Hello Dago Red. Welcome to ChefTalk!
I don't have any experience with R2 steel or Takamura knives, so I can't give any good information on them. But, ChefKnivesToGo is a firm I and many other people on this forum have dealt with as customers without problems (though there are other forums where CKTG is seen as a site of Satan).
I am presuming you are referring to the MAC MTH-80 (with "dimples" - more accurately referred to as "Kullenschliff", or as "kullens") and the MAC MBK-85. There is also a MAC BK-80 knife, which is the same steel, but with a non-bolstered handle. Sorry to get so picky about model numbers, but it really pays out in the discussion to have everyone knowing what knife and model are being talked about.
The MTH-80 is a case of where you either think that kullens work, or you don't. Personally, I don't think they do. And yes, I have a MTH-80. I also have a MBK-95 and I don't think the kullens are something that makes much performance difference between the two knives.
I have also just recently acquired some of the MAC "Chef" series knives, including a BK-100. The BK knives have just plain wood composite handles and no bolster, but I don't feel any difference in the edge performance (the same steel is used in both the MBK-95 and MBK-85, as is used in the BK-100, MAC's "Original" steel; the MTH-80 uses "Superior" steel, which from my reading of the MAC web sites seems to suggest a different heat treatment process of the same source steel for the vast majority of MAC knives) and the blade thickness is the same in all of the knives being discussed - 2.5 mm blade thickness along the spine. Of course, no bolster can mean lesser prestige
The one real concern I have is about your friend not being able to take the time to sharpen the knives personally. Invariably, that will mean the knife edges will just get duller over time. Unfortunately, there are just no magic knives which will not get duller with use.
A lot of sharpening issues deal with the question of the learning curve and time spent on that. If that's the case, you might instead consider a sharpening jig, such as the Edge Pro. The learning curve is MUCH faster, and the ability to have a consistent angle along the entire length of the edge is much easier for the newer user than with freehanding with stones.
I'm probably going to get absolutely "Trolled" for the following suggestion, but if the $165 price for the Edge Pro Apex 1 kit is sticker shock, then a $35 "Edge Faux" (a cheap Chinese knock-off copy sold on eBay), provided that you buy real Edge Pro stones (which are available from CKTG). CKTG sells a 2 stone set - the 220 grit and 240 grit stones - for $18, which makes the total cost of the equivalent of Edge Faux plus real stones less than 1/3rd the cost of the real thing. You can also add other stones as well. Just be sure you soak the stones before each use session in water for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Mind you - there are no guarantees on the Edge Faux, and the cheap set has stones which are garbage and probably should just be thrown away as fast as possible. But, the patent on the real Edge Pro ran out a few years ago, so it's now public domain for the design.
Hope that helps.