Mothra (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS)

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Mothra incarnations
Mothra (GMK)
Mothra (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS)
Mothra (Godzilla Final Wars)
Mothra® copyright icon
Mothra®
Mothra imago in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
Mothra larvae in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
Alternate names SOSMosu,GKC Mothra 2004,[1]
Hanako and Taro,[2][3] Mosu and Lara
Subtitle(s) Giant Moth Monster
(巨大蛾怪獣,   Kyodai Ga Kaijū)[4]
Species Giant divine moth
Length 36 meters (imago)[5]
43 meters (larvae)[5]
Wingspan 108 meters (imago)[5]
Weight 12,000 metric tons (imago)[5]
9,000 metric tons (larvae)[5]
Forms Imago stage, larval stage
Relations First Generation Mothra (ancestor)
Allies Kiryu
Enemies Godzilla
Designed by Shinji Nishikawa
Modeled by Shinichi Wakasa
First appearance Godzilla: Tokyo SOS
Roar(s)
Imago:Larva:More roars

Mothra (モスラ,   Mosura) is a giant divine moth kaiju who appeared in the 2003 Godzilla film Godzilla: Tokyo SOS.

A descendant of the original Mothra who attacked Tokyo and New Kirk City in 1961, the imago Mothra traveled to Japan alongside the Shobijin in 2004 to warn Shinichi Chujo that the JSDF's use of Godzilla's remains to build Kiryu was immoral and that she would be forced to declare war on humanity if the remains were not returned to the sea. The Shobijin promised that Mothra would defend Japan against the second Godzilla in Kiryu's place if her demands were met. While Mothra's pleas were unheeded, she nevertheless appeared in Tokyo to battle Godzilla when he came ashore. Kiryu was launched into battle to aid Mothra, who was seriously wounded in the battle. Mothra's twin larvae hatched from their egg on a remote island and swam to Tokyo to assist their mother, but she was killed when she deflected a blast of Godzilla's atomic breath that was aimed at her offspring. Enraged, the larvae collaborated with Kiryu against Godzilla, finally trapping him in a silken cocoon after he was badly wounded by Kiryu. After Kiryu flew into the Japan Trench with the immobilized Godzilla, the twin larvae returned to Infant Island with the Shobijin.

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 twin Mothra larvae in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS were each given their own unique nicknames by the production crew. The male larva is called Taro (太郎,   Tarō), while the female is called Hanako (花子,   Hanako).[2][3] In an episode of the children's variety show Oha Suta promoting Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, the male and female larvae were instead referred to as Mosu (モス,   Mosu) and Lara (ララ,   Rara), respectively.

Development[edit | edit source]

Mothra imago concept art by Shinji Nishikawa

Requests for Mothra to make an appearance in the sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla came directly from Toho, following the logic that Mothra continued to be one of the company's most popular kaiju while the previous film had already indicated that the events of her debut film occurred in its continuity.[6] While Mothra and Mechagodzilla were both recurring monsters in the Godzilla series and considered among Toho's "Big Five" most popular monsters, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS would mark their first onscreen appearance together. Mothra's role in the story was written as a direct tribute to 1964's Mothra vs. Godzilla, in which the imago Mothra is killed in battle with Godzilla before her twin larvae ultimately defeat him.[6] However, this film featured the addition of Kiryu into the battle between Mothra and Godzilla.

Shinji Nishikawa designed the imago Mothra as well as her larvae. The imago Mothra's design was based on the First Generation Mothra with the exception of her legs, which were made longer and more detailed.[3] Model producer Shinichi Wakasa considered using Rainbow Mothra as a design base early on, as he really liked the mix of warm and cool colors of its wings. However, after a talk with director Masaaki Tezuka, Wakasa ended up creating a more traditional Mothra model akin to the 1961 version.[7] The imago prop was 3.7 meters long and covered in fur imported from the United States. While in past films imago Mothra props had only been suspended from above by piano wire, this prop had wires attached to both the top and bottom to compensate for the weak downward flapping motion of Mothra's wings in prior films. In addition, the staff were able to adjust the weight loaded inside of the prop according to how strong they wanted Mothra's wings to be flapping in a given scene, making the flapping of Mothra's wings appear more natural.[6] This prop was reused for Mothra's appearance in Godzilla Final Wars the following year, with only slight alterations made to its head. A 3D computer-generated model was also created to depict the imago Mothra in flight for some shots. This model was created using detailed photographs of the prop provided by MONSTERS Inc.[3]


Mothra larva concept art by Shinji Nishikawa

For this film, it was decided to design Mothra's larvae as non-identical siblings of different genders. One larva was a male with longer tusks and tail spikes with many spots on his face, while the other was a female with shorter tusks and tail spikes and fewer facial spots. The staff distinguished between the larvae by calling the male larva Taro (太郎,   Tarō) and the female Hanako (花子,   Hanako).[2] Before any models were created, the staff built a concept model from styrofoam. Both Hanako and Taro's props utilized the same clay head prototype. Movement, action, close-up, and water models were created for the two larvae. The close-up models both featured radio-controlled mouths. In addition, hand-operated puppets of the larvae's heads were created to depict them hatching.[3]

Design[edit | edit source]

The imago Mothra is made to resemble the original 1961 Mothra, retaining her slimmer build and fluffy hair all over her body. This Mothra's hair is longer than that of most previous incarnations, and is mostly white and brown. Her wing design is reminiscent of the original Mothra, with a similar pattern and primarily orange, black and yellow coloration. This Mothra possesses long, hair-covered antennae and round, bright blue eyes. Compared to the original Mothra, this Mothra's legs are much longer and more detailed.

The twin Mothra larvae from Godzilla: Tokyo SOS are actually non-identical, and display some minor sexual dimorphism upon closer examination. The male larva possesses longer tusks and tail spikes, along with more spots on his face compared to the female. The larvae's eyes are initially blue, but turn red after their mother is killed.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Mothra is a benevolent creature concerned with preserving the natural order of Earth. While she prefers to coexist peacefully with humanity, she is offended at mankind's use of the original Godzilla's remains to build the anti-Godzilla weapon Kiryu. Through her Shobijin, Mothra communicates that she will be forced to declare war on humanity should they refuse to return Godzilla's remains to the sea. Despite these threats, Mothra ultimately comes to Japan's aid and battles Godzilla, even though Kiryu is still in commission. Mothra later gives up her life to defend her newborn larvae from Godzilla. The two Mothra larvae show a great deal of affection for their mother, and are both heartbroken and enraged when she is killed. They ultimately work together with Kiryu to finally defeat Godzilla.

Origins[edit | edit source]

The imago Mothra is a descendant of the original Mothra that attacked Tokyo and New Kirk City in 1961. Mothra normally lives on Infant Island peacefully with her Shobijin, but travels to Japan in 2004 after becoming aware that the JSDF has used the remains of the original Godzilla to construct a weapon. The larvae both hatched from a single egg that their mother laid on an island, and immediately traveled to Tokyo to assist her against Godzilla.

History[edit | edit source]

Millennium era[edit | edit source]

Godzilla: Tokyo SOS[edit | edit source]

Mothra Imago in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS

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 the original 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 the egg Mothra left behind on a remote island hatched into two twin larvae, much to the Shobijin's surprise. The larvae reached Tokyo and met up with their mother, who had been wounded in the battle and was now unable to fly. While the larvae were conversing with their mother, Godzilla fired his atomic breath at them. Mothra quickly jumped into the air in front of her offspring, absorbing the entirety of the blast and exploding in a burst of flames. The larvae were heartbroken at their mother's death, and after briefly mourning her they entered battle against Godzilla. The larvae were too small and weak to seriously hurt Godzilla, but Kiryu soon reentered the battle and seriously wounded Godzilla by drilling into his chest. The larvae took the opportunity to spit silk all over Godzilla, trapping him inside a giant cocoon. Godzilla fell to the ground, but rather than kill him, Kiryu simply flew with Godzilla out to sea and sank into the Japan Trench with him. Their mother's death avenged, the larvae returned to Infant Island with the Shobijin.


Abilities[edit | edit source]

Hurricane Winds[edit | edit source]

Mothra pushes Godzilla back with wind produced by her wings

The imago Mothra can flap her wings rapidly to produce powerful hurricane-force winds that are capable of knocking Godzilla off his feet.

Claws[edit | edit source]

The imago Mothra uses her claws to grab onto Godzilla's head and scratch at his face.

Scales[edit | edit source]

Mothra releases scales from her wings which reflect Godzilla's atomic breath

Mothra's weapon of last resort is to release a cloud of golden scales from her wings. These scales seem to impede and weaken Godzilla, as well as cause his atomic breath to explode back in his face. Using the scales causes Mothra to lose her ability to fly.

Amphibiousness[edit | edit source]

Both Mothra larvae are adept swimmers, and swam all the way to Tokyo under their own power to assist their mother against Godzilla.

Mandibles[edit | edit source]

The Mothra larvae can use their mandibles to bite enemies. One larva sneaks up behind Godzilla and bites down on his tail, which enrages him.

Silk[edit | edit source]

The two larvae can spit a stream of silk from their mouths. They ultimately defeat Godzilla by encasing him in a silken cocoon after he is seriously wounded by Kiryu.

Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

Mothra is set on fire and killed by Godzilla's atomic breath

Mothra is physically weaker than Godzilla, and is easily overpowered by him in physical combat. Godzilla is able to blast off part of Mothra's wing with his atomic breath, as well as bite off one of her legs. Mothra is eventually destroyed by a direct blast of Godzilla's atomic breath. Using her scales also causes Mothra to lose her ability to stay airborne. The Mothra larvae are much smaller and weaker than Godzilla, who can easily knock them aside with his tail or blast them with his atomic breath. It is only the combined efforts of both larvae and Kiryu that are able to overcome Godzilla.


Filmography[edit | edit source]

Video games[edit | edit source]

Godzilla (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4)[edit | edit source]

Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Mothra.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: Mothra/Gallery.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The imago Mothra's identity is not discussed within the context of Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, and it is seemingly implied to be the same Mothra featured in her debut film. Supplementary materials, however, reveal that this Mothra is merely a descendant of the original Mothra.
  • The way one larva bites down on Godzilla's tail is a reference to a similar scene from Mothra vs. Godzilla, which was also referenced in Godzilla vs. Mothra.
  • The male Mothra larva from Godzilla: Tokyo SOS is the first known instance of a male Mothra appearing in a Godzilla film, not counting the Mothra larva in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, which was only referred to as a male in the film's English dub. A male Mothra, Mothra Leo, was previously the focus of the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy and also appeared in the television series Godzilla Island, while a male larva was also featured in the 1984 Godzilland merchandise line.

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Mothra (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS). 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: [1]

  1. 3236439885 31de09d460 h.jpg
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Shimazaki, Jun and Yuji Kobayashi (30 December 2003). Godzilla: Tokyo SOS Fantastic Collection. Asahi Sonorama. p. 30. ISBN 4-257-03688-5.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Godzilla: Tokyo SOS Super Complete Works. Shogakukan. 1 January 2004. pp. 46, 56. ISBN 978-4091014931. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "GMMGSCW" defined multiple times with different content
  4. Toho Special Effects All Monster Encyclopedia. Shogakukan. 23 July 2014. p. 115. ISBN 4-096-82090-3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Uchusen Issue #108. Hobby Japan. September 2003. p. 39.
    Uchusen 108 p39.jpg
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. 28 September 2012. pp. 280–283. ISBN 9784864910132.
  7. Uchusen Issue #108. Hobby Japan. September 2003. p. 95.
    Uchusen 108 p95.jpg

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