Never try to tell Grape-kun that 2D girls aren’t as good as 3D girls — because he’s picked himself a waifu, and there’s nothing his friends can do about it.
Grape-kun is a 20-year-old resident of Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture — specifically, in the aptly-named DokiDoki Street area. He also happens to be a penguin. As part of a tie-in with the wildly popular Kemono Friends, Tobu Zoo put cutouts of some of the animal girl characters in the enclosures of their real-world counterparts. Hululu, a Humboldt penguin, received a cute cardboard cutout in the penguin enclosure… and, soon after, a lot of attention from one of her cage-mates.
Like fans around the world, Grape-kun became enamored with Hululu… though in his case, he went a bit overboard. He would praise and posture in front of the cutout, including demonstrating various mating rituals. In other words, he’s in love, and real girls just aren’t doing it for him; he’s actually begun ignoring the rest of his flock.
Contrary to early reports, though, he isn’t starving himself for love. Some park attendees saw Grape-kun caged off a distance from Hululu and assumed this was to make sure he ate. But park staff later clarified that this was to make sure the elderly penguin didn’t slip and fall in the pool after hours.
Yes, “elderly.” 20 is barely college age to us, but that makes Grape-kun a pensioner in penguin years. Since Hululu and the rest of the Kemono Friends cast appear to be decidedly younger… well, this old penguin may be aiming a bit young for his demographic.
Nonetheless, the Internet has fallen in love with Grape-kun (or perhaps knows how he feels), and have begun creating their own fanart of the smitten penguin and his anime waifu. Sadly, it probably won’t work out; there’s only so close you can get with a cardboard cutout.
On the bright side, this does mean a lot of publicity for the zoo, which is running a long-term Kemono Friends collaboration event until the end of June. You can read more about it on their website.
Looks like truly love DOES exist.