"The evening star is shining bright,
So make a wish, and hold on tight,
There's magic in the air tonight,
And anything could happen..."Characters in stories always want something; it's one of the rules of fiction. Some heroes work very hard in pursuit of their dreams, some use wit and charm, but a few look up to the nearest star and make a longing, desperate wish. It always comes true. Wishing has power in fiction; it's one of the main sources of Applied Phlebotinum. No matter what you want, from a new car to a sudden age-up, you can get it by wishing. Of course, you have to Be Careful What You Wish For and make sure that if you want to be special, normal, or want someone out of your life, that you actually mean exactly what you say. Good or evil, the wish-granter is almost always a Literal Genie who will gladly warp reality for the heck of it. The best known wish-granter is probably the Genie in a Bottle (or other similar magical creatures) who generally grants Three Wishes. If he's lucky, the hero will get a Benevolent Genie; unlucky ones will have a Literal Genie or even a Jackass Genie. Other wishing methods, generally only resulting in one wish, include:
- Wishing on a star
- Seeing a shooting star
- Wishing wells
- Birthday candles and/or wishbones, which generally come with a proviso that telling anyone the wish means it won't come true
- Some sort of magic wish tool (like a monkey's paw)
- A lunar/solar eclipse
- Any number of other things, like blowing on an eyelash, blowing the seeds off a dandelion, or blowing on wishing/pixie dust
- The power of words
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- In this Subway commercial a man wishes on a star and his girlfriend turns into a Subway sandwich.
Fairy Tales and Folklore
- Any story that features a genie (Aladdin, many tales in the Arabian Nights)
- In "Sweet Porridge" wishing to never go hungry results in a family getting a pot that cooks porridge with commands to stop and go the wishers can't remember, which results in a massive flood of hot porridge (or sweet soup, depending on the story) before somebody remembers the command.
- In "The Sausage" a husband and wife arguing about how to use the wishes which ends with the husband getting fed up and saying "I wish that sausage was on your nose!" and then having to use the last wish as a Reset Button.
- In "The Fisherman And His Wife", a fisherman gets wishes granted to him by a magic fish because he spares it rather than catching it.
- In Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid", the mermaid in question sells her voice to the sea witch in order to get a wish for legs. After she fails to seduce him, her sisters sell their hair to kill the prince that caused her to make the wish and save her life.
- In some folklore, Mermaids are themselves able to grant wishes.
- In "The Monkey's Paw", the wishes made by the poor couple may or may not have been granted other than the first one which definitely was ...but not as they hoped.
Anime and Manga
- Mermaid Saga: eating the flesh of a mermaid is said to grant one wish: immortality. Actually getting immortality is extremely rare. More common is becoming horribly mutated and insane, and much, much more common is the usual result of trying this: dropping dead.
- In Eureka Seven, most of the things Renton wished for in the early episodes eventually came true (be good at reffing, getting an adventurous life, wanted Eureka as his girlfriend, wanting to hear Holland's "first love" story (episode 7), to see his father and sister, taking Eureka away to a distant place alone with her (episode 30), stop the war, kissing Eureka, etc). Ironically, the last episode is titled "Wish Upon A Star", whereby the 3 kids and Renton's grandpa makes a wish upon the stars in the ending.
- In the movie version ending, Eureka gets to have her long time wish came true: become human.
- This is the whole point of Dragon Ball: Goku (and everyone else in the series) is looking for seven dragon balls, so they can make a wish.
- In Pokémon, Jirachi is a cute legendary funsize mon that has the power to grant wishes. A Jirachi features prominently as the featured Mon of the sixth movie, Pokémon: Jirachi: Wishmaker. On top of that, the ending theme for said movie is called "Make A Wish".
- The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer has its Mentor Mascots offering a wish in exchange for service in becoming Knights to battle a being that wants to destroy the world. The wish itself is granted in good faith, but it is possible to squander it.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Weasel Mascot Kyubey offering a wish in exchange to turn girls into Magical Girls to fight Witches. He's a Literal Genie and the wishes have a price that he doesn't elaborate on but the miracles are genuine.
- The Jewel Seeds in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha were able to grant the wishes of the Muggles who gets a hold of them. They tend to grant these wishes by way of a new Monster of the Week.
- Ah! My Goddess has this as the central device that begins the story.
- In Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, resident glasses character Atsushi Kinugawa and his Evil Former Friend Kinshirou Kusatsu make wishes on shooting stars as children, and there's a repeating motif of shooting stars in the sky which parallels the relationship between the two. The two wishes end up being central to the plot, as the apparent failure of Kinshirou's is his Start of Darkness.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, the Priestess gets Three Wishes from whichever Beast God she summons. There are some catches, however: although technically, she can wish for anything she wants, she's supposed to use her wishes for the greater good, not for her own gain. Also, she is to remain a virgin until she summons the Beast God. And lastly, if she is deemed to be not strong enough, or not pure enough, she will be completely devoured by the Beast God in question. (This process begins as soon as she summons the god and makes her first wish.)
Films — Animated
- Disney is loaded with examples (some cross over into folklore):
- Snow White, in a wishing well
- Pinocchio, on a star
- Aladdin, with a genie in a lamp
- In Enchanted, the villainess lures Giselle to the portal between her world and ours by saying it's a wishing well. (A Shout-Out to Snow White, where the Witch tricks Snow White into eating the poisoned apple by telling her it's a wishing apple.)
- The Princess and the Frog, both the heroine and her best friend make wishes on the evening star, although it's left ambiguous whether it's really the power of the star granting the wish or not. Also, one of the movie's messages is it's not just wishing, but hard work, that makes your dreams come true.
- DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, with another genie in a lamp.
- Lilo & Stitch, with Lilo wishing on a shooting star for a friend. That star turns out to be a crashing spaceship carrying Experiment 626.
- Chicken Little has the star fall on Little, revealed to be the panel of a spaceship.
- In Shrek Forever After, the movie starts with Fiona wishing on a star for "every day to be like this one." Cue a "Groundhog Day" Loop and Shrek's midlife crisis.
- Shrek himself makes a wish 'to be an ogre for one day' (i.e., to be able to behave just like he used to before he met Fiona, without remorse, ruining his new reputation, or having her scold him). Just one day, for old times' sake. He even gets it. Unfortunately, it was granted by means of a Magically Binding Contract, with the antagonist pushing it almost into Deal with the Devil territory, given his Loop Hole Abuse of the One-day-for-one-day Equivalent Exchange meant to erase Shrek from existence.
- In Turbo, the title character, a snail, wishes on a star to be fast. The star turns out to be an airplane, yet another reminder of his lack of speed. He nevertheless gets his wish.
Films — Live-Action
- Big, with a wish-granting machine at a fair.
- The 1986 movie Milly/Willy (aka I Was a Teenage Boy, Something Special), where a girl wishes to be a boy during the solar eclipse.
- In James and the Giant Peach, James sends out a balloon wishing for help to take him to New York. Help appears in the form of a strange man with a bag full of magic glowing alligator tongues. (This is only in the movie; in the book, the strange man just appears.)
- Home Alone: "I wish my family would disappear." No magic here, just horrible, horrible bad luck, although Kevin does believe he magicked away his family.
- 18 Again has a grandfather and grandson who share the same birthday switch bodies after they wish on the same birthday cake.
- The film 13 Going on 30: Wishing powder transports the protagonist into the future
- Lifetime's How I Married My High School Crush has the teenage heroine transported to the future after making a wish during a solar eclipse.
- Liar Liar had a boy use his birthday wish to wish his lying father couldn't tell a lie for one day.
- Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Darby receives three wishes after capturing King Brian of the leprechauns.
- I Know Where I'm Going has protagonist Joan Webster count the beams in her room to wish away the fog that's delaying her wedding. She wishes a little too hard, though.
- Labyrinth has the heroine wishing goblins would take away her baby brother, thus triggering the plot of her trying to rescue him.
- In Ted, it's a childhood wish by John brings Ted to life and it's an adult one by Lori that saves Ted in the end.
- In Throw Momma from the Train, Larry says about his divorced wife "I hate her, I wish she were dead!" She turns up missing and presumed dead, and since he said it in the middle of a crowded lunchroom, everyone suspects him.
- The made for tv movie Whiskers is about a boy who has a misunderstanding with his parents thinking they want to get rid of his pet cat, so he makes a wish on a star to turn his cat into a boy. The wish backfires because the cat becomes a grown man because it was going by cat years, and he has to teach the cat how to be a human.
- The made for TV movie A Dog's Tale: a boy makes a wish on a star to get a dog, but as he makes the wish a bee flies by making it sound like he says "I want to be a dog", so he turns into a dog and he must find a way to reverse the process.
- This concept is referenced in the brief spoken-word intro to the song "Pure Imagination" in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: "Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three." (The song and dialogue also appears in the otherwise-new score of the 2013 stage musical version of the source novel, which also has its own take on this trope — see below.)
- Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever has Crystal using a magic Christmas coin on a Wishing Well to make a wish for a friend. She ended up gaining the ability to understand Grumpy Cat.
- 16 Wishes is a Disney Channel Movie about a girl named Abby who has a list of sixteen things she wants to happen on her 16th birthday; once the day starts off on the wrong foot, a mysterious woman named Celeste gives her sixteen candles that can each grant one of those wishes. Interestingly, the moral wasn't so much Be Careful What You Wish For as helping Abby realize that she was kind of self-centered, as the wishes help her realize that the people around her have Hidden Depths and her actions have been negatively affecting them.
- This was the central plot of Edward Eager's The Well-Wishers (children's lit).
- Eager's Half Magic centers around four siblings finding a magic coin that grants wishes by half (e.g. if you wished for a house, you'd get half a house).
- In a rather grimmer way, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Here, the wish (that Dorian's portrait would age rather than he) is definitely magic, but the question is, who granted it?
- Towards the end of The Magicians the protagonist captures a Questing Beast which then grants him three wishes. His first wish is impossible, as is the next one and the one after that. The Beast still counts them as his first wish.
- In one of the dialogues in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, the main protagonist Achilles findsnote a magical lamp whose Benevolent Genie grants him three wishes. Achilles tries to wish for more wishes, only to find out the genie can't do that for him; a wish about wishes is technically classified as a metawish, and in order to grant such wishes one would need a metagenie in a metalamp, whereas Achilles's genie merely is of the base variety… Luckily the genie happens to have a metalamp with a metagenie in, and even petitions GOD to grant Achilles a typeless wish (that could be about wishes, or metawishes, or metametawishes…), but Achilles still manages to mess it up.
- Joan Aiken's short story The Third Wish has our hero Mr. Peters freeing a swan from some thorn bushes, who turns out to be the King of the Forest, who grants him three wishes. Mr. Peters wishes for a pretty wife, which is exactly what he gets (her name is Leita), only it turns out Leita's actually a swan that the King turned into a human girl. She loves Mr. Peters, but misses her swan sister very badly. Mr. Peters uses his second wish to turn her back into a swan, and Leita and her sister stay with him as swans for the rest of his life. D'aww.
- The Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelisation "All That Glitters" featured a substance called Wish Dust that would indeed grant any wish and there didn't seem to be a limit. Unfortunately the dust has a life of its own and finds its way into other people's hands. The kicker has got to be Neve Campbell, Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio and Winona Ryder ending up at school because one kid heard they were shooting a new movie.
- Goosebumps tended to be quite fond of this trope as a device for lesson learning. "Be careful what you wish for" is probably the best example. Typically wishes don't go exactly as planned and the protagonist finishes the story by wishing nothing had ever happened
- In a Shel Silverstein poem, the protagonist received a wish from a goblin and used it to wish for two more wishes - lather, rinse, repeat. He eventually died without ever having used even a single wish for anything worthwhile. ("In a world of apples, and kisses and shoes/He wasted his wishes on wishing.")
- Household Gods begins when Nicole annoyedly tells what she believes to be normal statues of the Roman gods Liber and Libera - but which were actually avatars of the real gods - that she "wished she'd lived then" (ancient Rome), and the gods, ecstatic to have a wish they can grant, are more than happy to grant that wish. She wakes up the next morning extremely confused.
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the Leczi gives Jenny one. She tries to use it twice and is warned that it comes in its own time. At the end, Puck shoved her out into the mortal world with the instruction that it works more slowly but more surely there.
- In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, the circus acquires the Wishing Tree where you light a candle from the ones already lit. Only some patrons can find it.
- Journey to Chaos: There are numerous gods in Tariatla that select mortals deserving of aid and grant them a wish, but the manner in which they do so depends on the god. The world is big on free will and self-determination so they won't actually grant the wish so much as make it easier for the wisher to obtain what they want.
- Fiol, goddess of fire, will essentially make the wisher Hot-Blooded by removing any inhibitions that may be blocking them and amplifying their passion for the wish
- Wiol, goddess of wind, will chart the many possible futures and show the wisher the one that will lead to their wish coming true.
- Eaol, the god of earth, will endow them with the knowledge and experience they need.
- Tasio, the trickster god, will become a personal Stealth Mentor and work In Mysterious Ways until the results came to fruition in a hilarious (to him at least) manner.
- The premise of I Dream of Jeannie.
- Disney had a three-part crossover event called—guess—"Make a Wish Weekend," which had the stars of three shows wish on a shooting star and get their wish to come true. It backfired horribly, of course, and everyone rewound by the end of their episode.
- Seinfeld thoroughly explores this in the episode The Betrayal, which involves the wishing, counterwishing, and re-wishing of Kramer to "drop dead" using most of the methods in the description. There's also Jerry wishing Man Hands would acquire normal feminine hands. Neither comes true.
- Supernatural had the episode "Wishful Thinking," in which the brothers found a town with a working wishing well.
- The sisters in Charmed went up against a genie who delighted in giving you exactly what you wished for. Exactly what you wished for. Complete with every loophole you didn't close.
- Power Rangers Mystic Force had a genie cat named Jenji who granted each person a wish. However, if you wish for more wishes (as Xander did) you render the "contract" null and void.
- The 'Wishverse' of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where everyone was in a Crapsack World because Cordelia made an angry wish to someone who was really the vengeance demon Anyanka. Although Willow and Xander were together as bisexual S&M vampires working for The Master.
- At the end of "Innocence", Joyce presents her daughter with a makeshift 17th birthday cake and invites Buffy to blow out the candle and make a wish. As Buffy's innocence has been shattered forever by Angel becoming the evil Angelus, Buffy just replies, "Let it burn."
- A short silent sketch on The Benny Hill Show: Benny as an old man with his old wife comes across a wishing well. He throws a coin in, his wife disappears, replaced by a young bikini-clad bird. She then throws in a coin, and a muscular stud appears. He throws a coin in, and the bikini-clad girl disappears. Benny throws one last coin, and the muscle man disappears & his wife reappears.
- In Once Upon a Time:
- Jiminy tries everything he can think of, including dealing with Rumplestiltskin in order to escape his family's thieving ways, and accidentally kills Gepetto's parents. In desperation, he wishes on a star for a chance to escape and atone, gladly trading his humanity to become a cricket and serve Gepetto.
- In the pilot, Emma blows out a candle (topped with a blue star) on a birthday cupcake immediately before Henry shows up. At the end of the episode, she tells Regina that she had actually made a wish, not to be alone on her birthday.
- Smallville begins with three year old Lana asking Martha to make a wish. She soon does get to "See a little face."
- There's also Chloe making a birthday wish of being Lois.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger - The "Greatest Treasure in the Universe" the team have been looking for is revealed to have this power. Not only could it stop the Zangyack Empire, it could make it so Zangyack never existed in the first place. Unfortunately, doing so would take the power of all Super Sentai, erasing them from the new universe as well. After some agonizing, they decide it's not worth it and they'll stop Zangyack their own way - something they underline by blowing up the Treasure.
- Subverted in Sword and Fairy when the three main characters make various wishes on a falling star—none of which come remotely true.
- In The Worst Witch Sybil and Clarice turn a torch into a magic lamp and immediately ask for unlimited wishes. That's absolutely fine...except the lamp has to drain energy from everything around it to facilitate the extra wishes.
- In Free Spirit, Cute Witch Winnie Goodwin first meets Gene Harper after Gene wishes for someone to spend time with him while his father and older siblings have become busy with other things.
- Kamen Rider has several instances of this trope.
- Kamen Rider Ryuki involves a thirteen-man fight to the death over a wish. However, it's all a ruse by the instigator of the fight to build up enough energy to revive his sister.
- Kamen Rider Den-O involves a race of monsters who grant wishes to people. However, they aren't actual wish-granting beings, so they instead grant them in a way that'd qualify, such as cutting up neckties to fulfill a man's wish of cutting ties. However, the consequence of making such a wish allows them to be corporeal and even hijack the person's body to travel back in time and wreck up as much of the past as they can.
- Kamen Rider Ghost involves fifteen soul jars containing the spirits of historical figures. In exchange, one can get a wish.
- This is a key game mechanic in Tales of the Arabian Nights, as making wishes allows the players to choose various bonuses or skip missions entirely.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the spells wish and miracle. The 3.5 versions of these spells have very specific things they can do without risking Literal Genie, Jackass Genie, and/or spell failure. (Well, miracle can fail if you try to do something against your deity's nature.)
- Magic: The Gathering has a few wish spells that allow you to take a card from anywhere in your collection, and bring it into the current game.
- Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: It's right there in the title - although, being a setting focused on the wishing power of the heart, there are other ways to make wishes as well. No matter what the wish is, no matter how impossible it is, no matter how world-changing, it will happen. The fun is dealing with them.
- Exalted has Green Sun Princes and the Akuma of Cecelyne. They have a charm chain named Verdant Emptiness Endowment, which allows them to grant wishes they overhear. Recipients owe the Infernal a favor, but can gain virtually anything from greater skill with the sword to Sorcery. Fan upgrades include true love and helper demons. The original creators referred to the charm concept as 'Evil Desert Genie'.
- One of the tricks kitsune can play on fools in Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools is Grant a Wish, which nets the casting fox a new tail if they pay foxfire equal to the fool's level. The explanation is "Sometimes the best way to purify a desire is to fulfill it." And given that the normal way of purifying fools is through karmic pranks, that probably means the fox acts like a Jerkass Genie.
- The opening words of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods are "I wish..." Magic, however, comes in only indirectly - Cinderella going to her mother's grave to request silver and gold (a dress appears); the Baker and his Wife agree to fulfill the demands of the Witch, who would then allow them to conceive a child. However, all of their wishes come back to haunt them in Act II, which opens with the same words.
- In the 2013 West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after the fourth Golden Ticket is found Charlie (who's already seen his one chance to find a ticket — his annual birthday bar of chocolate — come and go) falls into a blue funk. To try and cheer him up, his father suggests they look through a hole in the roof to see if they can't find a shooting star for the boy to make a wish on, but Charlie sadly says "Don't waste a wish on me." A little later, as Mr. Bucket heads out to look for work once more, he says "Well Charlie, if you won't make a wish, then I will..." Is it a coincidence that soon after, Charlie does find the last Golden Ticket when he uses some dropped money to buy a Wonka Bar? Yes. It was being saved for him.
- The Star Fairies toyline featured the fairies responsible for granting wishes wished on a star. In the animated special, Princess Sparkle, the head fairy, makes her own wish using the Wishing Well (for a helper).
- In NetHack, there are a few ways to get a wish (most of them are based on the common tropes, like rubbing a magic lamp). If you find yourself fortunate enough to make a wish you can cause any item in the game to appear in your inventory, with certain limitations (e.g. wishing for enchanted equipment has a failure chance, you can't get artifacts that already exist elsewhere, you can't wish for the three plot required items, and you can't wish for things that would give you more wishes). The best type of wish is that from a Wand of Wishes, all of the other methods have some chance of going wrong (a wish itself is reliable, but a Jackass Genie will simply attack you and not give you a wish at all).
- The holy grail in Fate/Stay Night grants any wishes to the victorious master/servant pair of the Holy Grail War. Though it is later explained that it's a Jackass Genie due to a bad case of Demonic Possession, and will interpret any wish in a way that will cause maximum pain and suffering.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 2 Substories: Leaping School Festival, Akane, while talking with the protagonist under the starry sky, makes a wish upon seeing a shooting star, in an Event of her storyline. note
- In Dominions 3, you can research the high-level "Wish" spell and have one of your mages cast it. You have to type in what you want; there are about 20 possibilities, most beneficial but some quite literal...
- Jirachi from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is said to have the ability to grant wishes, and is based on the Tanabata festival. It can't actually grant wishes for the player, though.
- The plot of Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars heavily involves wishes in between everything else. After the first few minutes of gameplay, the Star Road is destroyed and the titular seven stars, pieces of the Star Road, fall to the earth. Without the Star Road, wishes cannot be granted, and no new wishes can turn into shooting stars. This is a problem because people often wish for something other than their own benefit, like, oh... for Mario to succeed and save the world.
- The plot of the early Touhou game Phantasmagoria of Dimension Dream involves the cast competing for a wish granted by a pair of extraplanar scientists. If you win with them, Reimu wishes for a way to keep the shrine clean and gets a (useless) Robot Maid, Marisa switches out her Flying Broomstick for an ICBM with a cute face on it, Mima gets the moon put in geosynchronous orbit so she'll always be at full power, Ellen opens up a magic shop (on the Hakurei Shrine grounds), Kana gets a new home (at the Hakurei Shrine), Rikako gains the scientific knowledge she always craved, and Kotohime... didn't have a wish in mind, but settles for locking up Reimu in a jail cell.
- Strangely enough, this trope is corrupted in Blaz Blue Centralfiction. When Izanami is bested in combat, the Entitled responsible (sorry, Litchi) is granted an Azure fragment to grant their deepest desire... only said wish is usually corrupted in the worst way possible soon after. As an example, Bang's wish to serve Imperator Tenjo again sees Tenjo and Homura dead and Izanami upon the throne. The corruption even goes on a deeper level than that: it is very possible that Izanami herself is tainting these wishes explicitly to point the Entitled towards killing the "absolute Entitled", the inhabitant of the Master Unit, with killing Noel the first step. However, sometimes the Azure fragment crumbles when the wish cannot be granted: while the expected "wish for more wishes" loophole is closed (Terumi is not content with a mere fragment), there's also Rachel and Valkenheyn's wish to abolish Drives (since Izanami is the "Drive-existence" of the Master Unit, granting this wish means Izanami ceases to be) and Makoto's wish for a happy life with her friends (which includes the aforementioned Noel, making the wish divide-by-zero by default), both of which are detrimental to Izanami.
- In Steins;Gate, Mayuri relates a story of wishing on a shooting star for Okabe to get better from his fever when they were kids. Okabe happened to recover the following day. What prompts this discussion is her seeing "the first star of the night sky", which Okabe points out is actually the planet Venus.
- The protagonist of Star-Crossed Myth makes the vaguest possible Tanabata wish for "something wonderful to happen." This becomes more significant than she expected when she's approached by six gods of the zodiac during the Tanabata festival.
- In Red vs. Blue, Sarge has been wishing on shooting stars every night for the past decade. The wish is, of course, for Grif's violent and untimely death.
- In The Guild, Codex spends one opening monologue waiting for a star to fall so she can make a wish and fix all her problems.
Codex: The stars are being sticky little bitches tonight, huh?
- Parodied by The Nostalgia Critic in his 'Top 11 Disney Villains' video, whereas he chronicled a list of very very evil, depraved villains that originated from the company that encourages this trope a lot. He ends his video with "When you wish upon a star, EVIL WILL FIND YOU!!"
- DuckTales: "Master of the Djinni", featuring a magic lamp and wish-granting genie.
- The Simpsons episode where Flanders starts the left-handed store; he and Homer share a wishbone, and Homer wishes for the store to fail. He briefly considers wishing for Flanders to die, but then decides it's overkill and goes back to wishing for the store to fail.
- Dragon Tales did this with a dragon scale in the introduction sequence
- Danny Phantom had a recurring villain named Desiree, who would grant you any wish.
- This was the whole premise of The Fairly Oddparents. Complete with the kid's inability to make a wish that didn't go horribly, horribly wrong.
- Norm the Genie on the same show lives in a lava lamp and the third wish sucks him back into the lamp. The third wish is always the Reset Button, too, because Norm is a huge Jackass Genie, and tweaks the wishes to screw over the wishers. Norm parodies this trope too, expressing frustration that the first wish is always something mundane like a sandwich, the second wish is grander but goes wrong, and the third wish is putting everything back the way it was. On an additional note, Norm reveals that you CAN wish for extra wishes, the genies just tell people that you can't.
- In the Christmas Special Christopher The Christmas Tree, when Christopher first meets Hooty, he expresses his belief in wishes, partially to explain why he's still optimistic about becoming a Christmas tree, despite not being picked year after year. "But I believe in wishes. I know they come true, as sure as the stars above." He also encourages Hooty to make a wish, which Hooty does, while a chorus sings about wishing on a star in the background (no, not that song). By the end of the special, both Christopher and Hooty have gotten their wishes.
- The album on which the animated special is based is even more explicit about wishing on a star, as Christopher tells Hooty, "You can have anything in the whole world you want, if you wish on the Wishing Star. But you gotta believe in it, or it won't come true."
- In both the album and the animated special, there's a little boy who wishes on the star on his Christmas tree, but since his wish is to be President of the United States, we don't get to see if his wish comes true or not.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series had an experiment which granted wishes, and could only do a certain number of them, and took your wishes literally (for instance, if you wish to become ruler of the universe, you will become a ruler, that is a stationery equipment). The episode ends up teaching the Aesop of "Be careful what you wish for".
- An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures has Elmyra wish on a star for her doll to become real, which it does. After being terrorised for a day she wishes on the star again to make the doll like all her other dolls...so they all become real!
- The Animaniacs Big Damn Movie had the entire cast racing to be the first to the Wishing Star. Wakko wishes for another ha'penny.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go has an episode with the Wigglenog, which is a Jackass Genie. Otto, the green monkey, outwits him with "I wish we'd never even found you in the first place!"
- I Dream of Jeannie also had a teenage version Animated Series — her wishes, like Jeannie's, were unlimited.
- In the first of The '80s' Strawberry Shortcake specials, The World of..., The Face of the Sun reveals that his birthday present for Strawberry is a "magic wish", and she winds up wishing for an army of trees (which, in Strawberryland, are sentinent) to defeat the Purple Pieman who had been causing trouble for the kids the whole story. The wish is granted with trees that can also march, and the result is the destruction of his Pie Tin Palace.
- The Flintstones when Barney and Betty wished for a baby after seeing a falling star. They later found Bamm Bamm in a basket on their doorstep.
- In PJ Sparkles, P. J. wishes for someone to love her on a star and is turned into a Magical Girl for it.
- In My Little Pony Twinkle Wish Adventure, the ponies celebrate the Winter Wishes Festival with everyone receiving a wish from Twinkle Wish, the star that is placed on top of the tree. Due to the circumstances of the movie, by the time Twinkle Wish takes her spot on the tree, she doesn't have enough power to grant any wishes. However, Pinkie Pie points out that all throughout the adventure, every one of them had said "I wish" something, and that something had come true. (And all the background characters just wished for snow, which they didn't need magic to get, anyway.)
- Parodied in the South Park episode "It's Christmas in Canada":
Mountie: It's OK, boys; the power is inside us to get to Ottawa. We can wish ourselves there!French Canadian: Yes, let's wish ourselves there![they close their eyes, harp music plays]Mountie: Is it working?[no, it isn't]
- One episode of Samurai Jack has Jack seeking a wishing well that will send him back home. It's guarded by blind archers with perfect hearing. Turns out the well corrupts your wish - the blind archers wished to be the greatest hunters on Earth and ended up warped into its guardians. Jack destroys the well rather than allow anyone else to be hurt by it.
- In The Smurfs Animated Adaptation of "The Astro Smurf", Dreamy makes a birthday wish that he could travel to the stars, and eventually goes out of his way to build a spaceship so he could make that wish come true. Although it initially fails, the Smurfs end up fulfilling that wish by making Dreamy believe that he actually had traveled to the stars through an elaborate scheme that had Dreamy be put to sleep, his ship dismantled and reassembled within an extinct volcano, and the Smurfs disguising themselves as primitive aliens called Swoofs.
- In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Dulcinea gets a wishing star named Esteban and becomes an Official Secret Star Wisher. Although the two of them have only the best of intentions, Dulcinea makes her wishes too vague (Dulcinea wishes for a person's stubborn horse to move) and Esteban interprets them too loosely (Esteban makes the horse never stop moving) causing chaos to erupt.
- Wish Kid: It's said Nick got his wish-granting baseball glove when he wished upon a star.
- Spongebob Squarepants has an episode where Mr. Krabs has Spongebob and Squidward dig a wishing well just to make some more money. Spongebob firmly believes in the power of wishing and, when people's wishes don't immediately come true, digs deeper until he hits some "magic" represented by sparkling light. Sure enough, every wish made on the well begins to come true.
- The Make a Wish Foundation raises money to give kids with terminal illnesses a chance to do something incredible, like have a photo shoot in Seventeen magazine, or take their family to Disney World. Maybe humans aren't such bastards after all...
- In Japanese folklore, it's said that folding 1,000 paper cranes or 100 stars will allow you to make one wish.