Kaiju of the Month: Mothra
It’s that time of the month, Kaiju of the Month!
I’m borrowing an idea from the 2007 video game, Godzilla: Unleashed. From now on I’ll be sorting our featured kaiju into one of four factions.
- Earth Defenders– Kaiju in this faction may or may not go out of their way to defend humanity, but will defend Earth and their territories from foreign threats.
- Global Defense Force- Uniting to defend themselves against the kaiju threat, humanity has built their own brand of giant robotic defenders, to varying degrees of success.
- Invaders- Many hostile alien species, whether from space or an alternate dimension, have sent their biological weapons and robotic heralds of destruction in an effort to wipe the universe of the human scourge.
- Mutations- Our actions have consequences and many of the kaiju within this faction, though not all, are a direct result of humanity’s sins.
I’ll be retroactively adding factions and alignments to previous entries into the series, but let’s get to today’s topic. Last month, we talked about the king of shishas, King Caesar. This month we talk about the mother of all moths, Mothra.
# of films appeared in
Year of First Appearance
Mothra first appeared in the 1961 film of the same name, in which an expedition to an irradiated island tries to take advantage of the native population, prompting a retaliation from the island’s deity. When a pair of twin faeries native to the island are abducted, they pray to their deity for help. On their island, giant egg hatches and Mothra in caterpillar form crosses the sea to the Japanese mainland. There it enters a cocoon-like state, finally emerging as the gargantuan moth. She terrorizes Tokyo until the twins are safely returned to her and together they return to their island home.
This storyline would be recycled for Mothra’s return to cinema in Mothra vs Godzilla, a personal favorite of mine. An egg is found on the Japanese coast and turned into a tourist destination. A pair of fairy twins shows up, begging the egg be returned to their native island with no luck. When Godzilla attacks Japan, Mothra faces off against the beast in defense of her egg. When she falls in battle, the egg hatches with twin caterpillars emerging. The pair of underdogs faces off against Godzilla, eventually defeating him and returning to their island. This cyclical theme of rebirth, rooted in the Samsara doctrine, has been repeated over and over within Mothra’s whopping fourteen appearances in film.
Mothra is one of Toho’s most beloved kaiju, second only to Godzilla in film appearances and starring in her own trilogy. She struck a chord with females in particular, who were the largest demographic of Japan’s audience at the time of release. Her appearance has also been teased within Legendary’s Monsterverse.
- Silk Spray- Mothra can tangle up her opponents in a silk spray that she emits from her mouth. This weapon becomes even more important in her larva form, as it becomes her main source of defense.
- Psychic Powers- As one of the most powerful psychics within the Tho universe, Mothra has used her powers of the mind to both communicate with humanity and to crush her opponent’s mental defenses.
- Gust- If you are a fan of Flying-type Pokemon, this move should look really familiar. Mothra flaps her wings, creating high-powered winds that can sweep even the mightiest of kaiju off their feet.
- Poison Powder- Time for another Pokemon reference! Mothra can shake the “scales” off from her wings, creating a poisonous yellow mist. The attack has some drawback, weakening the creature and grounding her for the duration of a fight. Its theorized that Mothra saves this attack as a last ditch defense for when her doom is imminent.
- Antennae Energy Beam- Later versions of the character shows Mothra expelling an energy based weapon from her antennae.
- Lightning Attack- Another later edition power, Mothra can shoot tendrils of electricity from her wings or store the lightning within her body to release on contact with another monster.
- Tail Bite/Drag- For whatever reason, Mothra has a tail fetish. Luckily for us, it is very GIFable.
Her Kids- Mothra has been killed on numerous occasions and all because she was trying to protect her egg or larva. If only she’d pulled a La Llorona and drowned her kids, she could have a real chance at actually winning a fight.
That’ll do for Kaiju of the Month. Stay tuned to the same Kaiju channel next month for more Kaiju goodness.