With the Totto Land Arc entering it’s climax as the Straw Hat Pirates and allies face off against the Big Mom Pirates, it is only a matter of time before the Tamatebako that was introduced back during the Fishman Island Arc fulfills its purpose. It seems unlikely that the opening of the Tamatebako would be held off for a future arc given the focus it received throughout the Totto Land Arc and with Big Mom’s defeat seeming inevitably set for the conclusion of this arc. Additionally, the Tamatebako has been tied directly with Big Mom since the Fishman Island Arc when the Big Mom Pirates acquired it and with this arc dealing predominantly with Big Mom and her defeat, the Tamatebako’s purpose will be revealed during this arc. With that in mind, the opening of the Tamatebako will serve as the event needed to weaken Big Mom and provide Luffy with the opportunity he requires to defeat her.
According to the story “Urashima Taro”, in which the Tamatebako features in, a fisherman was invited to Ryūgū-jō (enchanted palace) of Otohime who is the Mistress of the Sea, after saving a turtle. Having enjoyed himself in the enchanted land for three days, Urashima Taro began to miss his home land and asked Otohime to send him back home, which she was happy to do. As a parting gift, she gave him the Tamatebako with explicit instructions to never open the box. Urashima Taro went back home but found that all that he once knew had changed. He came across an old man, and asked him if he had ever heard of Urashima Taro. The man replied that he had heard of him, that he had gone to the sea 300 years ago and never returned.
With time Urashima Taro grew very depressed, and decided to see what was in the box. When he opened the box, a white puff of smoke escaped, and he was transformed into an old, white haired man. The time that had passed while he was at the palace was great, and Otohime had stored his old age away in the Tamatebako, which Urashima Taro released.
Given that legend and the Tamatebako within One Piece also being a box, it appears that the opening of the box will yield a similar devastating result as well. Age represents life and in Big Mom’s case, souls represents life. Could we have Big Mom losing some of her life i.e. souls she collected, when she opens the Tamatebako?
Who will open the Tamatebako?
Du Feld tried but he failed and dropped the box down the tower when Big Mom raged. If the box does not explode when it lands, the box will either find a way back up to the roof of tower or the battle setting will likely shift to the bottom of the tower where the Tamatebako can become the focus once again. If Big Mom is destined to open it (if it doesn’t explode at the bottom of the tower) as expected and foreshadowed, she will need to be in the same area as the Tamatebako. Given the focus Big Mom opening the Tamatebako has received throughout the Totto Land Arc, I find it hard to believe that anyone other than Big Mom would be the one opening the Tamatebako. Oda-sensei has foreshadowed it too much to not follow through with what he has laid down. In some way, shape or form, whether directly or indirectly, Big Mom will open the box.
What would the effects of opening the Tamatebako be?
Since the conclusion of the Fishman Island Arc, it has been foreshadowed that Big Mom would be subject to the bombs explosion once the Tamatebako is opened. With the focus the Tamatebako and Big Mom have received throughout this arc, other than the amount of weight the Tamatebako now holds, I don’t believe much will change. The Straw Hat Pirates survival now largely depends on finding a way to defeat Big Mom and in order to do so, Big Mom will need to be weakened first. At full strength, I don’t believe the Straw Hat Pirates and allies have any chance of defeating her but if she were weakened, Luffy may have the required strength in Gear Fourth to pull off a victory, especially if Luffy developed it further from when we last seen it in action against Doflamingo. If the role of the Tamatebako matches that of the legend, when Big Mom opens the box and is hit by the explosion, she will lose some of the souls she has consumed since gaining the ability of the Soru Soru no Mi. This would likely have the consequence of weakening Big Mom which would be the opportunity Luffy needs.
The Tamatebako has been featured too strongly within this arc to not have the opening dealt with within the arc. With Big Mom currently overwhelming the Straw Hat Pirates and allies and them in need of a miracle to turn the tables, the explosives stored inside the box definitely could serve the purpose of weakening Big Mom. With Big Mom weakened, it becomes more feasible to see her defeated. And with this arc featuring the Big Mom Pirates as the primary antagonist, it seems almost inevitable that Big Mom’s defeat is scripted for the conclusion of this arc.