Manga: Godzilla vs. Mothra


Godzilla vs. Mothra

Japanese Comic Title

[Gojira vs. Mosura]


Hisashi Yasui


Tetsuya Kawaishi
Tetsuya Kawaishi


Tetsuya Kawaishi





By: Nicholas Driscoll

Some time ago I wrote a review of Hisashi Yasui and Tetsuya Kawaishi’s manga adaptation of the 1993 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla film. At the time, I wrote the review as a collaboration with Marcus Gwin, but I neglected to review Yasui and Kawaishi’s previous collaboration on Godzilla vs. Mothra. I wanted to remedy the oversight and write up my thoughts—starting with a synopsis! Much like with MechagodzillaMothra deviates significantly from the movie upon which the material is based, so some of you might get a kick out of that.

The story: A meteorite two kilometers across falls into the ocean and awakens Godzilla in Ogasawara. Miki Saegusa sees Godzilla’s awakening with her psychic senses. As she speaks with her superior about the problem, we find out that a huge egg and ancient ruins have been uncovered on Infant Island due to lots of rain. As the pair commiserate about what is to be done, a security guard enters to report two intruders—Miki’s little brother Kouji, and Midori Fujito. Midori is the daughter of a married couple (the estranged couple from the movie, here doing fine in their relationship) who are about to leave to investigate the egg. Midori misses them because she has been left behind.

We then jump to Infant Island, where the aforementioned couple is being accompanied by Ando, a representative of Marutomo—a company with plans to make a tourist destination on the island. As the three of them are scouting out the area, they start walking across a rope bridge. Mid-bridge, a huge earthquake strikes, sending the couple tumbling over the side, leaving Ando behind. The Fujitos survive the fall into the foliage, and when they get up, they find a pair of tiny women called the Cosmos standing nearby. The Cosmos explain that they are members of an ancient race, and that the egg is Mothra’s. As the Fujitos puzzle about this, Ando arrives, and the Cosmos disappear.

The sequence in which the Cosmos hide... in a bra.
The sequence in which the Cosmos hide... in a bra.

Back on the boat, the Fujitos continue to discuss their situation while looking over photos of the ruins, which depict Mothra and Battra. As they do so, the Cosmos appear again to explain that Battra is “battle Mothra”, a god that protects the earth and which destroyed the Cosmos’ civilization after their people developed a means to control the weather. As the Fujitos worry about Battra returning to destroy human civilization, Ando comes to visit them. Quickly Masako Fujito stuffs the Cosmos into her bra somehow. When Ando enters, we find that the two kids from before have snuck onto the boat as well. Ando notices that Masako has huge boobs and comments on them, to which Masako claims she has gotten fatter recently.

After Ando leaves, the Cosmos explain everything to the kids, and then Kouji has a psychic impression of a giant monster. Ando spies on the conversation from outside, and eyes the Cosmos greedily. Suddenly something shakes the boat, and our heroes peer outside to see that Godzilla has made an appearance. Godzilla blasts Mothra’s egg with his atomic blast several times, and the Cosmos start singing. Mothra in larva form bursts from the egg, and leaps into the water. The commotion causes the Fujitos and the kids to fall into the sea. Ando then tosses them a life raft… and leaves them behind with Godzilla and Mothra, steaming away in the boat with the Cosmos somehow captured in the interim between panels.

Godzilla and Mothra fight, with one memorable sequence in which Mothra grabs onto Godzilla’s tail—an obvious callback to the old movies. Just as it seems Mothra has no chance, the Battra larva arrives. In the ensuing chaos, Battra and Godzilla sink underwater, and Mothra pushes the life raft away into the ocean. Godzilla and Battra are ultimately sucked into a fissure underwater, and Mothra pushes the raft somewhere safe near Tokyo before going on a rampage looking for the Cosmos.

In Tokyo, Mothra faces off against a bunch of mazer tanks. She seems to be losing when Kouji interrupts the general to speak up for the monster moth. Mothra takes the opportunity to make herself a cocoon. Miki shows up to say that some of the inscriptions on the ruins have been translated, and now they know that Mothra’s coming and her transformation into a moth will precipitate the return of Battra.

Meanwhile, Godzilla emerges from Mt. Fuji and menaces the Mothra cocoon, making short work of the maser patrol. Ando tries to escape, but Kouji has Cosmos radar and notices which car Ando is driving, and so Mr. Fujito and the kid psychic chase after him. Ando and the Cosmos have a chat as they drive, and Ando somehow doesn’t notice that Battra is lying across the road in front of him with its monstrous head bashed against the side of the mountain. Ando smashes his car into Battra’s side, and Kouji and Fujito catch up. They grab Ando and the Cosmos, but the Cosmos reveal that what Ando smashed his car into is NOT Battra but just a cast-off husk. Just then the imago version of Battra appears!

Battra's husk appears.
Battra's husk appears.

Godzilla continues to smash the human military, and Battra makes a beeline (mothline?) to Mothra’s cocoon. The Cosmos start singing again, and Mothra in imago form emerges. The two giant moths face off against each other in an epic fight, and Godzilla approaches. As the two moths continue to fight, our heroes notice that Mothra doesn’t seem to want to fight with Battra—and maybe she is trying to tell him something. Then Godzilla appears and blasts Mothra with a sneak attack of atomic breath that bursts through a building as the moth flies past.

Godzilla turns his attention to Battra and tries to blast THAT moth out of the sky. The two monsters trade energy blasts, and smoke and fire rise up. Somehow Godzille grabs Battra through the smoke and digs his talons into the moth’s neck. Godzilla chucks the battle moth into the ground and starts kicking him. Mothra shows up to help and starts telling Battra that the real threat to the earth is not the humans, but rather Godzilla. The moths start working together. Mothra sprays out her scales in the air, which dissipates Godzilla’s atomic ray, and apparently Mothra gathers that energy and blasts Godzilla back with it, with several times the potency. Godzilla is bathed in energy, and the fight continues.

At an opening, Battra attacks from behind, grabbing onto Godzilla’s body. Godzilla stabs Battra in the chin with his claws, digging deep. Mothra helps Battra carry Godzilla out to sea. As they fly over the sea, Battra feebly talks with Mothra, saying that he is done for, but that he is entrusting “that thing” for Mothra to take care of. Mothra agrees, then drops Godzilla and Battra together onto what appears to be an iceberg. (At this point, Battra and Godzilla seem to have a short conversation.)

In the end, it is revealed that a large meteorite is on its way to earth, and Gaia (the spirit of the earth) originally asked Battra to deal with that issue, but now Mothra is going to do it. And the heroes decide to make the world a more beautiful place as well. The end.

Obviously the story is simplified and streamlined from the movie, with the broken family dynamics tabled in favor of a more straightforward heroic narrative, and Kouji thrown in to appeal to the children reading the book. Kouji basically looks angry all the time and has the sort of convenient powers that help the narrative to progress. The huge Battra husk is also a big change, and makes for a pretty memorable reveal of imago Battra. Still, even with these changes and the addition of a new protagonist, the beats of the story are pretty similar to the original film and don’t go quite as off-the-rails as the next Kodansha adaptation with its super-robot overtones.

I also think Kawaishi’s art is not as good in this book as in the next one in general, and the underwater fight is a bit confusing. Still, the fights are usually staged in a reasonably exciting manner. In this case, I would definitely vote for Sakai’s more popular Shogakukan adaptation as the superior version, as the monster action in that book looks really fantastic, and are even more brutal than what we have here. Plus it’s quite a bit longer, and the sequence in which Mothra is led around to destroy all of Marutomo’s business rivals in that adaptation is pretty memorable. But I did like seeing the Fujito’s as a loving couple throughout here, since Masako is much worse in Sakai’s manga. Masako is almost as bad as Ando in Sakai’s work—she is really horrible!

Purists might hate this comic, but I found it pretty fun, and of course really absurd—and that is part of the enjoyment. I don’t think I will ever see the Cosmos padding out a bra in a live-action movie. It’s a shame these books are out of print as of this writing—as always, even with their faults and bumps, I wish more people could read these books. Given that the actual movie never appealed to me much, I can honestly embrace the manga as the more entertaining version, and I wish more people in the West could check it out!