Maya the Honey Bee
Maya the Bee みつばちマーヤの冒険
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
Genre Comedy, Adventure TV anime Directed by Hiroshi Saitō, Mitsuo Kaminashi and Seiji Endō Studio Nippon Animation Network TV Asahi Original run 1 April 1975 – 20 April 1976 Episodes 55 TV anime The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee Directed by Mitsuo Kaminashi Studio Nippon Animation Network TV Osaka, TV Tokyo Original run 12 October 1982 – 27 September 1983 Episodes 52
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 Nippon Animation Company in Japan. The series consisted of 55 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 been rebroadcast numerous times in various different countries and languages 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 very young children.
A second Maya the Bee anime, 新みつばちマーヤの冒険 Shin Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken (The New Adventures of Maya the Honeybee), was made in 1979 by Nippon Animation with the animation studio Wako Production, using the same character designs and some of the same staff of the original series. The second series, which lasted for 52 episodes, did not premiere in Japan until October 1982, on TV Osaka, and aired through September 1983. Ten episodes from this series were added to the 55 episodes from the original for the U.S. broadcast run, bringing the total of Maya episodes aired on Nickelodeon in the U.S. to 65.
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 German, Czech and Slovak language. 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 song used the same tune and a rough translation of the German lyrics, although broadcasts in the USA use an entirely different theme tune and title sequence.
The story centres on Maya, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee, and her adventures in the forest around her. Sent by the Queen Bee to gather pollen for her hive, Maya proves herself so good at it that she exhausts the entire pollen supply around the hive and is sent in search of more. Along the way, the good-natured young bee makes many new friends and has many adventures with other insects and other forest creatures. In the process, she (along with the viewer) learns about the lives of many different creatures, as well as the importance of friendship, co-operation, and co-existence.
- Maya (or Maja) (マーヤ Māya )) (Japanese VA: Michiko Nomura, English VA: Pauline Little, Persian VA: Nikoo, Arabic VA: Zina زينة )
- The main character of the story, an inquisitive, adventurous and somewhat flighty young honeybee.
- Willy (or Willi or Willie) (ウイリー Uirī ) (Japanese VA: Masako Nozawa, English VA: Richard Dumont, Persian VA: Nik, , Arabic VA: Nahoul نحول)
- A boy honeybee (a new character in the anime not present in the original novel), who is lazier than Maya and also something of a coward but still has a good heart. Prone to jealousy when Maya's attentions turn to others. Often reluctantly dragged into adventures by Maya.
- Flip (or Philip) (フィリップ Firippu ) (Japanese VA: Ichiro Nagai, English VA: A.J. Henderson, Persian VA: Char-dast, , Arabic VA: Farfour فرفور)
- A wise, top-hatted grasshopper, effectively a father-figure for Maya and Willi.
- Miss Cassandra (カッサンドラ先生 Kassandora-sensei ) (Japanese VA: Miyoko Asō, English VA: Jane Woods, Arabic VA: Selma المعلمة سلمى)
- Maya's teacher and chief authority figure (mostly in the first animated series).
- Intellectual mouse, held in high esteem among the other creatures, and has a close friendship with Maya, both of which often send Willy into jealous rages.
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 (Pčelica Maja), Bulgarian (Пчеличката Мая), Russian (Пчелка Майя), Turkish (Arı Maya), Hebrew (Ha-Devorah Maya-הדבורה מאיה) and Arabic as 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.
- 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
- 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
- "La Abeja Maya" Theme songs performed by Rachelle Cano
- Platinum Selling "La Abeja Maya" Spanish Album released on CBS Records performed by Rachelle Cano
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