Maya the Honey Bee
|Maya the Bee|
Japanese DVD cover.
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hiroshi Saitō, Mitsuo Kaminashi and Seiji Endō|
|Original run||1 April 1975 – 20 April 1976|
|Anime television series|
|The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee|
|Directed by||Mitsuo Kaminashi|
|Studio||Nippon Animation, Apollo Film Wien|
|Network||ZDF, TV Osaka, TV Tokyo|
|Original run||1 September 1979 – 13 September 1980|
Maya the Honey Bee (みつばちマーヤの冒険 Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken?, lit. The Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee) is an anime television series produced by Zuiyo Enterprise (today: Nippon Animation) in Japan. The series consisted of 52 episodes and was originally telecast across Japan from April 1975 to April 1976 on the TV Asahi network (formerly NET). Based on the classic children's book Maya the Bee by Waldemar Bonsels, the anime series has become extremely popular in Europe and has been rebroadcast in countries and languages all around the world since its premiere.
Two English-dubbed versions of the series exist, a British version, using a translated version of the original theme tune, and featuring (rather upper-class) British accents for the characters; and a United States version with an entirely new theme tune, produced by Saban Entertainment, which was broadcast from January 1, 1990 to December 31, 1992 on the children's television channel Nickelodeon. Maya the Bee aired alongside other juvenile-targeted anime such as Adventures of the Little Koala, Noozles and The Littl' Bits as part of Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block of programming for young children.
A second Maya the Bee series, Shin Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken (新みつばちマーヤの冒険, The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee), was a co-production made in 1979 by Wako Productions and Austrian/German Apollo Film, Wien. The second series first premiered in Germany (ZDF) from September 1979 to September 1980. The very different and cartoon-like second series, which lasted for 52 episodes, was not very popular and did not premiere in Japan until 12 October 1982, on TV Osaka, and aired through 27 September 1983. Ten episodes from this series were added to 45 from the original for the U.S. broadcast run, bringing the total of Maya episodes aired on Nickelodeon in the U.S. to 55.
The story centres on Maya, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee, and her adventures in the forest around her. Maya is born in a bee hive during internal unrest: the hive is dividing itself into two new colonies. Maya is raised by her teacher, Mrs. Cassandra. Despite Mrs. Cassandra's warnings, Maya wants to explore the wide world and commits the unforgivable crime of leaving the hive. During her adventures, Maya, now in exile, befriends other insects and braves dangers with them.
In the last two episodes of the series, Maya is taken prisoner by hornets, the bees' sworn enemies. Prisoner of the hornets, Maya learns of a hornet plan to attack her native hive. Maya is faced with the decision to either return to hive and suffer her due punishment, saving the hive, or leaving the plan unannounced, saving herself but destroying the hive. As may be expected, Maya, after severe pondering, makes the decision to return. In the hive, she announces the coming attack and is, totally unexpectedly, pardoned. The forewarned bees triumph over the hornet attack force. Maya, now a heroine of the hive, becomes a teacher, like Mrs. Cassandra and shares her experiences and wisdom with the future generation.
- Maya (マーヤ Māya?)
- Voiced by: Michiko Nomura (Japanese), Pauline Little (English)
- The main character of the story, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee.
- Willy (ウイリー Uirī?)
- Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese), Richard Dumont (English)
- A young drone (male bee) who is Maya's best friend, always tired, hungry, skeptical, also somewhat of a coward but generally good-natured. Prone to jealousy when Maya's attentions turn to others. Often reluctantly dragged into adventures by Maya. He is an original character in the anime.
- Flip (フィリップ Firippu?, also "Philip")
- Voiced by: Ichiro Nagai (Japanese), A.J. Henderson (English)
- A wise, top-hatted grasshopper, effectively a father-figure for Maya and Willy.
- Miss Cassandra (カッサンドラ先生 Kassandora-sensei?)
- Voiced by: Miyoko Asō (Japanese), Jane Woods (English)
- Maya's teacher and chief authority figure (mostly in the first animated series).
- Production: Zuiyo Eizo then Nippon Animation
- Series directors: Hiroshi Saitō, Mitsuo Kaminashi, Seiji Endō
- Script: Hikaru Sasa, Hitoshi Kanazawa
- Screenplay: Fumi Takahashi
- Character Designs: Susumu Shiraume
- Animation Directors: Susumu Shiraume, Takao Ogawa, Hayao Nobe
- Sound: Yasuhiro Koyama
- Theme songs (performed by Cheetah and the Honey Bee Choir, words and music by Seizo Ise):
- OP - "Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken" (みつばちマーヤの冒険, "The Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee")
- "Oyasumi Māya" (おやすみマーヤ, "Good Night, Maya")
- "Shinju-iro no Warutsu" (真珠色のワルツ, "The Pearl-Colored Waltz")
- Executive producer: Haim Saban
- Supervising producer: Winston Richard
- Writer: Tim Reid
- Voice Direction: Tim Reid, Kathleen Fee
- Associate producer: Eric S. Rollman
- Executive in charge of production: Jerald E. Bergh
- Music by: Haim Saban and Shuki Levy
- 新みつばちマーヤの冒険 (1982). allcinema (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 4 July 2014.