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Entry updated 8 August 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (1961; vt Mothra). Toho. Directed by Ishirō Honda. Written by Shinichi Sekizawa, based on a story by Shinichiro Nakamura, Takehido Fukunaga, Yoshi Hotta. Cast includes Emi Ito, Yumi Ito, Kyoko Kagawa, Hiroshi Koizumi and Frankie Sakai. 100 minutes. Colour.

Aficionados of Japanese Monster Movies find their delight not only in the monsters themselves: the attraction depends also on the sheer bizarreness, to Western eyes and ears, of the stories and dialogue. Mosura is perhaps the most notably grotesque of all in this respect, its relatively mundane giant moth being amply compensated for by the eccentricities of the story. Two 6in (15cm) women (the Ito twins), kidnapped from an island whose inhabitants have been mutated by radiation, are used as nightclub singers by an evil "Rosilican" (i.e., US) showman (Kagawa). Back on the island a huge, venerated egg hatches in response to prayers from the local natives, and the giant caterpillar that emerges swims off to Japan to save the dwarf-girls, whose piping singing voices act as a homing signal. It makes a mess of Tokyo and spins a cocoon; the giant moth that emerges goes off to Rosilica (where the showman has retreated) and saves the girls. This is Toho's most sophisticated Monster Movie; its imagery, though lunatic, is surprisingly poignant.

Mosura never developed the following of Gojira (Godzilla) and Gamera, but did reappear four times, in Mosura Tai Gojira (1964; vt Gojira Tai Mothra; released in English as Godzilla Vs. The Thing; vt Godzilla Vs. Mothra), where, called by the tiny twins, she saves Tokyo from Gojira; Ghidorah Sandai Kaiju Chikyu Saidai no Kessan (1964; vt Chikyu Saidai no Kessan; released in English as Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster), in which she defends Earth from an alien monster, helped out by Gojira and Radon (Rodan) when she can't do the job on her own; Nankai no Daiketto (1966; released in English as Ebirah, Horror of the Deep; vt Godzilla Vs. the Sea-Monster) directed by Jun Fukuda, the first of the series not to be directed by Honda, in which Mosura takes part in an aerial evacuation of people from an island about to explode; and Kaiju Soshingeki (1968; released in English as Destroy All Monsters; vt Operation Monsterland; vt The March of the Monsters) directed by Honda, a poor film in which all 11 Toho monsters get together. [PN]


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