The Karate Kid
Based onThe Karate Kid
by Robert Mark Kamen
Directed byLarry Houston
Voices ofJoey Dedio
Robert Ito
Janice Kawaye
Pat Morita
ComposersHaim Saban
Shuki Levy
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13[1]
Executive producersHaim Saban
Andy Heyward
ProducerLarry Houston
Production companiesDIC Enterprises
Saban Entertainment
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorColumbia Pictures Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 9 –
December 16, 1989 (1989-12-16)
Preceded byThe Karate Kid

The Karate Kid is a 1989 animated series which debuted on NBC's Saturday morning lineup. It starred Joey Dedio, Robert Ito, and Janice Kawaye. It is based on the Karate Kid series of films, and was produced by DIC Enterprises, Saban Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Television.[2]

The show was originally planned for daily syndication for fall 1988 with 65 episodes, before eventually settling on a 13-episode order for NBC Saturday mornings in 1989.[3]


The show retains apprentice Daniel LaRusso (voiced by Joey Dedio) and his mentor Mr. Miyagi (voiced by Robert Ito) but abandons the karate tournament motif for an adventure/quest setting.[4] A miniature shrine with magic powers is taken from its resting place on Okinawa, and it is up to Miyagi and Daniel to recover it. Together with Okinawan girl Taki Tamurai (voiced by Janice Kawaye), the karatekas search the globe and, naturally, encounter several opportunities to fight their way out of trouble.[5]

Pat Morita reprised his role as Mr. Miyagi before the opening through a narration in which he explains the episode's plot from his character's point of view. Morita provided opening narration for every episode aside from episode 8.

Episode formula

The episodes typically follow a similar formula: Mr. Miyagi obtains a lead on the shrine's location in some exotic corner of the world. Daniel and Taki follow up on it, and in the process encounter some villains who have either obtained or are seeking to obtain the shrine for their own evil purposes. After engaging and defeating the villains, Daniel comes within a hair's breadth of retrieving the shrine, only to have it escape from his grasp by random chance (for example, drifting away after being tied to a bunch of balloons, or being swept into the ocean), thus ensuring that the search continues into the next episode.


The show was available for purchase on iTunes, and could be streamed for free in the US on Netflix, Internet Movie Database, Hulu, and The Minisode Network and Crackle. As of May 2018, the show was no longer available on iTunes, Netflix, or Hulu.

In Canada, the series can be streamed online via CTV's free, ad-supported video on demand hub "CTV Throwback".


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"My Brother's Keeper"September 9, 1989 (1989-09-09)
In South America, a diffident teenager from a Shuar tribe finds the shrine and believes it can give him the confidence and strength to pass his tests of manhood. Miyagi shows him that confidence does not come from the shrine but from within, and Daniel works with the boy in a series of physical tests to prepare for the warrior rites.
2"The Greatest Victory"September 16, 1989 (1989-09-16)
In Hong Kong, a neighborhood has been threatened by a crime gang known as Dragon. A group of activists figure the shrine could help them defeat Dragon, but when the gang leader seizes the shrine, he uses it to brainwash people into being his hoods. Miyagi teaches that the way to deal with organized crime is through collective action, and the natives form a community watch group and help bring awareness of the misdeeds of Dragon.
3"The Homecoming"September 23, 1989 (1989-09-23)
In New York City, New York, U.S.A., the trio are paying a visit to New York City to find the shrine in New Jersey where Daniel used to live.
4"The Tomorrow Man"September 30, 1989 (1989-09-30)
In Paris, France, the trio is in pursuit of a smuggler known for his affinity for parfait a chocolate, as he is looking for the shrine. A man known as Amazing Roland pretends to be a clairvoyant to entertain tourists, but has been getting actual psychic visions. However, one such vision shows Mr. Miyagi's possible death, causing Daniel to panic. Mr. Miyagi convinces Daniel that fate must run its course.
5"All the World His Stage"October 14, 1989 (1989-10-14)
While in London, United Kingdom, the trio get hired on a movie set about King Arthur, where Miyagi finds the power of the shrine has been drained into a prop sword, which is used by the film's leading man who then cannot separate reality from fantasy and thinks Taki is his actual bride, and Daniel is threatening him.
6"The Paper Hero"October 21, 1989 (1989-10-21)
The trio is in Tijuana, Mexico, where Daniel runs into his Uncle Jack, an FBI employee. Daniel is enthralled with his uncle's FBI work until he admits his job was to file reports, and that he is investigating a case of small-time banditos threatening villages along the Mexico-US border, and are now abusing the shrine to go from minor offenses to commit major crimes as supervillains. Daniel has a problem with the sandstorms blinding him, and Miyagi teaches him to use his other four senses to fight. Daniel's uncle Jack learns there is no shame in having his current FBI job. Uncle Jack only appeared in this cartoon episode.
7"Over the Rainbow"October 28, 1989 (1989-10-28)
In the Himalayas, the shrine is in a mountain spring, which has caused the waters to reverse the aging process. In the nearby village, the council of elders used the waters to become young again in order to fill a generation gap and convince their teenagers not to leave. However, the village council enjoyed being young and forgot their responsibilities, and now the village has become focused on partying instead of working hard. When a snowstorm threatens the village, the unrenovated houses and lack of proper civil defense could doom them.
8"The Return of the Shrine"November 4, 1989 (1989-11-04)
Daniel, Miyagi, and Taki succeed in returning the shrine to Okinawa. However at home Taki has to deal with a family feud that could lead to the shrine being lost once again.
9"Walkabout"November 11, 1989 (1989-11-11)
In Australia, Daniel meets an Aboriginee man who has seen the shrine, but he is blackmailed by members of his tribe. The trio's friend is torn between whom he should help.
10"East Meets West"November 18, 1989 (1989-11-18)
In what used to be the USSR, the group find the shrine in a Soviet scientific research facility. The Friendship Games are taking place with the first time that Western nations have been invited in an effort to promote glasnost. Daniel has been put on the West's hockey team, which he worries that he cannot even skate, resorting to Mr. Miyagi's unconventional lessons once again. Meanwhile, one scientist steals the shrine to empower his son, who is playing on the East's hockey team, in order to prove the supremacy of the Soviets, only for both to get more than they bargained for.
11"The Hunt"December 2, 1989 (1989-12-02)
The trio get a job aboard a whaling vessel in Norway after seeing a white whale has swallowed the shrine.
12"The Gray Ghosts"December 9, 1989 (1989-12-09)
The trio goes to San Francisco where they find a group of senior citizens known as the "Gray Ghosts", so named because they were enthuiasts of the classic car by the same name. They learn the shrine may be in possession of a reclusive tycoon named Frump. Daniel has to work with one of the Gray Ghosts, who is very different from the stereotypes Daniel has of old ladies.
13"A Little World of His Own"December 16, 1989 (1989-12-16)
Somewhere in the South, the shrine has come under possession of a shy black boy named Walter, who uses the power of the shrine to shrink actual items such as railroad cars and add them to his model collection. In doing so Walter accidentally uses the shrine to shrink the trio. A tiny Daniel and Miyagi must work to give Walter a confidence boost to ask a girl out to a party in the hopes of reverting to their proper sizes. However, Walter is using the shrine for more than just scale models, as he also uses it for revenge on two bullies; and Miyagi warns that not only is such overuse damaging the shrine; vengenance is unhealthy.


Additional voices


Cobra-Kai series

With regard to the series Cobra Kai, Jon Hurwitz clarified that the "Karate Kid cartoon is not canon. But there is an Easter Egg from it in Season 3," in response to the question as to whether "the Karate Kid animated series [is] official within the Karate Kid / Cobra Kai universe?"[6] in the form of the Miyagi-Do shrine, briefly seen at Chozen Toguchi's dojo in Okinawa halfway through the season.[7]


  1. ^ "The Karate Kid DVD news: Announcement for The Karate Kid - The Animated Series". Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  2. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 333. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  3. ^ . Retrieved 2015-10-29. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 464. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 246. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  6. ^ Hurwitz, Jon (2020-09-24). "Twitter: Jon Hurwitz". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  7. ^ Stone, Sam (2021-01-20). "Cobra Kai Reveals Nearly Two Dozen Easter Eggs from Season 3". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2021-01-23.