anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 2)
―らしい(-rashii) and ―見たい/ぽい(-mitai/-poi)
To be like something/To resemble something
Many beginning Japanese language students would learn these phrases at a relatively early stage. They are both essentially the same in their meanings, but yet, significantly different too! So how do we tell them apart? Here's how:
らしい is basically used for when someone or something is acting in a way that befits him/her/it.
Example situation (A)
Kyou wa isshokenmei de yarimasu!
A: I’m going to go at it with all my effort today!
Kimi rashii ne!
B: That's totally like you!
When らしい is used here, we get the impression that A is normally hardworking and saying such a thing is very much typical of what A does regularly.
However, らしくない is used when someone or something is acting in a way that is not typical of he/she/it.
Example situation (B)
Nee, shitteiru? Ano ko wa jyuu yon sai dake da yo!
A: Hey, did you know? That girl's only 14 years old!
Sou? Hontou ni otona mitai/otona poi na...
B: Really? She's really very mature…
In this situation, 見たい/ぽい is used to describe the girl in question for being something she isn't (e.g. being mature/like an adult).