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Grape-kun is finally with his beloved Hululu.
Earlier today, Kemono Friends character designer Mine Yoshizaki donated an image commemorating the passing of internet icon Grape-kun to Saitama’s Tobu Zoo. The illustration features the Humboldt Penguin standing beside his beloved Hululu.
Creative fans have taken to Twitter with the image, publishing their own take on a possible display that could occupy Grape-kun’s now-vacant rock in the Humboldt Penguin habitat.
Grape-kun was a 20-year-old Humboldt Penguin, who gained fame after falling in love with a standee of Kemono Friends character Hululu. Zoos across Japan partnered with the Kemono Friends franchise as a means of attracting new foot traffic. This included placing standees of characters from the shows in their equivalent animals’ cages, and hosting Kemono Friends branded events.
Then came Grape-kun, a 20-year-old Humboldt Penguin, who embraced the way of the otaku. Grape-kun fell in love with a standee of Hululu, the Humboldt Penguin in the Kemono Friends anime. Japanese visitors noticed that the penguin would spend every waking moment staring at, praising, and sitting next to the standee, treating it as one would a living mate.
The story reached so far into Japanese pop-culture consciousness that Hululu actress Ikuko Chikuta made it a point to visit the penguin in May.
Grape-kun passed away on Wednesday.
Sources: Ota-suke, Twitter (mokoa_usausa)