Upon the drafting of this article, it has been one year and three months since the premiere of the second season Cobra Kai, the continuation of The Karate Kid movies. In the last few weeks, Cobra Kai has been confirmed to resume on Netflix, and its cult fanbase is dying to see how Johnny Lawerence’s story of redemption from ex-degenerate to a caring father figure continues. What makes Cobra Kai appealing is how the values of today and the values of the preceding generation conflict, and why we should never be quick to judge others. However, fans love it because it’s a story about being badass, and as we anticipate the arrival of season 3 of Cobra Kai, we thought we would share some anime that are just as badass to get your fix!
5. Karate Baki Ichidai (Karate Fighter)
- Episodes: 47
- Aired: October 3, 1973 - September 25, 1974
We thought it would be appropriate to start off this list with Karate Baka Ichidai, the story of how Ken Asuka, a karate master, goes on a journey in becoming the biggest badass in the world of fighting. Taking place after the end of World War II, Ken is disillusioned with his place in the world, just like how Johnny was at the beginning of Cobra Kai. Like Johnny, Ken relies on his mastery of karate in finding meaning in his life. Despite his great strength, Ken does find some low points in his life just like Johnny does in his journey, but always finds a way to climb back! Like Johnny, when life hits Ken hard with no mercy, he strikes back with no mercy because that’s what being a badass is all about.
4. The God of High School
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 6, 2020 - Ongoing
Based on the Korean Manhwa by Yong-Je Park, The God of High School isn’t your typical fighting anime. If you want to watch an anime where the rules are beyond just Strike First, Strike Hard, and No Mercy, then you’re going to get more than that when you watch The God of High School. As indicated in the third Karate Kid movie, Cobra Kai’s origins are from South Korea (considering that Pat Johnson, the choreographer of the original movie, was a Tang Soo Do black belt), we feel that a Korean fighting anime would be an appropriate selection. In addition to fighting styles that are hand-to-hand oriented, practitioners of weapons-oriented fighting styles are also allowed to participate with their tools. If you want fighting teenagers and over-the-top action sequences that put the ending fight to season 2 to shame, then check this badass anime out!
3. Kengan Ashura
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 31, 2019
So, you’re a big name corporate raider that wants to take over other corporations and you don’t want to go through the courts or have nagging politicians like Elizabeth Warren getting in your face by accusing you of being greedy. What better way than expressing that greed is good by taking what you want with your fists, and not behind a keyboard, a phone, or in a courtroom like a weakling would do. The badass news is that it is possible in the world of Kengan Ashura! The Kengan Tournament is the ultimate world of badassness where corporate raiders can have a champion of their choosing fight on their behalf. If, say, the champion representing Disney defeats the champion of Fox in an MMA bout, then Disney takes Fox with no questions asked. How badass is that? Check out the fights to find out!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: June 25, 2018 - December 17, 2018
In addition to Kengan Ashura, what better anime could you watch than Baki on what it means to be badass? Every millisecond of this anime is pouring out with a flavor of badassness that Cobra Kai wishes it had. If you thought Johnny being old school karate was cool, then the original Baki manga made that cool before Johnny ever did—considering it has been in publication the last 30 years. Baki is full of colorful characters that show what being badass is all about. If a character is down to their last breath or their last limb, they keep on fighting! They live in a world of no mercy and they have to show no mercy towards life because that’s what being badass is all about.
1. Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi (Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple)
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: October 6, 2006 - September 30, 2007
At number one, we have to recommend Kenichi, a true representation of old school martial arts just like Cobra Kai. Like Miguel (and in turn Daniel), Kenichi is introduced as a bullied teen who gets beat up at every corner he turns to. But when he is taken in by badass martial arts masters, he learns the Way of the Fist. Just like how Cobra Kai turns into Westside Stories but in high school and with martial arts, Kenichi was doing that before Cobra Kai made it badass. Just like how Johnny trains Miguel, all of Kenichi’s masters don’t go easy on him and work him harder like a racehorse. So compared to Kenichi, Miguel’s training is like a babysitting service.
If you’re looking for anything with insane martial arts action and what it means to be badass like Cobra Kai, our selections of badass anime should be for you. If you hate political correctness like Johnny, watch our top five! If you like old school karate, watch our top five! If you want action that’s all about Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy, then watch our top five anime as you wait for season 3 of Cobra Kai! So, for any of you other badasses that are reading this, what are some other anime to watch as we wait for season 3 of Cobra Kai?