To start off I was intrigued from the beginning of the series. At first I did not like any of the characters so I'm not sure why I was so intrigued but I just was. I rated the show 4 out of 5 right after the first episode. As the episodes continued I was filled with this same intrigue even as I felt nothing substantial was happening. I found myself periodically doing other things while listening to the English dub. Even though I still did not "love" most of the characters, what I cared about most were their interactions. However, what I think I enjoyed the most about this series was the overlaying theme about self and reality. I find myself dissenting from FalseDawn's review because for me the pinnacle was the final 2 episodes. I do agree with FalseDawn that the ending does not end anything. I feel that this might very well be the point that the creator was trying to express. That our reality never ends. We create our lives how we wish them to be and it never ends. I loved this psychological mindf*ck. Often I am disappointed by mindf*ck but this was just right in my book. It was set in place at just the right moments and in such a way that instead of simply confusing you it made you think about your very existence.
For the story itself there were many loose holes (unless I failed to piece things together because that is a strong possibility). The plot was mostly just character interactions and battles with Angels. But considering the focus of the final episodes I feel that this was the point. In a way both the interactions and the fights were battles within each character. Asuka felt inferior and it was reflected in her fighting. Shinji felt useless and so he often gave up. I think the overall message is not meant to be a conventional plot but a message of the human condition. What makes us human? What makes us alive? What shapes our reality? How do we view reality?
I still only found myself marking three characters under my love list but the characters are compelling. The viewer is able to see the vulnerabilities of each character and through this I believe that most viewers are able to find at least one character that they can relate to. This further pushes the overall message of our realities. Viewers meant to compare themselves to this character and to learn to understand those different from them.
Overall, I do not see why people hold this series in as high esteem as it is. I have often heard of it being an anime staple. It was an alight show with a good message and was enjoyable to watch, but I cannot see myself hurrying to rewatch the series anytime soon. If I ever did I would most likely only choose select episodes. The worst thing about the show is that it does end so abruptly without really ending anything.
Updated review at http://www.bubblews.com/news/2011135-neon-genesis-evangelion-review