What... what is that? A butterfly?
Mothra (モスラ is a giant divine moth Mosura)kaiju that is alluded to in the 2018 animated Godzilla film GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle, and goes on to indirectly appear through a vision in the film's sequel, GODZILLA: The Planet Eater. She is known to have at least three ancestors in this continuity, two of which exist offscreen and the third of which is chronicled in GODZILLA: Project Mechagodzilla, a prequel novel to the second anime film.
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.
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, though this is translated as "moth" in the film's English subtitles. Chō)
Mothra is a benevolent creature who, atypical of a kaiju, is friendly toward humanity. Mothra is suggested to have lived in harmony and seclusion with a tribe in the Amazon rainforest for many years, defending her people from threats and providing them with her healing scales. As Godzilla hunted down and exterminated the ever-dwindling human population in 2048, Mothra selflessly stepped in to defend the last bastion of human resistance from Godzilla in Buenaventura. While she was wounded in the battle, she successfully forced Godzilla to retreat and allowed her priestess Lira to reveal her presence to the rest of mankind. Mothra agreed to a proposal to relocate her eggs to Japan to ensure the survival of humanity into the future, and even gave her life for the operation's success. Her two offspring again attempted to bring down Godzilla for humanity, but they were both slain in combat by the increasingly powerful Godzilla. Nonetheless, her surviving Egg still resides in the temple of the Houtua 20,000 years into the future, guiding her people through her priestesses Maina and Miana. While Mothra is initially hesitant to provide aid to the United Earth forces in Mechagodzilla City, refusing to make any proclamation regarding the situation, she later intervenes to help Haruo Sakaki resist Metphies' influence and stop Ghidorah from destroying the Earth.
Mothra was the goddess of a human tribe which lived in the Amazon rainforest of South America and was known simply as “Mothra's People.” They lived in harmony with Mothra, who defended them. Mothra had a counterpart known as Battra, but his egg hatched early and he was killed in battle with Godzilla. Mothra laid two eggs, which she allowed to be transported to Japan by members of the United Earth and Monster Coexistence Sect so her offspring could defend future generations of mankind there. Mothra was killed by Godzilla defending her eggs while they were being transported at sea, but “Operation: Cradle” proved successful and the eggs were successfuly relocated to Japan.
Eventually, Mothra's eggs hatched, and the two offspring attempted to fight Godzilla. However, they were both slain in combat by the King of Monsters, with one of their carcasses crashing to the ground and opening a huge crater. When this Mothra's body decayed, it left behind a single egg. The descendants of the humans who originally accompanied Mothra's eggs to Japan, now evolved into a tribal race known as the Houtua after inheriting Mothra's DNA, constructed their village inside this crater and built a temple around the egg, which they continued to worship for the next several thousand years.
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.
Mothra generates golden defensive scales which she drops from her wings. These wings not only reflect enemy attacks, but also interfere with Godzilla's asymmetrically permeable shield. Using her scales, Mothra was able to make Godzilla retreat by disabling his shield and reflecting his atomic breath back at him, injuring him. Additionally, Mothra's scales have the ability to heal wounds, and are also noted to repel insects. The Houtua, as a result of having inherited Mothra's "monster factor," secrete similar scales through their skin. These scales have healing properties and are used in medicinal treatment, and also grant the Houtua resistance to Godzilla's cells and Nanometal.
Mothra can produce silk which is remarkably resistant to heat.
Mothra's imago stage is capable of flight.
Mothra is telepathic, allowing her to communicate with her people, who have inherited her telepathic ability. When living in South America, Mothra was tended to and spoken for by the priestess Mira, who was succeeded by her granddaughter Lira. 20,000 years into the future, the surviving Mothra egg is tended by twin Houtua priestesses Maina and Miana, who act as conduits for Mothra's messages and telepathically amplify them to recipients. Mothra's telepathy grants her the ability to insert herself into the visions of others, even while still inside her egg. She demonstrated this ability when called upon by Maina to save Haruo Sakaki, who was trapped inside a telepathic vision brought on by Metphies in an attempt to convert him to Ghidorah's influence. Mothra manifested in Haruo's vision in her imago stage, obscured by silhouette, and separated Haruo from Metphies long enough for Maina and Martin Lazzari to reach him, using Mothra's egg as a medium.
- GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle (2018) [mentioned, indirect]
- GODZILLA: The Planet Eater (2018) [vision]
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 her death to defend her offspring and ensure the operation's success.
- Main article: Mothra/Gallery#GODZILLA: The Planet Eater.
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