I recently read a book that explained (in a really American cultural domination sort of way) the significance of manga in Japan. Manga, which is sort of like comics without the Western comic stereotype, serves as a form of wider social communication in Japanese society with a kick of entertainment value.
Anime, what the Japanese call cartoons, is just as large a world in all its variations. Dark, humorous, cutesy, pretty, deep and shallow... you can find it. This brilliant montage of all those different styles pokes fun at the range that mere animation has over our understanding of the world. And it's really awesome.