Back in 1989, DIC Entertainment, Saban Entertainment, and Columbia Pictures Television got in on The Karate Kid franchise. Perhaps it was because it was released three months after The Karate Kid Part 3 or perhaps it was the change of format but for some reason it didn’t quite work; what was planned to be a 65 episode syndicated series only lasted a whole 13 episodes!
As mentioned, the show abandoned the Karate tournament idea – the backbone of the movie series – instead it sent Daniel LaRusso (voiced by Joey Dedio) and his sensei Mr. Miyagi (voiced by Robert Ito) on a number of quests and adventures based on recovering a miniature shrine with magic powers that had been taken from its resting place on Okinawa. Daniel and Miyagi are joined on their quest by Taki Tamurai (voiced by Janice Kawaye).
Each episode would see Mr. Miyagi 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 run into some villains who wanted it for themselves. There would be a battle which Daniel would eventually win and then just as he would get near the shrine it would be lost to him in some random way (including drifting away after being tied to a bunch of balloons, or being swept into the ocean) leaving Daniel, Miyagi, and Taki back to square one again in time for the next episode!