There is a partial list available on Fandom and a full list of the symbols without explanation on a Japanese wiki site. What do the ever-changing paintings mean and how are they connected to the episode's or the overall plot?

1 Answer 1


Directions are relative to Yuri as she sits at the principal's desk facing the entrance. For the sake of completeness, I also include the paintings that are fixed across episodes.

All episodes

Portraits of all past principalsSmiley face painting on the right

Front: School song of the Heaven Academy. The song lyrics reproduced below reference this yahoo answer and this wiki page.






Back: Portraits of all past principals of the Heaven Academy. The portrait of the current principal has been replaced by Yuri's.

Left: During the operation meetings, the banner of the SSS Brigade is hanged on this side of the wall.

Right: Smiley face painting. Unknown artist.

Episode 1

Ep 1 paintings

Front: [危]【き】 — Danger.

Left: テトラポット — Tetrapod.

Right: [南紀]【なんき】みかん — A brand of mikan from Nanki, Mie Prefecture. Note that Jun Maeda, the creator of Angel Beats!, is from Mie.

Episode 2

Ep 2 paintings

Front: [毒]【どく】 — Poison; short for [毒舌]【どくぜつ】, or sharp tongue. I believe it's also intended to invoke the expression 「[お気の毒に]【おきのどくに】」, meaning "my condolences", as said by Angel about Hinata in episode 5. By Jun's arrangement or by coincidence, Hinata is forced into sacrifice in an arithmetic progression of episode numbers 2, 5 and 8.

Left: [悦]【えつ】 — Rejoicing. "Why does Yuri smell so good?"

Right: [松阪牛]【まつさかうし】 — Matsusaka beef, another food product from Mie. A jab at Matsushita's fate in this episode?

Episode 3

Ep 3 paintings

Front: [嫁]【よめ】 — Wife; bride; daughter-in-law; to pass the buck ([(転)嫁する]【(てん)かする】).

Left: [諭吉]【ゆきち】 — Yukichi Fukuzawa, the guy on the 10,000 yen banknote. Yukichi is a nickname of Yuuki Hashimoto from the 2010 eroge Koiiro Soramoyou who is also voiced by Harumi Sakurai, Yurippe's voice actress, under the alias Kazane. Moreover, "Farewell, Yukichi" is the defining quote of Kyousuke Natsume from Little Busters!, another visual novel written by Jun Maeda.

Right: マニア — Mania.

Episode 4

Ep 4 paintings

Right (OP): [鎮魂歌]【ちんこんか】 — Requiem. Alludes to both the album Requiem for Innocence by Sad Machine that has had a profound influence on Masami Iwasawa as well as Iwasawa's passing on at the conclusion of the last episode.

Front: [脇]【わき】 — Supporting character; the second stanza of a renga. At this point in time, the story has entered its second phase in the hokku→waki→daisan→hiraku→ageku renga structure, or the introduction→development→twist→conclusion kishoutenketsu structure.

Left: (Not shown).

Right: [逆鱗]【げきりん】 — A scale grown upside-down below the chin of a dragon that will anger the dragon when touched; imperial wrath. Yuri's underlings incurred her wrath by failing their mission of defeating Angel's team in the baseball tournament. There is also the angered dragon conjured up in Otonashi's mind in episode 7.

Episode 5

Ep 5 paintings

Front: [謎]【なぞ】 — Mystery, i.e. Ayato Naoi the usurper. If you turn up the volume just after Yuri throws her second tantrum, you can also hear a "mysterious voice" saying "what's with her?" (「なんだこいつ」). This is documented under the 謎の声 section here.

Left: コテンパン — Beaten black and blue, i.e. Angel and Hinata, and Ooyama and Takamatsu, in this episode.

Right: バミューダ — Bermuda, one of the endpoints of an area known as the Bermuda Triangle, famous for the disappearance of a number of aircraft and ships within this region under mysterious circumstances.

Episode 6

Ep 6 paintings

Front: [乙]【おつ】 — The ordinal "second"; a prefix meaning young and charming, e.g. [乙女]【おとめ】. Also resembles the "Z" mark of Zorro.

Left: (Not shown).

Right: [猫大陸]【ねこたいりく】 — Continent of cats? Presumably the same painting appears again in the second panel on page 4, chapter 30 of Angel Beats! The 4-koma: Our War Front March Song:

Neko in 4-koma

In this panel, Yusa is explaining the term "marriage hunting" ([婚活]【こんかつ】) to Hinata. Starting this episode, Otonashi began to hit on Kanade, and Naoi even arranged for their "marriage hunting" activities to take place inside the reflection room for maximum privacy!

Episode 7

Ep 7 paintings

Front: プラ — Recycling symbol used in Japan for plastic.

Left: [濃厚]【のうこう】 — Rich in flavor, color, odor, etc.; probable; passionate and sensuous.

Right: [●●ック]【ファック】? (Not legible). Could be the f-word.

Episode 8

Front: (Not shown).

Left: (Not shown).

Right: (Not shown).

Episode 9

Ep 9 paintings

Front: ♨ — Icon for hot springs.

Left: [部族]【ぶぞく】 — Tribe; clan.

Right: マグロ? (Not fully shown) — Tuna.

Episode 10

Ep 10 paintings

Front: (Not shown).

Left: ●ロス? (Not legible).

Right: [赤福]【あかふく】 — Akafuku, a wagashi shop in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, known for their Akafuku mochi, or [赤福餅]【あかふくもち】.

Episode 11

Ep 11 paintings

Front: (Not shown).

Left: (Not fully shown).

Right: [極上]【ごくじょう】 — First-rate.

Episode 12

Ep 12 paintings

Front: [心]【こころ】 — Heart. Lots and lots of hearts on the computer screens.

Left: (Not shown).

Right: [土]【ど】● (Not fully shown).

Episode 13

Ep 13 paintings

Front: [魂友]【たまとも】 — Soulmate. A possible play on words of Tama-Tomo, or best friends in the Tamagotchi Planet.

Left: (Not shown).

Right: (Not shown).

Special: Another Epilogue

SP Ep paintings

Front: (Not shown).

Left: (Not legible).

Right: [東]【とう】●? (Not legible). It would make more sense if the character is [転]【てん】, though, as that means "change in pronunciation or meaning of a word".

OVA 1: Stairway to Heaven

OVA 1 paintings

Front: (Happy face).

Left: (Teeth-gritting face).

Right: (Happy face).

OVA 2: Hell's Kitchen

OVA 2 paintings

Front: [再]【さい】 — Again.

Left: ボンレス — Boneless.

Right: [久々]【ひさびさ】 — (in a) long time; long time (ago). It's been almost 5 years since the last Angel Beats! episode was released.

Kaginado (Season 2)

Kaginado 2 paintingsKaginado 2 keroppi painting

Front: [鍵]【かぎ】 — Key.

Left: [暴君]【ぼうくん】 — Tyrant.

Right: [生徒会長]【せいとかいちょう】 — Student council president​.

Right (Episode 3): カオス — Chaos.

Right (in place of the smiley face painting): A Keropii painting annotated with the year of Key's debut game, Kanon. Keropii is the favorite frog plush toy of Nayuki Minase, one of the five heroines of Kanon.


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