Welcome back to The MMA Scene, where we analyze and share our thoughts on various combat sports-related television shows and episodes.
The Karate Kid franchise was a little bland by the third movie iteration and it’s that backdrop that the cartoon TV series found itself in when it premiered in 1989.
Featuring Mr. Miyagi and Daniel LaRusso on their quest to find a powerful miniature Okinawan shrine, the only connection to the actual movie was that almost each show was pre-narrated by Pat Morita. Otherwise, Miyagi and Daniel were voiced by Robert Ito and Joey Deido, respectively. Joining them was Okinawa native Taki Tamurai, voiced by Janice Kawaye.
Imagine Ted Lasso now and then a cartoon series coming out five years later. To be fair, the makers probably intended the cartoon to stand on the shoulders of the Karate Kid III movie which came out in 1989, but that movie was considered a dud.
Accordingly, the cartoon lasted only 13 episodes.
However, there were a lot of prominent voice actors that worked on the show. James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Linda Gary (Spiderman, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe), Brock Peters (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, To Kill a Mockingbird, Porgy and Bess), and even Toy Newkirk (A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master) were amoung them.
Miyagi and Daniel didn’t feel like the real thing, which probably hurt the show more than anything. It may have done better if it had come out closer to the first or second movie.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Cobra Kai is doing rather well right now.
The Karate Kid is currently available on video streaming platform Crackle.