News Reporting

Updated: Mine Yoshizaki Donates Illustration to Commemorate Grape-kun’s Passing

Update 10/16/2017 – Retraction: It appears that we were caught by a clever Photoshop. While the image of the standee was circulated widely with numerous claiming its veracity, Grape-kun’s rock remains vacant according to photos from the scene.

We take full responsibility for this error, and apologize for the inconvenience. We’ve updated this article for accuracy.

It is never our intent to mislead our readers, in any capacity. We will continue to do our best to bring you the best in anime news that we can, and exercise even greater diligence in our reporting.

We hope that we can retain your trust going forward.

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.

Image Credit: Twitter (tobuzoo7)

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.

Image Credit: Twitter (mokoa_usausa)

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.

Image Credit: Twitter (sisukaton)

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.

Image Credit: Twitter (ckik195)

Grape-kun passed away on Wednesday.

Sources: Ota-suke, Twitter (mokoa_usausa)

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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