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 was first discovered on Infant Island, where natives to the island worshiped her as a goddess. Invaders from Rolisica took over the island and stole the Shobijin. The natives went to a temple, where a giant egg was held. The egg hatched into a larva, called Mothra, which swam across the Pacific Ocean and destroyed the Orion Maru as she journeyed north towards Japan to save the Shobijin from the humans. She destroyed Tokyo while trying to find them, then tore down Tokyo Tower and formed her cocoon. She emerged from the cocoon in her imago form, having been inadvertently helped by the army's Atomic Heat Ray Guns. She went to New Kirk City, and was reunited with the Shobijin at an airport runway after destroying a large portion of the city. Mothra then flew back to Infant Island with the Shobijin to live in peace.
Mothra's egg washed up on the shores of Japan when a typhoon carried it away from the shores of Infant Island. Kumayama, the owner of the company Happy Enterprises, bought the egg from the citizens of the area where the egg was found and planned to turn it into the main attraction of his upcoming amusement park The Shobijin came to Japan to request the egg's return, only for Kumayama and his financier Jiro Torahata to try and capture them as well. The Shobijin escaped and met with a group of sympathetic humans, warning that when the egg hatched the larva would cause much destruction and death while searching for food and attempting to return to Infant Island on its own. When the Shobijin's allies met with Kumayama and Torahata, they refused to return the egg and wanted to buy the Shobijin instead. The Shobijin then returned to Infant Island with Mothra. When Godzilla emerged in Japan and began heading for the incubator holding Mothra's egg, the three humans who helped the Shobijin traveled to Infant Island, which had been devastated by nuclear bomb tests. They asked the Shobijin for Mothra's help in defeating Godzilla, but they refused. However, Mothra herself, who was living out the last of her days on a sacred rock, agreed to help and flew to Japan, knowing she would never return.
Mothra arrived in Japan just as Godzilla reached Mothra's egg and attacked him. Mothra used the gusts of wind from her wings to knock Godzilla of his feet and tried to slash him with her claws, but she was too feeble to injure him. Mothra released poison powder from her wings against Godzilla, but Godzilla simply blasted her with his atomic breath, causing her to fall on top of her egg and die. While Godzilla continued his rampage across Japan, the Shobijin and the Infant Islanders began to pray for Mothra's egg to hatch. Finally, the egg hatched into two twin larvae. The larvae followed Godzilla to Iwa Island and attacked him there. While the larvae were much smaller and weaker than Godzilla, they used their size to hide behind rocks and sneak up on Godzilla, spraying him with silk. Eventually, Godzilla was trapped in a silken cocoon and fell over a cliff into the ocean below. Victorious, Mothra's larvae and the Shobijin returned to Infant Island.
In the time after Mothra's battle with Godzilla, one of the twin larvae passed away, leaving its sister as the sole goddess of Infant Island. When the evil three-headed space monster King Ghidorah arrived on the Earth, the Japanese government asked the Shobijin to call Mothra to fight him. The Shobijin remarked that the young Mothra had no chance of defeating King Ghidorah on her own, but proposed that if she could recruit the help of Godzilla and Rodan they may have a chance. The Shobijin called Mothra to Japan, where she sought out Godzilla and Rodan, who were battling at Mount Fuji. Mothra used her silk to get the monsters to stop fighting and informed them of the threat posed by King Ghidorah. Godzilla and Rodan stubbornly replied that they had no reason to defend humanity from King Ghidorah, and refused to work together until the other apologized. Mothra told them that the Earth was not just for humanity, but for all creatures and that it was their duty to protect it. Unfortunately, Mothra's words failed to sway either monster, and the young larva was forced to take on King Ghidorah by herself. King Ghidorah easily blasted Mothra aside with his gravity beams, attracting the anger of Godzilla and Rodan, who finally joined the battle. Together, the three Earth monsters overpowered King Ghidorah, knocking him to the ground and trapping him in silk. King Ghidorah finally flew off into space, leaving Mothra and her new allies victorious. Mothra reunited with the Shobijin and swam back to Infant Island, while Godzilla and Rodan watched.
Mothra, now grown into her imago form, remained asleep on Infant Island while her people were abducted and enslaved by the terrorist organization known as the Red Bamboo, who operated on nearby Letchi Island. The Shobijin and the remaining natives continued to pray to Mothra until she finally awakened and heard their plea. The Shobijin told Ryota and Yata, who had both ended up on Infant Island, to travel to Letchi Island and free the slaves, then create a giant net. The two of them traveled to the island by boat, while Mothra and the Shobijin prepared to fly there as well. When Mothra arrived, the island had been rigged to explode and Godzilla was in combat with the monster Ebirah, who guarded the island's waters. When Godzilla defeated Ebirah and saw Mothra fly overhead, he approached her and tried to initiate combat. Aware that the whole island was about to detonate in a huge nuclear-force explosion rigged by the Red Bamboo, Mothra simply knocked Godzilla over. While Godzilla was down, Mothra grabbed the net carrying the rescued slaves, then flew away from the island. Godzilla soon jumped into the water, just as the entire island was consumed in a nuclear explosion.
By the end of the 20th century, a larval Mothra was living on Monsterland along with most of Earth's other kaiju. When the Kilaaks invaded the island, they took control of the monsters and sent them to attack major cities around the globe. Mothra first attacked Beijing, and later resurfaced in Tokyo along with Godzilla, Manda and Rodan. The four monsters completely leveled the city before departing. Thankfully, mankind destroyed the Kilaaks' mind-control device and the Earth monsters assaulted the Kilaaks' lair at Mount Fuji. The Kilaaks summoned King Ghidorah to fight off the Earth monsters. Mothra aided in the fight from afar, covering King Ghidorah in webbing alongside Kumonga. When King Ghidorah and the Kilaaks were defeated, Mothra and the other monsters were returned to Monsterland to live out their days in peace.
In 1972, a single Mothra larva was living on Monster Island with a large number of other monsters. It is unknown whether this larva was the offspring of the second generation Mothra, or itself the third generation Mothra.
Twelve thousand years ago, Mothra was the guardian of an ancient civilization. However, this civilization created a climate-controlling device, greatly angering the Earth itself and leading it to create Battra, a dark version of Mothra. Battra destroyed the device, but soon went beyond his purpose and attempted to destroy all of mankind, seeing them as a blight on the Earth. Mothra tried to stop them, and the two moths engaged in a titanic battle that destroyed the ancient civilization. Mothra defeated Battra and sealed him away in the North Sea, while Mothra and the Cosmos relocated to Infant Island to live in solitude. In 1993, an expedition sent to the island by the Japanese government encountered the Cosmos along with Mothra's egg. The Cosmos explained the story of Mothra and Battra to the explorers, and warned that the meteor that recently struck the Earth could awaken Battra. The Cosmos agreed to allow Mothra's egg to be transported to Japan, but en route the barge carrying it was attacked by Godzilla. The egg hatched into a larval Mothra, who attempted to defend herself from Godzilla. Eventually, Battra arrived in his larval form and knocked Mothra aside, attacking Godzilla instead. Godzilla and Battra were eventually swallowed up by a volcanic fault and presumed dead, while Mothra returned to Infant Island and the Cosmos were secretly captured by one of the explorers, Kenji Ando.
Ando brought the Cosmos to his employer, the Marutomo Company, who planned to exploit the tiny fairies as a publicity stunt. The Cosmos prayed to Mothra, who left the island to recover the Cosmos. The JSDF tried to fight Mothra in the ocean as she approached Japan, but failed to halt the larva. Mothra came ashore in Tokyo, unintentionally leaving a trail of destruction as she searched for the Cosmos. Masako Tezuka, her daughter Midori and Miki Saegusa recovered the Cosmos and brought them to Mothra, causing her rampage to cease. Unfortunately, the JSDF opened fire on Mothra with artillery, wounding her. Mothra crawled to the National Diet Building and encased herself in a cocoon. Meanwhile, Godzilla surfaced from the crater of Mount Fuji while Battra reappeared in the ocean and transformed into his imago form. As both Godzilla and Battra approached the Tokyo area, Mothra emerged from her cocoon in her imago form and flew off to stop Battra. Mothra and Battra clashed in the skies above Yokohama, with Battra overpowering Mothra and causing her to crash to the ground in the Minato Mirai 21 district. Before Battra could kill his light counterpart, Godzilla appeared and attacked them both. Godzilla proved to be more than a match for either moth, subduing Battra and nearly killing Mothra before Battra came to her aid, realizing that Godzilla was a far greater threat. Mothra saved Battra and temporarily knocked Godzilla down. Mothra communicated with Battra, and they decided to put aside their differences to defeat Godzilla. Mothra and Battra joined forces, firing their various beam attacks in tandem against Godzilla. Godzilla was subdued, and Mothra and Battra grabbed him, carrying him out over the ocean. Godzilla bit into Battra's throat and fired his atomic breath, killing him and forcing Mothra to drop both monsters into the sea below. Mothra placed a sacred seal over the water and reunited with the Cosmos at Haneda Airport. The Cosmos revealed that Battra told Mothra that a larger meteor was going to strike and destroy the Earth in 1999, and it was his duty to stop it. In the event of Battra's death, Mothra agreed to destroy the meteor instead. Mothra and the Cosmos bid farewell to the humans and flew into outer space, preparing to intercept the meteor before it could reach Earth.
While flying through space to intercept the meteor that was destined to hit Earth in 1999, Mothra became aware of an evil extraterrestrial clone of Godzilla called SpaceGodzilla that was heading to Earth with the intention of killing his Earthling counterpart and conquering the planet. Mothra sent a Fairy Mothra to Earth, where it revealed itself to Miki Saegusa and transformed into a projection of the Cosmos, who warned Miki of the impending to disaster and stressed the importance of Godzilla in defending the planet. When SpaceGodzilla was ultimately defeated by the combined efforts of Godzilla and G-Force, the projection of the Cosmos reappeared to Miki and congratulated her on saving the planet.
It was also speculated by U.N.G.C.C. scientists that SpaceGodzilla's creation may have been due to Mothra unwittingly carrying some of Godzilla's flesh into outer space following their battle, allowing it to be pulled into a black hole and released through a white hole, where it was exposed to supernovas and mutated into a crystalline lifeform.
Millions of years ago, a space monster called Desghidorah arrived to destroy the Earth. This three-headed demonic dragon was forced to deal with resistance in the form of a species of highly advanced, enormous moths, which were known as Mothras. These moths were the protectors of the Elias, a race of tiny, human-like beings, who inhabited the planet. After the ensuing battle, Desghidorah was defeated and sealed within the Earth, although a great deal of life on the planet Earth was lost. Three Elias: Moll, Lora, and Belvera, were all who were left of their once prosperous civilization. Though Moll and Lora remained benevolent defenders of the Earth, Belvera became twisted and vengeful following her race's demise. These tiny fairies, along with one final Mothra, remained in solitude on Infant Island for countless millennia.
In order to preserve her legacy, Mothra summoned an enormous egg, however, she became physically exhausted from the ordeal. Shortly afterwards, a logging company in Hokkaido uncovered the tomb where the Mothras had sealed Desghidorah long ago. When the seal that had bound the creature was removed from the area, Moll and Lora fought Belvera for control of the artifact. Belvera prevailed and managed to release Desghidorah from its rocky tomb, planning to use it to destroy mankind. Mothra was summoned to stop Desghidorah, which was absorbing the life out of the forests. Mothra fought her hardest to stop Desghidorah, but was simply too old and frail to carry on the fight. Moll and Lora reluctantly prayed to the egg, causing it to prematurely hatch into a larva named Mothra Leo. Mothra Leo arrived to assist his mother, but Desghidorah grabbed Leo with his teeth and bit into him. Mothra rescued her son and destroyed a dam, causing Desghidorah to be buried in a flood of water. With her enemy distracted, Mothra carried Leo out over the sea, but her strength failed and she fell into the water. Mothra struggled to stay afloat, as Leo desperately tried to hold her up above the surface, but to no avail. Mothra sank underwater and drowned, leaving Leo to carry on her legacy and stop Desghidorah. Leo then swam to a remote island to transform into his imago stage and continue the battle.
- Main article: Mothra Leo.
Both imago and larval Mothra appear in the 1994 and 1996 educational Get Going! Godzilland OVAs. In these OVAs, Mothra is one of the more mature and caring residents of Godzilland, and raises her two twin larvae there. Mothra is viewed as a motherly figure by the other kaiju, and is addressed by them as "Mosura-San," being the only adult. In the hiragana episode, Mothra finishes watering her garden, and decides to invite the other residents of Monster Island to a picnic. Godzilla and Anguirus both arrive late, and reveal that they couldn't read Mothra's invitation, so Mothra decides to teach them about the hiragana alphabet. Mothra presents the kaiju with various objects and animals, and teaches them to sound out their names with hiragana characters.
In the addition episode, Mothra helps Godzilla, Gojirin, and Baragon rescue Anguirus from Mechagodzilla, who has kidnapped him to force him to be his friend. Gojirin reveals that she is hungry and the kaiju decide to eat before traveling to the volcano where Mechagodzilla brought Anguirus. Mothra and Rodan help the kaiju add the number of items of food they have, allowing them to learn addition. On the way to the volcano, the monsters are stopped by a large group of ants, who angrily stab Godzilla with spears when he attempts to scare them away. Mothra talks to the ants, and learns that the kaiju were walking over a field of flowers, and the ants were trying to stop them. The kaiju then proceed to the volcano, where Mechagodzilla forces them to take part in a game show where they solve addition problems in order to rescue Anguirus. After the kaiju complete the game, Mechagodzilla begins to cry, and Mothra comforts him. Mothra convinces the other kaiju to let Mechagodzilla be their friend, and they all then take part in a song about addition.
In the series Godzilla Island, Mothra is a resident of Godzilla Island along with Earth's other monsters. She has two children, a son named Mothra Leo and a daughter named Baby Mothra. Following Mothra's death, Leo grew into his imago form and watched over Baby Mothra, protecting her from enemy monsters like Battra.
Mothra appeared in three of the Millennium series films, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS and Godzilla Final Wars, making her the only monster besides Godzilla himself to appear in more than two films in the Millennium series.
Mothra (最珠羅 was a legendary beast from ancient Mosura)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. 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 JSDF'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.
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.
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.
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.
The film's end credits show an unharmed Mothra flying back to Infant Island, although it is possible this is simply unused footage and not meant to suggest Mothra survived her battle with Gigan, similar to how footage of Hedorah destroying Tokyo is also shown during the end credits.
20,000 years after the fall of mankind at the hands of the kaiju, Mothra's surviving egg was kept in the underground temple of the Houtua civilization, which lived in the shadow of Godzilla Earth in a caldera under Mount Fuji. The twin priestesses Maina and Miana tended to the egg, telepathically transmitting its messages to their people. When the Houtua captured several United Earth troops which had returned to reclaim the Earth, they brought them into the temple to interrogate them. Maina and Miana placed their hands on Mothra's egg and telepathically asked the United Earth forces what their purpose was and why they had set fire to the Houtua's land. Captain Haruo Sakaki explained that they had come to destroy Godzilla. The twins responded that Godzilla was the enemy of Mothra, their God, and had killed her, leaving only the egg behind. The Houtua determined that the United Earth forces were not hostile, and the elder Munak allowed them to leave. Later, Maina and Miana tried to appeal to the rest of their people to help the United Earth troops before they were destroyed by Godzilla, but Munak stated that Mothra's egg proclaimed nothing. The twins then took matters into their own hands and traveled to Mechagodzilla City to help Haruo and his allies.
When Metphies summoned Ghidorah to Earth and tried to telepathically convince Haruo to become his messenger to the rest of mankind, Maina and Martin Lazzari placed their hands on Mothra's egg to try and reach Haruo. When their message reached Haruo, it entered his telepathic vision and manifested into a vision of Mothra which flew over the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that Haruo and Metphies were inside, destroying it and causing Haruo to begin falling through the sky. As he fell, he saw Mothra flying overhead and remarked that she looked like a "butterfly." Maina soon appeared to Haruo in the vision, giving him the strength necessary to finally free himself from Metphies' telepathic manipulation. With the help of Mothra, Maina, and Martin, Haruo was able to overcome Metphies' influence and defeat him, severing Ghidorah's connection to reality and allowing Godzilla Earth to banish him back to the Void.
"Explorer"[edit | edit source]
While the Otaki Factory crew were heading towards Godzilla Ultima, a Mothra landed on Jet Jaguar's arm and flew away not long after that. A swarm of Mothra later appeared, with each Mothra leaving yellow shiny particles behind. Goro Otaki noted that yellow butterflies are a sign of warfare.
- Main article: Mothra (MonsterVerse).
After their adventure on Skull Island, Monarch members Houston Brooks and Lin San showed James Conrad and Mason Weaver a cave painting of Mothra, along with paintings depicting Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah, as proof that the inhabitants of Skull Island were not the only monsters in the world. Mothra was depicted as entirely white in color and surrounded by worshipers in her painting.
While discussing the completion of her sonar device the ORCA, Monarch's Dr. Emma Russell and her daughter Madison overheard Mothra's roar from their dwelling built in China's Yunnan rainforest. Emma was contacted and told to report immediately to Outpost 56, the Temple of the Moth. Upon arrival, they were greeted by entomologist Dr. Tim Mancini, who explained that Mothra's radiation levels have suddenly skyrocketed after she was sleeping peacefully just before. As they entered an observation room overlooking a huge chamber, they witnessed Mothra's glowing blue egg begin to pulse and shift before a huge mass burst from it. Shaking the amniotic fluid from her body, Mothra's larval form finally hatched. Monarch attempted to put a containment field around Mothra, but their systems inexplicably shut down, as if they were being sabotaged by an outside party. Seeing the armed soldiers surrounding her, Mothra began to panic as the soft blue bioluminescent glow being emitted from her body shifted to a red glow. Mothra began to thrash about, spitting silk at the guards and grabbing one guard in her mouth before throwing him into a wall. Emma ran into the chamber with the ORCA and activated it, trying to use it to calm Mothra. As Emma struggled to find the right sonar pattern, Mothra became aggressive and began spitting silk at her. Madison ran into the chamber after her mother, and watched as Mothra was bearing down on both of them. Fortunately, Emma successfully pacified Mothra with the ORCA, and her glow returned once again to the peaceful blue color from when she hatched. Emma and Madison were able to approach Mothra, and Madison placed her hand on the monster's face. Mothra blew air through her nostrils that blew both Emma and Madison back. This peaceful communion between man and monster was interrupted however when a bomb was detonated in the observation room. A group of armed mercenaries entered and gunned down most of the Monarch personnel, then absconded with Emma, Madison, and the ORCA. Mothra subsequently escaped the temple and cocooned herself under a nearby waterfall.
In their quest to retrieve the ORCA, Monarch came to realize that Emma had been in league with the eco-terrorist group, led by Alan Jonah, and intended to use the ORCA to reawaken the Titans around the globe in order to restore balance to nature before the government could exterminate them. The first Titan they unleashed, King Ghidorah, proved to not belong to the natural order like the others and emitted a call that awakened all of the other Titans around the world. Each of these Titans responded to Ghidorah's call and began doing his bidding, converting the planet's ecosystem to his liking by causing destruction across the globe. However, Mothra did not respond to Ghidorah's call as she emerged from her cocoon in her imago stage. Monarch's Dr. Ling and Dr. Houston Brooks watched as the imago Mothra spread her glowing wings. Mothra made her way to Monarch's Castle Bravo underwater base, where Monarch and the U.S. military were discussing countermeasures against Ghidorah and the other Titans now that Godzilla was seemingly killed by the experimental Oxygen Destroyer weapon that failed to harm Ghidorah. Mothra emitted blinding white bioluminescence from her wings that parted the surrounding stormclouds and revealed her presence to everyone in the base. Monarch discovered that Mothra was using sonar to communicate, and that Godzilla was responding from somewhere. Using her bioluminescent God Rays as a beacon, Mothra led Monarch to Godzilla's location. The submarine they were traveling in was pulled inside the Hollow Earth, where they found an ancient sunken city which contained Godzilla's lair. Dr. Ishiro Serizawa sacrificed himself to detonate one of the sub's nuclear torpedoes next to Godzilla, with the radiation revitalizing him and allowing him to fight once more.
Godzilla made his way to Boston to confront Ghidorah, supported by the military. Mothra arrived not long after and assisted Godzilla by pinning Ghidorah's heads against a building with her silk attack. Godzilla tackled Ghidorah through the building, but before he could attack again Ghidorah summoned Rodan to support him. Rodan intercepted Mothra, and the two flying Titans engaged in an aerial battle across the city as Godzilla and Ghidorah continued to fight on the ground. The molten magma emitted from Rodan's wings burned Mothra's own, causing her to eventually lose her ability to fly. Rodan sent Mothra crashing into a nearby skyscraper, but she used her claws to knock him off and climbed to the top. Rodan flew back around and pinned Mothra to the top of the skyscraper, trying to stab her with his beak. Mothra dodged his attacks and used her stinger to pierce directly through Rodan's chest. Immobilized by the sting, Rodan fell backward down into the burning city below, shrieking in rage. When Ghidorah dropped Godzilla from the sky and seriously injured him, Mothra intervened by weakly climbing onto Godzilla as Ghidorah closed in. She spread her wings to shield Godzilla, then flew directly at Ghidorah who easily disintegrated her with his gravity beams. Mothra's energy floated down onto Godzilla, causing glowing orange cracks to begin forming in his skin. Ultimately, Mothra's energy provided Godzilla with a huge boost in power which caused his entire body to become covered in these glowing patterns and emit intense heat. Godzilla used his new power to finish Ghidorah once and for all. His dorsal fins sparked with energy as he launched forth a burning nuclear pulse of energy which took the shape of Mothra's wings and made the sound of her roar. This pulse incinerated both of Ghidorah's wings, after which Godzilla fired another pulse that melted his left and right heads. Godzilla stomped onto Ghidorah's chest as the energy inside him built to critical levels and exploded. When the smoke cleared, Godzilla emerged victorious from the rubble, holding Ghidorah's remaining head in his jaws. Godzilla incinerated this head with his atomic breath before being confronted by Rodan and the other Titans which Ghidorah had controlled. With Ghidorah gone, the Titans all one by one submitted to Godzilla, accepting him as the new King of the Monsters.
Under Godzilla's leadership, the Titans became peaceful and helped to restore damaged ecosystems across the globe. Monarch also discovered a Titan egg, which was speculated to be either another Mothra, or something else entirely.
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.
Filmography[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 (TV 2019-) [episodes 3, 5-7, 9, 11, 13-14, 18, 20, 25-27, 29, 35, 40, and 47; special episodes 3-4]
- Godzilla Singular Point (TV 2021) [episode 12]
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) [cave painting; mentioned]
Attractions[edit | edit source]
- Monster Planet of Godzilla (1994)
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Monster's Fair (1985) - Microsoft MSX
- Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! (1988) - Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom
- Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (1992) - Nintendo Entertainment System
- Battle Baseball (1993) - Nintendo Famicom
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Godzilla (1993) - Arcade
- Godzilla: Great Monster Battle (1994) - Nintendo Super Famicom
- Godzilla: Giant Monster March (1995) - Sega Game Gear
- Godzilla: Archipelago Shock (1995) - Sega Saturn
- Godzilla: Heart-Pounding Monster Island!! (1995) - Sega Pico
- Jumbo Godzilla (1995) - Arcade machine
- Godzilla Movie Studio Tour (1998) - PC and Mac
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation
- Godzilla Generations (1998) - Sega Dreamcast
- Collect Godzilla: Giant Monster Assembly (1998) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact (1999) - Sega Dreamcast
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (2002) - Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox
- Godzilla: Domination! (2002) - Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Godzilla: Save the Earth (2004) - Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox
- CR Godzilla 3S-T Battle (2006) - Pachinko
- Godzilla: Unleashed (2007) - Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 2
- Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash (2007) - Nintendo DS
- Godzilla: Pachislot Wars (2007) - Pachislot
- CR Godzilla: Descent of the Destruction God (2010) - Pachinko
- Godzilla on Monster Island (2011) - AVP Slot Machine
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 3 and 4
- Ace Combat Infinity (2014) - PlayStation 3
- Godzilla Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
- Pocoron Dungeons (2016) - Android and iOS
- City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) - PlayStation 4
- Eternal Linkage (2018) - Android and iOS
- CR True King of the Monsters Godzilla (2018) - Pachinko
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Clash of Kings (2019) - Android and iOS
- Roblox (2019) - Microsoft Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One [wings; accessory]
- PVV! Godzilla Great Monster Assembly!! (2019) - Pachinko
- Star Dragon Quest (2020) - iOS, Google Play, Android
- MonsterVerse (2020) - Empire DCX slot machine
- Run Godzilla (2021) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Battle Line (2021) - Android, iOS
- Godzilla (2021) - Pinball
- Fall Guys (2020) - Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Xbox One and Series X/S, Sony PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS [costume]
- Pachinko True King of the Monsters Godzilla 2 (2022) - Pachinko
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 Rivals: Mothra Vs. Titanosaurus (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.
A photograph of what appears to be a cave painting of Mothra was taped to a map in Houston Brooks' office in 2012.
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.
- 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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