Does it taste as bittersweet as unrequited love?
A few weeks ago we first met Grape-kun, the elderly male penguin that fell hopelessly in love with a cardboard cutout of an anime girl penguin placed inside his pen. Back then it seemed like bad news was coming as Grape-kun had been isolated from the cutout since he refused to do anything except stare at it all day, including eating.
But now it seems that Grape-kun has realized the unfortunate fact that all of us otaku must come to grips with at some point: we cannot survive on anime alone. He’s eating again, and the zoo has fully embraced his cardboard crush.
Every few days the Toho Zoo’s official Twitter account sends out another announcement about Grape-kun and his cutout love Hululu.
▼ “Grape-kun is excited for Ikuko Chikutai
(Hululu’s voice actress) coming to visit on May 20.”
東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) May 16, 2017
And one other place that the Toho Zoo is promoting Grape-kun is offline… inside their gift shop!
▼ “Toho Zoo is really pushing Grape-kun.”
まりかフレンズ㌠ (@wagurumarika) May 20, 2017
▼ A rack selling penguin stickers with picture of Grape-kun all over.
▼ The limited edition “Loving Grape” drink,
made with crushed grape jelly and soft cream.
▼ At only 400 yen (US$3.50), it’s love at quite a bargain!
The “Loving Grape” drink is the perfect embodiment of Grape-kun and Hululu’s relationship. The white and deep purple colors mix together beautifully, yet the ice cream make you feel cold, reminding you as you eat/drink it of the two penguin souls that yearn to be together, but alas, must remain in separate dimensions.
The drink has stirred up interested online, here’s how Japanese netizens reacted:
“Yeah, ‘crushed jelly’ describes my love life too.”
“Seems he’s become the new mascot for the park.”
“They should just show Grape-kun an episode of her anime.”
“I am going to that zoo tomorrow just to get this.”
We have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Grape-kun, considering just how notoriously lovey-dovey some penguins can be.