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

In a world where humans and spirits co-exist, the two beings despise each other. Drama Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red Moon Pact is based on the popular Manhua, Hu Yao Xiao Hong Niang” (狐妖小红娘) by Tuo Xiao Xin (庹小新). This series stars Yang Mi and Gong Jun in the main roles, as they embarks on a journey to bridge the centuries-old rift between the two races.

Review: Fox Spirit Matchmaker Reed Moon Pact (2024) 狐妖小红娘月红篇
Fox Spirit Matchmaker Reed Moon Pact
  • Total Episodes: 36
  • Broadcast Details: May 23, 2024 – Ongoing
  • Original Platform: iQIYI

Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Plot Introduction

Tushan Honghong, the head of the spirit realm, takes a young orphaned human boy, Dongfang Yue Chu, under her wing when he is being chased by his lifelong enemies. As he grows up in the spirit world, Dongfang Yue Chu realizes that he has fallen for his savior. Amid the constant chaos and conflict between the two races and the heavy responsibilities they bear, Tushan Honghong and Dongfang Yue Chu hesitate to express their feelings. Prioritizing the well-being of the world, they venture out on a mission to unite the two groups and bring peace and harmony.

Main Characters

  • Yang Mi as Tushan Honghong
  • Gong Jun as Dongfang Yue Chu
  • Guo Xiao Ting as Tushan Yaya
  • Wei Zheming as Ao Lai
  • Hu Lian Xin as Tushan Rongrong
  • Wen Zhen Rong as Shi Ji

Tushan Honghong

She is the chief of the spirit realm, appears quite cold and domineering but also has a soft and gentle side. Her beauty including her power is unparralled.

Because how the character Tushan Honghong is designed, Yang Mi’s expressions in the beginning of the series is quite wooden or stony. However, as the episodes progress, there is a noticeable warmth that develops in her demeanor.

Dongfang Yue Chu

The only remaining descendants of the Dongfang Family; a family with a rare and most powerful bloodline in a human family. Despite his casual nature of being carefree and playful, he is deeply observant, intelligent and quick thinker when needed.

Gong Jun is suitable for this character. Even though he’s still learning as an actor and at times his acting feels a bit forced, his performance here is decent.

Tushan Yaya

She is the younger sister of Tushan Honghong. She’s cheerful, and lively. She sees her sister honghong as a role model and wants to help and support her.

Ao Lai/ Guo San shaoye

Guo San Shaoye or Ao Lai is the leader of Nan Kingdom. He has a crush on Tushan Yaya. He is very powerful and is also known as poison master.

Tushan Rongrong

She is the third sister of Tushan Honghong. She’s good at calculating and managing business stuff.

Shi Ji

A powerful spirit demon who disregards kindness and worships cruelty. She’s like a vengeful soul who will not stop until she seeks revenge on Tushan Honghong.

Initial Thoughts

So, Long awaited Drama ‘Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red Moon Pact’ has finally hit the screens in May 2024. Since filming began, this was one of the highly anticipated dramas due to its stunning cast ensemble and its popular source material (Manhua). However, reviews have been mixed since its debut, with some viewers online criticizing the plot as bland, while other praise its high quality visuals. Sadly, the drama fell short of breaking the 10,000 Heat Index mark.

Apart from two well-known lead actors, the series boasts several familiar faces and reunites some actors. Like, Zhu Xudan and Yang Mi previously worked together in Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, and Yang Mi also collaborated with Crysti Guo in the 2009 hit Chinese Paladin 3. Beyond these reunions, the cast includes popular actors like Wei Zheming, Sebrina Chen, Chen Duling, Zhang Linghe and more.

My personal take is that I found this drama to be a bit more average than I initially expected. Here are my first impressions based on the first 14 episodes.

Positive Aspects of The Show

A Feast for the Eyes: Extravagant Costumes, Stunning Effects, and Compelling Side Stories

Costume & MakeUp Department did Good Job
Review: Fox Spirit Matchmaker Reed Moon Pact (2024) 狐妖小红娘月红篇
Yang Mi as Tushan Honghong

I loved the custom-designed costumes including make up and accessories here. Yang Mi as Fox Spirit Tushan Honghong has appeared in more than 6 sets of costumes in the first 14 episodes. It is varied, well designed and also perfectly matches well with the cold aura of heroine. I’ve seen Yang Mi in many costume dramas till date, but this is the first time, where her costume are truly extravagant. Her goddess-like beauty is truly highlighted and further complemented by those outfits and makeup.

Apart from the main heroine, each characters costumes are also unique and multifaceted. From this, somehow you can tell where the major investement was poured into the drama.

Special Effect

While not over the top, the special effects used in the drama are still impressive. Spirit realm, where most part of the story takes place is all dreamy giving off a vibe of real fantasy world. Spirit Grief tree showering blessing to the love couple, black power emergence, all lively and peaceful spirits roaming around freely in the market; its background or surroundings is aesthetically pleasing. Beyond that, the effects used during combat scenes are also quite satisfactory.

Side Couple’s story

From the concept of the story, viewers will be getting quite few to many side couples with intereseting stories in the drama. Like Spirit Bodygurad Shi Kuan and human Princess Bu Tai. These side couple story span for 4 to 5 episodes and kinda act as a catalyst for the main lead romantic relationship progression and the overall plot. Despite being short and concise, each side couple stories are unique and emotionally engaging.

A Breath of Fresh Air with Its Reversed Romance Trope

It seems like historical C-dramas are trying something new with plotlines that differ from the usual tropes of the past. Take the “reversed troupe” for example. In most historical/modern dramas, we’ve seen the male protagonist stereotypically portrayed as indifferent or distant, while the female protagonist is the silly, bubbly, and talkative one. However, in Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red Moon Pact, it’s the opposite. The female lead, Tushan Honghong is portays as cool and reserved persona, while her male partner exudes playfulness. This refreshing departure from the usual norm is a change I wholeheartedly welcome or love in this series.

Eye Candy Alert! If you love shows with gorgeous casts, this one’s for you. The series is packed with attractive actors.

What Could have been better

One Dimentional Main Villain
Review: Fox Spirit Matchmaker Reed Moon Pact (2024) 狐妖小红娘月红篇
Wen Zheng Rong as antagonist Shi Ji

So, there’s this one main villain, Shi Ji, the former chief of the Spirit Realm who led the spirits in an invasion of the human realm in order to dominate the six realms and started a war almost 700 years ago. To stop the chaos that raged for about 300 years, Tushan Honghong takes a bold step to defeat her. Even though Shi Ji’s physical body was destroyed, her soul was still sealed inside the Spirit Grief Tree. While not completely dead, she regains her lost body and seeks revenge on Tushan Honghong.

In most fantasy costume C-dramas, female villains as the main antagonists often fall flat. This drama is no exception. Shi Ji comes across as a talkative villain rather than a doer. Her motivations seem limited to taking down Tushan Honghong and reclaiming her position. However, for a villain, she lacks both power, and brain. Just, one flick of the wrist from a powerful character, the villain is already rolling on the ground.

Similar to Shi Ji, her supporter Jin Ren Feng suffers from the same shortcomings. While Shi Ji targets Tushan Honghong and Jin Ren Feng pursues Dongfang Yue Chu, both lack intelligence. A protagonist’s true strength is often highlighted when facing formidable villains. However, this element feels somewhat weak in Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red Moon Pact.

This is just my initial assessment or thoughts; it’s possible she might show her true abilities/depth in later episodes.

Weak Stoyline & Action Choreography…

Unlike other Xianxia dramas with complicated stories and tough characters all over the place, Fox Spirit Matchmaker: Red Moon Pact is simple and easy to follow. However, this simplicity becomes a double-edged sword. Aside the main characters, new characters are introduced into the plot in every 3 to 4 episode gap to move the story further, relying on overused Xianxia tropes that have lost their novelty. This formula, which might have worked in 5 years ago, feels outdated in today’s drama landscape.

Also, while watching, I kept wondering what the director was thinking while filming this. The action scenes, including the acting within them, come across as mediocre. We understand that Xianxia dramas are all about magic, power, and using internal strength, the choreography here feels uninspired. Flicking hands to represent action is a missed oppurtunity. A more elaborate appraoch would have greatly enhanced the vieweing experince. Alas, this lack of efforts extends, in my view, to the overall production value and actor’s performances.

Main Leads’ Relationship Lacks Strong Foundation in First 12 Ep

So, this is how I felt upto episode 12

Somehow, the romance between Tushan Hong Hong and Dongfang Yue Chu suffers due to their established dynamic. Tushan Hong Hong is a grown up centuries old Fox Queen while Dongfang Yue Chu is an orphan human boy raised among foxes/spirits. To say it precisely, Tushan Honghong is the one who provided Yue Chu a living home and protection since childhood.

While the “huge age gap” trope between immortals, demon, human or any spirits is common in Xianxia, the issue here is how they develop romantic feelings for each other suddenly, after 16 years of savior-follower relationship. From the scenes, it’s clear Yue Chu isn’t initially romantically interested, but slowly starts to realize he might be in love with her. However, it’s unclear when Tushan Hong Hong exactly started to like him. Based on her actions or reactions, it doesn’t seem like she is unaware of her feelings. So, its vague as well as kinda confusing and missing something in between. Personally, I believe this lack of clarity or minor details is a major reason for the lacklustre chemistry between the leads.

Like in Episode 11, when Dongfang Yue Chu suddenly asks Tushan Honghong, “What exactly am I to you?” For some reason, I felt a bit awkward and felt jumped. It’s like there’s a gap in their relationship, or we’re missing something between them. Its like,so many things have already happened, but we don’t know the details. You know, that emotional impact just isn’t there to punch the weight of the scene or those spoken lines.

My Verdict – Give It A Try

The drama is aesthetically pleasing, but it has some shortcomings. If you’re not looking for a strong plot or intense romance, then you can add this to your watchlist. It’s not the best drama out there, but it’s not the worst either. The pacing can be a bit slow at times, but overall it’s fine. The story is more simple than complex.

I will be writing my whole review here after the drama completes.

Leave a comment