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  • Adorkable:
    • Due to his nerdy and awkward personality, Demetri can be endearing to some fans, and it's very satisfying to see him begin to grow out of his shell. Hell, even Yasmine found him endearing!
    • When Johnny tries to be romantic with Carmen, he's obviously unsure of how to relate to her, and it's rather sweet to see such a tough guy acting so shy around the woman he has a crush on.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Has its own page
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: When the series was announced, it was dismissed by many as yet another unnecessary Hollywood revival of a long-dead franchise with nostalgic value and that it would flop. The fact that it was premiering on YouTube Red, a service which had struggled to gain traction against streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime also didn't help. When it premiered, reviewers praised it for being a well-written series that manages to balance the nostalgia while bringing new energy and dynamic characters and the first episode wound up being watched by 5.4 million viewers on its first day. The series was quickly renewed for a second season within a week, eventually picked up by Netflix, and is held up as an example of how to revive a dormant franchise the right way.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A lot of the problems with the All Valley Tournament in The Karate Kid Part III were fixed in the Season 1 finale:
      • The bullshit rule the winner only has to fight in the final round (which was arguably was so they could skip a tournament montage) is no longer present since Xander Stone is shown fighting in every round until he's eliminated by Miguel in the semi-final.
      • The referee is far less lenient on blatant rule-breaking as Hawk is immediately disqualified when he dislocates Robby's shoulder between rounds, as opposed to the previous referee, who let Barnes punch Daniel in the face between rounds.
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    • Season 3 wastes no time assuring us that, despite not seeing it last season, Cobra Kai faced genuine consequences for the school brawl. Tory was expelled and only avoided jail time due to being her mother's caretaker, Aisha's parents moved away in shame, and Stingray isn't allowed around kids.
    • For those not fond of the teenage romance drama of Season 2, Season 3 took a step back from that, with Sam getting back together with Miguel to resolve their UST, and Demetri hooking up with Yasmine, being the only drama seen.
    • After all the complaints about Hawk being hit with The Worf Effect in Season 2, Season 3 has Kreese call him out on his Leeroy Jenkins tendencies and he learns to fight with more finesse, resulting in him winning several major bouts.
    • After the second film went rather far out of its way to destroy Ali's character offscreen, her return in Season 3 lets her set the record straight that Daniel's rant about her dumping him at prom and wrecking his car was far from a full picture of what happened. Just to make sure Daniel didn't come off as entirely in the wrong, she admits she did egg on the situation.
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  • Awesome Music: This way.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Demetri has proven to be a fairly divisive character. Some fans like him for being a Deadpan Snarker Only Sane Man whose quips regarding his friends' behavior can be pretty funny. Others consider him an annoying Mouthy Kid whose Entitled Bastard attitude during the Cobra Kai lesson and hypocrisy regarding bullying are a big turn off. He gets several magnitudes worse with this in Season 2 as due to his eventual training in Miyagi-Do he got increased screentime. He's consistently whiny throughout his entire run, but towards the end, it becomes split towards the middle. Either fans like him for attempting to break through to Hawk and only finally fighting back when Hawk continues to antagonize him, or hate him for his immense whining, revealing Hawk's dirtiest secrets at Moon's party and beating Hawk in a skirmish at the very end of the season. However, Demetri has gained a lot more fans since he Took a Level in Badass in Season 3, which also gave him and the other secondary fighters in both dojos a bit more characterization.
    • Amanda LaRusso, to a lesser extent. Many appreciate her Only Sane Man tendencies and good-natured sarcasm, while others find it obnoxious that she almost never turns off the Deadpan Snarker routine, even when it's obviously not helpful. She does begin taking things a lot less lightly in Season 2, as the feud between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do starts to intrude more and more on Daniel's professional and family life.
    • In Season 2, Raymond/Stingray is seen by some as hilarious comic relief and by others as a pathetic manchild who overstays his welcome and quickly becomes weird and creepy after he shows up at a party full of teenagers and then tries to go to school with them.
    • Tory Nichols has mostly split the fanbase into three camps: those who find her relatable and somewhat sympathetic despite her violent actions thanks to her troubled home life, and hope she gets the chance to redeem herself over the course of the series; those who find her backstory to be a poor justification for her attitude and consider her a one-dimensional cartoon villain, and those that give her the Draco in Leather Pants treatment and completely side with her in her conflict with Sam.
    • There's very little middle ground on Samantha LaRusso. Some fans consider her a relatably flawed teenager, and like her for being a badass Action Girl and Distaff Counterpart to her father, Daniel, in the original film trilogy, while viewing her romance with Miguel as one of the highlights of the series. Others consider her a selfish Spoiled Brat who instigates most of the conflict between the rival dojos and hate her for being at the center of a soap-opera style Love Dodecahedron.
  • Broken Base:
    • The incident in "Pulpo" where Demetri shares some of Hawk's personal secrets to everyone at Moon's party has sharply divided the fandom. One half feels Hawk deserved it after he antagonized Demetri and Miyagi-Do throughout the season and rejected Demetri's attempt to reconcile earlier in the episode. The other half feels that Demetri revealing private information was taking things too far and the act was disproportionate compared to Hawk pouring a drink on his head.
    • While the series like to stress that Both Sides Have a Point, it has proven to be rather contentious if the show has gone overboard in overexaggerating Daniel's flaws and "fault" in his past conflict with Johnny. Notably, the scene where Daniel recounts the incident when Johnny and his friends almost ran him over with their motorcycles and drove him off the road gets Played for Laughs.
    • When Sam visits Miguel in the hospital, and Miguel tries to defend Tory, Sam shuts him down with a "Everyone has a sob story. It doesn't give them the right to be a bully." "Nature vs Nurture" reveals that Tory has a harsher home life than her backstory implies. To some fans, Sam's words seem like the tasteless remark of a spoiled and inconsiderate teenager talking down to less privileged classmates. To others, Sam's words are perfectly justified seeing as she has a sob story of her own yet didn't become a bullynote  and both of her boyfriends so far turned out to be mostly decent people despite troubled upbringings that are on par with Tory'snote 
    • In the Season 3 finale, Hawk's Heel–Face Turn. It's proven rather contentious whether his redemption was earned or not. While the seeds of his Heel Realization was planted throughout the season, it's still a matter a debate over whether his action turn in the final episode came too quickly or if the turn itself made up for the number of crimes and bullying he committed throughout the season.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Inadvisable as it is for Real Life, having Aisha giving Yasmine a super painful front-wedgie during the beach party is very satisfying to watch, considering all of Yasmine's cyberbullying directed at Aisha and Sam. Kyler and his group's beatings at the hands of Johnny and Miguel count as well.
    • Hawk gets his turn too when he takes out years of resentment and bullying on a well-deserved target, Brucks, giving him a full-blown No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. The icing on the cake is Kyler cowering away from his former victim right after and realizing that his time as the top dog is over and never coming back.
    • Amanda not being intimidated at all by Kreese and actually slapping him, even though it backfires on her later. Even its split-second glimpse in the Season 3 trailer gets one of the biggest responses in any reaction video.
    • And Amanda herself is also on the receiving end, as after two seasons of her acting like Daniel's issues with Cobra Kai are completely ridiculous, seeing her finally learn firsthand just how bad Kreese really is and start to take a similar attitude to Daniel has a certain schadenfreude.
    • Hawk finally realizing how far he's fallen and defecting from Cobra Kai mid-brawl to save Demetri from his attackers and apologize for being such a jerk. The two of them working together to defeat the rest of their opponents being the icing on the cake.
  • Character Rerailment: After The Karate Kid Part II subjected Ali to a classic example of Derailing Love Interests offscreen by revealing that she cheated on Daniel, crashed his car, and broke up with him on prom night, Season 3 returns her to her Nice Girl characterization from the first movie and clarifies that Daniel's account of their breakup was not the full story.
  • Common Knowledge: The show is very often described as simply reversing the sides of the first film's hero and villain. In fact, one of the most acclaimed things about it is how it's able to give Johnny a more nuanced and sympathetic portrayal without taking the easy way out and turning Daniel into the bad guy.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Berating a student for having asthma? Johnny being a Jerkass. Tossing his student’s inhaler across the room and saying he doesn’t have asthma anymore? Hilarious.
    • Kreese threatens to cut off a finger from Tory's abusive landlord, followed by a jump cut to a hot dog being sliced up.
    • Johnny beating up Cruz right in front of a guard at the detention center, and the guard being completely okay with it.
  • Cry for the Devil: Kreese is a despicable man who is a terrible influence on the teens and needs to be taken down, but the full reveal of his backstory and Vietnam War experiences in Season 3 makes it hard not to pity him and mourn the loss of the idealistic young man he once was.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: While most fans agree that the show's Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse message about Tory's behavior in Season 2 is a good one, it's debatable as to whether it was ideal for Sam to be the character who delivers it, because her privileged upbringing makes the line reek of classism. Also the fact she uses the exact same wording every time makes it sound more preachy than genuine. When Miguel, who is also from a poor working class background and thus has a full understanding of Tory's struggles, delivers the message to Tory in Season 3, it is a bit more effective.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Eli/Hawk has a lot of fans who find the way he transforms himself from a shy bullied nerd to a confident, aggressive fighter to be awesome. This resulted in his role increasing in Season 2 and Jacob Bertrand being promoted from a recurring to a starring cast member.
    • Amanda LaRusso. Fans were quick to dread the possibility of her turning out to be the Stereotypical Wet Blanket Wife, but were pleased when her characterization proved to be the opposite. The fact that she also serves as the Voice of Reason and has a positive relationship with Daniel and her kids made her extremely popular.
    • Chozen Toguchi, who returns in Season 3, has been praised for his Character Development into a humbled Miyagi-Do practitioner, a far cry from the man he was during Part II.
  • Epileptic Trees: Some fans suspected pre-Season 3 that Tory would be revealed to be Ali's daughter, given their similar appearance, introductions specifying the spelling of their name, and hint in the Season 2 finale that Ali would be appearing in Season 3. Jossed as of Season 3, when Tory's mother is revealed to be bedridden and on dialysis, while Ali returns but has no interaction with Tory.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • John Kreese has proven to be an amazing villain for the show. He’s gotten old but he proved that he still has it in his fight with Johnny. Martin Kove still provides an excellent and entertaining performance. Kreese manages to worm his way back to being Cobra Kai’s sensei by the end of Season 2, effectively making him the winner. Kreese has been praised for his role as the Big Bad of Season 2 and Season 3.
    • Hawk for his transformation or "Flipping the script" especially considering what he did was actually pretty good for life; he just took it too far.
  • Fanon:
    • Many fanfic writers and fanartists like to think that Daniel has reading glasses. Pictures of Macchio wearing glasses himself only fuels this fire.
    • Some hold the belief that Kreese's abuse of Johnny extended all the way to sexual abuse, and to a lesser extent that Daniel suffered the same under Terry.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: One look at Archive of Our Own shows that Daniel/Johnny is easily the fandom’s dominant ship. Among the younger cast, Miguel/Robby is also quite popular.
  • Fight Scene Failure: It's pretty clear that Ralph Macchio isn't really any better with martial arts than the average man off the street. Most of Daniel's fight scenes quickly cut away when he's about to land a shot.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Danny and Johnny's long history and rivalry have led quite a few fans to this.
    • The third season makes a joke out of this when the two take a trip together in order to find Robby. When speaking to Shannon, she finds it odd that the two are together on this and Johnny delivers this gem:
    • Tory’s ultimately one sided obsession with Sam has shades of this in the same manner that Faith had this with Buffy
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the first season, when Johnny is recounting the events of The Karate Kid to Miguel, he offhandedly says he thinks Tommy got brain damage from the fight with Mr. Miyagi in a moment of levity. When Tommy is reintroduced in the second season, it turns out he has a terminal illness that has spread to his brain.
    • In-Universe, Daniel’s karate-themed advertisements for his dealership become this in Season 3, resulting in his financial troubles.
  • Genius Bonus: For '80s Night at the roller rink, Sam dresses as Andie from Pretty in Pink and wants Robby to dress as Duckie, though he goes with the villain Steff instead. Duckie ended up with Andie in the original script, but Executive Meddling forced her to end up with preppie Blane instead. Thus, Sam's costume choices would give them plausible deniability if anyone spotted them together, while Robby's change to them foreshadows his own upcoming character arc.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Tommy, one of Johnny's old friends, is best known for exclaiming "Get him a body bag! Yeah!" during the finals of the 1984 All-Valley Tournament. Season 2 Episode 6 concludes with the sickly Tommy's death, and nothing could be done to bring him back even with help from paramedics; thus, they had little option but to wrap his lifeless body in a black body bag. This is further compounded by the death of his actor, Rob Garrison, months after Season 2 was released; this role was his last.
    • In her introductory episode in Season 2, Tory claims to have once used her spiked bracelet to fight off a creepy guy at the mall. In Season 3, it's revealed that Tory has an extremely creepy landlord who tries to sexually extort her under threat of eviction when she can't pay her rent, implying either that Tory has had to deal with this sort of harassment many times before, or that she made up the story about the guy at the mall and was instead talking about what she wishes she could do to her landlord.
    • Regardless of how you view them (See Broken Base above), Sam's words when it comes to having an sob story as an excuse to be a bully became harder for fans to grasp after "Nature vs Nurture" revealed everything about Tory having a much rougher life than being poor.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Ralph Macchio and William Zabka have always been good actors, but their status in pop culture thanks to The Karate Kid (1984) and the frequent Adam Westing of their iconic roles belie the fact that both of them really do have some serious dramatic chops, which have earned them praise from numerous critics and fans alike.
    • Jacob Bertrand and Peyton R. List's superb performances as troubled teenagers surprised many viewers who were familiar with their more simplistic roles on various Disney Channel projects.
    • Some fans who were borderline about Sam were won over by Mary Mouser's performance depicting her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder in Season 3.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson had a habit of being a Misaimed Fandom to the movies he watched, believing that the villains of the stories are actually the heroes and vice versa (e.g. crying when the Terminator dies and scheming to crawl through vents "just like the bad guy [John McClane] in Die Hard"). One noteworthy example is him viewing Johnny as the real Karate Kid and hating Daniel, with both William Zabka and Ralph Macchio appearing on the show to meet Barney, and Zabka lamenting being Type Cast as bad guys and appreciating that Barney is one of the few people who likes his character. Cobra Kai seems to be depicting things the way Barney saw them, with Johnny being the main character this time.
    • "Daniel is the Real Bully", a YouTube parody that flips the perspective on the story and tries to make Daniel the bad guy of the first movie. It's safe to say the writers gave it a watch because Johnny's retelling of what happened in the first movie late in the first season isn't much different.
    • Demetri's already hilariously inept attempts at flirting with Yasmine in Season 1 and her disgusted reaction become even funnier after they become a couple in Season 3.
    Demetri: "I don't care if Yasmine is the meanest girl at school. I'd kill both of you just to get her to spit in my face."
    • Miguel’s grandma says that the Dodgers will probably screw off in the playoffs. This came out just a few months after they won their first World Series in years.
    • Johnny and Daniel listening to REO Speedwagon in the car. Are they talking about the song, or the best waifu?
      Johnny: You like Speedwagon?
      Daniel: What kind of man doesn't?
  • Hollywood Homely:
    • Downplayed with Johnny. In the first episode, he is treated as unattractive, even though he is actually quite good-looking and really only needed a shave and wardrobe update. Once he shapes up his life, he's seen as attractive by many women, even getting 4 dates over the course of one scene note .
    • Invoked with Eli, who is practically treated as a circus freak by his peers due to his lip scar despite the scar not being that bad and him being relatively good looking. Once he "flips the script" and becomes Hawk, he gains a lot more confidence and manages to date one of the most popular girls in school.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Along with the 'Lawrusso' nickname, Daniel/Johnny shippers like to call them 'Karate Husbands' while Kreese/Terry Silver shippers go with 'Cobra Husbands'.
  • It Was His Sled: Kreese is revealed to still be alive at the end of the first season.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Asthma does not exist in this dojo!" Explanation 
    • Johnny's loud, abrupt "QUIET!" has become one in internet conversations.
    • "Demetri and Eli, binary brothers!"Explanation 
    • A lot of comparisons have been made between Johnny and Robby's showdown in the Season 3 finale and the climactic duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith.
    • "Daniel LaRacist"Explanation 
    • "Don’t you think some of what Sensei Kreese is teaching us feels wrong?"Explanation 
    • "Forgive me, Father."Explanation 
    • "Robby Keene vs. Filing Cabinet" Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Some seem to be under the impression that the viewer is supposed to agree with all of Johnny's views. While this is obviously true in some situations, Johnny has also said several things that are clearly not true and are just pure ignorance or selective memory on his part, such as that he doesn't believe in the existence of asthma.
    • Likewise, a few fans love the way the Cobra Kai crew transforms themselves from bullied kids to a Badass Crew and ignore the fact they become almost as bad as the bullies who picked on them, fight dirty during the tournament, and that by the end of the season, even Johnny isn't pleased with how they turned out.
    • Fans frequently argue over which sensei and dojo is supposed to be the heroic one and which is supposed to be the antagonist, when the whole point of the show is that it strives for a Gray-and-Grey Morality where neither Johnny / Cobra Kai or Daniel / Miyagi-Do is completely right or wrong. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka even made a video discussing this and pointed out the only true villain in the series is Kreese.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Arguably, Shannon Keene crosses the line when she abandons Robby out of the blue with her new boyfriend (claiming to only be gone for a few weeks, but not returning until the end of summer), proving that her Gold Digging is entirely selfish. She doesn't even make sure that the bills are being paid while she's gone, so the power goes out shortly after she leaves. Even worse, Robby only found out because Shannon sneaked back into their apartment to grab something, meaning she was planning on leaving her son without any explanation. Obviously, Shannon has a lot of problems (addiction being one of them), but that is no excuse for abandoning your child, especially without ensuring that he's safe and secure.
    • Kreese seems willing to try to redeem himself, but he crosses it when he steals the dojo from Johnny leaving him with no income and plans to corrupt the students even worse than in 1984. And if he didn't cross it there, he definitely crossed it when he attempts to murder Johnny and Daniel. Let's re-emphasise this for good measure: he literally admits his intent to murder Daniel during their fight. Kreese is NOT a stable person.
      • He gets a chronologically earlier one during his time in Vietnam: when he's about to beat his ranking officer in the death pits, rescue finally arrives in the form of airstrikes. He has absolutely no reason to kill Turner knowing they're going to be safe soon, but does it anyway once he realises Turner is willing to pull rank after previously deferring his command while captured. Sure, it was a huge Kick the Son of a Bitch moment towards a completely unsympathetic villain, but it's clear Kreese made the decision purely out of revenge rather than any pragmatic reason, and kicked off his own Start of Darkness.
    • Kyler crosses it when he beats Miguel to a pulp with a lacrosse stick during the house brawl. And if that wasn't bad enough, he definitively cements himself as irredeemable by deliberately targeting Miguel's back while he was still recovering from his paralysis during the home invasion brawl.
    • The Cobra Kai dojo as a whole crosses it when they convince Hawk to break Demetri's arm. Then, Tory and the other Cobra Kai loyalists cross it even further when they invade the LaRusso house and assault Sam, Miguel, and all of the Miyagi-Do and former Cobra Kai students as they’re hanging out.
    • Captain Turner's actions throughout Vietnam fell strictly under I Did What I Had to Do, until he told Kreese that his girlfriend was dead just to demoralize him so he could kill him to save his own life. On top of this, he spent his entire captivity deferring his authority, saying the chain of command doesn't exist while they're prisoners. The moment he realises he's safe - after taking absolute joy in trying to kill Kreese for putting them in that situation - he orders Kreese to save him from the snake pit. Sure, it's a Moral Event Horizon, Start of Darkness, and What You Are in the Dark moment for Kreese himself, but it's hard to not see his willingness to kill Turner despite both being saved by The Cavalry as a well-deserved Kick the Son of a Bitch moment.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Hawk's over-the-top badass persona is completely ridiculous, but it also works perfectly at face value because, rather than going the expected route with his character, he does possess the viciousness and skill to back it up.
    • “Eagle Fang”. Bizarre and ridiculous name? Yes, Demetri even lampshades it. Does it fit Johnny, and does he make it work as a result? Yes again.
    • Demetri telling off Tory after she threatens former Cobra Kai member Hawk for his decision to turn coat. It should be ridiculous, but it works, not only because it continues to show Demetri's newfound confidence, but it's also a perfect way to show his friendship with Hawk getting on the mend, and the perfect response a confident-but-socially-awkward teen would give. The fact that she was one of the people who actively goaded Hawk into breaking his arm makes it even more awesome.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The unnamed woman Johnny meets in the bar who he instantly seems to click with due to her basically being a girl version of him. Unfortunately for her, Johnny happens to overhear Carmen's boyfriend talking to a friend about how he’s just using Carmen, and he quickly forgets about the woman he’s just met to go put the asshole in his place.
    • Poor Daniel in the Season 2 episode "The Moment Of Truth". Once Aisha's mother (played by Kim "Tootie" Fields) started expounding on the awesomeness of Cobra Kai, he had no hope of getting Miyagi-Do into the minds of the other men at that table.
    • Dee Snider makes an appearance As Himself in Season 3, rocking so hard that Miguel's paralysis is cured.
    • Ali comes back for two episodes in Season 3 and single-handedly does what the entire cast couldn't for the course of three entire seasons: finish the animosity between Johnny and Daniel.
  • One True Threesome: Those that like the Foe Yay between Daniel and Johnny but hate the idea of Daniel cheating on Amanda just go for this option, noting Amanda gets along with Johnny better than Daniel does.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • Johnny Lawrence + Daniel LaRusso = LawRusso
    • Johnny Lawrence + Carmen Diaz = Jarmen/Carnny
    • Sam + Miguel = Samiguel
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Demetri's newfound confidence and getting more into karate in Season 3 caused more people to warm up to him. He even managed to impress Yasmine of all people.
    • Ali had been the target of ire from the fandom after the way she dumped Daniel offscreen in The Karate Kid Part II and it was increased following Johnny's recollection of their relationship in this series making her come across as callous to him in the original film. Her appearances in Season 3 made her a popular character once again after she proves herself to be the same Nice Girl she was depicted as in the original film, reveals that Daniel and Johnny's memories weren't wholly accurate, and helps end the animosity between the two rivals.
    • A lot of fans who didn't like Sam in the first two seasons warmed up to her in Season 3. Likely helped by the season not being as fixated on the teenage romance drama as Season 2, many appreciated how her PTSD arc gave her some vulnerability and weakness, and appreciated how she learned from her mistakes in previous seasons such as directly standing up to bullies in contrast to her earlier Bystander Syndrome with regard to Yasmine, and forming a much stronger relationship with Miguel by standing up for him both figuratively (defending Miguel to her father when he catches them making out in the dojo rather than trying to hide their relationship) and literally (stepping in front of Miguel when Robby tries to attack him).
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The teenage romances of Sam and Robby / Miguel and Tory in season 2 fall into this, especially when Robby and Tory are merely serving as Sam's and Miguel's respective rebounds and the relationships are meant to be temporary.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Demetri gets this treatment from fans when he’s the only kid other than Robby and Miguel to even try to react to physical aggression towards them with something other than more violence. They consider him revealing Hawk as a bed wetter as way out of line, even though it was a reaction to constant harassment from him including three major actions. These actions being gang assault at the mall, vandalizing his dojo, pouring a drink on his head, the third of which being was when Demetri was trying to make amends even after the first two. Not to mention that during the school brawl, Demetri was the only student to try and get an authority figure involved and took Miyagi’s defense only teachings to heart by fighting back at Hawk when all other options, including running away, were exhausted. Not to mention that even if Demetri hadn’t embarrassed him at the party, Hawk would very likely have still chased him down during the brawl and if the brawl hadn’t happened Hawk would at the very least be harassing him all year. Sure he’s a mouthy kid but it’s a healthier reaction to the brutal violence that Hawk, Mitch, and Tory resort to.
    • Sam has also gotten this treatment. In Season 2, some fans blame the entirety of the school brawl and all of its fallout on her as a result of her drunken kiss with Miguel, never mind that it wasn't a one sided kiss (Miguel went 50/50 on it with her, and unlike Sam he was actually thinking clearly and knew what was happening and still decided to cheat on Tory) and that Tory was the one who resorted to violence (when she should've been confronting Miguel), while Hawk escalated the fight into a full-on rumble. She's also criticized for adapting a "strike first" mentality while leading Miyagi-Do in the first part of Season 3, even though Sam only did this because she was tired of Cobra Kai picking on the Miyagi-Dos unprovoked. Some also blame her for Demetri's arm getting broken during the arcade fight in Season 3, while giving Hawk a free pass for actually breaking it and ignoring that Sam feels absolutely terrible about it afterwards, being more traumatized by the event than Demetri himself.note 
  • The Scrappy:
    • Anthony LaRusso has zero relevance to the story and is mainly just there to be a dick. Even Yasmine and Kyler were meant to be unlikeable on purpose, but Yasmine got better as of Season 3.
    • Counselor Blatt is by design meant to be hated for her incompetence, her overfocus on political correctness, and for letting Cobra Kai students get away with bullying and harassing Miyagi-Do students when they play the victim card. Instead of helping them, she punishes the victims for fighting back. An unfortunate example of Truth in Television.
  • Ship Mates: Most people who ship either Miguel or Robby with Sam tend to ship the other one with Tory as a neat way to resolve the Love Dodecahedron.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Sam/Miguel vs Sam/Robby. Then Season 2 adds Miguel/Tory to the fire while Season 3 hints at the possibility of Robby/Tory.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Season 1: Kyler's bunch getting their asses whupped by Johnny and later Miguel; Aisha introducing Yasmine to the Melvin; Daniel's use of his dealership to impart Wax On, Wax Off on Robby; the All-Valley Tournament.
    • Season 2: the Bar Brawl involving Johnny's buddies; the school brawl between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai that ends in tragedy.
    • Season 3: Yasmine and Demetri become an item; Hawk's beatdown of Brucks; Miguel and Sam's speech to save the All-Valley tournament; the final brawl at the LaRusso home; Daniel and Johnny vs. Kreese.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: See here.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When Daniel asks Kyler where his parents are from, he replies "Irvine". Kyler may be a mean character who seems to be clueless about a lot of things. But he did answer correctly. If Daniel wanted to know about Kyler's Asian heritage, he should have asked in a better way that was easier to understand- such as "what country did your family come to the USA from?".
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The series avoids the Strictly Formula format that haunted the rest of the franchise (although some aspects are Reconstruction) and follows the events (even if a bit late) and the character development left over from the first movie.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Aisha was Put on a Bus for Season 3, allegedly because the writers didn't have any ideas for the character. However, with Yasmine returning and seemingly getting her own redemption arc, it would have been interesting to see how the dynamic between her and Aisha would have changed since Yasmine had been Aisha's biggest bully. Also, given Aisha's status as a Token Good Teammate to Cobra Kai and her Friendly Enemy dynamic with Sam, it would have been interesting to see how she would have reacted to Kreese taking over the dojo and Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang teaming up.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Ironically, the treatment of Daniel's past and how it affected him. While plenty of time is spent showing how Johnny was affected by the loss at the tournament and Kreese's actions after, Daniel's seems rather like they're being downplayed. One such example is Daniel's story of how he went down the hill on his bike, and it's treated as if this is a story he will not shut up about and implies he blows it out of proportion by his son's confusion over it when Daniel's mother tells the story. In all reality, this was a horrible experience for him where he goes home, tearfully throws his bike in the trash, and argues with his mother, while begging to go back to their old lives. The last time as they're going inside the boy again quietly says, "I just want to go home." and states he wishes to take the bus from now on due to it being safer. He's literally begging to go where he is safe in both major and minor cases in the film. Yet his emotional issues are often played off as, "Not being able to let go of a 33-year-old rivalry," despite showing he does not blame Johnny for what he'd done but the dojo that had in fact poisoned his mind. The way Daniel's feelings are treated is fairly strange considering the show's cast and creators have said the show is about shades of grey and that both sides have valid points.
    • Hawk's beatdown of Brucks in Season 3 is supposed to be seen as another example of him being corrupted by Kreese's influence. However, given Brucks was one of the main perpetrators of the bullying in Season 1, it instead comes across as Hawk dishing some much needed Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Miguel beating up Hawk at Coyote Creek was meant to be a sign of corruption. However, by that point, Hawk had stolen the Medal of Honor, which cost Johnny half his students, and was parading the medal around with no remorse of what he had done, so it's hard not to agree with Miguel. Johnny calls him out on this, even though he would've had Hawk for breakfast had he known about the Medal of Honor.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Demetri in Season 2. While he did get abandoned by his friends, he's not exactly blameless for it because he refuses to stop verbally antagonizing the Cobra Kai and he never apologizes until it's too late. It trickles into Season 3 when Hawk and Demetri traded social standings.
    • While Tory has been the main instigator in her rivalry with Sam, much like Daniel during the first Karate Kid movie, Sam did her fair share of instigating with Tory such as trying to rifle through Tory's purse to get her mom's stolen wallet when she has no proof the wallet was even stolen in the first place (although her suspicions were not unfounded given how Tory had been very upfront about stealing a bottle of vodka), or mocking Tory for losing the drinking contest when it was Stingray's fault for distracting her.
    • Miguel has shades of this in Season 2.
      • While returning Miyagi's Medal of Honor was the right thing to do, the way he handles it makes his motives look less than pure. For one, he continues to stay friends with Hawk, the guy who led the trashing of Miyagi-Do and stole the medal to begin with. Secondly, despite Miguel saying it has nothing to do with his feelings for Sam, it's clear that returning it was all about her. He implies that it’s about showing everyone that Cobra Kai isn’t bad...which would ring more true if he returned the medal to Miyagi-Do while Daniel was teaching a class there, or he had Johnny return the medal to Daniel. Instead, he goes directly to the LaRussos' house clearly expecting to give the medal directly back to Sam (having no idea that Robby was living with them) so he could at least get back on her good side.
      • In addition, while he enters into a relationship with Tory, and while it's very one-sided (Tory being more invested in the relationship than Miguel is), he spends the season pining over Sam, and when he kisses her at Moon's party, he is very much sober while she is drunk. And there's a full eight seconds between when he catches Sam and they kiss during which he's looking down at her lips, and she only goes for the kiss after getting his consent, indicating he had absolutely no problem at all with cheating on Tory.
    • In Season 3, Tory is supposed to come off as sympathetic when the full extent of her home and family life is revealed, namely the fact that her mother is bedridden from dialysis and her brother is too young to work himself, along with a comment from Miguel when they talk at the sushi restaurant implying that she's mentally ill. However, the reveal of this information ends up actually highlighting the selfishness of her behavior, and makes her actions in Season 2 come across as worse because it means she did everything, including instigating the school brawl that got her expelled and arrested, fully knowing how much it could put her family at risk.
    • Hawk undergoes a Heel–Face Turn in the Season 3 finale which is supposed to be seen as cathartic but instead comes off as unearned (or an Ass Pull to some). Despite apologizing to Demetri (whose arm he reluctantly broke earlier), it sounds pretty half-assed and rushed. It also comes off as him only switching sides because of the fact that Robby was taking his place as Cobra Kai's alpha rather than actually feeling bad for the bullying he participated in (and in many cases instigated). There's also the fact that even though he changed sides during the home invasion brawl, he still chose to participate in the home invasion itself, making him complicit in any injuries Miguel suffered from Kyler's beating.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The series rarely does this, but there's an episode where Miguel instructs the Cobra Kai students to dab (of course, in a karate-esque manner). There's another episode where some students have a Fortnite dance challenge.
  • The Woobie and Jerkass Woobie : Has it’s own page
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: In "No Mercy", a lot of the kids are shown wearing long sleeves and sweatshirts on the first day of school, even though the series takes place in California's San Fernando Valley, where early September temperatures average around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C).

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