Can you love something that isn’t real? If you are an otaku you probably answered with a definite “Yes!” If you are an elderly penguin called Grape-kun, you flailed around and did a courtship ritual to a cardboard cutout.
The internet was abuzz for the past two weeks over the story about a penguin that fell in love with an anime character. It all started innocently enough with a collaboration between Kemono Friends and the Tobu Zoo that sought to bring in both children and otaku alike. Amid moderate success, they never could have thought that they would turn one of their own penguins into an otaku.
Upon placing a standee of the character Hululu in the penguin exhibit, Grape-kun immediately took to the fine piece of cardboard and was caught standing near, staring at and, as if to prove that his love is real, performing courtship rituals to the character. His dedication didn’t stop there, and he even neglected eating and hanging out with the rest of his waddle to be near her. Later he was even visited by the voice of Halulu, Chikaka Ikuko, who expressed concerns of what will happen to Grape-kun once they remove the cutout.
It wasn’t long after that the internet got a hold of this story and ran with it like it tends to do. Several members of Twitter, Deviant Art and Tumblr quickly rallied behind the penguin in his search for impossible love. Their shows of support are below.
Even Mine Yoshizaki, the creator of Kemono Friends, got in on the fun and submitted his own bit of artwork about the lovely couple.
Keep Living the dream, Grape-kun!