so a quick background on al mar knives. (please note, i dont own any and this is why)
until recently, i think 2019, all al mar knives were made in japan, and cost quite a bit. if memory serves the original sere was around $200 in VG-10. it looks like 2019 the company started doing collabs, shifted manufcturing over to china, started using framelocks, and apparently uses D2 now. they also shrunk their catalog down quite a bit.
not sure if this was a good thing, but lowering the price definitely opens them to a new market. they did have a reputation of very high level of fit an finish, let's hope that still remains now that they are manufactured in china