The Private Snafu series was designed to instruct GIs in military techniques and behaviors. How do you think Private Snafu – Fighting Tools uses humor to get the point across? Does it use voice, drawing, movement or story? How?
“Private Snafu — Fighting Tools” uses certain elements that generate humor in order to get the following point across to trainees: “take proper care of your weapons”. The animation also teaches trainees how exactly to take care of their weapons. The elements that the animation uses in order to generate humor are voice, drawing, movement, AND story. The way that voice is used is that the main character (the one who hasn’t taken good care of his weapons) is, at first, singing a dorky and cheery song about how he’ll be oh-so-great with his new and powerful guns. This specific song, as well as the lyrics to the song, are a key element later as you see the main character getting his hopes and expectations utterly crushed when things don’t go as well as he expected with his oh-so-powerful weapons since he ended up not cleaning them. My personal opinion is that the character also has a dorky voice. And this ties into “drawing” AND “movement” — the way he is drawn is kind of dorky; lanky, short, a thin little neck, tiny shoulders, confused face, etc. And the way he is animated fits that dorky persona: he sort of scrambles around (which makes sense, as he is often running from the enemy — which also helps get across the point story-wise considering that without cleaning his weaponry, he is helpless and defenseless, making him the prey and the enemy the pursuer). When he runs away at 02:54, his legs make the classic cartoonish motion of becoming a “wheel” of movement as he shoots away with a high pitched sound effect. At the beginning of the animation, when he’s getting his gun, he also struggles to pull it out of the ground in the first place, AND we can see a bit of liquid splash out of it, even though we “haven’t” discovered that there is sludge/goop in it yet — this is an element DRAWING wise that creates foreshadowing and also enhances humor. Last but certainly not least is the story. The entire plot is a comedy sketch with a PURPOSE. In the beginning, the main character is oh-so-confident that he can defeat any enemy with his new guns and that he’ll be a hero. When a German soldier creeps up on him and his guard is down, he quickly grabs his new gun that he’s so proud of and tries to attack the German soldier. The German soldier is at first scared because he recognizes the model of gun — it’s the new one that the main character was looking at in the newspaper, the one that is widely known to be powerful. But things don’t turn out the way either of them expected — the main character can’t even get a bullet out of his gun due to it being full of gunk because it wasn’t properly taken care of or cleaned out. And so, the main character runs away with the German soldier, amused at the main character, in fast pursuit. But then, the German soldier is met with the barrel of an even LARGER gun, and is once again terrified — only to be met with the gun melting due to it being ill-maintained. this gimmick CONTINUES, on and on and on — the repetition is what makes it funny. It makes you think “Oh my god, AGAIN? How pathetic can this guy be? This poor guy; I don’t wanna be like him!” To add icing to the cake, even the CAR the main character tries to make a getaway in at the end of the animation breaks down due to improper care. It’s a solid way to finish it off with a grenade, since he wasn’t able to get away. Then, the choice to have the main character fly into the air, naked (which is of course seen as incredibly embarrassing, humorous in a way, and pathetic), holding just the steering wheel, is sure to get a laugh out of certain individuals. Thus, the story comes to a solid close. With the story having a “gimmick”, humor is generated through repetition, with each time getting funnier than the former. I believe it really gets across the point to trainees that you have to take care of ALL of your weapons and ALL of your equipment, leaving no piece uncared for.