It’s everything I hate about Eva fan fiction.
You're not wrong. While I'm one of the many people that like to recommend Retake (and Rommel's Genocide
fanfic) to people who just watched Eva and feel like they have not had closure, I'll freely say it's not that good. It's not bad
either, a solid 7-8. It has some great ideas (Ghost Asuka among them), hit or miss execution, okay art at first, and great art later (especially in After and in the All Ages bonus chapters), and its wish-fulfillment nature is both fully embraced and rejected, as Shinji gets everything he wants, has to drop it in favour of reality, *and* also gets his fairytale ending... in another timeline. Yeah.
Still, I'd recommend it any day over any
of the "official" Evangelion spin-off material. Retake may not be perfect, but it's not 24/7 ecchi like SIRP or a horrible and inconsistent edgy AU like CA or DS, or a tired attempt at comedy like Piko-Piko. Angelic Days is
an okay shoujo romance story, I'll give it that. I own a chapter myself, as I found it on a fruit shop once, in a rack by the entry next to some crosswords and porn mags. What most English-speaking Eva fans rarely understand is that Eva is quite popular and mainstream in the rest of West (to say nothing of Japan), as it was shown on public television many years earlier, when anime was already a more widespread and popular phenomenon also years in advance of the US, Canada and UK - worth mentioning that this was also the case in Australia, but that's too small and faraway of a market to make a big difference. Angelic Days is so
popular and well-known in Brazil it's a classic girl's manga on its own.
You can also try some other darker fanfiction if that's your thing, like Scar Tissue, the aforementioned Genocide or Adam Kadmon's stuff.
To stay on thread, it was always Asuka and Misato for me.