The movie is really mild compared to the grim original material. On the podcast, Tom mentions he feels there are hints of some body horror that might have been in the original work, and boy is he right on! because indeed the comic is full of it. I shared my surprise at some of the suddenly grim display (namely, Chiren’s demise), but overall I thought it was pretty goodhearted, with cyborgs making sure we know they don’t feel pain from being amputated or cut around.
The manga is very clear with one thing: a cyborg’s life is his brains, and as long as they are not voluntarily smashed (which may happen quite a lot, although not so much during Motorball), they are fine. That rule may have not been exposed in the movie; I can’t recall. In the comic, cyborgs are wary to lose limbs, unlike what I remember from the movie — it’s actually one of the distinctive traits of the heroin she doesn’t give a damn about giving up body parts to gain a tactical advantage.
I am being a bit dishonest, because the manga is also very clear on another matter: life doesn’t mean shit in the dump below Zalem, and non-cyborg people living there meet very, very bad ends all the freaking time.