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There are times when something is just so pure, innocent, right and adorably cute that even the most level-headed persons are struck by a quaint phenomenon we Tropers like to call "Cuteness Proximity", in which all pretences of stoic maturity are dropped to reveal an affectionate and nurturing, sweet-tongued teddy bear who wants to hug the subject of cuteness all day long. Sometimes, it can get so bad that said persons cannot comprehend and withstand the intense emotional effects.
Sometimes, the Cuteness Proximity is so intense that it stirs not only mere affection, but actual paternal and maternal love. The afflicted will want to actually become the adorable one's father, mother or older sibling, and will:
1) Ask the guardian whether he or she could "take her/him home" with a goofy grin on his or her face. Usually, the answer is no.
or, more dangerously,
2) GRAB the poor little one and SHOUT "I'm taking her/him home with me!" as he or she runs off like a kidnapper.
More so than Cuteness Proximity, this will either endear the audience to what is obviously a very warm and loving person, or creep them out by revealing what is a dangerous and perverted Lolicon or Shotacon.
Another way this can end badly is if the abductor Does Not Know His Own Strength, and their overly physical expression of affection spells doom for poor little "George". Occasionally, the "cute creature" in question is either Ugly Cute at best, or downright monstrous.
Anime & Manga
- In Ouran High School Host Club, Honey gets this reaction from pretty much every female (and some males) that see him, being a senior but having the rough size and appearance of an incredibly adorable blonde eight-year-old, particularly when he's got his stuffed bunny with him, as he usually does. He's even more sugary than the sweets he's almost always seen munching on-but watch out, he's not exactly a pushover when it comes to a fight!
- In Clannad, the adorably innocent Ibuki Fuko says she wants to do this to little Ushio-chan, Tomoya's daughter, and to be her older sister. Pictured above.
- In Mahoraba, the eccentric president of the occult club takes an intense liking to Asami-chan, who is the first person to be so innocent that she finds her creepy jokes funny.
- Ranma One Half: Azusa Shiratori is very prone to this, grabbing new "cute" items and giving them a French name, and then claiming ownership of them. If it resists, she'll knock it out. If it's yours, and you resist, she'll knock you out.
In the anime version, she tries to "adopt" a half-eaten rice cake soon afterward. When Genma manages to polish it off before she can steal it, she screams in horror and beats him senseless. Her collection, in the few glimpses we've seen of her mansion, has been shown to include an octopus balloon, a stop sign, and even weirder things. In an anime-exclusive episode, she adopts a Tanuki statue -- and when Kunô cuts his way out of it (it fell on him beforehand), she promptly adopts him as well, thinking he must be a real tanuki.
- In Kannagi, Nagi sees a pair of kittens curled up and sleeping outside of Jin's house. She finds them so irresistibly cute that she wants to take care of them herself. Jin's not too keen on the idea, as his current living arrangement prevents animals from taking up residence inside.
- The pet store clerk in Chi's New Address does this even after discovering Chi has an owner. The reason she can't have one is because her little brother is afraid of cats -- but as it turns out, her brother happens to be Yohei's friend Ryu, who got over his fear about 20 episodes before this was revealed.
- Haruhi Suzumiya
- Yuki Nagato, of all people, reacts this way in The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya when she finds the newly revived "Achakura", proceeding to place her in her bag and literally take her home.
- Tsuruya said this about Mikuru in a waitress costume.
- Don't forget the original case, where Haruhi practically kidnaps poor Mikuru because of her Moe factor. We get to see it from a slightly different perspective in Disappearance, where it's just as hilarious and extremely awesome to boot.
- Macross Frontier. Ranka Lee does this to a little cute squirrel thingy which she later names Ai-kun. However with this being Macross, said trope is inverted when it is revealed that Ai-kun is a Space Vajra larvae, who takes Ranka home with it later. Of course, it's arguable that the Vajra were trying to do that with Ranka in the first place
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki has this line spoken in one episode in which Kyouka becomes a magical girl.
- Isumi Saginomiya in Hayate the Combat Butler. She will make your head explode into candy. Then again, Wataru's maid Saki would invite such a reaction too... especially when she's crushed emotionally.
- Shin from Prétear manages to get chased by about 20 schoolgirls he is trying to test to find the eponymous Pretear.
- Full Metal Panic
- Teresa "Tessa" Testarossa gets this reaction when she introduces herself to Kaname's high school class in Full Metal Panic Fumoffu. All the guys go "WOOOAH!" while all the girls cry "Oh she's so cute!" with accompanying love hearts.
- Sôsuke evidently elicited this kind of response when he was young. Just like in the trope description, his Cuteness Proximity was so incredibly intense, it managed to melt the hearts of war-hardened veterans and pretty much made them internally Squee that they want to take him home and make him their child. Which they then proceed to attempt to do. He certainly never lacked people who were all too eager to take him in as their own. Starting with Majid, an
AfghanistaniHelmajistani rebellion leader whom Sôsuke had tried to assassinate, who liked him so much that he adopted him as his "Son of Bdakshon's Tiger", and raised him with complete kindness. And then there was Kalinin, who wanted Sôsuke as his son from the very beginning, and took him as a prisoner of war after Sôsuke tried to assassinate him. He then proceeds to persistently try to get Sôsuke to agree to be his adopted son (which he refused, since he already had Majid as his "father" -- yes, it got to the point of being a first-come-first-serve basis). After Majid dies, Kalinin finally manages to force his way and get Sôsuke to be his legally adopted son. And all while that was going on, Gauron has tried to take Sôsuke for himself ever since the moment he first set eyes on the boy. He literally did a double take, parked his jeep, and tried to lure Sôsuke to come with him by promising him food and ammunition. Sôsuke refuses, and Gauron ends up being unable to forget him for the next five years. (Though in Gauron's case, it's more of a pedophile rapist, sexual version of wanting to take him home, unlike the previous two).
- Depraved Homosexual Lussuria from Katekyo Hitman Reborn takes a liking to his young opponent Ryohei's muscular physique and decides to take him home... after he's kicked the shit out of him that is...
- In Mahou Sensei Negima, about half of the class feels this way about Negi when he is first introduced as their teacher.
- The follow-up series, Negima!?, has a scene where Setsuna is carrying Konoka in her super-cute "dud" form. As dud Konoka repeatedly comments on how comfortable she is in her arms, Setsuna comments out loud that she wishes she could "take her home like this."
- In Baccano Isaac and Miria do this on someone else's behalf, when they decide that the perfect gift for Ennis would be a little brother. So, they give her Czeslaw.
- Referenced in episode 9 of the new season of Darker Than Black. Cosplay Otaku Girl Kiko and her like-minded friend see Suo, who happens to look like some anime character that they like. The friend suggests they take her home with them. Kiko, who has finally figured out she's not in a show where that's a viable option, says:
Kiko: I'm not into lolicon. Besides, that's illegal.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse has a tendency to pick up cats and keep them in his armor. Edward is not happy about this. Referenced HILARIOUSLY when Ed assumes Al's found another cat in an alley. Except it's not a cat, it's Ling.
- Though not to the point of the trope's name, after Tohru's initial encounter with Kisa in Fruits Basket, the latter follows the former around for the duration of her stay. While Kyo cracks that it would bug the crap out of him, after Tohru stops walking and Kisa bumps into her, Tohru squeals and glomps her. After Kisa leaves, Tohru mentions her slight sadness at not having her around. Later volumes of manga have scenes where other characters are talking and the reader can see little hearts floating into the more serious panels, revealed to be emanating from Tohru and Kisa hugging each other. Every time they see one another, Tohru has the same squeal-and-glomp reaction.
- In the Aria manga, Akari attempts this on Albert, after seeing him helpless with his filled-up boat, as seen here.
- Rena Ryuuguu from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is the Trope Namer (See the Video Games section), and is well known for doing this. Hell, the running joke in the series is that if ever someone gets kidnapped, Rena would be the prime suspect!
- The cold-hearted, and, at times, cruel Battle Butler Sebastian in Black Butler is shown to adore cats of all types because "there is nothing cuter." It's later revealed that he actually picked up several stray cats and kept them in his wardrobe.
- In chapter 12 of Honey Hunt, Q-Ta hugs Yura before leaving to go on a trip to record something and tells her that she's cute. So cute that he just wants to put her in his suitcase and take her with him.
- In Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, once Adorably Precocious Child Majiru is introduced, following his Parental Abandonment, Harumi comments on how cute he is and proposes that the class should take turns taking him home with them. Majiru protests that he's not a pet.
- This is Kyrie's reaction toward Toppi from the World Destruction manga when Toppi and Morte save his life. Toppi does not take being called "cute" well.
- Eisuke Kitamura in Stepping on Roses (Hadashi De Bara Wo Fume) appears to have this as his motivation for constantly bringing home orphaned children... that is, until he reveals that he really just wanted them to work for him in his future business endeavors when they get older.
- In Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt, Stocking has this reaction when she sees the Sperm Ghosts. Admittedly, for being the ghosts of vengeful wasted sperm, they are pretty adorable.
- Iris from Pokémon: Best Wishes tends to react this way around the Monster of the Week. Her actions usually result in the Pokémon hiding from her or attacking her.
- While Sasha Seikon no Qwaser is still going through amnesia, he almost gets kidnapped by a Mikuru Cosplayer.
- Di Gi Charat: "Puchiko is not for sale, nyu!"
- Gajeel Redfox in Fairy Tail, hilariously enough. He spends most of his time being an utter grouchy badass, but has an obsession with finding a cat companion to call his own. And when he finds the perfect one, he is very adamant on bringing said cat back with him. Do note said "Cat" is one of the most badass animals to ever grace a manga's pages.
- In this case however, it's less about cuteness and more about, as his two fellow Dragon Slayers have cat companions with them, he figures he's lacking as a Dragon Slayer if he didn't find one as well. Pantherlily's badassness is exactly why Gajeel likes him.
- One story in the Shoujo Jump edition had a girl who helps a friend (boyfriend?) catch a wild rabbit in a snare. After accomplishing the deed we see into her mind the scenarios of her keeping the rabbit as a pet (feeding it, giving it it's own little house, etc) much to her friend's chagrin. She's horrified to discover that her friend has a more "culinary" interest in the animal, and she lets it escape.
- A more serious example occurs in Bleach where in Riruka's flashback, she had done this to the guy she had a crush on, imprisoning him inside her treasure box. She stopped when she realized how badly her powers were affecting the guy and let him go. More exactly: Riruka actually weaponizes this trope. Anything and anyone she finds cute, she can snatch it with her powers and keep it for herself. She started with petty theft as a little girl (stealing the heart-shaped necklace of the neighbor that bullied her), then used it as described above.
- A creepy (though hilarious) version happens in chapter 210 of D Gray Man. A random gangster who, according to his crony, "loves all beautiful things to a sick degree," decides that Kanda is the most beautiful person he has ever seen and declares, "I'm going to kidnap him and bring him back home!" Kanda promptly beats him to a pulp.
- Katanashi in Working is a minicon -- someone who thinks anything tiny is inherently cute. Showing him anything small is guaranteed to get this reaction from him -- which can be creepy when the object in question is a four year old girl who got separated from her mom.
- Blackest Night
- Gross example: Larfleeze wants his own Guardian, so when our heroes encounter Scar -- an evil, half-undead Guardian who serves the story's Big Bad --, he wants to do this.
- Even grosser is Kryb, the Sinestro Corps member who compulsively abducts infants and keeps them in her exposed ribcage.
- Candorville. Susan, who consistently makes the wrong choices in regards to who she befriends, does this to a wolf. Though there are indications the "wolf" didn't give her much choice in the matter...
- A voicepack for Suika, of all people, has this very phrase in it. Makes sense, since Oni are traditionally known to carry people off when they lost contests, and Suika is strong enough to carry away anyone she'd want.
- Touhou's other oni, Yuugi, is also frequently portrayed by fandom as carrying off others. Parsee Mizuhashi is a favorite victim, for some reason.
- Another example involving Rinnosuke being turned into a cute little boy. Apparently being called Onee-Chan was a little more than Reimu and Marisa could handle. The drool on the sides of their mouths seems point to less then pure intentions.
- The last option for what to do with Byakuren Big-sis:
Seal her away
- Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series: "And I shall call you Mr. Tweetums! For it is very evil!" And in a later episode: "Fool! There is no one who I would want to remember~... Mr. Tweetums! Nooo!!! You made me forget my very best friend"...
- Performed by the Trope Namer, Ryuguu Rena, on a cosplaying Yuki, in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Yes, that Yuki.
- Past Sins: Nyx is found by Twilight Sparkle in the middle of a dark forest all alone and scared... naturally, she adopts her.
- In My Little Hangover, a drunken Rarity does this with a full-grown panda.
- Vinyl Scratch continues the silliness here. Poor Octavia.
- The Mega Crossover fancomic Roommates played with this trope here as it isn't because of Cuteness Overload more like The Woobie effect (except if Jareth has some screwed up sense of cute... which is an option). For those who don't want to check out the page: He took The Drunken Sailor / Off the Wagon James home with him.
- Any time Tabitha shows her vulnerable side, Shirou has to suppress an urge to take her home and give her "adorable ponies and dollies and pretty dresses".
Films -- Animation
- In Finding Nemo, Dory the blue tang wants to do this with a cute, very small jellyfish... until she learns that jellyfishes sting.
- In The Lion King when Timon and Pumba first run across Simba, Timon's first reaction is to panic because of, well, the food chain. Pumba meanwhile thinks Simba's such a cute little guy that he asks, "Can we keep him?"
Films -- Live-Action
- Veruca Salt, in both versions of the film based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a menacing version of this. Among other things, she demands a goose/squirrel and an Oompa-Loompa. And she wants it now!
- There is a picture book called Children Make Terrible Pets. The story is about a young bear named Lucy who finds a human boy out in the woods. She takes him home, names him "Squeaker" and tries to make a pet out of him. Read that title one more time....
- In The Time Machine, the Time Traveler has encountered a race of people who are essentially humans that stop developing physically and mentally at age six. He has fallen in like with one of the womenfolk. "Weena I had resolved to bring with me to our own time." (Ch. 7)
- Subverted in Dune, and combined with I Have You Now, My Pretty. The Harkonnen's Mentat Piter de Vries wanted to keep Jessica Atreides for himself, but quickly dumps the idea when the Baron offers him to stay and rule Arrakis in his name instead.
- Veruca Salt, as mentioned above in Films, wants to take a squirrel home with her in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It doesn't end well.
- "The Kidnapping", by Shiga Naoya, is a perfect example of this trope. The narrator sees a little girl and decides that he must have her for his own.
- Ryutaros from Kamen Rider Den-O is very fond of cute animals and tends to bring them back to the DenLiner, sometimes regardless of whether they're homeless or not. Reaches an extreme when he does it to a fellow Imagin, which introduces the cast to Sieg...
- Liz does this accidentally on Thirty Rock. When handed the baby of a coworker she has such an extreme case of Cuteness Proximity that she goes into a fugue state and realizes that she is now in her apartment... and still holding the baby.
Liz: It was like highway hypnosis -- you know, when you pull into your driveway and you don't remember driving home.
- Stargate SG-1. Samantha Carter makes friends with a little alien boy in "The Nox". O'Neill informs her drily that, "No, [she] can't keep him."
- Perhaps Guy Kyser -- frontman of Thin White Rope -- tossed a few too many oblique words into the salad, but (in the song "Take It Home") he seemed to be evoking this trope. Or attempting to explore the boundaries of its inherent futility:
Something moving in an airtight room
- Darkly invoked in A Perfect Circle's cover of The Nurse Who Loved Me:
I'm taking her home with me, all dressed in white
- The story of Noh, about a group of adventurers who find the guardian in a Secret Test of Character too adorable to leave behind.
- Yukari is said to spirit away people whom she takes a fancy to. This includes taking home people from outside Gensoukyou.
- In Phantasmagoria of Dim Dream, Yumemi decided she wanted to take home one of the magical denizens of Gensoukyou, For Science!!
- After spending most of Undefined Fantastic Object geeking out at the prospect of meeting an alien Sanae refuses to believe Nue is a youkai, and after she defeats her drags her off to take pictures with her.
- Dragon Age
- If you bring your Mabari War Hound to the city of Denerim in Dragon Age: Origins, he will abruptly run off and return a cutscene later with a small boy in tow. The boy just jumps up and down excitedly shouting "PUPPY!" You have to convince your dog to take him back home.
- Also Anders & Ser Pounce-a-lot in Awakening.
- In Mass Effect 2, Kasumi's reaction to meeting Niftu Cal (the BIOTIC GOD!) is "Aww. Can we keep him?"
- In Bayonetta, a Beloved spots the adorable child Cereza. Hearts appear in its eyes, and it hooks her clothes onto its face (don't get the wrong idea, she's still in them), as it tries to "defend" her from Bayonetta. So she summons a dragon made of hair to chomp it in half. Not that she wouldn't have done it if it hadn't taken Cereza.
- In the Ork campaign of Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War: Retribution, Mistah Nailbrain decides to take "Daisy" home.
- Rena Ryuuguu of the mystery-horror franchise Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is the Trope Namer. Whenever she sees something she regards as cute, she melts into a complete ditz and fawns over the subject of cuteness like a mother/big sister. Occasionally, she takes it a little too far, as the following videos show the frightened audience. However, sometimes what she perceives to be "cute" can be odd if not downright disturbing to more normal people.
- In the sound novels, this is often intentionally invoked to enable Rena's "adorable mode". In this mode, she cannot be beaten by anyone.
- Apparently, this attitude is contagious. Keiichi starts to act this way (most likely as a joke) when confronted with Shion in her Angel Mort uniform, and Irie acts like this in a couple scenes, though it's not as cute.
- Miyo Takano acts this way for, em, creepy torture equipment.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni
- Fate Stay Night
- Shirou took Ilya home (and Taiga approved) in Fate route despite the fact that she was an Ax Crazy enemy of his only five seconds earlier, and tried to kill him, Saber, Rin, and Archer, and abducted him once.
- On the other hand, Ilya had taken Shirou home in quite a few of the Bad Ends. Taken home in pieces that is.
- Mizuki wonders if she can take Chihiro home during her chapter in Ef a Fairy Tale of The Two.
- An unnamed woman in Da Capo wants to take Sakura home.
- In the Homestar Runner short "Where's The Cheat?", Marzipan falls in love with a sandwich, of all things, in this way. She even names it "Homestar Jr.", much to Homestar's annoyance.
- Cyanide and Happiness has a disturbing take on this trope in this strip (albeit without bothering to declare the intention).
- In The Lounge, for a while it was a running gag for people to see the very petite Jamie MacKenzie and equally short (but teenage) Max Espinoza and ask how much they cost. Usually when they were wearing a cute hat or costume.
- In Keychain of Creation, Marena was inspired to bring Secret along with the group after she attempted to say her full Abyssal title... and fainted after seventy words.
Marena: Aw, but she's so cute. Let's keep her.
- These two Batman Retold strips.
- Sequential Art has a double variant.
- A Girl and Her Fed had The Girl say this about one of the henchmen. She was shot down by The Fed; after all, villains are such a big responsibility.
- Scandinavia and The World has this from Canada and Denmark with cute puppie "Hans" -- standing in for the territorial dispute over Hans Island, close to Greenland.
- Gaijin Smash. Azrael once had a student so adorable, he told his fellow teachers that he wanted to kidnap her. No, no. Not for anything bad. The police would find them having a perfectly innocent tea party.
- A serious variant happens sometimes in Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Sues' children are usually saved if the agents can wrangle it.
- In Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do In An RPG, Welch's characters are prohibited from doing this to drow priestesses.
- Not Always Right got this case.
- In the MSF High Forum, Demona has this reaction to Lily, the chibi-Pettanko-Succubus. Lily, at present, is begging for death.
- In Snoopy Come Home, Snoopy comes across a little girl who, without warning, grabs him and drags him to her home, shouting, "Oh, boy! I found a dog!" When Woodstock tries to save Snoopy, the girl takes him too.
- An episode of The Powerpuff Girls had Bubbles bringing home animals she felt sorry for. This culminates with her trying to hide a baby whale from the Professor.
- Elmyra of Tiny Toon Adventures has no problem with snatching pets (in a world of Funny Animals) and declaring them her pets. Compounding matters, she's also a negligent owner whose pets invariably die. In many ways more sinister than her mentor, Elmer Fudd, who would simply shoot at them.
- Looney Tunes; the Abominable Showman. "Oh, boy! A bunny rabbit! Just what I always wanted! I will name him George, and I will hug him and squeeze him and pet him and pat him..."
- Tex Avery did it first. "Hello George! Glad to know ya, George! You're my new lit-tle friend, George! My new lit-tle friend. What I'm gonna do is to pet ya and play with ya, George!" (crunching of bones in a hug)
- A rather odd example in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. Villain Jeremiah Surd and his minions have hijacked Air Force One and they plan to kill everybody in it with a deadly nerve gas. Our heroes Jonny, Jessie and Hadji get themselves captured while trying to rescue the President. Bandit (Jonny's pet dog) is also there. When Lorenzo, one of Surd's minions (who is usually very competent in his ruthlessness, except for being rather Book Dumb) points Bandit's presence out to Surd, the boss tells him to "throw him in, too." And Lorenzo goes: "But he's so cute! Can I keep him?" Surd, predictably, says no.
- In South Park, Paris Hilton offers to buy Butters for $250 million for this reason. His parents accept, although Butters isn't too happy with the arrangement. Well, that and she thought Butters was an animal.
- Generator Rex: One episode has Breach kidnap Rex to put in her dollhouse while referring to Rex as her "new favorite" and "shiny thing."
- Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, in the episode The Jiggler, Finn and Jake find a creature that dances along to the song that Finn was singing and the two take it back to their tree house to party with.
- The Boondocks did this with Riley of all people being kidnapped by one of Grandpa's blind dates because he was just so cute. Huey and Grandad had to go save him.
- In the Teen Titans Season 2 episode "Date with Destiny", Beast Boy makes mention that Killer Moth's mutant drones are cute enough to keep as pets (in the larval stage). Despite Raven's warning, he manages to hide Silkie up until Season 3's "Can I Keep Him?"
- In Kung Fu Panda Legends of Awesomeness this was Po's inital reaction to Peng, before Green-Eyed Monster set in.
Po: Oh please, please can we keep him? Can we keep him pleeeeease? He's even pottery trained!
- There is a Youtube clip of Pedobear doing this to a child at one of the larger cons.
- And this clip from a Doctor Who convention. For a child dressed as a Dalek.
- The reason inter-species adoptions are possible -- e.g. a dog with puppies adopting a baby bunny it might have normally had for breakfast, a she-wolf adopting a human infant, etc. More specifically, facial features with certain proportions (huge eyes, tiny nose, tiny mouth, round head) really hit an onlooker's maternal instincts, and happen to be pretty much universal among mammals, so that sometimes, under the right circumstances, the instinct to take it home and care for it overweighs the instinct to snack on it.