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Note: There is a misconception that "cutecore" is a non-culturally appropriating word for kawaii. This is not the topic of the page. The claim that "kawaii" is an inappropriate term was created by trolls on 4chan and does not reflect the beliefs of the kawaii community and Japanese people.

Cutecore (also known as Cutegore) is an online aesthetic including image edits that combine typical kawaii imagery with slight traces of gore. Characters are often depicted with wounds, blood splatters, glitches, pixelations, and otherwise horrific motifs, as well as bedrooms with kawaii decor and bloodstains on the wall or tall dark figures.

The aesthetic is often conflated with Kawaii over its name, when in reality the term "Cutecore" was choosen in order to avoid shadowbans on social media triggered by mentions of the term "gore".

History

The term "Cutecore" first emerged around the mid-2010s as short variant of "cute but hardcore/brutal" and was commonly used as the name of a music genre that combined the typical hardcore sound with kawaii noises. Many of the cover images resembled what would be now considered the average Cutecore edit with depictions of violence and blood.

As an aesthetic, Cutecore was coined and popularized by the Tumblr user Vo1dchan in 2020 who would often post gloomy or morbid pictures of their overly kawaii room, often also sporting McDonald's bags in the background.

Visuals

Cutecore is based around the sentiment of corrupted childhood as its overall visuals. However, it is rather similar to Traumacore by the way that images are edited and the way it makes references to murder and trauma. The base for the aesthetic is media aimed at children and preteens of which images then get manipulated to adhere to the sentiment of a corrupted childhood. These can go many ways, such as adding blood, ominous shadow figures and eyes. This aesthetic is highly popular on TikTok, another social media app, sometimes used as a joke. The typical aesthetic edits can also be used to cope with trauma.

Common Motifs

  • Kawaii characters and motifs
  • Blood splatters and injuries
  • Glitchy and pixelated visuals
  • Phrases similar to the Yandere and Traumacore aesthetics
  • Pastel colors and rainbows
  • Dark and shadowy figures
  • Kaomoji
  • Pixel art

Food

  • Cakes (especially strawberry shortcakes)
  • Dango
  • Pucchin Purin pudding
  • Strawberries
  • Kamabokos
  • McDonald's Happy Meals
  • Milk (especially strawberry milk)
  • Ice cream
  • Lollipops
  • Cotton candy
  • Pocky (often two flavors like chocolate or strawberry)

Products

  • Kawaii clothes
  • Sanrio Plushies

Media

This section lists media that is commonly used as part of the Cutecore aesthetic, often in the form of edits, rather than the typical visuals being featured within the media.

Television

  • Barbie (cartoon) (2001-present)
  • Bluey (cartoon) (2018-present)
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan (anime) (2005)
  • Come and Learn with Pibby (cartoon) (2021)
  • Di Gi Charat (anime) (1998-1999)
  • Happy Tree Friends (cartoon) (1999-2023)
  • Hello Kitty and Friends (anime) (1989–1998)
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (anime) (2006-2021)
  • Jewelpet (anime) (2008-2015)
  • K-ON! (anime) (2009-2010)
  • Lalaloopsy (cartoon) (2013-2015)
  • Lucky☆Star (anime) (2007)
  • Mewkledreamy (anime) (2017-2022)
  • My Little Pony (cartoon) (1984-present)
  • Nekopara (anime) (2017)
  • Nichijou (anime) (2011)
  • Onegai My Melody (anime) (2005-2012)
  • Paw Patrol (cartoon) (2013-present)
  • Peppa Pig (cartoon) (2004-present)
  • Pretty Cure series (anime) (2004-present)
  • Powerpuff Girls (cartoon) (2001-2005)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica (anime) (2011-present)
  • SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation (anime) (2014)
  • Sugarbunnies (anime) (2007-2009)
  • Teletubbies (live-action) (1997-2001)
  • Watamote: No Matter How I Look at It, It's Your Guys' Fault I'm not Popular! (anime) (2013-2015)

Video Games

  • Animal Crossing Series (2012-present)
  • Cooking Mama Series (2006-present)
  • Cookie Run (2009-present)
  • Danganronpa (2010-present)
  • Doki Doki Literature Club (2017)
  • Five Nights at Freddy's (2014-present)
  • Gaia Online (2004)
  • Genshin Impact (2020)
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva (2009-present)
  • IMVU (2006)
  • Love Live! School Idol Festival (2013)
  • Minecraft (2009)
  • Project Sekai (2020)
  • PriPara (2014)
  • Purrfect Apawcalypse (2021)
  • Roblox (2006)
  • Slender: The Eight Pages (2012)
  • Super Smash Bros. (1999-present)
  • The Idolmaster (2005-present)
  • Touhou Project (1997-present)
  • VRChat (2014)

Music

Songs frequently used as part of the aesthetic include:

  • A F1GUR3 8 by bugcried
  • all i want is you by Rebzyyx
  • BABY MY PHONE by Yameii Online
  • Barbie Girl by Aqua
  • Better Off Alone By Alice Deejay
  • Bimbo Doll by Tila Tsoli
  • BrooklynBloodPop! by Syko
  • Bubblegum Cyber by Bitch Brigade
  • Build a Bitch by Bella Poarch
  • Bumblebee by Bambee
  • Caramelldansen by Caramella Girls
  • Doki Doki by Smile.dk
  • Dumb Dumb by Mazie
  • Electro World by Perfume
  • Gee by Girls' Generation
  • GOT UR NUMB3R by bugcried
  • Häschenparty by Schnuffel
  • Hello Kitty by Avril Lavigne
  • Hello Kitty by Slayyyter
  • Hikaru Nara by Goose House
  • Kasane Territory by ZUN (feat. Kasane Teto)
  • Kiss Me Again by Roy Bee
  • Konoyo Loading... by REOL
  • I'm going to kill your family by Violent Vincent
  • Ice Cream by BlackPink (feat. Selena Gómez)
  • INTERNET OVERDOSE by Aiobahn (feat. KOTOKO)
  • INTERNET YAMERO by Aiobahn (feat. KOTOKO)
  • Licky The Carnivorous Pony by Bitch Brigade
  • LOVE & JOY by Yuki Kimura
  • Lovefool by The Cardigans
  • Lucky by Lucky Twice
  • Marisa Stole The Precious Thing by IOSYS
  • Me! Me! Me! by TeddyLoid (feat. Daoko)
  • Meet Lime Cookie! by Tsundere Twintails
  • Menheramen by PEPOYO
  • Miku by Anamanaguchi (feat. Hatsune Miku)
  • Monster by Dev
  • NIMBASA Core by plasterbrain
  • Notice Me Senpai! by iHasCupquake
  • Nyan Cat Theme by Digidudes
  • Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya! by daniwell
  • Omae Wa Mou by deadman
  • OTOMERIOD by VIVINOS
  • Perfume (song) by Perfume
  • Plus Boy by Giga-P (feat. Kagamine Len)
  • Po Pi Po by LamazeP (feat. Hatsune Miku)
  • Remember Country Names by s100599
  • Sparklesome by Bitch Brigade
  • Stir And Mix by LJ LephemStar (from the Scratchin' Melodii OST)
  • Suki Suki Daisuki by Jun Togawa
  • Summerlove by S-Connection
  • Sweet Magic by Junky (feat. Kagamine Rin)
  • The Zombie Song by Stephanie Mabey
  • Tokyo by Leat'eq
  • Triple Baka by LamazeP (feat. Hatsune Miku, Kasane Teto, and Akita Neru)
  • Ur Style by DATEKEN
  • Your Reality by Dan Salvato
  • "Sped up"/Nightcore songs in general

Criticism

Ever since the "kawaii is a slur" discourse that occured primarily on TikTok in 2021 [1], the aesthetic was getting accused of being a "whitewashed" version of Kawaii due to the term Cutecore being misunderstood as a western replacement word for it. There was also the argument of people saying "Kawaii translates to cute" or "Just use Cutecore, it makes more sense" despite it being a gore-centric aesthetic.[2] The term 'Cutecore' was deliberately selected for the aesthetic to disassociate itself from 'gore' terminology within media and avoid any negative connotations previously associated with the latter.

Cutecore often faces backlash for problematic individuals who engage in the aesthetic and its community. There has been a prevalence of people who abuse the aesthetic to glorify violence, self-harm, and CSA within its media as well as general toxic behavior (harassment, suicide baiting, etc).[3] Like any aesthetic linked to Kawaii, there have been accusations of yellowface towards Cutecore as well. Occasionally, Cutecore also gets criticized for 'ruining' characters from well-known series aimed at children.

Backlash frequently arises from within the community concerning items from brands such as Sanrio, Mezzo Piano, and San-X, with criticisms centered on their perceived overpricing, whether they are regular items or collector's items, largely being attributed to the Cutecore aesthetic.

Resources

External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.

Blogs

  • TBA

Artists

Pinterest Boards

Gallery

References

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