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Mothra! Mothra! Mothra!

Posted in Japan, movies with tags on March 15, 2012 by goregirl

While Godzilla will always be my favourite Toho monster, Mothra would definitely be my runner-up. Come on! What little girl doesn’t love a butterfly?! The icing on the cupcake is the two tiny telepathic fairies that Mothra protects. They call to Mothra through song. Bloody hell do I love Mothra’s song! It’s short and sweet (very sweet!) so do give it a watch!

Mothra Theme Song

One of my favourite Mothra nods comes from South Park’s Mecha-Streisand episode from season one. Barbra Streisand transforms into a huge mechanical dinosaur obviously inspired by Toho’s Mechagodzilla and Robert Smith (front man for The Cure) makes an appearance as a giant butterfly inspired by Mothra.

Despite its name, once Mothra emerges from its cocoon in winged form it looks more like a butterfly than a moth. Mothra’s first appearance was in the aptly titled Mothra in 1961. An expedition is launched to Infant Island; an island that was believed to be uninhabited due to atomic testing in the area. The expedition, led by hard-core capitalist jerk Clark Nelson results in the Island’s twin fairies taken to Tokyo to be exploited. The Islanders implore Mothra; merely an egg, to save the twins. Mothra responds and hatches from the egg and in larva form swims across the ocean heading straight for Tokyo. Mothra reaching the mainland spins a cocoon and emerges in his full winged form. Mothra searches for the twins leaving destruction in its path. Eventually the Japanese authorities return the twins to Infant Island and Mothra, task completed, flies back to his home.

Mothra is particularly unique among the stable of Toho monsters. Mothra leans heavily towards the whimsical as opposed to the horror and Mothra emerges at the end of its debut film victorious! Unlike the majority of Toho’s creatures, Mothra is not a guy in a costume; it is a mechanically operated device. Mothra is also based on a previously published fictional work called The Luminous Fairies and Mothra by Yoshie Hotta, Takehiko Fukunaga, and Shinichiro Nakamura.

Like many of Toho’s monsters, Mothra’s abilities have varied over the course of its film appearances. While in its larval form it has a powerful ample bulk and a cocoon attack that immobilizes its enemy. When in full winged form, it is able to create mighty gusts of wind and has incredible strength that allows it to lift foes larger than itself. Mothra can release a poisonous powder to destroy its attacker and sometimes emits an energy beam from its antennae and lightening from its wings. Mothra also has the ability to communicate telepathically with humans. Mothra generally fights on the side of good and is the protector of the people of Infant Island and the earth in general.

Mothra Filmography

#1 Mothra (1961) Directed by Ishirô Honda
#2 Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964) Directed by Ishirô Honda
#3 Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) Directed by Ishirô Honda
#4 Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966) Directed by Jun Fukuda
#5 Destroy All Monsters (1968) Directed by Ishirô Honda
#6 Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) (stock footage) Directed by Jun Fukuda
#7 Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) Directed by Takao Okawara
#8 Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) Directed by Kensho Yamashita
#9 Rebirth of Mothra (1996) Directed by Okihiro Yoneda
#10 Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) Directed by Kunio Miyoshi
#11 Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) Directed by Okihiro Yoneda
#12 Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) Directed by Shûsuke Kaneko
#13 Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) (stock footage) Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
#14 Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
#15 Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura