The Karate Kid is a 1989 animated cartoon television 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 Entertainment, Saban Entertainment, and Columbia Pictures Television.
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.
The show retains apprentice Daniel LaRusso (voiced by Joey Dedio) and his mentor Mr. Miyagi (voiced by Robert Ito) but abandoned the karate tournament motif for an adventure/quest setting. A miniature shrine with magic powers had been taken from its resting place on Okinawa, and it was up to Miyagi and Daniel to recover it. Together with Okinawan girl Taki Tamurai (voiced by Janice Kawaye), the karatekas searched the globe and, naturally, encountered several opportunities to chop and kick their way out of trouble.
The episodes typically followed a similar formula: Mr. Miyagi would obtain a lead on the shrine's location in some exotic corner of the world. Daniel and Taki would follow up on it, and in the process encounter some villains who had either obtained or were seeking to obtain the shrine for their own evil purposes. After engaging, and of course, defeating the villains, Daniel would come 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 would continue into the next episode.
As of May 2009, the show can be purchased on iTunes, and can be streamed for free in the US on Netflix, Internet Movie Database, Hulu, and Minisodes are available on Crackle. As of May 2018, the show was no longer available on iTunes or streaming on Netflix.