Maya the Honey Bee

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Maya the Bee
Maya the Honey Bee.jpg
L'ape Maia Italian DVD cover.
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
Genre Comedy, Adventure
Anime television series
Directed by Hiroshi Saitō, Mitsuo Kaminashi and Seiji Endō
Studio Nippon Animation
Network TV Asahi
Original run 1 April 197520 April 1976
Episodes 52
Anime television series
The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee
Directed by Mitsuo Kaminashi
Studio Wako Productions, Apollo Film Wien
Network ZDF, TV Osaka, TV Tokyo
Original run 1 September 197913 September 1980
Episodes 52
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This article is about the anime series. For the novel, see Maya the Bee.

Maya the Bee (みつばちマーヤの冒険 Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken?, lit. The Adventures of Maya the Honeybee) 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) 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 Honeybee), 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.[1] 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.


Most famous version of the theme song for this cartoon was in 1976 composed by Karel Svoboda, lyrics written by Florian Cusano and performed by Karel Gott in the German, Czech and Slovak languages. This tune was used for the cartoons in all European countries with translated lyrics as a music theme. To this day, it remains a well-known song in Germany, with Gott often performing it live. The original English (British) song used the same tune and a rough translation of the German lyrics; the American dub by Saban uses an entirely different theme tune by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy and title sequence. In fact, the American dub used an entirely different musical score composed by Saban and Levy.


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.


The main character of the story, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee.
A young drone (male bee), (a new character in the anime not present in the original novel), 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.
A wise, top-hatted grasshopper, effectively a father-figure for Maya and Willi.
Maya's teacher and chief authority figure (mostly in the first animated series).

International distribution[edit]

The series enjoyed great popularity in Spanish in Latin America as La Abeja Maya, in Portugal as Abelha Maia, in Italian as L'ape Maia and in Czechoslovakia as Včelka Mája (Czech) / Včielka Maja (Slovak). The series has also been released in Greek (Μάγια η Μέλισσα), Slovene (Čebelica Maja), Macedonian (Пчеличката Маја), Dutch (Maja de Bij), Finnish (Maija Mehiläinen), French (Maya l'Abeille), Polish (Pszczółka Maja), Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian (Pčelica Maja), Bulgarian (Пчеличката Мая), Russian (Пчелка Майя), Turkish (Arı Maya), Hungarian (Maja, a méhecske), Hebrew (Ha-Devorah Maya-הדבורה מאיה) and Arabic (Zina, زينة), German (Die Biene Maja), Chinese (玛亚历险记), Korean (마야 붕붕 or 꿀벌 마야의 모험), among other languages.

A comic strip based on the TV series has been produced by the German editor Bastei Verlag and translated/published in many countries worldwide. It has been drawn alternately by the Studio Ortega (Barcelona) and the Atelier Roche (Munich), which also realized from 1976 amounts of illustrations for books and diverse merchandising items.


Japanese Version[edit]

  • 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 Honeybee Choir, words and music by Seizo Ise):
    • OP - Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken ("The Adventures of Maya the Honeybee")
    • ED - Oyasumi Māya ("Good Night, Maya")

United States Version[edit]

  • 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 & Shuki Levy

Spanish Version[edit]

  • "La Abeja Maya" Theme songs performed by Rachelle Cano
  • Platinum Selling "La Abeja Maya" Spanish Album released on CBS Records performed by Rachelle Cano

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "新みつばちマーヤの冒険 (1982)". allcinema (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 

External links[edit]