Rebirth of Mothra 3 (1998)
The strongest enemy, the final transformation. (最強の敵、最後の変身。)
Rebirth of Mothra 3 (モスラ3 キングギドラ来襲 is a Mosura Surī: Kingu Gidora Raishū, lit. "Mothra 3: Invasion of King Ghidorah")1998 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Okihiro Yoneda and written by Masami Suetani, with special effects by Kenji Suzuki. Produced by Toho Pictures with special effects produced by Toho Eizo Bijutsu, it is the final entry in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. It stars Megumi Kobayashi, Misato Tate, Aki Hano, Atsushi Ohnita, Miyuki Matsuda, Takuma Yoshizawa, Kyohei Shinozaki, and Ayano Suzuki. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on December 12, 1998. An English-dubbed version of the film premiered in North America on the Sci-Fi Channel on May 31, 2003, though unlike the prior two films it did not receive a home video release in the region until 2014.
When the dreaded King Ghidorah returns to Earth and begins abducting children in order to feed on their life forces, Rainbow Mothra and the Elias attempt to stop him but are hopelessly outmatched. Moll sacrifices herself to send Mothra back in time to the Cretaceous Period, when King Ghidorah was considerably weaker and nearly drove the dinosaurs to extinction, in a desperate attempt to stop him. But even with his foe in his younger state, Mothra must use all of his strength if he hopes to conquer the King of Terror.
Belvera breaks into an ancient temple and unlocks a massive-by-her-standards box. When her sisters Moll and Lora confront her, she calls forth and seizes three triangular jewels from the box. Hopping onto her steed, Garugaru, she teases a power called the Elias Triangle. As Belvera leaves, Moll and Lora call Fairy to tackle Garugaru, causing her to drop two of the gems. Belvera lets them go, warning they'll be necessary for the "King of Terror." The gem reading "Courage" fits onto Moll's sword, causing it to glow orange and elongate, but "Wisdom" fails to work on Lora's sword. Moll concludes it was meant for Belvera.
A meteor explodes as it enters Earth's atmosphere. Returning home to his family that night, Yusuke Sonoda reports that the skies are full of shooting stars. One lands outside Katsuyama. As it glows orange, dirt and debris around it rises into the air. The next morning, the Elias find little left of the meteorite. Fairy scans it and finds that it dates back to the time of the dinosaurs. The monster that emerged begins abducting children from their schools. Belvera, flying into a classroom suddenly devoid of students, names the menace: King Ghidorah. The Sonodas' eldest son Shota, who has stopped going to school, slips past the police blockade of the crash site.
Moll concludes that Ghidorah plans to exterminate humanity, just as he nearly did to the dinosaurs 130 million years ago. She and Lora call upon Rainbow Mothra to stop him as he attacks a city with shockwaves. The children he snatched reappear in a giant dome near the crash site. A soccer ball one throws at the dome instantly dissolves, sparking a panic. Shota watches Ghidorah land next to the dome and peer inside. Just then, Mothra attacks, but an invisible barrier around Ghidorah blunts all of his rays. He fires Gravity and Antigravity Beams in response, badly injuring him, then stomps her into the ground. Mothra is helpless as Ghidorah throws him into the air and sends him flying with another volley of Gravity Beams. Moll and Lora try to distract him, with Fairy firing her antennae lasers, only for one of his head to glare at Lora and place her under his control. She tries to strangle Moll and they both tumble from Fairy towards the dome.
Triumphant, Ghidorah continues abducting children, including the Sonodas' other children, Shohei and Tamako. Tentacles shoot out from the dome, ensnaring Belvera and Garugaru. More target Shota as he spots his siblings in the dome, but Fairy, now only carrying Moll, repels them. The Sonodas learn of the dome's location on TV and realize they can reach it through a nearby wind cave which serves as Shota's hideout. He leads Moll through the cave, and they find Mothra resting on the other side. Inside the doom, the mind-controlled Lora crosses blades with Belvera, using her "Love" jewel to extend her sword.
Mothra tells Moll that the only way to defeat Ghidorah is to travel through time back to Ghidorah's first attack on Earth, 130 million years ago, when he was significantly weaker. Moll sings to power his journey, as he shifts into his Aqua Mothra form, then Light Speed Mothra. Her strength fading, she gives Shota her sword and tells him to make Lora see the light again before turning to crystal. He dares Ghidorah to capture him, and the monster obliges. As he arrives inside the dome, it begins to fill with acid. In the past, Mothra stops Ghidorah from eating a Triceratops. The younger Ghidorah has no shield, and as Mothra rains down attacks, the Ghidorah in the present begins to feel pain. As she holds her sword to his throat, Shota tells Lora that Moll's last request was for her to help Mothra, and she returns to her senses. Her sword fuses with Moll's, causing Belvera to realize the Elias Triangle refers to her and her sisters. She attaches the "Wisdom" jewel to her sword, then merges it with the others.
Mothra shoots off part of Ghidorah's tail; an alarmed Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex watch as it burrows underground. But the younger Ghidorah is still a formidable opponent, and his fireballs begin to wear Mothra down. As he nears death, Lora's song gives him strength. He paralyzes Ghidorah with Excel Shining Field Rainbow powder, then carries him into the active Mt. Fuji. In the present, Ghidorah and the dome both vanish. As Lora and Belvera mourn Moll, three Primitive Mothra larvae come upon the fallen Mothra and cocoon him. Suddenly, King Ghidorah bursts out of a meteor in the present again, having regrown his body from the tail Mothra shot off. The Sonodas can only watch as he abducts the children again. With Mothra's whereabouts unknown, Lora and Belvera battle Ghidorah themselves on Fairy. As they do, Mothra's cocoon bursts out of a hillside and opens to reveal his new form: Armor Mothra. Ghidorah is completely outmatched: his Gravity Beams have no effect and Mothra even drops him to the ground with a ram. After slicing one of his wings off, Mothra energizes himself and flies through Ghidorah, causing him to crystalize and explode.
Mothra sheds his armor, becoming Eternal Mothra, and combines his power with the sword to revive Moll. Belvera departs on Garugaru, telling her sisters it doesn't matter if they don't agree with each other. With the dome gone, the children rush to be reunited with their parents, including the Sonodas. They wave goodbye to the Elias and Mothra.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Okihiro Yoneda
- Written by Masumi Suetani
- Executive producer Shogo Tomiyama
- Associate producer Ritsuko Suzuki
- Assistant producer Makoto Horiguchi
- Associate planner Hiroaki Kitayama
- Visual effects producer Toshihiro Ogawa
- Music by Toshiyuki Watanabe
- Theme song "Mothra's Song"
- Theme song "Haora Mothra"
- Performed by Megumi Kobayashi, Misato Tate
- Lyrics by Yoginka
- Composed and arranged by Toshiyuki Watanabe
- Ending theme "Future"
- Performed by Megumi Kobayashi
- Lyrics, composition, and arrangement by RYUZI
- Cinematography by Yoshinori Sekiguchi
- Edited by Nobuo Ogawa
- Production design by Akira Sakuragi
- 1st assistant director Masaaki Tezuka
- Director of special effects Kenji Suzuki
- 1st assistant director of special effects Akira Kato
- Visual effects supervisors Yutaka Onodera, Tetsuo Ohya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Megumi Kobayashi as Moll
- Misato Tate as Lora
- Aki Hano as Belvera
- Atsushi Ohnita as Yusuke Sonoda
- Miyuki Matsuda as Yukie Sonoda
- Takuma Yoshizawa as Shota Sonoda
- Kyohei Shinozaki as Shohei Sonoda
- Ayano Suzuki as Tamako Sonoda
- Koichi Ueda as Principal Kocho
- Atsushi Ohnita
- Miyuki Matsuda
- Takuma Yoshizawa
- Ayano Suzuki
- Kyoko Donowaki
- Hironori Okajima
- Toru Kodama
- Yoshinobu Yano
- Wataru Takeda
- Makoto Fudano
- Kensuke Kikuchi
- Hiromi Watanabe
- Maki Taniguchi
- Harumi Yoshitoshi
- Kaori Yanagioka
- Chiharu Tsuji
- Yoko Midorikawa
- Mika Iketani
- Futoshi Tanifuji as Elementary school teacher
- Kazunori Shigeki
- Naomi Kusumi
- Kariko To
- Katsuya Takamatsu
- Tomisaburo Horikoshi
- Masaaki Morita
- Hideo Usui
- Osamu Okado
- Kimie Suzuki
- Hiromi Suzuki as Teacher watching TV
- Sayaka Yamaguchi
- Shiro Namiki as Newscaster
- Hoei Project, Gekidan Himawari, Theatre Academy, Tokyohoei Television, Gekidan Tohai, Central Kodomo Talent, Central Kodomo Gekidan, Tokyo Jido Gekidan, Nihon Jido as Child extras
- Tsutomu Kitagawa as King Ghidorah / Cretaceous King Ghidorah
Weapons, vehicles, and races
According to an interview with special effects director Koichi Kawakita, Toho planned to produce a new film featuring King Ghidorah as early as December 1995. The film was initially planned for release in 1999, but King Ghidorah was eventually worked into Rebirth of Mothra 3 in 1998. Toho considered introducing another new kaiju for the film as the antagonist, which was to be fire-themed; however, it was ultimately decided to use a popular existing monster instead. Originally, Rodan was to be the villain, while Mothra Leo would have traveled back in time to medieval Japan rather than the Cretaceous Period. Other dropped concepts included explicitly tying King Ghidorah to Nostradamus's "King of Terror" prophecy, and naming the space monster as Desghidorah's father. A remnant of the Nostradamus connection survives in the finished film with the moniker Moll and Lora ascribe to King Ghidorah.
- Main article: Rebirth of Mothra 3/Gallery.
- Main article: Rebirth of Mothra 3/Soundtrack.
- Mothra 3: Invasion of King Ghidorah (literal Japanese title)
- Mothra III Invasion of Kingghidora (alternate English title)
- Rebirth of Mothra III (United States home video title)
- Mothra: King Ghidorah Returns (Mothra: King Ghidorah kehrt zurück; Germany)
- Japan - December 12, 1998
Rebirth of Mothra 3 premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel on May 31, 2003, the same day as Rebirth of Mothra and Rebirth of Mothra 2, although they had already been released on DVD three years prior. Sony planned to include the film in its 2009 Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection DVD set, but ultimately removed it. Aside from a stint on the free online streaming service Crackle, TV airings remained the only legitimate way to see Rebirth of Mothra 3 in the U.S. until 2014, when the trilogy was released in a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray set with Japanese and English audio options.
Rebirth of Mothra 3 grossed ¥850,000,000 in Japan, a lower figure than the first two entries in the trilogy.
While the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy is held in low esteem by kaiju fans overall, they generally consider Rebirth of Mothra 3 to be on par with Rebirth of Mothra. The 2007 readers' poll conducted by G-Fan produced a 5.9 out of 10 rating for the film, ranking it 42nd among 49 kaiju films surveyed, but still the highest in the trilogy. By the 2014 poll, its rating was essentially unchanged, lowering to 5.8. This time, Rebirth of Mothra surpassed it with a 6.2 score. In a 2013 Toho Kingdom poll, 43% of respondents named it their favorite in the trilogy, compared with 53% for Rebirth of Mothra and 5% for Rebirth of Mothra 2.
King Ghidorah's design and portrayal routinely garner praise, as do the battle scenes. Targets for criticism include the uninvolved human cast, a convoluted time-travel story, and the low-quality CGI and dinosaur effects.
Toho DVD (2006, 2011, 2013, 2015)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by special effects director Kenji Suzuki, message from producer Shogo Tomiyama, behind-the-scenes tokusatsu footage, featurette with special effects cinematographer Keiichi Sakurai, trailers and TV spots, featurette focusing on Keizo Murase, Shinichi Wakasa, and Masaaki Tezuka
Sony Blu-ray + Digital HD (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
- Subtitles: English, French
- Special features: Four trailers for Rebirth of Mothra, four trailers for Rebirth of Mothra 2, three trailers for Rebirth of Mothra 3
- Notes: Packaged with Rebirth of Mothra and Rebirth of Mothra 2. Subtitles correspond to the script of the English dub, not the original Japanese dialogue.
Toho Blu-ray (2017)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 3
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by special effects director Kenji Suzuki, message from producer Shogo Tomiyama, behind-the-scenes tokusatsu footage, featurette with special effects cinematographer Keiichi Sakurai, trailers and TV spots, image gallery, featurette focusing on Keizo Murase, Shinichi Wakasa, and Masaaki Tezuka
- Notes: Packaged with Rebirth of Mothra and Rebirth of Mothra 2.
- Despite being replaced as the villain of the film, Rodan makes a brief appearance on the screen of a Sega Dreamcast VMU, after a child playing Collect Godzilla: Giant Monster Assembly is abducted by King Ghidorah.
- In this film, King Ghidorah became just the second kaiju to make his debut in the Godzilla series and later appear in a film without Godzilla, after the Giant Octopus.
- Rebirth of Mothra 3 was the first Toho kaiju film made without the involvement of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. A framed photo of Tanaka appears in the Sonoda family's house as a tribute.
- Plush toys of Sonic and Tails, two characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, appear in Yusuke Sonoda's truck and attached to a fan in the Sonodas' house, respectively.
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