I've always learned that 見えない means "unseen" or "invisible".

However, lately I've been seeing quite a few Japanese people in online games that, upon failing to complete some (usually very difficult) task, post stuff like "みえないわw" or "見えないこれ".

I've come to the conclusion that it's supposed to mean something similar to 無理, as in they "don't see success happening", but Google hasn't been able to back me up on this theory. So now I'm wondering if that's actually a meaning of the term, if it's purely colloquial, or if there's some other concept behind all of this.


1 Answer 1


One of the meannings of 「〜に見える」 is "looks like [something]" (for example, 彼は子供に見える / he looks like a child), and while I do not have the context, I suspect that is the usage you are seeing.

Another possibility is that they are saying something is practically invisible because it's too fast.

  • Literal invisibility didn't make sense in the context where I encountered the expression, so I doubt that. With your interpretation of "(to) look like" it would come out as something like "does not look like (it's going to happen)"?
    – TDVoid
    Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 0:52
  • 1
    So you are saying neither feels like a good match. When I was playing video games back then, we often used 「見えない」 when you lost because the opponent was too fast (think of Street Fighter), or when the enemy was too numerous for you to manuever (think of this: wshin.com/images/games/dodonpachi/ddon03.gif). So perhaps that usage has evolved over a decade? What is the type of the game you are talking about? Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 1:03
  • Well, one of them was pretty close to my initial guess, so it does fit. It makes more sense with the context you gave just now though, as an evolved expression. I've seen this in various kinds of games, but mostly in rhythm games on very fast songs - slow enough that following it with your eyes (visibility) would not be a problem for experienced players, but where the finger speed and coordination can't quite keep up.
    – TDVoid
    Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 1:10

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