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Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid Universe

Doctor Anaximander

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Couldn't find a thread devoted to this series. Apologies if one exists, the mods can merge them I guess. I'm not going to use spoilers so if you haven't watched it yet, please avoid this thread.

This show is really good. Like it made me appreciate the film series a lot more. Even the one with Hilary Swank.

Can't wait for season 3. Anyone have speculation to offer? All I really know is that the writers are planning to take Daniel back to Okinawa, and to explore the roots of both Miyagi-do and Cobra Kai.


Speculations:
 
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Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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What I want to know is if this is part of the Happy Days universe. Do you suppose Mork of Ork knows Mr. Miyagi? We know Opie does.

I've never really seen any of the movies, but the trailers for this when it first came out intrigued me.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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What I want to know is if this is part of the Happy Days universe. Do you suppose Mork of Ork knows Mr. Miyagi? We know Opie does.

I've never really seen any of the movies, but the trailers for this when it first came out intrigued me.

Your homework is to watch the original 3 movies (4th one is optional but trust me when I say it’s really not any worse than part 3)

You could watch the show first but I strongly recommend the original films first so you at least have some context and backstory going into the series.

It’s a relatively quick watch, shortish episodes and 10 per season. Easy to breeze through in a weekend or two.
 

silverknightgothic

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I'm not sure what I think of the next season being in Okinawa since I didn't like Part II of the movie series all that much. I'm honestly not really a fan of any of the movies except the first... although it's been a while since I watched any of them. Having watched Cobra Kai in its entirety does make me want to go back sometime, though.

-It's also been hinted pretty heavily that Ali will return in season 3, so I'm predicting she'll help Johnny find his way again and help him to balance his desire for honor and mercy with the more aggressive aspects of Cobra Kai. This will of course set the stage for him mending his rift with Daniel (which the show has also been hinting at since season 1) as she more or less encourages the two to grow the fuck up. However, I don't think this mending will happen until season 4 at the earliest. But Ali will be key in planting the seeds for a team-up between Johnny and Daniel.

Yeah, agree.

-I think Robby will be lured to "the dark side" by Kreese.

I have no idea what will happen to Robby after what happened in Season 2, but he's my favorite. So I hope he'll play a prominent role in Season 3...

-I think Miguel's arc will involve him rehabilitating. He may possibly eventually end up training with Daniel, and likely will mend his relationship with Sam. However, unless the series makes a big time jump, I can't seem him realistically healing up in time to go back to karate before season 4. Maybe he's in a coma and the season 3 finale ends with his eyes opening?

I was thinking that I'd be annoyed if they have him healed enough for karate in this season since that would be unrealistic. I don't like big time jumps. He should be in a coma for a little while. I like that idea for the season ending although I don't mind if he wakes up before then.

-Kyler is apparently returning. I have a feeling he and his gang will join with Kreese in an effort to regain their status as top school bullies. Curious to see if this leads to Hawk leaving Cobra Kai.

He's such a boring bully character, so I'm not really eager about that. Unless it leads to Hawk leaving Cobra Kai like you suggest, which would actually be interesting. I like watching Hawk's change. How he started shy in Season 1, then started Season 2 as a bully, and how he slowly started to "weaken" particularly after Demetri's revenge at the party.

-I would also like to see Julie (Hilary Swank) at least make a cameo at some point. The writers have already stated they believe Daniel and Julie are at least acquainted and probably met at Miyagi's funeral. In my head-canon, she probably took Miyagi's lessons to heart and eventually started her own east coast dojo based on his teachings. Whatever they do with her character, it won't be disappointing, as so far they have managed to bring back old characters in a way that doesn't feel contrived and forced. Can't see her working in a season long arc, but definitely in an episode or two. Wouldn't be too far fetched to see that she had read news about the going-ons in California with the dojo and the big brawl at the end of season 2. Perhaps when seeing Daniel give up on karate, she visits him to change his mind and remind him of Miyagi's teachings.

Even though I didn't like her movie that much, it would be cool if she made a cameo.

-a lot of fans hate Demetri, but I think there's potential for a great arc there. Perhaps he and Hawk eventually make up? I really can't see Demetri ever willingly returning to Cobra Kai, so this would have to involve Hawk seeing the error of his ways and defecting. either way, I think he will become a proficient fighter and one of Miyagi-do's best students. He's probably the most like young Daniel out of any of the teen cast.

I don't mind him even though he's annoying. I was actually surprised to see his large improvement in the season 2 finale. I'm looking forward to seeing him grow as a karate student. Now that you point it out, I think he is the most like young Daniel as well. I used to think Miguel was in the beginning... but yeah not anymore.

Gripes:

My main gripe with the series is that the Tory character felt a little shoehorned in there, and also the Aisha character was reduced a lot in season 2 and reportedly won't even be in season 3 (though I am guessing so much of it is in Okinawa that they simply couldn't fit her in. Hopefully she comes back in season 4 and maybe defects to Miyagi-do.

Yeah, I thought the Aisha character had potential, sucked how she wasn't really prominent in Season 2 when after watching Season 1 I thought I'd get to know her better. I didn't hear about her not being in Season 3 which I do find disappointing...
 

Riva

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OP those are some good speculations.

Love this show. Gives nostalgia. Add to it family dramas are so easy to watch.

What I want to know is if this is part of the Happy Days universe. Do you suppose Mork of Ork knows Mr. Miyagi? We know Opie does.

I've never really seen any of the movies, but the trailers for this when it first came out intrigued me.

You have to watch the movies. They are really nice.
 

anticlimatic

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Best show I've seen in years. Surprisingly nuanced and deep while still managing to tap 80s tropes that Stranger Things somehow managed to miss.

One of my favorite aspects about the show is Hawk, how bullies are made, and how much they have in common with the people they bully- since people only hate in others what they hate in themselves.

No predictions for season 3. Im just excited to get to know grown up Chosen, and his take on the error of his young ways.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Best show I've seen in years. Surprisingly nuanced and deep while still managing to tap 80s tropes that Stranger Things somehow managed to miss.

I know, right? Stranger Things was fun but the nostalgia element always felt very predictable and forced to me, like the creators just ticked off a long list of very recognizable 80s pop culture references and decided to build a show around those member berries. Toss a bit of John Carpenter's The Thing in there, with a healthy does of Stephen King's IT & Firestarter, a dash of 80s Spielberg and Joe Dante, put a kick ass soundtrack over it, and people call it the greatest thing since sliced bread. I realize the hype wore off a bit after season 1, but even then I didn't understand, beyond the obvious references and the cool electronic score, what the big hype was about. It was a fun show but it never stuck with me on a very deep level. Though I did like how Steve's character developed in seasons 2 and 3.

CK is one of the few things I've seen to do that era justice without feeling like a by-the-numbers, dreamed-up-in-a-boardroom approach. Perhaps it helps that the actual flashbacks they have shown or references to the 80s are through the eyes of characters in the present day, so we're really experiencing the nostalgia a little more vicariously as opposed to some artificial idea of the 80s. In general, the show doesn't try to hit viewers over the head with nostalgia. I do like how they sort of parallel the original movie though, like using some of the same songs and locations from the original film. So really they present the nostalgia more in an indirect manner than with a bunch of overt references to the 80s.

One of my favorite aspects about the show is Hawk, how bullies are made, and how much they have in common with the people they bully- since people only hate in others what they hate in themselves.

I think that so far he has the most interesting and developed arc out of the entire cast. Even when he turns into an ass, it's still easy to sympathize with him on some level. That's good, dynamic villain writing, though I'd consider him leaning slightly closer to the antihero camp. He just needs the right moment to see Kreese for who he is
 

anticlimatic

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I know, right? Stranger Things was fun but the nostalgia element always felt very predictable and forced to me, like the creators just ticked off a long list of very recognizable 80s pop culture references and decided to build a show around those member berries. Toss a bit of John Carpenter's The Thing in there, with a healthy does of Stephen King's IT & Firestarter, a dash of 80s Spielberg and Joe Dante, put a kick ass soundtrack over it, and people call it the greatest thing since sliced bread. I realize the hype wore off a bit after season 1, but even then I didn't understand, beyond the obvious references and the cool electronic score, what the big hype was about. It was a fun show but it never stuck with me on a very deep level. Though I did like how Steve's character developed in seasons 2 and 3. CK is one of the few things I've seen to do that era justice without feeling like a by-the-numbers, dreamed-up-in-a-boardroom approach. Perhaps it helps that the actual flashbacks they have shown or references to the 80s are through the eyes of characters in the present day, so we're really experiencing the nostalgia a little more vicariously as opposed to some artificial idea of the 80s. In general, the show doesn't try to hit viewers over the head with nostalgia. I do like how they sort of parallel the original movie though, like using some of the same songs and locations from the original film. So really they present the nostalgia more in an indirect manner than with a bunch of overt references to the 80s. I think that so far he has the most interesting and developed arc out of the entire cast. Even when he turns into an ass, it's still easy to sympathize with him on some level. That's good, dynamic villain writing, though I'd consider him leaning slightly closer to the antihero camp. He just needs the right moment to see Kreese for who he is

Exactly. The great thing about showing them as insecure nerds first, as it plays into the 80s trope of one dimensional bully gangs, is it lets you question those one dimensional bully gangs from any and all movie that doesn't offer back stories on how they got that way. Directly, the show does this with Johnny (my and probably everyone's favorite character- first episode reminded me a lot of "the wrestler" which I love), and because of the general wisdom that was involved in the creation of the original trilogy, it's not a difficult leap. Even though Johnny is a stock bully in the first movie, he still recoils in horror at Creeses' demand that he "sweep the leg" in the tournament, and even directly after he loses when Daniel receives his trophy he compliments him "you're not so bad Laruso!" The seeds of character depth and nature vs nurture were already planted.

I've talked about this show a lot with my BFF, who is really into martial arts, and one of the things that he really appreciated early on was the opposing dynamic of the two dojos- CK being hyper aggro, and MD being more zen and reactive, and about how both are extremely valid and effective, which mirrors life in a lot of archetypical ways.

What do you think about Miguel's decision to show mercy at the end of season 2? I saw a few people on YouTube I think saying that creese was right- that showing mercy is what screwed him, but I disagree. The mercy was the right call, but the whole rest of Miguel's training didn't prepare him for it (the best defense is MORE OFFENSE). Had Miguel been trailed more in Miagi-do, he might have better mitigated that final kick he took.

I hope Johnny completes his redemption arc and either creates his own form of karate or partners up with laruso and goes Miagi zen.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Exactly. The great thing about showing them as insecure nerds first, as it plays into the 80s trope of one dimensional bully gangs, is it lets you question those one dimensional bully gangs from any and all movie that doesn't offer back stories on how they got that way. Directly, the show does this with Johnny (my and probably everyone's favorite character- first episode reminded me a lot of "the wrestler" which I love), and because of the general wisdom that was involved in the creation of the original trilogy, it's not a difficult leap. Even though Johnny is a stock bully in the first movie, he still recoils in horror at Creeses' demand that he "sweep the leg" in the tournament, and even directly after he loses when Daniel receives his trophy he compliments him "you're not so bad Laruso!" The seeds of character depth and nature vs nurture were already planted.

It's those little moments of human complexity shining through otherwise one-dimensional characters in the movie that I love. It's subtle but you notice it a little more each viewing. Also when Kreese tells one of the other students to take him "out of commission", the boy is obviously bothered and wants to win fair and square. Also, the CK flashback/exposition explaining Johnny being bullied before taking karate is pretty illuminating.

I read a really interesting take on the whole tournament sequence on Quora. Someone asked why Kreese would even bother to resort to dirty tricks to win against Miyagi and Daniel. I liked the drawn out answer the person gave, basically saying Kreese was having an "oh fuck" moment and panicking during the tournament as he watched Daniel progress and saw this Zenlike Japanese man coaching him. I'll see if I can find the original article.

I've talked about this show a lot with my BFF, who is really into martial arts, and one of the things that he really appreciated early on was the opposing dynamic of the two dojos- CK being hyper aggro, and MD being more zen and reactive, and about how both are extremely valid and effective, which mirrors life in a lot of archetypical ways.

It's made me interested in martial arts again, even if it is a somewhat sensationalized depiction. It's the self improvement aspect that appeals to me.

What do you think about Miguel's decision to show mercy at the end of season 2? I saw a few people on YouTube I think saying that creese was right- that showing mercy is what screwed him, but I disagree. The mercy was the right call, but the whole rest of Miguel's training didn't prepare him for it (the best defense is MORE OFFENSE). Had Miguel been trailed more in Miagi-do, he might have better mitigated that final kick he took.

I am inclined to agree that he did the right thing. He just shouldn't have lowered his guard so easily. I'd have kept Robby in the hold and waited for the authorities, then surrendered.

It's clear Johnny knows he needs to modify the Cobra Kai way, I just don't think he knows exactly how to do that yet. Overall, Johnny seems pretty concerned with fairness. Like how you mentioned the scene in the original film--it's obvious he wanted to beat Daniel fair and square. And from his point of view, it was Daniel who had wronged him and acted unfairly by stealing his girlfriend in the first place.

On the other hand, I think Daniel needs to modify/reform the Miyagi Do way as well. It obviously failed himself and Robby. Though we can at least put some blame with Tory and Samantha.

It seems they're setting this up for an eventual team up or at least burying of the hatchet between the Daniel and Johnny.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Why would Kreese in the Karate Kid want to win dirty vs Daniel when he had all those Cobra Kais to do it fairly?

I think of this quora post whenever I see someone on YouTube or reddit commenting that there was no way Daniel could have won against experienced Cobra Kais with years of training under their belts in the original movie. But no one making that argument ever seems to consider how quickly one can progress with the level of intensive, one-on-one training Daniel received (from a literal master who had preserved his martial art as passed down by centuries of Miyagis).

This quora post doesn't mention this detail, but a subtle bit of exposition in the first KK movie reveals that Daniel didn't start his Miyagi-do training with a complete lack of karate knowledge. It's mentioned that he had taken some YMCA karate classes back in NJ. Sure, it's arguably not a real karate school, and certainly not on par with Cobra Kai dojo, but it's safe to assume he at least learned basic fundamentals which likely made his progression a little more rapid when he started training with Miyagi. Daniel might have already been at about a yellow belt level prior to his training with Miyagi. He just needed his form and muscle memory better honed, and once that was accomplished, I imagine the training went farily smooth with Miyagi. I'm just making a guess about the yellow belt though, as I don't think it's ever mentioned. While this bit of exposition might seem to be in the movie just to show us how much Daniel's initial karate sucked compared to Johnny's at the beginning, I think it was also intended to add a touch of realism. The writer likely thinking "a lot of people might find it far fetched if a total noob became black belt level in a matter of weeks or months, so I'll add this bit of backstory in hopes that people will find this scenarios a bit more believable"

 
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