Maya the Honey Bee
Japanese DVD cover
(Mitsubachi Māya no Bōken)
GenreComedy, adventure
Anime television series
Directed byMasahiro Endō
Hiroshi Saitō
Produced byYoshihiro Ōba
Written byNiisan Takahashi
Music byTakashi Ogaki, Karel Svoboda (title song)
StudioZuiyo (eps. 1-6)
Nippon Animation
Original networkNET (now TV Asahi)
English network
Original run 1 April 1975 20 April 1976
Anime television series
The New Adventures of Maya the Honey Bee
Produced bySōjirō Masuko
StudioNippon Animation, Wako Productions, Apollo Film Wien
Original networkZDF, TV Osaka, TV Tokyo
Original run 1 September 1979 13 September 1980

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[5] and Asahi Broadcasting Corporation of Osaka. After the first 6 episodes, Zuiyo Enterprise would split into Zuiyo Company and Nippon Animation, which retained the rights of the series. 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 15 December 1977.[6]

Two English-dubbed versions of the series exist, a South African version produced by Sonovision for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC),[7] using a translated version of the theme tune used for the German dub, and featuring 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 1 January 1990 to 31 December 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.[8]

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.[9]


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.


Maya (マーヤ, Māya)
Voiced by: Michiko Nomura (1975), Runa Akiyama (1982) (Japanese); Linda Stewart (South Africa),[10] Pauline Little (Saban) (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 (1975 and 1982 versions) (Japanese); Richard Dumont (Saban) (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 (Saban) (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 (Saban) (English)
Maya's teacher and chief authority figure (mostly in the first animated series).


Japanese version

American version

German version

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.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ "A Critical Guide to Today's Programs". The Age. 27 July 1984. p. 2. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Christmas Eve". The Province. 22 December 1983. p. 71. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Wednesday Morning". Vancouver Sun. 21 September 1990. p. 130. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Morning Viewing". Ottawa Citizen. 12 December 1992. p. 127. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Maya the Honey Bee | OTTWatchList". Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Die Biene Maja – Ihre schönsten Abenteuer | Film | 1977 | Moviemaster – Das Film-Lexikon". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  7. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Maya the Bee South African English credits" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "ABC FAMILY WORLDWIDE INC – Securities Registration Statement (S-1/A) EXHIBIT 10.19". Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. ^ 新みつばちマーヤの冒険 (1982). allcinema (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Carolyn Steyn on Twitter". Retrieved 10 August 2021 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ "Maya the Bee volume 1 vhs Making New Friends". Amazon. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Maya the Bee Volume 2 Ants, Ants and More Ants". Amazon. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Maya the Bee – Volume 3 – Beehives of Adventure". Amazon. Retrieved 20 December 2019.