Yeah, Like the Clouds, Like the Wind kind of fell apart by its third act. I think it might have been better served if it had tried to be some kind of romance instead, but having two-thirds as a fun slice-of-life taking a hard right into "Welp, now that you've had your first period, you're magically horny, so let's get to baby-making!" was some serious tonal whiplash there. Though if memory serves, I seem to remember reading that the MC is historically/legendarily famous for being the mother of some famous guy, so I'm honestly a little confused about why that portion of the story wasn't given more emphasis, as much as I enjoyed the courtly life section.
I first discovered this anime via an online download. I'd never heard of it, but was (understandably) taken by the idea that this was a 'lost' Ghibli film (considering the character artist, understandable), of course by the time I finished it, I already suspected it was nothing of the sort (it simply didn't hold up to the quality of SG films), and confirmed it shortly thereafter.
However, despite it's brevity and lack of theatrical film polish (since it was made for tv), there was something that made me keep it in my collection, as well as share it with folks that I felt might appreciate what it is.
I agree that events unfolded quite quickly in the third act, but that's understandable, considering what they had to cover within the time they were (financially) given. But unlike some anime, I really didn't feel that Ginga's personality had changed as much as many movies or series have done with their characters.
Yes, Ginga came across in the first two acts as completely innocent of the ways of the world, and CERTAINLY showed no sign of any of the teenage hormones one might expect of someone that seemed to rush to be with the young emperor, but I've known girls like her in the past, that simply don't ever show that empty-headed hormonal swoony-ness, but that suddenly show up announcing that they're getting married, and shortly after have gotten pregnant, yet show no real change in their enthusiasm or joie de vivre. Some girls are just more grounded than others. Maybe that's why I had no serious issue with Ginga having enough time (and inclination) to end up carrying the emperor's child.
I suppose I just like too much anime, but while I certainly don't put 'Kumo no yō ni Kaze no yō ni' high on my list of 'Must share' anime, it still holds a place in my heart, and even now years after watching it last, I still clearly remember the film, and look for people with certain inclinations and anime experience to share it with. And I suspect I always will.
Maybe I'll have to find a copy of this disk to add to my collection...