The anime is based on the manga series of the same title (above). The animation series by Toei Animation first premiered on Japan's TV Asahi on October 11, 1986. Masami Kurumada has said that he does not like the anime, but agreed to transfer the manga to anime because of a tradition of making an anime from every manga.
The first anime series was produced by Toei Animation from 1986 to 1989. It was directed first by Kōzō Morishita (episodes 1 to 73) and then by Kazuhito Kikuchi (episodes 74 to 114). The character designers were Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno, and Seiji Yokoyama composed the soundtracks. The chief scriptwriters were Takao Koyama and Yoshiyuki Suga.
The anime is divided very similarly to Kurumada's original manga. The series has three main parts: Sanctuary (episodes 1 to 73), Asgard (74 to 99), and Poseidon (100 to 114). The Asgard arc does not exist in the manga and was made directly for the anime.
The Hades arc from Kurumada's manga was not adapted to animation in the original series, but it was adapted starting in 2003 and released in OVA format. The project ended in 2008, finally fully adapting Kurumada's manga to animation.
There have also been five theatrical releases (three short movies and two full-length ones), which do not belong to the regular chronology, as they contain several storyline contradictions. The movies are Saint Seiya (Saint Seiya Gekijōban), The Gods's Ardent Battle (Kamigami no Atsuki Tatakai), The Legend of the Crimson Boy (Shinku no Shōnen Densetsu), Warriors of the Last Holy War (Saishū Seisen no Senshi-tachi) and Heaven Chapter ~Overture (Tenkai-hen Josō~Overture).