Warning! Contains general One Piece spoilers!
Few One Piece antagonists are as despicable as Donquixote Doflamingo, but a recent cover has shown a more human side to the normally cartoonishly evil villain. One Piece covers are typically a place for mangaka Eiichiro Oda to continue ongoing plot threads that can’t fit into the main story or draw his characters in whimsical situations. While these latter illustrations typically focus on the Straw Hats and their allies, they do occasionally focus on antagonists, as Chapter 1083’s does.
Chapter 1083’s cover is a fan-requested drawing of Doflamingo with an injured baby bird. The bird has fallen out of its tree so Doflamingo has given it his feathered jacket to serve as a nest. He also is ready with a band-aid to help with the bird’s wounds. From his expression, Doflamingo doesn’t seem to enjoy helping the bird, almost as if Oda is acknowledging that this act of kindness is out of character for the former warlord. This gap between Doflamingo’s former actions and the cover is part of what makes this cover so much fun.
One Piece Shows a New Side to Doflamingo on its Latest Cover
Of course, this isn’t the only attempt One Piece has made to humanize Doflamingo. His flashback showed that as a child he was a Celestial Dragon whose father moved him and his family out of Mariejoa away from the negative influence of One Piece‘s true villains. Due to his former status, he was continually mistreated by those around him culminating in a mob trying to murder him and his family. However, this sob story doesn’t quite excuse all the horrible things he has done since then as his brother Corazon went through those same struggles but still became a good person. And even after showing his backstory, the manga never shows Doflamingo actually doing anything kind.
That is what makes this cover so much fun. While the canonicity of these covers is always a matter of debate, the fact that Oda accepted the fan request at all shows that he wanted to show this other side of Doflamingo. It also aligns well with the fates of the series’ other villains, many of whom became less evil or more understandable as time went on like Buggy and Crocodile who have become Luffy’s new rivals. Doflamingo hasn’t had this treatment yet in One Piece’s main story, but maybe this is a sign that he will undergo this transformation as well.
One Piece Shows Why More Manga Should Use Cover Illustrations
Even if this cover illustration doesn’t actually have any bearing on One Piece’s characters and stories, it is still adorable. Many other modern Shonen series have moved away from making cover illustrations for each of their chapters, but Oda has continued making them for every new release, which is part of why he is such a legendary mangaka. One Piece’s latest drawing of Doflamingo is a great example of why other series should also consider using more cover illustrations to show off sides of their characters fans wouldn’t otherwise see.
One Piece Chapter 1083 is available to read from Viz Media.