Well, I just finished my viewing of the series on Netflix tonight. It's been a pleasure to finally watch the show through an official channel (minor issues notwithstanding), and to revisit it for the first time since my original viewing some 7 years ago.
Despite my frustrations with the show back then, NGE still kept me fascinated for a long time; I think I can say with confidence now that I do like the show, and I appreciate a lot of what it does. Back in 2012, I was coming from a pretty naive and opinionated place about television, so I simply wasn't prepared for a lot of what the show presented. Alongside the aspects of Anno's own depression, who's influence on the show is established knowledge by now, I've seen communication described as the main theme, and I think that's apt. Yes, there are mecha and giant monsters; yes, there are sinister sci-fi mysteries and government shenanigans; but ultimately, the underlying core of this series is its cast of broken characters trying to maintain or repair themselves amidst circumstances too big for any of them. I can also appreciate how flexible the show can be - there are basically four "arcs" to the show's mood, and while that confused me before, I enjoy that variety now. NGE doesn't limit itself to one thing; it knows when and how to be serious or slightly silly.
This isn't to say I compleltely understand it yet, though; the last four episodes still drop a lot of information that's hard to follow, and the final two in particular are surprisingly dense, despite being practically spelled out. Ultimately, everything about SEELE, the Instrumentality Project, etc, had to build to something; but it was never the true focus, so the climax feels somewhat distracted. I can't fault the show too much, though; circumstances were working against GAINAX at the time, and I have no idea how the production/writing process was going at this point in the series. What sort of state was Anno himself in?
All in all, I think it's fair to say that, yes, NGE is a bit of a mess - at least at the end - but it has something earnest to say, and I respect it for that. I also owe it some gratitude, as the first-ever anime series I "officialy", fully watched. For all my confusion and frustration, I think the show did a lot to expand my boundaries and set new standards for what I look for in entertainment; and for the most part, I think that's been a very good thing.
I'll revisit Death and [i]End of[/i} sometime soon.