
    • Astrid, from "Voyage of the Damned".
    • That adorable little kid (who was sent in by Blue Peter, no less) in the episode "Utopia", and who ended up turned into a twisted little Toclafane.
    • Chantho. This is almost the first thing The Master does in the new series, and he only gets worse from there.
    • Kira Arlo, from "Kerbalm!"
    • Rory is surely a killed Cutie. The amount of times he gets killed and frankly he is a cute dork. However, by this point, he's taken so many levels in badass that in fandom, the They Killed Kenny Again jokes have fully stopped in favor of adding to his Chuck Norris Facts type list, "What doesn't kill Rory Williams makes him stronger. What kills Rory Williams also makes him stronger." He's still The Cutie, though.
    • The Eighth Doctor isn't exactly the cutie, but he's the most jovial and upbeat of the Doctor's incarnations. He dies trying to save a Time Lord-hating pilot during the Time War, only to be resurrected and forced to face the reality of him needing to participate in the Time War, which he has been trying to avoid. He crosses the Despair Event Horizon, as he decides to become a warrior in his next incarnation, gives up the name of the Doctor, and regenerates, broken and alone.
  • One can never forget the tragic death of Charlie on Heroes. But She got better too.
  • On Lost, Anyone Can Die, so it's no surprise this applies. Libby, Juliet, Charlotte, Daniel, Charlie, Boone and Shannon would qualify.
  • Initially Lilly Kane, the character who dies before the beginning of the first episode of Veronica Mars, would count as an example, since she was a young attractive teenager who got her head smashed in with an ashtray, though she becomes less of a 'cutie' during some of the later flashbacks as her innocence level drops.
  • Horatio Hornblower has this happen twice in "Retribution". Both Wellard and Archie are killed when the Spanish prisoners retake the ship. Archie lasts long enough to perform a Heroic Sacrifice for Horatio, though.
  • The acclaimed Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" offers Kirk a Sadistic Choice: either Kill the Cutie or alter history so the Nazis win World War II. He does the right thing in the end, although it's hard for him. However, it's not so much "kill" in this case as "allow to die" — the character in question was originally supposed to die in a road accident, but Kirk falling in love with her would have prevented that.
  • At the end of the third/beginning of the fourth seasons of Breaking Bad, unfortunate circumstances force Jesse to kill Gale.
  • On Bones, the creators even admitted they killed Vincent Nigel-Murray "for the heartbreak".
  • William, Lavinia, and Sybil in Downton Abbey
  • Supernatural's "most adorable angel in heaven," Samandriel was killed by a mind-controlled Castiel.
  • You wouldn't expect a show like the Ultra Series to actually do this, but...
    • They did it in Ultraman Leo, one of the Darker and Edgier installments of the series, with Episode 40 going full Anyone Can Die and eliminating Takeshi, Momoko, and little 7-year-old Kaoru. Sob...
    • They did it again in the next show, Ultraman 80, in one episode featuring the infant kaiju Baru, who was born early in its debut episode and failed to live past the end credits. The poor creature barely lived for three days!
    • Subverted in Ultraman Tiga in the episode "Deban's Turn!". Deban, a harmless, child-like alien creature is being hunted by the alien invader, Enomena, and Deban seemingly gave up its life to neutralize Enomena's Hate Plague. But after Enomena was soundly dealt with by Tiga in the penultimate battle, the episode's ending reveals that Deban actually faked its death and is living happily with its adopted family.
    • In Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle, Eleking, possibly the most adorable monster on Rei's team, who can even size-shift into a chibi-form of itself, dies brutally in the second season to the monster Tyrant, motivating Rei and Gomora on their Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • Amy was the kindest and most pleasant of the survivors, to the point where even Merle liked her, and he was a openly racist, sociopathic Jerkass. She was also the first one to die after walkers attack the camp. Well, Carol's husband was killed and eaten before she was, but none of the survivors or viewers gave a toss about that wife-abusing asshole.
    • To say nothing of the show brutally showing Death of a Child with the death of Sophia. She goes missing early in Season 2 after being split up from the group. The survivors find her later zombified in a barn.
    • Dale might also count. A sweet old man who only wanted what was best for the group, and was a much needed father figure/rock for Glenn.
    • Audiences watched Glenn Rhee develop from the resourceful joker of the group to a loyal companion, devoted husband, soon-to-be father, and certainly the nicest, least cruel and most optimistic of the core group. He is the joint recipient of one of the most sadistic and brutal deaths of the franchise, and that same audience are not spared seeing pieces of skull, brain, scalp, teeth and burst eyes splattered across the ground or stuck in the barbed-wire baseball bat used to slowly bludgeon him to death in front of his friends and family.
  • Kate on NCIS.
  • The Killing: In Season 3, caring and sweet streetwise teen Bullet, whom Holder had befriended, is brutally murdered by the Pied Piper and her body left in a car trunk for Holder to find.
  • In the 1999 version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Lord Tony Dewhurst suffers from Death by Adaptation. He's a cute young man who laughs and smiles and stutters adorably. Killing him off in the very first episode is just too cruel. Percy is a bit shattered when he hears that Tony's dead, but he recovers very quickly and says that he knew the risks of working for the League.
  • Wendy in the 1975 version of Survivors was pretty much introduced for the purposes of later killing her off, after a drunken Tom Price kills her for refusing his drunken advances, forming the entire plot of the episode "Law and Order".
  • This happened in the episode Authentic Flirt of Blindspot when Patterson's boyfriend, David followed a mysterious woman down an alley, leading to his death, just because he wanted to help his girlfriend out and get back into her good graces.
  • Million Yen Women: When people start getting killed in the last third, the kind-hearted Nanaka is the first to go. And though the killer ends up having to take someone else down instead, they turn out also have wanted to kill Midori, the youngest of the women, who is still in high school.
  • Poor, poor, poor Bob Newby from Stranger Things, possibly the nicest and goofiest character on the series overall who would've also made a wonderful husband and stepfather for the Byers'. What happens instead? He makes a Heroic Sacrifice for his friends and family and is eaten by Demidogs.
  • Yellowjackets: In "It Chooses" it is more like "Allow the Cutie to drown after a fall through thin ice when the Cutie attempts to save the "winner" of a Lottery of Doom." Goodbye, young Javi.

  • Hey! Is there a character you like in Survival of the Fittest? It's almost definite they won't make it to the end, thanks to the premise.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A very common tactic for cruel Dungeon Masters, regardless of system or setting.

  • Bernardo and Riff in West Side Story are the funniest characters in the show, even if they are gang-leaders that are intent on escalating the conflict. They provide snarky relief from Maria's and Tony's overly serious gushy lovey-doviness.
  • Macbeth:
    • Seward's son challenges the title character to single combat in the middle of the climactic battle. Macbeth is a brutal, murderous Fallen Hero with years of combat experience. Seward's son is just some poor brave kid. Guess the end of that one.
    • Also, MacDuff's entire family, onstage, just to get him to come back to Scotland. It works.
  • Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Averted in the Focus Group Ending movie version though.
  • Next to Normal: Defied with Diana but played straight with Gabe.
  • Les Misérables:
    • Gavroche is a young boy/Team Pet of the revolutionaries, and is charismatic, happy, streetwise, and well liked by the revolutionaries (especially Grantaire). When he reveals Javert's true identity, he sings a cheery song about why you shouldn't underestimate the "little people". Seven songs later, he reprises the same song as he's slowly shot to death while gathering ammo for the revolutionaries, who are all watching in horror over the barricade.
    • Eponine as well. She's been given the short end of the stick for most of her adult life: her parents are abusive and force her to help in their schemes, she is clearly intelligent but can't make anything of it due to her situation, and her only friend and crush Marius consistently misses her advances and asks her to help him find Cosette so that he can confess his feelings. Ultimately, she dies from a stray shot while trying to reach the barricade, and when she is dying in Marius's arms, she says that being held by him is all she ever wanted. Oof.
  • Like mother, like son: Elisabeth and Rudolf from Elisabeth. Both are introduced as adorable children, with Elisabeth being a willful princess and Rudolf a lonely prince emotionally neglected. They catch the attention of the local personification of Death. Things go downhill. Sisi gets married to the Emperor in an apparent fairytale Love at First Sight story, only to wind up dealing with court intrigues, political troubles, a Knight Templar Parent for a mother in law, the death of her daughter Sophie, and then Rudolf shoots himself. It's a miracle Sisi didn't fall into Death's arms sooner. note 
    • Rudolf is a straighter case, especially in productions where Death is clearly just using him as a pawn to get Sisi. Born to fulfill Sisi's duty to produce an heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, emotionally neglected by his mother, had his political ambitions and liberal ideas looked down upon by his father as childish meddling note , and when he appeals to his mother for help she turns him away. And then Death shows up with a gun...

    Video Games 
  • Rhyme dies saving her brother, Beat in The World Ends with You. Worst part is how this echoes perfectly how Beat and Rhyme died in the first place to enter the Underground. Cue Heroic BSoD by Beat after losing Rhyme TWICE. And then, at Day 2 on Week 3, Rhyme is killed AGAIN as her noise form. She's brought back of course, but still.
  • Xion in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Made even worse by the fact that the lead character, Roxas, is the one who kills her. Cue epic Tear Jerker.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Tailtiu in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, after the Time Skip was subjected to lots and lots of Break the Cutie moments to the point it killed her.
    • Ethlyn and Quan too, in the same game. Throughout the first generation, the pair have been shown to be incredibly supportive of Sigurd and help him out whenever they can. They were traveling through the Aed Desert to meet up with Sigurd. However, Travant ambushes their army and wipes them out except for Finn (who was back at Leonster with Leif) taking their baby Altena hostage. And no, there is no way to save them—not only are the enemies that they're fighting are coded as "other" units so you can't even attack them if you manage to get your units to them (although you probably won't be able to lend much aid since the desert will slow down everyone except your lone flying unit), but if the Random Number Goddess somehow deigns to allow them to win the Hopeless Boss Fight, there's a good chance it'll lead to an Unintentionally Unwinnable situation.
      • In the same chapter, you can't save Byron, either, though this is a different trope. Worst case scenario is that he dies before Sigurd reaches him. If you get Sigurd to speak to him before the enemy can finish him off, he passes down their family's Holy Weapon, Tyrfing, to Sigurd...and then dies. Keep the enemies from getting to him, but don't speak to him? He'll just randomly disappear, without any fanfare, as soon as you capture the first castle.
    • Elise in Fire Emblem Fates, if you choose the Birthright path. She takes a fatal blow meant for the Avatar and dies in her brother Xander's arms. This drives Xander to commit Suicide by Cop.
      • Lilith also ends up becoming a victim of this. On both the Birthright and Conquest paths, she loses her life shielding the Avatar from an attack.
    • In Fire Emblem Engage, you have the protagonist Alear, who died trying to protect their sister from their villainous father. Though said sister attempted to revive Alear to aid their allies again, it did not last, and dropped dead a second time while on the verge of crying lamenting they could not see their mission complete. Fortunately, they are given a proper revival by the 13 Emblems, saving them from death's embrace.
  • 12-year-old pianist May Norton from Clock Tower 3 is introduced as the serial killer Sledgehammer's first victim by taking said weapon to the face.
  • Tales of the Abyss with Arietta the Wild. And a tragic one too.
    • Keeping in mind that it's YOU who is killing the God Generals such as her. And you also kill the sentient animal that was her adopted mother.
    • The anime even made it MORE heart-breaking.
    • That one kid in Akzeriuth.
  • Tales of Legendia has Fenimore.
  • Martel's death in Tales of Symphonia has a corrupting effecting effect on Mithos.
  • Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII is a classic example of this trope. If Cloud's anger doesn't count, the millions of players hucking PS1 controllers around when they found out a Phoenix Down doesn't help probably does.
  • Yeul and, at the end of the game, Serah in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
  • While not a cutie by Grand Theft Auto standards, Ling of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars dies in the next mission after meeting Huang and the guy remarks on how he misses her a lot.
  • Crick Wellsley in Octopath Traveler II spends his time onscreen being an endearing Naïve Newcomer who starts off slightly bumbling but earnest, and he comes to respect Temenos later on to the point of going against everything he thinks someone of his position should do. Unfortunately, digging too deeply into the mystery Temenos is investigating leads to Crick getting killed by Cubaryi and Kaldena, and Temenos is absolutely furious when he finds out.
  • Chidori's death in Persona 3 exemplifies this, dying to revive Junpei from the dead, causing him to enter an Unstoppable can revive her in FES, but she does not remember anything. Unfortunately, Chidori's death is canonical.
    • Speaking of P3, this also applies to the Protagonist.
    • Then tampered with again for Yosuke as he loses Saki. God, the Junpei partner type always has the worst luck. This is lampshaded when he plans to murder Namatame first...after Nanako's apparent death. Unlike the above examples, she can get better, but only if you choose not to kill Namatame.
    • Persona 2 has Maya Amano. It's her death that brings forth the end of the world and sets the stage for the second game in the duology.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Should you choose the Dark path, you get to force-persuade Zaalbar to kill Mission Vao.
    • Sacrificing Visas in your duel with Nihilus in the sequel counts.
    • A really, really mean character can do this to Bastila along the Dark path.
  • After all you go through to find Mayu in Fatal Frame II, in the default ending, Mio strangles her for the ritual. The more tragic thing? This is the canon ending.
  • Super Metroid: Samus's surrogate child gets kidnapped and treated in a somewhat Woobie manner, and then killed off by Mother Brain. Every time the player dies in this game, he/she is treated to an image of the Metroid still calling out to Samus in its little shrieks, too.
  • Cave Story takes this to a whole 'nother level of Player Punch. Toroko is kidnapped by Misery at the start of the game after being mistaken for Sue, driving the player to try to get her back somehow on top of other plot threads. Things take a trip down Dark Way and Edgy Avenue when you get to the Sand Zone's Storehouse, where Balrog (compelled by the Demon Crown worn by the Doctor) stuffs a red flower down Toroko's throat. The player winds up fulfilling this trope as a mercy killing to keep Toroko from going completely berserk. From that point, secondary characters start dropping like flies. King dies from wounds he got trying to stop the Doctor, immediately after Toroko. Then you get sent to the Labyrinth, where Professor Booster will die in front of you. Then Curly Brace, your cute partner, will sacrifice herself to save you from drowning. Doing a few unintuitive things can save some of them, but long odds you aren't going to know what those are the first time.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • In the bad ending of Disgaea 3, Raspberyl's murder at the hands of Super Hero Aurum triggers Mao's Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum.
    • Before Beryl, Almaz is killed and generally is the one that drives Mao insane in the first place as well as the reason that Sapphire turns her back on Mao. This is only in the bad ending though as in all the other endings, he comes back to life.
  • Deconstructed with Artina's death 400 years before Disgaea 4 as a result of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished turning Nemo into an Omnicidal Maniac bent on destroying both the human world and the nether world.
  • Potentially, Kelly Chambers in Mass Effect 2 can die before the player's eyes in a horrible fashion if the player dawdles after a certain event. Especially brutal if she was your lover. Fortunately, however, it's easy enough to avert. Which means that if she does die this way, it's your fault. In Mass Effect 3, she has severe PTSD from the events at the end of the previous game, and is still very likely to die due to your actions. note 
  • Mami in Breath of Fire IV is a particularly heartbreaking example of this trope. Country Mouse finds King in the Mountain God-Emperor that The Empire (that aforementioned God-Emperor founded) is trying very, very hard to kill. Country Mouse Mami nurses God-Emperor Fou-lu back to health. Mami and Fou-lu end up falling in love, it being a bit more obvious in Mami's case. The Empire finds Mami is hiding the King in the Mountain. After helping Fou-lu escape, Mami is captured by The Empire, subjected to a major case of Break the Cutie via Cold-Blooded Torture, then is killed by being used as literal Human Resources for a Fantastic Nuke (termed the Carronade) that is typically Powered by a Forsaken Child who has a very strong connection to the intended Ground Zero (yes, the thing explicitly runs on the principle that Love Hurts—in fact, the more love, the more hurting via curse). Fou-lu discovers to his absolute horror that his girlfriend has been used as literal Hex Cannon Ammo because of their relationship, promptly goes Laughing Mad as a result, and goes from The Woobie to Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in approximately 2.3 seconds flat. Oh, and Fou-lu is also quite literally a Physical God.
  • In Limbo you are the cutie. And you WILL die....often. After the first death though, the mindset you have while playing completely changes, as you turn Properly Paranoid about everything you see in the environment.
  • Security guards in The Getaway: Black Monday will feel no guilt about killing Samantha, a petite, nineteen year old woman who cannot defend herself at all. If you get the bad ending, Skobel does it himself.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: Isara Gunther, younger sister by adoption to Squad 7's Commander, spends most of the game trying to overcome the prejudice of others against her due to her being of Darcsen descent. She goes out of her way to be helpful and kind despite the response and prejudice of other squad members against her because of this, especially the hostility of Rosie. However she perseveres and, being a brilliant engineer and tank pilot, proves to be a huge asset to the squad and overcomes the prejudices of her squadmates. Following a victory made possible by smoke shells invented by Isara, Rosie approaches her intending to apologise for her previous attitude... Isara promptly gets shot and killed by a sniper. Words cannot express how devastating this scene is after all the build up of her character throughout. Her funeral is no better. To make things even worse, it is possible to complete Valkyria Chronicles without losing a single other member of your squad, making it even harder-hitting. And because it is part of the storyline rather than gameplay (unlike other potential deaths) it is impossible to prevent.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III: Even someone who barely know of her feel saddened by her death, as fellow Darcsen Imca can attest. This game also has its own cutie-killing event, except that it's you who do it: you can't proceed to the final battle without killing Zig, the Darcsen lad who is loyal unto death to Dahau.
  • Tales of Monkey Island:
    • Both Morgan LeFlay and Guybrush are cuties in that she is a sweet femme fatale and he is a cute dork. It is very sad that LeChuck has to go and kill them both in Chapter 4: first sending the latter (Guybrush) on a case of Mistaken for Murderer, and later turning his act of triumph into a stunning, tragic Tear Jerker. (Thankfully, he gets better in Chapter 5.)
    • Other than that, also in Chapter 4, the only "cutie" that the Marquis De Singe has "killed" is the Pyrite Parrot of Petaluma, which he uses as a test subject for the Jus de Vie in the Vaycaylian Wind Control Device in front of Guybrush and Elaine.
    • Also, Noogie in Chapter 3. He is so dorkily cute when he plays the bongos and has a date with Morgan LeFlay despite his glasses. After the betrayal, capture, and interrogation, however, Noogie disappears. Guybrush can ask Bugeye what happened to Noogie during the ship battle for La Esponja Grande, and Bugeye can reply that Noogie "went to a quiet farm upstate", meaning, of course, that he is killed off-screen. You can even find his grave in the afterlife in Episode 5. Poor Noogie.
  • In the bad ending of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Soma Cruz becomes corrupted by his powers after seeing his childhood friend Mina Hakuba killed in front of him. Subverted in the true ending as it was a fake.
  • In the intro mission to Call of Duty: Big Red One, you meet a young new recruit who just transferred into your squad, and apparently immediately out of basic. He is, unlike the other war-weary characters, happy, energetic, ready to kill some bad guys, and dives to the ground every time a plane passes over, much to the annoyance of your squadmates. Unfortunately, he is killed at the end of the level.
  • Eve Valentine from Super Heroine Chronicle, who gets Brainwashed and Crazy halfway through the game by the villains and is fought and killed by the protagonists.
  • In Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasma, Hakumen and Trinity face off against Terumi Yuuki. Hakumen manages to kill Terumi once and for all, but Terumi manages to take Trinity with him by stabbing her and dragging her down the lake.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, Alice Wade suffers this at the hands of Paxton Fettel.
  • Double Dragon II's Roaring Rampage of Revenge plot starts with the Black Warriors' murder of Marian.
  • In Ninja Gaiden Black/Sigma, Kureha, Ryu's childhood friend and shrinemaiden of Hayabusa Village, is slain by Doku during the raid on the village.
  • In Trillion: God of Destruction, it's possible to have both Perpell and Elma as this. The former being Zeabolos' cheery niece who loves sweets and has the most upbeat personality. Also, being among the three first choosing overlords, she can be the first one to perish depending of player actions while the latter is Zeabolos' sickly sister who is the kindest one among the fallen ones who is choosed by the Tyrant Ring to fight Trillion after everyone failed to do it. What's worse, to get the Golden Ending, they have to die no matter what.
  • The whole point of Don't Shoot the Puppy is to avert this. The game deviously tries to trick the player into inadvertently shooting the cute little puppy.
  • In Little King's Story: So you've been going around to various kingdoms, defeating their kings and rescuing their princesses (most, if not all, of which are quite cute). Maybe you've done their quests and got touching scenes in return, maybe not. And now, to settle the dispute between them, you've chosen your one and only out of all of them and your Records Minister, who's pretty cute herself, had a sweet scene, taken her into space, and landed in a mysterious, dark location. After some exploration, however, she's taken away by a giant rat! Defeat its three underlings, and the giant one will pick her up, toss her into the air, and swallow her! Even if you defeat it, the giant version of yourself will throw the rat out the window with your chosen queen still inside, no spitting her up or anything! Roll credits.
  • In Until Dawn, if Ashley gets either her Eye Scream or Off with Her Head! deaths, it invokes this due to her rounder face and shyer personality.
  • The two main characters in It Takes Two have become trapped in the bodies of dolls and decide the only way to turn back into humans is to use their daughter's tears, which transfigured them in the first place. To get her to cry, they decide to murder her beloved toy, Cutie the Elephant. When they meet her, Cutie lives up to her name by being the sweetest and friendliest person ever, but despite their reluctance, it doesn't dissuade the main characters from their plan. Cutie doesn't want to hurt anyone so tries to flee, all the while pleading with the parents to stop and find another way. However, she is eventually hunted down, ends up having a leg and one of her ears torn off when they get snagged along the way, and is pulled off the side of a table to her death so that their poor daughter will see the body. And if the death itself wasn't harrowing and brutal enough, the main characters proceed to cheer and dance in their daughter's tears afterwardnote  as she cries over Cutie's corpse. It was intended to be darkly humorous, but instead ended up being so mean-spirited that a lot of players felt it was pushed out of Crosses the Line Twice and into Dude, Not Funny!. If it's of any consolation, we later find out that the parents repaired the poor doll after they become human again, restoring Cutie to life.
  • Lilly, the protagonist's best friend, from the Adobe Flash game Free Ice Cream. Seen alive only in the title card and credits, she can be found locked up in the Cook's meat freezer. Yeah...
  • Luminous Avenger iX: It's not enough that Mytyl, Copen's Delicate and Sickly sister who thinks the world of him dies. No, she is mutilated to the point that all that remains of her is her brain, fully aware of what has happened to her for a century to the point that she requests to be put out of her misery. And to twist the knife? The one who has to perform the euthanasia is her own brother.
  • Phantasy Star II: Nei, the Cute Monster Girl the main character adopted as his little sister, faces and dies to her Evil Counterpart during the story's middle point. One of the earliest examples of a major main character canonically dying in a JRPG, preceding Aerith by 8 years.
  • In Digimon Survive, Miyuki is an Emotionless Girl for most of the game, but only because she's missing half of her soul. When she gets her complete soul back, she turns out to be a very sweet and kind person, and even insists on going back into the digital world despite the danger because the other humans can't return to the human world without Miyuki's song, and as per this trope, in 2 out of 4 routes, Miyuki dies. However, unlike most examples of this trope, the player can avert this and save Miyuki; she dies on the Harmonious and Wrathful routes, but she survives on the Moral and Truthful routes.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD does this with both Nagisa and her daughter Ushio. Separately. With just enough time in between for Tomoya and the audience to rediscover hope. The six-episode gap just serves to rebuild happiness, so the latter death could rip it all away a second time.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc there is Chihiro Fujisaki, who's gentle that he wouldn't even a mosquito because it might have a family, who breaks down in tears after he's forced to vote in the class trial and send one of the students to their execution. His murder in Chapter 2 was seen as an awful act, and the trial becomes even more painful to witness when the killer, Mondo, recounts the story and confesses that he never even meant to hurt him; poor Chihiro unintentionally slammed Mondo's Trauma Button during an intimate conversation, which made Mondo snap and strike him fatally. Mondo feels absolutely despicable for what he did, apologizes to everyone, and doesn't put up a fight as he's lead to the execution. Chihiro may have died, but he's such a sweetheart that he definitely wouldn't have wanted Mondo to die for something that he did in the heat in the moment and immediately regretted.
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Lainie chose to forgo medical treatment in order to get the protagonist startup capital for his business. It ended up costing her life in childbirth.
  • Sayori from Doki Doki Literature Club! is without a doubt the sweetest, most selfless character in the game. She's bubbly, energetic and optimistic, would do anything to make her friends happy, and is absolutely adorable by pure nature. Hell, she even has a strong sunshine motif. And all of this makes it that much worse when it's revealed that not only has she suffered from crippling depression for her entire life, but she commits suicide by hanging at the supposed end of the game, no matter what the player does to try and help her.
  • Fatal Twelve is about a Deadly Game, and kills a lot of cuties. These include Chan Chan, a newlywed bride, Keiko, a new mother, Sonya, a terminally ill ten year old girl, and Yu, an androgynous, amnesiac, teenage terrorist. The most notable is Naomi, one of the protagonist's friends, though this gets reversed. Subverted in the Everybody Lives ending.
  • Everyone in Higurashi: When They Cry. Repeatedly.
  • Mayuri from Steins;Gate, repeatedly and at length, across several timelines. To the point that the very inevitability of her death is a plot point; Mayuri will die, no matter how painfully contrived the circumstances, unless Rintaro can undo enough changes to the timeline to return from the "beta" world line to the "alpha" world line.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Penny Polendina is one of the sweetest, most innocent girls in the show, even if she is a military robot. All she wants to do is prove that she's capable and can help people. however, she is brutally dismembered during the Vytal Festival due to the machinations of Cinder, with help from Emerald. She is able to be restored for Volume 7 by her creator... only to be killed again by Cinder in Volume 8 (while Jaune dealt the death blow, Cinder was the one who inflicted the fatal wound).
    • Pyrrha Nikos, being one of the most selfless, kindest characters in the series, goes off to fight Cinder in the finale of Volume 3, because there's no-one else available who can try, and is shot through the heart and incinerated onscreen.
    • Little, an adorable, innocent, optimistic individual, wants to help Ruby Rose leave the Ever After and get home in Volume 9, and hugs her and comforts her when she's despairing. After hitting rock-bottom, Ruby invokes the trope to justify abandoning Little, saying if they remain with Ruby they'll just be killed. Little follows Ruby anyway, and thwart the Curious Cat's attempt to possess Ruby by biting their tail. Seconds later, Neopolitan crushes Little to death in front of Ruby's eyes. Since Little represents the last of Ruby's dying hope, this is the last act Neo needs to perform so Ruby can commit suicide. Ruby's body is claimed by the Tree, with Little's body falling into the roots with her.
  • Played for Laughs in a Terrible Writing Advice episode that explores the Grimdark genre. J.P. Beubian demonstrates this trope by manipulating the viewer to get emotionally attached to a cute animal, then he immediately kills said animal to shock the viewer while demanding they feel bad. Throughout the episode, he has killed a kitten, a puppy, and a baby seal, and then he ran out of cute animals to kill. This is to demonstrate that the overuse of this trope will most likely make the story predictable and will thus kill off narrative tension.
  • Eddsworld: Laurel from MovieMakers. She's introduced as a sweet girl who manages to get along well with the boys...only to get killed off near the end of the same episode she debuted in. God damn it, Shoe!!

  • Andrew Hussie must really enjoy making Homestuck fans cry, due to the alarmingly frequent number of times this trope is used. Kanaya (though she got better), Feferi, Tavros, Nepeta, and Dream Jade.
    • Not to mention Aradia, who was dead before the story even began. She gets better.
    • Also invoked with John. He's not dead, but still, the reader reaction...
    • Some will argue that Vriska qualifies. Others will argue that she had it coming from lightyears away.
    • As of [S] Cascade, real Jade, WK, and WQ. Although Jade ascended to God Tier in the same Flash, creating one of the biggest Awesome Moments in Homestuck.
  • Poor Yuki is killed in the most brutal way so far in Mitadake Saga.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders does this in vol.4, during the "Adventures in Space... and Time?!" arc. Suki gets involved in a fire fight with a group of murauders and gets blown in half.
  • Luminary Children kills the cute girl Sandra almost right after her introduction.
  • Misty the Lookamancer from Erfworld is killed off shortly after her introduction when Stanley callously orders the three linked casters to snap the link without proper precautions, killing her with psychic backlash. Her death is what makes Parson realise that as cute as Erfworld is, this ain't no game.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Smurfs: Nearly happened once to the Smurf's Cute Mute elf friend, Laconia, in "Stop and Smurf the Roses." Chllohydrous, one of several enemies of the Smurfs, is annoyed over Laconia and, upon realizing that flowers are her life-sustaining source, sets out to wipe out all plant life on earth. Chllohydrous succeeds, but only temporarily, as Papa Smurf is able to — after defeating the evil sorceress — restore the flowers to health and revive Laconia. However, Papa's restoration magic does not happen until after the Smurfs hold a wake for Laconia and she is lies in state in the forest.
  • Superjail! kills two Cuties to be exact; first Cancer in "Mr. Grumpypants", then the little puppy The Warden had befriended as a child in "Superfail".
  • Narrowly averted in the Gravity Falls Grand Finale; Bill Cipher (in the height of his Villainous Breakdown) captures Dipper and Mabel and plans to kill one of them just for the heck of it. He is moments away from vaporizing Mabel (indicated by the symbol on his eye falling on "shooting star") when Stan posing as Ford agrees to surrender.
  • In Amphibia more explicitly in the Season 2 finale True Colors, King Andrias stabs Marcy in the back to take back the Calamity Box currently being used to transport Anne and the Plantars to Earth. Subverted in the Season 3 Intro shown after the credits, she is still alive, but in a coma and placed in a liquid Canister for whatever Andrias and her Master have planned for her. Mid-season 3, it was revealed she was revives with the Moss Man's magic so Andrias can make her into a human host for his master, The Core.
    • Throughout Season 3, this almost happens to Anne.


Video Example(s):


Judge Doom Kills a Toon Shoe

Judge Doom shows his ruthlessness on enforcing the law by dipping a poor innocent toon shoe.

How well does it match the trope?

4.81 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / EstablishingCharacterMoment

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