The stories are sad because they are about people fleeing and leaving behind those they love. In some cases they never meet again.
But it's also uplifting when you think about the strength shown by some of these folks. Lost jobs. Huge debt. Fear of the future. And they slip away from their old lives and claw out new ones. The lives are difficult and on the edge. But these are the stories of survivors.
This side of Japan (or anywhere else for that matter) isn't talked about or shown very often - and the Vanished offers an illuminating look.