The giant moth Mothra and her two singing fairie friends (Shobijin) made their debut in 1961's "Mothra" (モスラ), but it was only a few years before they were forced to return and defend Japan from an attack by fellow, less-friendly giant monster Godzilla in 1964's "Mothra vs. Godzilla" (Japan: モスラ対ゴジラ, US: Godzilla vs. The Thing). Godzilla's signature composer Akira Ifukube also came back for this, his 3rd Godzilla score (following "Godzilla" and "King Kong vs. Godzilla"), bringing back and further developing some of the Godzilla themes he had created for his previous entries and adding some new ones (as well as incorporating Yuji Koseki's song for Mothra from the first Mothra film).
In the premise of this film, a hurricane has washed Mothra's giant egg out to sea towards Japan, as well as burying Godzilla underneath a beach at Shizonoura. When the Mothra egg is brought ashore, entrepreneurs plan to build a seaside attraction out of it as it hatches. Mothra's fairie-like "Shobijin", representatives from Infant Island, entreat the businessmen to return the egg, but are met with resistance. Eventually, Godzilla wakes up from his sandy slumber and begins a rampage. The human stars of the film journey to Infant Island to enlist Mothra's help in defending Japan against Godzilla. Mothra agrees, but is later fatally injured in battle, due to her advanced age. The Japanese army fails to stop Godzilla, but the giant egg finally hatches, revealing twin Mothra larvae. The newborn Mothra larvae pursue Godzilla to an offshore island and eventually cocoon him.
As mentioned previously, Ifukube brought back a few themes which he had initially introduced in the previous Godzilla films which he had scored:
- Terror motif: big, foreboding and usually on low brass, opening with a 6 note fanfare, followed by short falling and then rising figures.
- Fury theme: sinister and growing: first long note is followed by rising 3-note figures, repetitions often eventually ending in pounding accent chords (kind of a "tail") joined by the Terror motif.
- Resurrection theme: slow marching theme building in power, also iconic and often follows the Fury theme, consisting of rising phrases made from 2 accents followed by short ornamental motifs, eventually ending in a chromatic descending line and final accents.
|The Peanuts as the Shobijin (twin sisters Emi Itō (伊藤エミ) and Yumi Itō (伊藤ユミ).|
- Mothra theme: Mothra's motif practically spells out "mo-su-ra". The native ritual song version ("Mahala Mothra", track 26, sung in Filipino) is sung to help birth the twin Mothra larvae:
Mahal Mahal Mothra
Tama Tama Mothra
Laban Guerra Labanan
Fight - War - Battle
- Mothra song (composed by Yuji Koseki, track 19): from "Mothra", song used to convince Mothra to help the humans:
Mosura ya Mosura
Dongan kasakuyan indo muu
Mothra oh Mothra
With the Power of your Ancestor
Grant the prayer
of your followers.
- Sacred Fountain (Sacred Springs) theme (song version track 18): basically the Shobijin theme song, sung poignantly in modified Tagalog (Filipino)
Na intidihan mo ba (2x)
Mairoun doan maganda baron
Punta ka lang dito...Ka lang dito
Harika tu marupo (2x)
Do you understand?
There is a way, is it beautiful
Come here and sit down
- Mothra fanfare: rising and then falling, often leading into the Mothra theme.
- Egg theme: mysterious figure often supported by organ with vibrato.
- Infant Island theme: noble, exotic melody opening with an upward-leaping interval.
- Monster cadence: basically a horror fanfare made up of falling timpani scales and loud percussive textures.
The score to Godzilla vs. The Thing has seen several releases over the years. The below table is based on the main score tracks from the Godzilla Perfect Box 1, Disc 5, which also includes 11 bonus tracks at the end of alternate takes and karaoke versions of songs.
|Trk||Dur||Title||Film sequence, themes|
|Opening titles over a huge storm
battering a beach city.
0:00: Piano clusters and percussion.
0:14: Terror motif on brass.
0:47: Resurrection theme on strings/piano/percussion.
1:26: Mothra theme on brass/piano rhythm.
|2||0:25||The Rainbow-Colored Object
|A mysterious object is found in
the beach wreckage by a reporter, Ichi, and his photographer Junko.
Mysterious figures on xylophone/organ, tremolo strings, falling brass/high winds.
|3||0:25||The Giant Egg in the Waters Off
|A giant egg is seen drifting
towards the shore, a native does an odd ritual.
Mysterious figure (Egg theme) in strings over vibrating organ.
|4||0:37||The Giant Egg
|Fishing boats bring the egg to
shore and it is examined by Prof. Miura.
Egg theme in strings (reprise without organ), leading to brass fanfare/organ, gentle ending cadence.
|5||0:54||The Little Beauty's Theme Song
|Two little fairies (the
Shobijin) appear and ask the Happy Enterprises businessmen to return it. The businessmen try to capture the
Mystical, high, fast version of Sacred Fountain theme featured on piano (flute enters for reprise after a brief pause).
The Little Beauty
|The Shobijin appear to Ichi,
Miura and Junko. They explain that
they are from Infant Island and that the egg is Mothra's. A flashback shows the egg being blown out
to sea. They warn that when the egg
hatches the larvae may cause destruction.
0:00: Mystical, fast version of Sacred Fountain theme on piano/flute/etc.
0:15: Sacred Fountain theme in normal (ballad) tempo on strings/winds/piano.
0:51: Darker textures on brass and percussion (flashback), returning to opening texture.
|The Shobijin reveal Mothra
resting on a nearby hilltop.
Mothra fanfare, Mothra theme statement.
|Mothra flies away with the the
Shobijin (back to Infant Island).
Muted Mothra fanfare, Mothra theme statement.
|(slow jazz source music during a meeting with the Happy Enterprises entrepreneurs)|
|10||0:28||The Dome Is Activated
|In order to speed up the
hatching, the businessmen use oil burners to heat it up.
Egg theme in tremolo strings/low brass, leading to fanfare.
|Miura shows Junko and Ichi that
the beach object they found was strangely radioactive. They return to the beach.
Flutter-tongue flute and falling brass, mysterious brass/organ, string glissandi.
|Godzilla's tail emerges from the
sand, soon followed by the rest of him (also when Godzilla menaces the beach village after surviving the
0:00: Piano impact into Terror motif on brass.
0:29: Fury theme fragment on strings over descending brass/piano chords.
|13||1:22||The Attack On The Industrial
|Godzilla rampages in a refinery
0:00: Terror motif on brass/piano.
0:19: Fury theme on strings/brass, brass/piano, Terror motif on brass/piano.
|14||1:49||Godzilla And Nagoya
|Godzilla's rampage continues
0:00: Terror motif on brass/piano/perc.
0:35: Resurrection theme on strings/piano rhythm, joined by brass.
|15||0:21||The Dome At Sunset
|The egg is shown enclosed by
Egg theme variation on muted trumpet/piano/vibraphone.
|Ichi, Miura and Junko land at
Infant Island and find a landscape devastated by nuclear weapon tests.
Infant Island theme on muted brass, added wind in repeat.
|The visitors are captured by
native villagers and instructed to drink a potion.
Egg theme variation on fluttery winds/tremolo strings/sul ponticello textures/vibraphone, leading to suspense figure on piano/winds/muted brass, etc.
|The Shobijin sing a song near an
The Sacred Fountain theme as a vocal song (the Peanuts/Shobijin) over strings/harp.
|The Shobijin sing a song before
Mothra’s Song (sung in Malay) acappella by the Peanuts/Shobijin.
|0:00: The Shobijin lead the visitors
to Mothra and sing Mothra's Song (previous cue).
Infant Island theme on muted brass/organ/percussion, joined by muted brass, theme on strings
1:42: The Shobijin explain that Mothra has agreed to help fight Godzilla with the last of her energies.
Mothra fanfare on piano/organ/winds/strings punctuated by timpani, Mothra theme on brass, reaching upwards in a plaintive final phrase.
The Tank Corps
|Godzilla is attacked by
Terror motif & Resurrection theme on brass/piano rhythm/percussion.
|0:00: The Happy Enterprises
businessmen fight among themselves, but Godzilla destroys their
Terror motif, Fury theme.
1:16: Godzilla attacks the giant egg's outer scaffolding.
Terror motif and Resurrection theme over pounding piano rhythm, ending on Monster cadence (vibrating organ/falling timpani/percussive textures).
|23||5:57||Adult Mothra vs.
|0:00: Just as Godzilla uncovers
the giant egg, Mothra appears. She
drops off the Shobijin.
Mothra fanfare into organ/timpani/piano textures.
0:56: Mothra uses her wings to batter Godzilla with wind.
Terror motif, Fury theme.
2:04: Mothra drags Godzilla by the tail.
Mothra theme, Resurrection theme (slow march).
3:06: Mothra and Godzilla engage in physical combat. Mothra uses poison pollen, but is fatally injured by Godzilla's atomic breath.
Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Resurrection theme.
5:24: With her final breath, Mothra flies to her egg.
|24||2:02||Plan A: Electrical Discharge
|As night falls, tanks and planes
attack and drive towards electrical generators, which he promptly knocks
Resurrection theme as mid-tempo march, Fury theme on strings, brass, Terror motif over pounding piano rhythm, Resurrection theme resumes.
|25||3:21||Plan B: Electrical Discharge
|In the morning, planes drop
bombs and nets on Godzilla. More
electrical discharges are used to incapacitate Godzilla, but the power shorts
and Godzilla escapes.
0:00: Monster cadence, Terror motif, Fury theme.
1:40: Terror motif into Resurrection theme over pounding piano march, joined by brass.
2:54: Monster cadence.
|The Shobijin (and the Infant
Island natives in an overlay) sing to Mothra's egg. The egg begins glowing/flashing, and a
statue on Infant Island does the same.
"Mahala Mothra" (vocal version of Mothra theme, sung in Tagalog/Filipino):
0:00: Percussion with ethnic reed/xylophone figures.
0:30: Vocals enter in 1st main verse (Peanuts with male backup vocals).
1:20: Soprano/male choir interlude with percussion/reed ornaments, opening figure.
2:14: Peanuts on 2nd verse, joined by more percussion, opening wind figure, returning to soprano interlude, final cadence with Peanuts.
|27||0:42||The Birth Of
The Larval Mothra
|Larval Mothra twins emerge from
Vibraphone/xylophone figures, Mothra fanfare on muted/open brass, Mothra theme on sweeping strings/harp.
|28||8:39||Baby Mothra vs. Godzilla
|0:00: The Mothra larvae twins swim out
to nearby Iwa Island to prevent Godzilla from harming a group of
Mothra fanfare over dissonant textures, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, slow Fury theme on brass/strings.
2:20: Ichi and his friends take a boat to the island to try and rescue the kids. The Mothra larvae bite Godzilla's tail and spray him with silk threading.
Mothra theme over piano rhythm, Resurrection theme, Monster cadence, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Resurrection theme, Mothra theme/piano rhythm.
6:11: Godzilla fights back with atomic breath, kicking rocks, etc. The kids are rescued. Godzilla falls into the sea.
Resurrection march with added winds, Monster cadence with added piano begins and continues, Mothra fanfare (with Monster cadence), Terror motif with added low brass, Fury theme building, Mothra theme with piano rhythm.
|The Shobijin and Mothra larvae
depart into the sea.
Sacred Fountain theme on brass/strings/piano/percussion.
It may be interesting to note that the Peanuts were at one point produced by Hiroshi Miyagawa, who of course has been well-discussed here for his work on Space Battleship Yamato.
Other Akira Ifukube Godzilla Films Analysed:
King Kong vs Godzilla
Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster
Invasion of Astro Monster
Destroy All Monsters
Godzilla Perfect Box 1 at Screen Archives
Akira Ifukube Wiki
Akira Ifukube Museum
Godzilla Monster Music Review
Mothra Song Lyrics
The Peanuts Wiki
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