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"These are the utmost grand of days! This is going to be so, so- awful!"
This article contains spoilers for Temptation Stairway. Please read at your own risk.

Temptation Stairway is the third episode of the ENA animated series. It is the longest ENA episode to date, being 17 minutes and 38 seconds long.[2]

Plot

The episode opens in the Overworld, showing Mannequins scattered around waiting for an upcoming event. Moony suddenly appears and mockingly calls Ena “I-NA” while showing her a skateboard trick. Moony then observes the Mannequins around the landscape, calling them idiots and stating that not many more will show up. Ena talks through her happy side but her sad voice comes out of it. She complains that she wants to go home and is “allergic to people.” Moony disregards this and says that it "smells like she'll finally be able to make her wish." She proceeds to call Ena "Jena" and impatiently tells her to hurry up and not ruin her moment to make her wish. Ena only grows more distraught and states she begins to hear voices in her head. Moony yet again disregards Ena and hatches an idea to make a bet between the two friends: whoever makes it to The Great Runas and makes their wish first has to pay the debts of the loser. Ena, slightly saddened by the idea of having to pay Moony's debts, calls the bet awful, though Moony states that it is "proper punishment." Just as the two friends discuss the bet, a large footstep is heard, suddenly surprising Moony.

Ena growing more upset and holding in her vomit.

The Great Runas riding atop a boat-like figure walks through the Overworld, shocking Moony as she suddenly starts the bet and attempts to go after Runas. The screen flashes and crowds of Mannequins appear as the sky grows green. Moony is trampled and flattened by the crowds while Ena begins to grow upset, holding in her static vomit and turning into her sad form. Ena begins to frantically flail around before half of her body begins to melt into static and gray arms emerge from her. The once happy side of her body has now completely melted off and she shifts into her full-sadness form, taking a gray appearance as her face shifts to her hands. Ena covers her blank face and begins to throw an emotional tantrum while Moony, still flattened, sighs and tells Ena to go on ahead.

Ena runs through the crowds of Mannequins, weaving through the crowd before eventually coming across Brick Frog. The strange frog rolls in as explosion effects follow them, leading them to comment about their impressive entrance. Brick Frog tries to talk to Ena, though she continues to throw her tantrum. To revert Ena to normal, Brick Frog begins to rapidly kick her, making Ena turn back to normal as she speaks through her happy side. Brick Frog, relieved at Ena's recovery, notices that she is chasing after The Great Runas to make a wish and gives her their hopes for reaching Runas before the event expires. However, they remain behind as climbing makes them itchy and they enjoy watching the Mannequins fall. As Ena leaves Brick Frog, she continues through the many crowds of Mannequins, finding them to be dancing and stacking on top of one another to reach Runas. Ena then comes across another strange individual taking the appearance of a human juggling masks on a unicycle. As the man throws the masks into the air and suddenly leaves, the masks form into the Merchant who greets Ena in Spanish. They offer Ena treats to commemorate the event, though Ena refuses, stating her mission to reach The Great Runas. The Merchant suddenly exclaims "Turrón!" as the two continue to chant the food's name and dance. For dancing with the Merchant, Ena receives a Turrón and continues on her journey. As time begins to run out, The Great Runas is suddenly sucked into the face of a strange Mannequin wearing blue clothing. Ena follows the god as it is transported into the Mannequin, ultimately falling in herself.

After following The Great Runas, Ena finds herself in the Stairway Void with a pile of Mannequins in front of her. She turns to see the blue-dressed Mannequin from before, staring at her silently as she turns to look behind her. Ena looks on to see a group of floating staircases in the void and walks forward to enter one of their doorways.

Ulysses warning Ena before she leaves.

As Ena enters the doorway, she finds herself in a small hall containing pillars and a single window. She approaches the window, seeing birds flying outside as the window has a design on it resembling The Great Runas's crying eyes. She turns around to find Ulysses, one of the inhabitants of The Great Runas's residence, floating at the other end of the hall. She approaches them, calling their attention to know her whereabouts. Ulysses responds by stating the celebration of Runas has ended, yet Ena still ended up following it. They state that she is located within the residence of The Great Runas and that, unfortunate for her, the "divine door", possibly referring to Runas itself or its residence, is fully closed. Ena howls "NoOoOoOo!" before asking when the next celebration will take place. Ulysses's voice glitches while stating the time it will take, but still receives a shocked response from Ena of how long it will take. Despite the shockingly long wait to escape, Ena states she will continue forward to make her wish and win the bet against Moony. Hearing about Ena's bet, Ulysses gives directions to Ena by pointing out the Holy code behind her and that it will eventually lead to the god, though they remind her with a warning that "desires are never fulfilled nor quenched" and that she "will fail like the rest of them." After the sudden warning, Ena leaps into the Holy code before sinking down and receiving one last call from Ulysses: "PUNISHMENT IS IMMINENT!"

Ena sinks through the Holy code and begins to see clouds, implying she is falling from the sky. She lands on the ground and is greeted by a wide plain with large hourglasses scattered across. Ena looks around before spotting a large human-shaped greenhouse in the distance, walking towards it while spotting Mannequins and Holy code along the way. Inside the Dog Conservatory are Hourglass Dogs flying, multi-colored flowers, and a single tank circling the area. The tank suddenly shoots out a ball with red lips. From the mouth of the ball emerges The Shepherd, groaning at seeing "another ENA troublemaker." She asks Ena to leave, stating that The Great Runas no longer gives out horoscopes. Ena asks for private time with Runas before receiving a beating from The Shepherd, calling her a "brat" and "simpleton" while stating no one will pass. Despite The Shepherd's harsh words, she is suddenly swooned by Ena having a Turrón, causing the two to chant the food's name as they dance together like with the Merchant. After being given the food, The Shepherd allows Ena to pass, gives her a Blood ID, and gives her directions to head through an upcoming blue door. The Shepherd then lays to rest, dispersing into multiple orbs similar in appearance to the one she appeared from. Ena continues through the building and approaches an ocean of Holy code. She jumps in and finds multiple doorways with other Ena-like figures floating in the code, occasionally turning into Mannequins. Ena swims through the code and enters through the blue doorway emitting a bright light.

Ena makes it out of the Mannequin Expanse.

Upon entering the doorway, Ena approaches a large, gray building. Inside are long paths with many Mannequins bowing down every place the paths intersect. Ena looks around before seeing a strange yellow figure in the distance rotating. She follows the paths to approach it, finding it to be a large banana. Upon looking at the spinning fruit, she is approached by Mariya and Gabo, the latter carrying the former. Mariya instantly scolds Ena, calling her a "disgusting banana worshipper" and demanding identification. Ena hands over the Blood ID she receives from The Shepherd, though Mariya becomes angry, stating the ID tastes nothing like Ena. However, Ena yelps "YOU ARE ALL LIVING A LIE", causing them to quiet down in confusion. Mariya allows Ena to pass, reiterating their dislike for her as Gabo mentions the blood and banana, only getting an angered and confused response from Mariya. Ena continues on before a doorway forms in front of her, letting her outside of the Mannequin Expanse as she navigates the path. The green trails lead to many cat heads acting as entrances, though Ena walks through one, in particular, leading her to the Desert in the middle of a raging sandstorm.

Ena walks through the stormy desert, following the streetlights scattered throughout it. She eventually comes across an upside-down pyramid with an ophanim next to it. Ena approaches the ophanim and out comes Phindoll, a pink dolphin that seems extremely enthusiastic about meeting Ena, even flirting with her at first before introducing himself. Ena greets Phindoll before he states she seems ready for an initial interview ritual for an upcoming fight. He tells Ena to prepare to fight while hitting her with his tail, causing Ena to shift into her sad form as she remarks about the various characters on her journey hitting her. Phindoll notices her sudden stress and decides to give her a new task, instead telling her to stain the nearby water red in order to open the door of the pyramid. Upon giving Ena the new task, he returns back to his ophanim and takes off.

Now given a new task, Ena walks around the desert, still following the streetlights through the storm. She suddenly comes across a floating green eye that leads her to a bone cauldron. From behind the cauldron emerges Volley while the water inside the cauldron turns red, causing the sandstorm to clear up. Ena heads back to the pyramid and enters the black and white hall presented to her as it twists while holes circle the walls and floor. She makes it to the end of the hall before finding a doorway filled with water. She walks through the doorway and falls down into a small room leading to the ominous Dead God Graveyard.

"I wished to be thinner!! So what?!"

Ena walks to the entrance of the graveyard as a large stone bearing the design of Runas's eyes rolls out of the way. She is presented with a wide-open area with various pillars. On top of the pillars are dead gods with doors similar to The Great Runas. In front of her is a pink trail leading to The Great Runas, the final living god in the place. However, despite the calm moment, Moony suddenly appears to surprise Ena. Ena remarks about how she made it first before questioning where they are. Moony states that it is "the bedroom of The Great Runas", though she brushes the amazing sight off as lame. She also states that Runas is not quite handsome in person before Ena asks how Moony was able to get to the graveyard in such a short amount of time. Moony states that her friend is asking "too many questions" before Ena asks for one more question, asking what Moony's wish was. Moony becomes embarrassed and keeps from telling her in order to avoid being made fun of, but suddenly begins to hear a cracking sound. Moony's body splits into two as a humanoid figure bearing Moony's colors emerges, causing Ena to look shocked while her blue side begins to become yellow. Moony admits that her wish was to be thinner as Ena disappointingly shakes her head.

Cast

Trivia

  • Joel Guerra described the episode as "the end and the beginning of something".[3]
    • Guerra also considers the episode a "season finale".[4]
  • Post-production of the episode was announced on February 5, 2021 GMT.[5]
    • The release date, scheduled for a day later, was first announced on Patreon on February 14, 2021 GMT. The second announcement was made on Twitter the day before upload GMT.

The menu screen.

  • During a Twitch stream titled "Temptation Stairway Walkthrough", Joel Guerra showed concept art, inspirations, and the maps making up Temptation Stairway's areas. Along with this was a game-style menu featuring the different areas with names. They are as follows:
    • "Parade Cinematic" is the cinematic involving The Great Runas walking.
    • "Mannequin Parade" is the maze of Mannequins as well as its interactions with Moony, Brick Frog, and the Merchant.
    • "Runa's House" is the Stairway Void as well as Ulysses's room.
    • "Dog Farm" is the Hourglass Meadow.
    • "Banana Place" is the Holy code section after the Hourglass Meadow, the Mannequin Expanse, and the outside of the Mannequin Expanse involving the cat gates.
    • "Desert" is the Desert area, with and without the sandstorm.
    • "Graveyard" is the tunnel leading to the Dead God Graveyard as well as the aforementioned location itself.
      • During the same Twitch stream, a possible director's cut for Temptation Stairway was mentioned which would include previously scrapped ideas and would have other features such as a shorter interaction with Mariya & Gabo. However, it is unknown if this cut will ever be made or released.

Cultural references and inspirations

  • Many different aspects of Temptation Stairway appear to take inspiration from religion-based sources. A few examples include the Turrón, the presence of Holy code, Phindoll's abode resembling an ophanim, and the inspiration behind The Great Runas and Mariya & Gabo.
  • The logo seen before Ena transforms into her sad form is the Toei Company logo.
  • Near the end of the episode, Ena states to Moony, “It looks like I’m the best and you’re the worst! Wonder who got the chest hair.” This is a reference to the childhood rhyme “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest.”
  • The music playing in the credits is a cover of Yellow Magic Orchestra's Simoon, composed by METAROOM.[6] The cover remains unreleased, however.
    • The usage of the song may also be a pun as, by the end of the animation, Ena has fully turned yellow, possibly referencing the name of the original band.

Concept art

References

External links

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