|Godzilla film series character|
|First appearance||Mothra (1961)|
|Aliases||Mosura, The Thing|
The name "Mothra" is the suffixation of "-ra" to the English word "moth"; since the Japanese language does not have dental fricatives, it is approximated "Mosura" in Japanese. The “ra” suffix follows the precedent set by “Gojira”, which in turn is derived from kujira (鯨（クジラ), the Japanese word for “whale,” to indicate the character’s enormous size.
Mothra’s iconic character design is that of a giant brown caterpillar with blue eyes, or a colourful imago form that combines attributes of moths and butterflies along with fictional embellishments such as chewing mouthparts, ocelli and talons. She is typically depicted onscreen via puppetry; a radio controlled animatronic prop on wheels for its caterpillar form, and a marionette with overhead wires moving the wings and body as an imago. In more recent films it has been rendered with CGI as well.
At the time of her creation, Mothra’s colourful appearance and benevolent nature set Mothra apart from Toho’s other giant monster characters. Mothra is generally portrayed as a giant insect that lives on a tropical island, where she is worshipped as a deity by local tribal people. She is a peaceful character that only fights to protect herself, her allies, or the Earth.
Mothra is usually accompanied by tiny twin female fairies. The Twins are regarded as demi-gods by the local people, who will fight to defend them. Depending on the film, the Twins have gone by several titles, such as the Shobijin (Little Beauties), the Cosmos, and the Elias. The Rebirth of Mothra trilogy expanded on their characterization, giving the fairies names - Lora and Moll – and an evil sister named Belvera.
The Twins are able to summon Mothra into battle by singing a prayer (Mosura No Uta). The Mothra Song was originally sung in Malay Bahasa, but there is also a later version, set to the same tune, sung in Japanese.
Malay Bahasa Version
Mosura ya Mosura
Dongan kasakuyan indo muu
Rusuto uiraandoa, hanba hanbamuyan, randa banunradan
Tounjukanraa- kasaku yaanmu!
With the Power of your Ancestor
Grant the prayer of your followers
Arise and show your power
Mosura ya Mosura
Tasukete yo te yobeba
Toki o koete, umi o koete, nami no yo ni
Yate kuru- Mamorigami!
Mosura ya Mosura
Arehateta hito no kokoro
Ai no uta
Japanese Version Translation
Mothra oh Mothra
If we were to call for help
Over time, over sea, like a wave
You'd come, Our guardian angel!
Mothra oh Mothra
Of forgotten kindness and ruined spirits
We pray for the people's spirit as we sing
This song of love
Mothra has been portrayed as using a number of special abilities. She has been shown to have the ability to spray silk, metamorphose, fly, generate hurricane-force winds, scatter poison, drop wings and use various magical energy attacks. According to the various character profiles it has been given in supporting media, Mothra measures 30 meters (98 feet) -180 meters (590 feet) long and weighs 9,000 metric tons (9,920 short tons)-15,000 metric tons (16,534 short tons) tons in her larval form, and possesses a weight of 15,000 metric tons (16,534 short tons)-25,000 metric tons (27,557 short tons) and a wingspan of 75 meters (246 feet)-250 meters (820 feet) in her imago form. Mothra is one of Godzilla’s most frequently recurring opponents, though she has never defeated Godzilla in her adult form without assistance; in some stories, Mothra is also portrayed as Godzilla’s ally.
Besides flight, Mothra bears a number of unique abilities which set her apart from the other Kaiju. In her larval form, she is able to spit streams of Silk webbing at opponents. This silk is very strong, and can easily bind opponents into a state of immobility. In larval form, she can also bite opponents and hang on with her powerful mandibles, inflicting a serious amount of pain. In her imago form, Mothra can shed massive amounts of reflective scales which redirect or neutralise beams fired by other monsters, a technique she utilised to great effect when she teamed up with Battra. She can also emit lightning bolts from her wings, and force opponents back with gale-force winds. Finally, both of Mothra's forms display high levels of intelligence, and it is suggested in Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster that Mothra is able to understand and communicate with other monsters.
Mothra is one of Toho’s most popular monsters, and second only to Godzilla in its total number of film appearances. Toho had intended to follow 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante with a revival of Mothra in her own spin-off film, Mothra vs. Bagan, for a 1990 release. However, following the disappointing box office performance of Biollante, Toho discarded the project in favor of another Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). A 1992 survey revealed that Mothra was Toho's most popular character among women, an observation which inspired Toho to again revise its plans, abandoning a proposed sequel to King Ghidorah in favor of a Godzilla/Mothra feature. Following the end of the Heisei Godzilla series, Toho produced a trilogy of Mothra films, known in the U.S. as Rebirth of Mothra (1996–1998). Mothra thus became the first Toho daikaiju to lead its own film(s) after its incorporation into the Godzilla franchise.
- Mothra (film) (1961)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster (1964)
- Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
- Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
- Godzilla 2 (2018) - Legendary Pictures and Gareth Edwards, director of Godzilla, confirmed that the rights to King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan from the Toho Studios films have been acquired, and that the characters may appear in "future franchise installments".
- Godzilla Island (1997-1998)
- Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES - 1988)
- Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (NES - 1991)
- Kaijū-ō Godzilla / King of the Monsters, Godzilla (Game Boy - 1993)
- Godzilla: Monster War / Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters (Super Famicom - 1994)
- Godzilla Giant Monster March (Game Gear - 1995)
- Godzilla Trading Battle (PlayStation - 1998)
- Godzilla Generations: Maximum Impact (Dreamcast - 1999)
- Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee (GCN, Xbox - 2002/2003)
- Godzilla: Domination! (GBA - 2002)
- Godzilla: Save the Earth (Xbox, PS2 - 2004)
- Godzilla: Unleashed (Wii - 2007)
- Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash (NDS - 2007)
- Godzilla: Unleashed (PS2 - 2007)
- Godzilla: The Game (PS3 - 2014 PS3 PS4 - 2015)
- The Luminous Fairies and Mothra (Serialized novel)
- Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters (Comic - 2012)
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth (Comic - 2013)
- Godzilla: Cataclysm (Comic - 2014)
- "Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla And Mothra: The Battle For Earth - Set (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- "Okinawa: Which island is for you?". CNN Travel. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Mothra [Millennium]
- Mothra [Heisei]
- "Lost Project: Mothra vs. Bagan", TohoKingdom. Retrieved January 25, 2006.
- Milner, David. Interview with Koichi Kawakita, December 1994.
- Jeffries, Adrianne (July 26, 2014). "Gareth Edwards returns to direct 'Godzilla 2' with Rodan and Mothra". The Verge. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- Sullivan, Kevin P. (2014-08-14). "‘Godzilla 2′ Gets Release Date: ‘Let Them Wait’". MTV.