Literature: Maya the Bee

It's going down.

A well-loved German book created by Waldemar Bonsels, which was made into an animated adaptation, as well as a live action film. Starring live insects.

Maya the Bee follows the life of Maya, a honeybee and her friends Willy, also a honeybee, and Flip, a grasshopper.

The animated The Adventures of Maya the Honeybee is probably the best-known incarnation. It was originally created in Japan between 1975 and 1979 with a total of 104 episodes over two series with 52 episodes each, but only 65 of these were ever broadcast in North America during its run in the early 90s (with half the episodes in the dub from the first series and half from the second). The series itself has been dubbed into over 40 languages all around the world and has even spawned a number of video games.

The premise of the anime was that Maya was tasked to collect pollen for her hive, but she ended up doing such a good job that she gathered all of the pollen around her hive, and there was none left. The queen bee then sent Maya further away from the hive in search of more pollen.

A new Maya cartoon with 3D rendered graphics is currently showing, with Andrea Libman in the title role.

In Fall 2014, Studio 100 (the current rights holders) released a film starring the character called "Maya The Bee: The Movie" which was released in Germany on September 11, 2014, with an English version released in Australia on November 1, 2014, and in the U.S. (direct-to-video) on May 19, 2015.

The British dubnote  can now be seen on Amazon Instant Video in the U.S. All of the shows episodes are available. The episodes can also be viewed here.

This work provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution: Maya's head design and facial design started looking from a circle in season 1, into oval shaped in season 3 in the original anime series. Also in Season 3, when ever Maya would get very upset or angry. Her eyebrows would start showing up compared to the earlier episodes where she would show expressions with her pupils.
  • Animal Talk: Despite being Funny Insects, the main characters never talk to humans. It can be presumed they're communicating using some form of insect speech.
    • Specifically, they communicate through complicated dances.
  • Artistic License Physics: In one episode of 3D series, insects are lifting a tree trunk with a lever by pushing the shorter arm. This would make necessary force bigger.
  • Bee Yourself: In the CGI movie, Flip the grasshopper tells Maya to just be herself and she'll be just fine. He and his friends then sing about it.
  • Bragging Theme Tune
  • Butt Monkey: Willy.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Many examples in anime:
    • Carnivores Are Mean, especially Thekla the spider, but actually they have to eat something. In later episodes of the anime, she quiets trying to eat Maya and the other insects and acts more like a grouchy old neighbor but is kind ever once in a while.
    • Maya helps an insect save her nest from a parasite, although somebody has stated that Maya can't save everybody ant that the first insect also has laid her eggs in an larva.
    • Ladybugs give everybody aphid juice. Is it honeydew or everybody can eat sentients? Ladybugs eat also leaves.
    • Burying beetles and ants are scavengers and wish other insects to die.
    • Birds and frogs usually do not speak and are simply predators.
    • The second season seems to be less about insects eating insects.
    • In the 3D animated series almost exclusively Thekla is bug and predator.
      • One mole cricket is vegetarian and does not eat rain-worms, but her sister apparently does. (Although it is not main point of the plot. When the sister appears, she eats truffle and causes an oak to die.)
      • Birds, frogs and lizards talk and sometimes decide not to eat a bug.
  • Cross Dressing Voice: Willy's voice in the Japanese,Arabic, and Spanish Dub(Except for the Latino) of the anime are all voiced by females. Willy is voiced by men in other dubs.
  • Chuck Cunning Ham Syndrome: Alexander the mouse, isn't present at all in the new 3D series.
  • ClingyJealousGuy: While Willy and Maya's relationship changes depending on the episode. When Alexander debuted in season 2, Willy would get jealous when ever he see's him spending more time with Maya compared to him.
  • Characterization Marches On: Watch any episodes of the original anime and then start watching the 3D reboot there are tons of examples that can be jarring to some viewers.
    • In the anime, Willy is extremely lazy and if prone to taking very long napes. Willy in the 3D reboot, while also lazy and sleeps alot. He's still alot more active and awake compared to his anime counterpart.
    • While Flip was always the Team Dad to Willy and Maya. In the anime, Flip would sometimes get's annoyed along with getting easily excited. In the reboot, Flip rarely get's like that is would usually give some helpful advice to Maya and Willy about certain situations or problems.
    • In the original anime, Maya wasn't afraid of pulling out her stinger as self defense or as a threat. In the reboot, this was toned down and Maya would never be seen using her stinger to protect herself.
  • Carnivores Are Mean as part of Carnivore Confusion
  • Canon Foreigner: Willy and Flip wasn't in the original book, but became part of the main cast in nearly all the cartoons/merchandise.
  • Edited for Syndication: The original Japanese version of the anime had more scenes such as Maya hearing the news that Cassandra is very ill and the queen showing up in the 4th episode. These scenes can also still be found in it's original form in the Arabic version complete with the Japanese soundtrack. Both versions of the anime was much longer compared to other version released in different countries.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Just look at the page image. But Flip has four hands and two legs and it's even lampshaded in one episode of the new 3D cartoon.
  • Funny Animal: For the most part, insects walk around as bipeds and act just like humans. Some of them even wear clothes.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Maya's pollen collecting skills.
  • Implausible Deniability / Never My Fault: In the CGI movie, Maya insists that Buzzlina is hiding the royal jelly under her crown, but nobody believes her. Then, Buzzlina's crown gets knocked off, with the vial of jelly inside it, and when it lands on the ground, one of the bees goes to pick it up, which reveals the jelly to the shocked crowd. Willy flies down and grabs the jelly to protect it from Buzzlina, at which point she yells, "Thief! Arrest him!"
  • Leitmotif:
  • Mouse World: A world from the perspective of a bee is a very large world indeed.
  • Nice Hat: Flip has one.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: While all the bees have hair, Maya and Willy both have hair showing but it's especially noticeable for Maya who has hair all over her head.
  • Older Than They Think: The British dubnote  actually predates the more familiar U.S. dub by Saban.
  • Please Wake Up: Maya says to Willy in the CGI movie after an intense scene in which they are attacked by bats and he is then knocked to the ground. He's not dead, though, only passed out, and quickly does wake up. Later also to the Queen Bee, who also isn't dead, but is a lot worse off.
  • Waistcoat of Style: In the CGI reboot, Flip now wears a vest and also carries a violin
  • Sacrificial Lamb: In the 3rd episode, a dragonfly eats a fly just after Maya gets to know the fly. It is maybe the only named character to die.
  • Ship Tease: Maya and Willy's relationship changes alot in the anime (Well the English version that is). But in new CGI series, there are moments where Maya would kiss Willy on the cheek as well as some hugs. This Dutch music video for example, shows this moments as a cute montage.
  • Simpleton Voice: Willy has this in the German and British versions of the anime.
  • So Proud of You: Maya's mother says it to her in the CGI movie after they are finally reunited, right before Maya and her friends head off to save the day.
  • Spell My Name With a J: Being a German creation, her name is really supposed to be spelled "Maja". The British dub of the anime actually refers to her by this spelling.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: This trope applies to Shelby in the CGI animated series.
  • The Movie: The series recently got a film that was released everywhere in Europe. An english version later got released in Spring 2015.
  • The Runt at the End: In the Animated Adaptation, the last ant in the troop is shorter and clumsy.
  • You Are Grounded: In the CGI movie, Sting the hornet gets grounded by his father after he discovers him with Maya and Willy, even though Maya saved his life.
  • You Are Number Six: In the CGI movie, Maya has a number, 396. The main antagonist, Buzzlina, insists on referring to her as this.

Alternative Title(s):

Maya The Bee