The main character (Shinji) is a socially inept, black-haired school-age guy. There's romantic tension between him and the two main female characters who are both his age: one of whom (Rei) has a quiet, soft-spoken personality but shows steely resolve at times, the other of whom (Asuka) is loud, fiery, overreacts and always calls him a baka or hentai, but everyone suspects she has feelings for him.
The main character, as well as being a schoolage boy, is also an operative for a secretive military organisation, and the best person in the world at piloting a unique mech whose power is not fully understood (much to the envy of one of his schoolfriends, Kensuke, a military otaku). The quiet steely girl is also at this military organisation - in fact she's been there for longer than him. They seem to hire schoolkids, for reasons not fully explained.
The third main female character is Misato, a woman in her twenties, also working for this organisation, who dresses skimpily and drinks beer to excess. But she has a good heart and is committed to serving militarily as best as she can (as is her associate in the organisation, Kaji, a male playboy type about her age, with long hair). This woman and the fiery-tempered girl are the main focus of the series' light fanservice, although the quiet girl is also shown near-naked quite early on...
Of the two school-age girls, the blue-haired one is introduced in episode 1 as a main character, the other only around episode 8 (of 26).
CorkScrew has just finished watching the entire series (apart from Ghost in the Shell this is my first encounter with anime) and would like to confirm that the ending is indeed weird in the context of the rest of the series, and that it isn't just him. He fully accepts that this may normal in anime.
Weird endings, yes. Not normally quite like that, though - SunKitten
It is popularly believed that 'Death and Rebirth' has to be watched in order to make any sense out of the ending. Another thing I have heard is that it helps to start the series at episode eight or so, watch to the end and then wrap round to episode one. Generally, however, it is agreed that the ending makes no damn sense, no matter what you try. --Vitenka
I think they should produce a second half, where it starts off weird and gradually gets saner and more action-based. That might balance things up a bit - CorkScrew
This is very funny, even if it contains rather a lot of bad language. [here] I can't help feeling that describing any anime as shonen or shoujo is a mistake. --FR
I'll not comment on the rest, but just say that for a lot of anime, as for a lot of western films, TV shows, books etc., the creators have a definite audience in mind. - MoonShadow
Inevitably, it's going to have elements of both. For example, I can imagine a lot of my friends enjoying all the fighting in giant robots, with all the blood and gore that entails, but I don't think any of them would much appreciate or tolerate the deeper psychological stuff, nor yet (for some of the more single-minded ones) the emotional, relationship bits. Maybe categorising isn't as important as we think. --FR CategoryAnime