|Maya the Bee|
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
|Genre||Comedy, Kodomo, Adventure|
|Director||Hiroshi Saitō, Mitsuo Kaminashi and Seiji Endō|
|Original run||1975 – 1976|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Osaka|
|Original run||1982 – 1983|
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 by Waldemar Bonsels, the anime series has been rebroadcast numerous times in various different countries and languages since its premiere.
An English-dubbed version of the series, produced by Saban Entertainment, was broadcast from January 1, 1990 to December 31, 1992 in the United States 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.
The story centers 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.
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, German (Die Biene Maja), 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.