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A Sinister Clue

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Batman: Left-handed...
Jack the Ripper: Oh, the nuns beat that wickedness out of me. Always use my right... except for Jack's work.

A very old trope, in which left-handedness is a signal that that someone is the Villain or The Mole, or occasionally just susceptible to the Heel–Face Revolving Door. This only counts when somebody is specifically mentioned as being left-handed, not just because an actor is left-handed.

Have some Trivia — the word "sinister" actually is derived from the Latin word for left-handedness, and also related to the Bar Sinister which is a symbol of bastardy, and thus untrustworthiness.

This is also related to Evil Twin; twins do often have opposite dominant hands, and an Evil Twin will (almost invariably) be the left-handed one.

Additionally, in older times, left-handedness was often a sign of evil or trickery because of the fact that people would shake hands with their right, grabbing each other by the wrists, in order to show that they were friendly and didn't have weapons. Of course, this is incredibly small-minded since if left-handed people were in the majority then it would be the other way around. Still, a lefty could shake with their right hand, grasping the other person's dominant hand, and attack with their weapon in their left hand while the other was defenceless — or even steal a rightie's weapon more easily. Also, during the Middle Ages, towers were built so defenders would have no problem swinging their swords down staircases while attackers would have more difficulties swinging up — and staircases are still built this way to this day. However, this only applied if both were right-handed; if the attacker were left-handed, the two would be evenly matched.

In many cultures, before the invention of toilet paper and forks, the right hand note  was used for eating, greeting, etc., while the left hand was used for wiping and other less savory things. In some places, being left dominant was a sign that there was something inherently "wrong" with the child, to the point of demonic possession, and to this day some parents will tie a left-handed child's hand behind their back until they learn to be ambidextrous. Ironically this will not change the hand that you instinctively lead with in your daily interactions.

Another related trope is for a character to lose his right hand, symbolizing his loss of a moral compass. This can presage a Face–Heel Turn by the Hero. It is also common for Mad Scientists to have a mechanical right arm. Alternatively, the left hand might become the repository of Sealed Evil in a Can. Compare Red Right Hand.

A subtrope is The Killer Was Left-Handed, where there is actually evidence that the killer was left-handed. Examples of that trope should go there.

The opposite, when left-handedness is viewed favorably, is Southpaw Advantage. Sometimes overlaps with Left-Handed Mirror. Also see I Am Not Left-Handed.

Because we don't want to call left-handed people evil, No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler: the demon Sebastian is left-handed, and his left hand also bears the mark of his contract seal.
  • Case Closed: Gin is left-handed. Also, there is a case Conan solves by realizing a man had been replaced by a duplicate because the fake was left-handed and the original was not.
  • Death Note: In the "potato chip" scene, Light, who is being monitored by camera, is shown solving math problems with his right hand while his left hand writes names into a piece of the Death Note he hid in a potato chip bag. It has been theorized that he actually is left-handed but was taught to use his right as per cultural norms.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Wrath may or may not be left-handed, but he got the right one from someone else. The same could be said of Scar, though their alignments turn in opposite directions.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Inverted by Nanoha, the left-handed heroine, and the cast of right-handed villains.
  • One Piece: An interesting case with the Straw Hats, as none of them are evil, but a large number of them have something of importance on their left side. Luffy has his scar underneath his left eye. Nami's tattoo is on her left arm. Zoro's earrings are on his left ear, and although ambidextrous appears to prefer his left hand. Usopp always wears his wrist band on his left hand. Sanji's left eye is always covered. Chopper's antler plate is located on his left antler. Interestingly enough, the two Strawhats that finally break this pattern, Robin and Franky, are both introduced to the story as villains/antagonists to the Strawhats. Brook then completely subverts it, as his one asymmetrical trait is on the right side of his face. Sanji also subverts this after the Time Skip, when his bangs switch eyes to cover his right one instead.
  • Naruto
    • During the Chunin Exams arc, Sasuke realizes that the Naruto in front of him and Sakura is an impostor because his knife pouch is on his left leg, implying left-handedness, while the real Naruto is right-handed.
    • Sasuke himself is left-handed, and far, far past the border of Crazytown.
  • Read or Die: Figures prominently. Really prominently — will ruin the main plot twist if you read the spoiler. Nancy is left-handed and is The Mole. Then to add to that she has an Evil Twin and they are differentiated only by their dominant hand. Inverted because the right-handed Nancy is the Evil Twin. As an alternative interpretation, it is not inverted because left-handed Nancy betrayed Yomiko first, and then betrayed and killed her own lover (although he had betrayed her), while right-handed Nancy was at least loyal to her man, making the left-handed Nancy experience a Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Inverted. One of the main characters Meliodas appears to be left-handed and a protagonist. However, there is ample evidence that this wasn't always the case. That also not taking into account that Meliodas is a demon.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: The novelist Sen Takatsuki/Eto Yoshimura is left-handed and is eventually revealed to be a major villain of the series as the real One-Eyed Owl and the leader of Aogiri Tree. Downplayed in the sequel, however, as while she is vicious and amoral, all her actions are geared to destroy the true villain of the series.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the first season, a duelist needs one of two entry cards to participate in the Duelist Kingdom playoff tournament; each such card indicates a prize to be claimed by the tournament's victor. Glory of the King's Opposite Hand is a blank card which entitles the holder to one wish granted by Pegasus J. Crawford, to the extent of his power, but the holder will risk getting their soul stolen if they lose. In contrast, Glory of the King's Hand depicts a treasure room filled with coins, jewels, and the like, and entitles the holder to three million yen note . Mai Kujaku and "Bandit" Keith Howard are in the tournament for the money, and take King's Hand. Jounouchi does, too, albeit in hopes of paying for his sister's desperately-needed eye surgery. Yugi only wants his to save his grandfather, so he uses King's Opposite Hand.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Very subtle and not called into view, but all the members of Z-One's team, (Placido, Lucciano, Jose, Aporia, Paradox and Antimony/Bruno) all wore their Duel Disks on their right arm, and hence were all left-handed.

  • Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel: Lucifer's hands might be praying but they are positioned to his left side, signaling that he's rebelled against God and is embracing evil.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern: Eventual villain Sinestro wears his power ring on his left hand. This furthered the association of him being an Evil Counterpart to the Green Lanterns he fought.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Ratatouille: Anton uses his left hand for eating and handling glasses, although he's shown using his right more often when in public. Downplayed in that he is not evil, just a very strict critic.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet, with which he kills half the universe, is worn on his left hand. In contrast, the new Gauntlet Tony and Bruce make to undo the damage in Avengers: Endgame is right-handed.
  • The Brain Stealers: Inverted. An imposter infiltrating the Li's household (posing as the brother, after a "Freaky Friday" Flip) starts using his right hand, even though the righteous brother is left-handed. This ticks off the sister that something's amiss.
  • Joker (2019): Arthur Fleck is right-handed, but he switches to his left hand (and left foot) more often when his Joker persona starts to emerge.
  • The Passion of the Christ: A nail is driven into Christ's hand by the left hand of the director, Mel Gibson. The point is that all people, even the ones who worship Jesus and proclaim his passion to the world, are responsible for his death because he died due to the sinister part of each and every person.
  • Star Wars:
    • All the Stormtroopers are left-handed, due to the magazines on the left side of the prop guns constantly bumping into the Stormtroopers' armor.
    • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Director Orson Krennic is left-handed as well as being the major villain. He also aims his blaster pistol with his left hand.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: In the film adaptation, Bob Ewell is stated to be left-handed rather than ambidextrous as in the book. This makes the fact that he beat his daughter, Mayella, even more obvious.
  • The Usual Suspects: Keyser Soze is left-handed. A clue to his identity occurs early in the movie when Verbal Kint tries to light a cigarette by holding the lighter in his right hand and opening it with his cerebral palsy-afflicted left hand, but can't do it.

  • Lone Wolf: Inverted (thematically at least): magic traditions inspired by the Forces of Light are referred to as "left-handed", while the Black Magic of the servants of God of Darkness Naar are referred to as "right-handed".

  • Goosebumps: Inverted in Let's Get Invisible. The narrator's brother is left-handed, so seeing "him" pitch a baseball right-handed in the end clues in the narrator that he's been replaced by his evil reflection.
  • Kane Series: Kane is naturally left-handed, which helps him in combat, although he has trained himself to use his right hand equally profficiently, which helps him even more. He is also the world's first murderer.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Arya. When her dominant hand is revealed to her fencing master, he reacts favorably because fighting left-handed will reverse her stance and movements, which will help confuse her opponents. However, her left-handedness might also be A Sinister Clue about her future, training in a cult of assassins.
    • Subverted with Jaime Lannister, who loses his right hand just before his Heel–Face Turn, away from the dark side.
  • The Sterkarm Handshake: The whole Sterkarm clan are lefties and are known for being backstabbers.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Bob Ewell may be ambidextrous (in his words, he "can use one hand good as the other") but prefers his left, which becomes important at the trial, since the accused can't use his left arm.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk, much like Vincent D'Onofrio who plays him, is left-handed. This can be seen in Seasons 1 and 3 when he eats an omelette with the knife in his left hand and the fork in his right. The same is seen when he's eating a steak by Dutton's deathbed in Season 2.
  • Graceland: Briggs is left-handed. This trope is only invoked later in the first season, with the big reveal.
  • Jekyll: One of the differences between Hyde and Dr Jackman (Our "Jekyll") is that Hyde is left-handed while Dr Jackman is not.
  • Orphan Black: Helena is the one clone who's left-handed, and she starts out as a villain. It turns out that this is because she and Sarah are mirror-image twins.
  • Perry Mason: In one movie, the titular character, who has realized that the killer in question is left-handed, forces the culprit to reveal himself by asking him for the time. The man looks at his watch, which is on his right wrist, as many left-handed people wear it.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: One of the clues that foreshadows Halbrand being Sauron in disguise, is him wielding weapons with his left hand.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      • Data figures out he and Picard are trapped in a holodeck Enterprise when (the simulation of) Geordi catches a tool Data throws to him with his left hand, exposing a programming glitch Data was already aware of (from playing a Sherlock Holmes mystery program.)
      • Data reveals that his brother Lore was equipped with a Type L Phase Discriminating Amplifier while Data was equipped with a Type R. Also averted by Data himself, who uses his left hand dominantly like his (and Lore's) actor Brent Spiner.
      • The logo of the Borg Collective looks like a grasping left hand.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Pah-wraith worshippers wear their earrings on their left ear instead of their right.
  • Supernatural: One episode has Sam realize that a shapeshifter was pretending to be Dean because he caught something with his left hand, as Dean's left arm was injured.
  • Ultraman Ace: One episode seemingly features the return of Go Hideki, the human host of the previous series, Ultraman Jack. Turns out that Hideki is actually an alien imposter, whose cover is blown when he starts using chopsticks with his left hand (the real Hideki is right-handed).
  • V: Whenever a human is converted to the villains' cause, it causes a brain-dominance switch. Since there are no lefties in TV Land, this leads to left-handed human collaborators.

    Religion and Folklore 
  • In the Bible, the tribe of Benjamin were distinguished by having a predominance of left-handed people. Naturally this cursed streak led them to war with the rest of Israel, where their left-handed swordsmen and slingers were seen as an unnatural thing, able to preferentially target the unshielded side of an opponent and leave right-handed swordsmen at a fighting disadvantage when the enemy weapon came at them from the "wrong" side. Ehud, one of the judges, managed to assassinate a king by hiding a miniature weapon on his right hip. Thus the weapon wasn't found, and he could still use it, being left-handed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia: "Left-handedness is one of the ten early warning signs of Commie mutant treason!"

    Video Games 
  • 8Bit Killer: Every human enemy, except for thornies, carries a weapon in their left hand. A printable set of trading cards even describes Kingdar as the "left hand" of Master Brain.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: The official art depicts cursed-by-Dracula Richter Belmont as a lefty; he is right-handed in the prior depictions of him. Hint hint much.
  • Dark Souls II
    • The Fume Knight, AKA Raime, held his BFS in his left hand. He was also known as the left hand of King Vendrick prior to his betrayal, while the more noble Velstadt was the right hand.
    • The Burnt Ivory King is a tragic example. He was genuinely a nice person prior to his fallen hero due to the old Chaos.
  • The Elder Scrolls: In the backstory, the ancient Yokudans (ancestors of the Redguards) fought a devastating war with the Sinistral Mer, also known as the Left-Handed Elves, whose entire race was said to be left-handed. The war left the Sinistral Mer extinct.
  • The Evil Within 2: If you pay attention while watching or fighting Mad Scientist Serial Killer Stefano Valentini, you'll see that he holds and throws knives with his left hand.
  • Fear Effect 2: Inverted. Near the end of the game, Hana has to choose between shooting her girlfriend Rain or Rain's Evil Twin. Rain is actually the left-handed one, which is the main tipoff on the correct one to shoot.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Dyne, a side-villain, had his crippled LEFT arm replaced with a machine gun, and is distinctly portrayed as a serial killing lunatic too far off the deep end to be reasoned with. The reverse is true of Barret — even though he leads an Eco-Terrorist organisation that blows up a power plant and kills hundreds of people, his RIGHT hand was the one replaced with a similar weapon. He turns out to be a nice but misguided person who is a doting father and dedicated friend.
      • Sephiroth and his remnants are also all lefties. This plays into their roles as the Foil to protagonist Cloud Strife: While he swings a BFS with a double-handed right-hand grip (for the most part), Sephiroth and Kadaj use Katanas, Yazoo wields a Gun Blade, and Loz is armed with a Pile Bunker — all of them (primarily) using only their left hands to wield their weapons.
      • Reno of The Truks wields his Shock Stick left-handed, though he's more of a Punch-Clock Villain.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
  • Friday Night Funkin': Daddy Dearest, Senpai, and Sergeant John Captain, AKA Tankman each hold the microphone in their left hand. In Senpai's case, it serves as Foreshadowing of his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing personality and Spirit hiding in his coding.
  • Glover: The antagonist, Cross-Stitch, is a left-hand glove, while the titular protagonist is a right-hand glove.
  • God Hand: The titular artifact exists in a pair: left God Hand and right God Hand. The hero, Gene, got the right one to replace his severed arm. As for the left one, it's used by the Dragon Azel (who is the most evil in the group of villains).
  • Grand Theft Auto V: In the mission "By the Book", Michael, on the FIB's behalf, has to locate and assassinate an alleged terrorist at a house party, with a handful of descriptors extracted from the target's associate by Trevor to go off of. One of these descriptors is that he's left-handed. Subverted, if the post-mission news reports are to be believed, as it's revealed that the assassination target was in fact a green energy mogul and philanthropist.
  • Improbable Island: One of the monsters you can encounter is called "Sinister Dexter", an Affectionate Parody of, well, Dexter. His moves are all based on being left-handed. It's that kind of game.
  • The King of Fighters: Downplayed. Yes, Nameless uses his left hand for both wearing his Power Limiter and to unleash his pyrokinetic abilities. Yes, he is a NESTS lapdog who performs assassinations for them without question. But compared to his peers (especially K9999) and superiors, he's one of the noblest members of the lot.
  • Kirby:
  • League of Legends has Morgana the Fallen, a Lady of Black Magic who — while not strictly "evil" — has a wicked appearance and casts shadowfire magic most predominantly from her left hand. This puts her in deliberate contrast to her angelic twin sister, Kayle the Righteous, who wields a holy sword in her right hand. It's especially notable considering this is only true following their 2019 redesigns — prior to the update, Kayle was lefthanded while Morgana didn't display a dominant hand, suggesting their current animations were done as very deliberate symbolism.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Interestingly, the Wii version has Ganondorf, traditionally right-handed, turned left-handed. This is because of the control scheme of the Wii, and since the deadline of the game was getting close, the developers couldn't simply make Link right-handed and leave the rest of the version intact, so they decided to simply mirror it, thus turning most characters left-handed, including Ganondorf.
  • Persona 5: Goro Akechi is left-handed. Naturally, he's a villain and the traitor among the main characters. Possibly an invoked trope, as the game heavily homages "Classy" works such as Arsène Lupin, Sherlock Holmes, Carmen, The Three Musketeers, (etc) where this trope cropped up.
  • Pokémon
    • Pokémon Colosseum: The two models of the portable Snag Machine are depicted as being worn on the left arm. Neither of their wielders is particularly nasty (thought one moreso than the other), but the folks behind inventing the device are the epitome of evil in the Pokeverse. As a comparison, in XD, Michael always makes a regular catch (at the Poke Spots, given that's where wild Pokemon appear from time to time) or calls out a Pokemon with his right hand. He only uses his left when he needs to make a Snag.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield: Bede always tosses his Poké Balls with his left hand and has a narcissistic attitude while being skilled enough as a Pokémon trainer to get away with most of what he claims. Subverted with Allister, who is a lefty Creepy Child but is a very nice individual and popular in his hometown.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis: The titular Nemesis is a lefty. This is useful to know in gameplay because you dodge his punches and grabs by juking to his right side.
  • Soul Series:
    • Siegfried Schtauffen and thus his Superpowered Evil Side, Nightmare, are ambidextrous. However, Siegfried prefers to wield his sword in his right hand when possible (when it's not, he fights with his left hand nearer to the crossguard, which is more typical of lefties). Nightmare doesn't zig-zag and just holds the sword in his left hand.
    • The Nightmare in Soulcalibur V is using a different host, yet remains left-handed. It's assumed that his new host, Graf Dumas, is actually Raphael Sorel, the only left-handed fighter besides the Nightmare.
  • Super Smash Bros.: The Master Hand is a giant, floating, apparently benign right hand who created the world that the characters find themselves in, and lives to be the ultimate challenge for heroes. The idea is that he is the hand of the child making the trophies fight, just like a kid in his room playing with action figures. His Evil Twin is the Crazy Hand, the left hand of the pair, who laughs maniacally upon his entrance and whose attacks and general movements are both bizarre and incredibly erratic. Whereas Master Hand is said to be a benign force and to represent the creative nature of a child, Crazy Hand is a destroyer, and supposedly represents that same child's more sadistic qualities. In the end, Master Hand doesn't look particularly saintly himself with his equally Evil Laugh, and both hands still serve as the final bosses of the modes where they appear, so the implications of good versus evil between them are downplayed.
  • Tales of the Abyss: Inverted — The Hero is left-handed, while his Evil Twin is right-handed, or at least favours his right hand in combat, allowing the pair to milk Fearful Symmetry for all its worth.
  • A Way Out: Leo is a convicted felon who, while ambidextrous, typically shoots and fights left-handed. Fittingly enough, between him and the right-handed Vincent, he's the only one who's actually a criminal.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Played with. Three victims (Dustin Prince, Byrne Faraday, and Dumas Gloomsbury) are left-handed, and the fact the killers or prosecution tend to make the mistake of treating them as right-handed comes up as a contradiction that advance your case. There are two killers who are left-handed, Yanni Yogi and Lance Amano, and the latter actually tries to use that to his advantage by using his non-dominant hand when he attacks Edgeworth with a prop sword to knock him out. However, Edgeworth manages to prove his handedness wouldn't matter thanks to the ease of using a prop sword.
  • Dies Irae: Reinhard, the main Big Bad, is left-handed. There is also the Foil of the main character, Shirou Yusa, who is also left-handed. This is not a coincidence as both are what is known as an Apoptosis, an embodiment of someone's hidden self-destructive desires.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: Justified. The Obviously Evil Dr. Shuu uses his left wing for everything... because his right wing was injured in the past.

  • Casey and Andy: Satan is left-handed.
  • Drowtales: Kalki seems to be left-handed judging by how she holds a katana and is mostly shown using her left hand for nether summoning.
  • Homestuck: The pirate and slaver Marquise Spineret Mindfang was left-handed, writing in her journal after losing her left arm how she will "have to get used to writing with this hand instead."

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Francine was raised to think that lefties are evil.
  • The Batman: In one episode, Mirror Master creates evil duplicates of Batman, Robin, and Flash. Batman quickly notes that the duplicates are left-handed. Justified, since a mirror image of a right-handed person would appear left-handed.
  • The Simpsons: In "Treehouse of Horror VII", left-handed Bart turns out to be the evil twin of Hugo Simpson. Bart's left-handedness is never brought up in the episode, however.

Examples of the related tropes:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric lost his right arm and his brother lost his entire body performing forbidden alchemy, which put him on a self-imposed Redemption Quest to restore his brother's real body. At the end of the story, he has his right arm and his brother back, but Edward had to give up his ability to perform alchemy.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: The left hand of the titular character is actually a sealed Oni, Baki, which replaces the left hand he lost fighting said Oni. Most of the time, it looks like his regular hand wearing a black leather glove; when his students are threatened by spectral horrors, he will reveal it as a monstrously large, dark red hand with visible tendons and black claws. However, he constantly seeks a way to seal it permanently, as only the influence of his childhood teacher prevents the Oni from taking over his entire body.
  • Parasyte: The lead characters are a young man named Shinichi and the alien parasite that has possessed/replaced his right hand. Their relationship is one of the main foci of the series, especially re: Shinichi losing part of his humanity. As early as the first volume, the Love Interest intuits there's something weird about his right hand and switches around him to hold his left instead. The original English translation was flipped and 'Migi' was named 'Lefty' instead.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman: Lex Luthor had a mechanical right hand for a while; he lost the original to Kryptonite poisoning. Naturally, he took Rotwang's role in the Elseworld Superman's Metropolis.


  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter had six fingers on his left hand.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Inverted. When Jaime Lannister loses his right hand, his moral compass actually starts working better. This is mostly because, without his sword hand, he's forced to think things through, when before he could just hack his way through any obstacle.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy IV: The main villain, Golbez, is left-handed. However, you only learn this when he's freed from brainwashing (done by the real villain) and becomes a protagonist in the sequel. He wields weapons in his left and shields in his right. Similarly, Kain is left-handed, and ends up brainwashed to fight for the villain.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Notably inverted with Link, although this is absent in the Wii titles due to making motion-control-enabled games for a mostly-right-handed audience. It should be noted Shigeru Miyamoto himself is ambidextrous, preferring his left hand.

Alternative Title(s): Lefties Are Evil