When I first placed Angel’s Last Mission: Love on my watch list the only thing I knew about it was that the promotional picture looked sweetly romantic. Not wanting to go solely on sight, I read the brief synopsis and the story piqued my interest, dangling this excellent sounding bate in front of me – the pairing of an “arrogant ballerina” with “a mischievous angel.” Okay, I’ll bite.
When an angel ignores the rules of Heaven the consequence is dissipation – just like smoke, they disappear forever. It is strictly forbidden for an angel to interfere in a human’s life and, since Dan hasn’t always obeyed that law, he clearly knows what result awaits him. However, because the humans and animals Dan saved by breaking the rules are filling up the sky with thank you prayers, he is granted one last mission: love. Dan is given a human body and has 100 days to help a grouchy, bitter woman fall in love. If he succeeds he will go straight to Heaven. If not, he will dissipate. Angel Dan is thrilled to have another chance at being able to enter Heaven and embarks on his last mission with joy and enthusiasm, promising to not only help his subject find love, but hope and trust as well. However, he’s shocked when he discovers his mission subject is someone he has crossed paths with a few times in the recent past – a heartless, selfish person who seems totally and completely void of being able to love anyone but herself.
Like all angels, Dan was given a handkerchief, a token that not only proves he is an angel but shows his connection between earth and Heaven. His assignment had been the care of animals in the human world and although the heavenly rules state angels are not to interfere in earthly matters, his sympathetic nature often got in the way. Given one last chance to get to Heaven, Dan is granted a human shell for his last mission but it has “defects” – wings come out and wounds are healed at a miraculous pace. Most of the time, though, he’s just like any normal male. At first he finds Yeon-Seo insufferable, rude, selfish, and infuriating but as he gets to know her better he is able to understand her weaknesses and comes to love her in spite of her many character flaws. Kim Dan sincerely wants to be allowed into Heaven but is willing to give that up in order to stay with Yeon-Seo.
Born to a wealthy family, Lee Yeon-Seo became an orphan at the age of seven. When she turned 12 she went to Russia to study ballet and then returned to Korea as an extremely talented prima ballerina. She is also the owner of Fantasia, the ballet company her parents founded many years earlier. Three years ago she tragically lost her sight due to a horrific accident during a performance. The experience left her an angry, bitter person and people refer to her as an “annoying and furious b*tch.” Dan considers her to be unbelievably immature and hysterical, saying, “… her beautiful dancing feet melt away because of the sin of her tongue’s ugly words. She thinks she rules the world and throws a fit whenever she doesn’t get her way. She is a devil of a woman, with no sense of optimism or empathy. Her soul is like Sodom and Gomorrah.” In spite of her ugly personality, she is a born dancer and Dan believes God made her with great detail, giving her tremendous talent.
Handsome, no-nonsense Ji Kang-Woo used to work with the New York City Ballet but was recently hired as Fantasia’s new artistic director. His one goal is to get the former prima ballerina, Lee Yeon-Seo, back on stage after a three year absence. Although Yeon-Seo disregards his sincere romantic advances, her cousin, Geum Ni-Na, has fallen head over heals for him. His heart is set on Fantasia performing Giselle and he’s adamant Yeon-Seo play the lead. He expects only the best from his performers, preferring to encourage and guide rather than chastise. Kang-Woo has a secret, tragic past that prevents him from giving up on Yeon-Seo.
Even though Ni-Na sincerely loves her cousin, it was difficult for her to always be in Yeon-Seo’s shadow as her understudy. For the past three years, while Yeon-Seo has been unable to perform, Ni-Na took over as Fantasia’s solo principle dancer and has basked in the limelight. But during Yeon-Seo absence Ni-Na’s dancing skills improved tremendously and she is now ready and willing to go toe to toe with her predecessor in order to be cast in the role of Giselle.
I was happily surprised to discover Angel’s Last Mission: Love starred someone who has been in two different Kdramas I’ve watched in just the last month (strictly coincidental) and is now on my favorite actors list- Kim Myung-Soo (aka L) is Angel Kim Dan. To find out about L you can visit my Miss Hammurabi review.
Shin Hye-Sun is the lovely actress whose role is that of prima ballerina Lee Yeon-Seo. You can find information about her in my Thirty but Seventeen review.
My Queen for Seven Days review contains information about Lee Dong-Gun, the handsome actor who plays Fantasia’s artistic director, Ji Kang-Woo.
When Kim Bo-Mi was 11 years old she began studying ballet and ended up majoring in Ballet as a student at Sejong University. Because of her appearance on the cable show Star Replication Project 2% in 2008, she ended up signing with an entertainment company and made her acting debut in the drama Painter of the Wind. Since then she has appeared in supporting roles in both TV and film. A few dramas she’s been in that I’ve seen are Master’s Sun, My Love From the Star, Doctor Stranger, My Secret Hotel, Sensory Couple, Neighborhood Hero, Man to Man, and My Husband Oh Jak-Doo. Oh, and I just saw her last week in I Hate You Juliet. I’ve always thought writers, agents, and casting directors should work more closely together in order to utilize an actor/actress hidden talents. Three cheers for whomever chose ballerina Kim Bo-Mi for the part of ballerina Geum Ni-Na.
Angel’s Last Mission: Love has its share of evil, plotting characters who happen to be none other than Yeon-Seo’s extended family (except for Ni-Na). Her aunt is a covetous witch, desiring to be the true CEO of Fantasia with her daughter (Ni-Na) as its prima ballerina. Her uncle, although never the instigator of the plots, is always compliant to his wife’s wishes, and her cousin ( Ni-Na’s older sister) will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
This drama’s filming reminded me of My Nineteen Year Old Sister-In-Law in that the picture is crooked for what seems to be about 85% of the show. If a director is trying to be creative and artistic with the way the show looks, there are many ways to achieve that goal without making the audience feel like they’re in a constant state of tipping over. Clever directing – While You Were Sleeping. Irritating directing – Angle’s Last Mission: Love. That off-kilter look kept me from giving this drama a higher score.
I didn’t like this drama as much as I could have because of Lee Yeon-Seo’s sour personality. She complains, yells, and threatens all the time. At one point Dan tells her something to the effect of, “You know, other people have horrible struggles and tragedies in their lives and have chosen to remain kind and good in spite of them. There’s no reason for you to be so terribly rude all the time.” I think that’s why I wasn’t able to like her very much. She actually chose to be a horrible witch. There’s not much at all to like about her so I was surprised that someone as wonderful as Angle Dan could fall for her. The way I saw it, they just weren’t a good match. However, the writer gives the story a slight twist (sorry, but I can’t tell you what it is) which helps the audience accept the fact that Dan really could love Yeon-Seo. But she is so horribly rotten for such a long time that, although Dan was able to see past her unsavory character, I couldn’t. I didn’t like her in the beginning and I only disliked her slightly less at the end.
I enjoyed the fact that the subplot included something I haven’t seen in any other Kdrama before – ballet. The dancing parts in the show are very entertaining. I’m sure ballet is an exhausting and extremely difficult art form. In fact, in the story when there is talk of Yeon-Seo going back to being the principle dancer after a three year absence Ni-Na’s older sister remarks, “If a ballerina rests for a day, they know it. If they rest for two days, their partner knows it. If they rest for four days, the audience will know it.” There’s also a part in the drama where Yeon-Seo’s toes are bleeding right through her point shoes as she’s practicing. She just wraps them up and keeps going. Now that’s commitment. I’ll bet dancing on bleeding toes is quite a common occurrence for people studying ballet.
Fantasia decides to perform the ballet Giselle, a story I’d never heard of before. I thought it was something made up entirely for Angel’s Last Mission: Love but as I scrolled through information about the drama’s music I discovered many of the songs had “Giselle” written by it. So, I turned to good old Wikipedia and found this – “Giselle is a masterwork in the classical ballet performance canon. The ghost-filled ballet tells the tragic, romantic story of a beautiful young peasant girl who falls for the flirtations of the deceitful and disguised nobleman Albrecht. When the ruse is revealed, the fragile Giselle dies of heartbreak, and Albrecht must face the otherworldly consequences of his careless seduction. One of the world’s most-often performed classical ballets, it is also one of its most challenging to dance.”
The drama’s special effects are excellent. I loved watching Dan’s wings unfold and angels disappear in a swirl of smoke. There are two excellent scenes where Angle Dan swoops through the air just in time to save a human from certain death. The special effects department/crew gets an A+.
For those of you who enjoy watching behind the scenes things there’s an hour long episode that shows how some of the scenes were filmed. We get to observe the drama’s ballerinas in real dance classes, see how a car is safely hung off the side of a cliff, watch a couple romantic kissing scenes, and much more. It’s a great bonus for Kdrama fans.
Because this drama scored so high on Viki.com (9.7 out of 10) I was expecting much more than what I got. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it nearly as much as Viki users did so I decided to check out the show’s broadcast ratings in its home country. Angel’s Last Mission: Love’s ratings bounced up and down during its run, but its last episode garnered the same score as the first (7.7%, which is what I gave it). The good thing is that the show didn’t loose watchers, but the bad news is that it didn’t really gain any over 32 (half hour) episodes.
Angles Last Mission: Love’s soundtrack gets a solid B+. There’s a song in the show that, when I heard it, made me think the vocal sounded like it could be Kim Myung-Sol’s voice. So I checked and, sure enough, he’s the one that softly croons the ballad The Nights That I Miss You. Smart move to get the lead actor to sing on the soundtrack, especially since he also has a career as a singer. A Welcome Rain, performed by Lee Moon-Sae, is another beautiful slow song. Pray, performed by KLANG, has a hazy sound to it, like the song, itself, produces smoke. It’s pretty and compliments the heavenly theme of the show, but I felt like it was played much too often. I absolutely love the chorus of the ballad Oh My Angel, sung by Lee Soo-Jung (aka CHAI), but the melody of the verses doesn’t do it justice. Jess Penner sings the upbeat song Sweeter in English, and the lyrics not only make sense but they’re grammatically correct, as well. Yahoo!
The backgrounds in this drama are all very classy. Lee Yeon-Seo’s mansion is elaborately gorgeous, with a giant circled window in Dan’s room being a lovely focal point. I also found it significant because circles are one continuous round, with no beginning and no end – eternal. Dan would sit in that round window as he would write his reports to Heaven. A circle – what a wonderful symbol for an angel. The office of Senior Angel has an interesting and unique circle-shaped bookshelf in the ceiling above his desk. Yep, I said “in the ceiling.” See, another circle in an angel’s room. That can’t have just be a coincidence. Oh, there are several beach scenes, one in particular being especially beautiful as Yeon-Seo dances on a makeshift stage, curtains blowing in the sea breeze as a rainbow arches above her. Spectacular!
Although I didn’t love this show, I do think the ballet element in the story and Kim Myung-Soo’s excellent acting as adorable Angle Dan makes this drama definitely worthy to be placed on your watch list. Personally, I didn’t think Angel’s Last Mission: Love was heavenly, but it is good.
Kim Myung-Soo’s acting
All the ballet moments
A “making of” bonus episode
A tipped picture way too often
Lee Yeon-Seo’s nasty character