The world’s most famous worker bee is small, has curly yellow fur, is always smiling - but isn’t a big fan of helping her fellow bees make honey. Maya the Honeybee is the star of a highly popular Japanese cartoon (which was however created by a German writer) that has been broadcasted all over the world since 1975.
In the course of her adventures outside the walls of her hive, she discovers the world and shares her experiences with her audience: accompanying her are her best friend Willi, the drone bee, and a series of creepy but fun little creatures such as an earthworm, a grasshopper, a spider and a cockroach.
But even before Maya, back in 1970 another bee was already making kids both laugh and cry – Hutch the Honeybee was a little adopted bee who found himself up against the forces of nature as he searched for his real mother, who was none other than the Queen bee herself.
Whether happy or sad, there seems to be no end to the success story of Japanese cartoon bees, even 40 years on. Maya the Honeybee, for example, has her own videogame, and features in apps for the iPad and iPhone. Maya costumes are also a must for kids at carnival time, and are even – in a sexier guise – popular with adults looking to spice up their evenings at home. You can download the Maya iPhone app from ‘Die Biene Maja’ – the official Maya website in Germany.