Grape-kun’s story gained international attention after Tobu Zoo visitors began witnessing him performing courtship actions and refusing to leave Hululu’s side. The penguin did have a mate named Midori, but she dumped Grape-kun for a younger guy after they arrived at Tobu Zoo.
Grape-kun turning towards anime after his heartbreak hit many people on a personal level, and Tobu Zoo decided to let the senior keep the cutout permanently.
To show the lasting impact Grape-kun and Hululu made on visitors, Tobu Zoo created a makeshift memorial so that visitors could pay their respects.
— 絶崎 (@taezakinZ) October 14, 2017
The memorial included a miniature standee of Hululu, a dedicated signboard for visitors to write messages on, and a memento with Grape-kun’s purple armband.
— ニラオ (@nirao1015) October 14, 2017
Flowers, photos, drawings, and even wine were left as offerings. However, the most meaningful tribute may be an illustration from Kemono Friends creator Mine Yoshizaki. He drew Grape-kun and Hululu wearing matching purple arm bands as if they were a married couple.
— 東武動物公園【公式】リュウくん (@tobuzoo7) October 14, 2017
Tobu Zoo hasn’t decided if they’ll erect a permanent memorial for Grape-kun, but fans are hosting a fundraiser to purchase a statue of Grape-kun and Hululu to donate to the zoo.
Grape-kun’s story of love and devotion has touch people’s hearts and is drawing comparison’s to Hachiko, which was a faithful Akita who visited his master’s train station stop every day for 10 years following his master’s death. Much like Hachiko, there may be a statue leaving Grape-kun’s story for future generations.