The List
7 Twisted Wishes Gone Wrong

by Jacob Chapman,

Last week's list was all about lovable monkeys, but this week I'm taking on a side of our furry relatives that's a whole lot more sinister: the Monkey's Paw. Thanks to a famous short story by William Wymark Jacobs, this gruesome appendage has become a universal warning to be careful what you wish for in twisted works of fiction. No matter how noble your intentions, you're probably making a wish that's way too big for you to handle. Of course, not every monkey's paw has to be literal. Sometimes the entity responsible for turning your optimistic words against you is a prankster genie, sometimes it's a vengeful spirit, and sometimes dramatic irony itself just has it in for you. Whatever the case may be, if you ever get the feeling you're making a deal with a monkey's paw, you should just keep your heart's desire to yourself. Oh, and needless to say, spoilers ahead for each show's entry!

7. Johan (Monster) - Poor Tenma is too good at heart to be a big-time doctor. After realizing that rampant corruption at his own hospital has caused poorer patients to go untreated in favor of richer ones, he sacrifices his career to save the life of a young boy named Johan in place of the city's mayor, wishing to himself that the corrupt board members would just drop dead. Johan overhears him in his darkest moment and not only murders the men who punished Tenma, but goes on to become the most terrifying serial killer in the nation's history. Tenma eventually finds himself suspected of the murders Johan's been committing to "thank" him, kicking off a long journey that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

6. The Monkey's Paw (xxxHolic) - When the mystical witch Yuuko decides to do a little housecleaning and leaves a monkey's paw out in the open, a nearby schoolteacher decides she just has to have it, since she's submitting a thesis on folklore for publication soon. At first the wishes she makes are just little whims with mild consequences, like a request for rain that drains the school pool. But it's not long before her foolish wishes get her in hot water for plagiarism and force an innocent bystander in front of a subway train. Overcome with guilt and paranoia, the teacher's final wish is for the paw to "erase it all," hoping to start over. In response, the paw jumps out and closes around her throat, undoing not only all her wishes, but her very existence. It doesn't even leave a body behind when it mysteriously reappears in Yuuko's attic, content to wait for another victim.

5. Witsalnamitea (Utawarerumono) - Anime scientists, take heed: stop playing god while you can. Especially if you're literally experimenting on an actual god. After the long-dormant Witsalnamitea, the origin force behind evolution and all sentient life on earth, gets rudely awakened post-pollution-apocalypse, he fuses his essence to a nearby scientist, and his buddies decide this means it's open season on human experimentation. They're after the secret to an immortal life than can survive the toxic wasteland outside their lab, but once they dissect the woman their test subject loves, Witsalnamitea decides he's had enough. Feeding off his human host's anguish, he unleashes his powers and "evolves" not only the scientists but all of humanity into "I Have No Mouth"-esque red blobs of agony that can never die. The irony is clearly not lost on him as he cackles at his gelatinous victims.

4. Cameo's Judgement (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders) - HAIL 2 U! One of Dio's more clever assassins, Cameo, came up with an ingenious plan to destroy Polnareff with the power of his Judgement stand. Since it has the power to create false clones of things from its user's imagination, Cameo decides to trick Polnareff into thinking Judgement is an all-powerful genie that will grant him three wishes. When the poor vengeance-driven doofus inevitably wishes to bring Avdol and his sister back from the dead, Cameo creates ravenous zombie versions of his lost loved ones and even manages to convince Polnareff that he deserves to be eaten as penance for letting them die. Fortunately, the real Avdol wasn't actually dead after all, showing up in the nick of time to save Polnareff, help him finally come to terms with his sister's death, and give Cameo a good kick in the pants.

3. The Holy Grail (Fate/Zero) - For all the intense research and training that mages put into preparing for the Holy Grail War, you'd think one of them would have figured out ahead of time that the cup they're all fighting and dying for has been poisoned for centuries. After a couple wars or so, the all-powerful wish-granting chalice was possessed by the force of Angra Mainyu, a dark god that only longs for destruction. When Kiritsugu finally struggles his way to the Grail to make his wish, he discovers to his horror that no matter his desire, the Grail will only find a way to grant it in a way that causes a horrible apocalypse, and it doesn't help that his wish is extremely easy to exploit for mass destruction. His only option is to destroy the Grail before it can finish "giving him what he wants," forever changing what's left of his life and the fate of his future son.

2. The Gate of Truth (Fullmetal Alchemist) - The laws of alchemy seem pretty fair on the surface, until you start trying to bargain for human souls. The Gate of Truth is a mysterious passageway that controls all knowledge, power, and possibility in the universe, but it also seems to have a pretty nasty sense of humor. If you want to use alchemy to create life, you have to pay a pretty unreasonable price; your own limbs, intestines, or even senses will be ripped right out of you, and you're still not really getting what you paid for. The Gate will give you a malformed human-esque abomination that just thinks it's supposed to be your lost loved one, if it survives long enough to think anything at all. Yeah, equivalent exchange, my foot! (By which I mean, my foot in exchange for an oozing lump of flesh with imposter syndrome.)

1. The Rainy Devil (Bakemonogatari) - Suruga Kanbaru thought she was pretty lucky when she first inherited a monkey's paw as a little girl, but things started going sour right away. When she wished to be the fastest runner on the track team, the paw turned her into a violent were-monkey at night and brutally injured everyone who was faster than her. Ever since then, it's been permanently affixed to her own arm, growing further up into her elbow with each new wish she makes. To make matters worse, it's not a "monkey's paw" at all. It's a demon called The Rainy Devil that doesn't twist people's words against them, but only enhances the dark intentions behind every selfish human wish. In truth, Suruga wanted to hurt all those other kids for being better than her...and she'd do it again too...

The new poll: Which arc of the Monogatari series is your favorite?

The old poll: Who's your favorite anime primate?
  1. Sonic (Blood Blockade Battlefront) 14.1%
  2. Jugem Jugem (Gintama) 8.3%
  3. Goku (Dragonball Z) 6.8%
  4. Ritsu Sohma (Fruits Basket) 6.5%
  5. The Gorilla (Cromartie High School) 6.2%
  6. Chu Chu (Revolutionary Girl Utena) 6.0%
  7. Mojo Jojo (Powerpuff Girls Z) 5.9%
  8. Mamoru (Kamisama Kiss) 5.4%
  9. Etemon (Digimon) 3.7%
  10. Tristan the Robot Monkey (Yu-Gi-Oh!) 3.5%
  11. Vegeta (Dragonball Z) 3.2%
  12. Bubbles (Dragonball Z) 3.1%

Jake is Anime News Network's assistant editor, he's been an anime fan since childhood, and he likes to chat about cartoons, pop culture, and visual novel dev on Twitter..

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