I'm an avid anime fan, and I have noticed that sometimes "Amai" (甘い) is translated as "Weak!" (recently in Scarlet Nexus Episode 3, where a man says it after dodging another fighter's attack, at 20:38 - see here) and "Yowai" (弱い) has been used to mean "Weak" as well.

If "Amai" and "Yowai" can both mean weak, then what is the difference between the two when using it to refer to weakness?

  • 2
    Maybe "naive" would be a better translation? See Jisho's 4th definition for 甘い: jisho.org/search/%E7%94%98%E3%81%84. In this sense, the defending character isn't saying the attacker is weak, but that is naive in thinking such an attack could be effective.
    – Mauro
    Jul 22 at 22:23

甘い can be used to describe something that lacks a required level of sharpness, tightness, resilience, etc.

(of a photo) It is a bit out of focus.

The screw is a bit loose.

It could also be used to describe a ball that doesn’t have enough air pressure.

  • 例文に並列させると、「球が甘い⇆甘い球」は野球だと打ちやすいコースに来た球のような解釈のような気がしますが。ボールの空気の入りが甘いなら言いそうな気がします。 Jul 23 at 2:43
  • Isn't... that what he said? -to describe a ball that doesn’t have enough air pressure
    – Skye-AT
    Jul 23 at 2:53
  • 1
    @Skye-AT I meant「ボールの空気の入りが甘い」sounds good to me for -to describe a ball that doesn’t have enough air pressure. 「球が甘い⇆甘い球」sounds good when Baseball player describes the ball coming into where it is easy to hit. Jul 23 at 3:00
  • @kimiTanaka Ah, I see, that makes sense.
    – Skye-AT
    Jul 23 at 4:26

弱い refers mainly to physical weakness, as an opposite to 強い.

As per Jisho's definition #4, 甘い means "naive; overly optimistic; soft on; generous; indulgent; easy-going; lenient". In other words, it's less about being physically weak and more about an emotional weakness. So in the context you gave, it could mean either "You were naive to think such an attack would work!" or possibly "You're going easy on me (when you should be going all out)".

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