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Anime / Honeybee Hutch

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Konchu Monogatari Minashigo Hutch was an anime that ran from April 7, 1970 to September 8, 1971 on Fuji Television for 91 episodes. A 26-episode sequel, with character designs by a young Yoshitaka Amano, aired in 1974 on NET (now TV Asahi), followed by a reboot on Nippon TV in 1989, with some details changed, and a film adaptation in 2010. It was produced by Tatsunoko Production, and is a very well-remembered anime in Japan.

The story was about Hutch, a honeybee who was separated from his mother, a queen bee, when her hive was attacked by a swarm of hornets. The series followed him as he searched for his mother, meeting many insects along the way. The sequel four years later began with Hutch and his sister Aya being forced to journey in search of the Beautiful Hill, on which their kingdom may be reborn.

Saban Entertainment adapted the show in 1995 for the Western world (as Honeybee Hutch), cutting the 91 episodes down to 65. This version ran all over the world, including Fox Kids in Europe. The series also had had earlier Spanish and French dubs produced, with the first French dub, Le petit prince orphelin (Little Orphan Prince), also airing on TVA in Quebec. Perhaps the foreign market where the series was most successful was Italy, where all three TV series were dubbed.

Compare to the considerably Lighter and Softer, and also iconic, Maya the Bee.

This anime provides examples of:

  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Compare the original theme to the dub's theme.
    • Averted with the original (1979) French dub of the 1970 series, which kept the Japanese score and theme songs.
  • Artistic License – Biology: As expected due to the fantasy-ish setting and heavy anthromorphization; for one, bee children look nothing like their adult forms, and all worker honeybees, and therefore most honeybees, are in fact female. Also, almost everyone is drawn with four legs. And in the first series, the species of Hatch's adopted family isn't even a real type of bee.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Hatch. It's even in the title, in the original French dub as well as in Japanese.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": "Hachi" means "bee", and is a homophone for "Hutch" in Japanese.
  • Dub Name Change: Happened to a few characters in Saban's dub. In particular, Hutch's sister Aya became "Haley".
    • Also, in the earlier (non-Saban) Spanish-language dub, Hutch is known as "Jose Miel" ("miel" being the Spanish word for "honey").
    • In French, the main character is known as Hutchi, Micky, or Hacou, depending on which dub (and which series) you're watching.
    • Hutch is named Magà in the Italian dubs of all three TV series. As if that weren't enough to create confusion with Maya the Bee (the series' titles are even almost identical in Italian - L'Ape Magà vs. L'Ape Maya), Hutch's sister Aya is called Maya in the first dubs of the first two series. note 
  • Lighter and Softer: The 1989 series, compared to the rather dark 1970 series.
    • Also, the Saban dub/edit tones down the dark elements of the original, cutting out a lot of the deaths and suffering.
  • Lost Orphaned Royalty: Hatch is technically a prince.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Hatch is left in the bushes before being found by his adoptive mother.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Used quite often.
  • 65-Episode Cartoon: When Saban got through with dubbing it.
  • Sky Face: In the 1974 sequel series OP, Hutch and Aya see the face of their mother, who is killed in episode two in the sky.