Kill the Cutie

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"The Lackey patented formula for success -- make your audience identify with and care deeply for a character, then drop a mountain on him!"

A series introduces a character as sweet and lovable, more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to pet little puppies. They make you adore them, root for them and love them.

Then they proceed to put them in to 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 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 girl die in such a gruesome manner and he is driven to kill the bastard who cut her down. 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 girl. 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. It's also part of the ideal behind the Ryona phenomenon: Killing off characters (usually female) in order to strike at the protective instincts of their fans. 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. A cause of being Stuffed Into the Fridge. Related to Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Kill the Cutie include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 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. But one might view the secretary as getting her just desserts, since she was working for such a horrible institution that routinely practiced torture and dehumanization.
    • 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.
  • Code Geass: Let's not forget Euphemia and Shirley. Sweet Lord, poor Euphie and Shir-Shir. One was accidentally forced by her own 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 her own 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 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. And to further twist the knife, both of them suffered a Break the Cutie before.
    • 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.
  • 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 MAR 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.
  • In Rozen Maiden, Hinaichigo, the most deliberately cute of the dolls, is killed off in the second season. In the anime, her death is heartbreaking. In the manga, she perishes horribly.
  • Everyone in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Repeatedly.
  • 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's 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. To be fair to Kakashi, Haku was NOT his intended target and the event causes Zazuba's eventual redemption.
    • A more direct example is when Pain apparently killed Hinata in chapter 437. The character and fan base reaction was certainly there. Subverted as she lived through it despite what it looked like.
      • You could only really tell because the death was like the ones in the Rescue Sasuke Arc.
    • Subverted with Hinata yet again in the Chunnin exam when she became a target of Revenge by Proxy. The reaction from Naruto was not pleasant. There's also some Fridge Horror here when you think about what could have happened if Orochimaru didn't use that 5 pronged seal.
      • Remember though, part of the reason Naruto went eight tails against Pain was that the seal has been gradually weakening over time. By the end of Part I, Naruto was only able to achieve one tail, and even then it was a combination of a desire to bring Sasuke back combined with self-preservation, so he probably would only have gone one tail if he saw Hinata apparently killed in front of him during the Chuunin exams. Bad news for Neji, yes, but nothing that would threaten the entire village, especially since there were genjutsu experts on site, and if nothing else, Gaara was there to keep Naruto occupied, at which point everyone runs away from the two bloodthirsty jinchuriki.
  • 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: Nina Tucker. She suffers a Fate Worse Than Death, followed by Shoot the Dog.
    • In the first anime, Selim.
  • Carly from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. 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.
  • Weiss Kreuz is pretty fond of this trope. The clearest examples appear in Weiss Kreuz Gluhen: 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, to put it simply.) 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. 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.
    • To be fair, all Kill'Em All Gundam stories loves this, especially Victory Gundam, with mass amounts of persons of all kinds (and specially cute Action Girls) getting killed. War Is Hell indeed.
    • The most recent victim comes from Gundam AGE. Yurin's death is this and then some more.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino's Kill'Em All shows are overloaded with this. Non-cuties die plenty too, though. Just know that the Fan Nickname "Kill 'em All Tomino" is well-earned.
  • 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.
  • Wolf's Rain: Toboe. And Toboe's death is just the START of it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Though not a particularly "cute" child 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...". 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 and Tetsuo carries around her lifeless body afterwards and in the anime she dies horrifically within Tetsuo's mutated form.
  • Bleach: Almost happened to poor Momo Hinamori. Nice Job Breaking It, Hitsugaya. Now, since Hinamori is a protagonist, the likelihood that she will die? Not that much. (Nobody Dies In Bleach, anyway.) But it's heartbreaking all the same. "Shiro...chan...why?" Aizen is a bastard, that's why.
  • Lisanna from Fairy Tail is presented this way as a character in a Flash Back. 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.
  • 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 lean that their shared Backstory 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...
  • Franz and Edmond in Gankutsuou.
  • 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.
  • Alois/Jim from Black Butler II.
  • Miki Makimura from Devilman, 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 mad men. Akira realizes it, and snaps. Too bad we don't see him tearing those bastards apart.
  • The manga and movie versions of Kimba the White Lion ends with Kimba's and Lyra's deathes.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Mami DEAR GOD
    • And in episode 9, Sayaka. And Kyouko.
    • Episode 10. They're all alternate timelines, but everyone except Homura, multiple times.
  • With a name like Corpse Party, it was probably inevitable, but Seiko's death is still devestating due to what leads up to it.
  • The 10031 MISAKA in To Aru Majutsu no Index series and it's never pretty.
  • 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.
  • Happens in the second chapter of Limit. 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.
  • Charlotte from Rose of Versailles, and later, Marie Antoinette herself.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Dreamkeepers has a rather disturbing version of this trope, where a cute little girl is, for lack of a better term, butchered.
  • The Walking Dead has this trope to an effect, with Jim's wife and daughter being shot but its hardly noticable due to the fact that Half the cast die.
  • Fray doesn't kick into high gear until the brutal murder of Loo.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Played straight in The Dark Knight.
  • 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 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.
  • The main character's Love Interest in the remake of The Assault On Precinct 13 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. Well ALMOST no one. One of the girls does presumably escape by helicopter.
  • Poor, poor 5... It's just not enough that he dies, oh no, he has to have what fans call the most TearJerking deaths in the whole movie.
  • Newt was killed off pretty quickly in Alien3, and the audience is given an sickeningly just-out-of-shot autopsy scene to confirm this. Probably for the best, though - she would have totally ruined the movie's tone if she were alive. Of course, many fans would argue that it would have been best if the whole movie was killed off pretty quickly.
  • 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 II. Being played by Heather Matarazza only made it that much worse.
    • Josh in the original. The fact he gets arguably the most painful death in the entire movie just makes it much, much worse.
    • Also, 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.
  • Boltie (Ellen 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 solidifies himself as one of the most despicable villains in cinematic history when 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.
  • His name was Phil. Dammit, Joss.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Stephen King's Cell, Alice is the only character that one can really love, due to her innocence and naiveté. She dies suddenly and with no foreshadowing or reason. Stephen King, you bastard.
    • Not only that, but the way she dies sounds incredibly painful.
      • The killers die a much more excruciating death. And while Alice was unaware of the pain, they're fully aware of it as they bleed out.
  • Rue in The Hunger Games.
    • Depending on definition, also possibly Cinna from the second book, although we don't know for sure that he's actually dead.
    • And just when you think that maybe Rue has fulfilled this trope enough for one trilogy, they go and kill off Prim in the final book. Pass the tissues.
  • Nancy in Dickens' Oliver Twist
    • 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.
  • Johnny in The Outsiders
  • Kianna goes out in contorting, flaming ruin in the second book of Douglas Niles's Watershed Trilogy.
  • Emilio in JC Hutchins' Dark Art is another rare male example.
  • Harry Potter's potentially extensive list: Dobby and Colin Creevey with arguably qualifying mentions to Lily Potter, Fred Weasley, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin and Hedwig depending on how you want to define cutie.
  • 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.
  • Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats. if there is a cutie, expect she or he to end up broken, and then dead.
  • Martin the Warrior has Laterose die at the end of the book, causing Martin to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Piggy from Lord of the Flies. Simon, too.
  • 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
  • Bridge to Terabithia : poor Leslie...
  • 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.
  • A particularly cruel but subverted example in Stationery Voyagers: "The Wages of Cheating Death": Stella-Marie Jenkins is introduced as the Cutie, but is also portrayed as having recently survived an explosion that murdered her parents. She is on an operating table, bleeding lime-green ink profusely and screaming in pain. She is near-killed almost as soon as she is introduced! "Saving" her through Unwilling Roboticisation is the real twist: It's a Sadistic Choice for Katrina! Either let this young girl finish dying a horrible and agonizing death, or make an exception to her own moral disgust with the idea of artificial reincarnation and let the girl become a possessed robot. Ending her pain, but also giving her "immortality" at the expense of not fully and truly "living." Katrina won't perform the operation herself, but decides not to interfere with the procedure being done. She sighs and agrees that as long as the Xyliens use such cases to make excuses for their practice, there will always be a need for Edge Skidders to catch the rogue robots.
  • 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.
  • Weena in The Time Machine.
  • Manchee and Maddy in Chaos Walking.
  • Clarisse in Fahrenheit451. Eventually, Faber too.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Bonanza: Seemingly every episode that featured a Cartwright becoming romantically involved with a young woman.
  • Joss Whedon is positively obsessed with this trope. Examples include Jenny Calendar, Tara, Amanda, and arguably Jonathan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and 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.
    • 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. "Getting Closer" (2x11). That is all.
      • Then in "The Hollow Men" (2x12) Mellie kills herself to protect Ballard.
      • And in 2x13, Topher performs a heroic sacrifice and gets blown up.
    • Penny from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog qualifies for this trope.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. Cally. Dualla. Boomer. Athena. Repeatedly, in the latter two cases.
    • Now let's not forget Billy. Oh, sweet, sweet Billy.
    • Also, 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. This was when it became clear that Cylons aren't all bad.
  • Kutner, possibly the most likable character on House. Cause of death? Suicide.
  • Ianto in Torchwood.
    • Steven 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.
  • "The Doctor's Daughter" in Doctor Who. Thankfully, she got better.
    • Not to mention Katarina and Adric. There's also Astrid, from "Voyage of the Damned".
      • What about 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?
      • From the same episode as the above, Chantho. This is almost the first thing The Master does in the new series, and he only gets worse from there.
    • Rory is surely this. The amount of times he gets killed and frankly he is Adorkable. However, by this point, he's taken so many levels in badass that in fandom, the They Killed Kenny 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.
  • 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 and Shannon would qualify
  • Initially Lilly Kane, the character who dies before the beginning of the first series 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 arguably 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 TOS 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.
  • At the end of the third/beginning of the fourth seasons of Breaking Bad, unfortunate circumstances force Jessie to kill Gale.
  • On Bones, the creators even admitted they killed Vincent Nigel-Murray "for the heartbreak."


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

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


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Seward's son in Macbeth 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.
  • Next to Normal: Defied with Diana but played straight with Gabe.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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.
    • Much more importantly, how about Ventus in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep"? Even though he doesn't TECHNICALLY die, he is basically destroyed. Same could go for Terra and Aqua, as well.
  • Tiltyu in Fire Emblem 4, after the Time Skip was subjected into lots and lots of Break the Cutie moments to the point it killed her.
    • Ethlin and Cuan too. They were travelling through the Yied Desert to meet up with Sigurd. However, Trabant ambushes their army and wipes them out save Finn (who was back at Lenster with Leaf, taking their baby Altenna hostage. And no, there is no way to save them.
  • MUGEN has led to a couple of creative videos where Mortal Kombat characters giggle in glee as they kill Chun-Li, Mai, all of the maidens, Pikachu, etc. in a brutal fashion.
    • It's not just those characters. Ryona fighting game videos in general tend toward this kind of thing.
      • Just fighting games?
      • Of course, but MUGEN takes it to sadistic levels.
  • 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.
  • The Turrets from Portal.
  • 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 and Stella.
  • Martel's death in Tales of Symphonia has a corrupting effecting effect on Mithos.
  • Aeris from Final Fantasy VII is a classic example of this trope. If Cloud's anger doesn't count, the millions of players hucking PS 1 controllers around when they found out a Phoenix Down doesn't help probably does.
  • Yuel and, at the end of the game, Serah in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
  • While not a cutie by Grand Theft Auto standards, Ling dies in the next mission after meeting Huang and the guy remarks on how he misses her a lot.
  • Chidori's death in Persona 3 exemplifies this, dying to revive Junpei from the dead, causing him to enter an Unstoppable Rage...you can revive her in FES, but she does not remember anything. Unfortunately, Chidori's death is canonical.
    • This also applies to Minato in P3
    • Then tampered with again for Yosuke as he loses Saki. God the Junpei partner type is easily have 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.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, should you choose the Dark path, you get to force-persuade Zaalbar to kill Mission Vao.
    • Arguably, 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 2, in the default ending, Mio strangles her for the ritual. The more tragic thing? This is the canon ending.
  • Arguably, Super Metroid of all things. 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.
    • This only gets us started on the doom train. 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 one of the scientists helping out 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.
  • Maria's death in the Sonic the Hedgehog series caused much of Shadow's emotional trauma and had the trademark Roaring Rampage of Revenge reaction.
  • In the bad ending of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, 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: A Promise Unforgotten 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.
    • If watching Nef's video diaries doesn't make you want to unload a few dozen rounds into Morinth you have a heart of stone.
  • 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. To make things even worse, it is possible to complete Valkyria Chronicles without losing a single other member of your squad, making it arguably even harder-hitting. And because it is part of the storyline rather than gameplay (unlike other potential deaths) it is impossible to prevent. Without playing through the rest of the game you don't get the same impact, but for those curious, link to the death scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzanc AU 4 c RQ The funeral scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmnzr G Rxn E 4
  • Throughout Tales of Monkey Island, both Morgan LeFlay and Guybrush are cuties in that she is a sweet femme fatale and he is Adorkable. 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 Adorkable 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.
  • Soma Cruz becomes corrupted by his powers after seeing his child hood friend killed in front of him in the bad ending of Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow. Subverted in the true ending as it was a fake.


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  • 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, WQ, and WV.
  • Poor Yuki is killed in the most brutal way so far in Mitadake Saga.


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