- This article covers the Mothra featured in the Heisei series Godzilla films. For the Mothra incarnations in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy who also appear in Godzilla Island, see Mothra (Rebirth of Mothra) and Mothra Leo.
If the world lives to see another century, please remember what Mothra did for you and the planet you live on.
The guardian of the ancient world, Mothra was forced to battle a dark counterpart named Battra when he went beyond his purpose of destroying a climate controlling device and tried to eradicate all of humanity. Mothra eventually defeated Battra and laid him to rest in the North Sea, but the entire civilization she had defended was destroyed in the battle. Mothra then went to live on the remote Infant Island with the Cosmos, two miniature priestesses who were the only remnants of the ancient civilization. In 1993, the Cosmos allowed Mothra's egg to be transported to Japan by the Marutomo Company, believing it would do more good there than on Infant Island. However, en route, the transport was attacked by Godzilla and the reawakened Battra. Mothra hatched and escaped back to her island while Godzilla and Battra battled and were swallowed by a volcanic fault in the Philippine Trench. When the Cosmos were abducted by the Marutomo Company, Mothra traveled to Tokyo to try and recover them. After the Cosmos were secured, she cocooned herself on the National Diet Building and metamorphosed into her imago stage. She then flew to Yokohama for a final showdown with Battra, who escaped from under the Earth's crust and had matured into his imago stage. Their battle was interrupted by Godzilla, and the two divine moths were forced to settle their differences and join together against their common enemy. Together, Mothra and Battra defeated Godzilla and carried him out to sea. Battra was killed by Godzilla while carrying him, and Mothra was forced to drop both monsters in the sea below. With Battra dead, Mothra took up his mission to stop a meteor from striking the Earth in 1999, and traveled to space with the Cosmos to carry it out. In 1995, Mothra learned that an evil extraterrestrial clone of Godzilla named SpaceGodzilla was heading to Earth to conquer it, and so she sent a telepathic projection of herself called Fairy Mothra to warn Miki Saegusa of the creature's approach. Thanks to Mothra's warning, Miki was able to ensure Godzilla and G-Force defeated SpaceGodzilla.
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.
The Heisei Mothra is referred to as the Fourth Generation Mothra (４代目モスラ in the 2004 book Shidaime Mosura)Godzilla Giant Dictionary, despite not existing in the same continuity as the previous three Mothra incarnations.
Development[edit | edit source]
The idea to introduce Mothra into the Heisei series originated with Kazuki Omori's screenplay for Mothra vs. Bagan. The project, planned for a 1990 theatrical release, pitted Mothra against the monster Bagan, which was originally conceptualized for Tomoyuki Tanaka's 1980 Resurrection of Godzilla proposal. The film was intended to be set in the same universe as The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante, and would even feature the character Miki Saegusa from the latter film. The story went through two revisions. In the screenplay, Mothra fights Bagan across the globe after the ancient creature is freed from his icy prison due to global warming. Mothra is assisted by her newborn larva in the final battle with Bagan and manages to subdue the creature, carrying him out to sea and sealing him away before dying from her injuries. The film was to end with a cameo by Godzilla and lead into a crossover film tentatively titled Godzilla 3. However, the disappointing box office performance of Godzilla vs. Biollante made Toho hesitant to produce a standalone Mothra film, and the idea was scrapped. Omori revived the Mothra vs. Bagan screenplay by writing Godzilla into it in place of Bagan, and titled the new story Mothra vs. Godzilla. This screenplay again went unused, as Toho revived the character of King Ghidorah for the third Heisei Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. But after a series of unrealized ideas for a follow-up, many of which included the characters Mechani-Kong and Gigamoth, Omori was given the chance to write another screenplay pitting Mothra against Godzilla. Omori's first screenplay for Godzilla vs. Mothra was another re-edited Mothra vs. Bagan screenplay placing Godzilla into Bagan's role. Wataru Mimura wrote a screenplay based on Mothra vs. Bagan using the Gigamoth character in Bagan's role while giving Godzilla a completely different part in the story. This screenplay, Godzilla vs. Gigamoth, featured Mothra and Gigamoth hatching from the same egg, with Gigamoth being mutated due to pollution. The two moth monsters engaged in a three-way battle with Godzilla which ended with Gigamoth dead and Godzilla and Mothra vanishing. Mimura's screenplay went unused but underwent further tweaks under Kazuki Omori, who turned it into the final screenplay for Godzilla vs. Mothra, with Gigamoth reworked into Battra.
Storyboard of Mothra battling Godzilla for Godzilla vs. Gigamoth
A three-sided drawing of Mothra was created based on an illustration by Noriyoshi Ohrai, and this drawing became the basis of the imago Mothra prop. Keizo Murase, who had modeled the original Mothra larva and imago props for Mothra in 1961, was hired to model the new props. Murase received the order only a month before filming began, and said he was only able to complete them in time because he had been preparing for the project since the start of the year. Murase created two self-propelled Mothra larva props with built in wheels; a larger 1.6 meter-long one and a slightly smaller 1.5 meter-long one. Koichi Kawakita was upset that the wheels inside the models were so small, as he felt they didn't allow him to capture realistic caterpillar-like movements, something he would attempt to rectify four years later for Rebirth of Mothra. The silk sprayed by the larva when creating her cocoon was created by blowing a fine Styrofoam powder from the prop's mouth. In order to give the larva a shiny lustrous body surface, Murase utilized a technique he had used for the original Mothra which was coating the prop with soft vinyl. Murase modeled two Mothra imago props based on the three-sided drawing that was provided; a larger 3.5 meter-long prop and a smaller 1.5 meter-long prop. Both props featured radio-controlled moving parts. The smaller imago prop was used in the majority of action scenes. Phosphorous powder was used to portray Mothra's scale attack. A much smaller imago Mothra prop was used for the end of the film's final battle when Mothra and Battra carry Godzilla out to sea.
Behind the scenes of the final battle between the imago Mothra, Battra, and Godzilla at Minato Mirai 21
Design[edit | edit source]
The Heisei Mothra retains the traditional appearance of previous Mothra incarnations, possessing both a larval and imago form. Mothra's larval form resembles a large brown segmented caterpillar with small blue eyes. The larva's skin is somewhat lighter and smoother than previous incarnations, and it has several dark spots on its sides. Mothra's imago form has a more compact and rounded body, with thick bright-colored fur. Mothra has round light-blue eyes and short thick antennae, and small bird-like legs.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Like previous incarnations, the Heisei Mothra is a benevolent and peaceful creature concerned with defending the Earth. However, Mothra is still capable of causing destruction, which she does while trying to rescue the Cosmos from the Marutomo Company. After Mothra rescues the Cosmos, they convince her to cease causing destruction. Mothra later makes peace with her mortal enemy Battra, allowing the two kaiju to join forces against Godzilla. Following the battle, Mothra leaves Earth to fulfill a promise she made to Battra to intercept a meteor bound to strike the planet.
Origins[edit | edit source]
Over 12,000 years ago, Mothra was the guardian of the ancient world, and lived alongside an advanced civilization. When scientists from the civilization created a climate-controlling device, the Earth became offended and created a dark Mothra, Battra, to destroy the device. After destroying the device, Battra decided to eradicate the entirety of humanity, forcing Mothra to do battle with him. After a long battle that destroyed the entire civilization, Mothra defeated Battra and sealed him in the North Sea. Mothra then took up residence on Infant Island, along with the Cosmos, the only remnants of the ancient civilization.
History[edit | edit source]
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 merged with crystalline lifeforms and was exposed to energy from supernovas, allowing it to mutate rapidly. However, it was also theorized that SpaceGodzilla may have instead been formed by some of Biollante's cells after she ascended to space following her second battle with Godzilla in 1990.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Silk[edit | edit source]
In her larval form, Mothra can spit a stream of silk from her mouth. While this ability exists to allow Mothra to construct a cocoon, she utilizes it against Godzilla in combat as well. The silk seems to irritate and disorient Godzilla, and also produces smoke on contact with his skin, suggesting it may burn him.
Mandibles[edit | edit source]
While in her larval form, Mothra uses her mandibles to bite Godzilla. She first lunges at Godzilla and bites down on his chest, then later sneaks up behind Godzilla and bites down on his tail. This attack serves to cause Godzilla visible pain in both instances.
Amphibiousness[edit | edit source]
Mothra's larval form is amphibious, capable of moving successfully both on land and in water. Mothra battles Godzilla in the ocean as soon as her egg hatches, and later swims all the way to Tokyo from Infant Island.
Antenna beams[edit | edit source]
In her imago stage, Mothra can fire twin orange beams from her two antennae, knocking Godzilla back and stunning him.
Arc lightning[edit | edit source]
While in her imago form, Mothra can release arcs of electricity from her wings, or release an electrical shock through her touch. This, unlike her antennae beams, has little effect on Godzilla.
Scales[edit | edit source]
Like the First Generation Mothra, the Heisei Mothra is able to release a yellowish powder-like substance from her wings. However, in the Heisei Mothra's case this powder takes the form of shiny scales, which form a 3-D mirror around a target and reflect beam attacks. Mothra uses the scales to trap Godzilla and make his atomic breath reflect back and hit him. Mothra uses her scales against Godzilla again in tandem with Battra's prism beams, causing the beams to bounce around within the 3-D mirror and strike Godzilla multiple times. Whereas the original Mothra lost her ability to fly after using the powder, the Heisei Mothra's flight appears to be unaffected by the use of the scales.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Mothra's larval form is comparatively smaller and weaker than both Godzilla and Battra, and although she briefly holds her own against Godzilla, she is easily swatted away by Battra. Mothra's imago stage is also outmatched by both Godzilla and Battra, and it is only through Battra's intervention that she is able to beat Godzilla. Mothra's scales are ineffective against Godzilla's nuclear pulse, and she is knocked to the ground when Godzilla uses it.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1993) - Nintendo Game Boy
- Godzilla: Great Monster Battle (1994) - Nintendo Super Famicom
- Godzilla (2014) - Sony PlayStation 3 and 4
- Godzilla: Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS
- City Shrouded in Shadow (2017) - Sony PlayStation 4
- Eternal Linkage (2018) - Android and iOS
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS
- Star Dragon Quest (2020) - iOS, Google Play, Android
- Godzilla Battle Line (2021) - Android, iOS
The Heisei 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.
The Heisei Mothra is featured in the survival RPG City Shrouded in Shadow developed by Granzella and Bandai Namco for the PlayStation 4. She appears on stage three in her imago form and does battle with Battra.
Mothra Larva in Godzilla
Mothra in Godzilla
Mothra Larva 1992 in Godzilla: Kaiju Collection
Mothra Imago 1992 in Godzilla: Kaiju Collection
Mothra in City Shrouded in Shadow
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mothra/Gallery.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Toho originally planned for Mothra's first appearance in the Heisei series to come in the 1990 film Mothra vs. Bagan, which would have been part of the same continuity as the Heisei Godzilla films. Due to the poor box office performance of the 1989 film Godzilla vs. Biollante, Toho feared that Mothra wouldn't be able to carry a film on her own, and the project was scrapped. Toho eventually worked Mothra into the project known as Godzilla vs. Gigamoth, which became Godzilla vs. Mothra.
- According to Kenpachiro Satsuma, special effects director Koichi Kawakita originally wanted Mothra to be killed at the end of Godzilla vs. Mothra and revived as a cyborg called MechaMothra.
- It is sometimes mistakenly believed that this incarnation of Mothra reappeared in the 1996 film Rebirth of Mothra. In reality, the 1996 Mothra is an entirely separate incarnation of the character, as the Heisei Godzilla films and Rebirth of Mothra trilogy do not share continuity.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Mothra/Heisei. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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