The Bad Rap: Isabella from The Promised Neverland

Welcome, Militia, to another round of The Bad Rap! For those of you new to the game, The Bad Rap is an exclusive 101 Militia Gaming segment where we like to take characters from anime who might have a bad reputation – and it is up to us to decide if they are deserving of that impression. Today we are going to discuss an antagonist that has managed to haunt the nightmares of many watchers with her deeds. That’s right, we have Isabella from The Promised Neverland in our hot seat!

Nothing like a fun family game in the forest! Right?

From first impressions, Isabella seems to be the perfect Mama. She is kind, caring, and nurturing to her household of young orphans. She encourages education and athleticism, as well as discipline. All of this in preparation for when the children are finally selected for adoption. Sounds like a wonderful piece in a nice slice-of-life anime featuring a group of spunky kids playing a lively game of tag… right? Well, hate to break it to you, but for those who have not yet seen The Promised Neverland or read the manga, this is certainly not a picturesque slice-of-life. Isabella, the kind and caring mother figure for these children who has never known any different, is simply raising them to be devoured by monsters.

To be fair, this story takes place in a world where humanity is subservient and mostly only seen as a meal of increasing quality, depending on how intelligent or athletic they are. Isabella’s group of cattle orphans seem to be the preferred type that these monsters crave, so she is under a higher expectation to produce the best. Therefore, she is also seen as one of the best Mama’s. It is all pretty dark and at some point after the kids realize Mama’s true purpose, Isabella can certainly be seen as demonic, herself.

Later during season one, we understand where Isabella stands in the middle of this horrible ordeal and why she chose this path. This is a world where quite literally you either prove yourself worthy of existence or you are eaten. Without giving away too terribly much, we see a young Isabella climbing the ladder and forcing herself to become the best – all while facing and undergoing atrocities that would certainly lead to a great villain’s backstory. By the end, I actually do feel some sympathy for her. Some.

So, does Isabella deserve her Bad Rap? Yes. She absolutely does. But again, if she had not chose this path, she would not exist. Another would be in her place, perhaps someone more heartless. I see Isabella as a person who truly did all that she could to provide the children with the best childhood while also seeing that she tended to her obligation as a Mama.

What do YOU think, does Isabella deserve the Bad Rap? Give us your opinion below, we always love hearing your side of the discussion! ✌👾



  1. She does deserve her rep. I think her self preservation above all others led to this road. There are moments she breaks that facade. Plus the manga goes into more detail about her thoughts/actions to semi gain the sympathy vote for redemption.

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