If everything was "easy" Ray, whether it's a goal or storytelling, would it really be worth doing if I could just snap my fingers and get what I want?
I'm not asking for things to be easy for Shinji. Just less bleak. . . I mean seriously he had a hard enough time connecting to others before he accidentally turned Japan into core material. Every other main character in every other work of fiction makes some
progress, why does Anno keep resetting the poor kid to square one? No, forget resetting him to square one, throwing the board out and banning him from playing the game at all. Why? Just to shame the hardcore Otaku for daring to empathize with him? To make a point about how free will doesn't exist?
From my experience, it's more rewarding if you overcome the difficult route, and Shinji WILL overcome it, cause what would honestly be the point if all this shit happens to him, and it doesn't show ANY growth, even the tiniest. Even EoE showed his growth when he gave back the world. :)
Not every story is about a main character overcoming his problems, or has a happy ending. Like the great Greek Tragedies. Or real world stories of people in gruesome situations, and after all Shinji has been through if Anno is going to keep any kind of believable emotional realism to the Rebuilds, he better have a very good plan. Or else after everything he's done, everything he's suffered, it's not going to come off as believable
That is a nice form to say than sometimes Anno is not a very good Storyteller.
I don't necessarily agree with the story from a message and a story choice perspective. But I respect it and enjoy it because it challenges me on a level most other works of fiction fail at. I can respect him for that, and say he's a good storyteller for taking risks.