|“||If the world lives to see another century, please remember what Mothra did for you and the planet you live on.||„|
— The Cosmos (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
Mothra (モスラ?) is a giant divine moth Mosurakaiju created by Toho that first appeared in the 1992 Toho film, Godzilla vs. Mothra in the case of the Godzilla series, and in Rebirth of Mothra in the case of the Mothra series.
She is among Toho's most popular characters, primarily among female fans, and she has appeared in every Godzilla film era. Toho even honored Mothra with the title "Queen of Monsters" for the soundtrack and home video releases of Rebirth of Mothra, illustrating her proximity in status to Godzilla himself.
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.
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.
- Main article: ReoMosuImago.
Despite having wrought destruction worthy of any Toho kaiju, Mothra 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.
Mothra's origins have somewhat varied from film to film, but she is always portrayed as a benevolent and ancient creature that possesses some level of divinity.
In the Godzilla vs. Mothra and Rebirth of Mothra, Mothra is the guardian goddess of the remote Infant Island in the south Pacific Ocean. There, she is perpetually reborn through an egg and is worshiped by the island's natives. She is spoken for by two miniature telepathic fairies, called either the Shobijin, Cosmos, or Elias.
Mothra's origin is gone into in greater depth in Godzilla vs. Mothra. This film explains that Mothra was the guardian of the ancient world, protecting all life on Earth from threats. When an ancient civilization created a climate-controlling device, the Earth became offended and created a dark Mothra, called Battra, to destroy it. After destroying the device, Battra proceeded to eradicate the entire civilization and sought to exterminate all of mankind, believing humans to be a blight on the planet. Mothra challenged Battra and defeated him, sealing him away in the North Sea. Following this battle, Mothra and the Cosmos, the only remnants of the ancient civilization, took up residence on the remote Infant Island, where they lived in peace for the next twelve thousand years.
In Rebirth of Mothra, it is established that Mothra is the last living member of an ancient race of giant guardian moths that defended the Earth throughout its history. In her old age, Mothra lived in solitude with the Elias on Infant Island, and with the last of her strength summoned forth an egg to continue her legacy after her death.
HistoryEarth itself and leading it to create Battra, a dark version of Mothra. Battra destroyed the device, but soon went beyond his purpose and attempted to destroy all of mankind, seeing them as a blight on the Earth. Mothra tried to stop them, and the two moths engaged in a titanic battle that destroyed the ancient civilization. Mothra defeated Battra and sealed him away in the North Sea, while Mothra and the Cosmos relocated to Infant Island to live in solitude. In 1993, an expedition sent to the island by the Japanese government encountered the Cosmos along with Mothra's egg. The Cosmos explained the story of Mothra and Battra to the explorers, and warned that the meteor that recently struck the Earth could awaken Battra. The Cosmos agreed to allow Mothra's egg to be transported to Japan, but en route the barge carrying it was attacked by Godzilla. The egg hatched into a larval Mothra, who attempted to defend herself from Godzilla. Eventually, Battra arrived in his larval form and knocked Mothra aside, attacking Godzilla instead. Godzilla and Battra were eventually swallowed up by a volcanic fault and presumed dead, while Mothra returned to Infant Island and the Cosmos were secretly captured by one of the explorers, Kenji Andoh.
Andoh brought the Cosmos to his employer, the Marutomo Company, who planned to exploit the tiny fairies as a publicity stunt. The Cosmos prayed to Mothra, who left the island to recover the Cosmos. The J.S.D.F. tried to fight Mothra in the ocean as she approached Japan, but failed to halt the larva. Mothra came ashore in Tokyo, unintentionally leaving a trail of destruction as she searched for the Cosmos. Masako Tezuka, her daughter Midori and Miki Saegusa recovered the Cosmos and brought them to Mothra, causing her rampage to cease. Unfortunately, the J.S.D.F. opened fire on Mothra with artillery, wounding her. Mothra crawled to the National Diet Building and encased herself in a cocoon. Meanwhile, Godzilla surfaced from the crater of Mount Fuji while Battra reappeared in the ocean and transformed into his imago form.
As both Godzilla and Battra approached the Tokyo area, Mothra emerged from her cocoon in her imago form and flew off to stop Battra. Mothra and Battra clashed in the skies above Yokohama, with Battra overpowering Mothra and causing her to crash to the ground in the Minato Mirai 21 district. Before Battra could kill his light counterpart, Godzilla appeared and attacked them both. Godzilla proved to be more than a match for either moth, and nearly killed Battra. Mothra saved Battra and temporarily knocked Godzilla down. Mothra communicated with Battra, and they decided to put aside their differences to defeat Godzilla. Mothra and Battra joined forces, firing their various beam attacks in tandem against Godzilla. Godzilla was subdued, and Mothra and Battra grabbed him, carrying him out over the ocean. Godzilla bit into Battra's throat and fired his atomic breath, killing him and forcing Mothra to drop both monsters into the sea below. Mothra placed a sacred seal over the water and reunited with the Cosmos at Haneda Airport. The Cosmos revealed that Battra told Mothra that a larger meteor was going to strike and destroy the Earth in 1999, and it was his duty to stop it. In the event of Battra's death, Mothra agreed to destroy the meteor instead. Mothra and the Cosmos bid farewell to the humans and flew into outer space, preparing to intercept the meteor before it could reach Earth.
While flying through space to intercept the meteor that was destined to hit Earth in 1999, Mothra became aware of an evil extraterrestrial clone of Godzilla called SpaceGodzilla that was heading to Earth with the intention of killing his Earthling counterpart and conquering the planet. Mothra sent a Fairy Mothra to Earth, where it revealed itself to Miki Saegusa and transformed into a projection of the Cosmos, who warned Miki of the impending to disaster and stressed the importance of Godzilla in defending the planet. When SpaceGodzilla was ultimately defeated by the combined efforts of Godzilla and G-Force, the projection of the Cosmos reappeared to Miki and congratulated her on saving the planet.
It was also speculated by U.N.G.C.C. scientists that SpaceGodzilla's creation may have been due to Mothra unwittingly carrying some of Godzilla's flesh into outer space following their battle, allowing it to be pulled into a black hole and released through a white hole, where it was exposed to supernovas and mutated into a crystalline lifeform.space monster called Desghidorah arrived to destroy the Earth. This three-headed demonic dragon was forced to deal with resistance in the form of a species of highly advanced, enormous moths, which were 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 Moll and Lora remained benevolent defenders of the Earth, Belvera became twisted and vengeful following her race's demise. These tiny fairies, along with one final Mothra, remained in solitude on Infant Island for countless millennia.
In order to preserve her legacy, Mothra summoned an enormous egg, however, she became physically exhausted from the ordeal. Shortly afterwards, a logging company in Hokkaido uncovered the tomb where the Mothras had sealed Desghidorah 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, planning to use it to destroy mankind. Mothra was summoned to stop Desghidorah, which was absorbing the life out of the forests.
Mothra fought her hardest to stop Desghidorah, but was simply too old and frail to carry on the fight. Moll and Lora reluctantly prayed to the egg, causing it to prematurely hatch into a larva named Mothra Leo. Mothra Leo arrived to assist his mother, but Desghidorah grabbed Leo with his teeth and bit into him. Mothra rescued her son and destroyed a dam, causing Desghidorah to be buried in a flood of water. With her enemy distracted, Mothra carried Leo out over the sea, but her strength failed and she fell into the water. Mothra struggled to stay afloat, as Leo desperately tried to hold her up above the surface, but to no avail. Mothra sank underwater and drowned, leaving Leo to carry on her legacy and stop Desghidorah. Leo then swam to a remote island to transform into his imago stage and continue the battle.
- Main article: Mothra Leo.
- Main article: Mothra Leo.
Both imago and larval Mothra appear in the 1994 and 1996 educational Recommend! Godzilland OVAs. In these OVAs, Mothra is one of the more mature and caring residents of Monster Island, and raises her two twin larvae there. Mothra is viewed as a motherly figure by the other kaiju, and is addressed by them as "Mosura-San," being the only adult. In the hiragana episode, Mothra finishes watering her garden, and decides to invite the other residents of Monster Island to a picnic. Godzilla and Anguirus both arrive late, and reveal that they couldn't read Mothra's invitation, so Mothra decides to teach them about the hiragana alphabet. Mothra presents the kaiju with various objects and animals, and teaches them to sound out their names with hiragana characters.
In the addition episode, Mothra helps Godzilla, Gojirin, and Baragon rescue Anguirus from Mechagodzilla, who has kidnapped him to force him to be his friend. Gojirin reveals that she is hungry and the kaiju decide to eat before traveling to the volcano where MechaGodzilla brought Anguirus. Mothra and Rodan help the kaiju add the number of items of food they have, allowing them to learn addition.
On the way to the volcano, the monsters are stopped by a large group of ants, who angrily stab Godzilla with spears when he attempts to scare them away. Mothra talks to the ants, and learns that the kaiju were walking over a field of flowers, and the ants were trying to stop them. The kaiju then proceed to the volcano, where MechaGodzilla forces them to take part in a game show where they solve addition problems in order to rescue Anguirus. After the kaiju complete the game, MechaGodzilla begins to cry, and Mothra comforts him. Mothra convinces the other kaiju to let MechaGodzilla be their friend, and they all then take part in a song about addition.
In the series Godzilla Island, Mothra is a resident of Godzilla Island along with Earth's other monsters. She has two children, a son named Mothra Leo and a daughter named Baby Mothra. Following Mothra's death, Leo grew into his imago form and watched over Baby Mothra, protecting her from enemy monsters like Battra.
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 powder now had a different effect, and now acted as a cloud of mirror-like scales, which would allow beam weapons to repeatedly rebound before striking the target, effectively making them impossible to miss.
Battra easily took advantage of this condition to attack Godzilla by repeatedly firing his Prism Beams, allowing them to strike Godzilla over and over again, with the rebound effect 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 the Heisei era, Mothra is also able to use her scales multiple times without any loss of her ability to fly.
Mothra is one of the most powerful psychics in the Toho universe. She uses 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.
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.
- Main article: Elias.
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.
The Heisei Mothra made an appearance within the Kaiju Collection game for mobile devices, both as a larva, and as imago.
|“||The Heisei series Mothra in "Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth" (1992) was the guardian deity of the Cosmos, an indigenous people only 18 centimeters tall. In this version, Mothra hatched from an egg excavated by a Japanese firm that was doing construction and development on Infant Island.||„|
— The Heisei Mothra's Kaiju Guide bio
In larva form, Mothra is very small and attacks by jumping at Godzilla and biting him and spitting silk at him. In imago form, Mothra can ram Godzilla, smack him with her wings, or use her antenna beams or reflective scales. Mothra is one of the easier opponents faced in the game, and for this reason is one of the first opponents faced in King of the Monsters Mode.
|Square|| One tap: Bite|
Two taps: Headbutt Rush
|X||Tap: Quick Dash|
|Triangle|| Tap: Tail Blow|
Up + Tap: Jump Bite
Roar + Tap: Thread Barrage
|R1||Tap: Tumble Frenzy|
|L1 + L1/R1 + R1||Left Right Roll Dodge|
|Square|| One tap: Rotating Feather Attack|
Two taps: Charge
|X||Tap: Climbing Revolution|
|Triangle|| Tap: Gliding Ram|
Roar + Tap: Powder Emission
|Circle||Tap: Ultrasound Beam|
Roar + Tap: Ultrasound Beam Combo
|R2||Tap: Wing Rotation Attack|
|L1 + L1/R1 + R1||Left Right Dodge|
In other languages
Mothra's name remains the same across many languages employing the Latin alphabet.
- Bulgarian: Мотра
- Chinese: 魔斯拉 (Mó sī lā)
- Italian: Watang, Mattra, Pulluk
- Serbian and Russian: Мотхра
- Yiddish: מאָטהראַ
- 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 has appeared in all three Godzilla eras, and is slated to appear in Legendary's series of Godzilla films as well.
- Though Mothra is in general a female kaiju, there have been male members of her kind. In Rebirth of Mothra, Mothra has a son named Mothra Leo, who goes on to star in the next two films of the trilogy. Mothra Leo reappears as Mothra's son in Godzilla Island, where he has a sister named Baby Mothra. Sometimes, Mothra's twin larvae possess different genders. In the Godzilland merchandise line released in 1984, one of Mothra's larvae is depicted as a boy and the other as a girl.
List of appearances
This is a list of references for Mothra (Heisei). 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: