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Maya the Honey Bee
Maya the Honey Bee.jpg
Japanese DVD cover.
Quick facts for kids
みつばちマーヤの冒険
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
Genre Comedy, Adventure
Anime television series
Directed by Masahiro Endō
Hiroshi Saitō
Produced by Yoshihiro Ōba
Written by Niisan Takahashi
Music by Takashi Ogaki, Karel Gott (title song)
Studio Nippon Animation
Network NET (now TV Asahi)
English network
CBC
Family Channel
YTV
SABC
Original run 1 April 197520 April 1976
Episodes 52
Anime television series
The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee
Produced by Sōjirō Masuko
Studio Wako Productions, Apollo Film Wien
Network ZDF, TV Osaka, TV Tokyo
Original run 1 September 197913 September 1980
Episodes 52

Maya the Honey Bee (Japanese: みつばちマーヤの冒険 Hepburn: Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken, lit. "The Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee") is an anime television series produced first by Zuiyo Enterprise and then by Nippon Animation) and ABC of Osaka. The series consisted of 52 episodes and was originally telecast from April 1975 to April 1976 on the NET (now TV Asahi) network, with which ABC (not to be confused with the Tokyo-based TV Asahi) is affiliated. Based on the classic children's book The Adventures of 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. A film edited from the first few episodes was released on December 15, 1977.

Two English-dubbed versions of the series exist, a South African version produced by Sonovision for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), using a translated version of the theme tune used for the German dub, and featuring English South African accents for the characters; and a United States version with an entirely new theme tune, and a Canadian voice cast, 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. 65 episodes were dubbed.

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.

Story

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 first 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.

Characters

Voiced by: Michiko Nomura (1975), Runa Akiyama (1982) (Japanese); Pauline Little (English)
The main character of the story, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee.
Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (1975 and 1982 versions) (Japanese); Richard Dumont (English)
A young drone (male bee) who is Maya's best friend. He is 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 (1975), Ritsuo Sawa (1982) (Japanese); A.J. Henderson (English)
A wise, top-hatted grasshopper, a good friend of Maya and Willy.
Miss Cassandra (カッサンドラ先生 Kassandora-sensei)
Voiced by: Miyoko Asō (1975), Reiko Yamada (1982) (Japanese); Jane Woods (English)
Maya's teacher and chief authority figure (mostly in the first animated series).

Staff

Japanese version

  • Production: Zuiyo Eizo then Nippon Animation
  • Executive producer: Kōichi Motohashi
  • 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 Chīta and the Honey Bee Choir, words and music by Seizō Ise):
    • OP - "Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken" (みつばちマーヤの冒険, "The Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee")
    • ED
      1. "Oyasumi Māya" (おやすみマーヤ, "Good Night, Maya")
      2. "Shinju-iro no Warutsu" (真珠色のワルツ, "The Pearl-Colored Waltz") performed by Yōko Maekawa

American version

  • 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

Home video

Several episodes of Saban's dub were released on VHS by Video Treasures in the United States and HGV Video Productions in Canada under the Saban Video label.

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