As most of you are no doubt aware, 2021 is a hugely significant year when it comes to kaiju-related anniversaries. Beloved G-series mainstays like Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), and GMK (2001) are all celebrating major milestone anniversaries with big/satisfying round numbers, and believe me, the GODZILLA NOVELIZATION PROJECT will be celebrating ALL of these films over the rest of the year.
However, 2021 is also a major anniversary year for another Japanese monster film. A film that not only stands as one of the finest examples of the kaiju genre, but also redefined what kaiju eiga could be. And that film is, of course, the original 1961 Mothra.
It goes without saying that Mothra is legitimate masterpiece, and a rare example of a film in which every aspect of the production clicked to create a near-perfect experience. From Ishiro Honda’s tight directing and Eiji Tsuburaya’s astounding special effects to the perfectly cast characters and the genre-defining screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa, Mothra is a film that shines from beginning to end. It’s also an endlessly entertaining motion picture, featuring unique visuals, a one-of-a-kind fantasy atmosphere, and a gleeful, childlike sense of wonder that has captivated audiences around the world for nearly six decades.
And then there’s Mothra herself. There’s a lot I could say about how unique a creation Mothra is, or how much the character means to me as a fan of Japanese fantasy/monster films. But chances are, if you’re reading these words right now, you don’t need me to spell out why Mothra is so special. And if you’re anything like me, she holds a particularly important, nostalgic, and reverent place in your heart.
2021 marks not only the 60th anniversary of the original Mothra, but 60 years of Mothra herself. Over the years, Mothra has become one of the most well-known and identifiable characters in the entirety of Japanese pop culture, and her onscreen escapades include everything from beating Godzilla on multiple occasions to going back in time to the Cretaceous Period! She even got her long-overdue Hollywood vehicle in 2019, and will surely be returning in future movies, TV shows, comics, and other forms of media in the coming years.
But while it’s always exciting to look forward to the newest things, I wanted to take the time this month to look back at Mothra’s past, and specifically to the film that started it all. I wanted to find a way to celebrate the film and its beloved mon-star in a fun and (hopefully) entertaining new way. And that meant only one thing… it was time to get writing.
I’m incredibly happy to announce that, on July 30th (the date that Mothra first released in Japanese theaters in 1961), the GNP will be publishing a brand-new short story entitled The Tiny Beauties and Mothra: A Nitto Press Exclusive!
This short story will take the form of a 1961 long-form Japanese newspaper article that details the story of Clark Nelson’s infamous kidnapping of the Shobijin twins, the attack of Mothra, and the return of the fairies to their goddess. It’s been a proud tradition of the GNP to present the project’s short stories and novellas as “in-universe artifacts” like newspaper reports, diaries, journals, police reports, and even translated ancient tablets! This story will continue that tradition, and will also once again be told from the perspective of a character from the film. And who better to guide the reader through a retelling of Mothra than ace reporter and noted mouse wrangler Senichiro “Snapping Turtle” Fukuda, known as “Bulldog” in the American English-dubbed version!
That’s right: good ol’ Bulldog himself, who witnessed nearly every aspect of the Mothra story unfold, has returned to Japan following his rescue of the Shobijin in New Kirk City and, armed with his journalistic bravado, the memory of several near-death experiences, and the photographs taken by his trusty partner Michi Hanamura, has taken it upon himself to pen the ultimate account of the entire incident. The end result is the events of the film as seen from his perspective, and spiced up with a bit of his trademark wit and aggrandizement.
The finished short story will also mark a big first for the GNP, as I also intend to showcase the photography work of Michi Hanamura within the text. No newspaper article would be complete without Pulitzer-worthy pictures, and with Michi taking plenty of snapshots throughout the film, I felt it wouldn’t be right to leave them out. So yeah, expect some cool old-school photographs to go along with the story!
Pretty exciting, no?
If you can’t tell, this is a project that I’m incredibly excited to be working on. As a huge fan of the original 1961 Mothra, it’s an absolute privilege to be stepping into the world of the movie and putting a unique GNP twist on adapting it to the written word. I’ve had a blast working on this story, and I hope that all of you will enjoy reading it, as well.
Remember, the story is set to drop on July 30th, Mothra’s 60th birthday! (And also remember: if you’re a supporter of the GNP through Patreon, you’ll get to read the story before anyone else! I’m also planning to share plenty of sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes info, and even a few pictures with Patrons over the next few weeks, so if that’s something you’re interested in, check out the GNP’s Patreon page and select a tier!)
That’ll about do it for this update, but before you go, I wanted to thank all of you for making it through the preceding wall of text. As always, the support I get from readers like you never ceases to amaze and humble me, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the new story when it drops!
Take care, stay safe, and long live the Queen of the Monsters!