These earrings are worn by all Supreme Kais as part of their standard outfits, and come in various colors. When one pair of Potara earrings are worn by a single person they have no special properties. However, if two individuals each wear one earring on opposite ears, the true power of the artifacts is revealed. The earrings have the ability to fuse two people into a single entity, substantially enhancing the abilities of both individuals. The resulting fusion lasts forever, even if the fused being removes the earrings, so caution is needed when handling them. However, there is one instance where the Potara Fusion will be nullified and restore the fused being back to their original forms, which is when they are sucked into an environment that would not support it (as seen with Vegito being absorbed and touched by the air inside Buu). If a fused being removes their earrings, they can then pass them on to another pair of individuals to use, as seen with Old Kai giving Goku his earrings (who eventually uses them to fuse with Vegeta and form Vegito).
In addition, both users should not be transformed while fusing, as the fused being will not be able to power down from the transformation. As a result, certain transformations, such as Super Saiyan, can put a significant strain on the user's body and shorten his or her lifespan.
If two non-equal beings combined, the superior one will be in control, as seen with the Old Kai. In the case of two equal beings, the fusion will form an entirely new being with a personality traits of both fusees. This can be indicated when their voice sounds like a combination of two beings as seen with Vegito. The being also retains the memories of the individuals. In either case, when the fusion occurs, both fusees cease to exist. This is evidenced when Goku can't afford to use Dende as a partner because his existence is linked to the Dragon Balls.
The Potara can be used on a being who's dead and one who's alive. In which case, the resulting being will be alive.
While the fusion is normally permanent, there are at least two methods shown to be capable of undoing it. The first is being put into an environment that does not support it, like in Vegito's case. The second known method appears in Dragon Ball Super, when Kibito Kai uses the Namekian Dragon Balls to summon Porunga and simply wishes for the fusion between Supreme Kai and Kibito to undone. Currently it is unknown if a wish to Shenron could do the same.
Potara Fusion (ポタラの合体) is similar to the Fusion Dance technique, however unlike the Fusion Dance, the Potara Fusion is permanent. An exception to this is discovered when the fused character Vegito allows himself to be absorbed by Super Buu and is separated into Goku and Vegeta, the two individuals who had fused to form Vegito. Also, while with the Fusion Dance the post-merged clothing is the native dress of the people of Planet Metamor, when merging with the Potara not only are the two people's bodies mixed together, but their clothing is as well. The resulting fusion will have the power of both fusees multiplied by each other.
There are three known Potara Fusions seen in the series:
- Chronologically, the first was a fusion between Old Kai and an old witch.
- The second was the fusion of Supreme Kai with Kibito, (which they voluntarily performed to test their Potara earrings, not realizing the fusion would be permanent).
- The third Potara Fusion was the most prominent. Goku fused with Vegeta to form Vegito.
To use the Potara fusion, the two fusees each take one of the two earrings and put them on opposing ears. The two will automatically merge as soon as the earrings are put on. Those wishing to fuse do not necessarily have to be wearing earrings from the same set in order to do so. Kibito and Supreme Kai simply remove their left and right earrings respectively and before they can react, they are drawn towards each other and subsequently fused together. Despite this, Kibito's earring (which was blue in the anime) becomes the color of the Supreme Kai's earring (which was yellow).
Another oddity of Potara fusion is that unlike the Fusion Dance, the more dominant spirit of the two fused individuals takes precedence over the weaker not just in looks but in voice as well. The proof of this is that both Old Kai and Supreme Kai seem to be the ones in control of their fused forms while having a few noticeable traits from the Old Witch and Kibito respectively.
Video game appearances
In both Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, Supreme Kai can use the Potara Fusion and fuse with Kibito to become Kibito Kai. Goku and Vegeta both can use the Potara Fusion and fuse together to become Vegito. Also in Budokai 2, Goku and Hercule can use the Potara Fusion and fuse together to become Gokule. The Potara also appears in gameplay when Goku and Vegeta are about to fuse in Dragon Ball Heroes.
The game Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 features a character upgrade system that uses different "Potaras" to add special attributes to characters. These Potaras are known as "Z-Items" in the English release. A wide variety of different upgrade types are available, ranging from simple stat upgrades to powerful special abilities. The sequel game, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, features the same system as Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi and Budokai Tenkaichi 2, with a new Z-Item type: the Red Potara Z-Item, which substantially increase the powers of the fighters. They have the same abilities as the other Potara Z-Items, only compacted into one usage, such as maximum damage, inflicting neutral damage with Blast 2 and Ultimate Blast attacks, recovering health quickly, surpassing limits, using half the amount of energy for ki consumption usage, and others. Characters with all "Red Potaras" equipped are also called "GOD Characters." Red Potaras can only be accessed by the player through cheat devices or by entering passwords to allow access to these characters in Duel mode, though computer-controlled characters will have Red Potaras equipped during certain matches in Story Mode or Dragon Sim mode. In the Raging Blast games, Potara are used in the same way as in the Budokai Tenkaichi series.
In the Potara Fusion ending of the PSP game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai: using the Potara earrings (which Kibito Kai had Shenron repair), Goku and Vegeta use this to fuse back into Vegito in order to defeat Janemba and Buu before going to train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
Potaras also appear in Jump Super Stars.
In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, like most Kaioshin the Supreme Kai of Time wears a pair of Potara earrings, though they are never used to initiate Potara Fusion. Additionally, despite Vegito's appearance in the game, Goku and Vegeta use of the Potara Earring to fuse into him is not shown as he only appears in Parallel Quests and not in the game's main story (unlike Gotenks and Gogeta who use the Fusion Dance during Majin Buu Saga and 2nd half of the GT Saga). Despite Vegito's Clothes appearing as an obtainable outfit for the Future Warrior, it lacks Vegito's Potara Earrings entirely.
- Several characters in the series wear earrings that are very similar to the Potara earrings: Zarbon, a man bearing the same symbols as Nok in the audience of the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament, Don Kee, and the female demon Towa from the computer game Dragon Ball Online and Dragon Ball: Xenoverse.