- The Legend of Zelda games draw inspiration from real-world Japanese myths and ghost stories, including the creepy hand characters that appear in Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages, and Skyward Sword.
- These hand characters ask Link for toilet paper and offer different items in return, making them unusual but harmless NPCs.
- The real-world folklore that inspired them is creepier, as they comprise stories of hands grabbing people from inside toilets.
The Legend of Zelda games are often inspired by real-world Japanese myths, fairy tales, and even ghost stories. Many of the fantastic elements in the land of Hyrule are based in some way on locations and concepts seen in the real world, even when the particular idea is something fairly creepy. The Legend of Zelda is no stranger to exploring darker themes, monsters, and characters, but there are a few instances where the truth is stranger than fiction. This is the case of the mysterious hand characters.
The “hands” appear in three Legend of Zelda titles to date: Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages, and Skyward Sword. They are characterized by a pale, often scrawny hand reaching out from a toilet bowl. All versions of these strange creatures ask Link for toilet paper and in return offer various items to the hero. Though these odd characters in the world of The Legend of Zelda are seemingly harmless, the real-world folklore that served as their inspiration is even creepier than they look.
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Toilet Hands in The Legend of Zelda
Each appearance of the hands is unique in its way, as they each have a different name and item associated with them. Some items are even part of an ongoing quest, like Oracle of Ages‘ Trading Quest. Their appearances are as follows.
- Name: ???
- Location: Stock Pot Inn
- Quest: It appears at midnight until 6:00 am and asks Link for toilet paper. Link can give any item made of paper to receive an item.
- Reward: Piece of Heart
Oracle of Ages
- Name: Hand
- Location: Outhouse in Lynna Village
- Quest: Hand will ask Link for toilet paper. Link can give it the stationary received as part of the Trading Quest and will be given the next item to continue the quest.
- Reward: Stink Bag
- Name: Phoeni
- Location: Bathroom of the Knight Academy
- Quest: Phoeni appears at night to ask Link for toilet paper. After receiving Cawlin’s letter, Link can give it to Phoeni instead of Karane to get a reward. Phoeni thinks it is meant for her and thus believes Cawlin is in love with her. She will afterward be found stroking Cawlin’s head at night.
- Reward: Five Gratitude Crystals
Most of the hands in The Legend of Zelda don’t reveal too much backstory. Phoeni in Skyward Sword is the exception, as there is dialogue from Fi saying how the character is the ghost of a little girl. Fi also explains how spirits linger when they have some sort of unfulfilled desire, which in this case Link can help with. This coincides with the real-world inspiration of these characters: ghosts in Japanese folklore.
Zelda Toilet Ghosts in Real Life
The actual myth behind these toilet hand ghosts is a bit scarier than the generally docile characters Link meets. The inspiration comes from various ghost stories in Japan that all relate to a hand grabbing someone from inside a toilet. Though the stories vary in specific origin and details, the common thread among them is the toilet. Japanese myths such as the Kappa are similar to the monsters in The Legend of Zelda, as they are water-dwelling creatures set on dragging people into the water to drown or eat them. As traditional Japanese toilets were often situated by a riverbed, the Kappa might reach up through the toilet to attack their prey.
Other bathroom-related ghosts in Japanese culture could have served as inspiration for the hands in Zelda. One is Hanako-san, who is said to be the ghost of a little girl who haunts bathrooms. When called upon, she will drag victims into the toilet. Another tale is of the Manekute no Yurei or “Inviting Hand”, which appears at night to beckon people as they use the bathroom. Most of these Japanese ghost stories end with the creature killing its victim in some way, so the friendly characters in The Legend of Zelda are a welcome change of pace.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to the beloved open-world adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This installment once again sees Link and Zelda battling to protect Hyrule from falling to Ganondorf. This new adventure takes place in the same land of Hyrule as Breath of the Wild but sees something called the Upheaval, which allows link to travel to Sky Islands, as well as deep into the Depths beneath Hyrule. Players can use special abilities to fuse together weapons, and build items to help them progress through the release.
- Rated E for Everyone 10+ for Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes
- How Long To Beat
- 59 Hours
- May 12, 2023