Facility where Grape-kun spent his days with his anime crush says it has no plans for a statue, hasn’t given permission for an installation.

Last month lovers of anime, animals, and animals who love anime were saddened to learn that Grape-kun, Japan’s otaku penguin, had passed away. A Humboldt penguin who’d been dumped by his mate (despite Humboldts ordinarily mating for life), Grape-kun became infatuated with a promotional cutout of anthropomorphized penguin girl Hululu from anime Kemono Friends, and spent much of his last few months gazing affectionately at the character.

▼ Grape-kun and Hululu

With Grape-kun’s story paralleling that of many otaku who find comfort in the warm fantasies of anime-based 2-D companionship, to many human otaku the penguin’s passing feels like the loss of one of their own. Since Grape-kun’s death on October 12, crowdfunding campaigns have been both begun and rumored in order to raise money to commission a statue of Grape-kun to be erected at Tobu Zoo. However, before you go making any pledges of your own, you should be aware that the zoo itself says it has no part in these campaigns, nor do they have the institution’s go-ahead to make good on their memorial promises.

In a statement posted to its website, Tobu Zoo says:

“There have been several mentions on social media and in other places of donations being solicited to make a statue of Grape-kun, a Humboldt penguin who lived at our zoo. However, please be aware that our organization has not agreed to accept such a statue, nor is it involved in any plans to produce a statue or collect funds for its creation.”

At least one such crowdfunding project, which had already raised over US$1,000, has been suspended. Tobu Zoo’s statement may sound a little standoffish, especially considering all the publicity Grape-kun brought the facility, but it’s also worth remembering that the Kemono Friends promotion didn’t start until last spring, meaning Grape-kun was only in the spotlight for a few months, and so the management may or may not want to dedicate space on its grounds to a permanent memorial.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Tobu Zoo will never be open to the idea of a Grape-kun statue. Still, for the time being, it seems the best way to honor the otaku penguin’s memory would be by visiting his brethren at Tobu Zoo, then heading straight home to marathon the entire Kemono Friends anime.

Sources: IT Media, Tobu Zoo