In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, one of the turning points in the game is a timeskip about halfway through, which skips forward five years into the future. In this timeskip, every student character and house leader gets a makeover, some for the better, and some for the worse.
The characters are a huge part of what makes Fire Emblem so charming, so it’s only natural that many people will pick houses based on their favorite designs. So, who got a glow-up and who downgraded? Here’s our completely arbitrary list of the Fire Emblem: Three Houses makeovers, ranked from worst to best.
24 – Mercedes
Let’s get one thing out of the way — Mercedes’ new look is lovely. She’s a charming, adorable character, and her religious attire fits her personality. The problem here isn’t that hew new look is bad, it’s that her old look is SO GOOD. I mean, look at her. Mercedes has such a nice, clean design pre-timeskip. Everything, from her flowing hair, unique shawl, and color palette just works, and I’d say she has one of the best designs in the game. Is her new look terrible? Nah, it’s just that her old one was so great that anything else feels like a letdown.
23 – Bernadetta
Oh Bernadetta, we have so many questions. On one hand, Bernie looks ever so slightly more confident in her new look. She still looks shy, yes, but she doesn’t have that “nervous animal that’s about to run away if you approach” look. But, like, what’s going on with her hair? In theory, I suppose it’s an improvement because it suggests she puts more care into grooming herself, but the execution is, hmm, questionable? This is definitely a DIY haircut, for better or for worse.
22 – Marianne
Marianne is similar to Byleth in that there’s just not much of a change. Even her new outfit looks like her academy clothing at first glance. Her hair is almost exactly the same, and the only change we can really see in her demeanor is that she doesn’t have bags under her eyes anymore. Marianne is low on our list, not because her design is better or worse, but because it’s just there. But hey, good on her for getting more sleep.
21 – Raphael
Raphael’s new look is the same thing as before, just slightly different. That’s the best way to describe it. He’s the exact same dude, but his hair is sort of longer? His new appearance does nothing to suggest that the years have changed in any meaningful way, except for, well, having more hair. So really, this one just comes down to personal taste. Do you like him more with short hair, or with curly chops? Honestly, I can’t even decide. With both looks, my overarching thought is “yep, that’s Raphael.” Due to my aggressive indifference, Raphael scores on the bottom half of this list.
20 – Ferdinand
For the record, I’m all about long hair on dudes when it can be pulled off. But Aragorn, son of Arathorn, this is not. Ferdinand looks fine with his long ginger mane, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? He pulled off his medium-length hair really well, and it’s a look that he totally could have maintained in adulthood. Sometimes less is more, Ferdinand. You’ve got money. You’ve got land. No need to overcompensate with the hair, my friend.
19 – Sylvain
As a matter of personal taste, I happen to like Sylvain’s old design more, but his new look is perfectly acceptable. Like, I prefer it how it used to be, but it’s not so drastically different that I’m unhappy with it. He looks a bit older, a bit wiser, and that’s appropriate since his character certainly had some growing up to do. Some people will like Sylvain’s new design, and others will prefer the original. To be fair, the new hair looks much better in his 3D model. I love both versions of Sylvain, but since they’re so samey, he ends up in the bottom half of this list.
18 – Ashe
Ashe gives me the same thoughts as Bernadetta. Like, okay dude, you learned how to groom your hair, but is that a good thing? His old shaggy hair was perfectly serviceable, and even though his new look is more well-maintained, I’m not sure if it’s actually better. However, unlike Bernadetta, I see a more visible change in his demeanor. The doe-eyed adolescent is gone, replaced by a man who looks much more assured of his place in the world. I can dig that. And also, the hair will come down to personal taste. I think it looks worse, but others might see it as an improvement from the unkempt shag of his student days.
17 – Lysithea
Lysithea’s rockin’ a pretty good look after five years. It evokes a look of someone who hasn’t changed a whole lot, but who is confident in who they are. Lysithea doesn’t strike me as someone who was overly concerned about the superficial, so it makes sense her look wouldn’t change much. But five years later, it’s touched up with an outfit and accessories that look like they belong on a seasoned mage.
16 – Felix
I couldn’t decide whether Felix’s new look was better or worse, but after thinking about it, I’d say it’s an improvement. Felix fancies himself as some elite swordsman, and in his student look, it’s like he’s trying to look like some kind of samurai or something. But five years later, it looks like he actually is the swordmaster that he hyped himself up to be, and now he just wears his hair in whatever way is practical. He also lost his baby face, which is definitely an upgrade.
15 – Ingrid
Your preferences on Ingrid will probably just come down to whether you like short or long hair more. But even if you have strong feelings on the matter, Ingrid pulls off both looks so well that it’s hard to choose a winner. Overall, I’d say her timeskip look is an improvement, but only marginally so. Ingrid is a pretty tomboyish character who wants nothing more than to be an honorable knight, and her new look communicates that pretty well. She’s got that Breath of the Wild 2 Zelda look goin’ on, and it works.
14 – Hilda
Hilda’s new hair isn’t drastically different, but her outfit does a lot for her in her new design. Hilda fulfills that trope of “cutesy girl who could actually rip your head off.” Her new look preserves her go-to girly aesthetic, but the outfit is much more fitting for her personality. It’s feminine, but the straps and the strong black make her feel dangerous at the same time. Anyone who’s played the game knows that Hilda is an absolute monster in the battlefield, so her new look seems pretty appropriate.
13 – Leonie
Leonie is tough to place, because both she totally rocks both of her looks. Just like Ingrid mentioned above, this is another character that basically comes down to “do you like short hair or long hair more?” While I like the latter, Leonie is a perfect fit for the former. In the end, I think she looks great in both styles, but I lean towards her timeskip look because she just looks more experienced and competent. If she had something to prove when she was a student, she went ahead and did just that during those five years that passed, because Leonie 2.0 looks like a confident force to be reckoned with.
12 – Dedue
Dedue’s look hasn’t changed a whole lot, but every change that’s there is an improvement. Gone is his weird ponytail buzz-cut mullet hybrid; it’s been replaced by side-trimmed hair that would make him feel right at home with Macklemore in 2016. He’s been cut up with scars, which makes sense for his character, and his outfit is far more fitting for a stoic warrior such as himself. His old design wasn’t terrible, but his new one is far better. Dedue 1.0 is like the cheap dollar store version of Dedue 2.0, who is an absolute unit.
11 – Claude
There are definitely pros and cons in Claude’s new appearance. I love how much more mature he looks, but he also loses a bit of that rogueish charm that just radiates from his original look. Knowing Claude, that devilish wit is certainly still there, but he’s clearly gotten better at maintaining appearances as the leader of a powerful nation. What we really need to talk about is that… beard? Like, I can’t tell if I love it or hate it. Is it too short or too long? I don’t really know, but I feel like he could have done better.
10 – Petra
Petra is another character that was hard to rank because both of her looks are just so cool. I can’t even pick a favorite, because they both work so well. I prefer the side ponytail of Petra 1.0, but I’m digging the ornaments and outfit of Petra 2.0, which better convey her exotic origins. In any case, she pulls off whatever she’s trying to do, and I wouldn’t want to get in her way.
9 – Hubert
It’s hard not to love Hubert once you get to know him, but let’s face it: the best way to describe his appearance is pretty much “weird creepy dude.” I think his new look does a lot to mitigate this. He’s still got that unnerving, eyebrowless face, but his hair is actually styled now, and he looks a little less judgemental. Overall, short hair just suits this guy more and makes him look more put-together.
8 – Dorothea
Dorothea was instantly a fan favorite when her original design was unveiled, and everyone quickly assumed she was the token sex appeal of the game. Luckily, Dorothea ends up being a much more interesting character than that, and I think her new look captures who she really is. She’s beautiful, elegant, and wise, rather than the sassy doe-eyed fashionista that she is in her student attire. Many will mourn the loss of her iconic hat, but let’s be honest, she never needed it.
7 – Linhardt
Linhardt, why is your design just, so, bleh? While Linhardt has many fans, I’m not one of them. I think both of his looks are just so incredibly lame. However, the first one is much worse than the second, so Linhardt earns a spot in the top ten because his student look is just that bad. Every single person I’ve talked to, including myself, thought Linhardt was a girl at first. And hey, that’s cool if it’s what your aiming for, but Linhardt isn’t, and his student hairdo is just a mess. His new look may be aggressively boring, but at least it’s an upgrade.
6 – Edelgard
Edelgard. I have so many thoughts. I’m gonna go out and say I like her student look a lot more than her empress look. BUT, the empress look is so fitting for her personality and character growth that I can’t really say that it’s a bad thing. Edelgard 2.0 is at once both imperialistic and raw. She looks like a conqueror, and it’s definitely a rad change from her more “anime girl protagonist” design she had in her student days. Anyone who has played Edelgard’s path knows that things get pretty wild, so even if I like her old look more, I don’t think I’d change her new one. It fits.
5 – Ignatz
This is another character who makes the top five simply because his student look was so terrible. And by that, I really just mean the hair. Like, what is going on there? His new look is a major improvement, even if it’s not a whole lot different. He’s definitely figured his shit out, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “hot nerd,” he at least looks like someone I can take seriously, instead of an ultra turbo-dweeb.
4 – Caspar
I don’t know what on earth is happening with Caspar’s old hair, and I don’t think he did either. The end result is one of the dorkiest looking characters in the entire game. That is, until he grows up a little bit, and figures out how to rock his look. New Caspar is an upgrade from old Caspar in every way. He’s got better hair, a more mature, determined look, and armor that suits his aspirations. At some point, he quit being a boy and he became a man.
3 – Dimitri
While I liked Dimitri’s old look (even if his hair is in serious need of washing), his new one is straight-up metal. For the record, his new long hair is a bit too “dark edgelord” for my tastes, but it works for what they’re trying to convey — Dimitri is clearly a man who’s got a bone to pick with the rest of the world, and in his thirst for justice, it seems pretty clear that he’s lost certain parts of himself. This is one of the most drastic changes in the game, and I’m here for it. When there are eyepatches involved, I’m always here for it.
2 – Annette
Annette was one of the biggest surprises of Three Houses for me. She had one of my least favorite designs, which screamed “meek, cliche underage anime girl.” I’m glad to say I was wrong. Annette is awesome. She ended up being the opposite of what I expected her to be, and it didn’t hurt that she had some of the best voice acting in the game. On top of all that, her timeskip look is a tremendous improvement. Seriously, Annette is slaying it with her new look, and it’s far more representative of what her character is really like.
1 – Lorenz
There was never going to be another contender for the top spot on this list. In one fell swoop, Lorenz went from “so ridiculously stupid looking he’s literally a meme” to straight-up sexy. Okay, sexy might not be the right word, but you’ve gotta admit that Lorenz had quite a hole to climb out of. His new hair isn’t my favorite, but it’s an unbelievable improvement from his old, apostate abomination of a bowl cut. He doesn’t have my favorite post-timeskip look, but it’s impossible to deny that he went through the most improvement. For that, he takes the top spot on this list. Flaunt it, Lorenz.