Cobra Kai is a martial arts comedy-drama series and a direct sequel to the original Karate Kid movies. Having started on YouTube Red, the series moved to Netflix at the start of its third season, which has seen its popularity surge.
It's one of the most watched shows in the world, thanks mainly to its great cast of characters – some of whom we root for, some of whom we despise.
In this piece, we'll run you through a dozen of the show's most likable characters and a dozen of its nastiest.
Most Likable – 12. Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita)
Nariyoshi Miyagi – more commonly known as Mr. Miyagi – isn't actually in Cobra Kai. The character passed away in-universe in 2011, while Pat Morita, who portrayed him, did so in 2005. However, he's a constant presence in the show and often appears in photographs and archive footage. It would feel wrong not to include him here.
Mr. Miyagi appeared in four Karate Kid movies – 1984's The Karate Kid, 1986's The Karate Kid Part II, 1989's The Karate Kid Part III, and 1994's The Next Karate Kid. He's the finest martial artist ever seen in the Karate Kid franchise. He's an honorable, caring, kind, sweet, and genuinely lovely man. He is fondly remembered and deeply missed.
11. Raymond “Stingray” Porter (Paul Walter Hauser)
Raymond “Stingray” Porter first appeared in season two of Cobra Kai before returning as a recurring character for seasons four and five. He's a man-child who lives with his mother and shirks all adult responsibilities. His interest in martial arts saw him end up at Cobra Kai, where Terry Silver manipulated him into helping imprison John Kreese. He has since seen the error of his ways.
Stingray undoubtedly needs to grow up, but you can't help but be charmed by him. His ridiculous (undeniably funny) nickname comes from his tail-like beard and his real first name, Raymond. His enthusiasm for fun is contagious, and he's a real sweetheart underneath his bravado.
10. Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita)
Kumiko first appeared in 1986's The Karate Kid Part II. She's the niece of Yukie, Mr. Miyagi's childhood girlfriend, and was Daniel LaRusso's second love interest in the Karate Kid franchise. She appeared as a guest star in Cobra Kai's third season, reuniting with Daniel on his trip to Okinawa when he traveled there to get some inspiration for his business.
She's probably the purest and kindest character in the franchise. Kumiko is constantly smiling and has the best interests of everyone around her at heart. Allowing Daniel to read Mr. Miyagi's old letters to her aunt, which contained many inspirational words, helped him regain some of his lost confidence in his business.
9. Carmen Diaz (Vanessa Rubio)
Carmen Diaz has been a member of the Cobra Kai cast since season one. She's the mother of Miguel Diaz and, more recently, Johnny Lawrence's partner and pregnant with his unborn baby.
She's a caring and nurturing mother who only ever wants the best for her son. She demonstrates her caring nature in her relationship with her elderly mother. Carmen always sees the best in people, which is evident in the fact that she loves Johnny despite his flaws – she appreciates what he's done for her son. She's one of the purest characters in the show.
8. Moon (Hannah Kepple)
Moon (surname unknown) is part of the popular girls' group at West Valley High School. She's been in the show since the very first episode and later became a love interest of Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz. She also had a relationship with a girl named Piper.
She's something of a bohemian with a positive outlook on life, especially when it comes to femininity and sexuality. She's a social butterfly with a kind and personable attitude. She doesn't involve herself in any of the show's conflicts and has acted as a mediator between feuding groups and individuals. She doesn't come across as the most intelligent person, but that's endearing.
7. Chris (Khalil Everage)
Chris (surname unknown) first appeared at the start of season two as a student eager to join Cobra Kai after their victory at the All Valley Karate Tournament. He did join the dojo and briefly became a bully, but soon came to dislike its teachings and left to join Miyagi-Do.
He's a kind young man who is also very friendly. His blip when he was a member of Cobra Kai is a distant memory, as he quickly realized he was in the wrong and made amends with his future behavior. He's loyal to his friends and defends them to the hilt. He's also helped instill confidence in several of them, including Demetri.
6. Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan)
Robby Keene is Johnny Lawrence's son and one of the main characters in Cobra Kai, having been around since season one. He had a troubled upbringing, as Johnny initially abandoned him and his mother struggled with substance abuse. As a consequence, he was a delinquent who turned to crime. But he's turned his life around.
The influence of Daniel LaRusso and his daughter Samantha changed Robby for the better. He learned to channel his anger and found friendship with Miyagi-Do's students – and he's proven himself to be a loyal friend who wants the best for people. Joining Cobra Kai brought out the worst in Robby again, but he has since seen the error of his ways. Whenever Robby does something terrible, he feels guilty for it – and it's hard to blame him for his mistakes anyway. His current improved relationship with his father is heartwarming.
5. Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler)
Amanda LaRusso is the wife of Daniel LaRusso and the mother of Samantha and Anthony LaRusso. She's a devoted family woman who's been a regular in the show since the first season.
She has acted as the voice of reason in several of the show's conflicts – most notably the one that raged between her husband and Johnny Lawrence for so long. Amanda is kind, caring, protective, understanding, and patient and supports her family in their endeavors. She's also a talented businesswoman and plays a significant part in running LaRusso Auto Group. She has helped Tory Nichols with her struggles despite Tory's feud with her daughter.
4. Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña)
Miguel Diaz has been a core member of Cobra Kai's cast since the beginning. After being saved by his neighbor, Johnny Lawrence, from his high school bullies, he asked Johnny to train him in karate and joined Cobra Kai. He quickly adopted the dojo's “no mercy” policy but saw the error of his ways and joined Miyagi-Do.
He's not immune to making mistakes, but Miguel has ultimately proven himself to be kind, caring, and more mature than his age would suggest. He has yearned for a father figure and is lucky enough to have found two in Johnny and Daniel LaRusso – and he appreciates them both. He's fiercely loyal and is happy to put his differences with people aside for the greater good.
3. Demetri Alexopoulos (Gianni DeCenzo)
Demetri Alexopoulos has been a mainstay in the Cobra Kai cast for its five seasons. He was initially a wimpy, geeky kid, but he joined Cobra Kai and started a journey that would turn him into an accomplished martial artist. He soon got sick of the bullying in the harsh dojo and switched to Miyagi-Do.
He's kind, generous, and loyal. Still, his most admirable trait is arguably his ability to forgive, as he accepted Eli back as his friend, despite having his arm broken by him. He's particularly likable because he doesn't think highly of himself and acknowledges his flaws. That said, his progress in karate has allowed his self-esteem and confidence to grow, which has been nice to see.
2. Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka)
Although he got presented as the bad guy in 1984's The Karate Kid, many people saw Johnny Lawrence as the movie's protagonist. That's undoubtedly the case in Cobra Kai, as Johnny returned in the first episode, opened the eponymous dojo, then warred with Daniel LaRusso and ultimately became his friend.
Johnny is a fantastic character. He's no-nonsense, badass, endearing, and utterly hilarious. He's extremely reckless, but we love him for it. Everyone who viewed him as their original “Karate Kid” can sleep soundly knowing they were right.
1. Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto)
Without a doubt, the most likable character in Cobra Kai is Chozen Toguchi. Chozen was Daniel LaRusso's rival in 1986's The Karate Kid Part II, and he was awful. However, in season three of Cobra Kai, Daniel reunited with Chozen in Okinawa.
It turned out Chozen had reformed and was apologetic for his past behavior. From the end of season four, he teamed up with Daniel to take down Cobra Kai. He is one of the most skilled martial artists in the series, wise and honorable, and he has a humorous, cheeky, and lighthearted side that is impossible not to adore.
Least Likable – 12. Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro)
Anthony LaRusso is the son of Daniel and Amanda LaRusso and Samantha LaRusso's younger brother. He's been in Cobra Kai since season one. Initially, he took no interest in karate, but he still became a school bully, mercilessly harassing the new kid, Kenny Payne.
The bullying prompted Kenny to join Cobra Kai, and he got his revenge on Anthony, which was quite satisfying. Anthony is the typical spoiled rich kid who takes his privileged lifestyle for granted and looks down on people without the same level of wealth as his family. He's obsessed with electronics, so he spends most of his time distanced from his family. He has come good, but it's hard to ignore his past behavior.
11. Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio)
Ooh, controversial! Daniel LaRusso is, of course, the Karate Kid himself. He was the star of the original three movies, and the general view is that he's the hero in them all. However, some fans have always had other ideas – and Cobra Kai has proven them right.
Daniel seems to have good intentions and always likes to think he's doing the right thing, but it often makes him appear extraordinarily self-righteous and a know-it-all. He was a sneaky little troublemaker in the movies, and it's hard to see him as anything else now. He fights a lot for someone who claims to want to avoid doing so.
10. Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand)
Eli Moskowitz, also known as “Hawk” because of his mohawk hairstyle, has been in Cobra Kai since the first season. Having started as a meek, bullied student (thanks in no small part due to a harelip scar running from his lip to his nose), he became one of the best young karate practitioners in the show.
He now fights on the side of Miyagi-Do and has seen the error of his ways, but being a member of Cobra Kai turned him into a very unlikable character. He did some of the show's most despicable acts, such as breaking Demetri's arm and vandalizing Miyagi-Do. He was so horrible for so long that it's difficult to forgive him.
9. Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser)
Samantha LaRusso is the daughter of Daniel and Amanda LaRusso and Anthony LaRusso's older sister. She's been a core cast member since Cobra Kai began. She's a Miyagi-Do student and one of the best young martial artists in the show.
She's a nice person who displays compassion and is generally intelligent and polite. However, there's something about Samantha that isn't likable. She's often whiny and miserable and doesn't entirely appreciate the privileged life she leads. She has, at times, behaved very harshly towards Miguel, Daniel, and Tory.
8. Tory Nichols (Peyton List)
Tory Nichols first appeared in Cobra Kai's second season and has been a primary cast member ever since. She's had a tough life, so it does feel a tad harsh putting her on the “least liked” list when Robby Keene is on the “most liked” version. However, she doesn't help herself in that regard.
She feels as though life has cheated her out of what she deserves, given that she has to provide for her sick mother and her younger brother, which is fair enough. But she's distant, cold, and vengeful, which doesn't make her easy to like. She can also be a bully to Sam, and it was shocking when she used a weapon to scar her during the school karate fight.
7. Hector Salazar (Luis Roberto Guzmán)
Hector Salazar is the biological father of Miguel Diaz and the ex-husband of Carmen Diaz. He only appeared in two episodes of Cobra Kai's fifth season, but that was enough to cement his place on this list.
He initially appeared to be a decent man, contrary to what Carmen had told Miguel about him. However, that was all an act. He's a ruthless businessman working in the Mexican Cartel, and he despises Carmen for leaving him after discovering the truth about his criminal life. He's resentful, dangerous, angry, intimidating, and manipulative. Miguel is far better off without him in his life.
6. Kenny Payne (Dallas Dupree Young)
Kenny Payne first appeared in Cobra Kai's fourth season as a new kid at West Valley Middle School. Anthony LaRusso's clique immediately bullied him. Kenny was in a vulnerable place, as he knew nobody, his father was away in the army, and his brother was in jail.
At first, people felt sorry for Kenny, but when he joined Cobra Kai to help him defend himself (which was fair enough), he quickly became horrible (which wasn't). Instead of using karate to better himself, he became a bully and one of the show's nastiest, most ruthless kids. He looks set to better himself at the end of season five, but until he does that, he's not likable.
5. Tom Cole (David Shatraw)
Tom Cole is an automotive dealer and the owner of Cole's on Van Nuys, a rival business to Daniel LaRusso's LaRusso Auto. He's a primary antagonist in the show's first three seasons and one of the few who doesn't want to beat Daniel to a pulp physically.
Cole is a heartless, ruthless businessman with a hugely narcissistic personality. He takes pleasure in mocking and besting the LaRussos, even if it means putting them in an unpleasant situation or potentially sending them into financial hardship.
4. Kyler Park (Joe Seo)
Kyler Park first appeared in Cobra Kai's first season. His introduction made it clear he was a rich kid who was also a high school bully. Kyler assaulted Miguel Diaz in a liquor store parking lot along with his cohorts. He got his comeuppance at the hands of both Johnny Lawrence and, later, Miguel, but he didn't learn his lesson.
He's an egotistical and cocky guy who thinks he's better than everyone else. He mocks and bullies anyone weaker than or different from him. But he's also conniving, as he can hide his true nature to make himself look better when the situation calls for it. After joining Cobra Kai, he became even more unbearable, throwing his weight around more often with karate skills at his disposal.
3. Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim)
Kim Da-Eun is a secondary antagonist in Cobra Kai's fifth season, having been recruited by Terry Silver to become his head sensei and to help Cobra Kai expand. She's the granddaughter of Kim Sun-Yung, the man who taught karate to Silver and John Kreese.
She's utterly intolerant of anything she deems a failure and is cold, ruthless, and relentless in her methods. Kim is incredibly violent and sadistic and appears to enjoy watching Tory's hand bleed when Silver makes her punch stone. She'd stop at nothing to ensure her brand of karate became a worldwide phenomenon.
2. John Kreese (Martin Kove)
John Kreese is the show's longest-running villain, having arrived at the end of season one. He was, of course, a primary antagonist in 1984's The Karate Kid and 1989's The Karate Kid Part III, and also appeared briefly in 1986's The Karate Kid Part II. He's a leading figurehead in the Cobra Kai dojo.
Kreese had a harsh upbringing, but that's no excuse for his ongoing behavior as an adult. He's an angry, ruthless, and highly manipulative man. While he can show compassion, he's generally far too tough on his students, and if they display any sign of what Kreese believes to be a weakness, he kicks them out. He's faked his death several times, which isn't something a decent, stable person would ever do.
1. Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith)
Terry Silver is the ultimate villain of the series and a thoroughly unlikable man. A wealthy businessman, he first appeared in 1989's The Karate Kid Part III as an old Vietnam War buddy of John Kreese, whom Kreese recruited to help him get revenge on Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi and to re-establish Cobra Kai.
Silver is a manipulative liar who is ruthless and will do anything to win. He doesn't care who gets in the way or who he hurts. He dislikes Daniel LaRusso and his Miyagi-Do allies, but he'll even stoop so low as to screw his friends if it means getting his way. He framed John Kreese – a man he had sworn to stand by for life after their war experiences – for nearly beating Stingray to death so he could gain complete control of Cobra Kai.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.