This introduction to one of Japan’s most famous radioactive monsters was one of Toho Studios’ best efforts, boasting colourful photography, a more ambitious story and good special effects.
A scientific team is dispatched to investigate the mysterious radioactive Infant Island, which was previously used for atomic tests and thought to be uninhabited but actually home to a population of sad, reclusive natives.
Dr Sinichi Chujo (Hiroshi Koizumi) meets the tribe’s tiny Shobijin fairies, played by twins Yumi and Emi Ito, aka “The Peanuts” who were very popular singing stars in Japan. The tiny twins communicate telepathically.
Stowaway reporter Junichiro ‘Bulldog’ Fukuda (Frankie Sakai) befriends the Shobijin, but sneaky Rolisican gangster-entrepreneur Clark Nelson (Jerry Ito) secretly returns to the island, murders a number of natives and kidnaps the fairies to sing in his stage show back in Tokyo.
Official efforts fail to force Nelson to relinquish the tiny girls, as do the reporters’ attempts to free them. The Shobijin explain that they are sad, not for themselves, but for innocent Japanese citizens – because Mothra will come to their rescue.
Sure enough, as the Infant Island natives dance, a giant egg hatches an equally monstrous larval moth, which immediately sets sail for the Japanese capital.
The giant larva ploughs through the ocean waves and leaves a wake of destruction, climbing Tokyo Tower to spin its cocoon.
When the fairies are taken to a foreign country called Rolisica, the newly hatched giant moth flies halfway around the world to rescue them and destroy the Rolisican capitol, New Kirk City (pictured at right) whose landmarks include Manhattan skyscrapers, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Los Angeles’ Harbor Freeway!
The title moth is an impressive screen presence despite the fact that it is little more than a giant fuzzy marionette. Its mighty wings produce a devastating blast of wind.
Junichiro “Bulldog” Fukada
Dr Shinichi Chujo