If the world lives to see another century, please remember what Mothra did for you and the planet you live on.
Mothra (モスラ is a giant divine moth Mosura)kaiju who first appeared in the 1961 serialized novel The Luminous Fairies and Mothra, which was adapted the same year by Toho into the film Mothra. Mothra made her first appearance alongside Godzilla in the 1964 Godzilla film Mothra vs. Godzilla.
Mothra's major distinction among Toho's library of kaiju, aside from being the first female monster in the Godzilla series, is her benevolent nature and relationship to mankind. While other monsters like Godzilla frequently menace humanity with their very existence, Mothra fights to protect humanity from monsters that threaten it. Mothra is accompanied by two miniature twin priestesses named the Shobijin, who speak to humanity on her behalf. However, Mothra has still wrought destruction herself, though this is only to rescue her Shobijin when they are kidnapped or when she is under the control of the Kilaaks. Since her introduction, Mothra has become Toho's most popular and prolific monster character behind only Godzilla himself, earning the title "Queen of the Monsters."
In Mothra's onscreen debut, she laid waste to Tokyo and New Kirk City in her quest to recover the Shobijin and return them to Infant Island. Mothra returned in Mothra vs. Godzilla, where she traveled to Japan to battle Godzilla when he threatened her unhatched egg that had washed ashore there. Mothra was killed in the battle, but two twin larvae hatched from her egg and carried on her battle against Godzilla, eventually triumphing over him. One of the larvae died sometime afterward, but the surviving one took her mother's place as the goddess of Infant Island. Mothra was soon called upon to defend Earth against the evil King Ghidorah, and managed to recruit both Godzilla and Rodan to her cause. Mothra eventually matured into an adult and rescued her people from Letchi Island after they were kidnapped and enslaved by the terrorist group known as the Red Bamboo. By the end of the 20th century, a larval Mothra was contained on Monsterland, only to be released when the Kilaaks took over the island and assumed control of the monsters. Mothra was soon freed from Kilaak control and fought alongside the other Earth monsters to kill King Ghidorah once and for all and defeat the alien menace.
Mothra was reintroduced in the Heisei series film Godzilla vs. Mothra, where she fought alongside a dark counterpart named Battra to defeat Godzilla. After the Godzilla Heisei series ended, a standalone trilogy of films focusing on Mothra was released from 1996 to 1998. This trilogy introduced Mothra Leo, Mothra's son, who would go on to star in the trilogy's second and third entries following his mother's death. Mothra made an appearance in the third entry in the Millennium series of Godzilla films, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, as one of the three Guardian Monsters, who defended Japan against Godzilla. Mothra returned two films later in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, where she and her twin larvae supported Kiryu in his battle against Godzilla. In Godzilla Final Wars, Mothra aided Godzilla in his battle against Monster X and Gigan, and seemingly sacrificed her own life to destroy Gigan. Mothra made a cameo through a cave painting in the film Kong: Skull Island, the second entry in Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.' MonsterVerse, and went on to appear in Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019, the sequel to Legendary's Godzilla from 2014. Mothra is also a major player in the universe of the GODZILLA anime trilogy, though she does not appear directly. Rather, in the backstory of this universe, Mothra defended a surviving segment of the human population from Godzilla in 2048, and helped to relocate them to the Mount Fuji area, where they evolved over time into the Houtua and continued to worship the egg Mothra left behind.
This is an overview page. To view information on specific incarnations of Mothra, please click on their corresponding boxes in the table below.
Name[edit | edit source]
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. In the American dubbing and various posters for 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. 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. This subtitle is also used for her in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
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 (Mosura). While Mothra is named in GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla, her name is never spoken in any of the films of the GODZILLA anime trilogy. Rather, she is alluded to only as the Houtua's God (フツアの神, while her unhatched offspring is simply referred to as the Egg Futsua no Kami) (卵. When Tamago)Haruo Sakaki sees a vision of the imago Mothra, he mistakenly calls her a "butterfly" (蝶. Chō)
Design[edit | edit source]
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 her debut novel The Luminous Fairies and Mothra, Mothra had a design more reminiscent of a swallow, her head also being more like a butterfly's. Her larval form was segmented, similarly to the way she would be portrayed in her first film appearance, but had longer legs and possessed a more caterpillar-like face.
In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Mothra is portrayed with purple eyes, although her eyes are normally blue.
Personality[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
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 Showa era, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Rebirth of Mothra, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS and Godzilla Final Wars, 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.
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.
In the continuity of the GODZILLA anime trilogy, Mothra is a mystical creature which lives in isolation in the Amazon rainforest alongside a tribe of humans known as Mothra's People, who worship her as their deity. Mothra's origins and past are unknown, but she has been living in symbiosis with her people for some time, protecting them from harm and providing for their needs. Mothra also possesses a counterpart named Battra, and together the two moth monsters were believed capable of defeating Godzilla.
In the MonsterVerse, Mothra is again revered as a benevolent goddess, but her origin lies not on Infant Island but rather in China's Yunnan Rainforest. Ancient accounts and paintings of Mothra show that she was worshiped by humans in the ancient past, and she appears in folklore from around the world. Notably, some ancient pictures depict her fighting alongside Godzilla and human warriors against King Ghidorah, either as an account of an ancient battle or a prophecy for a future one. In 2009, a Monarch team headed by Dr. Emma Russel discovered Mothra's cocoon in an ancient temple in the Yunnan Rainforest, dubbed the "Temple of the Moth."
History[edit | edit source]
- Mothra (1961)
- Cheers, Mr. Awamori! (1961) [props]
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) [stock footage]
- Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984) [stock footage]
- Adventure! Godzilland (TV 1992-1993)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Get Going! Godzilland (1994, 1996)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Godzilla Island (TV 1997-1998) [68 episodes][note 9]
- Rebirth of Mothra 2 (1997)
- Rebirth of Mothra 3 (1998)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) [stock footage]
- Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003)
- Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
- Kong: Skull Island (2017) [cave painting]
- GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle (2018) [mentioned]
- GODZILLA: The Planet Eater (2018) [vision]
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godziban (web 2019-) [episodes 3, 5-7, 9, 11, 13-14, 18, 20, 25-27, 29, 35, 40, 47, and 54-57; special episodes 3-4]
- Godzilla Singular Point (TV 2021) [episode 12]
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) [cave painting; mentioned]
Mothra made her onscreen debut in a self-titled film in 1961, which was adapted from the serialized novel which introduced her, The Luminous Fairies and Mothra. Following the film's success, Toho decided to pit her against one of their other most popular monster creations, Godzilla, in a crossover film titled Mothra vs. Godzilla in 1964. Mothra was subsequently incorporated into the Godzilla series and became one of its most popular recurring characters, making appearances in three more films during the Showa era.
- Main article: Mothra (First Generation).
After shipwreck survivors were reportedly rescued by natives of the seemingly uninhabited nuclear testing site of Infant Island, the Rolisican and Japanese governments organized a joint scientific expedition to the island in order to determine whether it was inhabited. The expedition members encountered a native tribe as well as two miniature women dubbed the Shobijin, prompting the greedy Rolisican entrepreneur Clark Nelson to abduct them and bring them to Japan to perform in a show he organized. The natives called upon their goddess Mothra to rescue the Shobijin, and she hatched from her gigantic egg and began swimming toward Japan. The JSDF attacked Mothra at sea with napalm, but she emerged unscathed and came ashore in Tokyo. Nelson escaped back to Rolisica with the Shobijin while the JSDF attacked Mothra with Atomic Heat Ray Guns loaned by the Rolisican military. Mothra cocooned on the Tokyo Tower and emerged in her imago form before flying to the Rolisican capital of New Kirk City. After Nelson was killed in a gunfight with local police, a group of humans recovered the Shobijin and summoned Mothra to an airport, where she was reunited with them. Mothra then flew back to Infant Island, leaving human civilization in peace.
After a fierce typhoon struck Infant Island, it unearthed Mothra's egg and washed it ashore in Japan. Mothra returned to Japan with the Shobijin to request the egg's return, but the greedy promoters Kumayama and Jiro Torahata had taken ownership of the egg to be used for a tourist attraction and refused to return it. When Godzilla, who had also been washed ashore in Japan by the typhoon, awakened and began rampaging, a trio of humans traveled to Infant Island to request Mothra's help. The natives and Shobijin both refused, but Mothra was moved by their pleas and agreed to travel to Japan and fight Godzilla with the last of her strength. Mothra intercepted Godzilla just before he could reach her egg and the two began a fierce struggle. While Mothra was able to hold her own and keep Godzilla at bay with the winds generated by her wings, her strength quickly began to fail her. Godzilla fatally wounded her with a blast of atomic breath, and she collapsed onto her egg, defending it with her dying breath. The prayers of the Shobijin and Infant Islanders caused the egg to hatch into two twin larvae, who pursued Godzilla to Iwa Island. Working together, the two larvae used hit-and-run tactics to encase Godzilla in a silken cocoon, after which he fell off of the island and into the sea below. The Mothra larvae then returned to Infant Island with the Shobijin.
- Main article: Mothra (Second Generation).
Shortly after their battle with Godzilla, one of the twin Mothra larvae died, though her surviving sister continued to serve as Infant Island's guardian deity. The Shobijin called Mothra to Japan to recruit Godzilla and Rodan's help in stopping the evil space monster King Ghidorah from destroying the Earth. She interrupted the two monsters' battle at Mount Fuji with her plea, but they stubbornly refused to put aside their differences and expressed no desire to help humanity. Mothra was forced to confront King Ghidorah by herself, and was hopelessly outmatched by the demon. However, Godzilla and Rodan were both inspired by her courage and charged into battle to help her. The three monsters worked together to overpower King Ghidorah, with Mothra encasing him in a silken cocoon while Godzilla threw him off of a cliff and pelted him with boulders before he finally retreated back to outer space. Mothra and the Shobijin bid farewell to Godzilla and Rodan and returned to Infant Island.
Only a few years later, Mothra had metamorphosed into an adult and slept on an altar on Infant Island. A terrorist organization headquartered on the nearby Letchi Island, the Red Bamboo, had begun raiding Infant Island to abduct its natives and use them as slaves. The Shobijin led prayers to awaken Mothra, then traveled with her to Letchi Island to rescue the captives. Godzilla, having just defeated Ebirah in the island's waters, saw Mothra fly overhead and came ashore to challenge her to battle. With the Red Bamboo's nuclear self-destruct system armed, Mothra decided not to waste her time with a fight and used her wing to knock Godzilla down before grabbing a giant net holding the natives and several shipwrecked Japanese citizens and flying back to Infant Island.
By 1972, a larval Mothra was living on the human-monitored Monster Island along with Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, Minilla, Kumonga, Gorosaurus, and Kamacuras. The evil M Space Hunter Nebula Aliens planned to destroy the island and its monster inhabitants as part of their invasion of Earth, but Godzilla and Anguirus learned of their plot and defeated them along with their pawns Gigan and King Ghidorah, ensuring the safety of Mothra and the others.
- Main article: Mothra (Third Generation).
At the close of the 20th century, a larval Mothra was a resident of Monsterland, a facility in the Ogasawara Islands housing the majority of the planet's monsters, far from human civilization where they could cause any damage. When the Kilaak aliens invaded the island and took control of its inhabitants, they sent Mothra to attack a train just outside of Beijing. Mothra was next called to Tokyo to attack the city along with Godzilla, Manda, and Rodan. Fortunately, the United Nations managed to sever the Kilaaks' control over the monsters and give their own commands to them instead, sending them to destroy the aliens' base near Mount Fuji. The Kilaaks unleashed King Ghidorah to intercept the monsters in the nearby Aokigahara forest, but Godzilla and a few of his monster allies managed to kill him once and for all. Mothra encased King Ghidorah's carcass in silk in tandem with Kumonga's webbing, after which it was swallowed by a fissure as the Kilaak's base exploded. Mothra and her comrades then returned to Monsterland to continue to live in peace.
After rebooting the Godzilla series in 1984 following an almost decade-long hiatus, Toho planned to reintroduce Mothra as well in a new film titled Mothra vs. Bagan, set in the same universe as the new Heisei series of Godzilla films and setting up a future meeting between both monsters. The project was shelved following the disappointing box office returns of Godzilla vs. Biollante, but the success of King Ghidorah's return in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and the continued popularity of Mothra in polls inspired Toho to revive her next. Mothra starred in Godzilla vs. Mothra in 1992, but despite the film's success she did not reappear in the Heisei series outside of a minor role in 1994's Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. Nonetheless, Mothra's popularity led to the greenlighting of a trilogy of Mothra-focused films following the close of the Heisei Godzilla series.
- Main article: Mothra (Godzilla vs. Mothra).
Twelve thousand years ago, Mothra served as the guardian of an ancient civilization. When the civilization created a device in order to control the climate, the very Earth itself became offended and created a dark counterpart to Mothra called Battra in retaliation. Battra destroyed the climate controlling device, but saw all of humanity as a threat to the planet and decided to drive it to extinction. Mothra objected and fought Battra to defend humanity, with their battle eradicating the ancient civilization before she defeated him and sealed him under the North Sea. Mothra retreated to Infant Island alongside two miniature priestesses called the Cosmos, living in seclusion for millennia. When a meteor struck the planet in 1993, the impact awakened both Godzilla and Battra. The Cosmos explained the danger to a group of humans sent to survey Infant Island, and agreed to allow Mothra's egg to be transported to Japan. Godzilla intercepted the ship carrying the egg off the coast of the Philippines, forcing the larval Mothra to hatch from her egg and defend herself. Battra arrived as well and battled Godzilla until both monsters were swallowed up by an underwater volcanic eruption. Mothra swam back to Infant Island, but headed to Japan when the Cosmos were abducted by the Marutomo Company. Mothra survived a JSDF napalm attack at sea and reached Tokyo, where she was reunited with the Cosmos. The JSDF continued to attack her, after which she built a cocoon on the National Diet Building. She emerged in her imago stage and flew to Yokohama to engage in a final duel with Battra. Battra overpowered Mothra, but Godzilla soon arrived and attacked him. Realizing that individually they were no match for Godzilla, Mothra and Battra agreed to join forces against their common enemy. Their combined assault was enough to subdue Godzilla, after which they grabbed him and began flying him out to sea. Godzilla bit down on Battra's throat and killed him with his atomic breath, forcing Mothra to drop them both into the ocean. Mothra had made an agreement with Battra to destroy another meteor set to impact and destroy the Earth in 1999 in the event of his death, and departed to outer space to intercept it with the Cosmos.
Two years later, Mothra was still in space flying toward the meteor, but became aware of another threat approaching the Earth: SpaceGodzilla, a creature that may have been spawned from some of Godzilla's cells which Mothra unwittingly carried into space following their battle. She sent a tiny magical projection of herself called Fairy Mothra to Earth to warn the psychic Miki Saegusa of the threat. Fairy Mothra transformed into a projection of the Cosmos, who warned Miki that SpaceGodzilla intended to kill Godzilla and conquer the planet, and that Godzilla must be kept alive as he was the only hope against the creature. Miki helped G-Force collaborate with Godzilla to confront and destroy SpaceGodzilla in Fukuoka, after which Fairy Mothra thanked her for her role in saving the planet.
When Godzilla and the other monsters were still children, they lived together on an island called Godzilland. Mothra was the only adult monster on the island, and in addition to raising her twin larvae served as a mother figure to the others as well. She often served as the voice of reason when Godzilla would get into fights with his best friend Anguirus, or if other conflicts arose between the younger monsters. She tended a garden on the island, and one time invited the other monsters to a picnic. As the only adult, Mothra often taught Godzilla and the other monsters about the hiragana alphabet, counting, and math.
Many millions of years ago, giant moths called Mothras served as the guardians of Earth. By the present day, the last surviving Mothra lived in seclusion on Infant Island along with two miniature priestesses named Moll and Lora, who together with their wicked sister Belvera formed an order known as the Elias Triangle. As her final days approached, Mothra used her powers to summon forth an egg, which would hatch after her death and continue her legacy. When a logging company uncovered the tomb of the evil space monster Desghidorah in Hokkaido, Belvera planned to awaken the beast in order to wipe out humanity. The Elias and their companion Fairy tried to stop Belvera, but were too late and Desghidorah was unleashed. As the three-headed monster laid waste to the forests of Hokkaido, the aging Mothra flew from Infant Island to confront him. This caused her egg to hatch prematurely, and her larval son headed to Hokkaido to help her. Even together, Mothra and her son were unable to overcome Desghidorah, and Mothra used the last of her strength to carry her son to safety out at sea. Mothra's strength finally failed her, and she drowned, much to her son's sorrow. The young larva swam to a remote island and formed a cocoon, later emerging as the imago Mothra Leo, made even more powerful than his mother due to the power of the ancient trees near which he built his cocoon. Mothra Leo flew to Hokkaido for a rematch with Desghidorah, successfully sealing him back within his ancient tomb.
The Elias called Mothra Leo to the Nilai-Kanai Temple to rescue a group of children searching for its ancient treasure from the monster Dagahra. Dagahra proved more than a match for Leo, and defeated him with a combination of his own attacks and by summoning a swarm of Barem to attach to Leo and drain his energy. The Elias and their friends learned that the treasure of the Nilai-Kanai civilization was the small monster Ghogo, which they created to destroy Dagahra, their previous creation. Ghogo merged his life force with the battered Mothra Leo, allowing him to transform into the more powerful Rainbow Mothra. Rainbow Mothra battled Dagahra once more, making use of his newfound ability to transform into AquaMothra to engage him on equal footing underwater. Ultimately, he split apart into countless MicroMothras which swarmed inside Dagahra's body, destroying his Barem-producing organs and incapacitating him. Rainbow Mothra then reformed and carried the motionless Dagahra into the air before dropping him onto the Temple, which exploded.
When the evil space monster King Ghidorah came to Earth and began abducting children in order to feed on their life forces, Rainbow Mothra arrived to challenge him. Completely outmatched by the King of Terror, he was soundly defeated. Moll gave her life to allow Rainbow Mothra to transform into Light Speed Mothra and travel back to the Cretaceous Period, when King Ghidorah first attacked Earth while he was smaller and weaker. Upon arrival, Mothra battled the younger Cretaceous King Ghidorah and defeated him by dropping him into the mouth of a volcano, though he was badly wounded in the fight. A group of Primitive Mothras appeared and used their silk to build a cocoon around Rainbow Mothra, which would preserve and heal him until the present day. While Mothra's actions caused King Ghidorah to temporarily vanish in the present, he soon reappeared, having regenerated from the tip of his tail which Mothra had severed in the past. Mothra burst from the cocoon in his most powerful form, Armor Mothra, and engaged King Ghidorah in a final battle. This time, he was the stronger combatant and successfully destroyed King Ghidorah once and for all. He then shed his armor and became Eternal Mothra, resurrected Moll, and returned to Infant Island with the Elias.
Mothra was a resident of Godzilla Island in the year 2097, where she lived with her larval son and the egg carrying her unborn daughter. Mothra's son cared for her as she grew old and neared death, but the space monster Hedorah arrived on the island and threatened them both. Mothra and her son fought together against Hedorah, with Mothra utilizing the last of her strength to carry Hedorah into the air and drop him into the mouth of the Gorath Volcano. Mothra's strength failed her at last, and she fell into the volcano as well. The larva cocooned and transformed into the imago Mothra Leo, then teamed up with Godzilla to defeat Hedorah once they learned he had survived. Mothra Leo then cared for the egg of his sister, which eventually hatched into a larva named Baby Mothra. Mothra Leo watched over his little sister, defending her from evil monsters such as Battra.
Following the disappointing box office returns of Godzilla 2000: Millennium and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Toho decided to increase the marquee value of the third entry in the new Millennium series of films by requesting director Shusuke Kaneko incorporate the highly popular Mothra and King Ghidorah into it. After the success of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Mothra was featured in the last two entries of the Millennium series before the Godzilla franchise began a decade-long hiatus.
- Main article: Mothra (GMK).
Many thousands of years ago, ancient Japanese warriors slew the monsters Mothra, Ghidorah, and Baragon, laying them to rest and praying for their souls that they might one day return to defend Japan. In 2002, sensing that Godzilla would soon attack Japan to seek vengeance for the lives lost in World War II, the mystical Professor Hirotoshi Isayama attempted to awaken the three Guardian Monsters by destroying ancient stone statues containing the energy from the souls of Japan's honorable dead. Mothra appeared in her larval stage underneath Lake Ikeda, rescuing a dog from a group of hooligans attempting to drown it. She encased their bodies in silk, then constructed a massive cocoon atop the lake's surface. After Godzilla destroyed Baragon and reached Yokohama during his rampage, Mothra hatched from her cocoon in her imago stage and flew there to confront him. She was joined by Ghidorah, but even the combined efforts of the two Guardian Monsters were futile against Godzilla's colossal strength. After subduing both of his foes, Godzilla prepared to annihilate the JSDF's fleet in Tokyo Bay with his atomic breath. Mothra flew behind him in order to stop him, but he anticipated her attack and turned around in time to incinerate her. Mothra's energy flowed into the unconscious Ghidorah, reviving him as the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King Ghidorah. After Godzilla later destroyed Ghidorah, the spirits of all three Guardian Monsters materialized in the sky above him and flowed into his body, dragging him underwater and allowing Admiral Taizo Tachibana to defeat him using the submersible Satsuma.
- Main article: Mothra (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS).
In 1961, Mothra attacked Tokyo in her quest to rescue the Shobijin from the villainous Rolisican businessman Clark Nelson. The Rolisican military loaned the JSDF the use of its experimental Atomic Heat Ray Guns to attack the colossal moth. While the weapons burned Mothra's cocoon, she emerged unscathed in her imago form before flying to Rolisica, where she successfully recovered the Shobijin thanks to the efforts of a group of humans. Mothra's attack, in addition to other kaiju attacks on Japan dating back to Godzilla in 1954, convinced the JSDF to invest more heavily in weapons capable of harming the creatures. The technology of the Rolisican Heat Ray Guns was later utilized for the revolutionary Type 66 Maser Cannon, which first saw action against Gaira in 1966 and became a staple of the JSDF's arsenal.
In 2004, a descendant of the Mothra who attacked Tokyo in 1961 traveled to Japan to request that the first Godzilla's remains be returned to the bottom of the sea, as their use to create the robotic weapon Kiryu violated the natural order. The Shobijin appealed to Professor Shinichi Chujo, who had played a major role in reuniting them with Mothra over four decades prior, but he could not convince Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi to shelve the project while the second Godzilla was still at large. The Shobijin had warned that Mothra would be forced to declare war on humanity if Godzilla's bones were not returned to their resting place, but promised that Mothra would defend Japan from Godzilla in Kiryu's place. As Godzilla rampaged through Tokyo, Chujo's grandson Shun recreated Mothra's symbol using desks from a school, summoning Mothra to Tokyo. Mothra battled Godzilla, but was outmatched, forcing Igarashi to deploy Kiryu in order to assist her. Mothra was seriously injured by Godzilla and forced to use her weapon of last resort: poisonous powder released from her wings that reflected Godzilla's atomic breath but compromised her ability to fly. An egg that Mothra had laid on a nearby island hatched into twin larvae, who swam to Tokyo to aid their mother. Godzilla attempted to blast the larvae with his atomic breath, but Mothra used the last of her strength to fly into the path of his beam, causing her to burst into flames and explode. Heartbroken and enraged, Mothra's offspring collaborated with Kiryu to defeat Godzilla. After Kiryu seriously injured Godzilla by opening a wound on his chest, the larvae encased him in a silken cocoon. Kiryu carried Godzilla to the Japan Trench, sinking himself with him. The larvae then departed with the Shobijin, bound for their home of Infant Island.
- Main article: Mothra (Godzilla Final Wars).
Thousands of years ago, Mothra defended the Earth from an evil alien monster called Gigan. She managed to defeat Gigan, but his mummified body was uncovered in Hokkaido by the Earth Defense Force in the year 20XX. Mothra's Shobijin warned members of the EDF that Gigan was still incredibly dangerous, a warning that was proven prophetic when the Xiliens reactivated him to assist in their conquest of Earth. The EDF released Godzilla from his imprisonment in Area G in order to battle Gigan and the Xiliens' other monster pawns. While Godzilla was battling the Xiliens' ultimate weapon, Monster X, Mothra left Infant Island to assist him. The Controller of Planet X sent the repaired Modified Gigan to intercept her, and he seemingly incapacitated her after a brief clash. Gigan then assisted Monster X against Godzilla, but Mothra recovered and knocked both monsters down while they had Godzilla at their mercy. Gigan once again left to deal with his ancient nemesis, seemingly destroying her with his Gigarium Cluster. However, two Bladed Slicers Gigan had launched at Mothra boomeranged back at him and sliced off his head, after which Mothra flew at him while on fire and destroyed him in an apparent suicide attack. Mothra's sacrifice was not in vain, as Godzilla was then able to defeat Monster X after he transformed into Keizer Ghidorah, while the EDF destroyed the Xilien Mothership.
Following the box office success of Legendary Pictures' Godzilla in 2014, the studio announced that it had licensed Mothra from Toho along with Rodan and King Ghidorah in order to appear in the film's upcoming sequel. All three of Godzilla's co-stars were teased in the post-credits scene of the second MonsterVerse film, 2017's Kong: Skull Island, and went on to play major roles in the franchise's third entry, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in 2019.
- Main article: Mothra (MonsterVerse).
In the ancient past, human civilizations worshiped a benevolent lepidopteran Titan known as Mothra, who possessed a symbiotic relationship with Godzilla and had the ability to reincarnate herself by laying an egg before death which would hatch into a larva that genetically retained her mother's memories. When the evil three-headed extraterrestrial dragon known as King Ghidorah invaded the Earth, Mothra joined forces with Godzilla to fight him and protect the ancient humans who worshiped them. Godzilla ultimately defeated Ghidorah by sealing him beneath the Antarctic ice. After the ancient Titan-worshiping civilization within the Hollow Earth ultimately fell, Mothra eventually relocated to China's Yunnan rainforest, where her remaining worshipers constructed a massive temple around her egg. In 2009, members of the scientific organization known as Monarch discovered the "Temple of the Moth" and constructed a research outpost around it. In 2019, Mothra's egg hatched, but the newborn larva panicked and attacked the Monarch guards surrounding her. Dr. Emma Russell used her invention, the sonar device Orca, to calm Mothra, allowing her and her daughter Madison to get close to the Titan. Eco-terrorists under the command of Alan Jonah then assaulted the outpost, killing the Monarch personnel and absconding with Emma, Madison, and the Orca. Mothra escaped the temple and cocooned herself under a nearby waterfall. Monarch learned that Emma had been working with Jonah to enact a plan to release all of the Earth's dormant Titans in order to save the planet from the impending ecological disaster caused by human activity. In doing so, they had unleashed King Ghidorah, oblivious to his alien nature. Godzilla attempted to defeat Ghidorah once and for all in the waters off of Mexico, but the United States military intervened by firing the Oxygen Destroyer at the battling Titans, critically weakening Godzilla and leaving Ghidorah unharmed. With Godzilla out of the picture, Ghidorah used his status as the new alpha Titan to awaken countless other Titans and bend them to his will.
Mothra emerged from her cocoon in her imago stage and flew to Monarch's Outpost 54 in the waters off of Bermuda, then guided its members to a sunken city within the Hollow Earth where Godzilla's lair was located. Monarch's Dr. Ishiro Serizawa gave his life to detonate a nuclear warhead which revitalized the weakened Godzilla, allowing him to head to Boston for a final confrontation with Ghidorah. Mothra joined him in assaulting the three-headed terror, but Ghidorah called Rodan to his aid to deal with Mothra. Rodan badly burned Mothra's wings with the molten lava dripping from his own, then pinned her on top of a building. Before he could land a killing blow with his beak, Mothra pierced through his chest with the concealed stinger on her abdomen, taking him out of the fight. Ghidorah, meanwhile, had overpowered Godzilla and was about to finish him. Mothra crawled on top of Godzilla, then spread her wings and defiantly flew at Ghidorah, who promptly vaporized her with his gravity beams. Mothra's life energy floated down onto Godzilla, but Ghidorah bit down on him and tried to drain it through his bite. Emma, seeing the error of her ways, gave her life to draw Ghidorah away from Godzilla using the Orca, allowing Mothra's energy to take effect and transform Godzilla into Burning Godzilla: the final stage of his symbiosis with her. Burning Godzilla unleashed two nuclear pulses which took the shape of Mothra's wings and made the sound of her roar, incinerating Ghidorah's wings and two of his heads. Godzilla then stomped down on Ghidorah's chest and unleashed all of his internal nuclear power in a massive explosion. When the smoke cleared, Godzilla emerged from the debris holding Ghidorah's remaining head in his mouth, then incinerated it with his atomic breath. The Titans who were once subservient to Ghidorah gathered around Godzilla, then one-by-one submitted to him, accepting him as the new alpha.
Having anticipated her demise in the final battle with Ghidorah, Mothra had returned to China and laid an egg before flying to Boston, ensuring her survival. Her sacrifice had also granted Godzilla heightened senses, allowing him to view the entire planet as an extension of himself. He made use of her gift to locate a new home in the Hollow Earth following the destruction of his previous lair. Her egg had yet to hatch by 2024, as conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes speculated about who its father could be in one of the last episodes of Titan Truth Podcast he recorded before infiltrating the headquarters of Apex Cybernetics.
While Mothra does not directly appear onscreen in the films of the GODZILLA anime trilogy, nor is she ever named, she is chronicled in the second official prequel novel to the trilogy, GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla. She is only ever referenced as the Houtua's God in GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle, while her egg appears in GODZILLA: The Planet Eater, which also features a brief telepathic manifestation of her imago stage. Mothra appears in the web series Godziban and I'm Home! Chibi Godzilla, while the anime series Godzilla Singular Point features a flock of large silkworm moths identified as Mothra in supplementary materials.
- Main article: Mothra (anime trilogy).
Mothra was a benevolent kaiju who lived harmoniously in the Amazon rainforest with an isolated tribe of humans known only as "Mothra's People". While other kaiju began appearing across the world in the 21st century and brought human civilization to its knees, they remained relatively safe. Mothra possessed a counterpart known as Battra, and together the two were believed to hold enough power to defeat even Godzilla, the most dreaded and powerful of the kaiju terrorizing mankind. However, Battra had awakened prematurely after sensing the approach of the Gorath asteroid and was killed by Godzilla, who destroyed Gorath himself. In 2048, after 15,000 human refugees selected by an artificial intelligence fled the Earth aboard the extraterrestrial emigration ships Oratio and Aratrum, Mothra's priestess Lira revealed her people's existence to the remnants of the United Earth who were left behind. When Godzilla attacked the United Earth's final stronghold in Buenaventura in order to eliminate humanity once and for all, Mothra arrived to intercept him. She forced Godzilla to retreat by reflecting his atomic breath back at him using the protective scales secreted from her wings, which also interfered with Godzilla's shield. The United Earth remnants, led by Akira Sakaki in cooperation with a group known as the Monster Coexistence Sect, organized a plan called Operation Cradle to relocate Mothra's eggs to Japan, where they would remain safe and hidden from Godzilla while her offspring could defend future generations of humanity living there. Mothra's eggs were placed on the flight deck of the USS Saratoga, which began transporting them to Japan. Godzilla intercepted the transport, but the wounded imago Mothra arrived and held him off long enough for the Saratoga to escape and finish the operation, after which she was killed by Godzilla.
Sometime during the ensuing millennia, Mothra's eggs hatched, but the next generation of the creature still failed to defeat Godzilla. The carcass of one Mothra crashed into a volcanic caldera within the vicinity of what was once Oyama, then decomposed and left behind a single egg. The remaining humans took up residence within the caldera, evolving into a new humanoid species known as the Houtua, who inherited Mothra's "monster factor" just as all other life on Earth took on traits of Godzilla. The Houtua lived underground in Godzilla's shadow, harvesting Nanometal left behind from Mechagodzilla's remains in Hamamatsu in order to forge weapons. After approximately 20,000 years, the twin sisters Miana and Maina served as Mothra's priestesses, communing telepathically with her egg and translating her messages to the rest of the tribe. The crew of the Aratrum returned to Earth after finding their destination of Tau Ceti e uninhabitable following a 20-year space voyage, then encountered the Houtua during their ill-fated attempt to retake the planet from Godzilla. The Houtua rescued many of the survivors of their disastrous confrontation with Godzilla, who was now 300 meters tall, and treated the wounded, then cautioned them about the futility of continuing to fight Godzilla. Miana and Maina led the troops to Mechagodzilla City, a replica of Mechagodzilla's development plant constructed by the robot's A.I. entirely from Nanometal, but warned of the dangers associated with it before departing. Godzilla destroyed Mechagodzilla City after it was revealed that the Bilusaludo aliens intended to use the Nanometal to assimilate the entire planet, and the surviving humans took refuge within the Houtua's underground city. The Exif cardinal Metphies used the humans' desperation to gather a cult which could summon the Exif God, Ghidorah, who would destroy both Godzilla and the entire planet. With Miana captured, Maina and Martin Lazzari called upon Mothra to help Captain Haruo Sakaki resist Metphies' telepathic influence. Mothra manifested in a vision that Haruo was experiencing, allowing him to speak to Maina and Martin. They informed him that Metphies was guiding Ghidorah somehow, which was how the creature was able to defy the laws of physics within this dimension. Haruo escaped the vision and shattered the Garbetrium bead in Metphies' eye, allowing Godzilla to dispatch Ghidorah back to the void from whence he came. The remaining humans then assimilated with the Houtua, adopting their peaceful lifestyle and coexisting with Godzilla under Mothra's guidance and protection.
Mothra lived on Infant Island with her priestesses, Lune and Luna. She battled the evil Desghidorah and sealed him away, then used the last of her strength to summon forth an egg before dying and ascending into the sky. The egg hatched into the twin larvae Moshu-Moshu and Moshuu-Moshuu, who communed with the spirit of their mother using a cup attached to a string. With Mothra's spirit watching over them, the larvae swam to Gojigoji Island, home of the Three Godzilla Brothers and many of Earth's other monsters, whom they quickly befriended. Moshu-Moshu in particular demonstrated herself to be one of the most physically powerful monsters on the island, and at one point fought alongside Godzilla-kun and Rodan against King Ghidorah.
- Main article: Chibi Mothra.
- Main article: Mothra (Godzilla Singular Point).
Huge silkworm moths called Mothras appeared in Tokyo as Goro Otaki, Yun Arikawa, and other members of the Otaki Factory made their way toward Godzilla, with one briefly landing on Jet Jaguar's hand. A large swarm of Mothras later appeared seemingly out of thin air in the heart of the city. Goro, likening them to yellow butterflies spoken of in the historical chronicle Azuma Kagami, suggested the creatures were an omen of warfare - a foreshadowing of the confrontation with Godzilla which lay ahead of them.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Physical abilities[edit | edit source]
In her larval stage, Mothra's primary form of physical attack involves using her mandibles to bite opponents. Typically she bites onto an enemy's tail, causing them physical pain while she holds on.
In her imago stage, Mothra slams her massive body into enemies and sometimes strikes them with her wings. She also uses her sharp claws to scratch or stab opponents. Mothra's surprising levels of physical strength allow her to drag and even lift monsters like Godzilla.
Scales[edit | edit source]
Typically, Mothra emits "scales" scales from her wings as a last resort, a yellow poisonous powder that can incapacitate enemies. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, Mothra's scales only served to asphyxiate Godzilla and cause him to fall over, while in subsequent incarnations her scales have been given the ability to reflect attacks back at her enemies. In Godzilla vs. Mothra, Mothra can use her scales to create a 3-D mirror which causes beam weapons to repeatedly rebound before striking the target, effectively making them impossible to miss. Battra took advantage of this ability to attack Godzilla by firing his Prism Beams into the scales, allowing them to strike Godzilla over and over again. However, the scales failed to stop Godzilla's Nuclear Pulse, which sent Mothra flying. In Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, both missiles from a fighter jet and Godzilla's atomic breath ignited her scales on contact, damaging the latter while leaving her unharmed. In Godzilla Final Wars, they caused Gigan's Bladed Slicers to malfunction, severing his own head. In GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla, her scales interfere with Godzilla's Asymmetrically Permeable Shield, rendering him defenseless as the scales reflect his atomic breath back at him, injuring him.
Telepathy[edit | edit source]
Silk[edit | edit source]
Mothra can spit a stream of silk at her enemies to either disorient or entrap them. Usually this ability can only be used in her larval stage, but in the MonsterVerse she is able to use her silk attack even as an imago.
Wind[edit | edit source]
In her imago stage, Mothra can flap her wings to create gales which tear apart buildings and knock other kaiju down.
Antenna Beams[edit | edit source]
In Godzilla vs. Mothra and Rebirth of Mothra, Mothra can fire laser beams from her antennae. In Rebirth of Mothra, this attack is called the Beam Pulser.
Lightning[edit | edit source]
In Godzilla vs. Mothra, Mothra can fire arcs of lightning through her wings or release this electrical energy through her touch.
Stinger[edit | edit source]
In GMK, Mothra can fire a hail of poisonous dart-like stingers from her abdomen. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, she instead possesses a single larger stinger attached to her abdomen which can immobilize enemies pierced by it.
Flight[edit | edit source]
Mothra is capable of flight, usually at supersonic speeds, while in her imago stage.
Eye beams[edit | edit source]
Stinger Blast[edit | edit source]
In the games Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Unleashed, while in her imago form, Mothra can shoot white balls of energy from her rear that hone in on targets before exploding. In Save the Earth specifically, Mothra also uses this technique to enhance some of her melee attacks.
Cry for Peace[edit | edit source]
In the Pipeworks Godzilla games, while in her imago form, Mothra can send out a rainbow colored shockwave while crying out loudly. Opponents caught in the shockwave receive minor damage but are stunned for a couple of seconds. This ability requires a fair amount of energy to use.
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, the singing duo of Emi and Yumi Ito. In Mothra, they demonstrate telepathic abilities, 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 Jiro Torahata. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster the Shobijin translate not only Mothra's chirps but an entire conversation among her, Godzilla, and Rodan. In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, the Shobijin are now played by Pair Bambi, but still demonstrate the same telepathic bond with Mothra. Decades later, in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, two other Shobijin (portrayed by Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Ôtsuka) demonstrate telekinesis as well.
In the Heisei series, 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 her dark counterpart Battra. The Cosmos speak not only for 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 his task, and attempted to wipe out all of mankind. Mothra, who lived in harmony with humanity, fought Battra to stop his rampage. While the Cosmos are connected to Mothra, they are aware of Battra's activity. They know when Battra has awoken, and what his tasks and motivations are, but Battra is not 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 a smaller Mothra called Fairy. Mothra would reprise the role of ancient guardian, though with only a passing homage to the Shobijin, in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. The Shobijin reappear in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, and identify themselves as descendants of the two Shobijin who accompanied Mothra in 1961. They appear to Shinichi Chujo and plead with him to convince the Japanese government to return the first Godzilla's remains to the sea. In Godzilla Final Wars, the Shobijin appear to a group of humans and warn them that the cyborg monster recently uncovered by the Earth Defense Force, Gigan, is an ancient enemy of Mothra who attempted to destroy the Earth. They later summon Mothra to aid Godzilla against Gigan and Monster X.
Two characters based on the Shobijin, Maina and Miana, are featured in the GODZILLA anime trilogy. They are twin sisters and members of the Houtua, a tribe descended from a group of humans that Mothra defended from Godzilla 20,000 years ago and helped to relocate to the Mount Fuji area. Like the Shobijin, Maina and Miana are telepathically bonded to Mothra, in this case her surviving egg, and serve as her priestesses and communicate her messages to others. Maina and Miana are distinct from the Shobijin in that rather than being tiny compared to humans, they are human-sized like the rest of their race.
Attractions[edit | edit source]
- Monster Planet of Godzilla (1994)
Video games[edit | edit source]
Mothra appeared as a summonable monster in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. A Mothra-shaped icon, when picked up, calls in a "Mothra Airstrike," where she flies around the arena firing her antennae beams at all monsters besides the one who retrieved the item. She does little damage with each attack, but can add up. Mothra can be chased off if hit with a beam weapon, but this is difficult to do. Mothra is playable in the game's Game Boy 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 a larval Mothra, who is slow and has a high defense and a moderate attack. Larva 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 a 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 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 her adult and larva forms appear in the game.
"Mothra is a guardian of the earth, and exists only 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 can fire stingers from her tail, create powerful gusts of wind from her wings, and create clouds of 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."
Mothra appears in both larva and imago form as a boss in Godzilla for the PlayStation 3 and 4. Mothra can be randomly encountered by the player in either form. She possesses the powers and appearance of her Heisei incarnation. 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. Both forms of Mothra are fully playable in the Defend variation of God of Destruction Mode in the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
Moveset[edit | edit source]
Larva[edit | edit source]
- One tap: Bite
- Two taps: Headbutt Rush
- Tap: Tail Blow
- Up + Tap: Jump Bite
- Tap: Quick Dash
- Tap: Thread
- Roar + Tap: Thread Barrage
- Tap: Tumble Frenzy
- L1 + L1/R1 + R1: Left Right Roll Dodge
Adult[edit | edit source]
- One tap: Rotating Feather Attack
- Two taps: Charge
- Tap: Gliding Ram
- Roar + Tap: Powder Emission
- Tap: Climbing Revolution
- Tap: Ultrasound Beam
- Roar + Tap: Ultrasound Beam Combo
- Tap: Wing Rotation Attack
- L1 + L1/R1 + R1: Left Right Dodge
Kaiju Guide[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Mothra.
Mothra Imago in Monster's Fair
Mothra in Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!
Mothra Larva in Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
Mothra Imago in Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
Mothra Larva in the Godzilla arcade game
Mothra Imago in the Godzilla arcade game
Mothra in Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's icon in Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's character box in Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's battle sprite in Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra Larva in Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra in the Japanese version of Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's icon in the Japanese version of Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's character box in the Japanese version of Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra's battle sprite in the Japanese version of Godzilla: Domination!
Mothra Larva in Godzilla: Save the Earth
Mothra in Godzilla: Save the Earth
Mothra Larva in Godzilla: Unleashed
Mothra Imago in Godzilla: Unleashed
Mothra slot machine icon in CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle
Mothra Larva in Godzilla (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4)
Mothra in Godzilla (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4)
Mothra Larva 1961 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Mothra Imago 1961 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Mothra Larva 1992 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Mothra Imago 1992 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Mothra Imago 2003 in Godzilla Kaiju Collection
Mothra in City Shrouded in Shadow
Mothra (larva) in Godzilla Battle Line
Mothra (imago) in Godzilla Battle Line
Books[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla Saves America: A Monster Showdown in 3-D! (1996)
- Godzilla on Monster Island (1996)
- Godzilla 2000 (1997)
- Godzilla at World's End (1998)
- Godzilla vs. the Space Monster (1998)
- GODZILLA: Monster Apocalypse (2017) [referenced]
- GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla (2018)
Mothra was the guardian of an indigenous tribe known as "Mothra's People" that lived in the Amazon rainforest in South America. She possessed healing powers and also used scales released from her wings to defend herself. She originally had a counterpart named Battra, and it was said that their combined strength would be enough to defeat Godzilla. However, Battra had awakened before Mothra in response to the approach of an asteroid called Gorath, and was killed by Godzilla. In 2048, Mothra's People, led by the shrine maiden Lira, revealed themselves to the remaining United Earth forces which had been left behind by the Extraterrestrial Emigration Plan.
On July 31, 2048, several months after the Extraterrestrial Emigration Plan was enacted, Godzilla attacked the city of Buenaventura, where the remnants of humanity had gathered, intent on destroying the last bastion of human resistance. However, Mothra appeared to challenge Godzilla and successfully forced him to retreat following a fierce battle, in which she used her scales to reflect Godzilla's atomic breath back at him. Because Mothra could not defeat Godzilla alone, a group known as the Monster Coexistence Sect or Cosmos, which wanted to emulate Mothra's People and live in harmony with Mothra, proposed that Mothra's eggs be transported to Japan so that her offspring could one day defend humans still living there. Their plan, codenamed "Operation: Cradle" and headed by Akira Sakaki, was put into action, with the USS Saratoga carrying Mothra's eggs to Japan. Godzilla appeared and intercepted the convoy on August 15, and the injured adult Mothra fought him to defend her offspring and ensure the operation's success.
Comics[edit | edit source]
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) [Kodansha]
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) [Shogakukan]
- Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths #1-5 (2011)
- Godzilla: Legends #3 (2012)
- Godzilla #6, 8-10 (2012-2013)
- Godzilla: The Half-Century War #3 (2012)
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #1, 4, 9, 17-20, 23, 25 (2013-2015)
- Godzilla: Cataclysm #1-5 (2014)
- Godzilla: Oblivion #1, 4-5 (2016)
- Godzilla: Rage Across Time #3, 5 (2016)
- Godziman #5 (2019)
- Godzilla Dominion (2021)
- Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #1-2, 4-5 (2021)
- Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra (2021)
- Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Battra (2022)
- Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors - All Hail the King! #4 (2023)
- Godzilla Rivals: Mothra Vs. Titanosaurus (2023)
- Call to Action (2023)
Mothra does not actually appear in Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters; however, she is teased through the presence of the Shobijin in issue #3, where they express their concern over recent events when watching Battra on a television screen.
Mothra has a major role in the miniseries Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths. She appears on Monster Island in the first issue, where she saves human protagonist Detective Makato Sato from being killed by Godzilla. In the later issues, Mothra arrives in Tokyo along with several other monsters from Monster Island to retrieve the Elias, who have been brought there by Sato as part of his plan to end the criminal operations of the Takahashi crime syndicate. Once the Elias are saved, Mothra and the other kaiju return to Monster Island peacefully.
Mothra first appears in Godzilla #6, where she saves a family from Godzilla in California and convinces the monster king to leave the area. The Shobijin then appear at a conference with the United Nations to warn of an impending invasion by the space monsters Gigan, Hedorah, SpaceGodzilla, and Monster X. In issue #9, Mothra battles Monster X in New York, but is defeated.
Mothra appears in The Half Century War #3 as one of the many monsters battling in Ghana in 1975.
Mothra in Godzilla: The Half-Century War #3
Mothra first appeared in Rulers of Earth #1 in a panel when Dr. Kenji Ando was explaining Megazoology in a convention in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In Rulers of Earth #4, Mothra fought Destoroyah with Godzilla by her side. She was gravely injured and had to be assisted by her twin larvae. After the fight with Destoroyah, Godzilla bids farewell to Mothra and she is carried back to Infant Island by her twin larvae. Mothra is then seen in Rulers of Earth #9, resting on Infant Island with her twin larvae. The Shobijin remark that Mothra may never recover from the injuries she sustained in her battle with Destoroyah.
In Rulers of Earth #19, the Shobijin arrived at the Monster Islands with Mothra's larvae and explained that Infant Island was recently attacked by Battra, who was under the control of Minette and Mallory. They told Steven Woods that Mothra was killed in the battle and the entire island was destroyed, with only them and the larvae escaping. Shortly after, Battra arrived at the islands with Minette and Mallory, intent on finishing the job. However, before Battra could kill Mothra's larvae, the Trilopods arrived, attacking Battra and the other monsters on the islands. The larvae escaped capture by the Trilopods and remained on the islands. After the Trilopods and the Cryogs were defeated by the other Earth monsters in Los Angeles, Mothra's larvae were seen cocooning themselves on a security monitor on the Monster Islands.
Mothra is initially seen in a flashback by Arata's grandfather, showing her as part of a massive battle in Tokyo between Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Manda, and Anguirus. The grandfather later recalls that some of the people in his village pray to Mothra to bring them good fortune. Later, Mothra herself actually appears and joins the battle between Godzilla and Biollante. After Godzilla incinerates Biollante, he blasts Mothra in the wing with his atomic breath, forcing her to retreat.
Later, Arata's grandfather hypothesizes that Mothra was protecting Biollante so that she could restore the Earth, while Godzilla wanted to destroy her to prevent humanity from ever being able to hurt him again. While Biollante regenerates, she attracts Megaguirus and her swarm of Meganula. The giant dragonflies try to feed on Biollante, but Mothra arrives to battle them. Mothra and Megaguirus clash in the skies, and the Meganula swarm onto Mothra. Mothra knocks the Meganula aside with her wings and prepares to attack Megaguirus again, but a sudden blast of Godzilla's atomic breath separates the two monsters. Mothra and Godzilla do battle, but Mothra is badly wounded by repeated blasts from Godzilla's atomic breath, shredding her wings. Mothra fights bravely but is defeated when Godzilla blasts her with his hyper spiral ray.
Following the emergence of Destoroyah, Mothra flies back into battle to assist Godzilla against the demonic creature. Destoroyah vaporizes Mothra with his micro-oxygen beam, but is subsequently destroyed by the combined efforts of Godzilla and the regenerating Biollante. Though Mothra gave her life in the battle, Godzilla returns to the sea to leave mankind alone, while Biollante begins the process of restoring the greenness of the Earth. Meanwhile, a larval Mothra hatches from a colorful egg, with another identical egg next to it beginning to hatch, showing that Mothra will be reborn along with the rest of the world.
Two larvae later appeared along with an adult Mothra at the end of the fourth issue, alongside Rodan, Anguirus, Biollante, Zilla and King Caesar as they crossed through the inter-dimensional border while Mecha-King Ghidorah was fighting Godzilla. In the following issue, where the monsters were now joined by Hedorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah attacked one of the Mothra larvae, leading its parent to attack the cyborg monster herself, leaving him vulnerable to Anguirus' attacks. She then turned her attention towards Godzilla and attacked him alongside Rodan. Later, after Mecha-King Ghidorah was defeated by Godzilla, all of the monsters were left behind as the humans left the Earth as it became covered by tiny robotic cells that served as interdimensional doorways.
Mothra has made two non-corporeal cameos in Legendary Comics' graphic novels set in the continuity of the MonsterVerse, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong and Godzilla Dominion. In first issue of the former, a photograph of what appeared to be a cave painting of her was taped to a map in Monarch agent Houston Brooks' office in 2012; in the latter, Godzilla experienced a vision of her while tapping into the new senses she granted him.
Battra courts two Mothra larvae and faces their wrath once they find out about each other.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mothra/Gallery.
Sightings[edit | edit source]
- 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 album Nosferatu 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.
- At the end of the Mad Cartoon Sketch: "Linkong", the Shobijin from 1961's Mothra (plus their various appearances in several Godzilla films) appear, narrating the epilogue and summoning Mothra to Washington. Mothra flies on-screen, with authentic chirps.
- In the Sonic X anime, the giant moth Mothmacin is a reference to 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 the comedy show Saturday Night Live.
- Mothra makes a pseudo-cameo in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla. When Joe and Ford Brody are searching through the ruins of the quarantine zone, the word "Mothra" can be seen printed below a glass terrarium. Also, in Ford's classroom, there is a diagram featuring several moths and butterflies, the largest of which has Mothra's coloration.
- In August of 2014, the 1998 film was mocked by RiffTrax Live, which was created by and shares many of the former members of Mystery Science Theater 3000. During the riffing, they made witty references to King Ghidorah and Mothra.
- A small U.S. poster for Mothra appears on the wall of a video store in the 2002 film Men in Black II.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Mothra's chirps are a combination of heavily sped-up Anguirus roars and various Rodan screeches, including the raw material that would be used to make Maguma's roars. 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. According to the "Godzilla Quiz" included with the home video release of the Monster Planet of Godzilla short film, the Japanese onomatopoeia for Mothra's cry is "squeak" (キィー. In kyī)Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, the imago Mothra's cries are rendered as "CHEERNT."
In other languages[edit | edit source]
Mothra's name remains the same across many languages employing the Latin alphabet.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Mothra was the first Toho kaiju Godzilla faced that did not debut in the Godzilla series but was instead incorporated into and 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 against him 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 victories by Mothra over Godzilla were the twin Mothra 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 Godzilla: Tokyo SOS in the Millennium series.
- Mothra was the first kaiju fought by Godzilla to be female, the first one to be an insect, and the first one capable of flight. She was also the second insect kaiju to appear in a Toho film, predated only by the Meganulon from Rodan.
- Mothra is widely considered to be Toho's second most popular kaiju behind Godzilla, due to her numerous film appearances both in and outside of the Godzilla franchise. Toho has even given Mothra the title "Queen of (the) Monsters," a counterpart to Godzilla's "King of the Monsters."
- 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 direct 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 Toho's "Big Five" most popular monsters, which are the only monsters to have appeared in the films of the Showa, Heisei, Millennium, and Reiwa series, as well as the MonsterVerse.
- Despite dying frequently in her film appearances, Mothra has only ever been killed by Godzilla or a Ghidorah, though she did seemingly kill both herself and Gigan instantaneously in Godzilla Final Wars.
- Although Mothra is one of Godzilla's most frequent allies, she has only been his ally in the films Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla Final Wars, although briefly, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In all of her other film appearances alongside Godzilla so far, Mothra has been his enemy.
- In addition to her appearance on Monster Island via stock footage in Godzilla vs. Gigan, Mothra can be very briefly seen during the film's final battle, appearing behind Godzilla as he walks towards King Ghidorah. This "cameo" is unintentional, a result of the film's extensive use of stock footage from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and other Showa Godzilla films.
- 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. Merchandise for Godzilla: Tokyo SOS differentiates the two larvae from the film as male and female, with the male having darker colored skin and longer tusks and tail projections than the female. During production of the film, the male larva was nicknamed "Taro" by the staff, while they called the female "Hanako." The American dubs of Mothra and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster refer to Mothra as a male, though this only applies to the dubs and all other official translations refer to the character as a female.
- In the first issue of IDW Publishing's comic miniseries Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors - All Hail the King!, the character Cedric Nishimura states that Mothra smells like maple syrup.
- Early concept art by Tohl Narita for the monster Guesra from Ultraman envisioned the monster as a spiky, caterpillar-like creature who would have been portrayed with a modified Mothra larva prop. Tsuburaya Productions ended up modifying the Peter suit from Ultra Q instead.
- Steve Bissette conceptualized a surrogate monster for Mothra when working on Dark Horse's Godzilla, King of the Monsters Special comic in 1987, along with similar analogues for both Anguirus and King Ghidorah. While the Anguirus stand-in became Kamerus, both the Mothra and Ghidorah surrogates were discarded, though the monster Inagos from the finished comic shares some similarities with Mothra.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The first generation imago from Mothra vs. Godzilla is sometimes inconsistently listed as being 65 meters or 135 meters long despite being the same individual as the 80 meter long imago from Mothra.
- Media contemporary to Mothra vs. Godzilla applies Mothra's original 180 meter length to the second generation larvae. However, this is corrected to just 40 meters by the Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster theater program and numerous other subsequent sources. Other inconsistent figures include 53 meters and 150 meters. Sources contemporary to Destroy All Monsters are unclear on the length of the third generation larva, stating it to be "40~100 meters." It may be assumed that this larva retains the same 40 meter length as the second generation larvae, however, as is supported by numerous subsequent sources.
- The second generation imago from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is sometimes erroneously given the first generation imago's length of 80 meters, including in the film's theater program. This is corrected to 65 meters by later sources, however, being more accurately proportional to this incarnation's 40 meter imago length and 135 meter wingspan.
- Numerous sources give the imago from Mothra vs. Godzilla a wingspan of 135 meters despite being the same individual as the 250 meter imago from Mothra, likely due to her apparent size difference when compared to Godzilla. However, media contemporary to both Mothra and Mothra vs. Godzilla, such as the films' theater programs, agree on a 250 meter measurement.
- The second generation imago from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is sometimes erroneously given the first generation imago's wingspan of 250 meters, including in the film's theater program. This is corrected to 135 meters in later sources, being more accurately proportional to this incarnation's 40 meter larva length and 65 meter imago length.
- The first generation larva's weight is variably listed as 8,000, 12,000, 15,000, or 20,000 metric tons.
- The first generation imago's weight is variably listed as 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 metric tons.
- The second generation larvae are sometimes erroneously given the first generation larva's weight of 15,000 metric tons. Other inconsistent figures include 3,000 and 8,000 metric tons. However, the theater program for Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster provides the accurate measurement of 10,000 metric tons, scaling more reasonably with this larva's 40 meter length. Sources also disagree on the third generation larva's weight, with measurements ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 metric tons. However, it can be assumed that this larva weighs the same as the second generation version, due to possessing the same length measurement.
- Parent Mothra appears in 16 episodes: 18, 21, 28-30, 36, 39-41, 46-47, 49-50, 65, 127, and 152. Child Mothra/New Mothra, better known as Mothra Leo, appears in 55 episodes: 1, 6-7, 9, 11, 21, 39-41, 46-50, 64, 72, 78-79, 83, 102, 111-113, 119, 125, 127, 137-138, 140-141, 144, 150, 152-156, 161-163, 165-168, 190, 192-193, 215, 217, 228, 233, 251-252, and 255-256. Baby Mothra appears in 22 episodes: 150-168, 181, 192, and 228.
References[edit | edit source]
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: 
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