There's a lot to say about this bad dude
There's just something about Doffy.
Whenever I talk about One Piece villains on Crunchyroll, a lot of people remark that their favorite villain is Donquixote Doflamingo. And I gotta admit that for a villain, the dude has a solid resume: He's the former false king of Dressrosa, the captain of the Donquixote Pirates, and the "man behind the curtain" for numerous villainous enterprises, ranging from the human trafficking on Saobaody to supplying Kaido with artificial Devil Fruit. He's wrapped up in tons of plots over multiple arcs, and as we learn, he's kind of made himself the deranged backbone of the Grand Line, from his Warlord status to his royal position to his assisting a brutal Emperor of the Sea.
Doflamingo, a descendent of the World Nobles (which is a lineage that he abhors), has made himself so integral to life in the New World that when he goes, stability goes with him. And that makes perfect sense for a man that gets so much satisfaction out of watching society crumble around him. Even when he loses and is crushed into the streets by Luffy's King Kong Gun, he still sorta wins. Doflamingo, in all his viciousness, seems to only really be helping Kaido and the government to get by. He enjoys playing both sides of the field as it helps him survive and it's super fun when they turn on each other. That's just his day job.
His passion is seeing mankind scramble, trapped and panicking due to machinations that he may have not had anything to do with in the first place. It's why he's still so darn tickled, even when locked up in Impel Down. Thanks to Luffy and to actions at the Reverie, the world is in upheaval, and that sounds heavenly when you view reality through flame-covered goggles.
That's not to diss Doflamingo's status as a mastermind, though. He's probably super good at chess. Like annoyingly good. Like the kind of guy who makes his move, and then, when you try to make your move, he says stuff like "Umm, you don't wanna do that." And then you do make your move and he's all like "Well, okay then." I mean jeez, Doffy, why do we even invite you to family reunions if we can't even play a lousy game of chess? So yeah, the dude is smart.
But unlike many One Piece villains who can be stopped or have their wills annihilated as soon as they get thrown or punched or kicked through a building or some bedrock, 'mingo is eternal. He's embedded, like a bizarre insect, into the brain of One Piece. And when he gets pulled out and discarded, all equilibrium is thrown off. The Grand Line, in a weird, sad way, needs Donquixote Doflamingo.
And I haven't even mentioned his violent backstory, one that ended with the death of his mother and him murdering his own father and brother out of spite and revenge. However, even when his past gets tragic, you always feel like there was no other way for him. Doflamingo is a bad seed, someone always meant to do harm. He was surely mistreated as a child, rejected by regular people and World Nobles alike and only accepted by evil beings like Trebol. But when he announced that he would "kill everyone" while tortured with his father and brother, he drove right past the exit ramps for "Specific Revenge" and "Isolated Vengeance." His maliciousness knows no bounds.
I haven't even mentioned how One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has turned Doflamingo's String-String powers into a puzzle that has to be put together rather than outright showing that "Hey, dude can string real good!" At first, he's puppeteering some Marines to fight one another, then Bellamy and Sarquiss. Later, during the Marineford War, we see that he can also cut off a giant's limbs with his strings. Then, in Dressrosa, we see his "Birdcage" and his String clone, another further escalation of his abilities. Because Doflamingo serves as both main and secondary antagonist in different arcs, his threat is given the chance to grow. He isn't someone that gets knocked down a peg as soon as Luffy hits his island, because we're still not quite sure what he has left to show us.
And finally, Doflamingo is so beloved because he never really adheres to the politickin' of the Grand Line. During the Marineford War, he dismisses the ideas that either pirates or Marines are fighting for righteousness or true "justice." According to him, whoever wins becomes Justice. To Doflamingo, it doesn't really matter what you believe in, whether you think gaining the One Piece will grant you the true freedom of a Pirate King, or becoming Fleet Admiral will let you decide the rules of the sea. Nothing is set in stone, and the correct morals are only decided by who is in charge. And as we've seen, Doflamingo doesn't really care about who is in charge.
To Donquixote Doflamingo, the Grand Line is someone else's anthill, and anthills are only good when they get shaken up.
What is your favorite Doflamingo moment? Do you hope he appears again in One Piece's story? Let us know in the comments!
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Crunchyroll. You should follow him on Twitter!
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