Cobra Kai, a YouTube Premium Series, takes place thirty four to thirty five years after the ending of the first Karate Kid where Daniel LaRusso beat Johnny Lawrence of the Cobra Kai dojo, with an illegal kick, in the December 1984 All Valley Tournament. Warning: spoilers follow below.
Cobra Kai features nearly all of the original Karate Kid characters and an amazing cast of up and coming young actors as well. The most annoying characters in the series are whiny leftists from Miyagi Do, the first and foremost being the self-righteous adult Daniel LaRusso, who sells foreign cars and is even more hotheaded and provoking than in his youth. His daughter is an entitled princess, afraid to take her poorer Hispanic boyfriend (who is by far the most beloved character in the series) into her home and thereafter loses him in the process. LaRusso also ignores his son, who barely figures into the series. Miyagi Do student Demetri talks of personal space and the importance of using politically correct terms.
Daniel simply has not moved on from the December 1984 All Valley Tournament. Former Cobra Kai bully Johnny Lawrence has…in some ways.
Though having never used a computer, still using a flip phone (which incidentally is still ok), and driving a 1980’s car (also ok), Johnny Lawrence recognizes the problems of today’s society. Part of his unwillingness to embrace everything today comes from his economic circumstances but part of it also is because there was something special in the past with American cars, metal music that still had soul, and life that was not so complicated. Johnny Lawrence is not a perfect man but one that millions of Americans can identify with, much more so than the adult Daniel LaRusso.
Johnny realizes that parenting, or better put the lack of parenting, has led to a rise in extreme pacifism, leftism, and consequently a rise in the very bullying the left claims to despise. As Johnny said in the first season, “Back in my day when you made fun of someone, you did it to their face. There was honor in it.” Again, not perfect but Johnny has a strong point.
He decries illegal immigration and his closest friend and student is Ecuadorean, a fact almost unnoticed in a series that focuses greatly on character development and not the color of one’s skin. In fact, Cobra Kai is much more diverse than the almost exclusively white Miyagi Do.
Johnny greatly believes in forgiveness and mercy. The only religious characters in the show are tied to Johnny; Miguel’s mother and his old buddy Bobby, who now is a Christian pastor and warns Johnny to “trust but verify” by being wary of the maniacal, and very racist, former sensei John Kreese.
Johnny is rebuilding Cobra Kai, despite the continuous provocations of real bully Daniel and Kreese who has returned to make Cobra Kai into his personal Army, ostensibly to cure his PTSD from the Vietnam War; a war half-heartedly fought and subsequently lost due to leftist thought. Johnny, who came of age during the Reagan years, saw the depravity of his sensei’s teachings and is seeing the vision come to fruition in 2018-2019 America.
The new Cobra Kai dojo is most certainly against political correctness. Johnny is convinced to invite female students but insists on their being held to same tough standards he holds his male students to. The new Cobra Kai is about peace through strength. Being tough is needed to prevent one from being physically bullied and to defend others. It is also about redemption, specifically the redemption of Johnny, the bully from the 1980s who is now becoming a beloved father figure. There is great room for redemption for others, but only if they so choose.
Cobra Kai is a hard hitting, hysterical, non-PC, and sometimes poignant series. If it keeps with these themes surely it will be true that Cobra Kai Never Dies.