The Cartoon Network has announced more schedule changes for its June Toonami lineup. Starting June 2 Justice League moves from its 10pm spot and bounces Dragon Ball out of the Toonami lineup (temporarily) at 5pm (ET, PT). DBZ keeps in 5:30 pm slot (until Dragon Ball replaces it in September), with Yu-Yu Hakusho at 6pm and Rurouni Kenshin at 6:30. New episodes of DBZ and Rurouni Kenshin start running on June 9. On June 30 the Cartoon Network introduces its latest acquisition, Cyborg 009, which replaces Yu-Yu Hakusho in the 6pm slot.
Written by manga pioneer Shotaro Ishinomori, Cyborg 009 is 'old school' shonen (boy's) manga science fiction with a group of characters working together to defeat a powerful foe and major themes like 'what does humanity mean to a cyborg?' Ishinomori's manga was first published in the 1960s and served as a model of the 'team' concept in shonen manga with nine different cyborgs from all over the world, each with different powers working together. The first black-and-white anime version of Cyborg 009 came out in 1968 and went for 26 episodes. A new color anime series that started in 1979 ran for 50 episodes and a 130-minute Cyborg 009 anime movie appeared in 1980 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first appearance of Ishinomori's manga. The Cartoon Network is importing the latest anime version of Cyborg 009, which appeared on TV Tokyo in 2001. The character design of the new series with Ishinomori's Tezuka-like curvilinear style very much in evidence provides Cyborg 009 with a cool 'old school' feel, but it is in sharp contrast to the look of contemporary anime. It should be interesting to see how American audiences react to both Cyborg 009 and the new version of Tezuka's Astro Boy, which debuts on the Kids WB on Saturdays in the fall.