Born from an egg summoned by Mothra in her old age, Mothra Leo hatched prematurely to help his mother battle the evil Desghidorah after he was unleashed from his ancient tomb. The young larva fought Desghidorah but was severely outmatched. Mothra saved her son before he was washed away in a flood triggered by Desghidorah destroying a dam, and carried him safely out to sea, where her strength finally failed her and she drowned. Leo desperately tried to save his mother, but to no avail. Determined to avenge her, Leo cocooned himself and emerged in his more powerful imago form, then engaged in a rematch with Desghidorah, defeating him and successfully sealing him back in his tomb. The following year, Leo traveled to the Nilai-Kanai Temple to battle the toxic monster Dagahra, only to be soundly defeated. However, the monster Ghogo sacrificed himself to revive Leo and transform him into the more powerful Rainbow Mothra. Rainbow Mothra then transformed into Aqua Mothra and destroyed Dagahra. A year later, Rainbow Mothra faced King Ghidorah at Mount Fuji to rescue the many children the space monster had kidnapped. King Ghidorah was far too powerful a foe for Rainbow Mothra and nearly killed him. The Elias used their remaining strength to send Rainbow Mothra back in time to the Cretaceous, so he could battle King Ghidorah while he was younger and weaker. Rainbow Mothra defeated King Ghidorah but was severely wounded in the process. Several Primitive Mothras encased Rainbow Mothra in a cocoon, where he remained until the present day. When King Ghidorah reappeared in the present, Rainbow Mothra emerged from his cocoon as the more powerful Armor Mothra, and engaged in a final battle with his foe. Armor Mothra was able to vanquish the King of Terror and free his prisoners, then shed his armor to become Eternal Mothra and returned to Infant Island with Fairy and the Elias.
Mothra Leo was also featured as a resident of Godzilla Island in the television series of the same name. The son of Mothra, Leo defended his younger sister Baby Mothra from hostile monsters such as Battra, and fought alongside Godzilla and his allies to defend the island. In addition, Mothra Leo and his various forms appear in other officially licensed media including video games and card games.
Mothra Leo is only ever referred to onscreen as Mothra (モスラ) in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. Most official Japanese sources call him New Mothra (新モスラ Shin Mosura) or Rebirth Mothra (新生モスラ, while others instead give him the name Mothra Excelled Shinsei Mosura) (モスラ・エクセルド. Mosura Ekuserudo) Two English variations of this name, Exceled Mothra and Excelled Mothra, are used in All Toho Monsters Pictorial Book. The name "Mothra Leo" (モスラレオ originates from the title of a Mosura Reo)song sung by the Elias in Rebirth of Mothra as the monster forms his cocoon and emerges as an imago. While this name is never spoken onscreen to refer to the character, it was widely adopted by both Japanese and English-speaking fans to refer to this incarnation of Mothra. The name was finally used officially to refer to the character in the Toho DVD release for Rebirth of Mothra II, though it was spelled with an interpunct (モスラ・レオ). The English spelling "Mothra Leo" is used for the character in the 2019 mobile game Godzilla Defense Force. Each of Mothra Leo's different forms after his imago stage has its own distinct name, although only Aqua Mothra is individually trademarked.
In Japanese, Mothra Leo's forms are denoted as Rainbow Mothra (レインボーモスラ, Reinbō Mosura) Aqua Mothra (アクアモスラ Akua Mosura) or Underwater Mode Mothra (水中モード・モスラ, Suichū Mōdo Mosura) Micro Mothra (ミクロモスラ Mikuro Mosura) or Aqua Micro Mothra (アクア・ミクロモスラ, Akua Mikuro Mosura) Light Speed Mode Mothra (光速モード・モスラ Kōsoku Mōdo Mosura) or Rainbow Mothra Light Speed Mode (レインボーモスラ・光速モード), Armor Mothra (鎧モスラ, Yoroi Mosura) and Armor Mothra Eternal (鎧モスラ・エターナル Yoroi Mosura Etānaru) or Eternal Mothra (エタナール・モスラ. Etanāru Mosura)
Additionally, Mothra Leo, including all of his forms, are given the subtitle Guardian Beast (守護神獣. Shugoshinjū) The 1998 video game Godzilla: Trading Battle also gives both the larva and imago forms of Leo the subtitle Guardian Deity of Greenery (緑の守護神. Midori no Shugojin)
The basis for the character of Mothra Leo originated with Kazuki Omori's screenplay for Mothra vs. Bagan, which featured Mothra's newborn larva appearing to assist its mother in the final battle with Bagan. As Rebirth of Mothra repackaged many concepts from this story, it also retained this plot point. However, whereas Mothra vs. Bagan ended with the adult Mothra dying after successfully sealing Bagan away, the new film would have the adult Mothra die during the middle of the film only for her larva to take her place for the final battle against Desghidorah. The larval Mothra was considerably revamped for this story, being given entirely new abilities that the character had never possessed before. In addition, the larva would now mature into an adult for the final battle, and this adult Mothra was also substantially different from its mother. The new more powerful Mothra would go on to become the primary focus of the subsequent two films of the trilogy.
Mothra Leo's larval stage was modeled by Takafumi Tanibuchi and Masayuki Kurahashi of Boncraft. As special effects director Koichi Kawakita was dissatisfied with the movement of the Mothra larva prop from Godzilla vs. Mothra, he requested that the new prop be able to move its body in a wave-like motion akin to a real caterpillar. Kawakita ordered an internal mechanism for the prop from Myuron, a company specializing in mechanical modeling. The prop was built with a gimmick which allowed different parts of its body to move up and down independently through the expulsion of compressed air inside of it. This allowed the prop to capture the realistic movement of an actual caterpillar. There were at least two separate Mothra Leo larva props created for the film, one of which was later refurbished and used for Mothra's larval stage in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
Staff members from Rebirth of Mothra with two Mothra Leo larva props
Toho Special Art created two props for Mothra Leo's imago stage. They were modeled by Tsutomu Kobayashi, Naoki Nieda, Hideki Nomoto, Keyoji Nagata, Kumie Ishizaki, and Maki Kobayashi. To complement the more realistic model of Mothra Leo's larval stage, the imago props were given more realistic mouths than past Mothra designs. Staff members were told to only touch the imago Mothra Leo prop after they had washed their hands, as dirt from their hands would show up on the prop.
The Mothra Leo imago prop was reused for Rebirth of Mothra II. It was slightly modified and repainted in order to portray Leo's new form of Rainbow Mothra. In addition, a new prop was created for Leo's Aqua Mothra form. The design of Aqua Mothra was based on an unused design considered for a "high-speed flight form" for Mothra Leo in the previous film. Toho Special Art was again responsible for modeling Aqua Mothra. Its body was constructed from latex while its fins were made of vinyl chloride so that they appeared transparent. Aqua Mothra's "Illusion Mirage Aqua" ability he uses to defeat Dagahra was not in the film's screenplay, but was conceived during filming by Koichi Kawakita in order to differentiate the battle from that in the previous film. This was also Kawakita's way of finally realizing a battle within a monster's body, an unfulfilled idea he had for the scrapped Heisei Godzilla films Micro Super Battle: Godzilla vs. Gigamoth, Godzilla's Counterattack, Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong, Micro-Universe in Godzilla, and a very early story for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. Naoki Nieda, Keyoji Nagata, Tsutomu Watanabe, and Maki Kobayashi were all credited for "Mothra Modeling" in the film, but it was not specified for which forms they were responsible.
- Main article: Mothra Leo/Gallery#Concept Art.
For Rebirth of Mothra III, a new Rainbow Mothra prop was constructed to replace the previous one. Concept art for the new Rainbow Mothra design gave it various different color schemes and a more streamlined appearance, while the finished prop had more pronounced white fur with the rainbow colors on its wings replaced with a blue and orange color scheme. This prop was accidentally destroyed during filming of the scene where the Primitive Mothras encase Rainbow Mothra in a cocoon. The thinner used to create the Primitive Mothras' silk ignited during filming and set the Rainbow Mothra prop on fire, requiring the filmmakers to retrieve a new prop and film the scene again with it.
- Main article: Mothra Leo/Gallery#Concept Art.
The Aqua Mothra prop from the previous film was also used briefly for the scene where Rainbow Mothra transforms into this form before becoming Light Speed Mothra. Unlike Mothra Leo's other forms, Light Speed Mothra was portrayed entirely through CGI rather than a prop. New props were created for Mothra Leo's final two forms, Armor Mothra and Eternal Mothra. Different color palettes and wing shapes were considered for Armor Mothra before the final prop opted for wings composed of a single piece with pointed tips and a silver, blue, and orange color scheme. Masayuki Kurahashi was credited for "Mothra Mechanical Production" on the film, while Tadashi Ogawa, Kenji Haraguchi, Motohisa Nagano, Masakazu Mukai, and Hajime Inui were credited for "Mothra Modeling." John R. Moot and Alan G. Thoday were credited for "Mothra Fur Production," and Makiko Akimoto and Kenichi Kuwajima were credited for "Mothra Mecha Production." As was the case for Rebirth of Mothra II, the credits did not specify the individual forms for which the staff were responsible.
The Armor Mothra prop is prepared for filming of the final fight scene with King Ghidorah.
Mothra Leo takes on many different forms and appearances over the course of the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. In his larval form, Leo looks very similar to Mothra's larval form from Godzilla vs. Mothra, however he is lighter in color. After transforming into his imago form, Leo resembles his mother's imago form, but has several distinguishing features. His wings are somewhat more triangular and have different designs and color schemes. His abdomen is more rounded and less defined than Mothra's. Leo also has green eyes, three beads on his forehead, and feather-like antennae, resembling those of a male moth. After transforming into Rainbow Mothra in Rebirth of Mothra II, Leo's wings change from orange and green in color to all of the colors of the rainbow. As Aqua Mothra, Leo's appearance is more streamlined, and he lacks fur. Leo's wings are replaced with four fins, and he also gains fins on his tail.
In Rebirth of Mothra III, Rainbow Mothra's design changes. He now has a less bulky body, thinner legs, and backward-facing antennae. Leo's wings are a combination of blue, orange, black and white rather than all of the colors of the rainbow, and his eyes are blue rather than green. His form Light Speed Mothra looks almost identical to Aqua Mothra, but is blurry due to its quick movement. As Armor Mothra, Leo possesses a silvery armored shell around his body, with sharp jagged wings with different patterns. In his final form, Eternal Mothra, he looks very similar to Armor Mothra, only without the armored shell and with white fur all over his body.
Mothra Leo is a steadfast guardian of the Earth, charging into action whenever the Elias call upon him and fighting until his strength is spent, even against vastly more powerful foes. He is not above doing favors for individual humans as well, letting Taiki and Wakaba ride on him while he restored the Hokkaido rain forest, and clearing a path for the group who explored the Nilai-Kanai Temple to escape.
In the Rebirth of Mothra universe, Leo and Mothra were the last remaining members of a highly advanced species of giant moths created as guardians to the Elias, an ancient civilization of small yet powerful humanoids far older than humanity.
At the end of the 20th century, the last Mothra laid an egg, ensuring that her guardian race would live on. Her priestesses, Moll and Lora, sensed the site director of a logging company removing the Seal of Elias from a Hokkaido forest. Their evil sister Belvera soon seized the Seal and used it to awaken the space monster Desghidorah, who Mothra and her kin had locked away 65 million years ago. Left with no other option, Moll and Lora called upon Mothra to battle Desghidorah. She caught him by surprise, but was clearly outmatched. Responding to his mother's distress, Leo hatched from his egg and joined the fight. But his webbing could only briefly hold the monster back, and Mothra had to come to his rescue. Even working in tandem, they could not overcome Desghidorah, so Mothra tricked him into firing on a dam. As the waters washed him away, she carried her son out to sea, but soon succumbed to her injuries. Leo could only watch as his mother sank beneath the waves. He traveled to Yakushima to metamorphose, building his cocoon around the ancient Jomon Sugi tree. Hundreds of multicolored moths emerged from the cocoon before coalescing into Leo's imago form. He flew to Hokkaido for a rematch with Desghidorah. This time, he had an overwhelming edge in speed, firepower, and even raw strength, and put the three-headed monster out of commission with the Shine Strike Buster. Moll and Lora used the Seal, which they had regained from Belvera with the help of the site director's children, to trap Desghidorah once more. Leo restored the forest to its former resplendent state with a Pulsaphonic Shower before returning home to Infant Island.
A year after his battle with Desghidorah, Moll and Lora summoned Mothra Leo to battle Dagahra. Created by the ancient civilization of Nilai-Kanai, he was infesting the Okinawan waters with toxic starfish called Barem. Leo's Sparkling Pileload seemed to give him the advantage, repelling a vicious sneak attack from Dagahra and driving him deeper and deeper into the ocean. But from there he unleashed a Thundering Toxic Crimson Vortex, covering Leo in Barem. Moll and Lora tried to dislodge them with lasers from their hands, but there were far too many. Dahagra tackled Leo into the Nilai-Kanai pyramid, felling a statue, and dragged him underwater. The remaining statues imbued Leo with a temporary burst of strength and fired on Dagahra, burying him under rock. Leo managed to surface and collapsed on top of the pyramid. Sprouting two new shoulder cannons, Dagahra soon renewed his attack on Leo from underwater. The statues granted him another burst of energy to knock Dagahra back. Shiori Uranai, one of Moll and Lora's human allies, presented Leo with Ghogo, the living treasure of Nilai-Kanai. The little creature began to glow and floated above Leo, giving his life to transform him into Rainbow Mothra (レインボーモスラ. Dagahra was no match for this new form, his rays reflecting off an invisible shield. Flying low to the water, Mothra cleared a dry path for the humans to run to shore. Dagahra retreated underwater, but this time his opponent followed him, shifting into Aqua Mothra Reinbō Mosura) (アクアモスラ. After a withering barrage of beam attacks, he changed into a swarm of smaller Mothras and swam inside Dagahra's mouth, ravaging him from the inside. Reforming outside Dagahra's body, he lifted the motionless monster out of the water and dropped him on top of the pyramid, setting off a tremendous explosion. As flames consumed the pyramid, Mothra transformed it into water, then collapsed it with a slice of his wing. Akua Mosura)
King Ghidorah, a space monster who invaded Earth 130 million years ago, returned in a meteor and began abducting children across Japan. Rainbow Mothra challenged him before he could feed upon them, but an invisible barrier around Ghidorah blunted the impact of his rays. Ghidorah returned fire with his Gravity and Antigravity Beams, badly injuring him, then stomped him into the ground. Mothra was helpless as Ghidorah threw him into the air and sent him flying with another volley of Gravity Beams. Moll and Lora tried to distract him, only for him to place Lora under his control. After she tried strangling Moll, she fell into Ghidorah's dome. Recovering from the battle, Mothra told Moll that the only way to defeat Ghidorah was to travel through time back to his first attack on Earth, when he was significantly weaker. Moll sang to power his journey, as he shifted into his Aqua Mothra form, then Light Speed Mothra (光速モード・モスラ, but at the cost of her life. Mothra quickly found the younger Creataceous King Ghidorah, and as he rained down attacks, the Ghidorah in the present began to feel pain. One Crossheat Laser Rainbow blasted off part of Ghidorah's tail, and an alarmed pair of dinosaurs watched it burrow underground. But the younger Ghidorah was still a formidable opponent, and his fireballs began to wear Mothra down. In the present, Moll's ally Shota told Lora that her sister's last request was for her to help Mothra, and she returned to her senses. As he neared death, Lora's song imbued him with strength. He paralyzed Ghidorah with Excel Shining Field Rainbow powder, then carried him into the active Kōsoku Mōdo Mosura, lit. Light Speed Mode Mothra)Mt. Fuji. In the present, Ghidorah and the dome both vanished. As Lora and Belvera mourned Moll, three Primitive Mothra larvae came upon the fallen Mothra and cocooned him. Suddenly, Ghidorah burst out of a meteor in the present again, having regrown his body from the tail Mothra shot off. As Lora and Belvera bravely battled Ghidorah, Mothra's cocoon burst out of a hillside and opened to reveal his new form: Armor Mothra (鎧モスラ. Ghidorah was completely outmatched, his Gravity Beams useless. After slicing one of his wings off, Mothra energized himself and flew through Ghidorah, causing him to crystalize and explode. Mothra shed his armor, becoming Eternal Mothra Yoroi Mosura) (エタナール・モスラ, and combined his power with the Elias' sword to revive Moll. With the dome gone, the abducted children rushed to be reunited with their parents. They waved goodbye to the Elias and Mothra. Etanāru Mosura)
The larval Mothra Leo was with his dying mother inside of a cave when a meteor crashed, which turned out to be Hedorah. Mothra, while still in bad condition, flew towards Hedorah and fought him, but Hedorah brought the aging Mothra down. Hedorah then went after Leo, but Mothra got back up and picked him up, then with her remaining strength flew to a volcano and dropped him into it. Now struggling to fly, Mothra fell into the volcano too. Leo then left and formed a cocoon. Hedorah turned out to be alive when he came back out of the volcano. Hedorah saw Leo's cocoon and went after it, but was distracted by Godzilla. Leo emerged from the cocoon in his imago stage, then teamed up with Godzilla to defeat him.
Mothra Leo possesses considerably more abilities than his mother, which often vary depending on which form he takes.
- Mothra Leo can spray Excel Strings (エクセル・ストリングス Ekuseru Sutoringusu) from his mouth which have a multicolored electrical aftershock.
- Mothra Leo can produce a blue-green blast of energy from his chest, called a Petite Railgun (プチ・レールガン. Puchi Rērugan)
- Mothra Leo is able to create a Fake Reflection (フェイク・リフレクション, Feiku Rifurekushon) allowing him to blend in with his surroundings.
- Mothra Leo travels on land at a typical pace of 40 km/h and maximum 60 km/h. He can also travel through water at 130 km/h.
- After attaining his imago form, Leo can fly at speeds of up to Mach 15.5, though he can temporarily reach speeds of Mach 85 through an ability called the Excel Dash (エクセル・ダッシュ. Ekuseru Dasshu)
- Mothra Leo can emit a trio of thin beams from the gems on his forehead, called Crossheat Lasers (クロスヒート・レーザー. Kurosuhīto Rēzā)
Excel Shining Field
- By releasing a cloud of scales, Mothra Leo can create an energy field called the Excel Shining Field (エクセル・シャイニング・フィールド. Ekuseru Shainingu Fīrudo) Blue electrical energy may be discharged from this field.
Breast Power Beam
- The Breast Power Beam is a powerful blue chest laser capable of sending Dagahra hurtling through the air and vaporizing large swaths of water.
- Through the use of an ability known as Illusion Mirage (イリュージョン・ミラージュ, Mothra Leo is able to break apart into thousands of smaller, energized versions of himself called Crystal Mothras. Iryūjon Mirāju)
- In a technique called the Sparkling Pileload (スパークリング・パイルロード, Supākuringu Pairurōdo) Mothra Leo can project arcs of electricity from his wings which then erupt into devastating pillars of energy.
Shine Strike Buster
- Mothra Leo can perform a potent finishing move called the Shine Strike Buster (シャイン・ストライク・バスター, Shain Sutoraiku Basutā) in which he spins and flies upward into the air, raining circular blasts of energy onto a foe, before flying in a circle to create a giant lens with his scales, focusing the sun's solar rays into more destructive beams.
- Mothra Leo is able to dramatically speed up the growing process of plants by releasing a Pulsaphonic Shower (パルセフォニック・シャワー onto them. Parusefonikku Shawā) He used this to return the Hokkaido rain forest to its original state in a matter of minutes.
- In Godzilla Island, Mothra Leo can also fire red beams from his antennae.
- Flight at speeds up to Mach 15.5.
- Crossheat Laser Rainbow: a trio of thin beams emitted from the gems on his forehead, considerably stronger than his imago form's Cross Heat Lasers.
- Mineral Chest Cannon: a powerful blue chest laser. A rainbow variant of this attack called Aurora Power (オーロラパワー) was used to cut off his Aqua form's Pressure Field and send Dagahra falling towards Nilai-Kanai Temple.
- Excel Shining Field Rainbow: Rainbow Mothra can generate golden, explosive powder from his wings which can paralyze his opponent.
- Pressure Field: an invisible barrier capable of deflecting Dagahra's Irabushan Beam. However, it was unable to repel King Ghidorah's gravity beams or his younger form's fireballs.
- Arrow Buster: energy bolts released by spinning towards an opponent.
- Sparkling Pileload Rainbow: flying low across the water, Rainbow Mothra can part waves to create a dry path for several minutes.
- Rainbow Mothra can transform into Aqua Mothra.
- Aqua Mothra's maximum swimming speed is 200 knots.
- Crossheat Laser Aqua: a trio of thin beams emitted from the gems on his forehead.
- X-Thunderbeam: X-shaped energy blasts which form at Aqua Mothra's wings and fire from the head. They are usually blue, though there is a powerful orange variant as well.
- Crescent Dash Beam: V-shaped energy blasts fired from his antennae.
- Pressure Field: an invisible barrier capable of dissipating Dagahra's Irabushan Beams.
- Space Miracleforce: Aqua Mothra can generate a tractor beam in his wake, capable of lifting the 17,700-ton Dagahra out of the water and into the air.
- Illusion Mirage Aqua: Aqua Mothra is able to break apart into thousands of energized, 17.8-centimeter versions of himself, each of which can use his own Cross Heat Pulsar Beam.
- Capable of transforming into either Rainbow Mothra or Light Speed Mothra.
Light Speed Mothra
- Capable of flight at sublight speeds.
- Able to travel through time.
- Capable of transforming into Rainbow Mothra.
- Flight at speeds up to Mach 15.
- Armor Mothra's carapace is incredibly strong, allowing him to shrug off the same attacks from King Ghidorah that devastated his Rainbow form.
- Armor Wing Cutter: His razor-sharp wings were able to remove one of King Ghidorah's wings with two slices.
- Armor Crossheat Laser: a concentrated blue beam fired from the gems on his forehead, strong enough to penetrate King Ghidorah's barrier.
- Excel Dash Buster: Armor Mothra energizes himself and flies straight through an opponent, causing them to slowly turn to crystal and explode.
- Capable of transforming into Eternal Mothra.
Armor Mothra shrugs off King Ghidorah's attacks.
- Flight at speeds up to Mach 15.
- Celphonic Power: With the aid of the Elias Triangle, Eternal Mothra was able to restore life to Moll.
- As this form never fought another monster, his other abilities are unknown.
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
- Godzilla Island (TV 1997-1998) [55 episodes][note 1]
- Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)
- Mothra Tamagotchi (1997) - Bandai Tamagotchi
- Godzilla: Trading Battle (1998) - Sony PlayStation [Larva, Imago, Aqua]
- Mothra: Dream Battle (1998) - Sega Dreamcast VMU
- Monster Strike (2014) - Android and iOS [Armor]
- Godzilla: Kaiju Collection (2015) - Android and iOS [Aqua, Armor, Eternal]
- Godzilla Defense Force (2019) - Android and iOS [Imago, Rainbow, Armor]
- Main article: Mothra Leo/Gallery.
Mothra Leo's roars consist primarily of altered Mothra roars, which have been modified to sound deeper and more masculine. As Armor Mothra, Leo's roar is very mechanical-sounding, sounding almost like a drill.
- In the English dubs for the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, Leo's gender was changed from film to film. However, Mothra Leo is generally considered to be male, reflected by his name, more masculine-sounding roar, and fan-shaped antennae, while Mothra herself is female.
- Rainbow Mothra appears on the North American and PAL-region covers of Godzilla: Save the Earth, although the Mothra in the game is based on her Heisei incarnation.
- Mothra Leo the is lightest Mothra incarnation to date, regardless of his form. His imago, Rainbow, and Aqua forms are tied with the GMK Mothra as the shortest Mothra incarnation.
- Mothra Leo's chirp is used for the Pokémon Giratina in Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior and the Pokémon Lunala in the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime.
- 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.
This is a list of references for Mothra Leo. 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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