Humans aren’t the only ones who can have affections for 2-D characters.

We’ve seen penguins form adorable relationships with their trainers before, but we’ve never heard of a penguin falling head over webbed-feet for an anime girl before.

Until now, anyway! Grape-kun, a penguin at the Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture, has been melting the hearts of tens of thousands online after it was reported that he had his own heart melted by a cutout of Hululu, an anthropomorphic penguin from the anime Kemono Friends.

Here’s some tweets from the official Tobu Zoo Twitter account:

“He really does like her.
Today too, he’s been staring at her since morning.”

“His name is Grape-kun (the one on the bottom right).
He’s 20 years old, an old man in penguin years. He really likes her.”

For those unfamiliar with Kemono Friends, it’s a recent hit anime in Japan that stars a cast of zoo animals turned into cute moe girls. There are several penguin characters on the show, and Hululu is a Humboldt penguin, the same species as the infatuated Grape-kun.

The zoo has set up 60 cutouts of the anime’s characters throughout the park and is having the voice actors do park announcements, all to try and bring in more visitors.

▼ Some of the zoo’s other Kemono Friends cutouts with their respective animals,
who seem slightly less enthusiastic about them.

The promotion appears, however, to have had some unintended consequences… such as causing love to blossom.

“The Humboldt penguin wouldn’t look
away from Hululu and was so cute.”

▼ Grape-kun! Where are you looking?!

The love story between old-man Grape-kun and cardboard cutout Hululu has plucked at the heartstrings of the internet, so of course that means fan art had to be created.

“I wish they could talk to each other.”
Oh god… the cute… Grape-kun’s smile… I can’t take it!

Unfortunately though, it seems that just like all the great love stories, Grape-kun and cardboard Hululu’s story does not have a happy ending. Because Grape-kun was so obsessed with being around Hululu all of the time, he ignored his feedings, which worried the zookeepers since he was so old.

So in order to make sure he would not forget to eat anymore, he’s been isolated away from Hululu for the time being.

▼ Looking at this photo you can hear the sound
of a thousand hearts breaking at once….

Is this the end of Grape-kun and Hululu’s romance? Only time will tell, but the zoo is planning on keeping up the Kemono Friends promotion until the end of June, so we’ll see how they deal with the situation.

Perhaps just letting Grape-kun cosplay a bit like some other penguins would go a long way to soothing that aching heart.

Source: livedoor NEWS via Dorkly
Featured image: Twitter/@tobuzoo7