Lost his real-life penguin wife, gained an anime waifu.
A few weeks ago it came to light that Grape–kun, one of the Humboldt penguin residents of the Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture (which borders Tokyo to the north), has become infatuated with an anime character. Specifically, he’s fallen head over heels for Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin girl from unexpected anime hit Kemono Friends.
Were Grape-kun a human, his situation would have elicited at least a few cries of “He should stop obsessing over anime characters and look for a real girl instead!” But it turns out that Grape-kun did indeed have a 3-D romantic partner, and it was only after that relationship fell apart that he found comfort with his 2-D crush.
Japanese Twitter user @gon_trpg was recently at Tobu Zoo to pay a visit to Grape-kun, and while there he spoke with one of the zookeepers, who filled him in on the penguin’s tragic backstory.
According to the zookeeper, a penguin specialist, Humboldt penguins ordinarily mate for life, and when Grape-kun arrived at Tobu Zoo, he and a female penguin, called Midori, were already a couple. However, after coming to the facility, Midori developed an interest in a younger penguin and decided to dump Grape-kun pair off with the young stud instead.
Having lost his companion, Grape-kun began spending more time apart from the other members of the penguin colony. Then, like a lonely, lovesick otaku taking refuge in anime indulgence, he became enthralled with Hululu once a cardboard standee of the character was placed near the penguin habitat as part of a cross-promotion with Kemono Friends.
Making things awkward is that Midori, who’s now reached the advanced (for a Humboldt penguin) age of 21 years old and Grape-kun (who’s 20) both still live in the same habitat at Tobu Zoo. No word on how she feels about her ex-husband’s deepening otakuism, but hey, being a single guy means getting to spend as much time on your anime hobby as you want.