Monster of the Day #56

“Mosura ya Mosura,
Dongankasa kuyan indo muu,
Rusuto riadoaa hamba hamba muyan
randa bangu radan
tounjukanra, kasakuyumne!”

  • It’s the Twins!

    Never liked her (them, whatever) as a kid, but these days I kinda enjoy seeing her (them, whatever.)

  • Ericb

    I never got the appeal of Mothra. I mean, how scary is a moth no matter how large (though to be pendantic it looks more like a butterfly. Moths fold their wings along their back while butterflys keep their wings outstretched).

  • Gamera

    Personally I never understood if Mothra was supposed to be a ‘good’ monster why her larva weren’t done as cute fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillars instead of kinda gross maggot grub critters? Maybe it’s a Japanese thing and I don’t understand it.

    Still one of Big-Gs most embarressing defeats ever must have been his being wrapped up in silk by Mothra’s grubs at the end of Gojira vs. Mothra (Godzilla vs. the Thing).

  • TongoRad

    EricB- you’ve actually got that backward, butterflies fold their wings when at rest so Mothra is most like a moth.

    This one seems more like a ‘complete movie’ to me, in that the bulk of it isn’t merely filler and exposition to support some monster action. I really enjoy the scenes showing the island culture, and those singing pixies are just great.

  • Ericb

    Tongo, I guess it depends on how you define fold. Butterfly wings are stiff and when at rest are held up like a closed folder while moth wings are folded on the back.

  • John Nowak

    >Personally I never understood if Mothra was supposed to be a ‘good’ monster why her larva weren’t done as cute fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillars instead of kinda gross maggot grub critters? Maybe it’s a Japanese thing and I don’t understand it.

    I think it’s a pacing thing. As the evidence piles up that the bad guys are the damn dirty humans, Mothra transmogrifies into something pretty.

    What I never got was why the Twins didn’t just say, “Hey, police officer, we’re here against our will and we want to go back home. Please take us to the station.”

    I mean, granted Japan is and was relatively xenophobic, but I kind of doubt that Japanese law allowed you to kidnap short people and force them to sing.

  • TongoRad

    We may be talking about the same thing after all- I meant that butterfly wings are folded so that they look like a single wing in profile. Come to think of it, just what does Mothra look like when not flying? I thought they were splayed out, but I can’t say that I really paid it that much attention.

  • Ericb

    Tongo, It looks like Mothra has the body of a moth (bulky and fuzzy) but the wings of a butterfly. When its at rest its wings stay splayed out and don’t fold either way. This is all probably for economic reasons. Giving the wings more dexterity were probably cost more.

  • I love the fact that baby mothra isn’t cute. It lends verisimilitude.

    I adore almost everything about Mothra. And for what it’s worth, there is no real hard distinction between the appearance of moth wings and butterfly wings. Take a look at online pictures of Uraniid moths if you question this.

    Mosura ya Mosura!

  • Gamera

    John, Sandy: good points! I forget that Mothra wasn’t as much ‘good’ in the first film as ‘angry and ticked-off’. And though the series her motives change from film to film.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I like Mosura all right; she’s a nice counterpoint to all the scaly, pointy, fangy monsters. I prefer the worm form though; it’s so ugly-cute, like a pug, and I like its squeaks and the sound its silk makes when she sprays it.

    What is it about the original Fairy Twins? They’ve yet to find a pair of actresses to match up to them, and it’s not just nostalgia talking. The two in the Mosura trilogy were particularly noxious, even taking into account that they were in horrible movies and had to go up against the much more entertaining Belvera.

  • Elizabeth

    I never got all the Mothra haters. She’s a freaking nature god. That’s awesome.

  • Rock Baker

    I might be in the minority, but I think I actually like the Pair Bambi (from Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster) best, as to who played the twins. I can’t call myself a ‘fan’ of Mothra, but I have to admit Godzilla vs The Thing is probably the best of the lot. I also greatly enjoyed Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster, which was pretty Mothra-heavy. Tokyo SOS was a good one too. And I can’t forget Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster!
    Mothra is probably Toho’s most Japanese monster, in that it seems so alien to Western thinking. We tend to like our giant bugs straight up, oversized atomic mutant is just fine with us Yanks, but the Japs gave us a sometimes supernatural (the exact nature of Mothra seems to change quite a bit between features) creature with varying degrees of intelligence. Mothra is a weird little movie (and more than a little insulting to Westerners), but at the same time is an absolutely incredible feat of effects work and story building. I’m glad Columbia finally released a nice scope U.S. print in the superb collection including Battle in Outer Space and The H-Man.

  • Rock — Biollante is pretty Japanese. No American company is going to create a giant rose-headed monster to fight Godzilla.

    Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster is my first G film, and the one I imprinted on. I love that and Son of Godzilla unconditionally, and was shocked years later to learn that many fans disdain the “Pacific Island” Godzilla movies, i.e., those two. Happily, both will be playing at the Pickwick Theater in a few weeks.

  • Rock Baker

    “Biollante is pretty Japanese. No American company is going to create a giant rose-headed monster to fight Godzilla.” True, when I first saw that film and they first showed the giant flower, I remember thinking “oh no” and “what a rip-off!” It turned out to be a fantastically fun movie, and my brother and I have come to love it even more in recent years as being “the last decently dubbed Godzilla movie.” Excellent effects shots in that one too, the shot with Godzilla seen thru the window as the soldier is packing his gear remains one of the best shots in the entire series!

    As for the ‘Pacific Island’ films, I just love them. While they may not be the most artistic of the franchise, they are certainly the most fun! And they carry such a 60s vibe. If you could point to any two films in the entire run that capture Godzilla as a cultural icon, it would be those two I think.

  • GalaxyJane

    Will I be shunned forever and banned from posting if I admitted that my favorite Big G movies is “Godzilla vs Gigan”? There is something about the pure batshit insanity of the amusement park plot and the hippies straight out of a Japanese version of “Scooby Doo” that makes me a very very happy woman.

    Yes, yes I do also like Godzilla’s Revenge. Deal with it.

  • Gamera

    GalaxyJane: you’re not the only one. I have to admit as much as I love the original Gojira I think I enjoy the nuttier films more. Not sure I could pick out a single film though but it’d probably be either one of the two King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla films though.

    While on the subject of Mosura has anyone seen either of the two ’90s ‘Rebirth of Mothra’ films? I’ve heard they’re made for the younger set and probably beat the viewer over the head with some environmental message but I’m still curious. Good, bad, indifferent?

  • Marsden

    Everybody can hit me with a rubber chicken but, I like Jet Jaguar!
    A toy that can grow gigantic, IITS!

    And Gigan has a buzz saw on his belly.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    Nothing wrong with Jet Jaguar. His theme song alone makes him worthy.

    I don’t know if I can pick a favorite after the original; I’d lean toward Biollante and the original Ghidorah trilogy, but I also really enjoy the first two MechaG ones, Son, KK vs. G, and the two Gigan ones.

    Gamera–You’re not missing much with the Mothra trilogy. The first two are indeed pretty heavy-handed on the environmental stuff; the third is not, but it manages to be the most boring of the three. None of them have compelling characters or gripping storylines. The only bright parts are the Twins’ evil older sister Belvera and her mini-dragon Garugaru (although she’s wasted in the third one), and the monster fights, while following the Gamera arc (Mothra gets beat up, goes to recover, possibly taps a new source of power, then comes back and pounds the other monster), aren’t too bad.

    If you MUST watch one, watch the first. Death Ghidorah is an impressive piece of work (although he mostly stands around burning trees), the plot is the least painful (although also the most heavy-handed), and it actually features a surprisingly touching moment with the adult and larval Mothras. The second has a monster (Dagahra) who’s too much like Space Godzilla and isn’t overly impressive; it also spends too much time with annoying kids and features the most odious of the trilogy’s OCR, a weird furry critter named Gogo who heals things by pissing on them. (Believe me, that bit of insanity isn’t worth watching the movie for.) The third is useless: the worst story, an utterly wasted Belvera (and King Ghidorah, come to think of it), and a special effects sequence that literally had me yelling at the screen and made me ashamed for everyone involved.

  • Gamera

    Thanks Reverend! Think I’ll skip ’em ;)

  • I’m going to defend the Mothra trilogy. It does have g8ant monster action, with plenty of Mothra. Yeah there’s stuff that is wincefully dreadful, but since I’ve seen people on this very claiming they like *choke, gag* Jet Jaguar and *argh* Son of Godzilla, the mini-Mothras are like Tolstoy compared to those disasters.

  • Gamera

    One vote by Rev. D.D no.

    One vote by Sandy yes.

    Maybe I should just sit on this one? ;)

  • Rock Baker

    The only one of the trilogy I have concrete memories of was Mothra 2. Better than sitting through an episode of Captain Planet I suppose, but not by much. The other two didn’t even make an impression, but the new Ghidrahs were nice in design if not execution.

    As for Son of Godzilla, it was goofy in a fun way. Mothra 2 was just goofy goofy, and a painful and listless copy of so many better movies (odd, but large chunks of it remind me of an old episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl where they were trapped in a booby-trapped pyramid). Nowhere could one find the kind of energy and intelligence even the wildest of the old Godzilla movies has to offer when held next to Mothra 2. The Mothra movies were SO bad that my brother (who drinks in the weirdest and wildest Japanese stuff you can find, all of it good in his eyes) watched them, and then taped them over! As something of a completist, I’d say watch them if you run across them, but don’t count on seeing anything you’d like to make repeat viewing out of. Again, the bottom line is personal taste.

  • Gamera

    Ok, with Rock two votes against.

    I’m thinking like Octoman if I can find them cheap I’ll give ’em a whirl otherwise I’ll let them slide. Mothra was ok but she’s not really one of my favorites. I hate to disagree with Sandy though, I’m afraid one night he’ll send a Hunting Horror to visit me…

    Thanks guys!

  • Rock Baker

    You’re welcome! I try to help when I can, tho I sometimes fear I have made an enemy of Sandy!

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I could see an argument for them against Jet Jaguar, but Son of Godzilla? No. I am no fan of Minya, but his movie is better than the Mothra trilogy.

    If you can find them cheap, and feel like being a completist, feel free. If you frequest this board, I’m sure you’ve seen much worse. As Sandy said, the monstser stuff is not bad, but just be prepared to fast forward a lot (be sure to stop when you see Belvara and Garugaru though because they rock…well, in the first two anyway). Someday my tape with those movies will die, and I’ll probably buy them cheap because of my daikaiju compulsion, but I will feel dirty about it.

  • The Rev.

    I’m not sure how I missed this the first time, but the reason the Mothra caterpillars are grubby instead of fuzzy is that they are meant to represent giant silkworms. (Hence the silk-spraying.) Look up pictures of silkworms and you’ll see what I mean. Then look for pictures of the adults to see why the full-grown Mothra is so damn fuzzy, even on the legs.