That questionnaire you filled out looks awfully familiar. Have we met on another forum?
Super thin knives like lasers tend to resist sticking for different reasons than knives which are heavily convexed. The Richmond Laser AS is thin, but not super thin, and is not really a laser. The Richmond Laser in AEB-L is a real laser and without doubt is the best value in the class.
If you get a laser, you'll want to keep something for heavy duty stuff, like cutting around bones, cutting through thick-skinned squash, cutting pineapple, etc. But that's true for all of the knives recommended so far.
The Hiromoto AS gets a lot of love but in my opinion is overrated. It's best feature is its Aogami Super core, but -- while AS is nice -- it still gets dull and still needs to be sharpened. The handles are narrow, and otherwise not particularly good. There are several yo-gyuto which are significantly more comfortable and better finished. In my opinion, for someone who isn't looking for an exotic alloy, the MAC Pro, Masamoto VG and Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef are much better choices at around the same price. For a little more, the Kikuichi TKC is still better.
The Tojiro DP is a good entry level knife. The handles are a little bit wide, if that's an issue.
The Kikuichi Elite is a decent carbon knife at an entry level price -- with a blade that doesn't stink or stain as much as the Fujiwara FKH. But it's entry level. If you're serious about a yo-carbon, spend the extra money and get a Masamoto HC or a Misono Sweden. Speaking as a carbon kind of guy, modern stainless alloys are now so good that you should probably have an articulable reason to put up with carbon.
The Fujiwara FKM (stainless) and Richmond Artifex are top yo-gyuto in the same entry-level price range as the Tojiro DP. The Fujiwara is a good looking, good performer; and the Artifex is a better performer but homely. All three knives come out about equal.
A lot of ladies say they want small knives because they're short or have small hands. When I taught cooking classes, including knife skills, it turned out that most of those preferred longer knives once they learned good grips. Since your only occasionally pinch gripping, that's going to be a good starting point. A 240mm knife is better in every respect than a 210 mm knife except on a very small board (yours is big enough for a 240).
Because a 210 is so short, the proportion of belly (the rounded part near the tip) to flat edge is very high; and tend to promote "rock chopping." Rock chopping a 210 means getting the handle way up, which can be awkward for the short, and the action ends up as a lot of handle pumping. The short length of the flat makes a 210mm gyuto handle a lot like a 180mm santoku.
It's easy to say that length is a matter of taste, but until you've developed the skills (very easy to learn, by the way
) that allow you to point a 240 as intuitively as a 210 you haven't developed enough taste to exercise it judiciously. If, at the end of the day, you want a 210 that's okay; but once most people -- even petite people -- make the transition, they don't look back.
Also, whatever length you choose, almost every wa handled knife will feel shorter than its yo counterpart. A wa 240 will handle a lot like a yo 210. So, yes, I'm pushing 240mm as a better choice than 210mm and pushing pretty hard; but if you decide on a 210 that's fine. The idea is that you learn enough to make your own choices on a sound basis, and that's it.
Your final decision could probably benefit from some more field narrowing and Q and A... with most of the questions coming from you.
Of all the knives which have been mentioned so far, the three I'd most recommend are (in alphabetical order):
- Kikuichi TKC (semi-stainless yo);
- MAC Pro (stainless yo); and
- Richmond AEB-L Laser (stainless wa).
Let's talk more about wa choices if you've decided on wa and are still interested in sorting them out with with me.