Despite karate’s long and rich history, it wasn’t made an official Olympic sport until 2020. The martial art is far more recognized in American pop culture, with The Karate Kid series and its TV sequel Cobra Kai achieving critical acclaim as well as a thriving fandom. The series picks up more than thirty years after the film timeline, reigniting an inferno of competition between ex-archrivals Daniel and Johnny, this time as Senseis.
Cobra Kai‘s narrative flavor is entirely different than the movies, allowing it to delve into the diverse lives of its characters without having to avoid the little details. Many Cobra Kai characters are evidently intelligent, whereas others make judgments that either border on incompetence or are outright absurd.
10 Smart: Nathaniel Is One Of The Wittiest Students In The Show
Nathaniel doesn’t have a big role to play in Cobra Kai, but his charming nerdiness has made quite an impact on viewers. He usually fights with his words, having spent most of his young life fending off bullies at school.
Nathaniel’s karate skills, while impressive, aren’t anywhere near the levels of characters like Robby and Sam. Despite his physical weaknesses, Nathaniel is clearly one of the wittiest students in all three dojos, given his impressive ability to devise the perfect comeback.
9 Not So Bright: Anoush Has No Idea How To Behave In Potentially Hazardous Scenarios
Anoush works for LaRusso Auto, Daniel’s car dealership, where he proves himself as a reasonably talented salesperson. On the other hand, Anoush would rather spend time tormenting Robby and flipping through dating apps than do his job.
As such, it’s quite surprising that Daniel and Amanda want him to stay around after he receives a better offer. Anoush is also reckless enough to challenge the likes of Johnny and Tory, demonstrating that he has no idea how to handle himself in hazardous scenarios.
8 Smart: Moon’s Flighty Personality Doesn’t Take Away From Her Emotional Intelligence
On the surface, Moon seems like a flighty character with little interest in academics. But her interactions with Demetri and Eli reveal an entirely new side to her personality. Moon evolves from a bully to a freethinking feminist when she realizes all the suffering that she and her friends inflict on Aisha.
Moon’s intelligence is largely emotional — her decisions have a ring of confident maturity to them, suggesting that she’s a lot more discerning than most of her peers.
7 Not So Bright: Raymond’s Entire Existence Is Tightly Wrapped Within His Grandiose Delusions
Raymond has immense faith in himself and his abilities. The problem, however, is that his belief is woefully misplaced and comes off as unearned arrogance. Although an adult, Raymond still lives “rent-free” with his mother and insists on behaving like a half-cocked teenager than embrace his age.
He enjoys being called Stingray, but he’s basically the only person who uses the epithet unironically. Raymond’s entire existence is wrapped tightly within his delusions of grandeur.
6 Smart: Demetri’s Cleverness Is Endearing, Even If It Occasionally Gets Him In Trouble
Demetri has no illusions about his place in the student hierarchy, but he often expects his friends to adhere to his cynical philosophies. He doesn’t appreciate Eli’s transformation into Hawk because he realizes that aggression isn’t the right way to respond to bullies.
Demetri’s cleverness occasionally gets him in trouble, especially when he sasses the wrong person. Fortunately, he manages to shed some of his insecurities after enrolling in Miyagi-do, allowing him to access his confidence for the first time.
5 Not So Bright: Kyler’s Narcissism Explains His Lack Of Common Sense
Kyler revels in his popular status, completely oblivious to the fact that his narcissism is getting in the way of his emotional development. He has very few redeeming qualities, one of them being his natural athleticism, but his talents are overshadowed by his violent tendencies.
Kyler isn’t a smart fighter, either — he maliciously gloats about his skills while fighting Miguel, a rather insensible choice considering the latter’s far superior karate technique. That being said, Kyler is the product of an abusive household, which partly accounts for his cruel behavior.
4 Smart: Rosa Is Exceptionally Observant And Always Expresses Her Thoughts Without Hesitation
Miguel’s cheeky grandmother Rosa helps Carmen raise him after his father disappears. Her strength isn’t fully revealed in the series, but the fact that she leaves her beloved Ecuador shows that she’d do anything to keep her daughter and grandson safe.
Rosa is incredibly observant and cautious, explaining why she’s hesitant about Miguel training under Johnny’s “bad influence.” While her misgivings about Johnny turn out to be a red herring, Rose continues to express her feelings with uncompromising tenacity.
3 Not So Bright: As Hawk, Eli Proves Incapable Of Judging Situations By Their Merits
Eli is burdened with feelings of low self-esteem for most of his life, at least until he takes Johnny Lawrence’s teachings to heart. He lives and breathes the Cobra Kai philosophy, which makes him an exceptional karate champion but simultaneously bloats his hitherto non-existent ego to an egregious degree.
Hawk’s morale boost is inversely proportional to his inability to judge situations by their merits rather than by his feelings. Luckily, Daniel’s timely intervention saves Hawk from going down the same self-destructive path as Johnny.
2 Smart: Vanessa Calmly Deduces The Root Cause Behind Anthony’s Personality Change
Daniel doesn’t think much of his cousin Vanessa’s intelligence, even after Louie mentions that she’s in a Child Psychology Master’s program. Daniel and Amanda grudgingly allow Vanessa to evaluate their son’s abrupt personality change.
Vanessa states that Anthony’s behavior might be due to undiagnosed Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, and further claims that the root of the problem lies in Daniel and Amanda’s half-hearted parenting style. Amanda is naturally upset by the revelation, but she eventually comes to terms with Vanessa’s accurate assessment.
1 Not So Bright: Daniel Loses Sight Of Mr. Miyagi’s Lessons When Johnny Lawrence Resurfaces
Although his decisions are grounded in an occasionally faulty thought process, Daniel is unquestionably one of the nicest characters in Cobra Kai. Unfortunately, he loses sight of Mr. Miyagi’s lessons when he suspects that Johnny Lawrence is up to no good.
Daniel refuses to believe that his old adversary might be trying to turn over a new leaf, and attempts to block the “resurrection” of Cobra Kai with all the means at his disposal, including patently underhanded methods. For someone as cognizant and experienced as he is, Daniel sure knows how to worsen the situation.