As the 17th emperor of Sokan draws his last breath, his son prepares to inherit the throne. However, the empress has other plans for the line of ascension, and political turmoil sweeps across the palace. To secure his throne, the 18th emperor will have to find himself a bride, and the call goes out across the land to bring in any girls ready for royal matrimony. Will Ginga, a simple young farm girl, be able to win the emperor's favor over many other women from around the realm?
In an ancient and mythological land called Saiunkoku, the people have begun to recover from a period of war and famine; thus, when an official from the imperial court offers the impoverished and beautiful Shuurei more money than she could ever dream of in return for a favor, she jumps at the chance. What she doesn’t count on, however, is being asked to become a concubine to the recluse Emperor and help him transform into a better leader. What’s more, the Emperor shows little intelligence, seems to have no interest in ruling, and is rumored to prefer men. One thing’s for certain: Shuurei has her work cut out for her!
When anime draws themes from history and mythology outside Japan, the favourite subjects are European-style pseudo-mediaeval fantasy, or quasi-Chinese history and mythology. Into the latter category, Saiunkoku Monogatari and Kumo no you ni, Kaze no you ni both fall. With a strong female protagonist, a great deal of action and romance, and the occasional tear-jerker moment, these are very similar stories.
Both anime are about a goalseeking and energetic girl who becomes emperor's favourite and helps him in various ways. Both anime are quite romantic and have political character. The main characters have to deal with those who oppose the kingdom even at the price of losing their love.