Togiharus (EE's house brand) have POM. So do Sabatiers. Masamoto VG are excellent, although it should be said that suji/petties tend to be more like one another than gyutos; and at 8" you're buying a trimming knife more than a boner, parer or slicer -- although it's short enough to do the first three and long enough for the fourth if what you're slicing isn't too big or demand nothing but draw.
Why is POM a must?
Soften your grip (even more) and let the shape of the knife determine the rocking action. Chances are you're lifting the handle too high, and not gliding and drawing the knife enough. You can't win a wrestling match with a profile -- that's why the right profile is so important. Once you've got the belly on the board, you don't want to lift any higher; and once you've rocked down onto the flat part of the edge, you want to allow the knife glide forward. You don't need the extra lift, to add power on the down stroke. Your edge is sharp enough.
Loosen those back fingers. They only need enough tension to keep the knife from falling out of your hand. Relax the thumb and forefinger until they're just strong enough to keep the knife from twisting when cutting through custard. Once your grip is soft, the other adjustments won't take much on your part beyond "unlearning" old habits. It's what the knife wants to do. Tao of the rock-chop, eh?
A big part of why I like my Konosuke gyuto so much is the way it fits my Sabatier action. When I switched from Sabs to a Henckels chef's in the late seventies, I adapted my action to the German knife; and when I went back in the early eighties, it was such a relief to return to a "French" action (or whatever the heck you want to call it).
I have to say that the picture has the MAC looking thinner than either of the other knives -- although I know it isn't. Odd. Must be perspective. Not your picture, right?
MAC Pro are not the thinnest of Japanese knives by any means, but are among the stiffest of the high-quality knives. They take and hold better edges than almost any European made knife. There are lots of trade offs in this group of "middle of the high-end" mass-produced, stainless yo-gyuto knives, with different manufacturers taking distinctly different paths. A yo-handle means a thicker tang and handle. Comparative thinness with yo-knives is most apparent when using the back half of the knife, but (a result of "distal tapering") becomes more subtle as you approach the tip.
I recommend MAC Pro so often partly because its stiffness makes it feel more familiar to people coming off a lifetime of western made knives; because the MAC Pro design puts less demand on the technical aspects of keeping the knife square to the cut and board; and for a multitude of other reasons. It's thin enough to be distinctly Japanese, not portly by any means, and without much more tendency to wedge during ordinary prep than, say, a Shun -- or even a Hattori HD or Masamoto VG (another knife I frequently recommend). But as always, your best choices depend on what you seek.
A real laser like a Konosuke and a merely thinnish western handled knife like a Hattori HD, or FH for that matter, are very different. Even very thin yo-gyuto knives like Tadatsuna and Gesshin suffer in comparison to a laser in the sense of benefits provided by anorexia. What a Wusthof Classic is to a Hattori, a thin yo is to a laser. Difficult to even imagine until you've tried one, but true. Ruscal's reaction is typical.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/14/11 at 7:53am