I think you're making stuff up here:
-Sentai dont do anything special for their releases. No special cases or books. (I think you're talking about NIS America whose releases also can get pretty expensive)
Yes, NIS releases have large hardcover books.
-Bakemonogatari and the others mentioned comes in hardcover artboxes with extras like info booklets and posters. They also utilize way more discs than any other company, making the quality of the transfer less crammed. (Baccano was later re-released in a single case with a slipcover for less money. Maybe they'll do same the with other shows down the line.)
Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari does have the same chip board boxes as Funimation's "limited edition" releases, my bad. Baccano! (the limited edition one) has a cheap cardboard box. None of the aforementioned releases have any posters or extras, besides a paperback episode summary booklet. Bakemonogatari has commentary tracks on the disc, but none of the other releases have any kind of video extras whatsoever. Funimation's Chaos;Head has thicker Euro-style keep cases that feel much more substantial than the cheap thinpaks with eco cutouts used in Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari and Durarara!!
As for file size, what you must understand is that Japanese discs are designed to inflate price, so they can sell more discs. I'll give you an example. Funimation's Chaos;Head blu-ray comes with 8 episodes on Disc 1, utilizing about 40GB out of a BD50. Steins;Gate is 5.5-6GB per episode, 8 episodes per disc adding to 43GB.
Nisemonogatari has 2 episodes per disc, utilizing 15GB on a presumably BD25. First of all, larger file sizes do not necessarily
mean higher quality -- considering that most anime are essentially closer to 720p source resolution, it's ridiculous that they'd need 8GB to fit 26 minutes. Second, they have a little more than a third of the data per disc compared to Funimation releases. They could have fit 5-6 episodes on that disc and use up the same disc space as Chaos;Head.
-Funimation utilize outdated masters, cram as many episodes onto individual discs as possible and rarely include booklets or artbooks. They do artboxes once in a while, which are cool but that's about it. On top of that, both Sentai, NISA and Funi likes to split up their releases in volumes as well, essentially moving the price into the 80-100+ dollar range for an entire series.
There's no such thing as "outdated" masters. All the shows are sourced from Japan and they have the same masters. Only shows that came out before HD had to be upscaled, and sometimes Japan has rescanned "updated" masters. We're talking about new shows, and there's no reason to expect that they should look any different than the Japanese versions. If by "artbook" you mean a paperback booklet with episode summaries and character intros, then I say people aren't missing much. NISA release of AnoHana, for example, has a large hardcover
booklet with full-page art scans and character sketches. Funimation discs regularly go on sale for down to $30 per half season, which adds up to $60 per season, compared to anywhere between $120-700 per half season (13 episodes) worth of anime with Aniplex.
It is indeed easy to see what has the higher quality...
Yes, indeed it is. I'll take a NISA release any day of the week.
By the way, the Baccano! re-release was only like $5 less, and rightfully so... How much do you suppose it costs them to include an extra case? I can buy one of those for $1-2 without the bulk discount.
Yes, that is a 38-page 11" x 7" hardcover book!
That's the standard blu-ray sized 38-page paperback booklet that comes with Nisemonogatari, showing character introductions. You will find no full-page art here, even though the booklet is half the size of the NISA one.