Rebirth of Mothra (モスラ Mosura, released in Japan simply as Mothra) is a 1996 Japanese tokusatsu kaiju film featuring Mothra, produced and distributed by Toho. The film is directed by Okihiro Yoneda and serves as a reboot of the Mothra film series and is the first installment in the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy. It is also the last kaiju film produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, who produced various kaiju films featuring Mothra, Godzilla, and others. The film was released in Japan on December 14, 1996.
Belvera prevailed and managed to release Desghidorah from its rocky tomb to exact her warped plans for destruction of the human race. Mothra was summoned to halt the detestable dragon, which was absorbing the life out of the environment. She fought a long and difficult battle to repel her ancient adversary, and in response to her declining strength, her young son, named Mothra Leo, hatched prematurely to assist his mother. Though his energized silk seemed to turn the tide of battle in the favor of the protectors, Desghidorah sank the teeth of two of his heads deep into Leo and Mothra became desperate. She quickly airlifted her son to safety, and to keep Desghidorah at bay, lured the beast to a dam. With Desghidorah distracted by a wall of raging water, Mothra carried her son to safety. Unfortunately, Mothra's wounds, age, and exhaustion were ultimately too much. Her strength failed, and she plummeted into the sea below. The crestfallen larva attempted to save his beloved mother, but she died in the ocean, to no avail.
Angered, the young moth created a cocoon and began to change into his adult form. Desghidorah had to be defeated; his mother's death couldn't be in vain. Desghidorah then goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path as the humans watch helplessly. Moll and Lora, who had befriended Taiki and Wakaba, encourage them to have hope that reminded them that Mothra will be reborn to save the Earth. Fortunately, Leo emerged into his adult form as a swarm of multi-colored butterflies. As the butterflies coalesced into one massive insect, Leo took to the air and headed back towards Desghidorah, righteous fury burning in his wake. Arriving in a hail of energy beams, Leo relentlessly blasted his mother's murderer, throwing wave upon wave of searing beams and energy blasts at Desghidorah, who could only feebly attempt to defend himself against this, the most powerful Mothra of all time. Drawing upon an ancient legacy, Leo relentlessly assaulted Desghidorah, eventually renewing the seal that bound the world destroyer beneath the soil of the earth; but his work was not done with the end of the fight.
Drawing upon the power of life that filled his very being, Leo restored the balance to a blasted region that was deforested during the assault of Desghidorah. His work done for the time being, Leo went to his ancestral home and planet Earth was once again safe from Desghidorah. Moll and Lora thanked the children for helping them on their journey and returned home to Infant Island with their pet, Fairy, as Belvera, still vengeful, escaped into a hole in a tree.
Rebirth of Mothra was released in Japan on December 14, 1996 where it was distributed by Toho. By January 1997, Rebirth of Mothra grossed 1.15 billion yen in Japan. It was followed up with a sequel the following year with Rebirth of Mothra II.
Rebirth of Mothra was released directly to video in the United States. It was released with an English dub by Columbia/Tri Star Home Video on August 3, 1999. It was released on DVD on February 1, 2000 as a double feature with Rebirth of Mothra II. Both films were only available with an English-dub. A triple feature of all three Rebirth of Mothra films was released on blu-ray by Sony on September 9, 2014 with both the Japanese and English voice tracks.