I agree 100%. H.I has the most consistence in their blades in terms of quality and finish, even through various Kamis. I've yet to have a blade take a major chip that couldn't be filed out or an obstacle they couldn't plough through. In all honesty you're buying the quality of a custom knife at the price of a production knife, and I can guarantee my khukuri will outlast me and I'm but still a spring chicken.
I think you end up with better blades when you have Aunt Yandgu pick them out. I asked her about a Manakaman Special and she said she would find a good one for me. I ended up with a spectacular kukri. All my HI's are spectacular actually.
I asked her what to buy based on my use, height, weight, age and physical condition. She recommended a 15" 1.75 lb. AK. Naturally I ignored her and bought an 18" 2 lb. HI AK because that's what Cliff Stamp uses. The knife is great, but she was correct, I wished I'd gone lighter and shorter. Her advice comes from years of experience.