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Literature / Maya the Bee

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"Wir treffen heute uns‘re Freundin Biene Maja"
"Diese kleine, freche Biene Maja"
"Maja, alle lieben Maja"
"Maja (Maja)"
"Maja (Maja)"
"Maja, erzähle uns von Dir"note 

A well-loved German children's book created by Waldemar Bonsels, which was made into multiple animated adaptations, as well as a live action film. "Starring" live insects.

The Adventures of Maya the Bee (Die Biene Maja und ihre Abenteuer) follows the life of Maya, a honeybee, and her numerous adventures. Adaptations of the book add more characters that were not present in the original book, such as Maya's 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 by Nippon Animation (formerly Zuiyo Eizo) in Japan between 1975 and 1980note  with a total of 104 episodes over two series with 52 episodes each. The first English dubbing of the series (spelling Maya's name in proper German as Maja) was made in South Africa in 1982 and later aired in Canada on CBC and YTV during The '80s. Saban Entertainment made a second English dub in 1989, including only 55 of the 104 episodes (40 from the first series and 10 from the second); this version aired on Nickelodeon during the early '90s and also in Canada on the pay-cable network Family Channel. The French dub has aired in Canada as well.

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 aired in 2012 for 143 episodes of 13 minutes each, with Andrea Libman in the title role. Another season consisting of 52 episodes began airing in France on March 2017 and Belgium in the following months. The English dub of season 2 began airing in the UK September 2017.

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. At some point in 2015, the film was made freely available to stream for members of Amazon Prime and has since garnered a massive amount of positive attention. The movie aired on Sprout that summer, followed by the TV series in September.

On October 2016, Studio 100 created a musical based on the CGI series called "Maya en de Pollenbollen" (Maya and the Pollen Bulbs) starring Maya, Willy, Flip, Beatrice, and Thekla. The musical involved Maya, Flip, and Beatrice planning a surprise birthday party for Willy. However, the musical was only shown in the Flemish regions of Belgium. The same musical later had its second run in the Fall of 2017.

A second movie, The Honey Games was released in 2018.

A third movie, The Golden Orb, was originally intended to be released in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was held back and instead released in 2021.

In the Summer of 2019, "Pitchounet" was created geared towards their younger demographic. The channel posts web exclusive videos featuring Maya the Bee alongside Arthur and the Invisibles (known as Arthur and the Minimoys in non-anglophones regions) and Mia and Me.

In late 2019, Studio 100 created a web series called "De Liedjestuin" ("Le Jardin des Refrains" in Walloon) featuring Maya (in live-action), alongside Mega Mindy, Piet Piraat, and Plop (Klus/Bric in the Walloon/French version) singing and dancing to children's songs (mainly Dutch/French children's songs and lullabies) and nursery rhymes. More videos featuring Maya and other Studio 100 characters were posted on March 28, 2020.

This work provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The book ends with Maya returning to the hive and staying there after the queen requests her to do so. While Season 1 of the anime ends in a similar way to the book, the anime's 2nd season has Maya still living in the meadow (though it's never explained why), and in the last episode, the queen once again asks Maya to return to help around the hive, but after seeing how much Maya misses her friends in the meadow, the queen gives her permission to return to the meadow and live there permanently with Willy and the other insects.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Alexander the mouse is renamed Mousie in the Japanese version of the anime. Foreign dubs, however (including both the South African and Canadian English dubs), change his name back to Alexander.
    • In the 2nd movie "The Honey Games," Maya's Queen is revealed to be called Beatrice. However, in the CGI series, according to the episode "Love Struck," she is called Christine. This change is probably to follow the One-Steve Limit as there is already a Beatrice in the CGI series.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Alexander the mouse isn't present at all in the CGI series or the movies.
    • The hornets are absent from the 2012 series, with a trio of wasps (Stinger, Deeze and Doze) taking on a similar antagonistic role.
    • In season 2 of the anime, Kurt had a wife. In the CGI series, Kurt is present, but his wife is not.
    • While Ben and Barry get a background cameo, Shelby and Max are no where to be seen in the 2014 movie.
  • Adults Are Useless: Maya and her friends are usually the ones to solve problems and save the day, while most of the adult insects make terrible decisions that just result in more disasters. Flip is usually the only adult living in the meadow that can be any help, but even he wasn't against the idea of fighting over a pile of sugar in "Treasure For The Ants".
  • Alternate Continuity: The movies, despite using the same character designs from the CGI series, aren't connected to it, and have their own story. For example, in the movie, Maya and Willy meet for the first time in Miss Cassandra's class, much like they did in the anime. While in the CGI series, they are born on the same day and meet as soon as they come out of their cells. There's also the fact that Buzzlina doesn't exist in the series, while Beeswax isn't the Prime Minister of Maya's hive in the movies.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: There are five different theme songs to each incarnation when the series got an animated adaptation (notably the anime).
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Most of the dubs for the anime uses the German soundtrack and background music, while the original Japanese version is mostly quiet and had some emotional music when things got pretty terrible. Even the Japanese intro and credits sounded more cute and relaxing compared to the Jazz and orchestrated music used for the credits and intro in most versions of the anime. The original Japanese audio is kept in the Arabic dub.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: In the anime, Max gets stung by a hornet while trying to protect Maya, and the part where the venom is located has to be cut off before it spreads and kills him. Luckily, since he's a worm, it'll eventually grow back.
  • Animated Actors:
  • 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.
  • Art Evolution:
    • For the second season of the anime, Nippon Animation contracted animation production out to another studio, Wako Production, which along with a change in character designers resulted in a slight decline in animation quality, along with characters often looking Off-Model and some noticeable differences, particularly regarding Maya's design. For example: Maya's head shape started as a circle in Season 1, then became oval shaped in Season 2 of the original anime series. Also in Season 2, whenever Maya would get very upset or angry, she would express with eyebrows, compared to the earlier episodes where she would show expressions with her pupils. Eagle eyed viewers can tell whether they're watching a Zuiyo/Nippon-animated episode or a Wako-animated episode based solely on Maya's character design.
    • Since the 2014 movie, the second season for the Studio 100 series has more expressive and smoother character animation compared to the first season. It's most notable in the French/Walloon music video for "Verstopperje" and "Promenons-nous dans les bois".
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Both the anime and CGI series ignore the fact that drones are eventually kicked out of the hive by the workers or die when mating with the queen, and instead have them working with the females.
    • In the movie, Hank is very much alive despite having a son. In real life, male hornets die after mating and therefore wouldn't be around to see their offspring. Then there's also the fact he has a son when only females can be born from fertilised eggs. Happens again in "The Honey Games", where Bee Good the games master, a male bee, is revealed to be Violet's father. He's still alive, and since the Empress isn't Violet's Mother, it means that Bee Good mated with a worker bee, something that would be impossible in real life.
    • Colonel Paul and his army consists of only male soldier ants. In real life, much like bees, it's the females that do all the heavy work. A male ant's job is to mate with the queen and then die a few days afterwards. Male ants also have wings, but Paul and his soldiers lack them.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In one episode of the CGI series, insects are lifting a tree trunk with a lever by pushing the shorter arm. This would make necessary force bigger.
  • Ascended Extra: In the Studio 100 musical, Beatrice has a bigger presence and has her own musical number called "Vlinderbal".
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In The Honey Games, Violet tries to get Willy to trick Maya by distracting her and their teammates from finding out they used a secret tunnel to cheat by having him claim that he hurt his wing. When Maya arrives, he tells her that he's hurt... hurt that Violet would try to get him to trick his best friend.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: An episode of the anime, titled "Maya the Giantess" in the Saban dub, has Maya wishing she were bigger... and seemingly getting her wish. She loves being big at first, but soon learns there's a downside to it as well, as all her forest friends are scared of her, even when she uses her size to help them out of jams. She's even rejected by her fellow honeybees, because she's unable to gather pollen from flowers due to her size. She's relieved to find out it was All Just a Dream.
  • Bee Afraid: Subverted, most of the bee characters seen in the series are mostly nice and kind. The Bee General who showed up in episode 30 of the anime was more grouchy and rude with Maya and Willy, but later becomes friends with them.
  • Be 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.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Maya and Willy have their moments of saving other insects from predators much bigger than them. Willy even saved Maya from a bird in the CGI series and even manages to scare it off.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Do you speak Czech and German? Well, if you do, then you can enjoy Karel Gott's singing in both respective versions of the anime.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • There is a show that is currently show at Belgian theme park Plopsaland de Panne where it's Maya's birthday and Willy, Flip and a female host are planning on a surprise party and they have to find a way to distract her.
    • One episode of the CGI series has Maya and Willy celebrate their Birthday. Though Maya calls it a Beeday.
    • The 2016 musical "Maya en de Pollenbollen" is set on Willy birthday. Near the end of the show, Maya and her friends all celebrate Willy's birthday.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the original anime, we see Flip's memories of his early childhood up to his death, since he's worried that he might not make it out of the Venus flytrap. One particular image from Flip's memories is Maya and the other insects at Flip's grave. This image was removed in other foreign broadcasts of the episode since it was too upsetting for children.
    • The German dub for the CGI series tends to change the dialog in some episodes for whatever reason. Especially anything that implies ship tease. The episode "Jealousy" for example, Lara doesn't tease Maya about her fights with Willy.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Especially the original Germany theme.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Flip does this in the anime. The very first dialogue in episode 1 is Flip speaking directly to the viewer. He also serves as the "next episode" narrator (these segments were cut from the Saban dub).
  • Canada, Eh?: Saban's English dub was recorded in Montreal, and it shows in the voice actors' accents. The same voice actor stable was used for various other Saban and Cinar/Cookie Jar productions.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Willy and Flip weren't in the original book, but became part of the main cast in nearly all the cartoons / merchandise.
    • Buzzlina and Crawley only exist in the movie's canon.
  • Carnivores Are Mean: Especially Thekla the spider, but they have to eat something. In later episodes of the anime, she quits trying to eat Maya and the other insects and acts more like a grouchy old neighbor, but is kind every once in a while.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Many examples in the anime:
    • Ladybugs give everybody aphid juice. Is it honeydew or can everybody eat sentients? The ladybugs are also shown eating 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 of the anime seems to be less about insects eating insects.
    • In the CGI animated series almost exclusively Thekla is a 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.
      • Dragonflies show no interest in eating other insects.
      • Stinger and his wasps are only interested in stealing honey and fruit and show no desire to eat smaller insects like real wasps would.
      • The Honey Games has a friendly (albeit a little senile) praying mantis who shows no desire to eat insects and just enjoys his job as the games announcer.
  • Characterization Marches On: Watch any episodes of the original anime and then start watching the CGI 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 naps. Willy in the CGI reboot, while also lazy and prone to sleeping a lot, is still a lot 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 gets annoyed along with getting easily excited. In the reboot, Flip rarely gets like that and 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.
  • Cheeky Mouth: Shows up in the first anime series a lot, mostly with Maya herself. Not so much in the second anime.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are:
    • Maya and Willy would mostly play hide and seek throughout the show.
    • The Studio 100 CGI series has a song called "Verstoppertje" which is sung by Maya about her playing hide and seek with Flip and Willy. This song can be heard in the Maya show at Plopsaland, where Maya is searching for Willy and Flip when she learns that they are planning a surprise for her birthday. But Flip and Willy have to keep it a secret between the female host.
  • Continuity Nod: In the season 1 episode "Bee Day," Beeswax has an emergency exit door installed for the Queen, and mentions it can only be opened from the inside to prevent intruders. In the season 2 episode "Long Live Freedom," Willy uses this door to sneak out of the hive, and even makes sure to leave it open so he can sneak back in.
  • Crush Blush: In "Jealousy", Maya blushes after she tells Willy she loves him the way he is, but immediately adds "Uh... as a friend, I mean!", before he can realise what she just said.
  • Depending on the Writer: How intelligent the birds and frogs are in the CGI series varies in each episode. Sometimes they can talk, other times they act like normal animals.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In one German trailer for the sequel by Studio 100. A male lightning bug can be heard humming the German theme song by Karel Gott before starting a race.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Maya the Bee & Her Friends for the Game Boy Color was originally going to be released as a South Park game. Development for the latter was complete and ready to be released to manufacturing, complete with magazine ads and all, but days before it was going to be sent to Nintendo for approval, series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker pulled the plug on the release as they felt that a South Park game for a platform owned mostly by children would be crossing the line. The South Park / Maya codebase would later be reused in The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley. The Maya game was released as it was only in Europe.
  • Dub Name Change: Thekla the spider is renamed Grimelda in Saban's English dub of the anime.
  • Edutainment: Readers and viewers learn a lot about the insect world from this franchise.
  • Embarrassing First Name: In the 2014 movie, Sting's real first name is revealed to be "Buzzywump."
  • Everyone Can See It: In "Jealousy", Maya's friends and Flip playfully tease Maya about her liking Willy more than a friend. Maya, of course, denies this.
  • Eyecatch: The scene from the original opening animation of Maya sitting inside a flower covered in pollen was used as this in Saban's English dub.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Zigzagged. In both the anime and the CGI reboot, bees, wasps and beetles are portrayed with two arms and two legs (as you can see on the page image). But both Flip the grasshopper and the ants have four hands and two legs, which is even lampshaded in one episode of the new CGI cartoon.
  • Funny Animal: For the most part, insects walk around as bipeds and act just like humans. Some of them even wear clothes. Bee People, in a way. In the context of the show they are wild animals that coexist with humans, though.
  • Genki Girl: Maya, oh so much. Especially in Saban's English dub, where she's given a cute high-pitched voice and giggle to boot.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Episode 35 of the CGI series had to be pulled from Netflix due to a rogue animator sneaking in a carving of a penis inside a hollow stump.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Maya's pollen collecting skills.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: The song for the CGI series called "Maya ist Jarig" which is heard during most of the Maya the Bee shows at Plopsaland.
  • Harmless Freezing: In episode 102 of the anime, Willy is frozen in a block of ice. After his friends manage to get him out, he's quickly warmed up by the sun and back on his feet with no problems at all.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: How most of insects and animals view humans as a whole. This confuses Maya, as she's had only positive experiences with the farmer who lives nearby and his grandchildren. She later learns that human nature is a mixture of both, as seen in the anime episode where she meets a fairy who shows her humans doing good things but also mentions that not all humans are as good as these.
  • Image Song: In a few countries in Europe, there are songs sung by some of the characters.
    • Willy has his own song called "Ich bin der faule Willi" released in the '70s.
    • Another song released in Germany during the '70s is "Fliegen" which is sung by Maya and Willy.
    • In Poland, Ewa Złotowska (Maya's Polish voice actor) made multiple Maya The Bee themed songs starting in the mid 2000's such as "Co się stało z pszczółka maja", "Supermaja", and "Kółko graniaste", all sung by Maya. Then in 2013, an entire music album was created by Ewa Złotowska, where Maya sings various Polish children's songs and music related to the series. Some of the songs would later get remixed in the 2013 music album.
    • The Flemish, Walloon, and Polish versions of the Studio 100 series have all the songs, such as "Daar Heb Je Maya de Bij", "De Maya Dans", and "Verstoppertje", all sung by Maya. Two months before the second film's release on December 19, 2018, Studio 100 released an official music video for "The Honey Games" (Known as "Maya 2, de Honingspelen" in Flanders) sung by Maya called "Maya Yaya", which is the theme song for the film in Flemish regions of Belgium.
    • The 2018 German exclusive album Biene Maja - Liederalbum Sing mit uns! is mainly performed by the characters from the series. Such as "Oheaeaoh" performed bu Willy, "1-2-3-4, hier marschieren wir!" sung by The Ant Army, "Hühüpf hurra" performed by both, Willy and Flip, and "Wir lernen Fliegen" performed by Maya. In addition, Karel Gott and Juliet created new songs exclusive to the album ("Es ist schön (Heut in die Schule zu gehen)" by Juliet, and "Maja, fang den Sonnenschein" by Karel Gott).
  • 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!"
  • In Name Only: The 2014 movie and the book embrace the exact opposite themes. The movie has an order obsessed villain in place of having Maya learn conformity, parodies militarism instead of glorifying it and the main theme is about opposing speciesism and embracing open borders as opposed to promoting racist ideals.
  • Leitmotif: Willy has a very laid back character theme in foreign versions of the original anime compared to the Japanese and American dub.
  • Licensed Game: A few GBA games were made based on the series that can only be found in Europe. While one PC game has also be available in Germany with English and French translations.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • When the American/Canadian dub of the anime by Saban Entertainment aired on Nick Jr between the late 1980s and early 1990s. It notably toned down the show's more darker and dramatic moments such as creating a brand new soundtrack and altering a majority of the character dialogue.
    • The CGI series compared to the original book it was based on along with the anime.
    • The second season of the anime is this compared to the first season.
  • Mantis Mating Meal: Comes up in an episode of the anime where Maya's friends are being harassed by a hungry male mantis. Maya manages to bring in a second mantis, the first one's wife as it happens, who is furious at her husband for disappearing on her before she could eat him. The frightened male mantis flies off in a panic as the female chases after him, demanding he let her eat him.
  • Mouse World: A world from the perspective of a bee is a very large world indeed.
  • The Movie: The series got a film in 2014 that was released everywhere in Europe. An English version was later released in Spring 2015.
  • The Musical: In October 2016, Studio 100 made a musical stage show in Belgium called Maya en de Pollenbollen based on the CGI series. It features Maya, Willy, Flip, Beatrice, and Thekla as the main characters.
  • Mythology Gag: The first act of the 2014 film uses elements of the 1975 anime, such as the very beginning where Maya wakes up from her comb, Maya first meeting Willy in school, and when Maya first meets Flip outside when she leaves the hive secretly. The only difference is that in the film, Flip takes her back inside the hive before being scolded by Buzzlina, while in the original 1975 anime has Flip leave somewhere else while Maya returns to the hive.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in the CGI series. None of the characters are ever shown going on screen, thankfully. But one of Maya's friends, Ben, is a dung beetle and is always shown pushing a ball of dung around, making it clear that animals and insects do poop and the dung beetles are responsible with cleaning up after them.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: All the bees have hair, but it's especially noticeable for Maya who has hair all over her head.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up:
    • Maya and Willy don't seem to get any older. This is more noticeable in the anime where they hibernate through two different winters in episodes 37 and 53, but are still the same size as they were in the 1st episode.
    • It's even more baffling when in one episode of the anime, Maya and Willy raise a baby caterpillar that grows and becomes a butterfly, but Maya and Willy don't age a day.
  • Only Six Faces:
    • The worker bees in the CGI series share the same basic character model: Two male designs, one with brown hair and one with blond, while the females are the same brunette with a ponytail.
    • Also the young bees in the CGI series. Two boys (One with a propeller hat, and one with glasses) and two girls (one with glasses, and one with pig tails) will be used repeatedly in the series, with their names and hair color changing depending on the episode. In some episodes they live in a different hive. This has been somewhat averted starting with season 2. New bee models were added (although the same worker bee models will be used in crowd shots) and the bees in Maya's class now have official names.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An example without an accent, but Willy's South African English voice actor briefly drops his Simpleton Voice while trying to make Willy sound strained as he struggles to lift a weight.
  • Palette Swap: Happens a lot with background characters. One episode has Maya and Willy meet a Carpenter bee who is just Zoe's character model with purple hair and stripes.
  • Parental Abandonment: In the CGI series, Maya's friends don't have any parents mentioned or seen. Ben has his Uncle Kurt, but that's it. Of course, they are bugs, and insects don't stick around their children for long.
  • 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.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the South African dub of episode 93, Willy tells two children they'll "get a damn good hiding" for stealing his honey.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: The 1975 anime opening only featured Maya.note  For the CGI series, the opening is animated as a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but with Willy and Flip added to some scenes.
  • Proverbial Wisdom: One of Willy's character traits is to recite bee proverbs. Although they often have little to no relevance to the current situation, and although he sometimes gets them wrong.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: In the 3rd episode of the anime, a dragonfly eats a fly just after Maya gets to know him. It is maybe the only named character to die.
    • In episode 8 (22 in Japan, 1 in Saban's dub), when the ant battalion is forbidden to rescue one of their own who's fallen into a hole and is about to be eaten by a beetle, because the ant code forbids it. Maya averts this by flying down to rescue him.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds of the CGI series are absolutely beautiful. Especially during sunset.
    • The anime isn't too shabby either, especially the first series. Art director Masahiro Ioka was also known for his work on some World Masterpiece Theater series.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the final episode of the 1979 anime, the Queen summons Maya back to the hive to replace Miss Cassandra, who has taken ill from exhaustion. Except for Willy, all of Maya's friends, including Flip and Alexander, decide to move away, since living in the meadow is no longer any fun without Maya, who is equally miserable separated from her friends. Once Cassandra recovers, the Queen allows Maya to return to the meadow, and her friends all return as well.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The 1st season of the anime ends with Maya returning to the hive and becoming a teacher, but the 2nd series has her living in the meadow again with no explanation why. Regardless, the two are apparently connected since Maya was a runaway in season 1 and didn't go home until the final episode, yet in the 2nd season, she visits the hive in a few episodes and Miss Cassandra knows full well where she's living and doesn't mind. Maya is called back to the hive in the final episode to take Miss Cassandra's place, but is soon allowed to return to the meadow, since it's obvious she's not happy living in the hive. The queen seen in the 2nd series is also different to the one from the 1st, but it is also left unexplained.
    • In "Willy Moves Out" from season 1 of the CGI series, Zoe moves to another hive with her friend Lisby. In season 2, Zoe is still living in the same hive as Maya, and Lisby is nowhere to be seen.
    • In season 1 of the CGI series, Maya's Queen and the Queen of Hollyhock Hive were sisters, but in season 2, they're cousins.
  • She's a Man in Japan: The episode "Greedy Frogs" has a male and a female frog that are implied to be mates, since the male addresses the female as "Dear". However, in the German dub, they're both male and are brothers instead.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Maya and Willy's relationship changes a lot in the anime (Well, the English version that is). But in the new CGI series, there are moments where Maya, would kiss Willy on the cheek, as well as some hugs. This music video for example, shows these moments as a cute montage.
    • The season 2 episode "Jealousy" is filled with ship tease.
  • Shout-Out: At the dance party at the end of the movie.
  • Simpleton Voice:
    • Willy has this in the German, Latino, and South African English versions of the anime.
    • Doze the wasp from the CGI series.
  • Sleep Cute: Maya and Willy sleep like this in episode 84 of the anime.
  • So Proud of You: Miss Cassandra says this to Maya in the CGI movie, after they are finally reunited, right before Maya, and her friends head off to save the day.
  • Soundtrack Lullaby: The Japanese closing theme to the anime, Oyasumi Maaya (Goodnight, Maya), fits into this category.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • The hornets are killed by the bees in the book, while the hornets in the 2014 movie have a Heel–Face Turn and become friends with the honey bees.
    • In the book, a dragonfly mentions how drones are killed every summer by the worker bees. In the anime and CGI reboot, the death of drones is dropped entirely, and they are seen collecting pollen with the females.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Being a German creation, her name is really supposed to be spelled "Maja." The South African English dub of the anime actually refers to her by this spelling. The same spelling is used in the Polish version. In Japanese her name is romanized as Maaya.
    • Willy's German name is Willi but the "W" is pronounced with a "V".
  • Spiders Are Scary: There's an episode of the anime where Maya is trapped in a sinister's spider's web, which boasts about how it will eat her. However, Maya is saved thanks to intervention from Flip the Grasshopper, who destroys the web with a high-powered jump.
  • Stock Footage: The anime would use the same shots of Maya and Willy flying together at the end of most episodes. Also Maya jumping across flowers.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the anime, Willy went through season 2 being the Butt-Monkey. The other insects tended to ignore him or not care for him much, even Maya occasionally if she was too busy listening to Alexander telling stories. In episode 102 however, after the others think he's dead, they are genuinely upset and want to hold a proper funeral for him, showing that they do care. Luckily, Willy isn't dead, everyone is happy to see him alive, and an overjoyed Maya gives him a kiss on the cheek.
  • Title Montage: The opening sequence in Saban's English dub of the anime is mostly this, intercut with a few scenes from the original opening animation.
  • Vague Age: While Maya and Willy are stated to be babies or children, they have the appearance of a young adult or a preteen child. Doesn't help that in Germany, Maya is voiced by a young girl in every incarnation of the series, while Willy is voiced by a grown male.note  Gulli's website says that Maya is 8, but this has never been stated in the series, so whether it's true or not is hard to say. The fact that they are insects who may avert Humanlike Animal Aging further complicates the case.
  • Virtuous Bees: Bees, especially the titular Maya and her friend Wily, are the main heroic characters of the work. The bees are not entirely good — they are rather traditionalist and hidebound, best seen when they exile Maya for breaking the rule against leaving the hive, but they're still shows as a largely benevolent group. This is especially emphasized in the anime series, which drops the exile angle altogether.
  • Watching the Sunset: In the CGI reboot, Maya and Willy do this. Maya mentions in one episode that they watch it set everyday.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In one episode of the CGI reboot, Max the worm falls in love with a caterpillar named Bella. At the end of the episode she turns into a butterfly and she and Max presumably start a relationship. Despite this, she is never seen or mentioned again after the episode.
    • Miss Bosby, the bee that would occasionally assist Miss Casandra in season 1 of the CGI series, seems to be absent in season 2.
    • Season 1 of the CGI series, especially the episode Judge Beeswax, shows that Stinger had a whole group of wasps that followed him. In season 2, he, Deez and Doze seem to be the only wasps in the nest.
  • Wicked Wasps: In the book, the hornets are the sworn enemies of the bees and are portrayed as hostile and aggressive. They imprison Maya partway through the book, and the climax occurs when the hornets attack the beehive in force and disaster is averted only through Maya forewarning the bees of the hornets' planned invasion. The hornets are absent in the cartoon adaption, but are replaced by the wasps Stinger, Deeze and Doze, a recurring trio of bullies who regularly antagonize Maya and her friends and constantly try to steal fruit and honey for themselves.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Maya The Bee