Java animation can be virtually anything you want it to be but has been considerably more difficult to produce until recently.
One of the features of Director 6.5 is that, as well as Shockwave, it can export animations as Java applets complete and ready to run without any special plug-ins.
Most of my experience with Java has been bad. On a Mac, or with Windows NT, it is either pitifully slow, doesn't work or crashes the computer. I keep it permanently switched off.