Mothra (モスラ?, Mosura) is a giant divine moth kaiju created by Toho that first appeared alongside Godzilla in the 1964 Godzilla film, Mothra vs. Godzilla, and first appeared in the 1961 Toho film, Mothra.
The name "Mothra" is the suffixation of "-ra" (a common last syllable in kaiju names) to "moth". Since the Japanese language does not have dental fricatives, it is approximated "Mosura" in Japanese. In the American dubbing and various posters of Mothra vs. Godzilla, Mothra is also referred to as "The Thing". She is among Toho's most popular characters, primarily among female fans, and she has appeared in every Godzilla film era.
Since her first film, Mothra has been depicted in various stages of the lepidopteran life cycle: Mothra's mammoth egg is decoratively colored in blue and yellow waves. The egg hatches into her larva, a massive brown, segmented caterpillar (resembling a silkworm) with glowing blue, sometimes red, eyes. In rare circumstances, twins may emerge from the egg. The caterpillar eventually spins a silken cocoon around itself (the pupa stage), and from this cocoon the imago (adult) Mothra emerges, a gigantic moth-like creature with brightly-colored wings. Mothra's life cycle—particularly the tendency of an imago's death to coincide with its larvae hatching—echoes that of the Phoenix, resembling resurrection and suggesting divinity.
In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Mothra is portrayed with purple eyes, although her eyes are normally blue.
Despite having wrought destruction worthy of any Toho kaiju, she is almost always portrayed as a kind and benevolent creature, causing destruction only when acting as protector to her worshipers on Infant Island or to her egg, or as collateral damage while protecting Earth from a greater threat. Mothra is usually accompanied by two tiny priestesses or fairies (often called Shobijin—Japanese for "small beauties") who also speak for her.
HistoryInfant Island, where natives to the island worshiped her as a goddess. Invaders form the mainland took over the island and stole the Shobijin. The natives went to a temple, where a giant egg was held. The egg hatched into a larvae, called Mothra, and she journeyed to Japan to save the Shobijin from the humans. She destroyed Japan while trying to find them, and she tore down Tokyo Tower, and she formed her cocoon. She emerged from the cocoon in her Imago form, and she was given the Shobijin. She returned to Infant Island to live her life in peace. Godzilla, Rodan, and Manda. After the mind control is broken, Mothra helps the other Kaiju in the battle against King Ghidorah by firing her web from a distance with Kumonga. Battra arrives, and she swims away. After finding that the Cosmos have been stolen, she heads to Japan and starts to look for her fairies. After finding them, she forms her cocoon and changes into he Imago form. Battra and Godzilla soon arrive in Tokyo, and the battle begins. Mothra fights off both monsters, but Battra sides with her to defeat Godzilla. The two knock Godzilla unconscious and fly him out to sea. Godzilla awakens and kills Battra, and Mothra mourns her fallen brother. She is then sent out into space to stop a falling meteorite from hitting the earth. space monster arrived to destroy the planet Earth, the monster goes under the name of "Desghidorah". This three-headed demonic dragon was forced to deal with resistance in the form of a species of highly advanced, enormous moths, which are known as Mothras. These moths were the protectors of the Elias, a race of tiny, human-like beings, who inhabited the planet. After the ensuing battle, Desghidorah was defeated and sealed within the Earth, although a great deal of life on the planet Earth was lost. Three Elias: Moll, Lora, and Belvera, were all who were left of their once prosperous civilization. Though the benevolence of Moll and Lora was undeterred, Belvera became twisted and vengeful due to the mass extinction of her race. These tiny fairies, along with one final Mothra, lingered on for thousands of years.
In order to preserve her legacy, Mothra gave birth to an enormous egg, however, she became physically exhausted from the ordeal. Shortly afterwards, a logging company uncovered the subterranean prison of the demonic dragon that had ravaged the Earth long ago. When the seal that had bound the creature was removed from the area, Moll and Lora fought Belvera for control of the artifact. Belvera prevailed and managed to release Desghidorah from its rocky tomb, in order to exact her warped plans for destruction. Mothra was summoned to halt the demonic dragon, which was absorbing the life out of the environment. She fought a long and difficult battle to repel her ancient adversary, and in response to her declining strength, her young larva, Mothra Leo, prematurely hatched in order to assist his mother. Though his energized silk seemed to turn the tide of battle in the favor of the protectors, Desghidorah sank its teeth deep into Mothra Leo, and Mothra became desperate. She quickly airlifted Mothra Leo to safety, and in order to keep Desghidorah at bay, she lured Desghidorah into a dam. With Desghidorah distracted by a wall of raging water, Mothra carried her offspring to safety. Unfortunately, Mothra's wounds, age, and exhaustion were ultimately too much. Her strength failed, and she plummeted into the sea below. Mothra Leo attempted to save his beloved mother, to no avail. Angered, Mothra Leo created a cocoon and began to change into his imago stage. Desghidorah had to be defeated, his mother's death couldn't be in vain.
Mothra was brought back in three of the Millennium series films, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and Godzilla: Final Wars. In GMK, Mothra was one of the three Guardian Monsters that defended Japan from a possessed Godzilla.guardian monster in Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack. She was the goddess of water and she took part in the final battle with Godzilla. Mothra hatched from her cocoon and flew to Yokohama to battle Godzilla. She fought as hard as she could, while aiding King Ghidorah. She was quickly killed by Godzilla's atomic blast, but her life energy was transferred to King Ghidorah who used her power to become for powerful. the bones of the original Godzilla were not returned to the sea, and Mothra would defend Japan from Godzilla if the bones were returned. Japan denied this warning, and Godzilla was seen in Tokyo. Mothra was summoned to fight Godzilla, and she was defeated quickly. On Infant Island, Mothra's egg hatched into two larvae, who went to Japan to finish the fight with Godzilla. Kiryu was deployed, and it saved Mothra from destruction. The larvae arrived to save their mother, but she sacrificed herself to save her children. The larvae fought Godzilla and managed to encase him in silk, trapping him long enough for Kiryu to bring him out to sea. The larvae returned to Infant Island, with the souls of the dead now at peace. Gigan. She first battled him thousands of years ago, and managed to defeat him by trapping him underground. She was called again to help Godzilla in his battle with Monster X. The Xiliens sent Gigan to destroy her, and she was momentarily defeated by him. She fought again when she saved Godzilla from Gigan and Monster X, once again attracting the attention of Gigan. Gigan shot her with blades from his chest, and blasted her with his laser. Thinking she was dead, Gigan lowered his guard, allowing his own blades to fly at him and cut his head off. Mothra took this opportunity to attack Gigan, making him fall to bits after she rammed through him while she was on fire. Durring the end credits, Mothra was seen flying back to Infant Island.
Mothra has proven a formidable adversary in combat: in larval form she may use her silken spray to wrap and immobilize an opponent, and has a knack for biting and clinging to foes' tails. In imago form her powers vary widely from film to film, including very animalistic scratching and dragging, incorporating several bolt and beam weapons in the Heisei era, and often concluding with a poisonous yellow powder (or "scales")—her last defense.
Mothra is one of the most powerful psychics in the Toho universe. She has had the ability to use this power benevolently, to communicate with humans, or defensively, to destroy her enemies. As suggested earlier, Mothra is assumed to be divine and draws many parallels to the Phoenix, which makes her one of the more powerful kaiju of the Toho universe.
As a larva, Mothra's sprays her opponents with a stream of silk as a ranged attack (to entrap or disorient an enemy). She also uses her mandibles for a close combat bite. (Mothra has a habit of biting opponents'; tails, although it is rarely effective and, predictably, is usually self-defeating. It's usually used as a desperate attempt at stopping a creature much larger than itself.) As an adult, her wings can (and generally do) create gales which tear apart buildings and send other kaiju flying. Her great bulk of a body is commonly used to her advantage in battle to slam into opponents (both in larva and adult form), and her surprising levels of strength can help her to drag and even lift monsters like Godzilla. Her final strategy is to emit "scales", a yellow poisonous powder that can hopefully asphyxiate an enemy.However she only uses that attack when she knows she is going to die, this is thought, because the extreme loss of scales will cause her to lose her flight.The Heisei version of Mothra had some differences. She could now fire a beam of energy from her antennae, and fire arcs of lightning from her wings, or keep it in her body to release to another through touch. The powder now had a different effect; It would act as a 3-D mirror to trap energy blasts, making them rebound over whatever was inside the cloud of powder over and over again. This proved very effective in turning Godzilla's own atomic breath against him. The powder could also be used as an instrument in team-based strategies, as it was shown that Battra had deliberately fired his prism beams into the powder cloud (while Godzilla was surrounded by it) so that his beams would rebound inside the cloud for a short time before finally striking Godzilla, negating any chance of the prism beams not hitting their target. Ironically, Godzilla's Nuclear Pulse wasn't reflected by her mirror and she was thrown back, possibly because her mirror can't reflect energy attacks if it is able to pass around her mirror.
In GMK, Mothra was able to shoot poison darts from her abdomen but she lacked both her hurricane force winds and her poison powder. In both Tokyo SOS and Final Wars, Mothra's powder was able to redirect both energy and physical projectiles back to their original senders, but some individuals believe that the powder of the Final Wars incarnation of Mothra instead has the ability to cause a short-circuit in electronics. As seen on Final Wars Mothra has the ability to counter enemy beams not only with reflecting them she can use them to attack with her kamikaze attack with which she kills Gigan and survived.
Mothra is usually accompanied by two tiny priestesses or fairies (often called Shobijin, Japanese for "small beauties") who also speak for her. For Mothra's first three film appearances these twin fairies were played by the Peanuts. In Mothra they demonstrate telepathic ability, within speaking range with people and over great distances with Mothra. They explain that while they call to Mothra in prayer and in song, they and Mothra are also connected on some deeper level beyond their control, and it is this connection that impels Mothra to find them no matter where they are. These qualities are part of the continuity of all subsequent Mothra appearances. In Mothra vs. Godzilla the Shobijin also demonstrate teleportation, when trying to escape from Kumayama and Torahata. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster the girls translate not only Mothra's chirps but an entire conversation among three daikaiju. Decades later, in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., two other Shobijin (portrayed by Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Ôtsuka) demonstrate telekenesis as well.
In the Godzilla films of the 1990s, Mothra's priestesses (played by Keiko Imamura and Sayaka Osawa) identify themselves as Earth's Cosmos, who claim to have been created by the very life force of Earth, along with Mothra and Battra. The Cosmos speak not only for Battra and Mothra, but for the living Earth as well. The Cosmos say that Battra was first created by the Earth to balance the ecosystem, which was disrupted by the climate-altering device of an advanced civilization, 12,000 years ago. However, Battra proved to be a little too enthusiastic about its task, and not only destroyed the things of man, but of the natural order as well. The first Mothra was then created to restore the true balance, and stop Battra's rampage. The Cosmos revere both Mothra and Battra as two different divine forces of nature. They act concerned when Battra is injured, and are pleased when Mothra finds a nonviolent method of stopping Battra, "making friends", as they say in the film. They know when Battra has awoken, and what his tasks and motivations are, but Battra does not appear motivated to seek them out, unlike Mothra, who seems compelled to protect them, and talks to them directly.
In the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Mothra's priestesses were the Elias; the Elias differ from earlier incarnations in that they are not mind-linked twins but individual persons, Moll and Lora. They are also seen to have an older sister, a dark Elias called Belvera. In addition to accompanying Mothra, the Elias would also ride smaller offspring called Fairy Mothras. Mothra would reprise the role of ancient guardian, though with only a passing homage to the Cosmos, in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
- Mothra vs. Godzilla
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
- Destroy All Monsters
- Godzilla vs. Mothra
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
- Rebirth of Mothra
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
- Godzilla: Final Wars
- Monster's Fair
- Godzilla: Monster of Monsters
- Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
- Kaiju-Oh Godzilla
- Godzilla: Domination!
- Godzilla: Kaiju Daikessen
- Godzilla (Arcade)
- Godzilla: Giant Monster March
- Godzilla: Archipelago Shock
- Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact
- Godzilla Trading Battle
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
- Godzilla: Save the Earth
- CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle
- Godzilla: Unleashed (Wii and PlayStation 2)
- Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash
- Godzilla: Pachislot Wars
- Godzilla On Monster Island
Mothra appeared as a summonable monster in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. A Mothra-shaped icon, when picked up, calls in a "Mothra Air Strike", where she flies around the arena firing her antennae beams at all monsters besides the one who got the item. She does little damage with each attack, but it builds up. Mothra can be chased off if hit with a beam weapon, but this is difficult to do. However, Mothra is playable in the game's Gameboy Advance counterpart, Godzilla: Domination!, and was also playable in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters. She was also a boss in Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact.
Mothra became playable once again in Godzilla: Save the Earth. Players start as Larval Mothra, who is slow and has high defense and moderate attack. Larval Mothra can use her Silk Shot to immobilize foes, and can spear with her tail and roll around the arena to attack. Pressing R2 and L2 at the same time causes her to metamorph into Adult Mothra. Trading speed for defense and attack for weapons, Mothra relies on long-range assaults and good strategy. She can reflect most beam weapons away from her, and stun opponents when getting up or with a greenish mist. Mothra is unique in that she does not enter Rage Mode, instead she treats the Rage power-up as a Health and Energy Recover.
Mothra is also playable in Godzilla: Unleashed, and played similarly to Save the Earth, but to morph into adult form, the player must press A, B, C, and Z at the same time instead of R2 and L2.Mothra appears in Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters. In early missions she is an enemy, but in later missions will appear as a friendly unit if her egg is found (being near the egg heals her). Both adult and larval forms appear in the game.
Weight: 28,000 tons
"Mothra is a guardian of the earth, and only exists to defend the earth from pollution, corruption and devastation. Mothra begins life as a giant larva, with a barbed tail and a web-spinning snout. Once danger threatens, however, Mothra cocoons herself and transforms into her flying adult form. As an adult, Mothra creates powerful gusts of wind from her wings and create clouds from her scales to reflect energy attacks. Although her wings appear frail, Mothra is a very capable melee opponent, using her superior mobility to strike her opponents quickly and then retreat. Mothra is devoted to rooting out the crystal corruption, and abhors monsters who absorb their energies for personal advancement."
- Main Article: Gallery:Mothra.
- In episode 40 of the Kimagure Orange Road anime TV series, the cast are making an amateur movie referencing certain elements from Mothra. They use the Kasuga family cat to play the part of a giant monster heading towards Tokyo with a final confrontation at Tokyo Tower and the Kasuga Twins playing the part of lost princesses that the monster is seeking. The twins even sing to the monster in order to calm it down and they ride on the monster back to their island paradise.
- In the Rumiko Takahashi series, Urusei Yatsura, Mothra, along with other kaiju co-stars, make multiple background cameos.
- In the Love Hina anime, Motoko has a dream where Mutsumi Otohime appears as two tiny versions of herself who sing to summon a giant version of Tama-chan in a similar fashion to how Mothra is summoned by her fairies.
- Mothra has a brief appearance in an episode of The Simpsons where Godzilla is attacking the plane the family is on along with Gamera and Rodan.
- A song by We Are Scientists, released on their 2002 LP Safety, Fun, and Learning (in that Order) is titled "Mothra Versus We Are Scientists".
- In Class of 3000 Mothra and Godzilla made a few appearances.
- Mothra is the name of a track on the Nosferatu album by The Stranglers' lead-singer and guitarist Hugh Cornwell and Captain Beefheart percussionist Robert Williams.
- The Toe Jammers wrote a song about Mothra, in which Godzilla sings Mothra a letter he wrote that begs for her forgiveness.
- During the events entailed in Silent Hill 1, the lead protagonist, Harry Mason encounters a large larva that he must fight. Later on, it is shown to have evolved into a very Mothra-like giant moth, who seeks revenge.
- A common enemy in the Legend of Zelda series is a giant poisonous moth known as Mothula, an apparent play on Mothra's name.
- In the Pokémon anime, Giratina has Mothra's chirps and screeches.
- Mothra looks strikingly similar to the Generation III Pokémon Beautifly, even having an almost identical color scheme.
- The Pokémon anime makes a direct reference to Mothra through Caterpie. In an episode a giant Caterpie attacks a city similar to Tokyo and it evolves into Metapod while on a tower similar to Tokyo Tower.
- In the Generation V Pokémon video games, Volcarona (a giant, fire-controlling moth Pokémon) is likely to have been influenced by Mothra.
- In the Kirby series, a parody is seen in the anime. A monster named Mosugaba and the small twin girls were known as the Twin Nuts.
- Mothra is part of a miniskit in comedy show Saturday Night Live.
- Mothra causes destruction when the fairies are in danger.
In Other Languages
Mothra's name remains the same across many languages employing the Latin alphabet.
- Bulgarian: Мотра
- Chinese: 魔斯拉
- Serbian: Мотхра
- Yiddish: מאָטהראַ
- Mothra was the first Toho opponent Godzilla faced that did not debut in the Godzilla series but was instead absorbed by it, becoming one of the series' recurring characters.
- Mothra has become one of Godzilla's most challenging opponents, having achieved the greatest success rate in battle. She has once overcome Godzilla in imago form, and twice Godzilla has fought her to her death only later to be bested by her newborn larvae. It should be mentioned that Mothra has never beaten Godzilla alone (in her Imago Form). The only victory by an insect over Godzilla were the Mothra twin-larvae in Mothra vs. Godzilla in the Showa series, Imago Mothra and Imago Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra, in the Heisei series and the twin-larvae and Kiryu in the Millennium series.
- Toho had intended to follow Godzilla vs. Biollante with a revival of Mothra in her own spin-off film, Mothra vs. Bagan. However, following the unimpressive box office performance of Biollante, Toho discarded the project in favor of another Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. A 1992 survey revealed that Mothra was Toho's most popular kaiju among women, an observation which inspired Toho to again revise its plans, abandoning a proposed sequel to King Ghidorah in favor of a Godzilla–Mothra film. Following the end of the Heisei Godzilla series, Toho produced the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. Mothra thus became the first Toho kaiju to lead its own films after its incorporation into the Godzilla franchise.
- According to an interview with Kenpachiro Satsuma, Koichi Kawakita originally wanted Mothra to be killed in Godzilla vs. Mothra and appear in a sequel as MechaMothra.
- Mothra is one of the few monsters that appeared in all three Godzilla eras.
- Mothra was the first bug kaiju in the Godzilla series.
- In most of her movies, Mothra was killed either by Godzilla or a Ghidorah.
- Despite being a frequent Godzilla ally, Mothra, in most movies, was Godzilla's foe. She became Godzilla's ally in two Godzilla movies in the Showa series, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Destroy All Monsters, and was only Godzilla's ally in Godzilla: Final Wars.
- In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Godzilla only fought Mothra because his role in the movie was originally meant for King Kong, as the creature never met Mothra before.
- Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. all took place in different timelines. Coincidentally, these films have Godzilla as the main antagonist, just like Mothra vs. Godzilla.
- Mothra has her own theme song, which she shares with Mothra Leo.
This is a list of references for Mothra. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: