Joy of Life Episode 1

Here’s my Joy of Life episode 1 recap!

I first heard of Joy of Life when I read the web novel. The premise was interesting but the novel felt really slow.

Not sure if the show will be the same though.

Joy of Life Episode 1 Recap Highlights:

  • We are introduced to Fan Xian, the male character of this show
  • Fan Xian grows up learning skills from two teachers
  • Fan Xian’s father sends a surprise

When cdramas are loosely based off of reincarnation/transmigration themes, there’s a lot of tiptoeing around the censorship. So I’m curious to see how this show will play out.

Without further adieu, let’s find out in Joy of Life episode 1!

A New World

The show starts off with a college student pestering a professor (?) about taking him under her wing.

But she refuses because she saw his most recent work and disagrees with it.

So he proposes a new one right in front of her. With a new theme: starting over with another life.

Because everyone fantasizes about a second chance in life.

However, the story is missing a name.

After some contemplation, he decides it shall be called “Joy of Life.”

Then he starts narrating this story of a critically ill young male with no strength left opens his eyes again.

Realizing he is in the body of an infant who is placed in a small basket.

He doesn’t remember how he got here but he’s pursued by people who want to kill him.

This world is not the same as the one he was once in.

Wu Zhu, Guard of Fan Xian’s Deceased Mother

Wu Zhu, the mysterious blind-folded guard takes care of the assailants with ease.

Despite guarding the basket that Fan Xian is held in.

After dispatching the pursuers, he meets someone who is surrounded by a bunch of guards dressed in dark armor.

Cheng Ping Ping, Nan Clan’s Presiding Leader

Cheng Ping Ping speaks first and asks about their Lady.

Wu Zhu tells him that when he arrived, it was already too late.

Because there were several people trying to kill her.

The interaction between the two is blunt and to the point. An answer for what is asked.

Nothing more and nothing less.

Cheng Ping Ping attempts to touch the infant, but Wu Zhu stops him from doing so.

Oh how interesting. Are these two on the same side? Hmm.

Fan Manor

Wu Zhu attempts to leave with the child but Cheng Ping Ping tells him to go to Danzhou where Lao Tai Tai lives.

Lao Tai Tai usually means a matriarch (so maybe the infant’s grandmother from his father’s side?)

Because Cheng Ping Ping thinks Wu Zhu cannot teach the child anything. Since his only skill is killing people.

The narration then changes to the perspective of the infant.

Who has the mentality of a young male yet is in the body of an infant.

But it’s a fact that he has a second chance in life. He vows to live this life to the fullest.

And acknowledges himself as Fan Xian.

I’m a bit confused. Is the original narrator still narrating or did it switch to the ML?

Wu Zhu arrives in front of relatively well off looking house and squats down for a moment.

He takes this time to place a book inside the basket before entering.

I wonder what the book is for.

Who is Fan Xian?

Years pass by and two children rush into the Fan Manor.

One male and one female.

As soon as they walk in they see a housekeeper hitting the other maids.

It turns out this housekeeper is punishing the maids for not knowing where these two children went.

The male is the young master and the female is the young lady.

The Young Master, Fan Xian

The young master appears to be very mature. Confronting the housekeeper about the punishment of the maids.

But the housekeeper refuses to ease up and continues to beat the maids.

Until the young master grabs a chair, stands up on it and asks the housekeeper to come closer to him.

Close enough to slap him in the face.

Which causes the housekeeper to loose a tooth.

Isn’t the kid too strong to do that though? Did he learn martial arts or something?

Later on, the housekeeper and the young master are facing opposite of each other in the presence of an elderly woman.

She’s the matriarch of Fan Manor, Fan Lao Tai Tai (Matriarch Fan).

Matriarch Fan, Fan Jian’s mother

Look familiar? She also portrayed Ming Lan’s beloved grandma!

Matriarch Fan sees the housekeeper’s swollen face and investigates.

The young master admits hitting him but Fan Ruo Ruo explains that Mr. Zhou (the housekeeper) was beating up the maids in her brother’s yard.

Fan Ruo Ruo, Fan Jian’s daughter

So the young master must be Fan Xian?

Matriarch Fan has heard enough and orders for food to be served.

The two children eat while she reveals that Fan Ruo Ruo is heading off to the capital city.

While the young master stays here.

Moments later, the two share a tearful farewell as Fan Ruo Ruo boards a carriage to the capital.

Why is she leaving though? Is her father in the capital?

An Unexpected Visitor

That night Fan Xian gets an unexpected visitor in his room.

Thinking he’s here to kill him, Fan Xian doesn’t hesitate and attacks him.

Knocking him unconscious.

But Fan Xian is worried he killed him so he rushes over to Wu Zhu’s place for help.

When Wu Zhu reveals that this person is actually one of them, Fan Xian comments on his attire.

Fei Ji, One of the martial artists under Group 3 of Nan Clan

Fei Ji wakes up wincing in pain wondering what happened to him.

As Fan Xian explains that he fell asleep earlier.

But when Fei Ji touches behind his head and shows his fingers tinted with blood, Fan Xian admits that someone hit him earlier.

But it wasn’t him.

Later, Fan Xian takes Fei Ji to see Wu Zhu and tells him that Wu Zhu hit him earlier.

Fei Ji reveals that Lord Fan told him to come here to teach Fan Xian because Lord Fan still cares for him.

While playing along with Fan Xian’s accusations.

Until Wu Zhu points out that Fan Xian was actually the one who hit him. Not once, but thrice.

Fei Ji glances back at Fan Xian who laughs nervously.

You’ve been caught, boy!

During the day, Fei Ji introduces himself as the teacher Lord Fan sent to educate his son so Matriarch Fan is aware of him.

But Matriarch Fan is not interested in what Fei Ji will teach Fan Xian.

Because she thinks that it’s up to Fan Xian for how his studies will go.

And what he will turn out to be.

Doesn’t that mean she doesn’t care? I wonder.

Meanwhile, Mr. Zhou shows his opinion. He doesn’t want Fan Xian to become too outstanding so he warns Fei Ji about what he should teach and shouldn’t teach.

Learning Medicine?

Fei Ji decides to teach Fan Xian medicine.

That night he leads Fan Xian to a graveyard and asks him to pick one to dig.

And Fei Ji is surprised that Fan Xian easily goes along with it.

Fan Xian replies that it’s pretty obvious. When first learning medicine, one must be familiar with the human body.

So observing corpses is normal.

Um, how is that kind of thinking normal for a young boy? Doesn’t he realize he is still a young child? Despite his older mentality?

Fan Xian is given a small dagger to open the corpse but wonders if Fei Ji has gloves for him.

Fei Ji has never heard of gloves and thinks it’s fine to wash hands after performing the task.

So Fan Xian has no choice but to perform the task as is.

But while doing so, he asks about Wu Zhu and his mother.

After a long day of observing corpses, Fan Xian looks on glumly as Wu Zhu chops up some daikon for him to eat.


When Fan Xian brings up his mother, Wu Zhu reveals that the martial arts Fan Xian is currently learning is from a book his mother gave him.

But Fan Xian worries he is learning it wrong. Because it’s too powerful and his body may not be able to handle it.

Wu Zhu doesn’t comment and feigns ignorance.

Fan Xian wonders if Wu Zhu ever angered his mother to death.

With these short replies.

Fan Xian’s Learning Schedule

Wu Zhu tells Fan Xian he came up with a brilliant idea to resolve his martial arts issue.

He will hit him and then he will dodge.

Fan Xian is dumfounded on this method.

And wonders if Wu Zhu is telling the truth about not knowing any martial arts.

Then during the day, Fan Xian faints while eating lunch.

Fei Ji waits for him to wake up and asks him to think about how he was poisoned, when he was poisoned and what kind of poison he is under.

And then with the usual lessons, choose a bottle that may be the antidote.


Would normal kids be able to take this learning regime? Martial arts later in the evenings and medicine/toxins training during the day? Jeez.

Fan Xian picks up a bottle and eats a pill.

While his teacher moves a little further away.

Because within minutes, Fan Xian’s nose spurts out blood.

His choice was wrong.

And Fei Ji comments that he never said the antidote was within those bottles.

The days go by where Fan Xian learns from both Fei Ji and Wu Zhu.

Until he finally poisons Fei Ji and surpasses Fei Ji’s expectations.

So Fei Ji’s job is done.

The two exchange gifts as they separate. With Fan Xian gifting Fei Ji some gloves made of Sheep’s intestines.

They look like regular plastic gloves to me. O.o

And Fei Ji giving Fan Xian a pass of some sort.

Waiting for the Red Armored Soldiers

Matriarch Fan tells Fan Xian that it was best for Fei Ji to leave. Otherwise there will be more eyes on Danzhou.

Because Fan Xian is here.

But the true danger will show up once red armored soldiers arrive.

And Fan Xian wonders what that means.

He sits outside of the Fan manor each day for several years until the destined day.

A large group of red armored soldiers have arrived.

Home|Next Episode>>


I love the expressions of the kid who plays young Fan Xian. He’s so cute and funny!

But I’m sad that they rushed the childhood of Fan Xian.

They could have spent an episode or two showcasing how Fan Xian’s prior life affects his personality in this life (if any).

Instead we get one episode and no explanation why Fan Xian is so mature for his age other than the fact that he possesses an old soul.

If I didn’t read the web novel, I would be super confused.

I’m also having a hard time believing a kid is already this powerful. From learning the martial arts manual his mother left for him.

And then the Matriarch’s attitude towards Fan Xian is kinda cold? Why?

I’ll stick around a few episodes before deciding to continue.

What were your thoughts on this Joy of Life episode 1?

Leave a comment below!

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2 years ago

I watched a couple of episodes and was quite impressed that it was more fanciful and quirky than most Chinese shows. Almost time travel but not quite. High production values too. If only the writing was a bit better.

4 years ago

Are you going to continue? It would be great if you go through the whole series. As a non-Chinese speaking person, it really helps to read these recaps to understand the missing details.

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