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Gradius Wiki

The Moai (モアイ Moai?) is a recurring enemy in the Gradius series.


The Moai is probably the most prevalent of the Gradius traditions, with its only notable absences being in Gradius V, Gradius: The Interstellar Assault and Nemesis 2. Moai statues are based on the real life Moai guardian statues found on Easter Island. Because of its popularity, the Moai has even appeared in many other Konami games, either as an enemy or just a cameo appearance.

Attack patterns

The Moai usually stand up or lie flat on the ground, which generally consists of floating platforms. They always fire Ion Rings, which even if they can be destroyed in midair, the Moai will keep on creating more until destroyed. Moai have a moderate amount of health and can only be killed by shooting them in the mouth. In most Gradius games after Gradius II, after sustaining enough damage the Moai will turn red, become more aggressive, and be able to fire many more rings, in addition to being able to stand up and turn around.

Moai types

  • Normal Moai: The normal, unaggressive Moai, who only fires energy rings and doesn't turn around. It made its first appearance in Gradius.
  • Angry Moai: The harder version of the Normal Moai; the Red Moai fires energy rings at a faster pace and can turn around and stand up. It first appeared in Gradius II and returned in the Super NES port of Gradius III.
  • Mechanical Moai: Appearing only in Nemesis 3, mechanical moai are similar to red moai, but are harder to destroy. A second type of Mech Moai lays flat on the ceiling or floor and fires an expanding laser similar to the Up/Down lasers.
  • Laser Moai: Blue Moai that not only fires rings and turns around, but also fires a huge beam, which still fires as they're crumbling. Only appeared in Gradius Gaiden.
  • Moai Я: Regenerating Blue Moai who acts like normal Moai, except they regenerate. Only appeared in Gradius IV.
  • Angry Moai Я: Regenerating Red Moai. Only appeared in Gradius Galaxies.


  • The Moai appears in Salamander anime Vol. 1 as a statue. They reappear in Vol. 2. Unlike the games, where they were enemies, the Moai in the OVA were built by an ancient generation to defend Gradius.

Cameos in other Konami titles

  • The Moai made its very first appearance in a Konami game in Pandora's Palace from 1984.
  • Moai's second appearance actually took place in the 1985 game TwinBee, which predates its appearance in any Gradius game by two months (TwinBee was released on March of 1985, while Gradius was released on May of that same year).
  • The Moai is the Gradius icon in Cosmic Wars.
  • Moai Alexandria is a playable character in Konami Wai Wai World. His special abilities are to break certain types of bricks and to shoot energy rings.
  • Moai Alexandria is the protagonist of his very own game, Moai-kun, a puzzle platformer that shares some similarities to the Eggerland/Adventures of Lolo series.
  • Moai appeared as a Yu-Gi-Oh! card, along with Gradius, Big Core, and other characters from the series.
  • Alongside the Golem, a Moai also appears as a boss in the 1993 fighting game Monster Maulers. In this incarnation, it has an entire upper-body made of stone.
  • Moai appears as a playable character in the fighting crossover game DreamMix TV World Fighters.
  • A throwable Moai statue is an unlockable weapon in Busou Shinki Battle Rondo. In addition, a set of Mini Moai options can be unlocked that follow up attacks with a barrage of ion rings.
  • A Moai statue appears in certain Castlevania games as a very rare and valuable item.
  • A Moai statue makes a cameo appearance in the fighting game Skullgirls, as a super-combo form of the character Double. The game was distributed by Konami and features work by renown Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane.
  • PlayStation 2 game Remote Control Dandy SF, developed by Sandlot and published by Konami, features the M.O.I., an enormous flying battleship with numerous Moai turrets.
  • A Moai appears as an unlockable head type for players in Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.
  • Moai appears in the Zoradius minigame in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.
  • Moai appears in My Frogger Toy Trials.
  • Moai is a selectable character in Hai no Majutsushi.
  • Moai appears as Warrior Moai in Ganbare Goemon 2 (NES).
  • Moai is one of the creatures in Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero.
  • Moai appears as Easter Shirakawa the 3rd in Taisen Tokkae Dama.
  • Moai appears as Mr. Moai in the Bomberman series.




Other appearances


  • While it is widely believed that the Moais made their first appearance in Gradius, this is not exactly the case, as their first appearance was actually in Pandora's Palace, released in 1984, around on year before Gradius. Furthermore, the second appearance of Moais in a Konami game was in TwinBee, which was released two-three months before the first Gradius.
Enemies MoaiJumping MoaiPetit MoaiRolling MoaiTotem MoaiMother MoaiDogasFlying MoaiChewing MoaiBig MoaiBata BataYoshidaSamoai No. 3Captain MoaiFlasher Maoi
Bosses Big MoaiArmored SaintVaifTwin VaifMoai DimensionAlpha/OmegaDogaltesMoai OrbCrystal MoaiViking MoaiYoshiko