These are not efficient profiles, in my opinion. These are rockers, a profile (and resulting cutting style) that originated from thick convex geometries. One needs to rock with some pressure to cut through food. Most Japanese made knives are push/pull cutters.
I don't know what to make out of the second knife. Purpose?
Also, briefly looking at the links you provided, I see a lot of imitation of Japanese made knives, be it construction (san mai), handle shape or some knives' profiles.
Recently I've seen some pics and links of French, German and Russian artisan made blades. They looked nice, but I think a lot of the reason they aren't as well represented here is because of the language barrier. I'd totally be down for a passaround so we compare japanese apples to some Euro-ones.
I feel similar to how Marko does about the whole thing though. Once I switched to Japanese style blades, I was hooked. The only European ones that I give much praise to now are the vintage Henckels or well-made Sabatiers. These still get used quite frequently in my rotation.
I think a lot of people are very turned off by integral bolsters and the bulky finger guard thingys too.
No matter how high the throne,
there sits but an ass.
That's a point I am making here - don't reinvent a wheel, unless you have a good reason.
A quote by Niels Bohr comes to mind. "An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field"
As a chef i started using European knives, and i thought wow i can get these sharp, as long as i have a steel im good. I never knew i would have a knife where i didint have to use a lot of pressure to cut thick carrots or dense items.
I then got turned onto shun. and wow what a difference the knife is so sharp! I later found about waterstones and Misono knives and learned about Japanese knives.
Lets forget about profile, the simple aspect of the steel is what sets them apart. Any steel can have a good or bad profile and or geometry. But if the steel is not fine grained or soft it will not hold up as well.
I can speak of this from my Marko knife actually, it is very similar in profile to that of Shigefusa( respected japanese maker), however geometry is different. And the steel is a lot better for what i need it for.
I have had that knife for about 6 months or more and i have only sharpened it twice. I maintain the edge about every week or two weeks by lightly stropping on diamond loaded felt.
With these capabilities i can take my knife to work and work a full 8-12 hour shift and not have to worry about my knife dulling or where is my steel i cant cut this or that. And i do not have to be easy on the knife i can chops a mound of herbs which would normally dull and edge slightly then go right into slicing soft heirloom tomatoes super thin and precisely.
Now with all due respect to Japanese makers their steels are not the best around in my opinion. White steel gets super sharp but loses edge retention very fast. Blue steel doesn't get scary sharp but can maintain an edge for about a week with moderate use.
For me Japanese trumps European steel because its harder, gets sharper, and holds an edge longer. But for me the custom makers( like Marko, Mario, Pierre, Mike Davis, Carter etc) are really where performance comes in, they can get specials steels that allow them to take Japanese profiles and good geometries and produce a knife that is great at whatever the user intends it to be.
What I am saying is that there are many factors one can evaluate cutting upon: sharpness, food release, edge retention, edge stability, etc. These are very subjective things. As Rick (Penn Tiger) once pointed out, food release on a knife for a pro is likely to be a significant factor, than for a home cook.
I didn't mean to imply that you can't evaluate performance on a knife, just that the criteria are so varied, so unless you have a consensus opinion from a number of educated and experienced users, everything else is subjective. That is why a passaround on a forum like this one, among pros and home cooks alike is a good way to evaluate a knife. All knives will cut, but some will cut better than others.
If my communication is too linear, I apologize.
Banjo, you also need to understand that some of this is due to the availability. This forum is in English and originated from the USA so by nature most of the participants are North American. In this geographic area, the most accessable superior knives are Japanese. There are several artisinal knifemakers on this soil, but their prices are typically higher and would put off most people who know nothing better than a Wusthof. In addition, their output is generally small, so wait lists are often involved. So the most economical obvious upgrade into the "wow" level of cutting is Japanese. I can't at this time find easy ways to access or purchase artisinal European knives which I am sure many of which might be impressive. If you know how North Americans can see, use and purchase higher end European knives, please let us know. Otherwise, the only knives that cut like hell that I can access are Japanese or North American.
What's funny to me is that the gyuto is actually the Japanese interpretation/improvement of a European/Western knife. And now we have makers like Marko, Devin, HHH, Pierre, etc. improving upon THAT now as well. Full circle perhaps?
Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/