Could you fill me in on the whole grape-kun thing?
A japanese zoo, Tobu Zoo, had a colab with the anime Kemono Friends where they added cutouts of the anime characters to the enclosures of the matching animals to attract visitors and stuff, one of these characters being Hululu, an airhead anthropomorphic Humboldt penguin:
Grape-kun, an old humboldt penguin who’d been abandoned by his former mate due to his health issues, started showing a lot of interest for the cutout, staring at it for hours, trying to reach it on top of the tall rock where it was placed, and even trying to court it.
Of course, Kemono Friends already being a surprise hit show, the thing went viral and tons of art, jokes and other content were made. Even after the colab was over, the zoo didn’t remove Grape-kun’s sunshine, and Hululu’s VA Ikuko Chikuta even visited Grape-kun during an educational event:
Unfortunately, Grape-kun was already old and his health started to deteriorate. He was removed from his enclosure for treatment, along with his muse of course, that was placed next to him. On october 12, 2017, Tobu Zoo announced that Grape-kun passed away, with Hululu by his side in his final moments. Once again Grape-kun started trending, this time in a sadder tone as fans, visitors and part of the Kemono Friends staff paid their respects.
As a final homage to Grape-kun, a new cutout was added to the penguin enclosure in january 2018, immortalizing this romance:
And thus ends the tale of Grape-kun and Hululu. May our little Friend rest in penguin heaven with his anime wife, gone, but never forgotten.