When I watch it, I usually watch the beginning, skip to ep. 31 after the work of art that is 22 and then go to the tartessos episodes immediately. (I TRIED to watch the insland arc but I gave up once it became completely incoherent. NO. Just NO.)
And that's exactly how Nadia
should be viewed. That's the story Gainax wanted to tell. Simply put, those island/Africa episodes weren't supposed to exist. At all. (Well, maybe parts of episode 30 and 31 are an exception, but still.)
I'd recommend checking out Anno's own edit of Nadia
: The Nautilus Story. It cuts out the filler episodes and makes the story much more tighter and consistent. (Although it DOES omit some parts of the better episodes.)
Oh, and Jean IS Kensuke.
And Nadia's all three NERV Children roled into one. The Daddy issues and the low self esteem (Shinji), the birtchyness and tsundere-ness as a facade (Asuka) the vegetarism and the apocalypse maiden scared of her true self (Rei)
Tough I think she resembles Asuka most of them all.
I don't know if I'd go quite that far in terms of Nadia resembling mostly Asuka. If you judge her by how unbearable she gets in the filler arc, then yes. But episodes 1-22? I saw her as mostly Shinji/Mei and only occasionally Asuka. I do think she could have been a much more consistent character, although I attribute that fault to the fact that the writers didn't know where they wanted to go with her during the filler arc.
Jean is definitely my favorite character in the show. I love his generosity and kindness. It really is no wonder that Nadia gradually falls for him and is even transformed by his love. And at least in the episodes when the show is on target, she DOES go out of her way to show she cares about him. Even when she takes out her fury on Jean, she realizes that he doesn't deserve it and often apologizes. (She even encourages him to build a gyrocopter to bring him out of depression.) Yes, there are moments where she does express rages (notably at Nemo), but on the whole she's a much more sympathetic person in the canonical episodes 1-22 than the psychotic maniac eps. 23-34 changed her into.