In the setting, there exists an entity that grants wishes
--any wishes, and not in a jerkass way
--to those who reach it. However, the path to this entity is long and perilous, so that only those of strong conviction can reach it. The plot of the story then centers on a character or characters trying to do just that. Possible plot points may include:
Anime and Manga
- In Inuyasha, the eponymous hero was originally searching for the Sacred Jewel in order to get his wish to be a full demon granted.
- In Dragon Ball, the person who collects all the eponymous artifacts gets a single wish granted, then all the Balls split off randomly to wait again.
- In Xxx HO Li C and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, this is the modus operandi of Yuuko Ichihara, the Witch of Dimensions, who grants wishes in exchange for going on quests, type depending on wish.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R., adapted from Roadside Picnic, goes even further than the novel, with the Stalker refusing to ask anything, the Writer having his wish granted while getting there, and the Professor abandoning his original plan to nuke the Room altogether.
- The first half of The Wizard of Oz consists of Dorothy going to Emerald City to see the Wizard so he can send her home. Along the way she meets three other characters who join her to have their own wishes granted.
- The final chapters of Roadside Picnic detail Redrick's attempt to reach the Golden Sphere to ask for his crippled daughter's recovery. However, journeying with his Wide-Eyed Idealist of a partner leaves him in the state of confusion about his true wish as the book closes.
- The first volume of Hyperion Cantos has a framing narrative which is all about a group of pilgrims traveling to the home of the Shrike, a mysterious entity that, well, usually it just kills everyone who encounters it, but it has been known to kill all but one member of a party of pilgrims, and grant the survivor one wish. Yes, they're all that desperate.
- Baman Piderman. In the episode "Happy Winter Friends", Baman and Piderman realize that Pumkin is rotting, so they set off on a quest through another dimension to find a Winter Friends Wish so they can use it to save Pumkin. Instead of a wish, they find a Sousaphone, who tells Baman that the wish was inside him all along. As in, literally inside Baman's chest. Not only does the wish heal Pumkin, it also gives him arms and legs.
- The plot of the Animaniacs movie Wakko's Wish. All the characters race to find a fallen star; the first one there gets one wish.
- In the Adventure Time episode "To the Limit", Finn and Jake explore a dangerous labyrinth alongside a bunch of talking hot dogs to get their wish of having an Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant. When they reach the wish granter, the hot dogs are so stupid they waste their wishes and Jake is so exhausted he wishes for a sandwich, leaving Finn to choose between saving his friends, but making their journey pointless or getting the elephant but losing Jake. He chooses the elephant, but since the elephant is a living creature it also gets a wish, which is to save the others.
- The South Park episode "It's Christmas in Canada" is basically the same premise as The Wizard of Oz, only instead of getting wishes granted, the protagonists merely wanted to repeal some unfavorable laws. Cartman, Stan, and Kenny were just along for the ride.
Will go under Plots
and Speculative Fiction Tropes