Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red-Moon Pact (2024) 狐妖小红娘 月红篇

Summary: In a world where the Human Clan and Spirit Clan are in constant conflict, the Leader of the Fox Spirits from Mount Tu, Tu Shan Hong Hong 涂山红红 (Yang Mi 杨幂 ) hopes for a world where the two clans can live in harmony. She rescues the young orphan Dong Fang Yue Chu 东方月初 (Gong Jun 龚俊) whose blood has mysterious powers and raises him along with the other Fox Spirits in Mount Tu. A dark force threatens Mount Tu and the Bitter Feelings Tree that protects Mount Tu.  She is tasked with completing successful matchmaking missions to power the tree and finally dispel the evil forces. 

 

Total Episode Count: 38

Initial Airing Date: May 23, 2024

Platform: iQiYi

*Note – English translations may not match official translations

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Initial Rating [first 12 episodes]: 6.8/10 – A visually stunning show with a beautiful cast that should have everything going for it. The pacing and lack of stakes really drag down the whole experience. After watching through the first “chapter”, this drama is one to enjoy as beautiful art, not for its plot.

Tu Shan Hong Hong涂山红红

Yang Mi 杨幂

Leader of the Fox Spirit Clan at Mount Tu. She hopes for peace between the Spirit Clan and the Human Clan

Dong Fang Yue Chu 东方月初

gong jun 龚俊

Orphan son of the Dong Fang Family, he is raised by the Fox Spirits on Mount Tu. He aims to protect those he loves, including Tu Shan Hong Hong

Tu SHan Ya Ya 涂山雅雅

Guo Xiao Ting 郭晓婷

Second in command at Mount Tu, she lives a carefree life but learns to take up the burden to protect those on Mount Tu

Ao Lai Guo San Shao傲来国三少

Wei Zhe Ming 魏哲鸣

Mysterious guest from the Kingdom of Ao Lai, there are many facets to him. He’s bemused to hear that he has a fan following on Mount Tu

Hua Zhi 涂山容容

Hu Lian Xin 胡连馨

Third in Command at Mount Tu. She’s the treasurer on the mountain and sends Dong Fang Yue Chu on missions to collect rent  

gU yAN xI 石姬

Wen Zheng Rong 温峥嵘

An ancient Fox Spirit who was imprisoned for centuries. She finds an ally amongst the human clan to regain her powers and control the world

Shen Qi 布泰

Bu Tai 祝绪丹

Princess of the Controlling Spirits Kingdom, she secretly loves her slave guardian Shi Kuan. She travels to Mount Tu to pray for a good marriage

xia jin er 石宽

Yang Shi Ze 杨仕泽

Slave guardian to Bu Tai and powerful spirit in his own right, he reciprocates his love to the Princess but cannot let his feelings be known

 

Initial Thoughts

This was one of the most highly anticipated dramas of the year, and the first one to set off the Fox Spirit Matchmaker Universe that has at least 2 other dramas in the pipeline. They have either finished filming or close to wrapping. The drama or the universe is based off of a very popular Chinese Man Hua of the same universe.


It had everything going for it. The drama has the extremely popular Yang Mi 杨幂 back as a Fox Spirit Tu Shan Hong Hong paired with the very handsome Gong Jun 龚俊. They are surrounded by a star studded young cast of Guo Xiao Ting, Wei Zhe Ming, Zhu Xu Dan, and others who haven’t appeared yet in the drama including Zhang Ling He, Chen Yao, and Mao Zi Jun. All of them can and do individually headline their own dramas. The drama is produced by Heng Xing Ying Li – the company behind the smash hit Love Between Fairy and Devil and the drama is airing at a prime summer slot. It should be going toe to toe with Joy of Life 2 right? Unfortunately, it has struggled to compete with Joy of Life 2 庆余年2 and hasn’t breached 9000 on the iQiYi index. The buzz just isn’t there.


This is one of the most gorgeous Chinese dramas ever. The set, the CGI, the costume, and the makeup are all top notch but I personally struggled getting through the first 6 episodes because there just didn’t seem to be much urgency in the plot or much stakes at all. The Fox Spirits living in Mount Tu seem to have a great system going so why mess with everything? There was a trending post on weibo about the drama stating that it’s childish and it is. The bad guys are off trying to enact their evil schemes but are rather easily dispatched by the Fox Spirits and Dong Fang Yue Chu.

For this drama, there are chapters within the story as Tu Shan Hong Hong must accomplish several missions. I’ve only watched the finale of the first mission. The stakes finally do pick up towards the end of the first chapter and the drama has picked up the pace significantly. I’ll keep watching to see if the subsequent 2 chapters fare better

 

 

What I liked

  • Visual Treat: I’ve mentioned this several times already, this is a visual treat (I mean, look at the screenshots) across the board. The drama does an excellent job presenting the world and locations within it including Mount Tu and the Kingdom of Yu Yao (up to know). The costumes are lavish but fit the different characters. I absolutely love several of the costumes Tu Shan Hong Hong wears. The makeup for these characters (especially the female characters) add individuality and don’t seem messy. The overall set design and costume design is stunning.
  • The Fox Spirit Clan: I thoroughly enjoy the vitality that is portrayed on screen on Mount Tu. Tu Shan Hong Hong rules with wisdom and turns a blind eye to some of the shenanigans from other Fox Spirits and Dong Fang Yue Chu. Tu Shan Ya Ya is a bit strong-headed but everyone knows she is a huge softie. Tu Shan Hong Hong chases everyone for their debts but isn’t a tough landlord. The other smaller spirits are also very personable, cute, and rather naive. I’d rather watch 30 episodes of the life on Mount Tu.

What Could Have Been Better

  • Pacing: It’s odd. the drama moves at both a brisk pace but also tepid pace. In the first episode, it’s quickly established that Tu Shan Hong Hong decides to rescue Dong Fan Yue Chu and we immediately move to 16 years later. However, the subsequent episodes just don’t amount to much. There’s an evil duo who do evil things but are just thwarted at each level. It all just seems rather milquetoast. I place this partially on the actors who seem to mainly be reciting their lines (especially Yang Mi and Gong Jun) but I also think it’s an issue with the editing or screenwriting. Tu Shan Hong Hong must sacrifice her powers to save the Bitter Feeling Tree but oh, she’ll live and oh, here’s a doctor who can save her. There doesn’t seem to be real stakes or urgency with the drama.
  • Grooming?: This then gets into their weird main romantic storyline that will inevitably be the pairing between Tu Shan Hong Hong and Dong Fang Yue Chu. Dong Fang Yue Chu has a huge crush on Tu Shan Hong Hong even though she, along with the other Fox Spirits, essentially raised him. In the beginning it was a bit icky because I just kept rolling my eyes on Dong Fang Yue Chu. He couldn’t really articulate why he liked or had the crush on Tu Shan Hong Hong. To her credit, she’s kept her distance from him. As the story progresses, I’ve started warming up to this pairing. It just isn’t as easy to accept as some of the other budding couples. I wasn’t really engaged until the first chapter really unfolds and I contribute that to the weird attachment that Dong Fang Yue Chu has to Tu Shan Hong Hong. We follow him trying to please her for many episodes as he tries to accomplish tasks for her but I don’t know what for?

To be continued!

Cathy

 

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