Abandon Shipping: Grace and Simon were originally a popular pairing when they debuted in Book 2, as fans loved the dynamic they had. However, the ship starting losing fans as Book 3 progressed, with Grace undergoing Character Development contrasting with Simon becoming more unstable, until the ending saw Simon trying to murder Grace by throwing her to the train's wheels. By that point, pretty much everyone had jumped ship.
Ryan, an enthusiastic rock-music lover and self-proclaimed cool guy who gives the dorkiest smiles.
Award Snub: Despite massive critical acclaim and developing a dedicated following, the only award the show was ever even nominated for during its entire run was "Best Special Production" at the 2020 Annie Awards, which it lost to How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming.
All of Chrome Canyon's compositions for the series, but specifically the main themes for each season. Book 1's "Running Away" crafts an enchanting, otherworldly atmosphere with an underlying feeling of horror. Book 2's "Cracked Reflection" is ethereal and dream-like, reflecting the strange and fantastic cars awaiting the passengers. Book 3's "Join the Apex" paints the image of a violent, righteous uprising.
Grace and Simon have a splintered reaction. On one hand, Grace is blamed for causing Simon to be the way he is as a sociopath — for lying and playing with his emotions, and her lie in "The Origami Car" is what started The Apex — while some agreed that it was Simon's fault for not accepting the changes as noted when Grace states that everything that happened to was all on him. A third party argued that Amelia and Tulip were both responsible for everything since they affected the book's story, especially since Amelia never really accepts that what she did inspired The Apex. In Tulip's defense, if she didn't do anything, Amelia's reign of Conductor would've gone on longer than it should have.
For some, it is very satisfying seeing Simon get knocked down a peg when Amelia spells it out to him what the train is really for, and that he is nothing but a child with a bad attitude throwing a temper tantrum. It is also satisfying how her Deflector Shield basically beats up Simon without her even needing to lift a finger against him.
Simon dies a horrible death by his childhood trauma Ghom in the season 3 finale is this for some. Though word from the writers was his death is meant to be seen a tragedy unlike with Mace and Sieve.
Min-Gi being proven wrong in "The Astro Queue Car" is a very satisfying scene for some, seeing as he'd spent the entirety of the episode being an overly smug, condescending jerk towards Ryan.
The Steward is a strange uncanny monster with the face of a porcelain woman attached to a mass of robotic tentacles. It's a dangerous and persistent foe and always turns the mood dark when she appears.
Though the Mirror Police are much more personable than the Steward and the Conductor, they're still distinctively otherworldly. Their true forms have no facial features other than a mouth, they wear artificial skin in order to transport between dimensions, and they devolve into half-melted malformed messes as the episode goes on.
The Conductor really makes an impact on the final third of Book One. A massive Faux Affably Evil robot cobbled together with a callous disregard for life and ambitions beyond her own.
The Docent from "The Art Gallery Car" is a Flesh Golem made of arms and looks and acts like a monster that came from Silent Hill with everything that implies.
When One-One suspects that the Steward is his "mum", Tulip points out that it was attacking him. Sad-One's response? "The question stands."
MT sees a lunch-lady seeing One-One's message and thinks nothing of it. When Jesse brings up about a lunch lady who makes fun of him for wasting food and thinks that she's also on this train two episodes later, MT pauses and states "Maybe?" (which gets even funnier when Word of God reveals that yes, Jesse's correct).
In "The Lucky Cat Car", one of the games is one where someone rapidly presses a button so a horse figure goes to a finish line chasing a rabbit... but replace "rabbit" with a human and horse to "a Ghom".
People were shipping Tulip with Dipper Pines before the show even premiered, likely due to the aspects shared with both Dipper and Wendy. Such as... the former for being both being AdorkableBadass Bookworms trying to solve the mysteries of the place they find themselves in filled with Eldritch Abominations (also both have something involving a number on a hand, though in Dipper's case it's on Journal 3 and not on his hand), and the latter for being a Redhead In Green. Others have shipped Tulip with Wirt, also based on their similarities. Similarities like... being a brainy but tough teenager with something of an Insufferable Genius personality lost in a strange, desolate landscape that has a strong (albeit only metaphorical in Wirt's case) connection to trains, and who refuse to accept the fantastical/impossible reality of what they're dealing with along with them running away from their problems but later learning to confront them. Both of them are also accompanied by two diminutive companions, one upbeat and one downbeat (Glad-One and Sad-One vs. Greg and Beatrice), and both spend their pilot episode fleeing a large monster.
Tulip being paired with Luz also works because of the different personalities and the fact that Luz is confirmed bi. Funnily enough, both were heading off to camp before they got sent to the Infinity Train/Boiling Isles respectively.
Some feel this way about The Cat after "The Cat's Car", since at the end she's understandably completely terrified for her life and seems devastated when the Steward destroys her home. It gets worse in "The Ball Pit Car" when it's clear she's little more than a terrified slave to the Conductor desperately trying to just get out of the situation she's found herself in... only for the Conductor to go back on her deal and have the Steward seem to kill her anyway. Luckily the next episode shows that she survived.
The Conductor themselves garnered sympathy from fans at the end of Book 1, when it's revealed that she had a happy life until her fiancé died young. All of her Control Freak tendencies stemmed from her attempts to desperately re-create her old life.
The Conductor/Amelia Hughes, while certainly a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, they also grew bitter and borderline sociopathic over the course of their stay on the train, manipulating the train's functions to make a Gilded Cage where she can reunite with her dead fiancé, but also completely ignoring how many passengers were left without the guidance of the original Conductor, prolonging their stay. And then there's also the willingness to harm Tulipand Atticus. Many sympathize with them anyway, with many going as far as ignoring their heinous actions in favor of making them The Woobie. This only intensified in Book 3, where she's bettering herself, but still callous and aloof, even towards Hazel. A being that she created. Many fans prefer portraying her as a Defrosting Ice Queen towards Hazel, even though canon only shows her as taking Hazel with her for research.
Simon can fall into this. Hes clearly a very tragic Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds with issues connecting with others emotionally and has been plagued nearly his entire life with intense emotional trauma due to being abandoned in a Teenage Wasteland, but some go so far as to say Grace was grooming him his entire life, when it's clear they were both enabling the other's bad qualities. Oddly enough, Simon is simultaneously hit by a Misaimed Fandom depicting him as completely, irredeemably evil.
Grace can also fall into this as some fans like to say Simon was the only one killing Nulls and came up with the idea to kill them on his own, when again it's clear they were both enabling each other's vices.
Spokesperson!Atticus and Actress!One-One. They are only there for a quick joke in Episode 5, but are very memorable for the sheer absurdity of it.
On a similar note, Mirror!Atticus and Mirror!One-One are a (One-)One-Scene Wonder, due to establishing that Car inhabitant reflections have opposite personalities, which is technically Fanfic Fuel.
"Good Guy" and "Bad Guy" from Tulip's game are really just background decoration, but they stuck with fans, to the point that they are official icons on the show's subreddit.
Randall has gotten a lot of recognition for being a friendly, sentient water puddle who is completely willing to help Tulip catch up with the Cat. Some would've liked to see him as the fourth party member, but that would've been too many characters to juggle. He becomes a recurring character appearing in one of the Train Shorts and an episode in Book 2 and 3.
Nancy only appeared in one episode, and only at the very beginning at that, but fans remember her for her friendly personality and Creepy Cute design. She returns for a small cameo in "The Lucky Cat Car".
Alrick is only really important for the Conductor's backstory, but many fans understand why she was in love with him so much, since he was an Adorkable goofball who reliably stayed by her side throughout their entire lives.
Frank the Bear only appears briefly in Book 3, but many fans love him for being a Moment Killer and a genuine Nice Guy.
The Chandelier Escort from "The Debutante Ball Car" gets a lot of love for his design and voice, despite only appearing briefly.
While Tuba is billed as a primary character for Book 3, she only appears for about 4 episodes before being killed off. Regardless, she's beloved by the fanbase for her design, stoic personality and being a giant gorilla with tubas strapped to her back.
Multiple questions arose immediately after the pilot premiered concerning the train, its denizens such as One-One, and how Tulip got on the train to begin with, but the biggest one of all was "what does the number on her hand mean?" The most popular theories were that it designated her ranking in a bizarre game or kept track of the Steward's location. Only a handful of people correctly guessed prior to the show's premiere that the number was basically a direct indicator of her character growth, with some fans still remaining uncertain about what the number meant until it was explicitly stated the following season.
After the poster for Book 3 was revealed and the show's creator casually emphasized Hazel's lack of a glowing hand when commenting on a subsequent piece of fanart, many theories sprung up about what this could possibly mean for who (or what) Hazel is. Between being the offspring of a former passenger or a construct of the train, the oddest of these to gain traction was her being the biological child of Grace and Simon, hailing from some sort of "future" car. It later turns out that she's a denizen made as the hypothetical offspring of Amelia and Alrick, birthed from a failed attempt of the former at cloning the latter.
Given how the main characters of Books 2 and 3 were supporting characters in the seventh episode of the prior season, many fans theorized that Amelia would be the main protagonist of Book 4. This wouldn't be the case, but she would still make an appearance during the season and is heard multiple times throughout.
While "evil" is debatable, Amelia is still the Big Bad of Book 1, was quite beautiful in the past and aged like a fine wine, especially when The Bus Came Back in Book 3 and she showed off her muscular upper arms.
Again, Grace could be seen as this as well, being a very attractive young woman, but also a manipulative cult leader. Though less so after her HeelFace Turn, which means that she doesn't qualify as "evil" anymore.
Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Assuming that Tulip is the main character can be this. As a result of how the show was initially advertised, in addition to how some services continue to list it, a fair amount of people assume Tulip is the show's protagonist. While she does hold the role of main character in the first season, that's also the only season that she appears in; the show is an anthology that follows a different cast of characters in each story arc.
Fandom Rivalry: With Amphibia and The Owl House, at least on 4chan's /co/ board, due to their broad similarities in plot structure (teenage girls who star in Western isekai). Especially Amphibia, which premiered around the same time. Those series being renewed for second seasons ahead of their premieres, while Infinity Train was just a "five night special event" (or so they let us believe) didn't help things. However, as mentioned below, there are people who watch and enjoy all three.
Continuation fics about what happens to passengers after their time on the train, ranging from Jesse and Lake's budding friendship, to Grace making amends with the Apex for all they've done and telling the Cat about Simon's death, to Ryan and Min's lives as underground musicians, to Amelia's life with Hazel and her potential redemption.
It also isn't uncommon for longer crossover fics to slowly become Reference Overdosed, as such stories tend to have additional shout-outs and references to even more works outside the main crossover: Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, for example, has an entire story arc dedicated to what is essentially The Silent Hill Car.
For those who felt pity for Simon, there are many fanfics in which he doesn't get killed by the Ghom and instead is able to start getting his redemption and number down or Swapped Roles with Grace in a Role Swap AU where Simon genuinely grows fond of Tuba and empathize with her, only for Grace to kill her in a misguided attempt to please Simon and bring her number back up.
Fanfic Fuel: Let's just say that just as there are infinite cars on this train, there are just as infinite ideas for fanfics of it.
The train itself. While we know the train's purpose, there's still the big questions of who built it, where it came from, and how long it's existed? The series itself has only briefly touches upon that last one, with a few episodes making it clear in casual dialogue that the train as been around for a few centuries at minimum.
What type of people are on the train and what problems are they going through? In addition to original character fics, many fans have also made OCs called "Infinitysona"s along with a denizen to help them on their journey.
We've also only seen passengers from Western countries. What about those from countries like Japan?
Seeing that the train is infinite and hosts numerous worlds, coming up with different types of cars for OCs and crossover characters to explore is a fun challenge.
Tulip has no reflection at the end of Book 1. How will this affect her, and what would happen if others notice?
What type of adventures will Tulip's reflection go through on the train was this until Book 2 answered it.
In "The Engine", Tulip uses Amelia's tape to momentarily distract her, but it doesn't work thanks to the intervention of the Steward. Really makes one wonder how she experienced her memories.
Since Year Inside, Hour Outside isn't in effect on the titular train, how do the family and friends of passengers cope with the sudden disappearance of their loved ones? And how do they react when they return months or even years later? Or would they even follow the passengers to the Train because they've disappeared?
One word: Amelia. Her number is so obscenely high, it begs a few questions: what did she do over the past thirty years to get it that high? What will she have to do to get it down to zero and leave the Train? Is that even possible at this point? Book 3 shows she's now working under One-One as an engineer as a form of redemption, but will that be enough to accomplish her goal?
Come the end of Book 3, there's the added questions of her relationship with Hazel. How close do the two of them become? If Amelia getting off the train becomes plausible, how will that affect Hazel if she does become attached to the older woman? Would Hazel be able to follow her to Earth like Lake did with Jesse or be left behind like any other denizen?
There are two feuding families in "The Family Tree Car" which makes one wonder why those two families in the Infinity Train exactly? Are they related to the train's construction in some way?
Real world knowledge of the train. How many people know about the train? Are there people back on Earth actively investigating it? Word of God has confirmed that it has become a seldom discussed internet myth in the present day, with former passengers occasionally being able to find each other, and that world governments are investigating its existence.
After Book 4 revealed its protagonists to be musicians, fics where their band is used as a way for former passengers to connect with each other became a popular way to tackle this subject.
Mace and Sieve were once reflections of other people but joined the Mirror Police so they wouldn't lose their memories. What were their "primes" like?
The Mirror World in general can inspire this. Did Lake's successful escape have any effect on the Chrome Car, spurring a mirror rebellion? What's the deal with the reflections of deceased characters like Simon and Tuba? Would they choose to be recycled or become Mace and Sieve's replacements?
Three words: "Living Shadow Car"; having similar functions of the Chrome Car, but with sentient shadows of their primes instead of reflections.
Similarly Simon is commonly viewed to have Borderline Personality disorder given his intense fear of abandonment, lack of social skills, unstable relationships, trouble understanding what others want, emotional swings indications from the writers that he had feelings of self harm, and anger among other things.
It's never explicitly stated whether Amelia and Alrick were still only engaged or if they had married by the time of the latter's death. Canonically, it's the former, but pretty much every fan depicts them as the latter.
MT is frequently headcanonned as nonbinary, due to her being a reflection and thus probably lacking a sex, having an arc about being her own person and distinguishing herself from Tulip, her androgynous appearance in Book 2, and her choosing of the name "Lake" (which follows the naming conventions favoured by younger nonbinary people)note That is to say, using place and object nouns rather than traditional names due to the limited pool of gender neutral ones. Whether or not fanworks taking this approach have MT use gender neutral pronouns in addition to (or in place of) the female ones she responds to in canon depends on the writer.
Simon is the only main character to never have his pre-train backstory revealed in any way, outside of once ranting about funerals. That said he is commonly believed to have come from an abusive household, usually from Parental Abandonment or Parental Neglect, given how he displays clear trust and abandonment issues.
Less commonly, Owen Dennis's joke that Simon failed a spelling bee is taken as canon despite Owen Dennis saying it sarcastically and later stating he prefers fans to come up with their own answers for mysteries in the show.
Fans like to speculate that the Ghom that killed Simon was either Tuba's soul turned into a Ghom getting revenge on what he did to her or the same one that traumatized him for life all those years ago.
Though Word of God says that they're both 18, since this is never outright stated in the show, many fans depict the duo as being in their early twenties, with Grace being slightly older than Simon.
In the aftermath of "The New Apex", some fans began theorizing that being devoured by a Ghom causes one to reincarnate as a train denizen. It mostly gained popularity since it would both serve as a Fate Worse than Death for Simon, as well as a chance for him to start over and eventually atone for his past crimes.
After "The Train to Nowhere", a lot of fans ran with the headcanon that Ryan and Min-Gi had started dating by the time their gig in New York is shown, as Ryan's behavior towards Min-Gi on stage can come across as rather flirty and the lighting has very prominent rainbow colors.
Fans Prefer the New Her: When MT gets dressed up for a fashion show in "The Parasite Car", she's clearly uncomfortable, since the combination of the blue wig and the frilly outfit makes her look ridiculous. Many fans stated that they actually like the way she looks in that outfit and said that she should've at least kept the wig.
Fashion-Victim Villain: At the end of Book 3, Simon dons a makeover that actually suits him quite well, his loose hair and muscular arms give him a good sense of authority and make him more intimidating. The cape though? Overkill; he looks like he's trying to cosplay Sephiroth with a budget of 20 bucks. Though, considering Simon's personality and overall character, it might have been intentional.
First Installment Wins: Non-fans are more aware of Tulip's storyline and its elements. Not only were they the most recurring in advertising and promotional material during the show's run, but her season is also the only one other than Book 2 that's available on multiple streaming services. Said streaming services, and a fair number of official videos on Cartoon Network for that matter, also use the synopsis for the first season to apply to the show as a whole (which doesn't help the Fandom Enraging Misconception issue talked about above).
With both Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall, due to the similar story structure of kid protagonists finding themselves in a mysterious environment, which may or may not be otherworldly. It was even briefly billed as a ten episode mini-series like the latter.
Tulip is also commonly seen alongside Luz and Anne, since all three are teenage girls Trapped in Another World. Some also like to throw Reggie/Twelve into the mix. Fans of Infinity Train and The Owl House became closer together when Book 3 of Infinity Train premiered on the same weeks as the last three episodes of Season 1 for The Owl House with the penultimate episode(s) of their series ending on a huge revelation of one of the characters shapeshifting into a creature and a massive CliffhangerDowner Ending and both having very strong feelings for someone committing terrible acts (Simon for Infinity Train and Lilith for The Owl House). Bonus points: both shows have Matthew Rhys as important very characters: he plays both King Aloysius and Alrick for Infinity Train and King Belos for The Owl House.
There's a bit of fandom overlap with Victor and Valentino, as some consider them "sister shows" due to their pilots being released at roughly the same time.
Judging from the amount of crossover memes, a lot of Infinity Train fans really enjoy Portal. Given that both have a relatively futuristic setting, and have a bumbling, British Robot Buddy as part of the main cast, this actually makes a lot of sense.
Just like many other Cartoon Network shows, fans of Infinity Train get along with fans of Steven Universe, especially after Book 2. Some have already thought of scenarios like MT meeting the Gems or Steven boarding the train. In a Reddit AMA for Book 3, Owen outright described MT Eating Optional as "Gem rules", implying that he himself is a fan.
The way that the environments inside the train cars are constructed clearly draws inspiration from coding, with the blue spheres serving as the "data" to encode individual elements.
The train itself bears a strong resemblance to Dante's interpretation of Purgatory in The Divine Comedy. People arrive at the train after near-death experiencesnote Tulip wandering alone in the woods at night in the dead of winter and Amelia's implied suicide attempt off the roof of her university and go through various trials to "purge" themselves of flaws in order to be released. Both even have physical markers placed on their bodies to show their progress.
The Train is essentially a physical representation of Georg Cantor's diagonal argument, which proved that there were an infinite number of numbers between any two real numbers. The train has a beginning, and presumably an end, but is still infinite. Also, the Cat's ability to traverse the infinite train is a representation of the calculus concept of the converging series, which showed that an infinite series of steps can add up to a finite number.
While the media on which the memories of passengers are copied and stored look like LTO data tape cartridges, they're actually based on Cartrivision◊, an obscure and short-lived United States home video format from the early 1970s that predated both Betamax and VHS.
Harsher in Hindsight: "The Beach Car" becomes a lot harder to rewatch after we get to meet the Conductor. If Tulip actually gave One-One away, it would've probably killed him, and Tulip would've been trapped in the claws of the Conductor, with no-one to assist her (Randall would've probably been turned into a Ghom if he tried to interfere). Even worse, One-One was the true Conductor so Tulip pretty much would have killed the only being capable of stopping the Conductor's machinations.
Prior to Book 3, someone made this fanart. That would eerily predict the end of "The Color Clock Car"...
Remember the two times Tulip had her life force sucked by a Ghom? "The New Apex" reveals what happens if a Ghom is successful. Tulip is very, very lucky to have escaped from this even once compared to what happened to Simon.
In "The Mall Car", Grace introduces Simon by saying that she "trusts him with her life". She won't be saying that after what happened in "The New Apex" when he tried to kill her after she saved his life.
The passenger seemingly obliterated in the first episode was actually successful in his attempts to find redemption and return home. Particularly so since Amelia was actively halting the progress of other people.
After hearing her story of how Alrick died, Hazel doesn't hesitate and runs up to hug Amelia, who pushes her away in a matter of seconds. Later, it's revealed that Amelia created Hazel, so technically Hazel was hugging and empathizing with her mom.
He Really Can Act: Isabella Abiera really sells the sorrow Hazel feels upon learning how Simon murdered Tuba. Even Kyle (Simon's VA) himself stated that this was a very difficult recording session to be in. And then she ups the ante in Tuba's funeral.
Kyle McCarley wowed everyone at the climax of "The New Apex" showing off Simon's Laughing Mad/Cry Laughing to how he attempted to murder Grace.
During Book 1, someone made an Infinity Train/Amphibia crossover comic, where Anne turns out to be the Conductor. Only one episode later, we learn that the Conductor really is a female human. Bonus points for Anne piloting from the head and both "Anne" and "Amelia" starting with an A.
When Book 4 was initially announced Owen joked its title was going to be Demon Slayer. Lo and behold one alternative title for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's movie is "Demon Slayer: Infinity Train".
Book 4's themes of strained friendship, communication problems, forgiveness, chasing dreams, running away from your problems and having a Flesh Golem based monster (with it presumably based off a dead passenger) with an arm motif and numerous Alice Allusions are very similar to those found in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail which was first uploaded around the time of Book 3. Hell, both the fanfic and Book even have a denizen named Morpho (albeit the fanfic depicts them as a fairy whereas the Book has them be a butterfly sheriff)!
Between Special Agents Sieve and Mace. Sieve is always trying to be supportive and caring for Mace and only gets pissed off when he wants to kill MT for killing Mace.
In "The Map Car" MT blushes when the mermaids complimented her hair.
Ryan and Min-Gi blush a lot when around each other and Ryan tends to get pretty touchy-feely with Min. Their entire book also revolves around them fixing their relationship and in the final episode Min states that he won't leave the train as long as Ryan is still on it.
Each book/season being only ten, 11-minute episodes long. Some fans like the brevity of each story arc, feeling they allow the plots to be succinctly told without overstaying their welcome and that they make recommending the show much easier due to the smaller time commitment. Others believe that 110 minutes worth of episodes for each story arc results in the story coming across as too rushed at times, and leaves far too much story potential with any given cast of characters unrealized.
Subverted with the show itself. The series was briefly billed as a ten-episode miniseries a few weeks before its premiere. This came with mixed reaction, as until then, many assumed that it would be a standard television show. Owen Dennis's statements about this being his choice eased the blow, and it was revealed following the airing of Book 1 that Infinity Train would be getting another season, with it later clarified that the show is an anthology with the release of Book 2's trailer.
The Cat is sly, self-serving and clearly untrustworthy from a glance, but she's far from genuinely malicious and the Conductor's exertion over her indicates she's no less a victim of the train than Tulip is. The Steward viciously destroying all of her collected items and her subsequent reaction comes off as genuinely pitiful as a result.
Tulip's reflection, MT, is somewhat two-faced, since she completely considered leaving Tulip trapped in "her world". However, she also had to deal with and listen to Tulip's issues from the beginning of her existence, and it's heavily implied that she only became sentient once Tulip stepped into the Chrome Car. So her desire to gain freedom and become her own person are completely justified.
The Conductor/Amelia for Book 1. She's a psychopath who wants everything to go her way and will hurt anyone who doesn't do as she likes, but she's also a grieving woman who has been mourning her fiancé for decades and only wants the train to build a car so she could have Alrick back in some way. Notably while Tulip forgives her, the train does not (given her number winds up to her neck), and her actions have heavy repercussions as shown in Season 2's "The Mall Car".
Simon reveals in "The Chat Chatet Car" that The Cat took care of him for a few months when he entered the train, but disappeared one day and he was attacked by Ghoms before Grace saved him. However, he's also a sociopath par excellence who, on the next episode, murdered Tuba and told it to Hazel with a sickening grin on his face. Yet strangely enough, it's because he's a sociopath that it shows just how easy it is to break him, such as when he stubbornly refuses to accept the Awful Truth from Amelia of the train's true purpose, as that would obviously mean that just about everything he did, including said murder of Tuba, was All for Nothing. Also, his first reaction to learning that Grace hid from him that Hazel is a "null" is to just quietly burst into tears. Even after he gets his life force sucked by a Ghom, Grace can't help but cry at his death.
Grace is a manipulator and easily puts the charm on a lot of children but "The Debutante Ball Car" and "The Origami Car" reveal that deep down, she's a lonely girl who controls people so she didn't feel pain, having to relive memories of being abandoned by her parents and wishing to be noticed. Not to mention that due to her betraying Hazel at a very critical moment, Hazel leaves with Amelia and doesn't even smile or say her farewells to Grace. She also couldn't prevent the deaths of Tuba and later Simon, and all of this left her rather broken. By the end of the Book, you just want to give that poor woman a hug.
Min can be extremely self-righteous and patronizing, to the point he pushes all the blame for everything that goes wrong on Ryan in the first few episodes. He also abandons Ryan several times out of fear what others might think about him. But deep down he really does want to play music with Ryan again and hates how he's had to reshape his entire life to what his parents want instead or what he himself wanted. In "The Party Car" he opens up to Ryan about how much he regrets letting his anxieties control his life, especially since no matter what he does, he never seems to be safe from failure and disappointment.
MT has drawn the attention of some LGBT fans both for her obviously flustered reaction to the mermaids complimenting her hair during "The Map Car" and the trans subtext in her story: She was forced to live out a role that she didn't want and even answer to a name that wasn't hers, then broke away to find an identity for herself while other people keep trying to force her back into her "intended" role. Not to mention that she's derided for being "different" or lesser than self-proclaimed "normal" people. Her redesign makes her also quite popular with lesbians. In addition, her chosen name of Lake is very similar to the names chosen by younger nonbinary people.
As much as the mere trailer of Book 4 came out, gay fans swarmed to ship Min and Ryan, the protagonist duo of the season, with a big belief that they were supposed to become a couple over the course of the show. It wasn't explicitly depicted as such, to considerable consternation.
Played with in Book 1. While he's back to normal by the end of the season, the shock value related to Atticus' transformation into a Ghom comes from the fact that no one thought the writers would have the balls to show a cute little corgi getting shot like that.
After the horror that was "The Ball Pit Car", the fans' reaction to the 8th episode of the 2nd season was to be both excited and dread just what is going to happen. Considering "The Wasteland" ended with MT murdering someone in self-defense, they weren't wrong.
Book 2 quickly developed a popular meme of the show's message:
FUCK YOU SIMON!!!!Explanation The fandom's general reaction to Simon murdering Tuba at the end of "The Color Clock Car" along with him telling Hazel what he did without any remorse. Death threats may or may not be included but most fans agree that he is beyond redemption. This continued to grow after Simon tried to trap Grace within a tape of her own memories and then throw her to her death via the train's wheels.
"Long live the king."Explanation Many fans compared Scar letting Mufasa die to how Simon let Tuba fall to her death.
IT'S ONLY EPISODE 5, OWEN!Explanation Episode 8 of both seasons 1 and 2 (The Ball Pit Car and The Wasteland) were major wham episodes that featured character deaths (in the case of S1, a Disney Death). As a result, the fandom was expecting something similar in season 3; however, the moment came several episodes earlier than expected, leading to many fans saying this in response.
Amelia's new look had fans immediately fawn over it. Particularly how Amelia has very strong arms for a 60+ year old woman.
Crossing over with fans of The Owl House, most fans have deemed both Simon and Lilith irredeemable for their actions.
Once it was announced that the show's future was in jeopardy, many fans claim that Cartoon Network themselves became the true villain of Book 3 instead of Simon, since they manage do something even more twisted than murder: canceling the show.
Also in The New Apex, fans have started sarcastically calling Simon Green Lantern since his glowing green number has spread to his entire body.
The Sus Car Explanation Book 4 featured a car that was themed around a space-party, with denizens who never took off their space-suits. This immediately spawned a number of jokes connecting it to Among Us, due to the spacesuit-wearing denizens resembling the playable characters of the game.
"No child entry point." Explanation Refers to Cartoon Network/HBO Max's extremely bizarre explanation for not renewing the series, which had been extremely popular and well-performing, due to the fifth season focusing on Amelia and her process of grief, when the show had already featured extremely brutal violence that bordered on TV-14 ratings and was more popular with the 18-35 demographic anyways.
Tulip when she was younger. Even though most of the memories involving her are likely fabricated, she's still absolutely adorable. It helps that she's the only thing that doesn't become distorted.
Jesse's younger brother Nate is pretty much just a smaller, cuter version of him and also The Woobie.
Even when only a promo picture of Book 3 was revealed, people were already noticing how cute Hazel is. Even when morphing into a turtle creature, many just wanted to give the poor thing a hug.
Narm Charm: When Grace sees Simon again in The New Apex, he's being carried on a throne that looks like something straight out of Game of Thrones, doing a Slouch of Villainy, and is dressed in such a way that its painfully obvious he's trying to look edgy and cool. None of this takes away from how disturbing it is to see how evil he's become.
Nausea Fuel: Grace yanking out the memory tape from her head results in yellow-white goo coming out from that area and her vomiting up some saliva. Her disgusted reaction sells it.
One-Scene Wonder: For Book 1, it's Alrick, due to him being the catalyst for the Conductor's machinations on the train.
Tulip/Mikayla is this for anyone who wants to ship Tulip in a realistic way, given that the two of them are shown to be close friends, which could potentially evolve into something more.
MT/Jesse popped up as soon as the trailer revealed that they're going to be co-protagonists. Book 2 then turned out to be loaded with Ship Tease, despite Word of God saying they wrote them as platonic friends. It definitely helps that the season ends with Jesse being so torn up about leaving her behind that his guilt sends him back on the train so they can reunite, and that when explaining their platonic bond, the creator also didn't dismiss the possibility of romance in the future. Cartoon Network even acknowledged the duo as such a few times, such as this Valentine's Day-related tweet.
Grace/Simon has also become highly popular, thanks to the close bond the two of them have demonstrated over the course of the series. However, see Abandon Shipping to see what happened.
Ryan/Min-Gi bascially exploded overnight when the official trailer for their book was revealed. Many fans theorized that the story would revolve around two friends having to grapple with the realization that they had caught feelings for each other. Although that ultimately wasn't the plot of book 4, the ship itself is still pretty popular, see Ho Yay above for why.
Older Than They Think: Adventure Time features an episode where the main characters wind up on a train with an infinite number of carriages, containing puzzles and challenges that lead them onto the next carriage. Owen Dennis was gutted to learn that, prior to pitching the show, Adventure Time had already used a similar premise, and told the show's crew about the situation, with them giving him the go-ahead to still use it.
Some fans initially found Amelia to be an uninteresting and ultimately entirely unsympathetic villain in Book 1. However, her redesign and Reformed, but Not Tamed characterization in Book 3 won over some of her detractors. Pitting her against Simon, a delinquent created as a result of her neglect of the train and delivering a well-earned "The Reason You Suck" Speech. That said others were still annoyed as Amelia let a dangerous individual created as a result of her own actions roam free and felt she should've taken more responsibility for the Apex.
Relationship Writing Fumble: A mild example: Owen Dennis has claimed that the relationship between MT and Jesse was meant to be a platonic friendship, but they receive so much Ship Tease that fans don't exactly have to squint to see something more going on between them. From her blushing around him several times (such as when he promises to bring her off the train with him), to him putting his arm around her and them often standing close together, to lots of Holding Hands and hugging, to Jesse being so upset about accidentally leaving the train without her that it picks him back up a second time, there's enough romantic tension there that MT/Jesse is one of the most popular pairings in the fandom.
Some already ship Tulip/Jesse, even though the two have never met, based on the fact that they're both protagonists with opposing personalities. Though the ship tease between MT and Jesse could potentially make a relationship between them seem plausible. Or even between all three of them.
Some are already interested in Amelia/Grace, given how much the latter worships the former. Again, the two have never met, and even if they did, their meeting would probably end at a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the latter's expense. In the show, it turns out they did meet when Grace was a child, though Amelia doesn't remember the encounter. In addition, it's Simon that gets chewed out, as he starts screaming and attempting to attack her after she explains everything, claiming that she's lying, while Grace tries to stop him.
While not a "ship" in the romantic way, many are interested in the scenario of MT and Hazel meeting and the former becoming a Cool Big Sis to the latter, considering how both are humanoid denizens who want to be recognized as being just as valuable as humans.
The Mall Car: MT trying to leave with Jesse to the real world, holding hands as Jesse is swept up by the vortex.
The Wasteland: The death of Mirror Cop Mace by MT's hands.
The Color Clock Car: Tuba's death by Simon along with Simon's scowl at the deed.
The Campfire Car: Hazel's eulogy for Tuba
"The New Apex": Two of them involving Simon: him Laughing Mad while he has numbers on his face or when he is being killed when a Ghom sucks his life out.
So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus to Book 4 "Duet" seems to be that it's good overall, but doesn't really hold a candle to the previous books, especially Darker and Edgier Book 3, being a much more tame and self-contained story.
Squick: The scene in "The New Apex" where Grace has to pull out the tape of her memories to the point where she's gagging when she sees what looks like a chunk of her brain at the end.
Strawman Has a Point: Grace is a manipulative sociopath with backwards morals, believing improving your morality and understanding your problems is a weakness. However, she does have a point when she says that the train doesn't care how old the passengers are, kidnapping children away from their families and forcing them to understand something nobody expects them to understand. This ends up falling apart, however, when Grace clearly doesn't have the moral high ground, as she gaslights children into chaotic little brats, making their stay on the train longer than it needs to be.
The first half of "The Ball Pit Car", which consists of Tulip, One-One, and Atticus going on an adorable pretend quest with a living stuffed animal in a car that's just one giant play area. It's guaranteed to give you the warm fuzzies as long as you stop the episode before the second half begins.
In a way, the premise of entire show manages to be this, as the train is filled with friendly creatures and whimsical landscapes, once one manages to ignore the Nightmare Fuel (literally) surrounding it. Especially after the reveal that the train works like therapy and only abducts people whose lives really, really suck.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Downplayed, but Tulip's redesign for the show did receive some criticism when initially shown, both in storyboard form and in the SDCC 2018 teaser trailer. Especially the glasses looking more like normal glasses, rather than being infinity-shaped. Opinions improved upon seeing the Cartoon Network 2019 sizzle reel, which showcased the new design in a better light.
Some of the car inhabitants from Book One qualify, since they have interesting designs and concepts that are just used for one episode, or worse, a quick montage. Thankfully "The Lucky Cat Car" in the following season shows many of them in cameos.
The other passengers, when it's shown that the train has multiple passengers at once at the end of Book 1. Tulip encountering other humans on the train could've been interesting, allowing characters who are more grounded in reality to accompany her. Though she did meet one passenger in Amelia. Future seasons would have multiple passengers interact, however.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: While we know what happened to Simon on the train, fans never discover what his life was like to make him enter it in the first place (as we see that his number was only at 55 when he met Grace). It could've been interesting for Grace to use the nanites and tape reader on him to pay back for what he did to her.
Too Cool to Live: Tuba, the gentle yet sometimes sarcastic motherly gorilla who Hazel bonds with. Fans hoped that she'd survive till the end of the book only to watch her die by the hands of Simon halfway in.
Trans Audience Interpretation: Lake, since she has an alternative fashion choice and a consistent narrative of not being accepted as real. Most in this camp say non-binary, specifically.
Ugly Cute: Turtle-Hazel has a somewhat odd-looking face, but she's still a 6-year old child and incredibly cute.
There's also her surrogate mother, Tuba, who is a gigantic monkey with an amusingly simplistic facial expression, who is nevertheless an incredibly caring parent, which makes her death even more horrifying.
One-One can come across as this in "The Beach Car", as we're supposed to think of him as a good friend to Tulip and are supposed to feel sorry for him when she gives him away to the Cat. Even though his "advice" made her think she's going to die on the train and his attempts at being a good friend feel more like he's trying to guilt-trip her. While he is friendly towards Tulip and they both have the same goal, the Cat was (seemingly) trying to help Tulip getting off the train and never indicated that she's planning to harm One-One. Besides that, Tulip and One-One were familiar with each other for a few days at most.
As of Season 2 and "The Mall Car", Amelia is now heading towards this direction. While yes, her losing Alrick is horrible and she was in a state of mourning, that does not forgive the fact that her usurping One-One as the Conductor for thirty three years in order to get what she wanted meant that people are fumbling in the dark trying to figure out how to get off the train and led Grace and numerous kids to see her as a god and equate bigger numbers as a sign of status along with destroying numerous cars and killing its denizens just for some thrills. One-One can't undo what she's done, only help guide new passengers to (hopefully) move forward. Even after she learns about the Apex, she doesn't feel the least bit sorry as to what she caused, doesn't even remember "saving" Grace all those years ago and tears Simon's reality into confetti without doing anything to confine this dangerous youth for both the safety of himself and others.
MT can be hard to sympathize with in Book 2. While she does get a lot of Character Development and the show makes clear how much she simply wants to be free from the Mirror World's grip, that isn't really an excuse to endanger the lives of multiple passengers, such as the old man who was sleeping in his pod or the little girl who was about to get her number. While most of the damage she potentially caused could be easily undone or was even shown to not leave a great impact, she had no reason to be thisviolent or intrusive about it.
Downplayed with Simon. While he's clearly supposed to be monstrous, he's also supposed to be seen as a misguided Tragic Villain and his death is meant with horror instead of rejoice. However, considering how despicably heinous he was, he instead came across as a Hate Sink who got exactly what was coming to him, and many fans both memed on how satisfying his death was and how surprisingly graphic it was.
The show talks about very heavy subjects like divorce, mourning, and passivity in the face of violence and wrongdoing. Owen Dennis has stated in interviews that the mature subject matter despite the show being marketed towards children rather than teens is one of the bigger hurdles faced when attempting to pitch further seasons. Unfortunately, this is exactly what ended up getting the show cancelled.
The deaths in this show are nothing short of horrifying and makes you wonder how Owen got away with it. From Atticus being "shot" in "The Ball Pit Car", to Mace being wheeled in "The Wasteland", to Simon getting reduced to nothing but ashes in "The New Apex."
The Woobie: Let's just say there are a lot of people who need a hug.
Tulip's abrasive behavior may turn her into a Jerkass Woobie for some people, but it's hard to deny that the poor girl didn't have it easy. Even before they officially divorced, her parents were almost always fighting, to the point where Tulip had to repress those memories and replace them with happier ones. Even in the present, there is nothing she can do about the divorce and it clearly tears her up. That's not even going into the things she went through on the train, while being stuck on it for 5 months.
Out of Tulip's parents, her dad Andy takes the cake, considering how he was kicked out of his own house and hardly ever sees his daughter anymore, who he clearly loves.
One-One. Glad-One may be an Iron Woobie, but Sad-One is completely succumbing to every single bad thing happening to them, like being evicted from his rightful place on the train as the Conductor and then thrown away like he's just some disposable piece of garbage.
Terrence the Toad, seemingly only exists to be kicked so that a passenger can continue on the train. Jesse thankfully saves him from that life, now he at least gets paid to be kicked.
Nate. His Cool Big Bro suddenly vanishes without a trace after pulling a cruel prank on him, leaving Nate to wait for Jesse to come home and apologize for it. Thankfully he eventually does.
Hazel is such a sweet and adorable little girl who constantly gets ostracized by Simon (and Grace to a lesser extent) due to associating with a Null, and eventually breaks when Simon gloats on killing her gorilla friend Tuba. When it's revealed that she's actually a failed clone of Alrick, Amelia doesn't even recognize her as her daughter and is ready to quarantine her. Not to mention that she's afraid of being wheeled by Simon. Thanks to Grace betraying her in "The Hey Ho Whoa Car", Hazel ultimately leaves with Amelia and doesn't even say goodbye or hug her big sister.
Tuba herself also counts. All of her daughters died a long time ago, leaving only Hazel as a daughter figure to accompany her in wandering throughout the train. Even when she makes new allies, she is betrayed and brutally killed by Simon.