Mothra (Second Generation)
The Second Generation Mothra were the twin offspring of the original Mothra, who died defending her egg from Godzilla. Together, they managed to defeat Godzilla in battle on Iwa Island, trapping him in silk and sending him plummeting into the sea. The larvae returned to Infant Island with the Shobijin, but one larva died sometime prior to the events of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. The surviving larva was called upon to protect Japan from the space monster King Ghidorah, and successfully convinced Godzilla and Rodan to help her. The three monsters drove King Ghidorah back into space, and Mothra returned to Infant Island. By the events of Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Mothra had grown into her imago stage, and was sleeping on Infant Island as her people were abducted by a terrorist group called the Red Bamboo and brought to Letchi Island as slaves. The islanders successfully awakened Mothra, and she flew to Letchi Island to rescue her people before the island self-destructed.
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." The twin Mothra larvae from Mothra vs. Godzilla are designated as the Second Generation Mothra (二代目モスラ in reference to their status as the second onscreen incarnation of the character. This name is also applied to the single surviving twin in her following two film appearances. Nidaime Mosura)
Development[edit | edit source]
The heads of the Mothra larvae in Mothra vs. Godzilla were sculpted by Teizo Toshimitsu, while the bodies were modeled by the Yagi brothers Kanju and Yasuei and Keizo Murase. The larva props were made from urethane. Two larva props were created and equipped with self-propelling internal mechanisms and wheels, along with two manually-operated props. The same technique used for the self-propelled larva props would be used for the monster Namegon in Ultra Q two years later. For the scene of the two larvae hatching from their egg, two hand puppets of the larvae's heads 2.5 times larger than the heads of the main props were operated by a puppeteer inside the egg model. The beaks of the larvae were made of wood and painted with rubber. The hand puppets featured differently-colored eyes for each larva: one possessed red eyes, while the other had blue eyes. The full larva props used for the final battle sequence on Iwa Island both possessed blue eyes. The silk spit by the larvae was created by spraying a rubber paste dissolved in thinner. During filming, this silk compound was known to get stuck to the faces of staff members. A self-propelled and a manually operated larva prop were reused for the surviving Mothra larva in the following film, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. For this film, the eyes of the props were changed from blue to red.
A production still of one of the recycled Mothra larva props in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
For distant shots of Mothra's egg, matte paintings were used. A miniature model was used for sequences of the egg alongside Mothra and Godzilla. A full-sized partial model of the egg was created for shots of the human characters standing near and interacting with the egg.
For the portrayal of the surviving Second Generation Mothra's imago stage in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, both the large imago prop with a two meter wingspan from Mothra and the main prop from Mothra vs. Godzilla were used. Wires were sewn onto the Indian fabric of the wings to reinforce them. A matte painting was used to depict Mothra sleeping on Infant Island. Pair Bambi were placed on a platform covered in white fur to portray the Shobijin riding on Mothra's head.
The recycled 1964 Mothra imago prop on set for Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
The recycled 1964 Mothra prop faces off with the NankaiGoji suit.
Design[edit | edit source]
Mothra is 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 eyes. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, the larval Mothra's eyes are blue, while they are red in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. 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.
Personality[edit | edit source]
The Second Generation Mothra, like her mother before her, is a kind and benevolent creature. Mothra acts as a guardian to the natives on Infant Island, and is spoken for by the Shobijin. This Mothra also makes a concerted effort to communicate with other kaiju, shown when she convinces Godzilla and Rodan to aid her in fighting off King Ghidorah.
Origins[edit | edit source]
The Second Generation Mothra is the daughter of the First Generation Mothra, and was one of two twin larvae born from her egg. Mothra and her twin sister helped to defeat Godzilla after their mother's death, but her sister died sometime after the battle. The surviving larva then took her mother's place as the guardian of Infant Island.
History[edit | edit source]
After Mothra died following her battle with Godzilla, 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.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Silk[edit | edit source]
In her larval form, Mothra is capable of spitting a stream of silk from her mouth. This silk is incredibly tough, and was able to bind Godzilla and allow Mothra to defeat him in their battle in Mothra vs. Godzilla. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Mothra uses her silk to force Godzilla and Rodan to stop fighting, and later uses it to bind King Ghidorah.
Mandibles[edit | edit source]
In her larval form, Mothra uses her mandibles to bite down on Godzilla's tail, causing him severe pain. She later bites his tail again in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, but this time to allow him to pull her up a slope.
Strength[edit | edit source]
Mothra's imago form demonstrates a fair degree of strength in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, when she is able to easily knock Godzilla to the ground and avoid a battle with him as she tries to rescue the Infant Islanders from Letchi Island.
Intelligence[edit | edit source]
Perhaps this Mothra's greatest asset is her intelligence. Mothra can communicate with humans through her Shobijin, and can also communicate directly with other kaiju. Mothra is able to convince Godzilla and Rodan, both previously threats to humanity, to join forces with her and fend off King Ghidorah. This Mothra is responsible for sparking Godzilla's transition from a villain to a defender of Earth. In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Mothra wisely chooses to avoid a confrontation with Godzilla by knocking him away, allowing her to rescue the Infant Islanders from Letchi Island before it explodes.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
For all of her other abilities, this Mothra suffers from a tremendous size and strength disadvantage while in her larval form. She is only able to defeat Godzilla in their battle thanks to the assistance of her twin sister. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, with her twin sister dead and gone, Mothra is incapable of physically confronting other kaiju by herself, shown when she is easily blasted by King Ghidorah's gravity beams when she tries to attack him. It is only through the assistance of Godzilla and Rodan that she is able to triumph.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) [stock footage; erroneous]
- Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984) [stock footage]
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla (2014) - PlayStation 3 and 4 [Kaiju Guide]
Kaiju Guide[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (2014 video game)/Kaiju Guide#Mothra.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mothra/Gallery.
Roar[edit | edit source]
Mothra's chirps are actually Anguirus' roars sped up.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Second Generation Mothra larva's length of 40 meters is said to be 26.5 times as long as a human is tall, with her weight of 10,000 metric tons being equivalent to 2,500 elephants.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Mothra (Second Generation). 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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