Rebirth of Mothra

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Rebirth of Mothra
Theatrical release poster
Japanese name
Revised HepburnMosura
Directed byOkihiro Yoneda[1]
Screenplay byMasumi Suetani[1]
Story byTomoyuki Tanaka[1]
Produced byHiroaki Kitayama[1]
CinematographyYoshinori Sekiguchi[1]
Edited byNobuo Ogawa[1]
Music byToshiyuki Watanabe[1]
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • December 14, 1996 (1996-12-14) (Japan)
Running time
106 minutes[2][3]
Budget¥1 billion
Box office¥1.96 billion

Rebirth of Mothra (モスラ, Mosura, released in Japan simply as Mothra) is a 1996 Japanese kaiju film directed by Okihiro Yoneda, with special effects by Kōichi Kawakita. Produced and distributed by Toho Co., Ltd, the film serves as a reboot for the fictional giant monster character Mothra, and is the first installment in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. It was the final kaiju film produced under the supervision of Tomoyuki Tanaka, who produced such films as the original Mothra, which was released in 1961, as well as every film in the Godzilla franchise up to this point. He died of a stroke several months after the film's release.

Rebirth of Mothra stars Sayaka Yamaguchi, Megumi Kobayashi, Aki Hano, and Kazuki Futami. It was released theatrically in Japan on December 14, 1996.

It was followed by Rebirth of Mothra II.


Millions of years before time, a giant three-headed space dragon called Desghidorah arrives on Earth and battles a species of enormous and highly advanced moths who serve as protectors of the "Elias", a race of tiny, humanoid beings. After the battle, Desghidorah is defeated and sealed under the Earth while three Elias, the benevolent Moll and Lora and the vengeful Belvera, and one moth, Mothra, remain. To preserve her species, Mothra lays an egg in 1996, which leaves her physically exhausted.

Shortly after, a logging company uncovers Desghidorah's subterranean prison and inadvertently break the seal containing him. One of the workers, Yuichi Goto, takes the seal home and gives it to his young daughter Wakaba as a souvenir. Taking advantage, Belvera controls her and makes her torture her brother Taiki. Moll, Lora, and a smaller Mothra named Fairy battle Belvera for control of the artifact, though Belvera prevails and releases Desghidorah to help her destroy humanity before they can destroy her race. As the dragon drains the environment's lifeforce, Mothra is summoned to fight it despite her condition. Amidst the battle, Mothra's larva, Mothra Leo, senses his mother's deteriorating strength and hatches prematurely to help her. Though his energized silk seems to turn the tide of battle, Desghidorah bites Leo and drains his energy. Desperate, Mothra airlifts her son to safety and lures her ancient adversary to a dam to keep it at bay. After lowering her son into the sea, Mothra collapses from her age, wounds, and weariness and sinks to her death. The distraught Leo attempts to save his mother, but to no avail.

Angered, the young moth creates a cocoon and begins to metamorphose while Desghidorah goes on a rampage. Having befriended Taiki and Wakaba, Moll and Lora encourage them not to lose hope. Soon, Leo emerges as a swarm of multi-colored butterflies before coalescing into his adult form and taking to the air to confront Desghidorah. Arriving in a hail of energy beams and fueled by righteous fury, Leo relentlessly blasts the three-headed monster, who is unable to defend itself. Drawing upon an ancient legacy, Leo eventually renews the seal that originally bound Desghidorah, defeating him. After restoring a blasted region the dragon destroyed during its assault, Leo travels to his ancestral home as Moll and Lora thank the children for helping them and return home to Infant Island with Fairy while Belvera escapes.


  • Sayaka Yamaguchi as Lora (ロラ, Rora)
  • Megumi Kobayashi as Moll (モル, Moru)
  • Aki Hano as Belvera (ベルベラ, Berubera)
  • Kazuki Futami as Taiki Goto (後藤大樹, Gotō Taiki)
  • Maya Fujisawa as Wakaba Goto (後藤若葉, Gotō Wakaba)
  • Kenjiro Nashimoto as Yuichi Goto (後藤裕一, Gotō Yūichi)
  • Hitomi Takahashi as Makiko Goto (後藤真紀子, Gotō Makiko)
  • Mizuho Yoshida as Desghidorah (デスギドラ, Desugidora)

A photograph of Ishirō Honda appears in the Goto home.


Rebirth of Mothra was released in Japan on December 14, 1996 where it was distributed by Toho.[1] It was followed up with a sequel the following year with Rebirth of Mothra II.[1]

Box office[edit]

By January 1997, Rebirth of Mothra earned a distribution income (rentals) of ¥1.15 billion in Japan.[4] By the end of 1997, the film grossed a total box office revenue of ¥1.96 billion in Japan.[5]


Rebirth of Mothra received positively reactions.

On Film Japanese review aggregators Filmarks [ja] and [ja], the former reports an average rating of 3.2/5 based upon 2,365 reviews, and the latter reports a score of 3.5/5 based on 5 reviews, with 49% of reviewers giving it a 4/5. [6][7]

Home media[edit]

Rebirth of Mothra was released directly to video in the United States.[1] It was released with an English dub by Columbia TriStar Home Video on August 3, 1999.[1] It was released on DVD on February 1, 2000 as a double feature with Rebirth of Mothra II.[8] Both films were only available with an English-dub.[8] A triple feature of all three Rebirth of Mothra films was released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on September 9, 2014 with both the Japanese and English voice tracks.[8] In November 2017, Toho released the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy on Blu-ray in Japan.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Galbraith IV 2008, p. 397.
  2. ^ Pratt 2004, p. 985.
  3. ^ "モスラ (1996)". Movie Walker. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "1997年(1月~12月)" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mothra". SF MOVIE DataBank (in Japanese). General Works. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  6. ^ "モスラ(1996年製作の映画)". (in Japanese). TimothyLSamia. December 14, 1996. Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  7. ^ "モスラ(1996)". (in Japanese). TimothyLSamia. December 14, 1996. Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "Mothra (1996)". AllMovie. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "ついに出ました!平成モスラ3部作のトリロジーボックスBlu-ray". Audio Eiga. Retrieved March 4, 2018.


  • Rhoads & McCorkle, Sean & Brooke (2018). Japan's Green Monsters: Environmental Commentary in Kaiju Cinema. McFarland. ISBN 9781476663906.
  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (2008). The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1461673743.
  • Pratt, Douglas (2004). Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More! Vol. 02. Harbor Electronic Publishing. ISBN 1932916008.

External links[edit]