have seen the exact same car priced much higher at a a high end import lot over the run of the mill lot. Just because they are much more expensive, doesn't mean they aren't anything but a remounted Wind and Thunder and selling it for double the price. What I want to know is: ARE the bugei blades special compared to the regular chen blades? If they aren't, James Williams is a good marketer. Caveat emptor.
The fact that you can order them in a multitude of colors and, blade lengths and options should tell you that these are custom made for bugei. Compared to the other swords in the chen line they are very light too (the powdered steel.) There are too many options that go into them for them to NOT be custom made.
I beleive for a while, our sword organization was planning on going to the hanwei forge for custom swords and my sensei also used to demo the hanwei blades.
The reason we don't usually promote using those blades is that they are hardly, in any way, what you would call traditional.
Those swords come out of the imagination of paul chen (notice the really crappy club-like tsukas? or the ridiculously long blades?) Also, his best ones are the prototypes he makes. The finalized mass produced ones are very inconsistant (which is where lots of the mixed feedback comes from.)
This is kind of rushed post. Sorry about any obvious gramtical / spelling errors.