Rebirth of Mothra
Rebirth of Mothra (モスラ Mosura, released in Japan simply as Mothra) is a 1996 Japanese kaiju film directed by Okihiro Yoneda and written by Masumi Suetani. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, 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 by Tomoyuki Tanaka, who produced such films as the original Mothra, which was released in 1961, as well as numerous entries in the Godzilla franchise.
|Rebirth of Mothra|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Okihiro Yoneda|
|Produced by||Hiroaki Kitayama|
|Screenplay by||Masumi Suetani|
|Based on||An idea|
by Tomoyuki Tanaka
|Music by||Toshiyuki Watanabe|
|Edited by||Nobuo Ogawa|
|Box office||¥1.150 billion|
Rebirth of Mothra stars Sayaka Yamaguchi, Megumi Kobayashi, Aki Hano, and Kazuki Futami. It was released theatrically in Japan on December 14, 1996, and was followed by Rebirth of Mothra II the following year.
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. The moths are the protectors of the "Elias", a race of tiny, humanoid beings who inhabit the planet. After the ensuing battle, Desghidorah is defeated and sealed under the Earth.
Only three Elias, Moll, Lora and Belvera, and one last moth, Mothra, remain. Moll and Lora have are good-natured and benevolent, while Belvera has become vengeful and evil, eager to destroy the human race because she believes they will bring about the destruction of the Elias. To preserve her species, Mothra creates an egg in 1996; however, she becomes physically exhausted from the ordeal. Shortly thereafter, a logging company uncovers Desghidorah's subterranean prison and breaks the seal. Yuichi Goto, one of the workers, takes the seal home and gives it to his young daughter Wakaba as a souvenir. Seizing the advantage, Belvera controls Wakaba and uses her to torment her brother Taiki, reminding Belvera of her hatred towards her sisters.
Moll and Lora, riding a smaller Mothra named Fairy, then battle Belvera for control of the artifact. Belvera prevails and manages to release Desghidorah from its rocky tomb to exact her warped plans for destruction of the human race. Mothra is summoned to halt the detestable dragon, which is absorbing the life out of the environment. She fights a long and difficult battle to repel her ancient adversary, and in response to her declining strength, her young son, named Mothra Leo, hatches prematurely to assist his mother. Though his energized silk seems to turn the tide of battle in the favor of the protectors, Desghidorah sinks the teeth of two of his heads deep into Leo and Mothra becomes desperate. She quickly airlifts her son to safety, and to keep Desghidorah at bay, lures the beast to a dam. With Desghidorah distracted by a wall of raging water, Mothra carries her son to safety. Mothra's wounds, age, and weariness are ultimately too much. Her strength fails, and after lowering her child carefully into the sea, she falls exhausted onto the waves and sinks to her death. The distraught larva attempts to save his beloved mother, but to no avail.
Angered, the young moth creates a cocoon and began to change into his adult form. Desghidorah goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path as the humans watch helplessly. Moll and Lora, who befriend Taiki and Wakaba, encourage them to have hope and remind them that Mothra would be reborn to save the Earth. Leo emerges into his adult form as a swarm of multi-colored butterflies. As the butterflies coalesce into one massive insect, Leo takes to the air and heads back towards Desghidorah, righteous fury burning in his wake. Arriving in a hail of energy beams, Leo relentlessly blasts the three-headed monster, throwing wave upon wave of searing beams and energy blasts at Desghidorah, who can only feebly attempt to defend himself against Mothra. Drawing upon an ancient legacy, Leo relentlessly assaults Desghidorah, eventually renewing the seal that bound the world destroyer beneath the soil of the earth; but his work is not done with the end of the fight.
Drawing upon the power of life that filled his very being, Leo restores the balance to a blasted region that was deforested during the assault of Desghidorah. His work done for the time being, Leo travels to his ancestral home and planet Earth is once again safe from Desghidorah. Moll and Lora thank the children for helping them on their journey and return home to Infant Island with their pet Fairy, as Belvera, still vengeful, escapes into a hole in a tree.
- 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. By January 1997, Rebirth of Mothra grossed 1.15 billion yen in Japan. It was followed up with a sequel the following year with Rebirth of Mothra II.
Rebirth of Mothra was released directly to video in the United States. It was released with an English dub by Columbia/TriStar Home Video on August 3, 1999. It was released on DVD on February 1, 2000 as a double feature with Rebirth of Mothra II. Both films were only available with an English-dub. A triple feature of all three Rebirth of Mothra films was released on blu-ray by Sony on September 9, 2014 with both the Japanese and English voice tracks. In November 2017, Toho released the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy on Blu-ray in Japan.
- Galbraith IV 2008, p. 397.
- Pratt 2004, p. 985.
- "モスラ (1996)". Movie Walker. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- "1997年（1月～12月）" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "Mothra (1996)". AllMovie. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "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 1461673747.
- Pratt, Douglas (2004). Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More! Vol. 02. Harbor Electronic Publishing. ISBN 1932916008.