Episode 29 has a woman state that although she doesn't have a pass, the Galaxy Express will take someone who's a refugee, since she crashed on the planet. This should have affected an awful lot of other plots, including the previous episode, which had a man stranded on a planet. The episode is also a Family-Unfriendly Aesop about staying with an abusive boyfriend.
Isn't it a bit excessive that every non-Jerk Ass machine-human dies in the same episode s/he is introduced, except for Spiral, who despite putting a brave face on it ends up in a situation that verges on a Fate Worse than Death?
On that subject, it bothers me that the series seems to be trying to combine Cybernetics Eat Your Soul and, well, the opposite. In many places it is implied that people who become machine-humans lose their humanity in ways that extend far beyond just Immortality Immorality, one of the most prominent being Maetel Legend where everyone mechanized, including Maetel's mother, instantly turns evil. Yet we've seen good mechanized humans (including one almost at the end of the TV series where Tetsuro actually learns that there are good mechanized humans). And it's not just that Matsumoto continuity is hazy, because Galaxy Express itself implies it too—and besides, this isn't just a continuity contradiction, it's a contradiction between themes.
There's also that woman in Space Symphony Maetel who became mechanized for medical reasons and clearly isn't evil. How then did Maetel's mother turn evil?
She started that way? Or different people react differently to being mechanized. That could be the real theme: Mechanized or organic, people still choose to be good or evil.
At the end of episode 63, Miru is shot by Lelan as she reaches for the artificial sun's kill-switch, then after Maetel's tongue-lashingsends Lelan reeling, Lelan bolts outside and is killed by the daylight. So now that Lelan is dead, and Maetel and Tetsuro know where the kill-switch is...why don't they pull the kill-switch and save 99.9% of the population from a horrible, screaming death?!
The logic of the story requires that a pass for the 999 cost less than the going rate for getting mechanized. So why do machine-humans seem to greatly outnumber people who can afford passes?
I think the logic only requires that it be true for Tetsuro, who got a free pass. I don't think we saw any other people saying "I'm saving up for a pass so I can go get mechanized."
Also, it's quite possible that the premise is true now, but hasn't always been true. Most of the planets we see don't seem to have thriving economies.
Are the brains of machine-humans electronic or biological? It's very strongly hinted that they have human brains, but on the few occasions we get to see a machine-human's brain it appears to be a smallish boxy wifi-router-looking doodad that couldn't possibly be big enough to house a human brain. But if they have electronic brains, how does that square with the episodes where a computer the size of a tennis court is needed to host a human consciousness that still comes back wrong anyway?
Different technologies: the one used to make the normal machine people is superior when it comes to house a human consiousness than the one used in that episode.
The woman on the butterfly-people planet asks her lover why their race doesn't venture to other worlds; he answers that their life-spans are much too short to survive the journey to even the nearest of them. She objects that this is not a good reason...but...erm...it kind of is.
The Filament episode incorporated an interesting idea that I'd long thought would make a good SF story (basically a Sixth Sense reveal with an entire planet of beings that don't realise that they are ghosts courtesy of some sudden cosmic catastrophe) but it just gets tossed out with a few cursory words in the middle of an Infodump and is never mentioned again. I wish they had expanded on this rather than just done yet another Tetsuro-held-hostage story. Still, you have to love that even fricking ghosts get taken in by the Machine Empire's propaganda.
How did Matsumoto manage to write Masspron as a parody of modern industrial China nearly 15 years before Deng Xiaoping's "southern tour" created it?
If the Waterpress Nation couldn't build spacecraft, how did they manage to invade the Cheyenne Fish's planet in the first place?
Anvils dropping in opposite directions:
Pointless killing (Destruction of Macaroni al Gratin, The Laboratory of Eternal War)
A glorious proclamation of hope for the future...or something (Lifeform no. 3)
Pointless and cruel but it's an expression of Natural Will that noone can escape so you can't stop it but you must because someday you might put a stop to it but you can't because it's impossible but you must... (Queen's Rebellion)
Teh Awesome!! (The Great Bandit Antares, Pirate Ship Queen Esmeraldas)
Vile degenerate thuggery!! (Rebellion of C62)
... but a step up from beggary (The Gimme Planet)
If your lover jilts you—
It's because you're a jerk who deserved it (Tale of a Short Life)
It's because she's a jerk and murdering her and her boyfriend and then framing an innocent person to save your own neck is kinda okay (Song of the Skeleton)
It's because he's a jerk but just let him alone; work out unresolved feelings of rejection by mass-murdering thousands of innocent strangers instead (Graveyard at the Bottom of Gravity)
What exactly is the Conductor?
An alien of some sort most likely.
Where are the other passengers? Tetsuo and Maetel seem to have the 999 all to themselves.
It's early, so I forget the episode number specifically, but it's the first episode with Antares. Antares robs a car connected to the car Maetel and Tetsuo are in, which seemed decently occupied. I guess the two tend to sit in the more empty cars.
They tend to sit in the more empty cars, and the most of the passengers are from Earth in the first place. Some take the train at the various stops, but there's more people who leave, and others die when the misadventure of the week doesn't involve only Tetsuro and Maetel (rare, but happens).