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Subverted Kids Show / Anime & Manga

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  • Aggressive Retsuko: A charmingly animated slice of life series about a cute red panda and her animal friends...who swear, get drunk, and deal with the hardships of everyday office life.
  • Bokurano. Bunch of kids on a trip find a giant robot in a cave, and are told to use it to protect the world. It gets worse. Much, much worse.
  • From the same writer as Bokurano: Narutaru. Playful tomboy finds a cute little star-shaped creature with superpowers and develops a bond with it. Tragedy ensues when she encounters similar monsters bonded with other children who aren't so nice.
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  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt's art style would not look out-of-place on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Then the characters start talking...
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica starts out your standard cutesy Magical Girl fare. Then Episode 3 delivers its Cerebus Syndrome/Deconstruction double-whammy.
    • The Rebellion Story: Homura's Soul Gem world is also one of these. It indeed appears to be cutesy Magical Girl fare, taking all sorts of cues from Lighter and Softer fanart and fanfiction depictions of the series. Then Homura discovers that the world is actually a witch barrier...
  • Sword Art Online has an episode "Red-Nosed Reindeer" that sounds like it would be a sweet Christmas special. It's actually a tragedy. All of Kirito's friends die in front of him because of his mistake, and then he devotes a bunch of time and effort toward a rumor about a magical artifact that he could use to resurrect his girlfriend, only to find out he's six months too late. Then he receives a surprisingly cheerful message that she wrote before she died, telling him not to beat himself up too much because she had accepted long ago that it was only a matter of time before she met a violent end. Merry Christmas!
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  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero looks like a fluffy Magical Girl Warrior anime about friendship. Aside from some minor fanservice, all is fine until the hints that all is not right start popping up. By the scene where Togo attempts suicide in front of her friends, fails, and casually mentions she's tried that several times it's obvious that the anime isn't for little girls.
  • Several episodes of Pop Team Epic have segments featuring puppets of Popuko and Pipimi that start out innocently, but get dark halfway through. One segment, "Go To Sleep, Kon-Chan!" begins with the girls singing a cute song about putting a baby fox to sleep, but then Popuko yells at the viewers that they should be asleep like the baby fox in the song. The most well-known example, "The Heart Tree", starts out as a song about growing up, but when Pipimi starts clapping her hands to the melody, it turns into a song about how destroying things can be fun.
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