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Mothra (モスラ,   Mosura?) is a giant divine moth kaiju created by Toho that first appeared in the 2001 Toho film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, and made subsequent appearances throughout the Millennium era.

Name

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. Originally, Mothra's name was approximated in English as "Mosla," but it was later corrected to "Mothra" by the time of the release of her debut film[1].

In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, the guardian monster Mothra's name is spelled in kanji but pronounced the same: 最珠羅?

Appearance

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.

SokogekiMosu

Main article: SokogekiMosuLarva.
Main article: SokogekiMosuImago.

TokyoMosu

Main article: TokyoMosuLarva.
Main article: TokyoMosuImago.

Roar

Mothra's chirps are actually Anguirus's roars sped up. This is most evident during a scene in Godzilla vs. Mothra where Mothra is hit by artillery and moans in pain, emitting a sound that is almost identical to Anguirus' roar.

Personality

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.

Origins

In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Mothra's origin receives its first major alteration. In this film, Mothra is one of the three Guardian Monsters and the Goddess of the Sea. In ancient times, Mothra and her fellow guardians Baragon and King Ghidorah were slain by Japanese warriors.

Mothra was laid to rest under Lake Ikeda while the warriors who slayed her prayed for her soul, that she would return one day to save Japan. Thousands of years later, the prophet Hirotoshi Isayama awakened Mothra by transferring the souls of Japan's honorable dead into her, so that she and the other Guardian Monsters could together stop Godzilla.

History

Mothra appeared 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, making her the only monster besides Godzilla himself to appear in more than two films in the Millennium series.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

SokogekiMosuLarva

Mothra Larva in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

GMK - Mothra Close-Up

Mothra Imago in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Mothra (最珠羅,   Mosura?) was a legendary beast from ancient Japan and was known as the Goddess of the Water. Ages ago, noble Japanese warriors slayed Mothra and laid her to rest under Lake Ikeda. The warriors prayed for Mothra's soul, in the hope that she and the other guardian monsters, Baragon and King Ghidorah, would rise again one day to defend Japan.

In 2002, a group of teenagers disturbed Mothra's shrine after robbing a convenience store near Lake Ikeda. Mothra awakened and pulled the teenagers underwater, wrapping their bodies in a cocoon of silk. Mothra then encased herself in a cocoon which sat on the lake's surface. When the prophet Hirotoshi Isayama called upon the guardian monsters to stop Godzilla, Mothra emerged from her cocoon and flew to Yokohama to battle him. Mothra perched atop the Yokohama Landmark Tower and flew at Godzilla, firing poisonous stingers at him and scratching his face with her claws. Godzilla fired his atomic breath at Mothra, but she avoided the blast, which struck and destroyed the Landmark Tower instead.

King Ghidorah arrived shortly afterward and joined forces with Mothra against Godzilla. Godzilla easily overpowered both monsters, knocking Ghidorah unconscious and sending Mothra flying into a railroad track after she deflected his atomic breath from striking Ghidorah. Godzilla turned his attention to the J.S.D.F.'s battleships in Tokyo Bay, but Mothra flew behind him to take him by surprise. However, Godzilla turned his head at the last moment and fired his atomic breath at Mothra, vaporizing her. Mothra's life force flowed into Ghidorah's body, reviving him as the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King Ghidorah and giving him an advantage in the fight.

When King Ghidorah was ultimately killed by Godzilla, the spirit of all three guardian monsters flew into Godzilla, causing him to sink underwater and allowing the Satsuma to fire a D-03 Missile from within Godzilla's body, opening a gaping wound on his neck that ultimately caused Godzilla to destroy himself when he fired his atomic breath.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

When a second Godzilla attacked Japan in 1999, the Prime Minister of Japan and the Minister of Science and Technology discussed how ever since the first Godzilla attacked Tokyo in 1954, giant monsters have often raided the country. One such monster was Mothra, who attacked Tokyo in 1961.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Mothra S.O.S

Mothra Imago in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

GMMG - The New Born Mothra Larvae

Mothra Larvae in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Mothra was sighted flying over the skies of Japan, prompting two fighter jets to try and shoot her down. Mothra was unaffected by the jets' missiles and continued flying to Japan. Mothra landed near the home of Shinichi Chujo, a man who had helped reunite Mothra with her Shobijin in 1961. The Shobijin appeared to Chujo and asked him to tell the government to scrap the Kiryu project, which utilized the remains of the first Godzilla as a weapon. The Shobijin claimed this was a crime against nature and the sanctity of life, and that Mothra would be forced to declare war against humanity if the first Godzilla's remains were not returned to the sea. They also promised that Mothra would take it upon herself to defend Japan from Godzilla.

When Chujo told his story to Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi, he regretfully told Chujo that the government could not afford to scrap the project, as too much had already been sacrificed for it. When Godzilla appeared in Tokyo, Chujo's grandson Shun used school desks to recreate Mothra's symbol and summon her to Tokyo. Mothra engaged in battle with Godzilla, but due to her old age was easily overwhelmed. Igarashi ordered Kiryu to be launched to aid Mothra, and the machine entered the battle as well. Godzilla defeated Kiryu, while Mothra's egg on Infant Island hatched into two twin larvae.

The larvae arrived in Tokyo to communicate with their mother, but Godzilla noticed them. Godzilla fired his atomic breath at the larvae, only for Mothra to fly in front of the beam, sacrificing herself for her children. Enraged with grief, the larvae attacked Godzilla, distracting him while Kiryu was repaired. Kiryu soon re-entered the battle, defeating Godzilla by using his drill hand to open a previously-inflicted wound on Godzilla's chest.

Mothra's larvae encased Godzilla in silk, leaving him trapped and helpless. Rather than kill Godzilla, Kiryu overrode his programming and carried Godzilla out to the sea, sinking them both in the Japan Trench. Mothra's larvae swam back to Infant Island with the Shobijin, content that the souls of the dead could now rest in peace.

Godzilla: Final Wars

Godzilla Final Wars - 5-3 Mothra

Mothra in Godzilla: Final Wars

Thousands of years ago, Mothra defended the Earth from an alien monster known as Gigan, defeating him and entombing him off the coast of Hokkaido. In the year 20XX, the Earth Defense Force recovered Gigan's mummified remains, drawing the attention of Mothra and her Shobijin. The Shobijin appeared to several members of the EDF and warned them that Gigan was evil and could awaken, but promised that Mothra would appear to defend the Earth.

When the alien force known as the Xiliens took control of Gigan and an army of monsters and used them to conquer the planet, Mothra flew to Tokyo to aid Godzilla against Gigan and Monster X. Mothra saved Godzilla from being double-teamed by the enemy monsters, then confronted Gigan once again. Gigan fired two razor discs at Mothra, but she used her reflective scales to avoid them. Gigan responded by blasting Mothra with his laser beam, causing her to erupt in flames. Believing himself victorious, Gigan turned around only for his head to be sliced off by his reflected razor discs. Mothra, still on fire, flew into the headless Gigan and exploded, seemingly killing them both. However, Mothra survived from the explosion and flies away to the island.

Abilities

Bite

She has a knack for biting and clinging to foes' tails.

Imago strength

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.

Poison darts

In GMK, Mothra was able to shoot poison darts from her abdomen, but she lacked both her hurricane force winds and her poison powder.

Poison scales

Her final strategy is to emit "scales," a yellow poisonous powder that can usually asphyxiate an enemy. However she only uses that attack when she knows she is going to die, this is speculated, because the extreme loss of scales will cause her to lose flight.

Power reflection

In both Tokyo S.O.S. 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 in Final Wars, Mothra has the ability to counter enemy beams not only by reflecting them, she can also use them to attack via her kamikaze attack with which she kills Gigan and survived.

Psychic abilities

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.

Silk

As a larva, Mothra sprays her opponents with a stream of silk as a ranged attack (to entrap or disorient an enemy).

Mothra's fairies

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.

However, during the events of Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., two new Shobijin (portrayed by Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Ôtsuka) appear, and demonstrate telekenesis. The duo present here are much like the other fairies Mothra's around past this new ability, however.

Video games

Godzilla: Unleashed

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 larvae, 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.
„ 

Godzilla: Unleashed

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 her adult and larva forms appear in the game.

Godzilla (2014 video game)

Each of Mothra's appearances in the Millennium series had different backgrounds. In "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack" (2001), it was "Mothra, Guardian of the Sea", one of the three guardian monsters that protect Japan. In "Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S." (2003), it was a descendant of the original Mothra. In "Godzilla: Final Wars" (2004), it was the guardian deity of Infant Island. „ 

— The Millennium Mothra's Kaiju Guide bio

Godzilla: Kaiju Collection

The Millennium Mothra seen during the events of Tokyo S.O.S. makes an appearance within the Kaiju Collection game for mobile devices.

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

Trivia

  • Though Mothra is in general a female kaiju, there have been male members of her kind. Merchandise for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. differentiates the two larvae from the film as male and female, with the male having darker colored skin than the female.

List of appearances

Films

Video games

References

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Toho_Special_Effects_Movie_Complete_Works
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