October 15, 2017

...Just For One Day, We Are All Grape.

If you're the type of person who reads The Pond regularly, then there's no doubt in my mind that you've heard the story of Grape-kun.  If you are new here, or read The Pond only for the F1 ("I only read it for the articles!"  Kids, get your parents to explain), let me give you a quick version of this tale of devotion and love.


Earlier this year, the Tobu Zoo in Miyashiro, Saitama Prefecture, held a promotion that saw standups of characters from the anime series Kemono Friends placed in various animal enclosures.  This actually makes more sense than many such ideas in Japan, as Kemono Friends is about animals in a large zoo that, due to exposure to unobtanium, have become anthropomorphized.  The show was a popular one, and attendance had increased in other zoos that had done the same promotion, so why not?  In Ep08, we are introduced to an idol group called "PPP", which is made up of anthropomorphized penguins.  At least one of the members of PPP had their promotional standup put in the penguin enclosure at Tobu Zoo.  Where it was encountered by a Humboldt Penguin named "Grape-kun".

A little bit of backstory here.  Grape-kun was over 20 years old, and ten years ago he had been dumped by his mate.  He had been single ever since.  However, park keepers quickly realized that Grape-kun was enamored of the standup of Hululu that had been put in the penguin enclosure.  He would spend the entire day by the rock she was on, would go into a known courtship pose, and would have to be separated from Hululu so he would remember to eat.  When the promotion ended, all of the standups were removed... except for Hululu's, as zookeepers were afraid of what would happen to Grape-kun if they did.  The story hit the twitters in May and quickly went worldwide.  Grape-kun had a waifu, and anime fans around the globe found they were relating to a Japanese penguin.  Hululu's voice actress met Grape-kun, Tobu Zoo's attendance went through the roof, fans made pilgrimages to see the pair, and there were (and are) calls for Grape-kun to become a character in the next season of Kemono Friends.

On Friday, Grape-kun passed away at the age of 21.  According to the zoo, he had suffered a short illness.  He had been removed from the enclosure, but Hululu's standup had been with him until the end.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 416 words, total size 3 kb.

1 After a rough weekend, I don't know if I needed this or not.  I'm crying now, anyway.  That's a sweet story.  I think.  Or maybe it's creepy and broken.  I can't tell anymore.

Nah, I'm happy.  That's cute.  And it goes into the queue.

Posted by: Ben at October 16, 2017 09:28 AM (ee6LA)

2 Clearly, a True anime fan.

Posted by: Mauser at October 16, 2017 06:56 PM (TYvUn)

Posted by: Author at October 17, 2017 01:35 PM (LZ7Bg)

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What colour is a green orange?




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