Before I started stanning NCT, I used to read Kpop articles out of curiosity (to keep up to date with the T mostly) and he always looked intimidating in the images whenever there was an article about him or NCT. Sometimes I think it's intentional.
This was definitely intentional. In a lot of the early content, especially early seasons of NCT Life, there’s a lot of talk by the editors on screen about being “tough” or the “tough guy” and “fierce intensity” and such. In particular, every time he has to do aegyo to get something, they double down on this. Much like Jaehyun’s perfect prince, this was a really specific box they tried to fit him into - it’s just that his feet started sticking out of the box earlier. Realizing that “bubu” was much more appealing to fans, they seem to have let him run with it, just as they are now freeing Jaehyun to be cool and funny sexy boy, and other members to actually be seen as grownups (like Mark and Jungwoo) rather than still treating them like little kids. (Maybe the success in socials and fandom of WayV’s freewheeling style is letting them loosen up a little? NCT Life in Gapyeong really feels loose in a way that Chunchon did not…)